Stress is a common challenge that we all face on a regular basis. The cause of stress can range from minor irritations, such as traffic jams or lack or sleep, to more significant events such as divorce or the loss of a loved one. And while the spectrum of stress is vast, the way that our bodies react to such stressors remains constant.
The Fight Or Flight Response
To understand the biology of stress, we must go back to the beginnings of mankind. Imagine that you are walking through a dense forest in search of your next meal. Your senses are already heightened as you move from tree to tree, hoping to catch a glimpse of your desired prey, when seemingly from out of nowhere, you find yourself facing an 8-foot bear. It is then that you realize that you have gone from the hunter to the hunted. In that split second of recognition your body shifts into what is known as the fight or flight response. Your brain becomes inundated with sensory overload, thus triggering the adrenal glands to begin releasing the four major stressor hormones, cortisol, DHEA, norepinephrine, and adrenaline, throughout your body in preparation for the challenge at hand. This cascading sequence causes your body to undergo a series of dramatic changes. Your respiratory rate increases. Blood is hunted away from your digestive tract and directed into your muscles and limbs, which now require extra energy to fuel for running and fighting. Your pupils dilate. Your awareness intensifies. Your sight sharpens. Your pulse quickens. Your perception of pain diminishes. Your immune system mobilizes with increases activation. You become prepared, both physically and mentally, for fight or flight.
However, when the adrenal glands begin pumping out these stress hormones it causes an abnormality in the adrenal output rhythm. Throughout the day our adrenal glands release hormones cyclically, sending out the highest levels of cortisol in the morning and the lowest levels in the evening. As our cortisol levels increase, our DHEA levels decrease. But, when the normal rhythm of output is disturbed it creates imbalance in the body functions which can, over time, lead to serious health problems.
The Effects of Adrenal Imbalance on Our Health
In the early days of mankind, such primal biological responses were necessary for survival of the human species. Unfortunately, in today's day and age, while the sheer volume of stressors has increased, usually the degree of danger is minimal. And, even though we do encounter occasions where our instincts vacillate between fighting and running, most of these situations do not require such a severe response.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue
My Healthy Recommendations
Several common supplements can be used to treat adrenal imbalance; however it is important to consult with a health care provider knowledgeable in nutritional supplementation and the correction of adrenal problems before choosing which supplements will be the most effective.
Learn More About Adrenal Imbalance
To learn more about regaining control of your adrenals, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting: http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
Over 20 million Americans are currently diagnosed with some form of thyroid disease, a health problem that impacts every cell in the body and can cause severe weight gain or weight loss, mood disturbances, and even infertility in both men and women. While thyroid problems are most common in women, affecting approximately 1 in 8 women between the ages of 35 and 65, men are not immune to thyroid disorders. Common symptoms in men, such as reduced libido, difficulty achieving erection and breast tenderness or enlargement, may be too embarrassing for men to seek medical help and could contribute to the lower instances of thyroid disease recorded in men.
When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, releasing more hormones than are necessary, the result is hyperthyroidism or Graves Disease, autoimmune diseases that cause over-activity of the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism is most common between the ages of 20 and 40 and effects roughly 1 million Americans today. With hyperthyroidism, everything in the body speeds up. When the rate of cellular activity increases, more calories must be consumed to maintain normal energy levels. If the incoming calories fail to be enough then weight loss will occur. Generally, the more sever the hyperthyroid, the more weight loss will result. It is not uncommon; however, for a person with hyperthyroid to gain weight if more calories than necessary are being consumed.
Hypothyroidism is a far more common problem, affecting approximately 11 million Americans. The disease can affect both men and women but is mostly diagnosed in middle-aged women. In a patient with Hypothyroidism, the entire metabolism moves at a slower speed and requires less calories than usual to maintain normal energy levels. As a result, the excess calories consumed become stored as fat and weight gain ensues.
Diagnosing Thyroid Problems
Diseases of the thyroid can be diagnose with a simple blood test which evaluates levels of TSH, free T3 and T4 in the bloodstream. Another way to measure is by taking and recording the basal body temperature under the arm as soon as you wake up for ten minutes, five mornings in a row. The normal axillary temperature is 97.8°F - 98.2°F. If the temperature averages 97.4°F or less, see your physician.
