How To Defeat The Stress Cycle This Coming New Year?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
It’s that time of the year again where everyone is trying to conquer their New Year’s resolution. These resolutions range from:
- Losing weight
- Improving health
- Increasing energy
- Enhancing relationships
- More free time with family and friends
- Developing an exercise routine
On average, only about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution. If you are one of those people that want to be part of the 8% and improve their health in this coming year, then this article is perfect for you.
The “Stress Bucket”
Below is a picture I created called “the stress bucket.” This picture depicts how the cycle of stress accumulates over time and slowly starts to deteriorate your health. All of stress sum-mates (adds up) from all different areas of your life. It’s easy to see how a little bit of stress over a lot of different areas can add up in your stress bucket. Stress tends to accumulate in the following categories: physical stress, emotional stress, and chemical stress. Below are an example of a few common stressors that tend to affect the average person: If stress goes ignored your health will inevitably break down as you can see in the viscous cycle below.
This is the typical experience a medical doctor encounters with their average patient:
Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are notorious for causing mineral and vitamin deficiencies and putting an increased burden on the liver and kidneys. Many of these medications are also notorious for having side effects, as these side effects occur patients tend to go back to their doctors who prescribed more medications for the original side effects. As you can see in the picture above, this tends to be a vicious cycle where the root of the problem is never addressed and the stress in our stress bucket continues to overflow causing more and more symptoms eventually leading to disease.
There are many household chemicals including cleaners detergents soaps and personal care products that are loaded with toxins. One of the simplest things you can do to remove your toxic burden is to find safer household and personal hygiene products such as the soaps you use to clean your dishes, the sprays you used to clean your counter-tops and improving the quality of soaps and skincare you use on your body. Using the website www.EWG.org, is a great reference to refer to see if the personal care products you are using on your skin and hair are toxic. Your body absorbs more toxins and chemicals from your skin so the last thing you want to be doing is adding more chemicals to an already overburdened body.
The root cause of many health issues actually stem at an emotional level. People that are dealing with toxic relationships bad bosses, being surrounded by energy zombies and difficulty with children can have a tremendous weakening effect on the immune system. When the immune system is weak, our body’s natural force fields are lowered, this increases our chance of encountering an infection which can further weaken our adrenals and our immune system making us prone to a whole host of health issues down the road. Using simple techniques such as EFT or the body code can be very helpful to neutralizing these emotions at an energetic level. Feel free to Google these techniques for more information on them.
Many people’s diets actually consists of food that is toxic such as gluten, dairy products, legumes and refined sugar. These foods tend to be genetically modified loaded and loaded with pesticides and other chemicals that burden our detoxification systems. These foods are also known to be very inflammatory and can cause leaky gut issues as well. Especially when dealing with grains, these foods are very nutrient poor and actually rob nutrients from our body.
According to the World Health Organization, one of the biggest sources of heavy metals actually comes from our mercury amalgam fillings. Some people may know these referred as silver fillings but they are actually over 50% mercury. The next common source we see is from vaccines, mainly the flu vaccines. These vaccines are recommended on a yearly basis and if you look at the ingredient label on the back of the vaccines insert (ask the pharmacist for it) you’ll see it contain about 50 µg of thimerosal. Thimerosal is a preservative consisting of 50% ethyl mercury, one of the most toxic Mercury substances known to man. If you are trying to avoid getting sick this winter season there are many other natural alternatives that can boost and enhance your immune system without adding a significant toxic burden to your detoxification system. Please see previous blog post titled, “What to do when you get sick.”
Below is a great picture showing our body’s ability to adapt to stress. One interesting thing to note is that many people don’t go and see their doctor until phase 3. At this point, the symptoms have been going on for years and prescribing a medication does not do anything to help our body adapt. Medications usually work by blocking and or suppressing physiologic pathways while doing nothing to up-regulate the body’s ability to adapt to stress and express optimal health.
To really address the underlying cause of why your body isn’t adapting properly is to go back and look in your stress bucket and see what areas of stress are starting to add up. As you start pulling the right stressors out of your stress bucket and supporting your diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise your body will start to regain its ability to adapt. Many people need help to find out where to start and this is where it’s great to find a skilled functional medicine doctor who can figure out the best place to start while creating an individualized program for you.
Simple solutions to reduce your toxic load and help your body adapt to stress:
1. Eat whole foods
Organic, non-genetically modified, free range ideally fresh should be the staple of your diet. Buying things in bulk help reduce the price and buying vegetables frozen can be very helpful as well. It’s very important you make your health a priority and this is the first place to start.
2. Get a good water filter
Please see my partner page for excellent recommendations on some of the best filters out there. You can easily start with an affordable car top filter they can pull out pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, bacteria, and heavy metals. This really does a lot to help decrease your toxic burden. Look here for an easy solution…
3. Indoor air tends to be very toxic
Getting high quality air filter can also help reduce your toxic burden. Look here for an easy solution.
Starting an exercise routine can be a great start. I recommend making a commitment that you know you can stick to such as working out three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes versus being overly ambitious and trying to work out every day for an hour. People that are very overly ambitious and can’t stick to their plan, tend to fold and stop altogether. You’re much better off setting a very easily achievable goal and once you’ve maintained it for a month then gradually increase your commitment.
Allergies and Your Immune System
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
Spring is here and so are allergies! This is the time of year were allergies are in great abundance. Flowers are in bloom so our grasses and many other types of pollen that our immune system has not been exposed to the last six months or so. When our body is being exposed to these environmental compounds, it is responding to them as if they are a foreign invader, like a bacteria or a virus. We know this is an inappropriate immune response; these environmental compounds are not out to hurt us. Our immune system is being overly sensitive; we need our immune systems to calm down so it can be more intelligent and pick out the real immune threats from the benign ones.
