An Integrative Approach to Obesity By Jennifer Jennings DNP, MS

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

No that our summer is nearing its end, we reflect on friend and family gatherings, replete with a smorgasbord of foods, where we may have overindulged. With the fall approaching, routines are re-established as the kids’ head back to school, there is probably no better time to choose a more mindful approach to eating due to the physical and economic costs of obesity.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), annual medical costs of adult obesity-related illnesses range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion, and $14 billion for children. Obesity puts some 78 million Americans at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, hypertension, arthritis, high blood pressure and more.

Today, more than 30 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese, a rate that has increased steadily over the past 30 years. Never before have we seen so many children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and systemic inflammation. To make matters worse, these children also struggle emotionally due to bullying, social isolation, depression, and compromised self-esteem.

At Cardea Health Integrative (CHI) we focus on the root cause of chronic disease, treating the whole person, and not just their symptoms – much like peeling back the layers of an onion. Our treatment plans include measuring metabolic endocrine pathways, thyroid, hormone, protein, insulin, and cholesterol levels. We also look for inflammation markers, which is related to obesity causes. We look at each patient’s diet, as foods such as refined sugars, hydrogenated vegetable oils, fried foods, enriched/bleached flours, dairy, artificial sweeteners and additives, gluten-containing foods, and processed/cured meats are also linked to inflammation. We also refer to the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII), a new tool to assess and quantify the inflammatory risk of certain foods.

According to the Harvard School of Public Health, what we choose to eat plays a large role in determining our risk of gaining too much weight. And NIH.gov states that toxic elements in our environment, such as BPA, phthalates, and glyphosate, and toxic chemicals can adversely affect our metabolic health and result in leaky gut.

Fortunately, proper diet and exercise can help. For most of our patients just 30 minutes three days per week of high intensity interval training, which is generally safe for everyone, makes a big difference. Additionally, a ketogenic with most calories coming from natural fats such as meats, fish, butter, and cold pressed oils, and fewer calories from carbohydrates results in significant weight loss. Detoxification is important, too, and we offer a number of therapies to assist with detoxification.

As with any new diet and exercise regime, supervision is important. In integrative medicine we treat the whole person. Once we determine what is happening in a person’s body, we find that they are on their way to healthier outcomes. As a person living with an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I have learned first-hand that personalized medicine and getting to the root cause of disease is the best medicine.

Obesity: root cause analysis and contributing factors By Dr. Jennings

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

As we anxiously await warmer temps to spend time outside and increase our activity levels, it important to exercise judgment when eating at summer BBQs, graduation parties and weddings. July is National Obesity Awareness month, a good time to review the root cause of obesity and understand the contributing factors and risk of obesity.

According to the CDC, 2016 data reveal that more than 1/3 (36.5%) of US adults have obesity, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, and certain cancers. The annual cost of obesity in 2008 was $147 billion; with the medical costs for obese individuals is $1,429 higher than normal weight individuals.

Pediatric obesity rates have tripled since 1970, with statistics revealing 1 in 5 school age children struggle with obesity. This has caused adult onset diseases in the pediatric population, including Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and systemic inflammation, to name a few. The research demonstrates that these children struggle not only physically, but also emotionally; with higher rates of bullying, social isolation, depression and compromised self esteem.

Research has shown that a high saturated fat diet is associated with reduced bone mineral density, resulting in lipid metabolism disorders, affecting the bone marrow and increasing inflammation (Li Tian & Xijie, 2017). The brain, intestines and heart prefer healthy fats, such as avocado, flax oil/meal, olive oil/olives and coconut oil; preferably MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil. Healthy fats improve good cholesterol, enhance memory, increase energy, decrease inflammation and optimize heart function.

At Cardea Health Integrative (CHI), we search for the root cause of disease, with the emerging evidence with epigenetics, we know that we can modify up to 70-80% of our genetic code with lifestyle, diet and preventative medicine.

Its imperative with chronic disease to dig deeper, and slowly peel the layers of the onion, to determine the root cause of disease, just treating symptoms does not address the cause. In medicine we are very good about answering the “What and how” of disease management, but we do not focus enough on the “WHY”?

A 2017 study by Di Ciaula & Portincasa links maternal diet & intestinal microbiota as a risk to obesity. Therefore, at CHI part of our treatment plan for obesity includes a probiotic that contains organisms that can assist with weight loss, particularly lactobacillus Gasseri.

