Posts Tagged as: Chiropractor

Stress can cause PMS, menopause problems, and more

719 stress pms menopause copy

It’s not easy being female — the hormonal ups and downs each month through puberty and then menopause can range from mildly irritating to downright debilitating. Although many, if not most, women suffer from some degree of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), the extreme health and mood imbalances associated with PMS and menopause are a sign your system is out of whack, most likely because of stress.

Hormone balance is very sensitive to stress, inflammation, toxins, poor diet, sleep deprivation, lack of exercise, too little sunlight, and other common factors of modern life. Because the reproductive hormones play an important role in brain health, mood, and brain inflammation, when they’re off, brain function and mood suffer.

In women, imbalances are characterized by excess estrogen, insufficient progesterone, or too much testosterone. Stress and blood sugar that is either too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (insulin resistance) are the most common culprits of PMS symptoms and a miserable menopause transition.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalances in women include:

  • Frequent or irregular menstruation
  • Mood instability
  • Depression
  • Problems sleeping
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Crying easily
  • Irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Low libido
  • Migraines

Low progesterone from chronic stress

One of the more common reasons for hormonal imbalance is low progesterone caused by chronic stress. This is a mechanism called “pregnenolone steal,” when chronic stress robs the compounds needed to make progesterone in order to make stress hormones instead. This leads to PMS and sets the stage for a miserable menopause transition.

When it comes to stress, the brain does not know whether you are angry at traffic, soaring and crashing after snacking on a glazed donut and triple-shot caramel latte, or narrowly escaping being trampled by a bison. All it knows is to prepare for fight or flight and that reproduction hormones can wait until things have settled down. But for many sleep-deprived, over-stressed Americans fueled on caffeine and sugar, settling down rarely truly happens.

The fix isn’t necessarily in a tub of progesterone cream; first address the sources of stress. A primary stress-buster is a diet that stabilizes blood sugar. People often either eat too infrequently and too sparingly, or they overeat and eat too much sugar. Both are stressful for the body.

Here are some other common causes of chronic stress that lead to miserable PMS and menopause:

  • Sugar, sweeteners, starchy foods (rice, pasta, bread, etc.), too much caffeine
  • Food sensitivities (gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, nuts, grains, etc.)
  • Leaky gut and gut inflammation symptoms — gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, irritable bowel
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Pain and inflammation — joint and muscle pain, skin rashes, respiratory issues, brain fog, fatigue, depression
  • Autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism
  • Overdoing it, over exercising, not taking time for yourself
  • Bad diet of junk foods, fast foods, processed foods

Restoring hormonal balance naturally

Ideas to halt pregnenolone steal include an anti-inflammatory diet, stabilizing blood sugar, restoring gut health, dampening pain and inflammation, and managing autoimmunity. These are functional medicine basics. Make sure you are eating the right amounts and kinds of essential fatty acids. Additionally, certain botanicals are effective in supporting female hormone health and the body’s stress handling systems. Ask my office for more advice.

 

Sugar Industry Funds Studies to Influence Nutrition

Portland OR chiropractorNutrition experts recommend women consume less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, a day of added sugar (9 teaspoons for men). Yet the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons a day! And that doesn’t even include fruit juice, a known sugar bomb.

How did we allow ourselves to stray so far? Powerful lobbyists with deep pockets played a big role in our overly lax boundaries with a substance that is tanking the world’s developed nations.

Recent findings show that 50 years ago the sugar industry quietly paid for research to blame fat for heart disease and minimize sugar’s role.

Of course, now we know that the highly inflammatory effects of excess sugar are a major contributor to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases.  

Unfortunately, the propaganda campaign didn’t stop 50 years ago; it’s still going strong today.

Sickly sweet sales and marketing

For instance, a study funded by the grape-juice industry shows grape juice is good for brain function, despite it packing a whopping 36 grams of sugar per cup, more than what a person should consume in an entire day. Sugar is so degenerative to the brain that scientists now call Alzheimer’s disease type 3 diabetes.

