Got hemorrhoids? Some natural health solutions

3 08 got hemorrhoids

Even though they can ruin your life, nobody wants to talk about hemorrhoids, or “piles,” a condition in which the veins in the anus and rectum become swollen and inflamed. Although the internet is full of miracle hemorrhoid remedies, it’s best to address the underlying cause to keep them away for good.

Hemorrhoids can occur inside or outside the anal cavity. Symptoms include bleeding, feeling the urge for a bowel movement, and acute pain, itching, and irritation around the anus. Although hemorrhoids during pregnancy are normal for many women, in other cases they can indicate problems with your gut health, your diet, or even your brain function.

Constipation and hemorrhoids

The most common cause of hemorrhoids is constipation due to a diet low in fiber; the average American eats less than half the recommended dietary intake. If this is the cause, it’s an easy fix that requires eating ample amounts of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. Get used to including vegetables in most every meal—think veggie omelets for breakfast, salads with lunch, sautéed vegetables for dinner, and raw carrots and celery with snacks. When you increase your fiber intake, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water. Regular exercise also helps keep things moving along to prevent constipation.

Benefits of increasing your dietary fiber intake go well beyond preventing hemorrhoids. A high-fiber diet has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and some gut disorders.

Constipation is also a common symptom of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism and managing your thyroid condition may help relieve constipation. Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition and proper management requires managing the immune system. For more information read the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? by Datis Kharrazian. 

Could your brain be causing your constipation and hemorrhoids?

Sometimes constipation is not just diet related and hemorrhoids persist. Constipation may be caused by poor brain function, which Dr. Kharrazian discusses in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working? A large nerve called the vagus nerve runs between the brain and the gut. If brain health is suboptimal, the brain will not adequately fire into the vagus nerve. Due to diminished communication from the brain, gut function declines and can cause symptoms that include constipation and hemorrhoids. This helps explain why gut function suffers after head injuries, with dementia, or in children with autism.

Fortunately, it is often possible to improve function of the vagus nerve with exercises such as gargling vigorously and frequently, singing loudly, or stimulating the gag reflex. For more information, contact my office or read Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

Take care of gut health to prevent hemorrhoids

The anus and rectum are part of the digestive tract and hemorrhoids can be a sign digestive tract health is compromised. Common disorders of the digestive tract include inflammation, overgrowth of yeast and bacteria, and leaky gut, a condition in which the intestinal walls become overly porous and allow undigested foods and bacteria into the bloodstream. It’s important to address overall gut health if you have hemorrhoids.

There can be several ways of approaching this. One is to reduce inflammation of the gut by eliminating sugars, junk foods, and foods to which you are intolerant, such as gluten or dairy. For instance, many people have found relief from hemorrhoids by following a gluten-free diet.

Addressing yeast and bacteria overgrowth and following a leaky gut diet can further improve gut health and potentially relieve hemorrhoids. You can further support gut health with specific nutritional compounds—ask my office for advice.

A variety of factors can cause hemorrhoids, however it’s always important to address diet and the health of the digestive tract when looking to manage the underlying cause.

Dementia cases doubling–how to lower your risk

3 05 dementia doubling lower risk

The numbers of people with dementia are expected to more than double in 30 years and outpace both heart disease and cancer in terms of cost. Because dementia can take root in the brain years or decades before symptoms appear, you can take action now to avoid becoming part of this skyrocketing statistic.

Today, nearly 15 percent of people aged 71 or older have dementia—almost 4 million people. Experts predict that number will more than double to 9 million people by 2040, costing the country more than $500 billion.

What’s worse is these statistics do not include mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or “pre-dementia,” which accounts for another 22 percent of people over 71.

How to lower your risk of dementia

Some experts say there is no way to prevent dementia, but studies show diet and lifestyle influence brain health. We can use that knowledge to lower the risk for dementia.

For instance, poor diet and lifestyle choices can cause inflammation throughout the body, which ultimately inflames the brain and accelerates the degeneration of brain tissue. It may cause symptoms such as brain fog or a gradual decline in cognition, but the average person will not connect this with an increased risk of dementia later in life.