The treatment plans includes measuring the metabolic/endocrine pathways. Part of the work up is to measure a comprehensive thyroid panel (assessing low normal trends), hormones via saliva testing, HgA1c- (a three month measurement of blood glucose), insulin levels, cholesterol and systemic inflammatory markers.

Research demonstrates that obesity is consistent with chronic systemic inflammation and that inflammatory foods are associated with a risk of weight gain, greater average weight gain annually and risk of obesity (The SUN Cohort, 2017). Foods that promote inflammation are sugar, Vegetable-Oil, Fried Foods, Refined Flour, Dairy, Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Additives, saturated fats, gluten, processed/cured meats to name a few. The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) is a new tool available to assess and quantify the inflammatory risk of certain foods.

Diet and exercise is paramount, a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting is evidence based for longevity and weight management. This should be medically supervised and coupled with high intensity interval training. Sounds daunting, but can see results in just 30 min 3 days/week.

The toxic world we live in promotes obesity in adults and pediatrics as well. Substances such as BPA, phthalates and pesticides, such as glyphosate can promote obesity. Adipose cells store toxins and chemicals, which adversely affect metabolic health (Di Ciaula & Portincasa, 2017). Therefore, during a weight loss program, one may release many toxins and experience symptoms related to this. At Cardea Health Integrative we offer Calcium EDTA chelation therapy to assist with heavy metal detox and also glutathione, the master antioxidant and detoxifier.

Operating an integrative medicine practice, it is imperative to assess the “whole person”. Often times lab work may show subtle nuances, such as a “low normal” measurement. Once these deficiencies are replaced, most often patients’ will have a resolution of symptoms. Having an autoimmune disease myself, I have learned firsthand that personalized medicine is the BEST medicine.

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Juice Cleanse by Roselyn Kasmire

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

Ladies and gentlemen. Winter is over. So begins the impending doom. Can you guess what is around the corner? I’ll give you a hint. Most of us dread this time of year. Ding ding ding!!! You guessed it. Bathing suit season. Personally I put on 10 pounds during the winter. There is nothing I despise more than going to the store with the worst lighting ever to try on bathing suits. On second thought, I can’t blame the lighting.

Sometimes we make excuses for not eating right or we are simply too busy to go to the gym. Ask yourself. Am I one of those people? If I’m being brutally honest, I am indeed. I can’t even keep ice cream in the freezer because I’ll eat the whole thing while watching my favorite TV show. I came to a painful realization that I need to actually work hard to start eating healthy and exercise to get back into shape.

Recently, I ran into one of my girlfriends who is a cancer survivor. One of the things she attributes to her success is “clean eating”. According to Fitness magazine, clean eating focuses on consumption of whole foods or “real” foods; those that are un-or minimally processed, refined, and handled, making them as close to the natural form as possible. She told me about a local store named Squeeze that cold presses their raw juices, making for a potent nutritional boost. I decided to give it a try. And learned about the Squeeze juice cleanse. It seemed like a good way to kick start my weight loss journey. I went right over to the store. The owner of the store Maureen was there greeting customers. I ended up talking to her about the juice cleanse. She was very informative and gave me informative literature which explained how cleansing is beneficial to the body. I purchased my three day cleanse and was excited to start it the following day.

The next day, I woke up and started my first day cleanse. The taste was not bad at all. I actually liked it. Now, let me tell you this was not an easy task for me especially working in a school and being around so many yummy treats. Even the students were asking me what I was drinking. Me being a jokester, I had to mess with them a little. I would tell them my green juice was booger juice which grossed them out and my red juice was blood. But that didn’t last long since they are eighth graders. They seemed very interested in what I was drinking. I explained to them what I was doing and they also wanted to try some. It felt good to know that my healthy choice inspired curiosity among my students. It helped me succeed that first day. I felt like a champion.

Then came the challenge. Warning! Do not and I will repeat do not be tempted to go and meet people out for dinner when you are cleansing. I was so proud of myself during the day for sticking to my juices. Later that night, I had some friends who invited me out to dinner. I informed them I was not going to eat but I’ll come and hang out for a little bit. This is where it all went wrong. I arrived at the restaurant and to my dismay, steaming atop the table of friendly faces, sat a single seductive slice of Margherita pizza. The smell of the basil hung heavy in the air. It was like a magnet pulling me closer. Like a drug. How can I possibly resist that last piece? The internal fist fight between my brain and stomach raged on while the hungry auto pilot took control. I had to do it. Food never tasted so good. Yet, after eating it, I was disappointed in myself. But it gave me the determination to be stronger the following day. Now, I was really determined. I made a promise with my brain and said, “I’m going to do it tomorrow”.

