In honor of Heart Health month in February, Weld Family Clinic will host a Heart Health Class on February 22nd at 6:15pm. We’ll be discussing the important role cholesterol plays in the health of your brain and the dangers of cholesterol-lowering medications like “statins”. Join us!More
Vitamin D and the flu. Is there a connection? Fall has arrived and with the change in season comes the returning threat of “seasonal” illnesses like colds and flus. Have you ever wondered why there is such a thing as “seasonal” illness? Why would viruses and bacteria only come around during the fall and winter months? They don’t – this is a MYTH!
The truth is that we are exposed to viruses and bacteria every day of our lives; the thing determining who gets sick and who stays well is NOT the presence of the viruses or bacteria – it is the state of our IMMUNE FUNCTION. In other words it is not the seed it is the soil. This has been shown to be true many times, perhaps one of the best known studies was by Cohen et al. in 1991 where they exposed ALL subjects to the cold virus but only those who were “stressed” developed a cold! (Cohen, S. et al. Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold. N. Engl. J Med 1991 Aug 29; 325 (9); 606-612).
The state, or fitness, of our immune system is influenced by two main variables. The first is the amount of stressors in our lives; and thus the amount of neurobiochemical down-regulation of our immune system via our sympathetic nervous system and stress hormones – i.e. cortisol and catecholamines (adrenaline).
Increased stressors in our lives causes a genetic down regulation of our immune system and also drives a switch away from Th1 (cellular) immunity toward Th2 (humoral) immunity. Th2 immune dominance is associated with more allergies and atopic disorders such as eczema and asthma. (Elenkov et al. The Sympathetic Nerve – An Integrative Interface between Two Supersystems: The Brain and the Immune System Vol. 52, Issue 4, 595-638, December 2000).
Clearly the amount of stress in our lives is NOT SEASONAL, this is why many people still get colds and flus in the summer months. So why do MORE people get colds and flus in the fall and winter months? What is a seasonal variable that can explain a significant change in our immune function? Vitamin D! (Aloia JF, Li-Ng M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Oct;135(7):1095-6; author reply 1097-8.)
Humans require sunlight exposure to produce Vitamin D and during the fall and winter months we simply reduce the amount of sun exposure and thus reduce the amount of Vitamin D. Why is this important? Because a sufficient level of Vitamin D is ESSENTIAL to maintain immune function! This is the second variable that influences the state, or fitness, of our immune system – being sufficient in the raw materials our immune system requires to function properly.
Vitamin D is required to turn on or activate the innate immune system; it up-regulates the genetic expression of effectors that are used to attack viruses, bacteria and other antigens or invaders. In addition to the vital role that Vitamin D plays in immune function it is also essential for the control of insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, inflammation, and blood coagulation and this is why Vitamin D deficiency is a significant causal factor in cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, asthma, and diabetes. (Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? IntJ Epidemiol. 1980 Sep;9(3):227-31.; Cantorna MT. Vitamin D and its role in immunology: multiple sclerosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. ProgBiophysMol Biol. 2006 Sep;92(1):60-4.; Wang TJ, et al. Vitamin D deficiency and risk of cardiovascular disease. Circulation. 2008 Jan 29;117(4):503-11.)
So, during the fall and winter months (and the rest of the year when we are inside or covered with clothing or sunscreen outside) we simply do not get enough sun exposure to produce enough Vitamin D. This vitamin D deficiency leads to reduced immune function and thus makes us more susceptible to colds and flus. REMEMBER, most industrialized humans do not get enough sun exposure even in the summer months. This has led to a pandemic of Vitamin D deficiency and increases in cancer, heart disease, autoimmune disorders and recurrent colds and flus.
So what should we do? What is the best solution? How do we best ensure we and our loved ones are sufficient in Vitamin D? It’s EASY. Supplement with Innate Choice Natural A&D Sufficiency™ Cod Liver Oil and/or Innate Choice D-Sufficiency™ Drops!
What else can we do? Well, the two variables that influence immune function are stress levels and whether or not we are sufficient in Vitamin D and other essential nutrients!
Here are some simple steps to keep you healthier not just during the winter but all year, and all life, long.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables to ensure sufficient levels of micronutrients.
- Avoid refined sugar. Your immune cells require Vitamin C to work properly. Glucose (sugar) and Vitamin C are almost identical; in fact most animals can produce their own Vitamin C from glucose (this is why tigers don’t get scurvy!). However, human animals cannot – we need to consume Vitamin C. The problem is that we have no genetic defence against consuming too much sugar. Because glucose and Vitamin C are so similar, glucose can attach to the Vitamin C receptors on the immune cells and block Vitamin C. This causes a deficiency in Vitamin C for the immune cells and they do not work properly. This is why sugar decreases your immune function. The solution is NOT to consume large amounts of synthetic Vitamin C supplements – the solution is to consume LESS refined sugar (glucose).
- Supplement with Innate Choice Natural A&D Sufficiency™ Cod Liver Oil and/or Innate Choice D-Sufficiency™ Drops to ensure you have sufficient levels of Vitamin D.
