Stuffy noses, constant sneezing, itchy eyes and drainage!
Sounds like “seasonal” allergies. But, what exactly is at the root of these symptoms that come with the change of the seasons and what can we do to support our bodies’ natural responses?
What are allergies?
When we understand what’s happening during allergy attacks, treating them naturally seems like common sense. First, picture a grain of pollen — it looks something like a spiny sea urchin.
Now imagine this prickly invader entering the nasal passages and latching onto soft mucous membranes. These mucous membranes line our bronchial and nasal passages and contain immune cells, called mast cells, which are loaded with histamines.
Receptors sit on top of these mast cells, and when an allergen trigger — such as pollen, mold or pet dander — lands on top of the receptor, it alerts the mast cells, which respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals. The histamine initiates a series of reactions designed to help the body get rid of the intruder, including sneezing, watery eyes and itching. For some people, particularly those with asthma, this reaction may also include swelling in the bronchial tubes that makes it difficult to breathe.
Most allergy “medications” attempt to block the immune system response your body instigates to get rid of the allergen. But, does it not make more sense to strengthen the body’s defenses before it goes into attack mode? Many of the natural remedies discussed in this post are designed to do just that!
Supporting the Body
Although numerous “medications” are available to treat allergy symptoms, a large percentage of the 26 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies agree that their symptom relief is often incomplete, and they often have to rely on multiple medications to control their sniffling, sneezing and itching, wheezing, and watery eyes. Additionally, nearly a third of allergy patients think their medications don’t work at all. Pharmaceutical remedies are often expensive and frequently come with unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dry mouth, nasal irritation, nose bleeds, and a kind of “mental fog or disconnect,” — more on this to follow.
Before turning to pharmaceuticals for allergy relief, start by supporting the main systems in your body that will fight allergens – the gut, kidneys, & liver!
“We see good allergy relief in patients when we work on the liver and gut as well.”
– Crystal, Functional Medicine Provider
Learn more about how a Functional Medicine Pathway can optimize the health of your gut – as well as your liver, kidneys, and other vital organ systems!
While supporting your body’s internal systems directly, you can externally decrease your exposure to unwanted allergens through some practical lifestyle choices:
Flush sinus passages after high exposure to allergens such as pollens, dust, and molds like after mowing the yard, raking leaves, a windy day, etc. Products such as NETI POTS provide a simple way of rinsing away pollen grains in the nose and ease congestion from allergies and the common cold.
Studies have found that nasal flushing is an effective way to treat seasonal allergies in children, and markedly reduced their use of antihistamines.
Keep your air clean especially in seasons with lots of commercial spraying and farming. Some practical ways to do this is to keep windows up while driving, avoid window fans as they pull allergens in, clean air vents, and using an air filter when needed.
Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, itchy eyes and/or skin, swelling… these are all signs of, yes, allergies, but also that your body is detoxing the pollens, dust, molds, and dander!
Instead of fighting the symptoms, rejoice that your body is working hard FOR you and not against you!
The supplements our providers suggest help support the body/detox pathways, boost the immune system and/or calm the histamine reaction if it’s overstimulated – like a bad allergy season (Southeast Missouri is a prime example of bad allergy seasons… plus, we have bad mold in the air! eek!)
Natural Allergy Support:
Nettle – any and all forms
Raw local honey (as close to your house as possible)
ButterBur – herbal product in capsules
Pulsatilla – homeopathic remedy
Lemon, Lavender, or Peppermint Essential oils – use as directed; in deep breaths while diffused and mixed with carrier oil to be rubbed on sinus areas
PROBIOTICS &, again, working with the KIDNEYS and LIVER to support this
With all lung/sinus issues (congestion, coughs, colds/flu, croup, asthma, cancer, detox, etc.), nebulizing Colloidal Silver and/or glutathione works great!
Natural Sinus Infection Support
Andrographics – This is an herb from China and India. It’s a very strong anti-viral. Available from Medi Herb and Herbalist & Alchemist online. Great for sore throats and better than any over the counter medicine for sinus infections!
Many sinus infections are fungal in origin and will not respond to antibiotics for this reason as antibiotics are actually fungal-based drugs that can make the infection worse.
Our Favorite Allergy Supplements:
In addition to lifestyle practices during these seasons of higher allergens, supplements can aid the body while under high environmental stress.