Coca-cola spent more than $130 million dollars to fund research that said exercise is more important than diet in the weight loss battle. While exercise is indeed important, how you fuel your body is equally important. We can assume Coca-Cola did not fund the studies showing a link between the obesity epidemic and soda consumption in the United States.

And, in a brazen show of hubris, the National Confectioner’s Association funded research that concluded children who eat candy weigh less than those who don’t. Despite being naysaid by one of its own scientists, the study nevertheless went on to be published in a respected journal.

Although food giants can buy their way into scientific journals, these studies are often found to be poorly designed, incomplete, and only highlight the positives while ignoring the negatives. But because the average journalist is not trained in how to discern good research from bad, bad studies get ample press.

To spotlight these problems, one science writer conducted a hoax study that concluded eating chocolate causes weight loss and watched the media play it up.

Can you believe science? Yes, be mindful of fads

Does that mean you can’t believe any science? No, plenty of good research still happens.
The trick is to ferret out the nutritional guidelines based on hundreds of solid studies and be wary of the headline grabbers.

At the end of the day, some nutritional truisms have held fast over the years:


⦁    Eat lots of different vegetables every day
⦁    Eat a whole foods diet (avoid processed foods)
⦁    Avoid or minimize sugars, junk foods, sodas, and juices
⦁    Eat healthy fats
⦁    Avoid the foods to which you are sensitive (gluten and dairy are common ones)
⦁    Exercise daily
⦁    Cultivate positive experiences, habits, and thoughts

 

Do you crash in the afternoon but are wide awake at 3 or 4 am ?

Portland OR ChiropractorAre you often wide awake around 3 or 4 a.m., your mind racing with anxiety, but then collapsing into a near coma in the late afternoon? This maddening cycle of waking up and falling asleep at inconvenient hours is often relieved by managing low blood sugar.

Why you’re wide awake at 3 or 4 a.m.

Although sleep is a time for the body to rest, your brain is still busy working on repair and regeneration, transforming the day’s impressions into lasting memories, and keeping you entertained with dreams.  

The brain demands more fuel than any other organ, about 20 percent of the body’s total supply. These needs don’t abate during sleep, when your body is fasting.

In the absence of food, the body keeps the brain going by gradually raising the adrenal hormone cortisol, which triggers the production of glucose to feed the brain through the night.

At least in theory.

Chronic low blood sugar breaks this system down because it skews cortisol rhythms and release. When your brain starts to run low on fuel during the night, cortisol may lag in triggering glucose release.

The brain cannot wait until breakfast and perceives this lack of fuel supply as an emergency. As a result, the body releases more urgent “fight-or-flight” adrenal hormones, which raise blood sugar back to safe levels.

Unfortunately, these adrenals hormones are also designed to help you either flee from danger or fight it. This does not bode well for a sound night’s sleep and explains why if you wake up at 3 or 4 a.m., it’s usually with a mind racing with worry.

Meanwhile, 12 hours later when you could really use the energy to finish a work project or deal with after-school duties, you crash and can barely function thanks to blood sugar and cortisol levels bottoming out. Reaching for that shot of caffeine may pull you through, but in the long run it’s only compounding the problem.

How to fall asleep if you wake up at 3 a.m.

If you wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. with a racing mind, eating a little something may feed your brain and calm your mind so you can fall back asleep. But do not eat something sugary, which will spike blood sugar and perpetuate the cycle. Instead, eat some protein and fat.

Examples include nut butter, a little bit of meat, boiled egg, or a coconut snack. Have these prepared ahead of time and even next to your bed so you don’t have to go into the kitchen and turn on bright lights. You will not feel hungry because adrenal hormones are appetite suppressants, but you don’t need to eat much.

How to avoid the afternoon crash

To avoid the afternoon crash without caffeine you need to stabilize blood sugar as a way of life. Eat frequently enough to avoid sending blood sugar into a nose dive, and avoid foods that cause blood sugar to spike and crash: Sugar, caffeine, energy drinks, too many carbohydrates, and starchy carbs.