On the second day, I woke up feeling fresh and determined. By the way prepare yourself you will have to use the bathroom. Basically, your body is getting rid of everything in your intestine. Cleaning you out! No details needed. Back to feeling fresh. I went to work this time bringing some juice for my students. During lunch I did provide them with a juice. At first they made their stinky face but when they tried it they actually liked it. I was feeling good, I survived the day with no slip ups. When the evening came I was in the clear. I made it without snacking in between. I was feeling great. I went to bed feeling proud and healthy.

By the third day, this was a piece of cake (thankfully not literally) since my mind was in the game. You know the saying mind over matter? Well, that was my brain doing all the talking. My stomach had no chance to win this battle. I had more energy and felt amazing. I had no problem following my juice schedule. I actually went back to Squeeze to talk to Maureen and tell her my progress. I did end up confessing on how I cheated the first day. She said it was o.k, it definitely happens and that there is also a juice cleanse which includes a regular meal. Yet my stubborn self wanted a challenge and challenge it was.

Just to be able to say I did it, I purchased and extra day of juice to have a solid three days. And I’m glad I did. It made me feel pride, motivation, and most of all health and self-determination. My overall experience with the juice cleanse was positive. I felt more energy, overall health and well being. This was a great way to kick start my weight loss journey.

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Eating Disorder by Cassidy Gertis

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

With my deadline approaching for the upcoming Buffalo Wellness blog I contemplated what I should write about this time around. I obviously didn’t want to write about anything similar to the past blogs written, but I also wanted to make sure I wrote about something that I have a connection to and can write about with knowledge and sincerity rather than picking a topic and relying on google search and copy and paste in order to get a blog written. As browsing through Facebook like any average person does when they are trying to put a task to the side because they just don’t want to it at that time, I came across a good friend and co-worker of mines Facebook post stating that it was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As I read her blog I wasn’t necessarily in complete shock for I heard her mention once of an eating disorder, but I was unaware of the details and her struggle. As I read on my heart sank for with every sentence I read my past reemerged and I sat relating to every little thing she said. It was then that I finally, after 7 years decided it was time to tell my story and to finally let everyone in on my secret for with reading her blog it made me feel like I wasn’t alone, like I wasn’t crazy, “sick”, and selfish like most thought. What most people don’t realize is an eating disorder is not a lifestyle we choose, but an illness that we must fight. This was not something I wanted; it is an addiction just like alcohol and drugs. It was a parasite that started off small and grew literally eating me from the inside out. It’s not like we woke up one day and thought “gee! I feel like depriving myself today” or “You know what I feel like making my family suffer by watching me slowly deteriorate day by day”. As I go into my story I hope that if you take anything away from this blog it’s to understand the seriousness that goes on behind such an illness so that maybe you one day will be aware and understand how to help and most of all learn not to judge and look with understanding. Many think, “How can you let yourself get that skinny, that sick, that obsessed?!” You think putting weight on is the easiest thing in the world and talk to us like we can make it happen like that. Well there is more then what is seen on the surface.

I can’t even say it started back when I first started to lose weight in 2010 for I know that the root of my disorder was ultimately caused by my low confidence and depression back in high school. Ever since then my personality grew stronger and stronger into an obsession of wanting to just make everyone around me happy and proud whether it be coaches, parents, family, friends that I soon forgot what it meant to make myself happy. By no means did I have a terrible past, especially compared to others and that makes it even more frustrating when I would get so upset and depressed over stupid things and even though I knew it wasn’t terrible I still fell into deep depression and anxiety. It really started to hit its peak once I transferred into SUNY Fredonia as a mid-year Sophmore. I was in a new environment, I had a hard time making friends and fitting in. I was in a college full of arts and theater students as I went for Sports and Exercise Science. I figured I would join track in order to try to meet more like minded people, track is a very individualized sport so…. that wasn’t the smartest choice considering everyone on the team already had their “cliché” so to say, long distance runners with long distance runners, sprinters with sprinter, jumpers with jumpers and then me a thrower, along with 4 other throwers! Not saying they weren’t nice but it was more of making acquaintances everywhere I went, not friends. With the increase in knowledge and love in exercise and nutrition I started spending more and more time at the gym for it was in my building where most my classes were so instead of going back to my dorm or out to get food by myself, why not kill time at the fitness center? Soon I found myself spending every waking minute I had either at the gym, in classes, in the library or my room studying. My mood started to change, I became stressed out so easily, my anxiety was through the roof and not even my family could stand being around me for it was like walking on egg shells worried they would say something to trigger me.

