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(W)HOLISTIC ANTI-AGING MEDICINE APPROACHES

November 8th, 2009

It’s more complex than getting your hormones replenished! You have to look at the whole picture, rather than just look at a person’s hormone levels. One system doesn’t function independently of the others. In other words, our endocrine system is intimately related to our nervous system , cardiovascular system and immune system, among many others. Therefore, to get optimal results and minimize the risks of side effects, one’s nutritional status, mental health status, toxicity levels and genomic testing (to tests the genetic risks of developing illness) should ideally be part of an anti-aging program.

Replacing hormones could exaggerate nutritional deficiencies and exacerbate toxicities. To avoid these issues, one should incorporate dietary and lifestyle habits that would optimize nutritional status and improve the efficiency of detoxifying organs such as the colon, liver, kidneys, skin, lungs and lymphatic system. It is a very well-known fact that all of us are “toxic” due to our environment. Improving one’s “internal milieu” could go a long way in preventing chronic degenerative diseases and improving one’s immune system.

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"CHI" IS NOT JUST A 3-LETTER WORD

March 31st, 2009

“Chi”, otherwise known as “prana” is what we all know as energy. Energy, being intangible, is sometimes a very difficult concept to accept in modern society. However, we see all the evidence of energy all around us. This is even evident in allopathic medicine in the form of ultrasound machines, EKGs, CT and PET scans, MRIs and EEGs, among many others. Why is it then that more evidence is being required of certain forms of energetic forms of treatment that have hundreds or thousands of years of use such as homeopathy and acupuncture respectively? Just wondering.

One interesting concept I have learned regarding chi is that the higher your chi (or energy or frequency), the healthier you are. Once you’re chi or life force goes dow n, then that’s when chronic illness may surface. A good analogy I’ve heard over the years is the growth of mushrooms (fungus) on decaying matter, similar to what you see in humans. People with fungal infections oftentimes have immune system challenges like AIDS or chronic diseases like diabetes. The key then, to prevent this, is to improve a person’s chi in different ways like a healthy diet and lifestyle, nutritional supplements as well as energy exercises like chi gong, taichi or yoga.

By the way, the March 16, 2009 article in Time magazine called “The Health Crisis Hits Home”, is a revelation that has come of age (although many people already have realized this idea several years or even decades ago). “Realign Doctor’s Incentives” , meaning that “our system pays doctors to diagnose, test and treat, not necessarily keep people healthy. It’s why chronic disease like diabetes absorb 80% of our health care dollars. Pay for holistic success!”

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BRAIN AGING

February 3rd, 2010

Slow down brain aging. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, learning new things (like languages), avoiding excitotoxins from food (such as MSG), and taking essential fatty acids all go a long way in preserving our mental capacities as we age.

AGING GRACEFULLY NOW

February 26th, 2010

Aging in the West conjures up images of people in nursing homes, unable to enjoy the few remaining years in their lives and totally dependent on other people for some of the basic things in life such as eating or bathing themselves. Who wants to have a long life if this would be the eventual outcome for anyone? How many people live independently and abundantly into their senior years? How can someone make sure that they could enjoy their lives free from chronic disease or infirmities?

That’s where the concept of holistic preventive care comes in. Preventive care unfortunately, usually just involves early detection and screening in allopathic medicine. It’s the advice given to women about annual Pap’s smears and mammograms or PSA testing for men at a certain age. There’s more to prevention however than getting yearly tests. Prevention should be done on a daily basis by taking care of the body’s needs, primarily through clean food, water and air. Then, there are also important things such as sleep, exercise, stress reduction, detoxification and intake of nutritional supplements.

Our health is very closely related to that of the health of our environment. Just as clean air and water are necessary for the survival of the earth, they are also needed for our survival as a species.

There’s a concept called “internal milieu.” Dr. Louis Pasteur, on his deathbed, admitted that “the microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything.” What this means is that for instance, if several people were exposed to the same germ/pathogen, not everybody gets sick. Some people may be more resistant to illness because of genetics as well as other factors that influence their immune system (diet, presence of toxins.) If I may borrow one of my colleague’s analogies, “Our genes are like a loaded gun, our environment pulls the trigger.”

The major medical systems in the world, such as Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine and Ayurveda, all emphasize the important role that food plays in prevention of illness as well as influencing the course of illness. Unfortunately, this is not the case in other medical systems where people are told that they can eat anything after a certain diagnoses. Ever wonder why there are fast food joints that sell deep fried or highly refined foods at major medical centers?

Anyway, in more practical terms, what are the factors that could cause premature aging?

Among the different reasons behind aging there are hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation and toxicities. Just like doing maintenance work on our cars is imperative to make them work more efficiently, we need to do the same thing to our bodies. Let’s start with the basics. The food we give our bodies could be compared to the things we do to maintain our cars. Again, to borrow another analogy, carbohydrates could be compared to the fuel system, fats to the oil used to lubricate the car and protein to the actual skeleton/frame of the car. Neglect one of these and it could lead to eventual breakdown of our cars and in this case, our bodies.

Regarding food, I believe that everybody is different and therefore, have different food requirements. One of my mentors taught me that we in North America, actually don’t have a traditional diet unlike peoples from Asia, Africa or the Mediterranean. The Standard American Diet (SAD) of meat and potatoes in general doesn’t give us adequate nutrition to prevent illness. What I would recommend for one person may be different from what I recommend to another.

For instance, for Asians in general, a typical meal of fish with rice and vegetables should suffice. However, for a Caucasian, I may recommend food combining with protein and vegetables without any starches during a meal.

There are many diets available out there. These include the blood type diet, the South Beach diet, raw food diet, etc. In general, I would recommend eating organic foods. Having greater portions of vegetables and fruits in the diet and a limited amount of meat would work for most people. As far as meat is concerned, free-range chicken or grass-fed beef would be a better choice than regular chicken or beef.

Then, there’s concern about fish or seafood. The higher you go up on the food chain, the greater the chances of mercury toxicity. I would recommend smaller fish such as anchovies or sardines.

There’s the timing of meals that’s also equally important. I would recommend small, frequent meals rather than three “square meals a day.” Not eating after 6 pm ideally would be best, but if necessary, at least keeping it light at night would be advisable.

Nutrition is a very touchy subject because of the different recommendations you get from authorities. What I would recommend in general is to only eat when hungry and only eat as natural as possible. Any food adulterated by man (boxed cereal grains, “low-fat” TV dinners) could cause more problems long-term. Just a quick note, fat is what tells our satiety centers that we’re full. Thus, a low-fat meal won’t really curb someone’s appetite or help with weight loss.

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ANDROPAUSE

Feb 22nd, 2017

As men age, hormones get out of balance, just like in women. Testosterone levels (and growth hormone levels for that matter) tend to decline while hormones such as estrogen and DHT tend to increase. When testosterone declines, signs and symptoms such as the following could occur namely; wrinkling of the skin, osteoporosis, mood changes (depression), hair loss, changes in body composition (increase in body fat and decrease in muscle mass) and cardiovascular disease, among others. With an increase in estrogen (due to increased body fat in some men as well as exposure to xenoestrogens in general), men could experience gynecomastia, emotional lability (mood swings) and prostate issues. With an increase in DHT, hair loss, acne and prostate problems could occur.

We normally see this decline in men in their 50’s or older but we’re seeing this decline in much younger men nowadays. Possible reasons for this include nutritional deficiencies, pharmaceuticals such as statins (which lower cholesterol, a precursor to testosterone), and environmental toxicity (organophosphates used in the agricultural industry for instance, mimic estrogen in our bodies).

Among the people you know, how many of them actually manifest signs and symptoms of andropause? Unfortunately, most men who fall within the “normal” range may not be treated even if they’re symptomatic. The range of “normal” is so wide that those who are in the low normal range (and symptomatic as well) are not being treated properly. Fortunately, a brilliant doctor from Harvard named Abraham Morgentaler wrote a book called “Testosterone For Life” which seeks to educate more people about this issue. Anyway, the recommended treatment for low testosterone is testosterone itself. It comes in different forms such as sublingual tablets, transdermals gels or creams, injectables and pellets. Since everybody is different, the dose and route of administration is individualized to each person.

It’s always good to do a baseline PSA (prostate specific antigen) and DRE (digital rectal exam) before starting anyone on testosterone. Since testosterone could metabolize into estrogen (esp. in men with excess body fat) or DHT, it’ll be wise to block those pathways with aromatase inhibitors and 5-alpha reductase (or DHT blockers) inhibitors, respectively. This could be done through natural supplements or prescription medications. Frequent testing is key to make sure people that people get great results and that they don’t get side-effects whatsoever. For men who are hesitant on using any type of hormone for improving their testosterone levels, options could include the use of amino acids (such as L-carnitine, which increases cell receptor sensitivity to endogenous tesotosterone) or herbal supplements (such as tribulus).

While on a hormone replacement program, it’s important to include dietary and lifestyle changes as well to get optimal results. I highly recommend the modified Paleolithic diet and the PACE program by Dr. Al Sears for my clients.

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ANDROPAUSE: THE MALE MENOPAUSE

April 5th, 2009

Most men hate to admit it but the truth is that men do experience the change in life as hormonal changes take place in the body. This may manifest in physical and mental symptoms since the hormone testosterone has receptors found all over the body. Signs and symptoms associated with declining hormones may be subtle or pronounced depending on the speed of the decline. For instance, a slow decline may just manifest as subtle personality changes while a rapid decline may show up as hot flashes and night sweats similar to that experienced by women during menopause. When should a man’s testosterone be replaced? My answer to that is again, treatment should always be individualized. A man who is symptomatic but has normal levels, should be treated in my opinion. Why wait till numbers are abnormal before getting treatment? By that time, symptoms may be catastrophic such as a heart attack. Testosterone, by the way, is also important for cardiovascular health.