Once a diagnosis of either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism has been ascertained, treatment is aimed at restoring proper levels of thyroid hormones. With hyperthyroidism this might require surgery or the use of medication. Hypothyroidism is usually treated with hormone replacement therapy. In my practice I have found that natural thyroid hormone can be a safe and very successful means of restoring the appropriate levels. For both diseases, restoring proper levels of the thyroid hormone can result in a reversal of symptoms, including a return to pre-thyroid disease weight.
If you suspect that you might be suffering from a thyroid disorder, see your doctor immediately for an evaluation. Thyroid disease is a serious health problem and one that can be easily treated and properly diagnosed.
Learn More About Diagnosing Thyroid Problems
To learn more about regaining control of your metabolism, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting: http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
Testosterone may be the hormone associated most with strength, but it is no match for the powerful punch of modern life. The effects of our fast-paced lives have already begun to take a toll on our health as a nation. Heart disease, stroke and cancer are the leading killers in the United States, and may point directly at lifestyle as a public enemy number one. Now we can add one more downside to living the "good life": low testosterone levels.
A recent study from Finland confirmed what Danish researched already suspected: testosterone levels in young men have dropped significantly over the past 50 years. Testosterone levels of the average 30-year old man are 20% lower than 30-year-olds from their father's generation. And with these lower testosterone levels comes an increased risk of osteoporosis. Approximately 2 million men in America are currently diagnosed with osteoporosis, which researchers agree is most likely a low estimate. Canadian data suggests that the number may be much higher, estimating that 1 out of every 8 men over the age of 50 is living with the skeletal disease.
Symptoms of Low Testosterone
The above are all symptoms of low testosterone levels in men- a syndrome being termed "male menopause" or andropause. Just as women's sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen, decline with age, so do men's testosterone levels. Experts argue over the semantics of referring to a man's declining testosterone levels as a version of menopause; however the reality remains the same no matter what you call it: sexual hormone levels in both men and women decrease as we mature.
The Chemical Revolution
The worst offender when it comes to testosterone is the almighty chemical. Since World War II, tens of thousands of new chemical compounds have been created to improve our lives; yet since the beginning of this chemical revolution, we've managed to pollute the entire planet with dangerous toxins, most of which have never been tested for human safety or how they interact with one another. Of the thousands of chemicals released into our environment every year, several groups have been identified as hormone disruptors. These chemicals enter your body through the air that you breathe, the foods that you eat and the water that you drink and invade the endocrine system, mimicking and blocking vital hormonal processes.
To learn more about low testosterone levels, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting: http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is a hot topic under frequent debate these days - so much so that estrogen and other progesterone have become household words. Deciding whether or not to supplement with hormones can be challenging when it means wading through study findings that are oftentimes frightening. In order to decide which option is right for you, it's important to understand the basics of women's hormones. Synthetic hormones are no longer the only option available and it is possible to treat hormonal imbalance safely and naturally, using bio-identical hormones.
The Role of Women's Hormones
As women enter their 40's, hormone levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone begin to decline, signaling the beginning of perimenopause. Eventually the ovaries will stop producing eggs and menstruation will cease. When menstruation is no longer taking place, menopause has begun. The declining hormone levels can cause many unwelcome symptoms.
The hormones that made you fertile during your teens, 20's and 30's also protected you against age-related diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, hypertension, osteoporosis, and auto-immune diseases. With lower levels of these important hormones, your body is less equipped to fend off life threatening diseases.
Hormone Replacement Therapy
In the past decade, women have discovered a new option: hormone replacement therapy. Much discussion in the news has been focused on the synthetic hormones, such as Premarin and Prempro. Studies have raised questions about the safety of using such synthetic hormones and many women are unsure of what to do. It is important to understand that synthetic hormones are not structurally identical to the hormones produced naturally within our bodies. If they were, drug manufacturers would not be able to patent them. Instead, they manufacture compounds derived from the urine of pregnant mares - a product that is structurally different from our natural human hormones. Such synthetic hormones are not processed by our bodies in the same way as natural hormones, which is why they often prove to be a dangerous option.
Natural, or bio-identical hormones are biologically and structurally identical to our own hormones, making them completely safe when used at the appropriate levels. An additional benefit to supplementing with natural hormones is that they can be customized to fit your specific needs. When prescribing bio-identical hormones to my patients, I first test their current hormone levels to determine the appropriate combination of estrogen, progesterone, and/or testosterone that they will need. Bio-identical hormones are tailor made for each individual, unlike synthetic hormones, which are sold in "one size fits all" doses.