How do you know if you have low blood sugar?
 
Low blood sugar symptoms include:

  • Sugar cravings
  • Irritability, lightheadedness, dizziness, or brain fog if meals are missed
  • Lack of appetite or nausea in the morning (this is caused by stress hormones)
  • The need for caffeine for energy
  • Eating to relieve fatigue

A variety of nutritional compounds can further support your blood sugar handling and stress hormone functions so you sleep better. Ask us for advice.

 

How to use functional medicine to boost your libido

Portland, OR ChiropractorWe often think of good health in terms of blood pressure or cholesterol levels, but your libido is also an important indicator. If yours has gone missing, it could be a red flag that important underlying health issues need to be addressed.

People who turn to functional medicine for other health issues, such as low thyroid function, an autoimmune disorder, or depression, often report a boost in their libido thanks to their protocol.

Of course, it’s natural to expect low libido following a major stressor or during an unhealthy relationship, but if it’s chronically absent, investigate why.

Common causes of low libido

Below are some common causes of low libido that can be addressed through functional medicine:

Blood sugar imbalances. Many people eat more carbohydrates than their body can handle, they skip meals, or they consume too much caffeine. Eating habits that send blood sugar constantly soaring and crashing will eventually lead to fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and depression. All of these make zoning out in front of Netflix more tantalizing than a roll in the hay.

Adrenal fatigue. Your adrenal glands secrete stress hormones to help you manage life’s daily ups and downs. Most people are so stressed out from not only their lifestyles, but also their diets, chronic inflammation, gut health problems, and other health issues that adrenal function is fried. This is one of the primary causes of hormonal imbalances in men and women, delivering a double whammy to libido.

Leaky gut. Leaky gut means inflammation has made the lining of the small intestine too porous, allowing undigested foods and other pathogens to escape into the sterile bloodstream. This causes inflammation throughout the body, which typically leads to pain, fatigue, depression and other unsexy symptoms.

Food intolerances. Can a gluten or dairy intolerance really cause low libido? Yep. When you constantly eat a food that triggers an immune reaction, you send your body into an inflammatory tailspin. How you react depends on your genetic makeup. Symptoms include flare ups of your autoimmune disease, skin rashes, gut problems, joint pain, depression, migraines, anxiety, fatigue, brain fog, and, you guessed it, no desire for sex. You can run a food panel from Cyrex Labs to figure out which foods rob you of vigor, or follow an autoimmune diet for at least a month before reintroducing foods.

Diminished brain function. They say the biggest sex organ is the brain and it’s true. Many people today suffer from a brain that is aging too fast, besieged by inflammation, not getting properly oxygenated, struggling from poor fuel supply, or suffering from poor activity of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Although all of these issues can often be addressed with the functional medicine basics I just mentioned, various nutritional compounds can also help boost brain function and, as a result, libido.

These are just a few underlying causes of low libido. Sometimes, of course, it’s more complicated, especially if you are unhappy in your relationship, suffer from low self-esteem, or run yourself ragged putting others’ needs before your own.

However, don’t shrug off low libido as no big deal. You could be missing out not only on the health benefits of regular sex, but also on the opportunity to address an underlying health concern.

 

 

Trapped in a hostile marriage? It’s healthier to be alone

Portland OR Chiropractic careAlthough we’ve all read the stories about marriage being good for your health, a bad marriage is bad your health. In fact, bad marriages are far worse for you than healthy marriages are good for you. In other words, if your marriage is a constant stressor, you’ll lower your risk of chronic disease either going it alone or doing the work to make the marriage a good one. What’s more, the risks are higher for women.

Contemporary studies show marriage lowers your risk of many modern ailments, including heart disease, cancer, and even dementia. Why? Research into adult attachment shows humans are hardwired to depend on a significant other as a matter of survival. Though we may think it’s about love and romance, to the human brain, a long-term relationship is the difference between life and death.