There’s an adage which says “if it walks and talks like a duck, then it must be a duck”. If a person has signs and symptoms of andropause, then by all means, treat it (usually they’re low normal).

Some of the things I learned from my mentors are that 1. Medicine is an art and not just a science, 2. Treat the person, not the paper (look at person clinically and not just their lab reports) and 3. Use your intuition.

In my practice and those of other antiaging practitioners, we look at optimal ranges and not just normal ranges. I also recommend different forms of testosterone such as the sublingual, transdermal and injectables. I don’t recommend the oral form due to liver problems that it could create. I recommend aromatase inhibitors and DHT blockers as well when I place someone on testosterone. I start out with natural supplements that accomplish that before I recommend medications. Testosterone replacement has finally been endorsed by Harvard scientists (see Life Extension Foundation article from December 2008 at www.lef.org). Regarding hormone supplementation in general, they work like a symphony. If one hormone is off, it affects the others.

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AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES: IMMUNE SYSTEM GONE LOCO?

December 15th, 2010

One of the most interesting concepts that I’ve learned is that so-called “autoimmune diseases” are caused by accumulation of toxins in the whole body (that means including the brain, which, we are led to believe is impermeable like an iron curtain because of the blood brain barrier). This is in contrast to the general belief that autoimmune diseases are caused by an “immune system gone haywire”. Standard treatments include the use of anti-inflammatories such as NSAID’s and steroids. If they don’t work, then the use of immuno-suppressive agents are next in line.

Makes sense if you just want to address the symptoms of inflammation. However, doesn’t it make more sense to try to find out the cause of why the immune system’s gone haywire? Toxins from the environment including heavy metals, pesticides, synthetic hormones and microorganisms, as well as toxins produced from internal metabolism, all contribute to these toxic burden. Well-functioning detoxification organs help our bodies eliminate these toxic build up. However, there are those people who just aren’t able to keep up with the elimination of these wastes.

Thus, symptoms of toxicity start to appear. These include allergies, asthma, digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, insomnia, joint pain, mood swings, skin problems and weight changes. Therefore, it makes sense to help rid the body of toxins and these can be done in different ways. Simple detoxification “procedures” that someone could easily incorporate include fasting, drinking more water, eating a plant-based diet, deep breathing and exercise. Other detox programs may need the guidance and support of a nutritionally-minded physician or other holistic practitioners.

Nutritional supplements to support the organs of elimination and drainage such as kidneys, liver, lymphatics, lungs, colon and skin, all go a long way in improving someone’s over-all health. As far as auto-immune illnesses are concerned, natural anti-inflammatories can be used for symptomatic treatment while waiting for the “detox treatments” take effect. These include your essential fatty acids (from fish oil or krill oil or for vegetarians, flax seed oil), curcumin, and peppermint oil, among many others,

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BACK TO BASICS 1

January 19th, 2011

Wow! It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog entry. It’s been a busy new year for me. Hopefully, I’ll be writing on a more consistent basis. That, is my new year’s resolution. Hey, it’s better late than never, right?

Anyway, I’m back after spending a few days with a couple of Lyme -literate doctors here in the Bay area. It’s great to see how various practitioners approach the Lyme disease epidemic in different ways (some more “holistic”, while others more “conventional”). I would say that they’re both highly effective, considering how their clients consistently come back for follow up (coz they keep getting better). It’s sad however, how insurance companies sometimes dictate what they’ll cover or not. After all, it’s the doctor who actually treats the patients. Overall, they’re good at collecting your insurance premiums. But when it comes to actually covering for services, they suck (pardon my “French”; no offense to the French, however). Like one of the doctors who I shadowed said, they (insurance companies) are in the business of making and saving money, first and foremost. If they do really want to save money, they should be looking into more preventive health care (or going back to basics). Incorporating nutrition, fitness and stress reduction, could go a long way in solving the health care problems in our country. One good thing though, some of these companies are starting to “see the light” by incorporating stress reduction programs.

More on what I learned during my preceptorship with LLMD’s in the next few days……

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BACK TO BASICS 2

March 3rd, 2012

Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog! I’ve been distracted with the cares of life such that I wasn’t able to persist with my new-found hobby, blogging. Anyway, I thought that it might be a good time to discuss a few of the basics in healthy aging. I’d say let’s start with one of the fundamental factors which influence aging, and that is, our diet. I’ve been working out for a while with satisfactory results but it wasn’t until I changed my diet that things started to really turn around. Not that I had a lot of weight or fat to lose but in my case, I just wasn’t achieving that coveted 6-pack abs. I’m not saying that that should be everyone’s goal.

I just want to set certain goals in my life and do my best in achieving them. So, I’ve been training more consistently in the last several months. My diet is much better. I rarely eat out nowadays. I started eating more at home, using organic, in-season produce primarily. I supplement my protein intake with the use of organic whey and other plant-based protein shakes. And then of course, I take natural fat burners such as L-carnitine and more recently added the “Living with Slique” kit from Young Living Essential Oils. It really is a holistic approach since I don’t rely on just one thing to achieve my goals. By the way, it helps to know your hormone levels since sub-optimal numbers could mean an exercise in futility (no pun intended). For the Young Living Slique kit, visit http://www.cleanbodycare.com or just call 847-997-8459 or email jd@infinitewellnessworldwide.com.

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BAD HAIR DAY BECAUSE OF HORMONES?

February 18th, 2011

Yes, it’s possible. Hair loss could be due to hormonal imbalance. The sooner this imbalance is corrected, the better. Hair loss could cease or better yet, hair could grow back. One of the most common hormonal causes of hair loss is a poor thyroid condition. Of course, a lot of thyroid issues unfortunately, still goes undiagnosed. It’s not enough to do a blood test alone. Sometimes, clinical signs and symptoms such as low basal body temperature, slow reflexes, or loss of outer third of a person’s eyebrows, have to be taken into consideration.

When a person has blood work for thyroid, it’s important to check for free T3, the metabolically active form of thyroid hormone. In some cases, tests such as reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies could yield very helpful information. The pattern of hair loss is also important by the way. A more diffuse type of hair loss points to a thyroid condition while “male-pattern” hair loss is due to testosterone decline in men (or elevated DHT in both men and women). Ever wonder why younger men have full heads of hair and once they get older, they lose their scalp hair? This is not generally true any more.

Unfortunately, we’re seeing young men in their teens and 20’s starting to lose hair. This is due to poor nutrition as well as environmental influences. We’re getting more chemicals from our environment that mimic estrogen in our bodies (xenoestrogens) which are causing a hormonal imbalance. One of the consequences of hormonal imbalance is hair loss. Fortunately, this and other health challenges can be addressed through the use of bioidentical hormones. Addressing the problems associated with aging using a holistic approach always yields better results.

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BOOST YOUR ENERGY!

April 4th, 2009

My 3 favorite supplements in boosting someone’s energy levels are coenzyme Q 10, L-carnitine and D-ribose. I’ve seen people with muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, congestive heart failure (along with judicious use of meds) and other health conditions associated with poor mitochondrial function improve just by taking these nutrients in their proper dose and timing. I encourage that people take pharmacuetical grade supplements since the supplement industry is unregulated. Studies have shown that not all supplements are created equal. There are those companies that essentially compromise supplement quality by cutting corners. A person could be hoodwinked into taking inferior nutrients that may cause more harm than benefit.

The majority of energy drinks are loaded with sugar and caffeine. They definitely would give a person an energy boost. The downside however, is the “crash” someone experiences after the temporary high. Therefore, a vicious cycle ensues where more sugar or caffeine is taken to sustain the energy and prevent the lows. This sugar overload by the way, is one of the culprits in ADD and ADHD, a topic we will discuss in future blogs.

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BRAIN AGING

February 3rd, 2010

Slow down brain aging. Reading, doing crossword puzzles, learning new things (like languages), avoiding excitotoxins from food (such as MSG), and taking essential fatty acids all go a long way in preserving our mental capacities as we age.

CAUSES OF AGING AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT

March 30th, 2009

There are a number of reasons why we age. Among them include the genetic theory , neuroendocrine theory, free radical theory, wear and tear theory, telomerase theory and waste accumulation theory. Let’s first discuss the genetic theory behind aging. What this means is that we all have a set number of years to live (predetermined). I believe that this is only part of the equation however. To borrow one of my esteemed colleagues analogy, he said that “our genes are like a loaded gun but our environment pulls the trigger”. What this means is that if we have inherited some “single nucleotide polymorphisms” ( SNP’s) or genetic risk factors, we don’t necessarily have to express them.

This is true especially if we have a great diet and a pristine environment. Living in a toxic world however, requires that we take special measures in order to keep our selves healthy. We have to eat organic food ideally (biodynamically produced crops even better), drink clean water, breathe fresh air, exercise regularly, lower stress levels, avoid harmful EMF’s, get enough sleep, etc. Easier said than done, right? That’s when the concept of regular detoxification programs come in. What kind of program can a person tolerate? That’s where another concept called “biochemical individuality” is applicable. We are all different and as such, have different strengths and weaknesses, needs or requirements.

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CHOCOLATE

February 24th, 2010

Chocolate in it’s raw, natural form is called cacao. It’s an aphrodisiac, anti-depressant, muscle relaxant, potent antioxidant and much more! Chocolate in it’s unadulterated form is a true superfood. To learn more, I recommend David Wolfe’s book called Naked Chocolate.

CHOLESTEROL: A VERY STICKY ISSUE…

December 17th, 2009

High cholesterol is perhaps one of the most common concerns of people as they age. What is cholesterol anyway? Is it all bad like most people believe? Do you know that 50% of people who suffer from heart attacks actually have normal cholesterol levels? If that’s the case, are there other things that we should know about?

