WELLNESS--Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of Americans today? With February being Heart Awareness Month let’s talk about a few ways to increase our heart health and add to the longevity of the most important muscle in our body.
WELLNESS-In a study done with 89,283 people they found that whether or not we are energized in the morning or more prefer to sleep in is linked to our DNA. The study was published in the Journal of Nature Communications on February 2nd.
"In this study we set out to discover more about an individual's preference toward early rising and were able to identify the genetic associations with 'morningness' as well as ties to lifestyle patterns and other traits," Youna Hu, Ph.D., who led 23andMe's research on the paper, said in a statement.
15 areas in the human genone that are associated with “morningness” were isolated and studied. They drew a link for the first time between people that held certain genes and being a morning person. 7 of those 15 genes were associated with circadian rhythm. A circadian rhythm is a roughly 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings that is generated from within.
Like other types of genetic links, just because our genes pre-dispose us towards a certain type of behavior does not mean we are predestined to act those behaviors out. The study also showed that people who were night owls tend to be less healthy in very specific ways. They have a greater tendency towards depression and insomnia for example than their early to bed counterparts, and the people staying up late into the night also have a lower BMI and a greater tendency towards obesity.
Further studies along the same lines may help the health community get a better understanding of diseases and disorders such as insomnia, depression, and obesity that have been linked with sleeplessness for years.
More people than ever are seeking and using Acupuncture and Chiropractic to heal their bodies. It is estimated that over 30 million people use Chiropractic every year and according to an Acupuncture Today survey the same is true of Acupuncture.
The reasons for people seeking care from healers outside of their western medical route is varied. Many people report that they don’t want to continue taking medications or going through obtrusive surgeries in order to get better. More still simply don’t get the relief they want from the standard western model.
In addition to trying to heal an illness, the more savvy and health conscious individuals are well aware that using Acupuncture and Chiropractic as well as staying healthy and fit are some of the best ways to stay out of the hospital.
With studies like the one put on by The Journal of Public Safety showing that the number of accidental deaths in hospitals may be over 400,000 a year it is no wonder that people are doing whatever they can to stay healthy and avoid them.
The Hospital Safety Score put accidental hospital deaths as the 3rd leading cause of death in America and their number is 440,000.
To help patients avoid getting sick in the first place, wellness centers across the country have been popping up that offer everything under one roof. Very often the primary focus is to treat the person using the most non-invasive and drug free methods possible and this usually includes chiropractic and acupuncture along with physical therapy and others modalities.
Illness can have many roots and in today’s busy world many people are living their lives with elevated levels of stress hormones over prolonged periods of time. The primary stress hormone associated with illness is Cortisol. This hormone is linked to many ailments including weight gain, sugar imbalance, immunity suppression, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disease, and fertility problems.
By getting regular treatments of acupuncture, chiropractic or massage people are lowering their stress levels, taking their bodies out of fight or flight and therefore lowering the amount of cortisol. Part of the challenge in the Unites States is that many people wait until an illness is already starting to manifest before they seek help. At that point too many people are still deciding to simply take pills instead of participating in their own health and wellness.
The medical system in this country is stressed due to the sheer volume of people that doctors need to see every day. Many people are going to outpatient clinics or emergency rooms making it close to impossible to see the same doctor more than once. Doctors have a hard time getting to know patients due to time constraints and too many patients, and ultimately patients tend to slip through the cracks of the broken western medical model.
Thankfully, more and more people are learning that they need to be their own primary care providers and in doing so seek out a healthy lifestyle and connections to health providers that have time and energy to spend on their patients.
WELLNESS--We have known for a long time that late night eating has a negative effect on our blood sugar and has even been linked to diabetes and other diseases, but this study clearly puts late night eating and brain memory impairment in the spotlight.
The research indicates that those munchies just might be wreaking havoc on your mind. "We believe that late-night snacking may affect our learning capabilities by affecting the parts of the brain responsible for learning and memory, specifically, the hippocampus," Dr. Dawn Loh, a scientist at the University and lead author of the study said.