Going out drinking or hanging out with others became far and few for when everyone wanted to go out to eat it was either too early or too late passed my scheduled eating time or I was too tired and exhausted from getting up early to go the gym and school all day. Mentally going out meant I most likely would go over my calories and eat something I shouldn’t eat or everyone would want to stay out passed my “bed time”, which I couldn’t do for no matter how much sleep I got I was always exhausted. Most of the time when I did go out I just felt too awkward and out of place being around others. It was a vicious cycle of being depressed because I had no one to hang out with and do things with that I choose the gym over social activities every time. I was always on the go and always followed my routine schedule and would have anxiety when that routine would break! What others don’t realize about eating disorders is they dominate your entire life from every thought and every action and it’s not to get attention from others. Eating disorders are linked with depression, anxiety and self-harm, it is not to get attention!

As time passed the condition got worse and a professor pulled me aside to voice her concern, Oh how pissed I was that she said something to me! Automatically I went on the defense, “What does she know”? Denial, a huge indicator of any disorder. Even though I heard it from my mom, sister, aunts, uncles, colleagues, etc. that I was “looking too skinny” I was always in denial of what I let myself become. This particular professor made me go to the college’s medical counselor to be weighed in daily for a week. I had 2 weeks to prove to everyone that I could gain weight, 2 weeks: piece of cake I thought, I will show them. Day 1 I weighed in 5’6” at 94 lbs. The doctor told me I was bordering the line of hospitalization and that I could drop dead due to dangerously low heart rate and blood pressure. They would continue to monitor me for 2 weeks for me to show signs of weight gain. I started to eat more, but like I always do when I over eat, I felt guilty and gross. I found myself sneaking into the gym and even doing jumping jacks and Burpees in my dorm room to make myself feel better. I must say that unlike most with an eating disorder I never binged and purged but rather took the root of what is called Orthorexia where I was obsessive about eating clean and excessive exercise and when I ate poorly or overate I would revert to exercise to burn it off. It’s not like I wanted to look like a model or had this vision of a perfect body and a perfect look, I was in fact complete opposite. I never cared much about my looks for I grew up a Tom boy, always running around with baggy dirt stained clothes! Fashion was never a staple of mine so why I took such an obsession to my body, I still don’t know. I think it was for once in my life I felt like I was actually good at something. I was good at working out and eating clean, but then I just took it too where I felt I had to perfect it and went too far. There was no goal weight or sought look for every goal weight and ideal look was never good enough.