Cholesterol is a wax-like substance found in the cell membranes of all body tissues. 75-90% of it is made in the liver from carbohydrates (de-novo synthesis). Only 10% comes from the diet. Therefore, what we really need to watch out for is the intake of carbohydrates, particularly refined carbohydrates. Another good dietary advise is to avoid trans-fats or hydrogenated oils. It is these oils that actually cause an increase in oxidized LDL cholesterol.

An integrative approach to high cholesterol levels also includes exercise (aside from the previously mentioned dietary changes) and taking certain dietary supplements. Among the common cholesterol-lowering agents include garlic, policosanol, guggulipids, red yeast rice extract, niacin, pantothenic acid, chromium, L-carnitine and omega-3 fatty acids.

At this point in time, the main class of medications being used for lowering cholesterol levels are the statins. The main precaution I recommend for people taking statins is to take coenzyme Q 10 as well. This could prevent the side effects associated with statins such as myopathy or liver damage.

More on other risk factors for cardiovascular disease in future blogs.

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CHRONIC DEHYDRATION

February 22nd, 2010

Chronic dehydration is one of the causes of premature aging. Ideally, we should have at least half of our body weight in ounces (e.g. 70 ounces for a 140 lb. person). A lot of vague, chronic symptoms should improve with regular intake of pure water. I recommend the book “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water” by Dr. F. Batmangheligh.

CHRONIC INFLAMMATION

April 3rd, 2009

One of the common issues associated with aging is chronic inflammation. This manifests as symptoms a lot of people are so familiar with, such as arthritis, allergies, headaches, asthma, weight gain, etc. Inflammation in general, is a natural process that protects us in certain situations. Chronic, unregulated inflammation however, could cause more harm to our selves more than we all know. It is a major factor in all chronic degenerative diseases or the aging process in general.

One of the reasons behind this surge of inflammatory disorders lies in our diet. A deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids due to the process of refining our foods, has led to this epidemic. Studies show that a person needs at least 4,000 mg. of EFAs to prevent symptoms of deficiency. In my practice, I’ve recommended 8,000 and upwards of EFAs for cardiovascular and neurological problems. I always start with dietary recommendations like the avoidance of hydrogenated oils or trans-fats. I recommend primarily a plant-based or anti-inflammatory diet. There are those people who actually do better with animal protein in their diet (small, cold-water fish; organic, free-range poultry; grass-fed beef; wild game; etc.). What this really means is that, we need to consider each person’s biochemical individuality when it comes to making dietary and supplement recommendations (even exercise recommendations, for that matter). Regarding the use of EFA’s, the key words to look for when purchasing them are “molecularly distilled” and “free of PCBs and heavy metals”. It’s best to refrigerate the bottle once it opened. More info on this in future blogs.

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CHRONOLOGICAL AGE VERSUS BIOLOGICAL AGE

January 16th, 2010

We all know what chronological age is. That’s the number of years a person has been alive. What is biological age? Why is it more important? Why is it that some people look younger than their age and other people look older than their actual age? A lot of this has to do with genetics and more importantly, environmental factors such as diet and lifestyle. Biological age is basically another term for metabolic age. The more efficient our metabolic processes are, the lower our biological age is. With a lower biological age, our internal organs function more efficiently and this shows externally as well. External manifestations could include great skin, nails and hair as well as a good body composition (more muscle mass and less body fat).

How can a person improve their biological age? This can be done through several ways. This will be up for discussion in the next few days.

DENTAL HEALTH

February 3rd, 2010

Take care of your teeth. A lot of chronic degenerative diseases could be due to poor oral health (such as heart disease, atherosclerosis and autoimmune diseases). It’s so important that holistic clinics in Europe have dentists as an integral part of the medical team. So brush your teeth with natural toothpaste (without fluoride or harsh chemicals) and floss daily.

COOKIE-CUTTER APPROACH, NOT!

March 30th, 2009

I believe that one of the reasons behind the sad state of our health affairs nowadays is because of the “one-size-fits-all” or cookie-cutter approach in health care. We are all biochemically unique or different and because of that, one thing that may work for one person may not work for another. Thus, the saying, one man’s potion may be another man’s poison. There are specialized tests available that tell us about our genetic risk factors (single nucleotide polymorphisms) and nutrient deficiencies. Regular blood work however (CBC and serum chemistry), can also tell us a lot. Just FYI, there is actually a nutritional company out here in California that educates health care practitioners on how to better interpret these “regular” blood tests. Once again, the more information a person has about themselves, the better off they are. This not only goes for so-called objective tests but also the subjective feeling of “listening” to our own bodies.

DETOX NOW

December 1st, 2009

Approximately 96% of chronic illness, according to studies, is due to environmental causes. That makes only 4% due to genetic causes. It makes sense therefore to address environmental issues to keep ourselves healthy. Pollutants contaminate our food, water and air. Even if we ate 100% organic food and drink purified water, it’s next to impossible to control the air that we breathe. Studies have shown that even babies that are just born have harmful chemicals in their system. It makes sense therefore to include detoxification as part of our wellness program. There are a lot of ways that one can “detox”. This includes certain dietary and lifestyle modifications as well as more “clinical” procedures such as chelation therapy for heavy metal toxicity. More to come in the following days….

ELECTRO-POLLUTION

February 22nd, 2010

Perverse energy or harmful EMF’s generated by modern gadgets such as microwave ovens, computers, cell phones, and TVs (among many others) could also contribute to premature aging. Fortunately, there are tools that people could use to protect themselves against what we call “electro-pollution”. There are numerous to find over the internet. Find those that have clinical studies behind them.

ENZYMES FOR HEALTH

January 25th, 2010

One of the processes that first decline as we age is the production of digestive enzymes. That’s the reason why one of the most popular drugs in the 20-40 year old age group are the antacids or proton pump inhibitors. It usually presents itself as heart burn, indigestion or flatulence. This decline in enzyme production is part of normal aging but dietary and lifestyle influences could actually hasten it’s occurrence.

One of the reasons behind this surge of inflammatory disorders lies in our diet. A deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids due to the process of refining our foods, has led to this epidemic. Studies show that a person needs at least 4,000 mg. of EFAs to prevent symptoms of deficiency.

One of the reasons behind this surge of inflammatory disorders lies in our diet. A deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids due to the process of refining our foods, has led to this epidemic. Studies show that a person needs at least 4,000 mg. of EFAs to prevent symptoms of deficiency. In my practice, I’ve recommended 8,000 and upwards of EFAs for cardiovascular and neurological problems. I always start with dietary recommendations like the avoidance of hydrogenated oils or trans-fats. I recommend primarily a plant-based or anti-inflammatory diet. There are those people who actually do better with animal protein in their diet (small, cold-water fish; organic, free-range poultry; grass-fed beef; wild game; etc.). What this really means is that, we need to consider each person’s biochemical individuality when it comes to making dietary and supplement recommendations (even exercise recommendations, for that matter). Regarding the use of EFA’s, the key words to look for when purchasing them are “molecularly distilled” and “free of PCBs and heavy metals”. It’s best to refrigerate the bottle once it opened. More info on this in future blogs.

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ESSENTIAL OILS

February 24th, 2010

Medical aromatherapy or the use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, is one of the oldest forms of medicine and cosmetics known to man. According to Egyptian hieroglyphics and Chinese medical manuscripts, physicians and priests were using essential oils thousands of years before Christ to heal the sick. What are essential oils anyway? Essential oils are the subtle, aromatic and volatile liquids extracted from the flowers, seeds, stems, leaves, bark and roots of herbs, shrubs and trees. The extraction process is done primarily through distillation. Some of the oils that have been used since Biblical times include frankincense, myrrh and cinnamon. Modern clinical research has been confirming the medicinal properties of these oils. For instance, frankincense has been found to have superior immune stimulating properties while cinnamon has blood sugar regulating properties.

Are all essential oils equal? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. For example, the majority of the rose oils come from Bulgaria. In order to keep up with demand from the perfume or cosmetic industry, they have to produce large volumes and in the process compromise quality by using solvent extraction instead of steam distillation.

Some of the modern applications of oils include eugenol (from clove), which is used in the dental industry and thymol (from thyme) which is used as an antiseptic. For one of the best sources of essential oils, check out www.cleanbodycare.com

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EXERCISE

April 12th, 2009

Exercise is one of the best anti-aging tools that people can incorporate in their lives. Some of the many benefits of exercise include raising our endorphin levels that ultimately helps prevent or relieve pain, whether it’s emotional or physical. Exercise also raises HGH (human growth hormone) secretion up to 400% which means improved body composition (more muscle mass and less body fat). Up to a certain point, exercise could yield a myriad of benefits. There is such a thing as too much exercise however. Overdo it, and it would cause oxidative stress and suboptimal tissue structure and function in the body.

According to research done at the Cooper Aerobics Center, exercise above the threahold levels of one hundred and fifty fitness points per week or working at 80% of predicted maximum heart rate for at least five hours per week may greatly increase the production of excess free radicals. The body’s need for oxygen during exercise is thought to produce free radicals, which can result in unwanted changes to the body’s tissues and cause cells to become more susceptible to aging. That’s why it’s so important to be on a good dietary and nutritional supplementation regimen when embarking on an exercise program.
Moderation is key to achieving optimal health. That means living in balance or what we call yin yang in Chinese medicine.

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FISHY FISH OIL STUDY

July 14th, 2013

Hi everyone! I just got inquiries from friends and clients regarding the new fish oil study that recently made it in the front pages of MSM (mainstream media). This controversial “study” supposedly showed that the use of high doses of fish oils in men could cause an increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer. First off, it might be a good idea to find out who funded the study. Next is, find out what kind of fish oil was used in the study. Third, before making that conclusion, find out if there were other risk factors that could’ve caused such a result, such as the use of cigarettes, alcohol or even hormonal imbalance in the men involved in the study. I can come up with more reasons why this study stinks and I tell you, it’s not the fish oil.