However, these benefits don’t extend to troubled relationships. It’s the human body’s life-or-death approach to relationships that also makes a bad marriage a health risk. One study went so far as to show a bad marriage entails the same risks as smoking, and another showed being single is healthier than having married and divorced, prompting researchers to encourage people to try and make a bad marriage good again.

Stress negatively impacts the immune system

When researchers analyzed blood samples of unhappy couples immediately after a big fight, they saw a significant decline in immune function, with the biggest drops happening in those whose fights were the most hostile. Fighting couples also showed slower wound healing.

Fighting and hostility in a relationship both depress immune function and promote inflammation, particularly for women, raising disease risk.

Men and women respond differently to arguing

Researchers measured how different styles of arguing affected couples’ health. The results showed surprising differences in how men and women react physiologically to arguing.

For women, the biggest predictor of health risk is lack of warmth and openness from her partner. For instance, small cues during an argument (a term of endearment or a squeeze of the hand) gives a woman the reassurance her health depends on to know she and her partner are still connected.

Men, on the other hand, are triggered by battles for control and use of controlling language.

Either way, hostile fighting turns out to be as predictive of heart disease in women and men as a history of smoking. The key isn’t to stop the inevitable arguments, but rather to learn how to fight in a more thoughtful manner that doesn’t trigger the subconscious, immune-sabotaging threat to survival.

Why health depends on a healthy relationship

Healthy relationships are good for us because they give the survival-wired brain back-up during times of stress. Affection from a caring partner during a stressful time helps you regulate negative emotions, relieving the brain of the need to do it all alone, and thus buffering the body from the detrimental impacts of stress.

Even the best of marriages will have conflict. The key is to use those times to repair and strengthen the relationship rather than damage it.  

 

 

Eat Breakfast If You Want to Lose Weight

Portland OR chiropractic careIf you’re like most Americans, you eat a high-carb breakfast packed with grains, dairy, and sugar, or you don’t eat breakfast at all either because you’re too busy or you want to lose weight. Either way, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Breakfast is exactly what it sounds like — the breaking of a fast. After 8-plus hours of no food, your body needs fuel to bring its systems up to speed and maintain even energy for the day. As it turns out, eating a solid breakfast is one of the best things you can do to lose weight. It also helps assure a clear mind, steady emotions, and plentiful energy throughout the day.

Skipping breakfast can actually make you gain weight!

We’ve all been taught the “calories in vs. calories out” theory for weight loss. In an effort to cut calories, we skip breakfast because it’s the easiest meal to do without, especially if we tend to wake up with no appetite or we’re always in a rush to get to work. But while calories can matter, skipping breakfast can actually lead to weight gain:

When you wake in the morning, your blood sugar is already low. Skipping breakfast (or any meal) allows it to go lower and impairs insulin sensitivity, which leads to weight gain.

Chronic low blood sugar creates a cascade effect in your hormonal system that directly affects your body’s ability to deal with stress. This can result in increased inflammation throughout your body, which can lead to weight gain. Low blood sugar also causes brain fog, mood issues, insomnia, decreased brain function, and other health issues. None of these symptoms will help you stick to a healthier eating plan.

Skipping breakfast has interesting behavioral effects; research shows that people who skip breakfast tend to reach for higher calorie foods once they do eat, leading to higher total daily calorie consumption than those who ate a solid breakfast. This is partly because missing meals causes the brain to become primed toward higher-calorie foods like it would during starvation or famine.

Skipping breakfast makes you more likely to binge on sugary foods that result in an energy crash later in the day—making you less likely to go out and get that much-needed exercise. (PS: A big sweet, milky coffee drink with whipped cream is not a breakfast.)

Eat a protein-strong breakfast for weight loss and steady energy

You know you need to eat breakfast. But eating traditional carb-heavy breakfast foods such as cereals, bagels, muffins, and fruit smoothies isn’t a great idea; they sabotage your weight loss goals by destabilizing blood glucose and insulin after the night’s fast, as well as kicking cravings for quick-energy sugary stuff and junk foods into high gear.