- Exercise regularly. Research clearly shows that exercise increases your immune function.
- Reduce your emotional stress – learn a relaxation technique like meditation or mind quieting.
- Reduce your physical stress. Research shows that physical stressors like poor posture and vertebral subluxation complex also increase stress hormones which can down regulate immune function. Research also shows that getting chiropractic adjustments can lower stress hormone levels and increase immune function! GET ADJUSTED!
Cravings Part 2: Becoming a Fat Burner
Welcome back!! In Cravings Part 1 we discussed why we have cravings. It is because we have become sugar burners and our bodies have forgotten how to burn fat efficiently as a fuel source. You may be wondering “Why?”
How You Became a Sugar Burner:
Over a period of years your body has experienced an onslaught of exposure from high loads of sugar, grains and toxins. The constant bombardment has resulted in your body’s leptin receptors, located on your hypothalamus to get damaged and are no longer recognizing the presence of leptin. Without those receptors recognizing leptin we can experience:
2) Lose the ability to effectively burn fat.
3) Weight gain that doesn’t respond readily to diet or exercise
4) Sleep disturbances
5) Decrease in sex hormones
6) Mal-absorption problems and gut disturbances
1) Eliminate sugars
2) Eliminate grains and starches that quickly turn into sugars
3) Feed your body nutrient rich, fresh vegetable (JUICING IS AWESOME for this)
4) Switch your fats from rancid fats to healthy fats
i. Rancid fats: Canola oil, vegetable oils, margarine, shortening
ii. Healthy fats: Coconut oil, grapeseed oil, olive oil, REAL butter!
Key Steps for Success:
1) Protein with breakfast
2) Healthy Fats included in every meal
3) No Snacking (Hunter gatherer diet)
4) No eating after dinner
5) Surge training (http://fitlife.tv/transforming-workout-in-only-15-min-a-day/) burns sugars and increases fat burning between workouts.
I know how hard it can be to eliminate sugar and grains from your diet. Unfortunately it is the only way to allow your receptors to heal. The average person needs to be strict for 60-90 days. Once you begin to see that your body is healing, increased energy, weight loss, normalized BP/cholesterol scores, decrease in inflammatory related pain etc. you can begin to reintroduce fruits in the form of berries.
Wheat is 99% genetically modified and even whole wheat can cause inflammation in the body. I encourage people to never go back to wheat, rather learn to use the ancient grains (spelt, amaranth, quinoa, barley, rye, etc.) or gluten free flours as alternatives.
The key is to start simple and develop good routines. Don’t start by making elaborate foods and buying a bunch of expensive new flours and ingredients.More
Cravings – Part 1: Why do I have these insane cravings?!?
Dr. Ryan Mayeda
Believe it or not but cravings are for real! There is actually a chemical, physiologic action taking place in your body. So if you have been told that you are weak or that you just have no self-control, stick with me as we unravel what cravings are and what to do about overcoming them…. Yes, OVERCOME!
Cravings are a signal that you have become a sugar burner. There are 3 major fuels that the body uses to give us energy:
- Carbohydrates (sugar): These break down into simple sugars that the body can use quickly for energy. The average body stores between 800-1200 calories of carbs in the blood stream.
- Fats: Great for long sustainable energy. There are 3500 calories per pound of fat, so everyone is walking around with plenty of energy stored in fat, even if you are fairly lean.
- Proteins: These are the building blocks for your body’s lean tissue, primarily muscle. This is the body’s last resort for fuel. It is not designed to be utilized for energy, rather it should be stored to help build and repair the body.
I said earlier that cravings are a signal that you have become a sugar burner. What does that mean? It means that your body has forgotten how to burn fat as a fuel source; therefore it depends on that small storage of carbohydrates to fuel itself. So, as you burn through your 800+ calories of carbs and start to run low your body needs to access alternate fuel storage. Since it has forgotten how to use fat, it goes after the 3rd source…PROTIEN!!!!
When your body begins to digest protein it creates a condition called Ketosis. Your body, in a sense, is cannibalizing itself. It is eating away at your lean tissue mass. This is a bad thing. So… since you don’t want to eat your muscles, your body creates intense, insatiable and unquenchable CRAVINGS for you to consume carbs/sugars so that you can replenish those sugar stores in your blood stream.
And so the cycle begins…..
You burn your sugar stores >>> You crave carbs >>>You eat carbs >>> You replenish your sugar stores and excess calories are stored as fat (you gain weight) >>> You burn through your sugar stores >>> You crave carbs >>> and so the cycle goes.
Become a fat burner. If you have 10lbs of excess fat on your body that means you have 35,000 calories of energy in storage. The average person only needs between 1800-2000 good calories per day. That is 18-19days worth of fuel. There is a chemical in the brain that enables our bodies to burn fat. That chemical is called leptin. When the receptors in the brain (hypothalamus to be exact) get burned out, we no longer burn fat efficiently as fuel. So the answer is to repair our leptin receptors. And that can be done through our diet. Check out “Cravings Part 2 – Becoming a Fat Burner.”More