FRANKINCENSE ESSENTIAL OIL: MORE THAN JUST A SACRED FRAGRANCE

December 16th, 2009

Christmas reminds us of one the gifts given to baby Jesus. Ever wonder why it was one of the gifts given along with gold and myrrh? “Used to treat every conceivable ill known to man,” frankincense was valued more than gold during ancient times and only those with great wealth possessed it.

Frankincense has many properties. Besides being the “holy anointing oil”, it is also an immune stimulant, anti-tumoral agent, antidepressant, expectorant and muscle relaxant. It has been used for many different conditions such as asthma, ulcers, allergies, high blood pressure, inflammation, stress and others. There are many references to frankincense in the Bible as well as the Ebers Papyrus, which is one of the ancient Egyptian medical records dating from the 16th century B.C.

Frankincense contains sesquiterpenes, enabling it to go across the blood brain barrier. Researchers today have discovered that these constituents of frankincense help stimulate the limbic system of the brain, which is the center of emotions, as well as the hypothalamus, pituitary and pineal glands. Frankincense is currently being researched and used therapeutically in European hospitals. It is also being investigated for its ability to improve human growth hormone production and help repair DNA damage. Frankincense also increases the activity of white blood cells helping the body defend itself against infection.

It can be diffused, inhaled or applied topically. It can also be taken orally. Be sure though, that you’re using therapeutic-grade or medicinal-grade oils. A lot of oils in the market, including those sold in health food stores, unfortunately, carry synthetic and adulterated oils.

I have been working with therapeutic-grade essential oils and essential oil based supplements in my Integrative Medical practice for years, with great success. I love using the essential oils because they are literally alive and carry a vital life force. This is important because this vital life force makes them very therapeutically active and potent, reaching far beyond the effects of dry herbs. For example, 1 drop of peppermint essential oil has the same effect as drinking almost thirty cups of peppermint herbal tea!

For more information on therapeutic-grade essential oils including frankincense, please contact me at drjlopez@mac.com.

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FREE RADICALS: WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT THEM?

December 5th, 2009

Free radicals are unstable molecules that have unpaired electrons. In their attempt to stabilize themselves, they steal electrons from our cells, in effect causing cell damage and subsequent self-destruction, a process also known as apoptosis. Free radicals are generated every second in the body. It’s not only caused by dietary and lifestyle indiscretions but also by normal metabolic processes such as breathing and eating. Free radicals are not all bad. It’s one of the ways our body defends itself from pathogens for instance. It’s excessive free radical activity that causes health problems.

What can we do to quench excessive free radical activity? These can be done through substances called antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that donate electrons to free radicals which are then effectively neutralized. Antioxidants can come in different forms such as vitamins (vitamins A and C), minerals (zinc, selenium), amino acids (glutathione), herbs (turmeric, garlic, ginkgo) and superfruits (wolfberry, apricots, pomegranates, blueberries).

Is it necessary for everybody to take antioxidants? In a perfect world, probably not. But with todays imperfect environment, we all need to take antioxidants from food sources as well as supplements. Not all supplements are created equal, however. I generally prefer whole food derived rather than synthetic supplements.

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GLUTA, ANYONE?

August 12th, 2016

By now, most people are aware of IV glutathione. People who use it actually do so because of it’s whitening effect. Unknown to many, there are actually other benefits of glutathione. Among these are it’s antioxidant role in the body, it’s liver cleansing effect, and it’s support for immunological, dermatological and neurological system health as well. The most effective form of glutathione is through the intravenous route. Topical glutathione such as those found in soaps are garbage. Don’t even believe the marketing hype about it.

The marketers repeat the lie so often that people eventually accept is as Gospel truth. Anyway, back to IV glutathione, it’s best given with vitamin C because of it’s synergistic effects. Vitamin C that’s derived from beet sources is better than the ones derived from corn since most corn grown in the US are GMO, unfortunately. A lot of places, including salons are offering this treatment. One should be wary of going to those places because it’s unsanitary and the staff are not trained to do so. Even some clinics that do offer it have medical staff that didn’t actually train in organizations like ACAM or A4M, the organizations that are at the forefront of age management medicine. So, before you even think about having nutrients put directly into your veings, do your research. More next time on different kinds of IV therapies specific for asthma, headaches, macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, heavy metal toxicity, etc.

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GLUTATHIONE

May 24th, 2009

Glutathione. A popular word for those who are into healthy living all over the world. In Asia, it’s known primarily for it’s skin-whitening properties. In my recent visit to Manila, I’ve even seen billboards touting this one property of glutathione. What is glutathione anyway, that’s making it one of the more talked-about nutritional supplements. Glutathione is a tripeptide (3 amino acid structure) composed of glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. Of all these three, cysteine is the most important since it’s a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that we may need to supplement with this amino acid at certain times. Glutathione contains a sulfhydryl group, meaning that it can donate an electron thereby neutralizing a free radical or interact with another sulfhydryl group. Glutathione is found in every cell of the body. It is found to be in greater abundance in organs such as the liver, where it aids in detoxification, and spleen, where it plays an important part of the immune system. The largest amount however, is found in the body’s largest organ, the skin. Glutathione has multiple functions, including: 1. Transporting proteins between cells and among the different compartments of the cell 2. Detoxifying heavy metals, pesticides, food preservatives and environmental pollutants (phase II of liver detoxification) 3. Activating the immune system to attack any invaders and protecting it from self-annihilation and 4. Regenerating a variety of other antioxidants. It’s major function, however, is as the body’s master antioxidant. More info on glutathione coming soon.

GOT HIGH BP?

August 8th, 2016

Are you aware that high blood pressure is not a medical illness but actually just a symptom (of some underlying problem)? Unfortunately, high blood pressure is being treated like it’s a disease. And as such, there’s always a corresponding medical treatment. The usual treatment to control high blood pressure is to take any of the different classes of anti-hypertensive meds. Nothing bad about that especially if it’s only given during times of extremely high blood pressure. These meds are sometimes taken indefinitely however, resulting in long-term side effects. Are you aware that a lot of nutrients can actually be depeted by chronic intake of these medications? Among them include vitamins B1, B6 and C, CoQ10, Magnesium, Calcium, Potassium, Zinc, and Sodium.

Once people start having symptoms of nutritional deficiency, unfortunately they’re treated with more medications. It becomes a vicious cycle until eventually, the combination of medications cause damage to the liver and kidneys, among other things. Anyway, there a lot of underlying causes of high blood pressure. Treat the cause or causes and you resolve the underlying problem. Treat only the symptom and you’ll run into more problems. Among the possible causes of hypertension could include nutritional deficiencies (potassium and magnesium), toxicities (elevated tissue levels of lead and mercury), hormonal imbalance (low testosterone in men, evelated cortisol levels in both sexes, estrogen dominance in women), chronic inflammatory states, obesity, dehydration, stress in general, etc. These underlying conditions can be addressed by a nutritionally-minded doctor who can order tests such as a comprehensive nutritional profile, blood or salivary hormone panel, hair mineral analysis, autonomic nervous system analysis, skin carotenoid testing, body composition assessment, and genomic testing. In my practice, it’s not uncommon to get people off of synthetic medications once the root cause of the problem is addressed. Chronic conditions can be reversed by using what we call TLC or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes. More to this TLC on subsequent blog entries. Have a great week everyone!

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GOT LUPUS? (OR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, MS, ETC.). A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO TREATMENT…

August 11th, 2016

Different diagnosis, same treatment. That goes for most autoimmune diseases, where the ongoing medical belief is that it’s due to an immune system gone haywire. That is, the immune system starts attacking the body’s own cells. There is no explanation on why these conditions happen to certain people. It’s often explained away as a genetic predisposition to have the disease. The standard treatment is to suppress the immune system using steroids or through the use of chemotherapeutic agents. Symptom relief is quick for most but the attendant side effects are horrendous.

Long-term steroid use for instance, can cause osteoporosis, hyperglycemia, hyperuricemia, peptic ulers, etc. Side effects of chemo drugs vary depending on the class of meds used. (An example is the class of meds called anthracyclines, to which Doxorubicin belongs. It’s notorious for causing heart damage by depleting coenzyme Q10 levels) You really have to weigh the risks versus benefits when someone decides to go for the traditional treatment. In holistic medical circles though, it is our belief that autoimmune disease can be due to different conditions such as food intolerances/sensitivities, chronic toxicity, hidden infections and chronic inflammatory states. Just like any chronic degenerative diseases, it is our belief that once we address the root of the problem, then the symptoms typically disappear. In contrast, treating symptoms alone, whether using synthetic drugs or natural medicines, may provide temporary relief. The underlying disease process wreaks havoc elsewhere, however, ultimately leading to future complications. In summary, my job as a holistic MD is like that of a private eye, look diligently for the cause of the problem and when it comes to treatment, always personalize treatment recommendations based on biochemical individuality. And of course, always work in partnership with the client.

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HEALTHY HAIR

January 27th, 2010

Why is it that we’re seeing younger people getting hair loss at such an early age? Is it just a genetic issue or does it have to do with environmental factors as well? I would say that it’s due to both. I believe that genetic causes of chronic degenerative disease is only about 3-4% however, compared to more than 90% due to environmental causes.
Anyway, there’s a lot we can do to prevent or even reverse hair loss. First off, we have to know the factors that lead to this condition. There’s the issue of poor circulation. Our hair needs to be nourished. Poor circulation means less nutrients going to the hair follicles. What causes poor circulation or hardening of the arteries? Dietary factors such as intake of trans-fats or hydrogenated oils as well as calcium build-up can do that. Poor nutrition also leads to hair loss. Where do you think our hair comes from? It comes from our food. Hair is primarily protein.