Fast forward to 2 weeks after initial weigh in, didn’t gain a pound and now I am sitting blind-sided next to my parents and sister as the nurse tells me I am suspended from college on “medical leave.” I can say I have never felt so much rage, for my family was behind the suspension the whole time. I did not speak a word to them as they watched me throw every little thing I had into boxes and pack up my dorm room to get the hell out of there. On the flip sided I was never so eager to leave that place for I never liked the college to begin with and now at that moment I hated every little thing about it. My sister cried as she tried to talk to me, tried to make me understand, but there was no reasoning with me; I was pissed, I was hurt, and I was over life. After being kicked out I was under strict house arrest, no working out, therapy every week, weigh in every week, I was forced to eat 2200 calories to start which made me want to throw up in pain every day. I would eat and yearn to just go do cardio or lift weights so bad that it killed me! It made me so angry when my family tried forcing me to eat, I figured I would just wait even longer just to piss them off and show that I was in control of the situation. Even at therapy I choose to go against, I knew what to do at the sessions, say my “Yes, I am in the wrong” and “Yes, I know I have a problem” blah blah blah. That part I got cleared on quick just for “BSing” my way through and say things she wanted to hear. The weigh-ins however took a little longer in progress. I remember pounding water before weighing in that right after I had to quickly rush to the bathroom for I felt my bladder was about to explode. Each week was either a pound heavier or the same. My days consisted of sitting on the couch watching Price is Right and Golden Girls, sneaking off to the down stairs gym every time my dad walked outside for a cigarette break, and still refusing to speak and see anyone. It’s funny because out of all the support and care I was receiving from my family it just for some reason wasn’t good enough. Throughout all this the only words my father spoke to me about the situation was when he asked me why I can’t just put weight on, I told him the same reason he couldn’t just stop smoking. You know it’s bad for you and killing you, but you got to want to stop. I screamed back at him “the day he stopped smoking would be the day I would put weight on”. It wasn’t until one night I walked up from down stairs and saw my father, a man who I only saw tear up once at his father’s funeral, a man who rarely spoke unless it was to crack a joke to you, a man who rarely said I love you unless you said it first, was leaned over the counter, glasses in his one hand and his face buried in the other crying. He simply looked up at me and said “I don’t know what to do, I don’t know how to help,” all I could say in return was “there is nothing you can do dad, this is my problem and I will deal with it myself”. It was that night that I discovered I wanted to do it, I wanted to conquer this illness because my stubborn hard headed personality made me want to prove to everyone that I could and that I wasn’t a failure.

I won’t go into much detail other than through time my roller coaster of a life brought me to highs and lows but altogether I began to climb, I began to live again. I have proven myself strong with no relapse for I have now worked as a Personal trainer and lived my life in the gym environment for over 6 years, I have competition in two body building/ fitness competitions and none of that has brought me into a full relapse. I literally went through the most heartbreaking time of my life a year ago, losing my father and even though all I wanted to do was escape through exercise I remembered the reason and my purpose to kicking the illness in the first place, my father, my family’s love and support, and my will to conquer. Today I am proud of my body, I found my happy weight and even though I may still be a slim figure I know that I am healthy and fit. I still love food. It’s a complicated relationship for I am pretty sure I think about food more than anyone else I know, but I have learned to enjoy my splurges with others and still engage in social activities and no longer let it keep me from being happy. No matter how far in recovery I am, I still have anxiety and OCD and freak out with little comments like “Well maybe if you put some meat on your bones” “What do you know you probably have always been super skinny” for no one knows what I went through to even get to the point that I am at today. A “full recovery” doesn’t mean I don’t slip up here and there and its always a vicious cycle in my head of relapse, guilt, recovery, repeat, but every day I look at what I was and everyday it keeps me from becoming that ever again. I have or will never expect you, my family, my friends to fully understand what I went through and still go through for I quite honestly will never understand it myself. What I do understand however is that it’s not something I choose for myself and the same goes with anyone with an addiction problem, so again I please just ask that everyone take the time to not force help upon others, but to guide them towards the right path without judgment and without negativity, but with understanding.

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A NATURAL APPROACH TO FIBROMYALGIA by Dr. Ray Cooley

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

Over 5 million Americans know what it is like to suffer from fibromyalgia. This disorder is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain but often it is accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Unfortunately, fibromyalgia is a great example of how putting a label on a condition does very little to actual treat it. Truthfully, there really is no definitive diagnosis of fibromyalgia, it is based mainly on the opinion of the provider. Fibromyalgia is really a collection of symptoms that could have many different causes.

In functional medicine, we never want to diagnose a name we want to diagnose a dysfunctional process. Many of the people that suffer from fibromyalgia do not realize that there are natural approaches for fixing the condition and that the natural approaches can be more effective. It is very common for fibromyalgia patients to also suffer from chronic fatigue, IBS, sleep dysfunction, hormone imbalances, and depression. Therefore, it is necessary for the provider to understand that all of these symptoms may be related and that there may be common underlying causes to all of these symptoms.

Typical treatment for fibromyalgia usually involves anti-inflammatory medications, anti-depressants, anti-seizure, or some combination of all three. These medications may provide some relief, but most patients are still often dealing with chronic daily pain, in addition to lack of energy and excitement for a fulfilling life.

In order to treat fibromyalgia the following issues need to be addressed:

1. Neurotransmitter Imbalances

2. Neuroinflammation

3. Lack of movement

The following article will discuss some of the natural approaches required to address the above causes of fibromyalgia.