Eating a nutrient-dense, lower carb breakfast with plenty of protein and healthy fats provides the brain and body with proper fuel, balances your blood sugar and insulin, and gives your metabolism a boost for the day.

Studies show a protein-strong breakfast can also reduce hunger hormones, increase the chemical that tells your brain to stop eating, improve your sense of satiety, and reduce evening snacking.

 

Recovering From Sugar and Alcohol Hangovers

Portland OR ChiropractorWith the promise of good intentions around the corner, the end of the year can turn into a downward spiral of too much sugar and alcohol.

It’s hard to get back on the healthy eating wagon, but knowing a few things about how sugar and alcohol affect the body can help.

Recovering from the sugar hangover

Has a sugar hangover left you with an upset stomach, a headache, brain fog, skin issues, chronic pain, mood swings, allergy symptoms, lethargy, and self-loathing?

Steps for recovering from a sugar hangover include:

No sugar. Holiday desserts shoot your blood sugar levels up and down. This taxes the immune system, imbalances brain chemistry, and skews hormones. To stabilize blood sugar, eat protein every two to three hours, never skip breakfast, and avoid sweets and starchy foods. Focus on proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats.
Hydrate. Staying hydrated with filtered water will help flush toxins from your body.
Support your liver. Help your liver flush toxins with compounds such as as milk thistle, dandelion, N-acetyl L-cysteine, beet root, panax ginseng, and more.
Heal your gut. Unstable blood sugar inflames the gut and promotes yeast and bacterial overgrowth. In addition to stabilizing blood sugar, follow the autoimmune paleo diet that eliminates common immune triggers (such as gluten), and use gut support compounds like probiotics and L-glutamine.
Exercise. If you’ve been morphing into the couch, go easy initially to avoid more inflammation. Appropriate exercise will help tame inflammation, improve brain function, and help flush toxins.

Recovering from the alcohol hangover

Alcohol hangovers are their own special hell.

We don’t fully know why hangovers happen, but a few facts can help us recover from them.

Alcohol blocks the production of a hormone that helps the body absorb water. As a result, the body immediately excretes the water—up to four times as much as the alcohol consumed. This is what causes fatigue, dry mouth, and a headache. Drink plenty and use electrolytes to help rehydrate.

When that water is excreted, many of our water-soluble vitamins go with it, contributing to that lousy hung-over. A b-complex supplement before drinking and another the next day can help compensate.

Alcohol also breaks down the body’s store of glycogen, an energy source, thus causing weakness, fatigue, and lack of coordination. It’s important to remember to eat.

Drinking alcohol creates the powerful toxin acetaldehyde in the body. The body attacks it with an antioxidant called glutathione, our body’s most powerful antioxidant. Using natural compounds to support glutathione can help with recovery.

Alcohol inhibits glutamine, one of the body’s natural stimulants. When you stop drinking, the body responds by producing more than it needs, disrupting sleep and causing hangover tremors, anxiety, restlessness, and increased blood pressure. Allow yourself to take it easy.

The New Year is a great time not to focus on unrealistic goals, rather on simple daily strategies to not only recover from holiday excesses but also improve how you feel and function all year. Ask my office for more advice.

 

Did childhood trauma play a role in your Autoimmunity?

Portland OR ChiropractorAutoimmune patients expend considerable effort finding the right diet, supplements, lifestyle, and practitioner to manage their autoimmunity.

But did you know your experiences from childhood could be provoking your autoimmunity as an adult?

Abuse, belittlement, insults, neglect, loss of loved ones, parental acrimony… the traumas children weather unfortunately become a lifelong “operating system” that has profound influences on immunological and neurological health. Traumas in childhood affect not only physical and cellular health, but also our DNA.

Early traumas make it hard to turn off stress

In a healthy situation, a child can respond to stress and recover from it, developing normal resiliency.