Pre-season, load up on supplements such as quercetin, vitamin C, and bromelain. Some supplements we like for this are:
If sinus issues are present, try Earthley’s Sinus Saver Tincture – which is a great herbal tincture made with organic nettle leaf, elderberries, turmeric root, black pepper, and dandelion root.
For sinus infections, or if you feel one coming on, try Sinatrol!
And, for lung issues, try Mullein tea or tincture! Mullein is a very common plant and a supreme, safe, and profound respiratory tonic. It helps open the lungs, eases spasms, tightness, and cough, and soothes irritation and dryness.
Allergic reactions, including allergic rhinitis and food allergies, have dramatically increased over the last several decades.
Common hay fever symptoms can include having a stuffy nose, sinus pain, headaches, fatigue, itchy throat, watery eyes and more.
Medications may provide some relief but usually not as well as natural remedies. Plus, they don’t solve the underlying causes.
Treating allergies takes patience and a combination of tactics. Start now by removing foods you are sensitive to, eating foods that boost your immune system, managing stress, and incorporating supplements and complementary treatments into your routine!
We have an inextricable relationship with the natural world and our responsibility to safeguard the planet and its inhabitants. In the long run, we can only be as healthy as our planet.
Here, at Kingdom Health & Wellness, we understand that our connection with nature is fundamental. And, as with all of our functional medicine pathways, we draw on established research as well as ancient wisdom to support whole-body health. For example, Ecotherapy, which is a synthesis of ecopsychology and psychotherapy, uses nature-based interventions to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. Research in this field has demonstrated that cortisol levels may decrease by twice the threshold, pain levels may be alleviated by fourfold, and blood pressure may be lowered. Our connection with the Earth is essential to personal and relational wellness—wherever we live.
We value this principle in all of our programs. When we teach Food As Medicine, we discuss the importance of a high quality plant-based diet to promote wellness. While our healing pathways stress the importance of self-care, self-awareness, and group support to bring presence and connection to ourselves and the world around us; we also stress how big of an impact our environment is as well!
As we celebrate Earth Day, let it remind us to take a mindful pause to put ourself in the present moment, encourage us to tend to gardens, walk in our neighborhood, observe the new Spring blooms, and sit outside and practice a few minutes of gentle breathing. Enjoy the opportunity to be in sync with the natural rhythms of nature and the body. We honor, appreciate, and care for the Earth—as the Earth cares for us!
A Healthy Planet Means A Healthy Life
On every Continent we hear heart-breaking stories of people struggling with erratic climate patterns including floods, fires and cyclones. Thankfully, the population is recognizing that our actions have reactions. And, through more conscious and restrained choices when it comes to food, consumer goods and travel, we can influence our environment in a positive way rather than a negative way!
What is less reported but equally threatening is the direct impact that environmental degradation has on every cell in our body. With over 80,000 unregulated toxins unleashed into our environment in such a short period (there were no chemicals in use 500 years ago), we can begin to understand how this impacts on humans who have not evolved to handle such a burden.
Chronic illness on the rise due to environmental toxins
Many integrative practitioners around the globe are reporting an increase in chronic diseases as a direct result of environmental toxins. A new term describes these illnesses as ‘environmental diseases’ – illness which is caused by chronic exposure to toxic environmental chemicals.
In past generations, there were only a handful of people who struggled with allergies and chronic illnesses driven by exposure to toxins. These were the “sensitive” people who did not detox well. But now, with over 50% of both children and adults struggling with chronic illness, it is clear that even healthy people are not able to manage the wide variety of toxins in our extremely toxic environment. There are more people becoming ill with a wide range of ‘environmental illnesses.’
What are some of these ‘environmental illnesses?’
There are a wide range of toxins affecting the earth. Here is a list of some of the illnesses which can result from chronic exposure to them:
Asthma – there’s a lot of pollutants in the earth’s air these days including vehicle exhaust, chemicals, mould and other toxins. People often have allergic reactions to these toxins and this can be an asthmatic reaction. There’s currently a global epidemic of asthma especially amongst children. For example, 50% of the people in the US have some form of asthma and this figure is on the rise (see study here).
Cancer – Man-made chemicals including asbestos, PFOA, PFAS, VOCs and alcohol have been shown to cause some types of cancer in some people. Glyphosate used in herbicide has been found to cause Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by a California court (see report here). Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the US, causing more than 500,000 deaths each year.