My Healthy Recommendations
If you have not yet begun experiencing pre-menopausal symptoms, this is the best time to go see your doctor. Having your hormone levels checked now, before they begin their natural decline, will better help your doctor to determine your optimal levels when the time comes for supplementation. Being proactive will make it easier to find relief when menopause becomes reality.
A woman entering the end of her reproductive years no longer has to suffer silently through the changes caused by her declining hormones. Treating hormonal imbalance naturally, using bio-identical hormones, is a safe option that can make your menopausal and post-menopausal years some of the best years of your life. The benefits of natural hormone replacement mean that you could live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life well into your golden years.
To learn more about keeping "Natural Hormone Balance", buy a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting: http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
"A smile will gain you ten more years of life." - Chinese proverb
These words were written countless centuries ago, yet today they ring more true than ever. The links between oral health and overall health are being established on a near daily basis and the implications are astounding! Imagine if by simply brushing and flossing regularly, you were able to prevent a heart attach? We may not be there quite yet; however, a definitive connection has been established between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy complications. And while the research moves forward, what we are learning today is that a healthy smile truly may add ten years to your life!
It All Begins With Plaque
At the root of this research frenzy is something that scientists refer to as bio-film. If the word "bio-film" renders images of horror films or sci-fi scream fests, then you aren't far off. In real life, biofilm is the sticky, colorless film that develops on teeth and is more commonly known as plaque. It is this complex reef-like substance that build up over time, setting the stage for gum disease and potentially leading to life-threatening health problems.
Gum disease is also referred to as periodontal disease and encompasses the various stages of the disease, including gingivitis and periodontists. "Periodontal" literally translates to "around the tooth".
It is estimated that 80% of all American adults have some form of gum disease. Smoking, genetics, stress, medications, (including oral contraceptives. anti-depressants and certain heart medications), pregnancy, clenching or grinding your teeth, poor nutrition, diabetes and other systemic diseases have all been implicated as risk factors for the disease.
When The Problem Becomes Systemic
The link between gum disease and systemic disease is at the center of a number of ongoing studies. What we currently know is that definitive links do exist between gum disease and heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy complications. Currently researchers are examining the possibilities that either inflammation, bacteria or a combination of the two are at the heart of the link between gum disease and other health problems.
5 Steps to a Health and Beautiful Smile
To learn more about keeping your mouth healthy, buy a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting: http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
*Answer Yes or No to the below questions. Make sure to keep tally of your answers.
If you answered yes to two or more of these questions then you may be suffering from a common yet drastically under-diagnosed condition: candidiasis. It is estimated that one in every two people will be affected by candidiasis in their lifetime but many will not be aware of it or may even think that the symptoms are all in their head. The unfortunate reality is that many people who seek medical advice from their health care providers are told that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. The mainstream medical establishment has been slow to recognize candidiasis is a real issue; the integrative medical community; however, has been treating the condition successfully for decades. If you feel that you're one of the many who have suffered without validation or relief from this life-altering illness, please read on.
What Is Candidiasis?
Candidiasis is the medical term for yeast overgrowth. We all have flora in our intestinal tract - some of which we consider to be good, such as the bacteria acidophilus and Bifidobascteria, and some of which we consider to be bad, such as the fungus Candida albicans. Candida albicans is a form of yeast that can be dangerous to the body if it spreads. In order to prevent this from happening, the good bacteria produce antifungal substances that keep the yeast in check. These good bacteria also ferment carbohydrates into lactic acid, which maintains an ideally balanced pH within the intestines to keep Candida albicans at bay. As long as the good bacteria co-exist with the yeast in healthy ratioso and the intestinal pHis correctly balanced, the GI tract can live in peace. Havoc ensues; however, when the pH balance shifts and the good bacteria become attacked.
Foods to Avoid
Foods to Enjoy
My Healthy Recommendations
Treating candidiasis requires a degree of commitment but with dedication it is completely possible to reverse the condition.
The first step in any treatment plan begins with some key dietary changes. Sugar is the main fuel for Candida albicans; therefore, it must be removed out of the diet completely. A "Candida Diet" requires that sugar, alcohol, milk and dairy products, and foods containing mold and yeast must all be avoided. These foods actively encourage the growth of Candida albicans and the condition cannot properly resolved as long as the "fuel" remains in place.