The good news is you can slow the rate of brain degeneration and lower your risk of dementia with the following tips:

  • Ditch the sugar, processed starchy foods, and junk foods. These foods lead to insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and Type 2 diabetes. The link between a sugar-laden diet and brain degeneration is so strong some researchers call Alzheimer’s “Type 3 diabetes,” a totally diet and lifestyle driven disease. Sugars and processed starches and the insulin surges they create are devastating to brain health.
     
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils (trans fats) found in processed foods, pastries, and many restaurant fried foods. The brain is mostly fat and the fats you eat play a role in its health. Hydrogenated fats are more like plastic than food and research shows eating hydrogenated fats leads to loss of cognitive function and smaller brain volume, evidence of degeneration. Eat healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, and seafood, and get plenty of omega 3 essential fatty acids. Ask my office how you can do this to lower your risk of dementia.
     
  • Go gluten-free and ditch other food intolerances. Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have been found to damage neurological tissue more than any other tissue in the body. Gluten causes brain inflammation in many people, which accelerates brain degeneration, increasing the risk of dementia. Find out through testing or an elimination diet whether you have intolerances to foods that could be triggering brain inflammation and degeneration.
     
  • Exercise your body and your brain. Exercise has been well documented as a way to boost brain health and lower your risk of dementia. You should engage in both aerobic exercise and weight training for ultimate dementia prevention. You should also exercise your brain with mentally stimulating activities, such as learning new things, reading, writing, playing chess, etc.

You need to be both a scholar and an athlete to prevent dementia

As Dr. Kharrazian says in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, if you want to lower your risk of dementia and enjoy optimal brain health, you need to be both a scholar and an athlete. Ask my office for more ideas on how to boost your brain health and lower your risk of dementia.

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How to slow aging in less than five minutes a day

3 08 slow aging less than 5 minutes a day

Americans spend billions of dollars every year on supplements, therapies, and procedures in an attempt to slow the aging process. But did you know you can stay younger longer in just a few minutes a day?

According to Dr. Datis Kharrazian in his book Why Isn’t My Brain Working?, reaching maximum heart rate for just a few minutes a day can release several anti-aging chemicals in your body, including human growth hormone (HGH).

HGH enhances vitality, healing and recovery, optimal hormone levels, bone strength, fat burning, brain function, cardiac health, and blood sugar levels. It’s no wonder Baby Boomers are enticed by the promises of HGH treatments—our levels of HGH decline as we age. However, HGH treatments are expensive and may be risky.

Instead, you can raise your HGH levels naturally by reaching your maximum heart rate for just a few minutes a day. Studies show spending time in your maximum heart rate releases a cascade of natural feel-good chemicals, including HGH.

These bursts of intense exercise trigger the release of not only HGH but also opioids, chemicals that produce that “exercise high.” High intensity exercise also triggers the release of chemicals that improve blood flow, dampen inflammation, and support healthy brain function—all great anti-aging benefits.

How to exercise to release anti-aging chemicals

You do not have to exercise long at high intensity. Just a few minutes a day at maximum heart rate can trigger the release of these chemicals. In fact, overtraining will work against you by increasing inflammation, exceeding your body’s antioxidant capacities, and taxing your adrenal glands.

First, determine your maximum heart rate. To do this, simply subtract your age from 220. For instance, a person who is 46 years old will have a maximum heart rate of 174. This is the zone you want to try to stay in for at least two to five minutes once a day to release your body’s feel-good, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory chemicals.

Examples of how to boost your heart rate include doing squats to fatigue, push ups to fatigue, jumping jacks, jump roping, sprinting, jumping on a trampoline, jump squats, jumping or stepping onto a platform, burpees, and more. Many find doing this within the first half hour of waking can help them become a “morning person.”

Although just a few minutes a day can go a long way to release anti-aging chemicals in your body, don’t confuse this protocol with an actual exercise regimen of longer duration. If you’re able, you should still add in longer sessions of strength and aerobic training throughout the week without overdoing it.

