I’ve been reading a great book this week called, Grain Brain, by David Perlmutter, MD. For me it is a compellation of years of knowledge coming together about how we can truly protect our brains and bodies through our diets and lifestyles.
I have been interested in the brain for as long as I’ve been in medicine… I started working in healthcare at age 17 as a Nurse’s Aid on the Alzheimer’s Unit of a long-term care facility. This job made me realize how important it is to protect your brain’s health and I’ve been doing everything I can to learn how to do that ever since. For years there have been so many misconceptions when it comes to the brain. We have believed that we have no power over dementia or Alzheimer’s yet this is far from the truth!!
We know all about heart disease and diabetes but the truth is that brain conditions are the same. They all begin with inflammation and start long before they manifest symptoms that affect our daily lives. The great thing about this book is that it also shares with us practical advice on how to alleviate suffering from common brain conditions that affect so many of us throughout our lives such as; ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, Headaches and Insomnia. All of these conditions can be turned around with diet and lifestyle choices even though we are made to believe we have some deficiency of Prozac or Ritalin that is the source of these aliments.
As I finished my Psychology Bachelors and it came time to go to medical school it was so hard for me to accept that MD schools did not require nutrition classes as part of their curriculum. This was my deciding factor to take the route of natural medicine and as I’ve been reading this book I am once again reminded on how grateful I am to be prescribing this type of medicine. The changes we make today and instill in our families are making a difference and will allow you to live a much longer and enjoyable life. The Alzheimer’s floor was a perfect introduction to medicine and how tragic it can be when we don’t take care of our bodies. There is so much we are continuing to learn and this book really does a wonderful job at bringing together the science of the last 15 years in a very uplifting read. We have a lot more control over our health then we have been led to believe.
If you are up for a good read then get the book and let me know if you have any questions. If you aren’t a big reader then schedule an appointment so we can discuss it further and get you on the road to better brain health
As nice and warm as its been here in southern California, winter is still here are people are getting sick. People report taking concurrent rounds of antibiotics and/or antivirals and still being stuck in bed for 2 weeks or more. The best way to avoid this is to feed your immune system so it can remain vigelant and protect you from what is going around…
My favorite immune boosting herb is Astragalus.
Astragalus membranaceus is a powerful herb that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It has both antibacterial and antiviral properties while also acting as an adaptogen. Adaptogen herbs help the body to deal with physical, emotional and mental stress.
Astragalus can be taken daily as a way to boost up your immune system. You can find it in a tincture form, which is a liquid alcohol extract, or in capsules. Make sure they are using the root as the source of the medicine and talk with your doctor about dosage. Astragalus is generally safe for most people but some caution is indicated with auto-immune conditions and if you are already taking other medications.
In addition to Astragalus, remember to also get your Vitamin D levels checked regularly so you can make sure you are in an optimal range to keep your immune system as hearty as possible!!
And always remember to stay hydrated with clear liquids such as clean water, herbal teas, coconut water, and soup broths. And get enough sleep. These two things are super important to keeping your defenses up.
My favorite immune soup recipe is taken from a great naturopathic doctor by the name of Bill Mitchell, ND. Feel free to adjust it as necessary to make it your own but keep it on hand in case you start to feel something coming on…
If you do come down with an illness, please give me a call so you can start treatment immediately to reduce the severity and duration.
Your immune system is so crucial to staying well and enjoying life
What diet is right for me? I get this question all the time and unfortunately there is not a magic answer, but there is a diet that is best for you. It is an individualized one. No one diet is good for everyone…
The Definition of DIET, according to the dictionary, is food and drink regularly provided or consumed (http://www.merriam-webster.
As we approach Thanksgiving I would like to challenge everyone to take a little bit of this fabulous holiday and try to bring it along with you until this time next year. The possibilities of improving your health by simply adding a little gratitude to each and everyday are well documented. In fact, a study at the University College London revealed that elderly people who were happy with their lives lived up to 20-35 percent longer than their not-so-happy counterparts. The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.
I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful people who understand this concept and was gifted a lovely little sign that I have in my bedroom saying, Greet Each Day With Thanks. My friend, Tera, gave this to me a few years ago and I have it hanging near my bed so it is one of the first things I see when I open my eyes each day. It immediately makes me think of how grateful I am for Tera and her amazing friendship over the past 10+ years and with that thought I spiral on to think of all the other people and things I am grateful for. Some people prefer to use a gratitude notebook or some other practice to ensure they spend a few minutes each day being grateful. However you add this practice into your life you are sure to start to see the ripple effect of feeling more positive emotions throughout your day, being better able to deal with adversity, experiencing overall health improvements and maintaining a hopeful and optimistic attitude. This leads to stronger relationships and more happiness J
The research is summarized in Robert Emmons’ new book Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier (Houghton Mifflin, 2007). Emmons and his colleagues at the University of California at Davis are among the pioneers in research on gratitude, part of a larger movement called positive psychology. Positive psychology, instead of focusing on illness and emotional problems, studies health-promoting behavior and the pleasurable parts of life.
Here is just a little update on what you can do if you find yourself feeling a little under the weather. Be well.
GSTM1 is an important gene to be aware of.
It is a critical gene in the body that is responsible for making and recycling glutathione. The reason this gene is so important is due to the fact that we live in a toxic world and are constantly exposed to things that can damage our bodies. “Almost every chronic illness known to humankind has been linked in some measure to free-radical-induced tissue damage,” says Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO, coauthor of The Definitive Guide to Cancer: An Integrative Approach to Prevention, Treatment, and Healing, Third Edition (Celestial Arts, 2010). This damage wrecks havoc on our biological system and often results in the development of cancer and other chronic illnesses.
People who were born without GSTM1 are at a greater risk. Dis-ease is derived from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental exposures. We know it is important to minimize our exposures, but now we can also pay attention to our glutathione levels to better ensure our protection from harmful substances. Glutathione is the master antioxidant in the body, it functions primarily in the liver to help us excrete nasty elements and also plays a role in recycling itself along with Vitamins C and E which are other important antioxidants.
Methylation is the process of controlled transfer of a methyl group (one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms) onto amino acids, proteins, enzymes, and DNA in every cell and tissue of the body to regulate healing, cell energy, genetic expression of DNA, neurological function, liver detoxification, immunity, etc. This process is one of the essential metabolic functions of the body and is catalyzed by a variety of enzymes. Many case histories and several scientific articles have demonstrated that this methylation process is responsive to environmental conditions and degrades with age, a process associated with a large variety of age-related disorders. Thus, with respect to the effect of methylation, it is a continuous struggle in life to adapt to the ever-changing environment. In fact, health and quality of life are highly dependent on the methylation process.
One of the first steps in understanding your own risk is to know your specific DNA. There is a simple, at home test available for purchase at the website: https://www.23andme.com/. This kit is inexpensive and easy to do. For just $99 you can find out about your personal links to over 240 health conditions and traits. It may seem scary at first to know but with knowledge you are in the driver’s seat to live a healthy life. Part of that test offered through 23 and Me, is knowing if you methylate. As a healthcare provider I strive for your optimal health and I believe that this test is invaluable to you achieving that level in your own body. Check it out online and always feel free to ask questions, it never hurts to know more.