NEUROTRANSMITTER IMBALANCES

Two of the most common medications for fibromyalgia are anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs.These medications attempt to improve the effectiveness of your body’s neurotransmitters; namely Serotonin and GABA. But many people do not realize that there are natural approaches for increasing the availability of these neurotransmitters.

SEROTONIN

Many anti-depressants are considered Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). The purpose of these meds is to increase the amount of available serotonin in your nervous system. Serotonin is considered the feel good neurotransmitter. Symptoms of low serotonin can be:

Loss of pleasure in hobbies and interests
Feelings of inner rage and anger
Feelings of depression
Difficulty finding joy from life’s pleasures
Depression when it is cloudy
Loss of enthusiasm for favorite activities
Not enjoying your favorite foods
Unable to sleep

One key aspect of serotonin deficiency that is rarely discussed is that 90% of your serotonin is made in your gut; therefore a digestive dysfunction may very well be causing you to have low serotonin. Other causes may be B-vitamin, Mg, or Zinc deficiency, lack of exercise, lack of brain stimulation, hormone imbalance (particularly estrogen) or lack of sunlight (sunlight does way more than just increase Vitamin D). If you have fibromyalgia and you received a benefit from Cymbalta or Lexapro, then you need to ask yourself why, and try to explore possible solutions for improving your serotonin status.

GABA

Anti-anxiety medications are considered GABA-ergic drugs, and they are popular medications such as Neurontin, Lyrica, Xanax, and Ambien. GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. One way to think of fibromyalgia is that the nerve fibers are over-excited and GABA will help calm down this excitability. Patients with low GABA can have the following symptoms:

Difficulty sleeping
Panic Attacks
Hard to turn off your brain
Can’t relax
Easily overwhelmed

However, there can be a variety of causes why someone will have low GABA. Gluten sensitivity is common among patients with low GABA. This is because gluten interferes with the enzyme needed to make GABA. In addition, when the enzyme to make GABA is inefficient, the problem is compounded because patients will end up with not only low GABA but also excess Glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and in excess it is very neurotoxic. This is why people get headaches from Chinese food with MSG. Therefore, patients with fibromyalgia should have strict avoidance of MSG and Aspartame because if this neurotoxic effect.

Hormone issues are often accompanied by GABA dysfunction. Many females suffer from estrogen dominance or another way of saying low progesterone. Progesterone and GABA worked together, therefore a patient may have GABA issues being driven from progesterone imbalances. Other causes of GABA dysfunction are anemia, poor energy production, dysfunctional Ammonia metabolism (often driven from poor gut function), poor blood sugar metabolism, and toxicity. Key supplements that I frequently use to improve GABA status are Magnesium, Valerian Root, B6, Ashwagandha, Theanine, and Taurine.

NEUROINFLAMMATION

Another common medication for fibromyalgia are NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories, ex. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Aleve). However, long term use of these medications can lead to many problems and they are definitely not addressing the cause. For more information please see the article, How Does Ibuprofen Work?

The most important thing to understanding chronic inflammation is to understand that it is a reflection of immune dysfunction. And the most common causes of immune dysfunction are:

Poor Diet – a diet high in processed foods (refined carbohydrates, industrial seed oils) predisposes an individual to inflammation

Dysbiosis – chronic infections are often at the root of chronic immune dysfunction

Food Allergies/Sensitivities – often driven from leaky gut syndrome, where your body ignites its inflammatory process caused from undigested protein particles.

Toxic overload – living in a toxic environment, could be a moldy house or poor water/air quality can wreak havoc on your immune responses

Stress / Overtraining – working too hard without sufficient time to recover will over time impair your immune function.

Any chronic inflammatory disease is often dealing with at least one of the above problems. With fibromyalgia one of the unique aspects of the syndrome is that it has a tendency to create inflammation on the nerves not just the muscular tissue. Therefore, key supplements for nerve health are:

DHA – fish oil supplements will contain DHA, but you will be better served taking one that has more DHA than EPA, my two favorites are Tuna Oil from Standard Process and ProDHA from Nordic Naturals

Arachidonic Acid – a key component of the brain, the best sources of this are from organic/pasture raised meat and dairy

Magnesium – similar to GABA, magnesium will help calm down neurosensitivity

Resveratrol / Curcumin – these two bioflavonoids are great anti-inflammatories

EXERCISE / MOVEMENT

The last key component for dealing with fibromyalgia is exercise but more importantly movement. Fibromyalgia could be considered a condition where there is no inhibition of nociceptors to the brain. Nociceptors are the nerve fibers that sense tissue damaging stimuli. Think of when you hit your finger with a hammer, that is an excessive stimulation of nociceptors. Also, when hit your finger you will instinctively shake your hand, this occurs because this will stimulate mechanoreceptors. Mechanoreceptors travel to the brain faster than nociceptors and will block nociceptor signals from getting to the brain.