Be cautious and smart by not overdoing it

Not everyone will be able to do the few minutes of maximum heart rate exercise. Some people are simply too sick and too fragile. Others may need to work up to it over time. Be smart and listen to your body as over exercising can inflame and deplete your body, causing setbacks in your health recovery. According to Dr. Kharrazian, you know you’re doing it right if it makes you feel good and gives you more energy. You know you’re overdoing it if you “crash,” and it takes you a while to recover.

You can also support your body’s release of anti-aging chemicals by adding in specific nutritional compounds before and after your morning exercise to improve blood flow, maintain electrolyte balance, and dampen inflammation. Ask my office for advice.

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Seven things that cause adrenal fatigue

3 06 seven things cause adrenal fatigue

Feel tired all the time? You may suffer from adrenal fatigue, a condition in which the body has difficulty meeting the demands of everyday stress. Adrenal fatigue is often associated with too much stress from a busy lifestyle and lack of sleep, however other factors may lead to adrenal fatigue.

Signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches with stress or in the afternoon
  • Frequent colds and flus; weak immune system
  • Allergies
  • Slow to get going in the morning
  • Craving sweets and stimulants
  • Feeling lightheaded, shaky, or irritable between meals
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Difficulty sleeping; wake up at 3 or 4 a.m.
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting to standing
  • Low blood pressure
     

7 things that cause adrenal fatigue

Below are factors besides chronic stress and lack of sleep that can lead to adrenal fatigue.

1. Eating too much sugar and processed carbohydrates. When you eat something sweet or very starchy it causes your blood sugar to spike and then plummet. Your adrenal glands must then release stress hormone to raise it. When blood sugar swings up and down repeatedly it may fatigue the adrenals. Once people have adrenal fatigue they often suffer from low blood sugar, or reactive hypoglycemia, as well. Aim for a lower glycemic, whole foods diet that does not spike your blood sugar, as well as healthy fats, protein, and plenty of fiber.

2. Using caffeine and other stimulants. Caffeine, energy drinks, cigarettes, diet pills, and other stimulants cause extra release of stress hormones and can fatigue the adrenal system.

3. Overtraining. Exercise is vital to good health, but over-exercising can inflame and deplete the body, taxing the adrenal glands. If your performance during workouts is suffering and you feel tired, you may be overdoing it and fatiguing your adrenal glands.

4. Food intolerances. Eating foods that trigger an immune reaction can tax adrenal function. One of the more common food intolerances is gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats (unless they are gluten-free oats). Dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and yeast are other foods that can cause inflammation and fatigue the adrenal glands. You can do an elimination/provocation diet or a lab test to find out which foods you are sensitive to.

5. Gut infections. Many people have overgrowths of yeast, fungus, and bacteria due to poor diets. These infections lead to chronic inflammation both in the gut and throughout the body, which can contribute to adrenal fatigue.

6. Unmanaged autoimmune disease. More people have autoimmune disease than cancer and heart disease combined. Autoimmunity is when the immune system attacks and destroys a part of the body, such as the thyroid gland (Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism), the pancreas (Type I diabetes), or the nervous system (multiple sclerosis). You can have an autoimmune reaction causing symptoms that has not yet been identified as a disease because not enough tissue has been destroyed. Unmanaged autoimmunity keeps the immune system on red alert, which can fatigue the adrenals over time. You can use lab testing to screen for autoimmune reactions.

7. Brain inflammation. Chronic inflammation in the body from poor diet, chronic stress, autoimmunity, and other problems can inflame the brain. Common symptoms of brain inflammation include brain fog, low brain endurance and slow mental speed. Ask my office about nutritional compounds and strategies that can calm brain inflammation.

As you can see, managing adrenal fatigue is about more than just taking adrenal supplements, although that may be helpful. Adrenal fatigue is always secondary to something else. True management of adrenal fatigue requires addressing what caused it in the first place.

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