Cardiovasular Disease & Diabetes: What is the connection?

The primary health concerns of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were infections diseases.  A shift in adverse health came about after the fortification and enrichment of foods.  Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and stroke became the prevailing ailments.  These diseases continue to rise, some at alarming rates.  Let’s take a quick look between two prevalent diseases today: Heart Disease and Diabetes. I am going to especially look at the incidents in Nacogdoches County in the State of Texas.  [PDF of this post here]

Some quick stats:

nacogdoches-statistics-cvd-and-diabetes

Is this a sign of malfunction in the bodies of the population?

Maintaining a healthy status requires a homeostasis of the bodily systems. Having healthy levels of glucose in our blood is vital for proper balance. When we eat, signals are sent in our body to aid in the metabolizing of the food we just ate.  Insulin is secreted as a result of some of those signals.  It is the “key” which allows glucose to enter the cells.  Without proper signaling of insulin, glucose cannot enter the cells.  This results in glucose going to other parts of the body.  For our body to function properly it is important to keep glucose levels stable.

When our glucose levels are outside a healthy range it attaches to proteins resulting in diabetes-1724617_1920Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs).  Excessive AGEs leads to plaque forming in the blood vessels.  One consequence is an impairment of the endothelium which lines the blood vessels.  It is hindered in releasing nitric oxide into the blood stream.  With this compromised cardiovascular system, the body has a difficult time repairing daily wear and tear.  Thus an increase in inflammation.  Heart disease often ensues.

In fact…. Studies have shown an increased incidence of heart disease in the presence of diabetes! 

With a high prevalence of heart disease and diabetes there is a need to understand the role of a proper functioning body. In regards to diabetes and cardiovascular disease the role of glucose balance is of marked importance.  Maintaining proper levels eliminates an exacerbating risk factor for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  A body which is in homeostasis is free of disease contrasted with a body where malfunction is present, disease emanates.

What can you do today to ensure a proper functioning body?

Begin practicing the 5 Pillars to Healthy Function!!!

Eat Quality Foods

Get Adequate Sleep

Be Active

Promote Healthy Digestion

Embrace Peace & a Spiritual Connection (Eliminate Stress)

push-ups-888024_1280

Related Research:

A.G.E. Foundation. What are AGEs http://agefoundation.com/age/

CDC Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke TablesGeographic Area 2010-2012.

Davis, C., and E. Saltos. (May 1999) “Dietary Recommendations and How They Have Changed Over Time,” America’s Eating Habits: Changes and Consequences, Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 750, USDA, ERS. Chapter 2.

Texas Department of State Health Services. (2012). 2012 Texas Heart Disease and Stroke

Fact Sheets, (2013). Diabetes Prevalence Among Adults BRFSS data Tables

Yamagishi, S-i., Nakamura, N., and Matsui, T. (2016) Glycation and cardiovascular disease in diabetes: A perspective on the concept of metabolic memory. J Diabetes, doi: 10.1111/1753-0407.12475.

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Expert Talk: David Perlmutter, MD Brain Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease and Nutrition

I just listened to the first ‘bonus’ video from the Autoimmune Revolution and I was STUNNED! ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!!  I am looking forward to the rest of the videos – I have a feeling it is going to end up being a great resource for me on this journey…  If you missed my previous post here is another link below to sign up for the free content!

After registering you will get an email confirmation with a link to the bonus content – The video I just watched was:

Expert Talk: David Perlmutter, MD Brain Inflammation, Autoimmune Disease and Nutrition

(Here is Dr. Perlmutters website http://www.drperlmutter.com/

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/50763-the-autoimmune-revolution/embed

So, which came first?

Which came first – autoimmune disease or malfunction in the body?questions-1922476_1920

(Update 4/11/2017: Check out this post for a hint)

Autoimmune Revolution: Breaking the Cycle of Pain

For those of you who are impacted by an auto-immune condition this video series looks promising!

Autoimmune diseases–and the physical, chemical and emotional pain they create–impact millions around the world. The primary way doctors treat them is to prescribe immune suppressing drugs. Unfortunately, this approach has failed to achieve a meaningful outcome and has created an even greater health crisis–what Dr. Peter Osborne calls “The Prescription Pain Trap”–which you will learn more about during The Autoimmune Revolution, online and free from January 30 – February 6, 2017!