The hippocampus is one of the key anatomical parts of the brain responsible for memory, and while this study has not been confirmed on humans but only on mice, there is surprising evidence that this part of the brain that supports memory is adversely affected by late night eating.
In the experiment they used two groups of mice. One group of fed during the day when they were most active and the other was fed late at night during normal sleeping hours. While both groups received the same amount of calories and the same amount of sleep, they found that the group of mice that were fed in the middle of the night had less of a chance of remembering to avoid a chamber in their cage that provided a mild electric current when they walked into it. The ones that ate during normal hours had no problem remembering and avoided that chamber.
The other test they did was to introduce a novel object to the mice and then remove it from the cage and repeat at a later hour. The mice that ate while they should have been sleeping forgot that they had already been exposed to that object while the ones on the normal eating schedule had no problem recollecting the object.
"By consuming food at the 'wrong' time of day, we induce misalignment between the various clocks in the brain and body," Loh said. "This is known to affect physiological processes like metabolism. We demonstrate for the first time that this food-induced misalignment leads to profound impairment of hippocampal-dependent memory as well."
One great solution to late night eating is to simply pick a time in the evening and don’t eat past that hour. Many people complain that they work late hours and don’t get home until 8 or 9pm. While this is a challenging situation, if you know that you are not to eat past 7 pm or even 8pm, you can have the opportunity to bring lunch and dinner to work with you and eat before you leave the office to head home. Ideally, we start work a little earlier and get home at a more reasonable hour, but for those of you where that is impossible, maybe bringing a health and delicious dinner to work is the answer!
Vol 14 Issue 4
Pub: Jan 12, 2016
WELLNESS-If you have been watching the news lately you may have seen the recent reports stating that red meat and processed meats have been linked to cancer.
Before we get into the risk associated with eating animal products and getting cancer let's look a little deeper at the reporting. First, comparing red meat and processed meats is like comparing water to sugary drinks. Processing any food always changes the composition of the food into something different than before it was a whole food; hence the importance of eating whole foods. A cut of unprocessed meat that was obtained from a healthy animal that was fed a non-GMO diet to a slice of processed bologna is erroneous and irresponsible.
You will also notice that these reports often use the words "linked to." Just because there is a link between a condition and an external element does not mean that there is causation. Saying red meat is linked to cancer is not saying that red meat causes cancer.
Responsibly farmed red meat consumed in moderation has many benefits. For example, there is heme and non-heme iron, and the iron obtained from meat, poultry and fish is about 40% heme which is easily absorbed by the body. The heme iron in red meat supplies vitamin B12, which helps make DNA and keeps nerve and red blood cells healthy. It also contains zinc, which keeps the immune system working properly. Besides iron, Red meat also provides protein, which helps build bones and muscles.
Many studies show that iron derived from heme sources make up two-thirds of the average person’s total iron stores despite only constituting one-third of the iron that is actually ingested. This likely explains why vegetarians are more prone to iron deficiency than those who regularly consume red meat. There is a reason that 1.6 billion people on our planet deal with anemia (low iron) and not having access to animal products is the reason.
Not all meat is created equal. Too many of our animals are locked up in the equivalent of concentration camps for animals. They are fed GMO corn and other foods not natural to their normal dietary needs. They are also kept in small spaces locked up where they are fed antibiotics so they don't get each other sick. Adding insult to injury many of these animals are not offered room to graze properly on land making them fat and unhealthy.
Taking time to find out where your meat comes from in order to purchase meat that has been raises responsibly and fed a healthy non-GMO diet of grass is crucial. This meat tends to be more expensive but eating small amounts of meat 2 or 3 times a week at most is plenty. If we eat less red meat and purchase the meat eat from responsible cattle farmers, the animals will be treated better and we will be consuming an animal with less GMO's, antibiotics, and fat.
Vol 13 Issue 87
Pub: Oct 27, 2015
WELLNESS-You can’t get more American than Campbell’s soup. This company has been gracing our grocery shelves since 1859. With iconic artists like Andy Warhol using the soup can designs to create art that now sells for 15 million dollars, there may not be one American unfamiliar with Campbell’s.