Therefore, an adequate intake of amino acids should lead to a full head of hair. But, it’s not just that. An adequate amount of certain minerals and glycosaminoglycans are also needed for healthy hair. Nutritious food should contain adequate vitamins and minerals. However, this is not true of certain produce, esp. ones that are produced through commercial, chemical farming. Produce farmed bio-dynamically and not just organically, should contain adequate amounts of nutrients to help our body renew itself (and that includes the hair).

What about personal products that damage the hair or hair follicles. There’s a substance in hair gels or products that could actually clog the hair follicles and cause them to ultimately die. The one implicated the most to do this is a chemical called PVP coplymer, a petrochemical product. Avoid this at all costs. There are others I’m sure that could cause damage to cells in generals such as pthalates and sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate. Notice how more companies are touting that they don’t contain these products.

Anyway, another cause of hair loss is hormonal imbalance. Undiagnosed thyroid issues could cause hair loss. A testosterone metabolite called DHT could cause hair loss, thus the popularity of synthetic DHT blockers such as Propecia or Avodart. A more natural way to influence testosterone metabolism is through the use of zinc supplements (which by the way is a very common nutritional deficiency). Other natural DHT blockers include saw palmetto, lycopene (from tomatoes), pygeum and stinging nettle. Then, there’s isolated HGH deficiency which could cause everything (regeneration and repair) to slow down. That means, less production of new tissue. Continue this long enough and you “shrink” away or chronic degenerative disease takes over.

What do you do then to improve HGH levels? Besides exercise, there are amino acids that stimulate HGH release from the pituitary. The most effective one for people over the age of 40 is L-glutamine. If this doesn’t work, then consider working with an anti-aging specialist who could decide if you’re a candidate for HGH therapy. Otherwise, a substance called HGHRH analogue could also be used. I found this as effective as HGH, with less side effects and it’s more “natural” or physiologic in its action.

What are other natural remedies that could stimulate hair growth? An Ayurvedic treatment includes the use of neem hair oil. Traditional Chinese medicine may recommend fo-ti pr he she wou. Essential oils that stimulate hair growth include peppermint, cedarwood, rosemary, lavender, thyme. Minoxidil works for some people but it does work better combined with substances such as retin-A, aldactone, progesterone, azelaic acid, copper peptides, SOD, and copper-zinc binding peptides.

Procedures one should consider before the last resort (hair transplant) include the use of low level laser therapy and the use of a micro-dermaroller.

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HOW FAST ARE YOU AGING?

December 7th, 2009

Besides looking at the mirror, another objective way of telling how fast a person is aging is through telomere testing. Before anything else, what are telomeres? Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of each chromosome that serves as a cap to your genetic material. Every time a cell replicates, its telomere will become shorter. Shorter telomeres imply a shorter life span for the cell.

What effect does telomere length have on my health and wellness? Age adjusted telomere length is the best method to date to assess biological age using structural analysis of chromosomal change in the telomere. Serial evaluation of telomere length is an indicator of how rapidly one ages relative to a normal population. Therapies directed at slowing the loss of telomere length may slow aging and age-related diseases.

Does diet have any effect on telomere length and repair? An inflammatory diet, or one that increases oxidative stress will shorten telomeres faster. This would include refined carbohydrates, fast foods, processed foods, sodas, artificial sweeteners, trans fats and saturated fats. A diet with large amount and variety of antioxidants that improve oxidative defense and reduces oxidative stress will slow telomere shortening. Consumption of 10 servings of fresh and relatively uncooked fruits and vegetables , mixed fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, cold water fish and high quality vegetable proteins can prevent premature shortening. In addition, caloric restriction is advised combined with an exercise program. Fasting for 12 hours each night at least 4 days per week may also be protective.

What lifestyle modifications are likely to be helpful? One should achieve ideal body weight and body composition with low body fat (less than 22% for women and less than 16% for men). Decreasing visceral fat is very important. Regular aerobic and resistance exercise for at least one hour per day, sleeping for at least 8 hours per night, stress reduction, discontinuation of all tobacco products and bioidentical hormone therapy may decrease the rate of telomere loss.

How do you measure telomere length? The Patient Telomere Score is calculated based on white blood cells (T-lymphocytes). This is the average compared to telomere length on lymphocytes from a sample of the American population in the same age range. The higher the telomere score, the “younger” the cells. A Telomere Score that is above the average line is desirable.

What can I do to reduce my rate of telomere loss? Shorter telomeres have been associated with metabolic abnormalities, obesity, and several degenerative diseases including cancer, dementia, and cardiovascular disease. In vitro studies have shown that telomeres are highly susceptible to oxidative stress, which will shorten telomere length and enhance cellular aging. Minimizing associated risk factors that are linked to shortened telomere activity is recommended and include:

Reduce oxidative stress
Correct micronutrient deficiencies, especially vitamin D
Change sedentary lifestyle, increase physical activity
Avoid weight gain or obesity
Correct insulin resistance
For more information o which lab we recommend, please email me at drj@drjlopez.com

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HOW TO AVOID THE C WORD

August 12th, 2016

Everyone dreads about hearing the C word from their doctor. Actually, it’s nothing to be afraid about. That is, if you have a healthy immune system. Each one of us has cancer cells in the body. Cancer cells are just abnormal cells resulting from a defective manufacturing process (cell division). Factors that contribute to this malfunction include excessive free radical formation (oxidative stress), chronic inflammatory processes, chronic toxicity, poor oxygenation, defective metabolic processes (such as impaired blood sugar metabolism, sluggish thyroid), defective DNA repair mechanisms and inefficient detoxification processes, among many other things.

Oftentimes, the only risk factors for cancer that doctors discuss with their patients are smoking and drinking alcohol. It’s not that doctors conveniently forget about these numerous other causes. It’s just that a functional or molecular or nutritional approach in medicine has not been espoused in medical school or post-graduate training. There is a heavy empasis on pharmacology during medical training. After med school, continuing education primarily comes from pharmacaeutical companies. Unless a doctor’s interested in a different approach in healing, then it’ll always be the same approach in dealing with patients and that is, the allopathic approach. Anyway, ways to ensure that you have a healthy immune system to prevent chronic degenerative diseases such as cancer, is first and formost, having a healthy lifestyle. A healthy diet, exercise, rest and relaxation, adequate water intake and sunlight exposure, and healthy relationships are important. In today’s industrialized and over-polluted world, I would add nutritional supplementation and regular detoxification procedures as part of one’s ultra-preventive program. There’s an abundance of superfoods or nutrients that have anti-carcinogenic properties. It’s important to work with licensed health practitioners who have a knowledge and experience in integrating allopathic and complementary/alternative if one’s ever diagnosed with it. And just FYI, there’s a test available called a chemosensitivity test. This takes the guesswork out of what natural and synthetic chemotherapy drugs to use for a particular cancer. No more trial and error or better yet, guesswork on what would or wouldn’t work. A holistic personalized approach in treating any illness beats a one-size-fits-all approach any time. More info on this chemosensitivity testing in future blog entries. Have a great weekend everyone!

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HOW TO DETOX

December 3rd, 2009

We’ve all got organs of elimination. How well they’re functioning varies from one person to another. The more toxins we’re exposed to, the more these organs have to work over-time to get ourselves back into balance or homeostasis. These organs include the kineys, liver, lympatic system, bowels, skin and the lungs. Among the common symptoms of toxicity include: allergies, join pain, fatigue, asthma, digestion issues, insomnia, mood swings, weight gain and skin problems.

There are a host of different ways to detox the body. One could start with just changes in diet and lifestyle. These approaches could go a long way in improving someone’s health. The simplest way to start is by fasting. One could do well up to a number of weeks just on a liquid fast if there are no other co-morbid conditions. I would advise people to go into fasting gradually, however. Some of the symptoms of detoxification could include skin reactions, nausea, fatigue, muscle aches, increased urination , increased mucous discharges. These symptoms are usually transient and resolve within a couple of days.

A good rule of thumb is to always listen to your body. If one doesn’t feel right, then perhaps they’re detoxifying too fast. Some helpful tips to follow while undergoing detoxification therapy are:

Drink at least half your body weight in ounces.
Incorporate stress reduction techniques such as meditation, visualization, massage.
Have a nutritionally balanced diet.
Avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Reduce intake intake of coffee, alcohol and soda.
Get enough sleep.
Exercise regularly.
Keep a positive attitude.
Other helpful tips in future blogs…..

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IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY WITH ACETYL L-CARNITINE

January 12th, 2010

One of the nutrients that has been used to improve memory is acetyl L-carnitine, a vitamin-like nutrient that is derived from L-carnitine. It plays a major role in the healthy functioning of the mitochondria, the energy powerhouse of the cell. Acetyl L-carnitine also acts as a transport mechanism for free fatty acids as well as act as an acetyl-group donor for energy metabolism. It is primarily found in skeletal and cardiac muscle.

Among the many different functions of acetyl L-carnitine are: it improves concentration, memory and focus; supports nerve cell function; enhances cardiovascular health; enhances sperm cell health in men; and supports antioxidant defenses to promote healthy aging.

A typical starting dose is 500 mg/day, taken on an empty stomach. The usual maximum dose is 2000 mg/day, taken in divided doses. It is generally safe to take but caution should be exercised if a person’s pregnant, nursing, has a history of seizures or taking prescription drugs. Always consult with a nutritionally-minded physician before incorporating this into your healthcare program.