One of the best ways to stimulate mechanoreceptors is through exercise and movement. Early on, gentle movement practices will be more beneficial because most fibromyalgia patients will have difficulty meeting the metabolic demand for more strenuous activity. Activities such as Yoga, Qi Gong, Pool Exercises, but also just walking is a great pain reliever and healer to the nervous system.

This information is intended to make the patient aware that in order to fix a fibromyalgia condition many different aspects of health need to be addressed. There will never be a fibromyalgia pill that cures the disease, because there are too many root causes that drive the condition. Also, if you have been labelled with fibromyalgia don’t use the condition as an excuse to be in constant pain and not participant in activities, use the diagnosis as a wake up call that you need to change your habits and work with a professional who can guide you along the way.

Healthy lifestyle. Back and spine disease. Closeup back view tired female massaging her neck colored in red isolated on gray background

Healthy lifestyle. Back and spine disease. Closeup back view tired female massaging her neck colored in red isolated on gray background

The Year of Anger By Emily Lorraine

Written by Erica on . Posted in Wellness

an•ger /’aNGɡər/

noun 1.a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. Anger is hard. It’s hard to express and it’s hard to handle. It makes us anxious and uncomfortable. Rather than deal with it, many of us try to sweep it under the rug. We’ve been led to believe we should simply let it go. This belief has literally become a pop culture phenomenon cultivated by the theme song Let It Go from the movie Frozen.

Has anyone ever just let it go? I’m not talking about when someone cuts you off during your morning commute. I’m talking about the kind of problems that keep you awake at night. To appease your confidants, you might quell talking about it to death, but it probably plays in your head at the same rate as Friends reruns on TBS. It affects your sleep, your work and your ability to handle daily tasks. It can be consuming. And all because you’re trying to just let it go rather than just.deal.with.it.

Everyone has a go-to emotion. When we become irritated, upset or stressed, some of us cry. Some of us get angry. I get angry. I mutter swear words. I think mean things. I grind my teeth. I become irritated with myself and others. I make myself sick, resulting in headaches and neck pain. This past year tested my ability to handle stress. It forced me to face my anger. As someone who takes her health seriously, I decided to heed my own advice and take my mental health seriously. I hired a therapist and here’s what I learned: • Anger is the unsexy emotion. It’s much cooler to appear calm, cool and collected. It’s cool to let it go. • You can’t stop anger. And that’s okay. But you can control how you react to it, how you cope. • You have a right to be angry. You are allowed to be angry as much as you experience other emotions.

As a culture, we associate anger with jealousy, hate, malice, abuse and negativity. It is ugly. It is villainous. We’ve been programmed to believe that. Think about your favorite Disney movies. There’s always a villain and often – but not all the time – they are misunderstood and angry with the cards they’ve been dealt.

Anger is normal. It can be beautiful. It can even nurture you by pushing you to become a better version of yourself. It can be the drive you need to help make the world a better place – or at the very least, your world. It is not your emotion that defines you, but how you cope. To cope means to struggle or deal, especially on fairly even terms or with some degree of success. It doesn’t mean you’ve solved your problems. I am coping. I’m not physically violent. I don’t have destructive behaviors (like alcohol or drugs). I’m not hateful. I am just angry, and sometimes I’m not. In fact, most of the time, I’m not. But when I am, I am allowed to peacefully deal with my anger in my own way – whether it be through therapy, writing, venting to a friend or working out. We all need outlets. When my normal gym routine failed me, I turned to therapy. It is incredibly uncomfortable for me to disclose my problems to a stranger, but I continue to do it. I believe it will make me a better person.

I am constantly reminded of this quote from Cheryl Strayed: “Whatever happens to you belongs to you. Make it yours. Feed it to yourself even if it feels impossible to swallow. Let it nurture you, because it will.” 2017: The year my anger nurtured me.

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