When the CEO of Campbell’s recently announced in a board meeting that they would be changing the ingredients of Campbell’s soup, it caused quite a stir. Turns out Campbell’s has been using Monosodium Glutamate for decades along with many other canned and package food companies. The problem is, study after study shows that MSG just might be killing you.
While the FDA still claims that consuming MSG is harmless, there are many experts that disagree, the most well known of these being Dr. Russell Blaylock. He is a board certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxin: The Taste That Kills.” In his research he discovered that flavorings like MSG actually excite the cells in our brains to the point of damage or death causing brain damage in varying degrees. This could also mean that by consuming foods with MSG we may be contributing to learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
Campbell’s had already stopped using preservatives and also is known for using real vegetables in their soups. Campbell’s acknowledged that the next big step is to cut out the use of chemicals used for flavoring and coloring. High Fructose Corn Syrup will also be removed from their soups , which has recently been linked to liver damage. Campbell’s is also aware that General Mills is on the same track to remove these items from its products, and they don’t want to be left out.
Make no mistake here people, Campbell’s soup is yet another example of a company that is responding to pressure from the community at large. If their products were flying off the shelves like they used to there is a good chance they would not be cutting these dangerous ingredients.
The fact of the matter is sales of Campbells have been down, and they know if they want to stay relevant, they need to meet the new needs of consumers that are waking up to the importance of good health and chemical free ingredients. Thanks to the consumer, Campbell’s will now bending to pressure and make their soups healthier. There are plenty of other companies that make packaged and frozen foods with this chemical inside, and they are more likely to follow suit of a behemoth company like Campbell’s.
Vol 13 Issue 69
Pub: Aug 25, 2015
WELLNESS-Up until recently, Costco was sourcing 90 percent of the salmon it purchased from Chilean salmon farms. Every week that added up to roughly 600,000 pounds of salmon. The problem is that these Chilean fish farms have been upping their use of antibiotics by 25 percent in response to Piscirickettsiosis (or SRS) bacteria. Since 2013 there has been a surge in SRS bacteria found in the coastal waters off Chile causing a spike in disease-laden fish. American consumers are ever increasingly concerned about drug resistant superbugs, which has put the squeeze on Costco to source from the lesser drug doling Norwegian farms instead.
SRS was first reported in 1989 and since then scientists have developed a better understanding of this bug. This particular bacterium affects a variety of cells in salmon and causes inflammation in the fish’s organs and brain. Initial diagnoses can be obtained by spotting lesions on the fish and erratic swimming patterns due to the bacteria attacking the brain.
While the use of antibiotics can control the bacteria in the short term, it is proving to be a losing battle against SRS causing fish farmers to administer more and more drugs. The Salmon farmers in Chile have had to boost their antibiotic use, and in 2014 they used over 1 million pounds of antibiotics to produce 895,000 pounds of fish. The FDA said it has "concerns about the improper use of medically important antibiotics in food products derived from animals, as this practice is one factor that can contribute to antimicrobial resistance in humans."
In response to this epidemic, Costco has begun to source 60 percent of its salmon from Norway and has dropped down to only 40 percent from Chile in 2014. This has cost the Chilean farmers tens of millions of dollars. Brazil on the other hand imports 3.6 million kilograms of salmon each year from Chile. With concern for cost superseding the real threat of a superbug epidemic, Brazil has no plans of curbing their appetite for affordable Salmon purchased from nearby Chilean providers. Costco on the other hand is moving forward with deep cuts in Chilean Salmon and huge increases in Norwegian purchased salmon.
To battle Piscirickettsiosis (or SRS) bacteria, which causes hemorrhaging, swollen kidneys and spleens, and ultimately death in infected fish, Chilean farmers are using ever increasing amount of antibiotics to try and keep their fish stock healthy. Concerns about drug-resistant superbugs have led many American consumers to seek out antibiotic-free products.