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IMPROVING YOUR SEX LIFE NATURALLY

December 11th, 2009

Yes, it’s possible! There are plants and herbs that could help improve someone’s sexual performance naturally. These are usually found in the centuries-old medical traditions of Oriental Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. These substances work in conjunction with natural processes in the body. For instance, a man has to have an erect penis beyond foreplay and on into penetration. He also needs to sustain this erection and experience a forceful but pleasurable ejaculation. A woman on the other hand, needs to feel desire and be desired for her nipples to be aroused, her clitoris to be stimulated , and her vagina lubricated.

Among these sex enhancing plants for both sexes include Maca and Rhodiola Rosea. Men with low libido and diminished erectile function have been prescribed extracts of maca. The compounds found in maca also help both sexes obtain more frequent and powerful orgasms. Rhodiola, on the other hand is an adaptogen, a plant that helps us adapt to stress. It’s been used by the Siberians for centuries to improve strength and stamina (including sexual prowess).

For women in general, ahswagandha, catuaba and eluethero have been used to improve their sex drives (in India, the Amazon and Siberia, respectively). Ashwagandha and eleuthero, by the way, are adaptogens as well.

For men, the following have plants have been used for different issues. Horny goat weed or Epimedium species has been used to restore sexual fire, treating impotence and increasing semen production. Yohimbe or nature’s Viagra, has a compound that stimulates engorged vessels within the penis and nerves of the lower spine. Then finally, there’s Panax ginseng. Researchers believe that ginseng increases nitric oxide in the penis, dilating the vessels of the corpus cavernosum.

One of the common questions I get is whether these plant compounds are safe to take. They are all usually safe to take unless a person has any allergy to the plant/plant components. A person who is taking prescription medications should always ask their health care practitioners about concomitant use of herbs and synthetic meds. In the event that they don’t know, there are resources such as PDR for Herbal Medicines, Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, and the German Commission E.

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INTEGRATIVE APPROACH TO HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

December 12th, 2009

High blood pressure is a symptom, not an illness. Therefore, ways should be found to correct the underlying causes that triggered the symptom (rather than just treating the symptom alone). There are lots of possible contributing factors that lead to high blood pressure. Among these easily correctable factors include dehydration, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metal toxicities, stress, chronic inflammation and hormonal imbalances.

I am not opposed to the use of medications. It’s their indiscriminate use that I do not agree with. Medications have their place but they should be used only after other factors (dietary and lifestyle issues) have been addressed. Medications can be surely used for acute situations and long-term only if other correctable factors have been addressed and always looking out for possible adverse reactions.

There is a book written by Dr. F. Batmanghelidj called “Your Body’s Many Cries For Water” which explains how chronic dehydration can be a cause of a lot of symptoms that people experience such as high blood pressure, headaches, chronic fatigue and joint pains. Sometimes, just correcting these fluid imbalance could relieve a lot of these symptoms. My advise to my clients is to drink half of their body weight in ounces daily.

Nutritional deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals could raise blood pressure. Deficiencies in vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid could raise homocysteine levels which could then cause high blood pressure. A deficiency in Magnesium or Potassium could also raise blood pressure. It’s best to have tests for nutritional deficiencies. However, if this is not available in your country, try your best to get these nutrients from whole foods unless you could work with someone who’s knowledgeable in nutritional medicine, who then could prescribe supplements in correct form and dosages.

Heavy metals have no place in our bodies. There are so-called “normal” values, which just means that it’s found in a huge segment of the population. Normal however, doesn’t mean optimal.There are different ways to test for heavy metals and these include blood, hair, urine and fat samples. Heavy metals could be detected in the blood if there’s acute exposure (within 48 hours). Otherwise, tests for chronic exposure include a hair test, fat analysis or urine testing. Among these, the most accurate would be a pere- and post-provocative 6 hour urine sample.

Stress, whether it be physical, mental, emotional or environmental could trigger a series of reactions in the body that could raise blood pressure (by raising cortisol levels). Stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, visualization, prayer, massage, chi gong and yoga do help. Taking herbal adaptogens such as rhodiola, ashwagandha and ginseng also go a long way in improving blood pressure and other conditions related to chronic elevation of cortisol.

Chronic inflammatory conditions could cause high blood pressure as well. Having a plant-based diet has an anti-inflammatory effect. The addition of omega 3-fatty acids from the diet or taking either fish oils or flax seed oil could also be helpful. Certain herbs such as ginger, celery and turmeric all have anti-inflammatory properties.

Then finally, hormonal imbalances could also lead to high blood pressure. Chronic elevation of cortisol, insulin resistance, an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone in women and a lack of testosterone in men could all cause high blood pressure. Addressing these imbalances could help improve cardiovascular health.

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INTERVIEW IN OPEN EXCHANGE MAGAZINE

February 25th, 2010

Q: At what age should I start taking supplements?

JOEL LOPEZ, MD: It is my belief that we should all start taking supplements during childhood. Remember taking multivitamins as kids? Everybody’s different, however. So a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Too much of a good thing could be harmful. For instance, iron if taken too much could cause some serious consequences. Ditto with fat-soluble vitamins. They could actually build up in our system causing different health challenges. One also has to take into consideration one’s general health before taking supplements. People with kidney or liver disease or those taking prescription medications need to talk with their health care provider to see if it’s appropriate to incorporate supplements.

Ideally, we should get everything from our diet. However, due to farming practices and soil mineral depletion, we aren’t able to get all the nutrients that we need from our diet, even if we eat 100% organic.

There are also general recommendations that I give to my clients. Women after menopause should not take multivitamins with iron. Too much iron acts as a pro-oxidant. In other words, it contributes to premature aging.

Fortunately, there are functional tests available to see if a person has nutrient deficiencies. It takes the guesswork of out supplementation!

Q: Does everybody benefit from supplements?

DR. LOPEZ: Definitely. Our bodies need substrates for energy. Yes, ideally we should get it from our food. Refined food, however, only gives us empty calories and causes nutrient imbalances as well. Ideally, I would recommend whole-food based supplements rather than synthetic ones.

Q: How do I know what I need?

DR. LOPEZ: A careful history and physical should be able to reveal nutrient deficiencies. Some signs and symptoms of deficiencies could overlap, however. So, it’s best to do functional testing for nutrient deficiencies. Fortunately, they’re available here in the US. A general recommendation that I make for people is to get a good whole-food based multivitamin/mineral supplement as well as an essential fatty acid supplement.

Q: Are there risks or contraindications?

DR. LOPEZ: Yes there are. That’s why it’s important to work with a nutritionally–oriented physician. Working with your nutritionist or other natural health care provider should be helpful as well.

Usually, whole-food based supplements are harmless. Synthetic, isolated forms of nutrients could be dangerous, however. Once you isolate something from nature, it acts more of like a drug long-term. Consider an important study showing that cigarette smokers who took pre-formed vitamin A had an increased incidence of lung cancer.

Taking too much of certain nutrients could cause toxicity symptoms. That’s why it’s important to take things in moderation and if any symptoms arise to consult with your healthcare provider.

Q: Hormone replacement therapy can be a judgment call. Some doctors are more reluctant than others to recommend performance-enhancing drugs, too. How do you work with patients to decide how to weigh the potential risks versus rewards? Can you offer some examples?

DR. LOPEZ: Hormones are very powerful chemical messengers. Thus, I would only recommend HRT if it’s clinically indicated. I would look at a person’s labs as well as clinical symptoms. One is not more important than the other. For instance, a lot of people who have hypothyroid symptoms may have normal blood tests. Further evaluation however may show low body temperatures (Wilson’s syndrome) or low free T3 (low T3 syndrome), both of which would benefit from thyroid support, whether through nutrients or the use of actual hormones. Then, you would also have to consider addressing adrenal function when treating the thyroid because they’re yin yang organs according to Chinese medicine. Our hormones are like an orchestra. If one hormone is off, it affects the others.

As far as recommending drugs for improving brain performance, there’s dilantin and eldepryl, among many others. Again, the recommendation I give is individualized. I would have to know a person’s SNP’s through a genomic test. This gives me information on how a person would metabolize drugs or nutrients, thus eliminating concerns for safety.

Q: Beyond hormone replacement therapy, do you recommend specific drug therapies for peak performance and life extension?

DR. LOPEZ: There are different nutrients that could help with our peak performance. Among the more popular ones are L-carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and D-ribose. These nutrients are responsible for optimizing muscle function, especially our heart muscles, which actually contract 24/7.

People with chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and congestive heart failure are among the conditions that would greatly benefit from these nutrients. People who desire more energy for working out could also take these supplements. As far as brain aging is concerned, nutrients such as ginkgo biloba, acetyl-L-carnitine and vinpocetine actually help. By the way, there are clinical studies done on these nutrients and they could be found in a publication called German Commission E.

Q: What else should I know before starting a program?

DR. LOPEZ: It’s important that we pay attention to the basics before even taking supplements. A healthy diet, adequate water intake, enough sleep and exercise all should be addressed prior to the intake of supplements. There are tests available for people who are ready to embark on a wellness program. There are tests to find out if one is nutritionally deficient, toxic, inflamed or hormonally imbalanced. Failure to address these things leads to premature aging. On the other hand, address all these factors and you surely will age gracefully.

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IS THERE RELIEF FROM CHRONIC ALLERGIES?

February 7th, 2011

It sucks! Suffering from allergies, that is. Symptoms are annoying (and could include stuffy nose, red, itchy eyes, constant sneezing, dark circles under the eye) to life-threatening (anaphylaxis). It is caused by the hyper-reactivity of the immune system to natural as well as synthetic substances found in our food, air (inhalant allergens), and chemicals in our environment. The typical response would be the use of OTC and prescription anti-histamines, steroids and epinephrine (for anaphylactic conditions). Most of them are effective except for some unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness (anti-histamines), suppression of the immune system (steroids), and tachycardia (epinephrine). One more thing, a person has to take them indefinitely because the root cause/causes are not really addressed (by just symptomatic treatment alone). There are natural alternatives to allergy treatment and they include quercertin and bromelain. They may be taken if one is wary of taking any medications whatsoever. One thing though, is that it still doesn’t address the cause or causes of the allergy.

