Low Energy?

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Low Energy?

There is no such thing as an isolated problem in the body.  There is a huge web of events that takes place in almost every situation when you look at the body as a whole.  Low energy is one of the most common complaints relating to chronic health issues so let’s spend a few minutes exploring one of it’s frequent causes: blood sugar dysregulation. Blood sugar issues cause a cascade of issues that are damaging to the body from low energy to enzymatic shifts and hormonal imbalances. Let’s consider the following: someone has insulin resistance (basically early stages of diabetes or pre-diabetes) which basically results in an inability to get glucose (a key component for cellular energy) into the cells. That means glucose stays in the blood stream which is not good. Sugar, when sprinkled on foods (such as caramelized onions) causes them to break down (tissue damage).  Free floating glucose in your blood stream will lead to tissue damage and destruction of your eyes, kidneys, nerves, etc.. It also tends to promote increased Triglyceride formation which can lead to fatty liver and so on an so on but the area I want to focus on for the moment is Cortisol.

Cortisol, what we will refer to as our “survival hormone”, is produced by your adrenal glands. Think of your adrenals as a thermostat that helps regulate several systems in the body. In your house the thermostat tells the furnace to turn on when the temperature is too cold. In your body the adrenal glands produce cortisol (amongst other things) when your body needs support in certain areas as I will now explain. There are four key areas that Cortisol supports (at least in part) and you will soon realize the critical importance of each one. Here are the four areas: 1 – helps to maintain blood sugar stability between meals and while you are asleep, 2 – regulation of sleep/wake cycle in tandem with Melatonin (produced in your pineal gland), 3 – reduce and manage inflammation (this could be secondary to an injury or systemic inflammation in the body), and 4 – it helps support the body in times of emotional stress. I hope you can begin to appreciate the important nature of Cortisol. It is critical to the body’s health and stability but it is a limited resource which means that you only get so much a day and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Well if your car depends on gasoline then what happens when it’s gone? Now keep in mind that the normal allotment of cortisol is generally enough for your body when your systems are running properly. Problems occur when your body moves into what we will call “Survival Mode” and away from “Rest and Recovery”. In other words when your exceed your stress tolerance. Physical, chemical and emotional stresses have reached a tipping point for most people today and they are finding themselves out of balance. That can result in one of more of the following: fatigue, weight gain, poor sleep patterns, emotional disturbances, and the list goes on and on.

So what happens when your body runs low on Cortisol? The first thing it does is steal resources from other pathways in the body. Think of it this way: If your body had a choice between breeding and surviving then what would it choose? I hope you said Survival, because that is the correct answer. However, if your body is struggling it will deplete resources for sex hormone production and move them to the survival or “cortisol pathways”. That may be necessary but it is never ideal and leads to so many of the hormonal imbalances seen today. Low libido, vaginal dryness, female facial hair, and erectile dysfunction are all on the rise along with the many other negative consequences such as breast and prostate cancer. It is important to note that the resources in your other pathways are limited too. So when “Susie Survival” has stolen all of “Bobby Breeder’s” resources and you are still in survival mode then what happens next? This is where many people experience varying degrees of adrenal fatigue and that is never good. I could go on and on and will gladly continue this on future posts but for now suffice it to say that there is no one size fits all solution for fatigue, hormonal imbalances, sleep disturbances, emotional challenges and so forth. The focus of my practice and life is to bring our clients back into balance. To that end I harness some unique tools and technology as we help them transform their lives and express their Divinely engineered potential.

Unresolved Thyroid

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The thyroid gland is shaped like a shield and in Latin it means shield or protection.  Indeed, that is an appropriate title when one considers the impact it has on human physiology.  Every cell in your body has thyroid receptor sites on it which means it can impact every system of the body, every organ, every cell.  Indeed the thyroid gland helps set the metabolic tone for your whole body and that impacts a lot more than just your waist size.  I would recommend the book “Why do I still have Thyroid Symptoms when my Blood Work is Normal” by Dr. Datis Kharrazian as a detailed explanation into thyroid physiology.  I will lay out the basics here in hopes it will help you to understand how today’s average health care practitioner looks at thyroid dysfunction and some of the shortcomings to that approach.   Read More