With an estimated 2 million people being infected with superbugs a year in the US alone and 23,000 of them dying, drug resistant superbugs are a grave concern. In spite of the fact that there are many more people dying of cancer each year in the US, some experts speculate that death by drug resistant superbugs could overtake the cancer statistics in the next 10 years.
Vol 13 Issue 62
Pub: Jul 29, 2015
WELLNESS-The quest for low calorie sweeteners has led to the creation of chemicals that sweeten drinks and foods but that simply don’t break down in our bodies which is why these chemicals don’t fatten the people up that are consuming them. The problem is that much of these compounds go right through the consumer and into our water supply.
The world’s rivers and lakes are loaded with artificial sweeteners such as Splenda, Sweet’N Low and Aspartame in a converted form. These sweeteners are a dangerous problem facing our environment today for two main reasons. First we are drinking this water as it comes around for a second time through the water cycle and second, the fish are living in these chemicals and there is evidence that they are taking these chemicals into their tissues.
The Canadian Journal Plus One published the study proving that these 4 sweeteners cyclamate, saccharin, sucralose, and acesulfame not only pass through humans without being properly broken down, but also through advanced wastewater systems that are designed to remove chemicals from our water. After this sewage is treated, much of it is released back into our water supply through rivers and tributaries. It turns out that this fresh water is now anything but.
In the study, researchers collected water from homes near the Grand river, which empties into Lake Erie and found all of the above mentioned sweeteners coming out of the tap. We have all heard about antidepressants in our water supply and how that is affecting the fish’s ability to reproduce. In regards to sweeteners in the water scientists still don’t know the full impact in regards to the health of the fish. Nor do they know exactly how damaging it will be to humans to eat these fish that are contaminated with chemicals used to sweeten foods.
The idea of our water supply being contaminated with the chemicals and sweeteners that we consume should not surprise us. We live in a delicate ecosystem and everything we eat and drink will eventually become a part of that system.
While it is tempting to compartmentalize everything and think we can keep certain parts separate from others, it doesn’t work that way in nature, nor in our bodies. If someone gets an infection in their toe for example, rest assured that over time it would infect their entire body.
The earth is the same way. We can’t pollute and destroy certain parts of the world and think it will stay isolated to that part. Earth is a big ecosystem with the entire planet being interconnected through an intricate web of waterways and jet streams in the air and the ocean. Science is helping us grasp this idea of an interconnected earth.
Vol 13 Issue 59
Pub: Jul 21, 2015
WELLNESS-A study posted in the journal of behavioral medicine linked procrastination with hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Specifically people of older age, lower education levels, and higher procrastination scores were more likely to experience HT and CVD than their more accomplished and task minded counterparts.
While the study focused more on the link between heart disease and procrastination and less on the why; it can be surmised that people who tend to put things off until the last minute would also tend to have a more stressful life. The affects of stress and inflammation in the body are widely known, and if someone is procrastinating daily, they just may be causing unnecessary inflammation. In addition to inflammation, these individual is also more likely to put off important check ups and physicals.
Procrastinators also tend to put off going to sleep. When we sleep our body repairs itself through a cascade of crucial healing processes. The brain secretes human growth hormone when we sleep which heals our organs and rejuvenates our bodies. Recent research has also proven that the brain actually removes dangerous toxins during sleep and just may help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Any behavior can be changed, but in some cases the behaviors that make up our personality are genetic. While psychologists and scientists are not saying that procrastination is genetic, they do agree that our genes influence procrastination.
The good news is that our genes influence all of our other personality traits as well, and we can get help and exercise our will to change those along with our tendency to procrastinate.
One crucial step that most experts agree needs to be accomplished in order to stop procrastination is to get organized. An unorganized desk or home is a sure fire way to avoid accomplishing tasks.
Creating a to do list the night before helps people who tend to procrastinate. Studies also show that the higher someone’s stress level, the more likely they are to procrastinate. By taking steps to reduce stress in ones life, they will be more likely to attack a project head on. Finally, setting up some type of reward system upon accomplishing tasks also helps to stave off procrastination.
Vol 13 Issue 52
Pub: Jun 26, 2015