Other more effective treatments for allergy include immunotherapy (subcutaneous or sublingual) and L.D.A. therapy. Subcutaneous immunotherapy, otherwise known as “allergy shots” involves the administration of gradually increasing amounts of allergens over several months to a couple of years. The injections are given weekly or biweekly. This causes the body to produce less symptoms than are otherwise caused by exposure to antigens. Sublingual immunotherapy, on the other hand, involves the administration of liquid antigen drops under the tongue. It is safe, convenient and can be used on high-risk patients, such as elderly patients, asthmatics, and pregnant patients.

.D.A. (low dose allergen) therapy, is a method of allergy treatment that was started by Dr. Leonard McEwen from England. Originally known as EPD or enzyme potentiated desensitization, Dr. McEwen used very tiny doses of various allergens along with an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase. Treatments were administered every 60 days. The treatment was found to be effective for a wide range of allergens (food, inhalants, chemicals) as well as other immune system disorders. EPD however, is no longer available in the US and has been replaced by L.D.A. L.D.A. therapy is similar to EPD and acts by stimulating T-suppressor cells. The main difference is that the allergen solution used for L.D.A. is not sold at regular pharmacies. It is made by compounding pharmacies according to a doctor’s specifications/prescription. The main benefit of L.D.A. therapy is that it seems to train the immune system to stop attacking normal substances that the body encounters (foods, inhalants, chemicals), rather than just temporarily alleviating symptoms or lowering the body’s histamine levels.

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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TIMING….

March 6th, 2012

Are you taking handfuls of supplements? You might wanna think about what you’re doing if you’re in the habit of doing that. Timing of supplement intake is as important as the form in which you take them. That would have to be a totally different discussion altogether though. For now, let’s discuss ways in which to optimize the effectiveness of your nutritional supplement program. One thing to take note though before I make general recommendations is that everybody is metabolically different and unique and as such, an individualized program has to be in order.

Multivitamins, whole-food based, should be taken with food a couple of times a day. I’m not a huge fan of time-released multis coz they usually come in the form of tablets (which by the way, may have unnecessary binders and fillers). Probiotics ideally, are taken on an empty stomach unless they’re enteric-coated.

Probiotics ideally, are taken on an empty stomach unless they’re enteric-coated. Supplements such as essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, E and K are best taken with the heaviest meals.
Mineral supplements are taken apart from meals since fiber from food would actually interfere with their absorption.
Amino acids should ideally be taken apart from food as well. Examples include NAC, L-carnitine and L-tryptophan.
Digestive enzymes such as pancreatic enzymes should be taken 15-30 minutes prior to meals. Plant-based enzymes such as bromelain and papain are more stable in an acid environment and as such, can be taken with meals.
I’m available for in person and virtual consultations. Contact me at +1-415-800-3757 or on Skype at drjlopezmd. Yours in wellness, DrJLo. www.jlopezmd.com

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IT'S ALL ABOUT BALANCE

March 31st, 2009

Our hormones decline because we age. We age because our hormones decline. Just two different ways to look at the same thing. The first statement makes us feel helpless whereas the second statement puts us more in control. If we can slow down aging by addressing hormonal imbalances, then we’re “off to aging gracefully”. A lot of the symptoms associated with hormone decline manifest as the common signs and symptoms of aging. These signs and symptoms are often addressed symptomatically. NSAIDs for arthritic pain, SSRIs for depression, PPIs for heartburn.

Name the problem, there’s usually a pill for it. What’s surprising is that a common personality trait like shyness is being “medicalized” and called “social anxiety disorder”. Boy, am I glad that I wasn’t born yesterday. I would’ve been labeled with “social anxiety disorder” and possibly put on medications. I also probably won’t be here today writing a blog about holistic anti aging protocols. Anyway, regarding hormones, what I’m referring to are bioidentical hormones or hormones that have exactly the same molecular structure as our endogenous or naturally-produced hormones. This is what makes the difference in a hormone replacement program. If you are given non-bioidentical hormones, it’s no longer a hormone replacement program but a hormone substitution program.

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L-CARNITINE

January 30th, 2010

Do you want more energy? How about a fat burner? A nutrient that does both is L-carnitine. It’s an amino acid that taken at the right dose and time can help people improve their energy levels and body composition (more muscles, less body fat). And for those men with symptoms of low testosterone, it increases receptor sensitivity to endogenous testosterone.

LOVE

February 24th, 2010

Do you know that love is one emotion that has anti-aging properties? When a person has love (agape, or otherwise), healing neurochemicals/peptides are secreted abundantly into the bloodstream which then affects every cell in the body, bringing about regeneration and repair. Toxic emotions (like hatred) however, causes the body to secrete catabolic hormones which is destructive in the immediate and long-term.

MAD AS A HATTER: DOES IT MATTER?

January 20th, 2011

If you think I’m talking about the character in Alice in Wonderland, think again. In today’s blog, I’m going to discuss how toxins, particularly heavy metals (like mercury) could affect everything, including our mental health. The phrase “mad as a hatter” was coined in the early 19th century when “hatters” or people who were making hats started experiencing uncontrollable trembling and appeared insane. Apparently, the hatters were using glue that contained mercury at the time. Mercury toxicity can manifest as loss of appetite, fatigue, depression, emotional instability, peripheral numbness, tremors, poor memory and cognitive function, decreased senses of touch, taste, hearing and vision, and neuromuscular disorders. High levels have also been implicated in acute myocardial infarction. All the symptoms just mentioned are quite common. Therefore, it’s always a great idea to rule out the presence of (heavy metal) toxins in anyone experiencing the said symptoms or anyone who has a possible exposure to mercury (and that means all of us). Mercury is now found all over the place, including our air (esp. surrounding coal-powered plants), food and water supply. In fact, common sources include fish (all fish now, compared to just large fish during previous years), dental amalgams, skin lightening agents (very common in Asia), some hemorrhoidal creams, some vaccines, medical instruments such as thermometers and sphygmomanometers, batteries, electrodes, some fertilizers, the paper industry and finally, the gold industry. In fact, there were recent reports in the news of mercury/lead toxicity in parts of Nigeria where people are involved in gold mining.

To test if someone has elevated levels of metals, particularly mercury, one can have a blood, hair or (provocative) urine testing done with chelating agents like DMSA or DMPS ( although others may use EDTA or other natural chelating agents). A blood specimen is usually used to determine acute exposure while hair and urinary testing informs us more of chronic exposure. Labs that perform the latter tests include Doctor’s Data and Genova Diagnostics. In Asia, I would imagine that Vitech Pro, a company based in Bangkok, is the one that performs these tests. Regular blood tests for mercury could be performed at any reputable lab like Quest or LabCorp. What do you do if your levels are elevated? Besides avoidance of possible sources (kinda difficult nowadays), the accepted form of treatment is a process called chelation therapy. This has to be done properly however. Otherwise, further damage can be done. Natural oral chelating agents include vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, garlic, cilantro, onions, chlorella and some therapeutic-grade essential oils. EDTA is available in oral (least effective), suppository and injectable forms. Other chelating agents include penicillamine (for copper toxocity), deferoxamine (for iron poisoning), dimercaprol (for arsenic, mercury and lead), DMSA and DMPS. It is important to individualize treatment in any case. Factors such as kidney and liver function, nutritional deficiencies, allergies, and general patient constitution should all be taken into account when one embarks on a cleansing or detoxification program. For more information, please check out the American College for Advancement in Medicine web site, http://www.acam.org. and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine web site, http://www.aaemonline.org.

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MEDICATIONS AND YOUR NUTRITIONAL STATUS

February 4th, 2010

Medications are essential for certain acute conditions. There are people who take medications for chronic symptoms, however. It’s all fine and well until side effects happen. That’s why, a person’s biochemical individuality should always be taken into account when a person has to take medications long-term. A regular review of your medications should be in order, taking into account that there’s less metabolism or excretion of medications as we age.

Fortunately, there are genomic tests available that could tell you instantly and reliably on the kind of pharmacological substances which are most suitable for you. It furthermore advises you which dose grants you optimized therapeutic success.

One such lab is called Genosense in Vienna, Austria. They have a genomic test called Pharmacosensor. This test examines carefully selected polymorphisms which lead to structural changes in proteins that strongly influence the speed of metabolism in a series of pharmacological substances and also account for the accelerated or reduced transformation of harmless precursors of given medication into highly efficient substances.

If a person is unable to do this test, then at least they should be aware of possible nutritional deficiencies their medications could cause and make sure to replenish them.

One such class of medications are the antacid or ulcer medications. Nutrient deficiencies in Vitamins B12, folic acid, Calcium, Iron and Zinc could occur with the following potential health problems: anemia,depression, birth defects, increased cardiovascular risk, cervical dysplasia, heart disease, cancer risk, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, hearing loss, tooth decay, hair loss, brittle nails, loss of sense of taste or smell, and sexual dysfunction.

Another class of meds are the cholesterol-lowering agents called “statins”. They deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10. When this happens, various cardiovascular problems, a weakened immune system and low energy could occur.

Anticonvulsants could deplete the body of Vitamins D, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, Magnesium, Selenium and Zinc. Potential health issues could include osteoporosis, muscle weakness, hearing loss, tooth decay, heart and blood pressure irregularities, cervical dysplasia, anemia, hair loss, depression, dermatitis, fatigue, reduced antioxidant protection, poor wound healing and skeletal problems.

My purpose is not to alarm people who take these medications but to make them aware that an integrative approach to any medical condition yields better results. It’s a good thing that we can now check for nutritional deficiencies. One such functional test in done through Spectracell. It checks for 33 nutrient deficiencies. I love this test because it takes the guesswork out of supplementation. Better yet, most PPO’s and Medicare cover for this test.