However, chronic and unpredictable stress in childhood constantly floods the body with stress hormones and keeps it in a hyper vigilant inflammatory state. In time, this interferes with the body’s ability to turn off or dampen the stress response.

In fact, research that compared the saliva of healthy, happy children with children who grew up with abuse and neglect found almost 3,000 genetic changes on their DNA. All of these changes regulated the response to stress and the ability to rebound from it.

This means that little, everyday occurrences that might momentarily irritate a healthier person can unleash a torrent of stress hormones and an accompanying inflammatory cascade that predisposes one for disease.

These are the people accused of overreacting and who are rattled by loud noises, bright lights, and crowds.

A disagreement with someone, a near miss on the highway, a restaurant that’s too loud, an unexpected bill — for the person who had a stressful childhood these minor but regular insults create a metabolic environment that fosters and perpetuates illness.

This can include autoimmune disease, chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, digestive disorders, migraines, asthma, and obesity.

In fact, this research was inspired by one clinician’s observation that the majority of his obese patients endured sexual abuse as children.

Assessing chronic childhood stress

Researchers studied the effects of childhood stress on later health in the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, developing a short quiz to assess the relationship between childhood traumas and disease risk.

For instance, someone with a score of 4 (scale of 0–8) is at a significantly higher risk for chronic disease, suicide, and addiction.

Early trauma and autoimmune management

Although traumas during childhood and a higher ACE score can increase hardships and disease risk in adulthood, it doesn’t have to be a prison sentence —the brain and body are responsive to change.

Many therapies have been shown to help heal these traumas: meditation, mindfulness practices, neurofeedback, EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), cognitive therapy, EFT (emotional freedom technique, or tapping), and more.

Be sure and include your emotional well-being and the health of your subconscious “operating system,” which was established in childhood, in your autoimmune management plan.

 

Five things you can address that cause insomnia

Portland OR chiropractorIt seems almost everyone has insomnia these days, including, possibly, you. People either can’t fall asleep, they wake up after a few hours of sleep and can’t go back asleep, or they aren’t able to sleep deeply. The reasons for insomnia vary from person to person, but it’s typically not due to a sleeping pill deficiency.

Instead, the reasons behind insomnia or poor sleep can be startlingly straightforward, although addressing them may take some diet and lifestyle changes.

In this article I’ll go over often overlooked issues that cause insomnia and poor sleep. Don’t assume a powerful sleeping pill is your only answer. Look at the underlying causes first and address those.

Five things that can cause insomnia

Low blood sugar. Do you wake up at 3 or 4 a.m., racked with anxiety and unable to fall back asleep? That could be caused by a blood sugar crash, which raises stress hormones (hence the anxious wake up). Eating small but frequent meals, never skipping meals, and avoid sugary and starchy foods are important to keep blood sugar stable. Additionally, eating a little bit of protein before bed and at night if you wake up may help.

High blood sugar (insulin resistance or pre-diabetes). Do you fall asleep after meals yet struggle to fall asleep at night? Do you wake up feeling like you’ve been run over by a truck, but are wide awake at bedtime? It could be high blood sugar, a precursor to diabetes, is driving your primary stress hormone cortisol and keeping you up. A telltale symptom of high blood sugar is falling asleep after meals, especially starchy meals. Minimizing sugary and starchy foods, not overeating, and exercising regularly can help you rewind insulin resistance and sleep better at night.

Too much blue light. Are you staring into a computer, phone, tablet, or TV screen right before bed? If so, you’re confusing your body’s sleep hormone production. The body recognizes blue light as daylight, which suppresses the production of melatonin, our primary sleep hormone. Limiting your exposure to blue light at night can help boost your body’s production of sleep hormones. Wear orange glasses two hours before bed, use orange bulbs in your nighttime lamps, and limit your evening screen time to boost melatonin.

