Treatment Protocol for the Adrenals

By Body

Prior to beginning any treatment program your adrenal function should be evaluated by a well-qualified practitioner. The most common test that is utilized to evaluate adrenal function is a 4-sample saliva study known as the “adrenal stress index” or ASI. This test indicates cortisol levels and their corresponding circadian rhythms. Cortisol levels are highest in the morning and then should decline throughout the day. One of the first indications of adrenal dysfunction is the disruption of the circadian rhythm. Additionally, this test measures the cortisol-DHEA correlation, which is another important factor in determining the direction of your treatment.

Once your adrenal function has been properly assessed, a treatment program can be designed to meet your individual issues. This often includes the use of adrenal adaptogens, protomorphogens and certain herbal considerations such as Siberian ginseng, withania, rhodiola, high-grade licorice (not twizzlers!) etc. It is imperative to understand the level of your adrenal function so that proper treatment is administered.

Isn’t It Interesting?

By Mind, Spirit

Isn't It Interesting?

Several times a year I have the privilege and joy of presenting workshops and retreats on the “Science of Happiness”. I cover many topics in these workshops and one of the most effective stress reducing concepts we explore is learning how to deal with the stresses, strains and multi-dimensions of your life with curiosity instead of drama, trauma or disrespect of self.

Initially, to change unwanted or stressful behavior you must recognize what it is that pulls you out of your center. Once you have established what your specific triggers are you can begin to change the thought patterns that keep you stuck in these destructive behaviors. Unfortunately, all too often we have little patience with ourselves getting frustrated and defeated before the behavior and its ramifications are fully understood. How many times have you said to yourself something to the effect of, “I can’t believe I’m doing this again! I’m never going to get this right. I’m such a …….”. I find one of the most helpful tools in unraveling your behavior is learning to come from a place of curiosity by asking yourself the simple question, “Isn’t it interesting?” This keeps you out of the self-judgment loop and in a place of curiosity so you can understand your issue and make concrete changes in your behavior without the need to judge or defeat yourself.

Let me give you an example of one of the ways this had played out in my own life. I am for the most part a relatively calm and easygoing person. It generally takes a lot to “ruffle my feathers”. That is, except when I was driving. For a while, I would get in the car and with the least bit of provocation I would find myself engaged in some mild form of lunacy. I would get angry with the person in front of me for not putting on their blinker. Irritated when someone was going to slow. (The speed limit!). Annoyed when someone waited forever to turn left. (When they could have gone five times) Angry if someone pulled out in front of me. (Especially if they went slow) Then on top of it all I would feel bad and berate myself for acting and feeling that way. Utilizing this concept and tool that I know works well, I pondered the question, “Isn’t it interesting” that for the majority of my life I am a very tolerant and patient person but I get in the car and I am more like an impatient lunatic? I wonder what it is that creates that behavior? So, I began to do what I call “taking a backseat to myself” and just observing with curiosity all the intricacies that created the stress of driving. The first interesting observation I made was that I rarely had this response on the weekends. Then, I noticed I was almost always on my way to somewhere when this lunacy occurred. Rushing back to the office after lunch, rushing to pick up my daughter on time, rushing to get to an appointment etc. but rarely on my way home. Interestingly, I noticed I always seem to have this behavior when I was trying to pack far too much into the unrealistic time that I had allotted. I found it was actually NOT true that it takes 10 minutes to get from Buckhead to Decatur, which is what I had allowed for. It became very clear that my stress and “Lunacy “ were clearly self-induced. I realized that my stress was totally created by an unrealistic management of my time.

This was the good news because I was the one creating it and I was the one capable of changing it. So, as I began to tell myself the truth about how much time something was realistically going to take and began to allow for adequate time, something magical began to happen. Not only was I much less stressed, I actually got more done! By allowing myself to spend more time in the present and less in the future, which is what all that anxiety is, I found I was more organized, had more time to create and got a whole lot more accomplished. As I began to be more realistic in my time management, my stress came way down, I was calmer whenever I got to my destinations and definitely had a much more enjoyable time getting there. All of this changed occurred by simply asking the question, “Isn’t interesting?” following the thread, unraveling the issue, not judging what I observed and making a few changes. What is it that is interesting in your life that you want to change?