Insulin and Blood Sugar Imbalances

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The body needs two things to survive, fuel and activation.  Fuel comes in the form of glucose and oxygen.  Having a disruption in our blood sugar balance can have profound effects on our health.  For example, let’s take someone with insulin resistance (pre-diabetic) and see some of the impacts that their blood sugar imbalance can have on their health.  First, we must realize that while glucose is required for fuel, too much fuel, just like too much of anything can cause a disruption in our physiological balance.  Normally glucose enters the cells of the body after insulin binds to a cell’s membrane at insulin receptor sites.  Without insulin binding to the insulin receptor site, glucose cannot enter the cell to provide fuel and stays in the blood stream.  Unfortunately, free glucose in our bloodstream is anything but good.  It has the potential to increase the amount and duration of glycosylation in our bodies which leads to tissue destruction and can cause major problems.  Diabetics often experience the effects of increased and prolonged glycosylation in their peripheral nerves which can lead to diabetic neuropathy.  They may attack organs such as their kidneys which can result in kidney failure and the need for dialysis or their retinas leading to diabetic retinopathy and ultimately blindness. (doi: 10.2337/diabetes.54.6.1615 Diabetes June 2005 vol. 54 no. 6 1615-1625)

Let’s consider one of my relatives who enjoyed all the blessings and curses of the typical Standard American Diet.  He flooded his blood with glucose so often that their pancreas worked overtime producing insulin to bind to the cells and allow glucose to enter the cells.  At first all was well, but very quickly his cells realized something that he did not.  They figured out that he didn’t need all that glucose.  In fact, they very quickly became insulin resistant.  Let’s look at it differently.  Imagine you have a neighbor and they call you up and ask you if you would watch their baby, Glucose, for an hour while they run to the store.  You are a nice neighbor and agree.  They drop off the baby, Glucose, and are on their way.  But then something unexpected happens, the doorbell rings again and it is Insulin again dropping off another baby, Glucose #2.  Reluctantly you take in the second baby.  Then a minute later the doorbell rings a third time and Insulin drops off baby #3.  Now how long does this have to happen before you stop answering the door?  Your cells aren’t stupid either, they stop letting insulin bind to the insulin receptor sites and you wind up with glucose running free through your bloodstream.  Your body knows that increased and prolonged glycosylation will destroy your nerves, kidneys and eyes, (not to mention you skin, and your brain) so it chooses to turn your glucose into stored energy, namely fats called triglycerides.  This requires a lot of energy and that leaves you feeling like you need a nap.  It also increases your fat stores and lowers your energy. If this sounds familiar then you may be insulin resistant.  The story only gets more interesting from this point.  Imagine this cycle repeating itself over and over.  We may have someone whose cells are practically starving, while glucose floats through the bloodstream, unable to get in because of their down regulation of insulin receptor sites.  The body knows that the free glucose in the blood stream will destroy organs so it turns it into more fat. All this can be a consequence of poor diet and lifestyle or genetics. Skinny Seattle’s New You Program identifies the stressors that might be contributing to your blood sugar dys-regulation and identifies what support may be helpful. Read More

Linear Health Care

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Let’s review our current health care model.  What happens when we go and see a physician in the Western world?  The typical scenario goes like this.  The patient presents with a symptom, the doctor takes a history, examines the patient, possibly runs some lab tests and then offers a diagnosis.  The next step is intervention.  Most often that involves the prescription of medications. A good question to ask is what is the goal of the meds? What are they aimed at addressing? Reducing or relieving the symptom is the goal.  We will refer to this as a linear health care model: Symptom, diagnosis, and then intervention.  This sounds good on the surface but as we look a little deeper we will begin to see that symptoms are often only the tip of the iceberg.  Certainly we want patients to feel better but fixating on symptoms often neglects the underlying mechanism of the problem.  When I was growing up, as the son of a traditional medical doctor, the goal in our house was to be symptom free.  If I had a cough I took cough syrup to suppress the cough.  If I had a fever I took a fever reducer.  If I had any symptom, the goal was to get rid of it, because health was defined as the absence of symptoms.  That sounded reasonable and after all I didn’t like coughing, running a temperature and so on.  My body felt broke and I needed some fixing, right?  Well a lot has changed in my understanding of health and life since I was a young child.  I define health a little differently today.   Read More