Inflammation. If you are chronically inflamed it drives up your stress hormones, which can keep you awake. This is particularly true if you’re experiencing inflammation in your brain, which can cause anxiety. One of the most common causes of chronic inflammation is an immune reaction to foods, especially gluten, dairy, eggs, and various grains. Screening for undiagnosed food sensitivities and an anti-inflammatory diet can help you hone in on what’s causing your insomnia or poor sleep.

Hormone imbalances. Hormone imbalances can significantly impact sleep. Low progesterone, which is a common symptom of chronic stress, heightens anxiety and sleeplessness. An estrogen deficiency in perimenopause and menopause has been shown to increase anxiety, insomnia, and sleep apnea. In men, low testosterone is linked with poor sleep and sleep apnea. Also, low hormone levels can be inflammatory to the brain, increasing anxiety and insomnia.

Many things can cause insomnia and poor sleep, however these are some of the more common. While you are addressing the underlying factors of your sleep issue, you can aid your ability to sleep with safe and natural compounds, depending on the mechanism.

 

Why High Blood Sugar Can Cause Deadly Diseases

It’s not easy being a healthy American. We are constantly besieged by the lure of sugary, starchy treats (salted caramel latte and a scone anyone?). Yet behind the innocent disguise of these lures is the threat of chronic disease, the leading cause of death.

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s are among the most common and expensive health problems in the United States. In most cases their origins spiral back around to those small daily decisions — the fries instead of a salad, the syrupy hot drink with whipped cream instead of a simple cup of coffee or tea, or the ice cream or pie for dessert instead of a little fruit (or, gasp, no dessert).

What is it about these seemingly innocuous indulgences that add up to deadly diseases? Sugar and refined carbohydrates. (Although the hydrogenated fats, lack of fiber, industrialized salt, and artificial chemicals play their roles, too.)  

The standard American diet chronically spikes blood sugar, which in turn chronically spikes inflammation. Inflammation is now recognized as the common denominator among chronic disease today.

Stable blood sugar levels are vital to all processes of the body, especially those of the brain and the immune system.  The body has a variety of mechanisms in place to keep blood sugar within a narrow range. Americans, however, exhaust this system with a degree of sugar consumption our bodies were not designed to handle.

Pasta, white rice, breads, pastries, soda, coffee drinks, ice cream, etc. — are examples of foods that spike blood sugar.

How sugar and insulin lead to chronic disease

Too many sugars and processed carbs cause the body to overproduce insulin, a hormone that escorts glucose into cells and helps regulate high blood.

This constant over production of insulin exhausts the body’s cells. In an attempt at self-defense, they refuse entry to the insulin. This is called insulin resistance.

Portland OR ChiropractorNow glucose is unable to enter into the cells where it’s needed to make energy. This explains why people feel sleepy after eating, especially after eating sugar, high-carb meals or overeating. Another reason is because excess sugar must be taken out of the bloodstream, so the body converts it to fat. This is an energy-demanding process that also contributes to post-meal sleepiness.

This excess sugar in the bloodstream is highly damaging, damaging blood vessels and the brain, and triggering an inflammatory response.

Research shows links between insulin resistance and many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. Some researchers call Alzheimer’s type 3 diabetes because sugars damage the brain.

To make things worse, because of the damaging effects of insulin resistance and high levels of circulating glucose, people with insulin resistance often feel too tired to exercise, are prone to overeating, and have intense sugar cravings.

Symptoms that indicate risk of chronic disease

Symptoms of insulin resistance that can raise your risk of chronic disease include:

⦁    Fatigue after meals
⦁    General fatigue
⦁    Constant hunger
⦁    Constant craving for sweets
⦁    Strong desire for sweets after meals
⦁    Waist girth equal to or larger than hip girth
⦁    Frequent urination
⦁    Increased appetite and thirst
⦁    Difficulty losing weight
⦁    Migrating aches and pains

One of the best ways to prevent or manage chronic disease is to eat a diet that stabilizes your blood sugar. Regular exercise also increases insulin sensitivity. Certain nutritional and botanical supplements can help manage insulin resistance. Contact my office for more advice.