Inflammation and Disease

By Body

Inflammation and Disease

Do you feel old or older than you think you should feel? Do your joints constantly ache for seemingly no reason? Are you consistently bloated or have difficulty digesting your food well? Do you have consistent diarrhea or constipation? Are you experiencing headaches or difficulty sleeping? Chronic inflammation could be the cause of all of this as well as why you just don’t feel good.

Researchers are continually uncovering the damaging effects of chronic inflammation. It has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s and more. Not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is the critical component to growth and tissue repair. It is an essential component of your immune system and is instrumental in fighting off bacteria, microscopic invaders, fungi and viruses. As soon as one of these invading organisms enters our bloodstream, our body coordinates an all out assault that destroys the organism and any tissues that have been affected.

Inflammation is also the way that our body begins to repair itself when there has been an injury or trauma. Once the body has begun the repair process, the inflammation recedes and the tissue returns to its normal homeostatic environment. Without inflammation our bodies would stay sick and our tissues would never heal.

The problem with inflammation is when it doesn’t turn off. There are a number of factors that contribute to this system going awry, but first, let’s look at exactly what inflammation is.

All pain is caused by inflammation. The ancient Greeks described inflammation as “internal fire.” It is characterized by redness (“rubor”), swelling (“tumor”) heat (“calor”) and pain (dolor”). For example, when you fall and sprain your ankle, the first thing that happens is it swells, it feels warm, painful and changes to a red color. Using ice to help decrease the swelling, heat and redness is common knowledge. As soon as the tissue begins to heal, the swelling abates, it returns to a normal body temperature, and function returns. The inflammatory process turns off, but sometimes, it doesn’t. Why?

There are two important components that need to be reviewed in order to explain how the system breaks down and why inflammation becomes chronic and in turn leads to disease. The hormones that mediate this process are called eicosanoids. When we consume Omega 3 foods, our bodies produce anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, and when we consume Omega 6 foods, we produce an inflammatory response. Our bodies must maintain a proper balance or ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 to avoid chronic inflammation. Up until about 80 years ago, we had a balance of 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. This was because people ate a lot more fish. You may remember tales of your grandparents taking cod liver oil everyday. It turns out that was very valuable in maintaining this ratio due to the high levels of Omega 3 that it produced. Omega 6 producing vegetable oils played a much less significant role then as well.

Today we consume far more Omega 6 inflammatory producing foods and even less Omega 3 anti-inflammatory producing foods. The current average ratio of the American diet today is 20:1. The choices and temptation that we have today are overwhelming. Take a stroll down the cereal aisle in the grocery store. There is an entire aisle filled with cereal choices! Not to mention the amount of cookies, cakes, high fructose drinks that we can choose. All of these foods produce an inflammatory response in our bodies. Compare that with the amount of wild salmon, tuna, herring, sardines and walnuts we eat and you can see why the ratio has become so much larger.

You can change this ratio in a number of ways but becoming conscious of the things that you eat and understanding the consequences are simple ways to tip the balance back to a healthier ratio. Taking supplements that are rich in Omega 3 is also a simple way to reduce the ratio. As we begin the New Year, I know many of you will be making promises to yourself about what you will eat. If you do nothing more than begin to change this ratio, you will make a major improvement in creating more wellness in your life. So take a moment and look in your pantry and refrigerator and see how many foods you are eating that is contributing to an unhealthy ratio and begin to eat consciously now.

For more information and dietary options consider reading: The Anti-Inflammation Zone by Dr. Barry Sears, The Inflammation Syndrome by Jack Challem, or The Everything Anti-Inflammation Diet Book by Karlyn Grimes. Each provides as similar yet unique perspective to understanding the correlation to inflammation and the food you eat.