FREE & ONLINE from JAN 30-FEB 6,2017  www.AutoimmuneRevolution.org

The Autoimmune Revolution

DISCLAIMER: I have signed up as an affiliate for easy access to making posts – as a disclaimer I may receive commissions if one makes a purchase at the event. I am not advocating making a purchase, just want you to know of my affiliation status. The banner is an affiliated link – If you click the text link above it is a non-affiliated link.

Essential Fat- A Quick Overview

Among one of the hot topics in regards to health today is essential fats. In particular omega-3 and omega-6. You may have noticed Omega-3 is making its way into the things we eat.  Products are boasting about how much Omega-3’s they provide.  When we start talking with others almost invariably Omega-3s will come up in the discussion.

As with most trends there is usually some confusion. To compound that, unfortunately many companies look to the easiest way they can use the latest buzzword in marketing  their products.  Claims made on products can be misleading and not live up to their crafty hype.  With our fast paced lifestyle we often put off digging into the nitty-gritty of reasons behind these latest trends.  It is very easy to get drawn into the hype when much of the hype is truth!  So, I am going to share a few tidbits to help you on your journey to gain knowledge beneficial to your health path, hopefully equipping you to decipher fact from hype…

First – what are these ‘Omegas’?  They are fatty acids which our bodies need.  Some fatty acids such as Omega 5, 7 or 9 our bodies can make.  Omega 3 and Omega 6 are ones our bodies cannot make, therefore they are labeled ‘essential’.  For the most part this post will be about these two although I will touch on Omega-9’s.

Where do they come from? or How do we get them?  The simple answer is from real food!  Both plants and animal sources provide Omega-3 & Omega-6.  But – this is where confusion, and often misleading marketing comes in. Let’s look at Omega-3’s.

    • Alpha-linolenic acid or ALA is found in plants, plant oils, nuts and in fat of grass-fed beef.  One thing to note about ALA is our body must convert it into DHA and EPA.  The conversion rate is rather poor though, only about 4%.  Our body primarily uses ALA for energy.
    • Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) come primarily from fish, hence they are often referred to as marine Omega-3’s.  DHA & EPA are the Omega-3’s which have been attributed to various health benefits. For instance DHA is the primary component of brain structure.  EPA is typically associated with reduction of inflammation.

Where one needs to be careful is reading supplement packages carefully.  Reading the ingredient list to see what is the source of the Omega-3, how much ALA, DHA and EPA.  Remembering ALA is primarily used for energy where as DHA & EPA appear to be used for proper function and repair.

One other interesting tidbit is regarding Omega-3’s in grass-fed meat.  Again, the latest buzz is the Omega-3 benefit from grass-fed beef.  WELL, in researching this post I found out the Omega-3 content found in grass-fed beef is ALA. This was a surprise to me with grass-fed beef compared to fish in many health circles.  While grass-fed meet has a much better ratio than grain-fed, it’s the type of Omega-3 that is important in my health journey. So this is something I will be digging deeper into…

Do we need ALA?  Absolutely! It is an essential fatty acid, the caution is what our body uses it for and what is the reason we are wanting to increase our Omega-3’s.  Many claims are made on labels of plant-based Omega-3 supplements referring to the scientific evidence of DHA or EPA benefiting various aspects of health. While the claims are most often Difference in Omega-3's ALA, DHA and EPA theFunctionalPerspective.comcertainly true, the problem is a plant based Omega-3 does not directly provide DHA or EPA rather ALA which must be converted into DHA & EPA at a 4% conversion rate(or less!). And your body primarily uses ALA for energy.  So the labels can be very misleading.

The other essential fatty acid Omega-6.  This fatty acid is another necessary nutrient our bodies need.  The problem comes when there is an excess or an imbalance compared to Omega-3.  Studies have shown a correlation with excess Omega-6 with a variety of ailments.   So while we need Omega-6, once again we must look at keeping things in balance.

Which leads me to a member of the unsaturated family,  Omega-9.  These fatty acids are not essential because our bodies can make them.  Something to note is, some vegetable oils can be high in Omega-9 content which can potentially cause an imbalance in your body.  Some studies suggest benefits and some suggest potential adverse effects. All to say be cautious and watch for signs of how your body reacts. Another aspect worthy of noting is these same vegetable oils are also typically high in Omega-6 which can cause problems when out of balance with Omega-3’s.