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MICROBES BEWARE… THE HEALING POWER OF THIEVES ESSENTIAL OIL BLEND!

June 22nd, 2010

I’ve been using the Thieves therapeutic-grade essential oil blend for over 8 years now. It’s been a true blessing for my life, the lives of my loved ones and the lives of my clients! It used to be that a sore throat would last a week or more, now I use Thieves blend internally or experience a Thieves lozenge or hard candy and the sore throat goes away in a day or so! Just like that! It is a miracle? Yes and no. For millennia, essential oils have been used by human kind for the purpose of healing the sick and vitalizing the already healthy. Essential oils are mentioned numerous times in the Holy Bible. They were used very extensively during ancient Egyptian times. The truth is that today we face unprecedented health challenges. The “Superbugs” are invading. Antibiotic resistant microbes have ruined numerous lives and conventional medications often times don’t work.

This is because microorganisms are intelligent and they can mutate to resist the simply structured man made medications. Therapeutic-grade essential oils and oil blends like Thieves are very complex substances which pathogens cannot mutate against and they come from nature. When applied properly, they have no negative side-effects. And, are anti-everything! Anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-aging, etc. Therapeutic-grade essential oils also hold a very high vibration. It has been shown that various illnesses and pathogens hold low vibrational frequencies. When a therapeutic-grade essential oil or oil blend is introduced by inhalation, topical application or ingestion, they affect the body not only through the complex array of their constituents, but by helping raise it’s frequency to a healthy level. So, try Thieves Essential oil blend. It got it’s name because a band of Thieves would go around and rob the bodies of plague victims in medieval times, however they didn’t get sick! When they were apprehended, they were asked to reveal the secret of why they themselves didn’t catch the plague and they told their captures that they used essential oils like Clove and Cinnamon to protect themselves from the ravages of the plague. Thieves oil blend contains therapeutic-grade Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus and Rosemary essential oils. For further information about Thieves essential oil blend visit:www.CleanBodyCare.com.

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NATURAL/BIOIDENTICAL HORMONE THERAPY

December 10th, 2009

Long before bioidentical hormones became a hot topic, there were already doctors using the therapy with great success. It took Suzanne Somers, a celebrity actress and health promoter, however, to bring the topic of bioidentical hormones to the general public. I am fortunate to have learned about this therapy (from some of the pioneers in alternative medicine) about 13 years ago. One thing I learned from these generous individuals is that everybody is different. Such is the concept of biochemical individuality. What does this have to do with bioidentical hormones? What this means that everyone is unique and as such, a program that works for one person may or may not work for another.

What are bioidentical hormones? These are hormones that have the exact molecular structure that our bodies produce. Any structure that deviates from the original endogenous molecule is synthetic and as such is not bioidentical. Therefore, a person who gets a synthetic hormone is not having his or her hormones replaced. What they’re getting is hormonal substitution.

A medical doctor just recently appeared on the Oprah show, who said that bioidentical is just a marketing term. Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D. one of the main proponents of the use of natural bioidentical hormones, gently corrected her. I’m still amazed at how people in the mainstream don’t think for themselves but just follow the “party line.” It’s like having an “earth is flat” mentality.

I believe that our hormones are like a symphony orchestra. If one is off, the rest get affected. Even so-called “minor” hormones have a great role to play. That’s why it’s important to balance everything. In my practice, I’ve encountered people who are just taking one hormone thinking that that would resolve their issue.

I believe in the concept of yin and yang in Chinese medicine. For instance, when I treat the thyroid, I look into it’s sister organ, the adrenals. Their functions are closely linked together. Thus, it’s important to support both organs.

When I see a new client, I am always humbled because of all the new things I learn. I look into a person’s signs and symptoms as well as their lab work. One is as important as the other. As the saying goes, “if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it is a duck.” The problem with “what’s going on” is that if a person falls within a normal range, even though they may be symptomatic, they may be denied proper treatment. What we do as healthy aging practitioners (also known as anti-aging), is that we look at optimal ranges rather than normal ranges.

For individuals who may not be candidates for bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), there are alternatives available. Besides the use of herbal medicine, I’ve used medical aromatherapy with essential oils and spagyric/homeopathic remedies.

For anyone seeking answers to their health issues, my advice is to listen closely to your body and to always keep an open mind.

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OPTIMAL HEALTH

December 24th, 2009

Is it possible to attain this in our present world of pollution, destruction, and the total disredgard of God’s wonderful gift of nature?

Before we find out the answers, let us first discover how everything we’re observing in our present world got out of hand.

Our early forefathers enjoyed pure air, pure water, and bountiful nutritious life-giving food. They were also more physically active and in tune with nature. Somewhere along the way, people have forgotten their responsibility to care for the environment and ultimately, themselves.

With the advent of the industrial age comes the increasing pollution in the air we breathe. The smog, cigarette smoke, diesel gas fumes, and chemicals in our home cleaning products and toiletries are absolutely taxing to our immune system. In fact, there’s a condition called MCS or multiple chemical sensitivity in which people react to practically everything (esp. petroleum-based products). People have tried avoiding air pollution by staying indoors. Most people now spend an average of 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air is 20 times more polluted than outdoor air.

So, how do we address this situation? Some of the things that could help include having adequate ventilation in your home/work environment. Try to keep the windows open to allow fresh air to circulate. Having a good filtration system that would eliminate fumes, dust, odors, smoke, pollen, bacteria, mold spores and animal dander help improve air quality even more.

The way we breathe also has a significant influence on the quality of air that enters into our lungs. By practicing slow rythmic breathing, we allow our body to naturally filter the air we breathe. This way of breathing also helps us to maintain emotional stability, remain in a peaceful state of mind, and stay relaxed regardless of external stresses. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that our brain scans all the frequencies of the body when a person is doing deep, diaphragmatic breathing. This process helps establish the mind-body connection, a very important concept lost in today’s fast-paced society.

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OPTIMAL HEALTH PART 2

December 26th, 2009

IIt’s unfortunate that most of us have been conditioned to breathe “into the chest”. This is not physiologic according to scientific studies. The lungs are divided into three zones, according to blood flow. Because of the inter-relationship of vascular and alveolar pressures and gravitational forces, the lung base receives the most blood flow. It makes sense then to take deep breaths using the diaphragm, with the expansion of the abdomen during inhalation and flattening during exhalation. This allows better interchange of gases. Also, try spending more time in natural surrounding such as parks, fields, forests, lakes and the beach where the air is also rich in negative ions (more on this later).

What about our water? Water, the so-called “elixir of life”, unfortunately, can not make the same claim nowadays. Not with the present state it’s in. Water has always had many uses such as drinking, cleaning, cooking, and even generating electricity. However, let’s concentrate on it’s most common use, which is drinking. The world’s water supply has been contaminated with agricultural, industrial and nuclear waste products. According to Consumer Reports magazine, more than 700 organic chemicals have been identified in drinking water. Thus, there is a need for water treatment. Sad to say, most if not all, municipally-treated water is still inadequately purified. Yes, water treatment does an excellent job of making water germ-free, but it fails miserably in removing toxic metals such as lead, which according to Richard Maas, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental studies, University of North Carolina, Asheville, affects roughly 20% of US households (other world figures, undetermined). Where does the lead come from? Most common sources of lead are lead-containing pipes or plumbing fixtures in your home or much less commonly, from lead pipes in the municipal water system.

Another major culprit is chlorine. Chlorine is placed into water by municipalities in order to purify it. Biologists have referred to chlorine as a xenoestrogen an “estrogen mimicker”. Estrogen is a hormone found in both women and men. It helps women maintain body fat in the areas of the hip, girdle, upper legs, and the chest. Because of its connection to estrogen, chlorine is a dangerous chemical to leave in your water and take into the body.

According to GreenPeace, the most dangerous contribution that chlorine gives to society is in the area of cancer. The risk of cancer increases when extra estrogen (xenoestrogens from the environment) is added to a woman’s stable hormonal environment. Chlorine has been proven to be the number one link to the number one cancer killer in woman, namely breast cancer. Testicular and colorectal cancers have also been linked to chlorine intake. GreenPeace acknowledges that chlorine compounds have been linked to suppression of the immune system and hormonal disruptions leading to declining sperm counts and male and female infertility.

The next question is, how do we get hold of pure water? People have been purchasing bottled water in droves, thinking that it is the best alternative to tap water. However, most water available commercially are just treated artesian/spring water. Then, consider the container that it comes in. Those that come in plastic could be dangerous especially if it’s been exposed to higher temperatures. This makes chemicals from the plastic leach into the water where they function in our bodies as xenoestrogens (again!). Another disadvantage of plastic water bottles is that most of it ends up in landfills, if they’re not recycled properly. Try to purchase water in glass containers if possible.

If these glass water bottles are not available, then look into getting a water purification system. There are different purification systems and these include carbon filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, ozonation and ultraviolet sterilization. I’ve recently looked into systems that include electrolysis that may create an alkaline form of water as well.

There is also a danger in showering in chlorinated water. Chemists John Ashton and Professor Ronald Laura in a 1989 issue of Nature and Health magazine, have suggested that showering regularly in chlorine-treated water might reduce the oxygen transfer capacity of the lungs. There is a greater health danger from inhaling chlorine gas than from drinking chlorinated water. The amount of chloroform (most common trihalomethane in chlorinated water) inhaled or absorbed through the skin during a typical shower may be six times higher than that absorbed from chlorinated drinking water, according to International Health News. This can in part, be remedied by opening the windows or turning the exhaust system on during a shower. A whole-house water purification system and/or site-specific system (shower, under the sink) can also be used to help eliminate chlorine and other harmful chemicals from our water.

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