To learn more about the candida, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting:http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
With the aging population of the United States, the incidence of so-called age-related diseases is expected to rise. In fact, the incidence of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other diseases have been steadily rising for all age groups until they have reached epidemic proportions. That is because the factors of stress, lack of physical activity, environmental pollutants, and a diet high in acid-producing foods collectively create the underlying cause of most degenerative diseases: acidosis.
Proper Acid/Alkaline Balance is Fundamental
What is acidosis? It is the reduced alkalinity of our blood and tissues. Why is this so important? Our body stays alive and healthy only because all of its 100 trillion cells communicate with each other. They do this through electrical, chemical, and hormonal processes. In order for these signaling mechanisms to work, the body's internal environment must be in a slightly alkaline state. If our body becomes too acidic, it adversely affects the functioning of all its parts: heart cells, blood cells, brain cells, nerve cells, muscle cells, bone cells, even skin and hair cells. Obviously, this leaves us vulnerable to all sorts of health problems.
The Problem with Chronic Acidosis
Acidosis begins when the body cannot properly dispose of excessive acids building up in the bloodstream. The body attempts to maintain proper pH balance by eliminating the excess acies through the kidneys, lungs, and skin or by neutralizing the acids during the processes of digestion and cellular metabolism. However, when too much acid is produced, the body cannot keep pace. The excess waste overwhelms the system, polluting the blood and impairing the ability of the body's cells to communicate.
My Healthy Recommendations
The most effective way to reduce acids within the body is by enacting dietary changes. A proper diet should be comprised of 60-80% alkalizing foods and 40-20% acid-forming foods. The Standard American Diet is mostly made up of acid-forming foods including coffee, tea, wine, and most proteins (with the exception of milk, butter, soft cheeses, and almonds) as well as most fats, cereals, and sugars. On the other hand, almost all fruits and vegetables (except for tomatoes, cranberries, and blueberries) are alkalizing. Dietary supplements can also be very effective at restoring an alkaline state to the body. calcium, magnesium, potassium, and pH balancing supplements all help to maintain normal pH levels. In doing so they also help regulate sugar metabolism, reduce blood pressure, enhance energy, and stabilize hormones. Restoring proper pH balance can significantly improve and sometimes even completely reverse chronic conditions. With recognition, dietary changes and supplementation, acidosis can sagely be reversed, increasing longevity and improving the quality of life.
To learn more about the pH balancing act, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting:http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
The water that comes out of your kitchen faucet carries with it a steady stream of chemical by-products that are known to cause cancer, heart disease, and reproductive harm. Since the turn of the century chlorine has been used to treat the nation's drinking water, virtually eliminating disease-causing bacteria and viruses. When first used in 1908, it was viewed as the perfect treatment, on e that kept us free of waterborne illnesses while creating no ill effects on your health. So much more is known about chlorine these days, and the error of our ways is beginning to become apparent; they have been tied to an increase in heart disease and cancer-related deaths.
The problem with chlorine is actually in the by-products, called organochlorines, created when it mixes with organic materials, such as leaves, algae, or even human skin. There are thousands of different chlorine by-products, and very few of them have been studied for safety or are being tracked in our water reserves. While these by -products don't cause immediate illness, such as typhoid or dysentery, they have long term effects that are not as easy to study or link to any one health ailment.
There are several classes of by-products, the most studied being trihalomethanes (THMs), which occur when chlorine combines with methane. A common THM found in water is chloroform, a known carcinogen. As a matter of fact, a large number of THMs are known or suspected carcinogens, but they are allowed to remain in our water at minimal levels, even though research has shown those minimal levels are capable of causing cancer.
Toxins In The Body
Chlorine and its by-products enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption. As the shower water heats up, the by-products turn to vapor, making them easy to inhale. At the same time, the heat also enlarges the pores in the skin, allowing for easy absorption. Chlorine by-products do not break down quickly and are generally stored within the fatty tissues of the body, where they can alter DNA, suppress immune function and interfere with natural cell growth. The by-products also generate free radicals that can cause cancer, while destroying the intestinal flora ("good" bacteria) that protects the body from pathogens.