Non-essential fatty acids are rarely something we need to be concerned with supplementing. Be on the look out for claims of a balanced Omega supplement, it isn’t that a problem exists perse, rather not always an efficient use of our money to purchase something our bodies already make and our body knows exactly how much we need 😉  My philosophy is let my body function as intended and let me get out of the way of that proper function..

Eating a balance diet of real foods paying attention to our balance of essential fats and non-essential fats can make our journey to good health a little easier to navigate. One tool I will frequently use is a nutrient tracker at  SELF Nutrition .  It is free to use and you can sign-up to track daily food intake.  What I like best is the extended nutrient profile. Once you have looked up your food you can click on “more details” for a very detailed nutrition analysis. {We used this alot when we were tracking glucose and fructose consumption} This “more details” tab is under the different nutrient categories, such as more info on the fat breakdown.  If you would like to see what the omega make up is of your foods here is a list of the corresponding numbers for ALA DHA and EPA as well as some Omega-9’s.

ALA – 18:3 -n3

EPA – 20:5 n3

DHA – 22:6 n3

Omega 9’s

18:1 (n-9) – Oleic acid

18:1 (n-9) – Elaidic acid

20:1 (n-9) – Gonoic acid

20:3 (n-9) – Mead acid

22:1 (n-9) – Erucic acid

24:1 (n-9) – Nervonic acid

Well, that was as quick as I could make it!  There is so much more that can be said in regards to these fatty acids but I hate to spoil your opportunity to discover them on you own  🙂    Thanks for stopping by and as always I enjoy your comments!

(Some of the sources I used:

http://www.berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food/nutrition/article/grass-fed-beef-omega-3s

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/omega-3-fats/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega-9_fatty_acid

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10545672

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7737644https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7737644

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2901759/)

5 Pillars to Healthy Function - Diet - Rest - Stress Management - Exercise - Proper Digestion

5 Pillars of Healthy Function

One of the challenges in functional health is figuring out where to start.  With the approach being different than the symptom management model it can be overwhelming as one attempts to uncover the root causes of the malfunctioning of our body.  Another challenge is looking at our health challenges from the perspective of a healthy body that is no longer in a state of homeostasis.  When our presupposition is our body was designed to function in that state and when it is not functioning as intended then we focus on what factors disrupt the natural balance and which factors promote balance.  So what are some of those things?  And, which of those things take priority?

The top five areas which impact our health the greatest are:

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Digestion

How many of us have worked really hard at one or two, maybe even three, of these and we still come up against roadblocks in our journey to good health?  In recent months our physician and I have been looking at the things which are working for my son, what’s not and where can we improve.  Out of these top five we have two of them down pat – knock out of the park grand-slams!  One of these we do ok with, better than the average American and two of them we struggle with – BIG TIME!

So what makes these five things the most important?  Well, they work in harmony. When we take one of these out of the equation things begin to malfunction.  Each of them by themselves directly impact our health. Let’s take a brief look at each one:

Diet

This one is probably the most understood and the one we embrace the most.  What we eat. In every facet of life whether food, vehicles, electronics -the quality of the building blocks have a direct impact on the final product.  When we eat things which are food-like and not real food we are providing low quality building materials for our body to work with.   At some point we will get what we pay for.  Just as we get what we put into our retirement accounts, our health in latter years will be a return on what we invested earlier in life.

Rest

There are several blogs which I follow that have some amazing posts which reflect on our childhood years.  Do you ever remember asking why you needed to take a nap? Why did you have to go to bed so early?  The answer I always received was – that was the time my body repairs, the more I rest the more I will grow.  Of course I couldn’t wait to grow up so that usually motivated me to take that nap or head to bed!

Our bodies need time to rest.  We have a lot of demands for our time and energy.  Just as we don’t leave our vehicles running all the time we shouldn’t keep our bodies running all the time.  They need time to repair from the daily toils from our day to day life.  If we continually ‘burn the candle at both ends’, the wick is going to burn out.  If we keep our engine going without down time it is going to overheat. The same with our bodies – it will start to malfunction.

Stress

This one is HUGE!  I don’t know about you, but I have heard this many times “stress affects your health”.  Yeah, yeah and I shrug it off going about my stressful life… Well, I am not sure I am able to articulate how vital eliminating and reducing stress are to a healthy functioning body.