There are certain things we can do to help make our immune system more intelligent. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is very helpful, this helps take stress off the immune system, it helps lower cortisol, it helps our immune system stay strong and smart so it can pick out the bad invaders from the not so bad. When we are overtired it’s common for us to overreact during certain situations. This analogy holds true for our immune system, the more inflamed we are, the increased chance our immune system will overreact.
Medication and allergies
The majority of medications that help with allergies such as Zyrtec, Allegra, Singulair and Benadryl usually work one of two ways; they suppress the immune response and or weaken the immune system or decrease the histamine response. If you are the kind of person that is interested in having optimal health the two pharmaceutical alternatives mentioned above don’t sound too great. It’s much better to make the immune system smarter and more intelligent and not just weaker and docile. Anytime you weaken the immune system you make yourself more susceptible to other chronic degenerative diseases.
Some of the above drugs have side effects involving weight gain. Many patients I know are trying to lose weight, and are more than likely not aware that some of the medications they are using maybe potentially antagonizing their weight loss and body composition goals.
Some of my favorite natural compounds to help address allergies and inflammation
Quercetin: Is a bioflavonoid and it’s very helpful in helping in balance out the immune system, quercetin helps decrease inflammation as well as decrease your body’s histamine response. Histamine is what makes your body stuffy, congested, and makes your nose runny. This provides a natural solution for people that may have use Benadryl or other types of algae-based medications. Quercetin also has no side effects and is a powerful antioxidant as well.
NAC (n-acetyl cysteine): NAC is a sulfur-based amino acid that is a precursor for glutathione. Glutathione is our body’s master antioxidant and is primarily used to help quelch the fire of inflammation and free radical stress. The more stressed we are the more our antioxidant and glutathione systems are taxed and the increased chance our glutathione reserves will be depleted.
Many people out there aren’t eating enough high-quality protein sources and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus and cauliflower. If we don’t have the raw material amino acids to help make glutathione we have an increased risk of being overly inflamed and being susceptible to allergy symptoms as well.
Fish oil is an essential fatty acid in the omega 3 family which increases the prostaglandin 3 pathway (it’s highlighted in the picture below). This pathway is anti-inflammatory and helps put out the fire in our body. Avoiding refined omega 6 fats like vegetable oils like canola, soy, and cotton seed oil to name only a few can help decrease our prostaglandin 2 pathways which make us more inflamed. As inflammation increases so does our chance of allergies. Eating foods that help put out the fire and avoiding foods that help increase the fire is an easy way to help improve your allergies.
Consuming 4-8 grams of high quality fish oil that is in a triglyceride form tends to be the best. Make sure you are consuming a high quality brand. If your are burping up the fish oil, the brand may not be of good quality or your body isn’t producing enough enzymes to break down the fat. A fish oil with lipase included can help decrease this problem. To get to the root cause of your allergies, click here!
Why The Weight Won’t Come Off?
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
There are many people out there who are on a gradual course of adding 1-2 pounds of weight every year, with no real end in site. When you’re in your early 20’s the average persons metabolism is in good shape but as they enter their 30’s and 40’s the bad habits of their teens and 20’s starts to catch up with them. Just like compound interest works in your favor when it comes to investing and saving, the compounding off bad health habits will affect our metabolism negatively as well.
The underlying cause of abnormal weight gain is a sluggish metabolism. So over time your body’s ability to metabolize fat for energy becomes impaired and metabolically our body tends to burn carbohydrate for fuel instead. So if a sluggish metabolism causes weight gain, then the so called “cure” would be to address the underlying factors that have weaken our metabolism slowly over time.
A strong underlying factor that affects metabolic activity is toxin exposure and it’s effect on our hormonal system. It has been shown the thyroid and adrenal glands work together to help regulate metabolism and energy. When the body is exposed to excess toxins the adrenal glands becomes stressed and an increase in adrenaline and cortisol is secreted to help buffer the inflammation and stress. Excess cortisol over the long term will eventually results in fatigue, belly fat, and decreased muscle mass. And as you notice many people are walking around carrying the majority of their excess weight around the hips and tummy with very little muscle to show for it.
There are many other interconnected causes of weight gain as you can so by the graphic below, but the focus of today’s post is mainly on the thyroid, adrenal and toxin connection.
The bottom picture demonstrates the connection between toxins and an increase fat mass. It was apparent that people with the most fat mass had the highest level of organochlorines. Organochlorines are the chemicals used commonly in pesticides and herbicides. These chemical are used in conventional and GMO produce as well. These organochlorine compounds are know to mimic estrogen and excess estrogen helps promote fat growth as well as tumor growth and cancer.
It’s also interesting to note that one of the proposed mechanisms how these pesticides increase weight gain is through decreasing our active thyroid hormones, T3, which helps keep our metabolism active. As you see in the graphic below, as T3 function reduces, this increase the chance of weight gain in the future.
Mycotoxins are toxins produced from fungus and commonly cause abnormal weight gain and infertility. Mycotoxins like zearalenone are compounded into pellets and placed into cattle’s ears to increase weight gain before going to slaughter. The interesting thing about zearalenone is farmers can decrease the cows feed and weight gain still occurs. How many people do you know who continue to cut calories and still can’t lose weight? If so, mycotoxins could play a role.
Did you know fungal overgrowth in our intestine can also secrete mycotoxins as well? I personally lost 15 pounds by going on an anti-fungal protocol as well as cutting peanuts out of my diet, too. The amazing thing with this weight loss story was there was no real fundamental change in the diet or the amount of calories either.
Avoiding common mycotoxins that was see in grains, organochlorines, peanuts and conventional coffee can be a great way to super charge your metabolism and help you lose weight effortlessly.