Chlorine and Cancer
Evidence of this was displayed in a study conducted in Hartford, Connecticut, which found that women with breast cancer have 50% to 60% higher levels of organochlorines in their breast tissue than women without breast cancer.
Chlorine by-products have been linked to several types of cancer, including cancers of the bladder, liver, rectum, and colon. A study at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland concluded, "people living in areas served by chlorinated water have twice the risk of contracting cancer," than those who have non-chlorinated water sources.
10 Other Toxins That May Be Lurking In Your Water
3 Steps of Action
To learn more about the rippling effects of chlorinated water, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
Are you still using your Teflon type pots and pans? In 2006 the EPA announced that several manufacturers of non-stick cookware had agreed to phase out the use of the main harmful chemical used in the manufacturing of these kitchen necessities, but they haven't yet told you to run out and replace your old cookware. And with the cost of restocking your cabinets with all new pots and pans, the whole subject may prove to e a sticky one that you'd rather ignore. Can you afford to ignore sticky one that you'd rather ignore. Can you afford to ignore the health hazards though? With the current list of diseases caused by the chemicals used in non-stick cookware ranging from immune disorders to hypothyroidism and even cancer, the cost of replacing your Teflon products may be well worth the initial hit to your household budget.
The Chemicals Behind The Name
To be clear, Teflon is not the offender in the non-stick health debate. In fact, Teflon is simply a product name and not a chemical at all. The chemical, or rather chemicals, currently under scrutiny are Perfluorochemicals (PFCs), a family of substances that keep food from sticking to your pots and pans. These same chemicals are used in the manufacture of carpet and fabric treatments that repel stains, as well as camping gear that tkeeps you fryduring rain storms. Within the PFC family there are several chemicals, including the one into which all PFCs eventually break down into, Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). PFOA has been detected in 90% of the population's blood, including adults, children, and even newborn babies.
PFOAs And Your Health
Today, PFOAs are classified by the EPA as an animal carinogen. Under pressure from independents scientists, the EPA is currently evaluating reasearch data that suggests that PFOAs are also a likely himan carcinogen. Three of the four cancers that PFOAs have been linked to (testicular, breast, liver, and prostate) are no the rise in the US today, with liver cancer rates inc reasing an average of 4.7% each year between 1992 and 1999. Learn more about the effects PFOAs have on your health on page 44 of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy".
Look Out For These Other PFOA Sources*
*Please note: There is currently no way for consumers to tell if packaging contains PFOAs. Microwave popcorn packaging
To learn more about safe cooking practices, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.
Plastic has become a staple in our society. It's cheap to produce, lightweight, durable and even recyclable. Like many modern conveniences, it has become so much a part of our lives that removing plastic from our homes would be a difficult undertaking. Plastic is used to make our water bottles and our baby's bottles, it lines metal food cans, fast food containers and microwavable food packaging. Our shower curtains are made out of plastic, our blow-up mattresses are made out of plastic, and now, due to the ubiquitous and pervasive nature of this chemical, our bodies contain plastic.
Bishpenol A Is Everywhere
In 200 the CDC conducted a body burden analysis to determine how many people had bisphenol A (BPA), a common type of plastic, in their bloodstream and found that a whopping 95% of their participants were plastic-positive. Over the past 20 years, numerous studies have detected BOA uin breast milk, serum, saliva, urine, amniotic fluid and cord blood. And the pervasiveness of this plastic doesn't end with our bodies. BPA is so sommon in products and industrial waste that it pollutes rivers, sediment, house dust and air. You would be hard pressed to find a corner of the earth that BPA hasn't touched.
Plastic In The Body
When BPA enters the body it acts like the hormone estrogen. It is a synthetic form of estrogen, but the body can't tell the difference between the real thing and the synthetic imposters. BPA levels within the body increase the levels of estrogen, which can lead to very serious health problems including breast cancer, testicular cancer, and reproductive disorders.
Symptoms of Plastic Toxicity
My Healthy Recommendations
Ridding your life of plastic can be a challende - it's true. When I suggest to my patients that they remove all plastic from their homes I'm often met with resistance. My simple answer to them is this: When you make choices about items that you buy for your home, choose plastic alternatives. For example, use glass containers
To learn more about plastic in the body, pick up a copy of my book "Be PerfectlyHealthy" by visiting http://www.perfectlyhealthy.com/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=BE-Perfectly-Healthy-Book.