The best illustration I have is our vehicles again -if we drove it off-road continuously putting stress on the suspension the suspension system is going to fail.   If we ran into curbs every time we park our vehicle it will cause damage.   The kicker is our body has a way to deal with these repairs on a daily basis – the problem is those ‘internal bandages’ can cause more malfunction when we have everything bandaged up!

This is one of those two areas my family, especially myself, struggles with.  The only answer I have found to effectively handle stress is a connection with our Creator.  My spiritual life has impacted my stress where nothing else would help.  Finding the peace from our Creator can do amazing things for our health!

Exercise

This is the second most accepted concept to good health.  Diet and exercise, right?  Isn’t that what everyone says?  Well – it is true!! Well, partially – its those PLUS the other ones listed.  But, lets look at exercise.

Did you know when you exercise your endothelium(lining of the blood vessels) releases nitric oxide?  In 1998 Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad were awarded the Nobel Peace prize “for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”.  What does nitric oxide do?  It helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, regulating clotting and blood flow, to name a few.  Basically it helps to promote healthy cardiovascular function.  Sort of like having a built in fuel system cleaner in a vehicle – wouldn’t that be neat!!

What happens with our fuel system in our vehicles when it gets dirty?  The engine starts running rough, right?  Sometimes it causes other problems as well.  Our bodies are very similar, if our cardiovascular system is not working as designed, it starts to malfunction.  Exercise promotes a smooth running system.

Digestion

So what if we are eating great foods, amazing sleep, no stress and we exercise regularly – we should be all set to a healthy body right?  Ah there is still another piece of the puzzle which needs to be in place – digestion!  If we are not assimilating the wonderful foods our bodies are not going to have access to the building blocks needed for repairing from daily life.

Again I like the illustration of our vehicles.  If our fuel system has a clog and the gas is unable to get to the spark plugs, the engine is not going to work.  Or if the gas that is getting through but its not flowing at the proper rate, the engine is going to run rough.

Having a properly functioning digestive system is another vital part in achieving that highly sought after homeostasis, referred to as good health.  This one is perhaps one of the most difficult to correct since many processes are intertwined with others.  When our system is disrupted it often seems like trying to get untangled from a spiderweb.  Which often loops back to stress as we attempt to untangle our digestive mess.

So what do we do now? How do we return these areas to a balance which promotes healthy function?

Support.  Surround yourself with others who are supportive in your journey. It is amazing what can be accomplished when you have others to help carry your burdens.  Just remember, we have to share that we have a need for folks to have the opportunity to help  😉

Your comments and questions are always welcome! I hope this is beneficial to you or someone you love! Thanks for stopping by!

 

7 keys to a Healthy Gut

I am always on the look out for practical ways to implement changes to better my family’s health.  With the amazing role our digestive system plays in maintaining health I thought I would do a quick post with some key tips on the path to achieving healthy digestion.

  •   Chew Slowly
  •   Eat Often
  •   Enjoy Smoothies
  •   Eat Pure, Fresh Foods
  •   Choose Quality over Quantity
  •   Relax
  •   Be Kind to your Colon

I hope to go into more details on these soon and will update this post with a link when I do so.  For now hope these tips are helpful to you or a loved one  🙂

healthy-gut-7-keys-graphic

The Eye of My Needle — Roth Poetry

We often think “diet & exercise” are the key to health. Then we overlook one very important, perhaps even of greater importance, factor: Our attitude. How we approach life, especially during challenges play an intricate part in our state of health. Many functions are tied to ‘stress’, whether good or bad.

While we can’t, and shouldn’t, control others we can control ourselves. This poem reminded me of the importance of our responses in the journey of restoring good health.

When confronted with the caustic attitudes of the current political campaign, it is easy to get caught up in negativity. How we respond is our choice. When a friend has been injured by the words or actions of others, it is easy to jump onboard and promote the negativity. I am proposing there is an […]

via The Eye of My Needle — Roth Poetry

the Functional Perspective – What is that?

This is a great question!

Simply put, when we take a functional perspective we continually ask ourselves how is the body supposed to function?  Then we find ways to support and encourage that function.

A quick search on dictionary.com gives the following top 3 definitions for functional:

  • 1. of or relating to a function or functions:
  • 2. capable of operating or functioning:
  • 3. having or serving a utilitarian purpose; capable of serving the purpose for which it was designed:

When one takes a functional approach they transform from a symptom management of health challenges to restoration of function – they look at the problem from a different perspective.  They are looking to restore the body to operation in a manner for which it was designed.  To find a solution for malfunctioning they look at the reasons why, or what, triggered the malfunction. Then they look at what changes need to be made to achieve restoration.

For instance with my son and his diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes.  In the process of examining our management options we ask many questions.  We are trying to put pieces of the puzzle together. Connect the dots.  Such as:

  • What causes the ‘honeymoon’ period?
  • How does the pancreas stop working then start working again?
  • Which processes are involved in the triggering of insulin to be released in the body?
  • Does this food support the body in eliciting an insulin response?
  • How are we supporting the leptin or ghrelin responses?
  • What processes are triggered during the sun converting vitamin D?
  • What does my son’s cholesterol panel look like?  Will that give us a clue to what ‘health road’ we were on?
  • What role does the bouts with eczema over the last two years fit in to where we are health-wise today?
  • The severe infant re-flux as an infant, was that a clue we missed?
  • Are all carbs the same?  Are different metabolic processes triggered due to various types carbs?
  • Is this activity disrupting or supporting circadian rhythms?
  • The list grows and grows…

In other areas it would be like one looking upstream to see why the water stopped flowing.  Or looking at the root system, soil and water to see why has this plant stopped thriving.  An arborist looks at the historical environmental factors to see why this tree has a disease.  Ironically a functional perspective is used in nearly every other industry.

We wouldn’t keep going to a mechanic who only treated our misfiring car with fuel additives.  We expect him to find the reason why it is not working and restore our vehicle to the original operation for which the vehicle was designed.   Just as we would be quite upset if went to a tire dealer because we kept getting flats and all their solution was use of a flat fixing additive. We would expect them to find the reason it is going flat and restore the tire to fully operational condition.  Driving around with a nail and just adding air or some other filler does not address the problem – it’s symptom management.

Should you have any questions, comments or would like to share your thoughts – I love hearing from you and welcome discussions!!  In January 2017 I will have finished my certification course and will begin offering heath coaching consultations. In the meantime my resource section contains links to many of the places I go as I search for ways to transform and achieve restoration.

Balance

Balance. It applies to so many things around us. Have you ever thought about what is needed to keep specific things in balance?  Such as what is required to keep the air being cooled by the air conditioner in your home?  Or what about what happens if you add more yeast in a bread recipe? Most of us have probably experienced an out of balance tire on our vehicles, it certainly makes for a rougher ride especially for the driver.

Today I was reading over some of my previous posts, especially those which had information which was new to me.  These questions came to mind – How does this information affect my direction?  What about any information which presents an opportunity for me to change?  What if there is something presented which shows an obvious need for change but the change is just not plausible?

What do we do when we want the best health choice for ourselves or a family member but for what ever reason it’s not an option for us?  For instance, a topic which is often hotly debated is formula v. breastfeeding.  If you have seen my other posts you probably figured out I have strong convictions regarding the subject. But, I want to share that even though I advocate exclusive breastfeeding I was faced with the challenge of being in a situation where it just wasn’t viable!

My oldest had severe re-flux and my youngest had a sudden stop in growth.  In an attempt to provide a solution for my children to get back on a track, formula entered our lives.  What I have found is sometimes we are faced with solutions of A or B.  We want option A but it’s not possible.  So we choose the next option that benefits us the most.

Now, how do we balance out our convictions and our circumstances?  What do we do when we know solution A is the better health choice but it is not capable of meeting immediate health needs?  What if we really, really want that solution?  From past experience that is one of the roughest roads to navigate.  Having others in my life who were supportive and helpful in guiding me through the turns was indispensable.

What is interesting is some of the supporters had similar convictions, but there were some who were on the other side of the spectrum.  Reminiscing on this got me thinking about how much we can learn from others when we view things from their perspective or through their circumstances.  The valuable insights that we gain.

For instance, the person who encouraged me the most to pursue this profession has some convictions which differ from mine.  We have “topics” that we are on very different pages.  But I look forward to talking with this person and bouncing ideas off of them as much as, and in some ways more than, those who I already have a common view with.

This afternoon we had another one of our encouraging conversations, but since our conversation I have been pondering what is it about them that I look forward to what their perception is?  Why is it that even though we may be at opposite ends I crave their insights?

I have come to the conclusion it is balance.  They know how to balance their convictions with a sincere desire to know the perspective of others.  I am so thankful to have such a great mentor and guide.  Its people like these who make overcoming health obstacles possible.