Mercury poisoning –people usually get mercury exposure from eating contaminated fish or from amalgam fillings which are still being used by dentists in some areas. The issue is the human body cannot get rid of mercury so it gradually builds up inside the tissues. If it is not treated, mercury poisoning can eventually cause pain, numbness, weak muscles, loss of vision, paralysis and even death.
Lead poisoning – we ingest lead either by breathing in fumes from lead paint or lead dust – or by drinking water contaminated with lead. Lead can damage the brain, kidneys, liver and other organs. Severe lead poisoning can produce headaches, cramps, convulsions and even death. Lead is found in mother’s milk as it’s stored for decades in the mother’s bones and released like calcium when breast-feeding (not a reason to stop breastfeeding but a good one to detox before getting pregnant). See more info here.
Mold Illness or Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS) – this illness is sometimes caused when a person breathes in mould from a building which is contaminated by mould. Often the mould combines with other toxic chemicals in the building materials and this creates a ‘super toxin’ which can cause extreme symptoms including inflamed joints, depression and anxiety, neurological problems and gut sensitivity.
Immune System Deficiency – chemicals known as PFAS have been used in industries worldwide since the 1950s and have been shown to harm the immune system. PFAS are found in our water systems, the soil, some packaging and some non-stick cookware. These chemicals have been found to cause damage to the liver and the immune system, as well as birth defects in newborns (see info here).
Take the time to care about our Earth
Earth Day offers all of us an important opportunity to take action and make lifelong resolutions that will benefit our children and our children’s children. Together we can work to prevent environmental destruction and nurture our ourselves and our planet back to an original state of vitality and abundance.
As Dr Mark Hyman says in his book, Food Fix – Transforming Our Food System for Planet & Human Health – ‘The epidemic in chronic illness will be cured on the farm, in the store, in the kitchen, in our schools, not in the doctor’s office.’
Here are our Top Tips for helping your health while also nurturing our planet.
1. Buy from producers who care – find local producers or look for organic and/or terms that reflect these values in food, paper products, hygiene products, cosmetics, cleaning products, bedding, furniture and clothing.
2. Shop local – for anything and everything – less fuel and energy used in transport, fresher and supports your local community (economic health translates to human health).
3. Work with an integrative practitioner – who supports your body’s evolutionary needs and also supports planet health because they see the correlation and affect it has on all human health.
4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a time tested program. When you shop at thrift shops you are reducing your footprint by finding another way to gather your clothing and furnishings and not buying new items which are produced in energy intensive ways which often harm the earth.
5. Create your own organic veggie and herb garden – healthy soil sequesters carbon, supports vital ecosystems, grows nutrient rich plants and keeps the earth healthy. Dr Mark Hyman, author of Food Fix is getting the word out– ‘Our food system as a whole is the number one solution to climate change.’
6. Source meat from a regenerative farmer who practices “carbon farming” by managing cattle grazing (sheep and goats too) to produce nitrogen-rich soil which sequesters more carbon (and without toxins from industrial fertiliser or pesticides). The pure and rich soil this promotes also translates to nutrient rich and non-toxic meat… no plastic in our meat please!
7. Work with your neighborhood to use alternatives to toxic herbicides, fertilizers and EMF pollution – for example, use ethernet connections and avoid 5G where possible.
8. Conserve water – the less water you use, the less runoff and wastewater will end up in the ocean. Catch rain water for your yard and garden; use filtered water, spring water, or well water to drink – try to avoid excess plastic when you can.
9. Be conscious of how you travel – walk, ride your bike or take public transport as much as possible. Plus, you can improve your petrol mileage by 0.6 per cent to three per cent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure!
10. Give composting a try – Globally, we produce millions of tons of waste every year. Yet, only a small amount of our waste is composted and most ends up in landfill. A little known fact is that food waste is the third largest contributor to greenhouse emissions after the United States and China. So, if more of us composted our food waste, it would help curb climate change while providing remineralization in the soil AND great fertilizer for your plant, veggie and herb gardens.
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]Elevated blood pressure predisposes individuals to cardiovascular disease and
increased risk of cardiac events, including stroke and myocardial infarction (heart attack). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of 2021, the prevalence of hypertension increases with age, with a rate of 22.4% among adults aged 18 to 39, a rate of 54.5% among those aged 40 to 59, and a rate of 74.5% among those aged 60 and older.
Primary or essential hypertension has no direct identifiable etiology, although genetics, suboptimal dietary intake, and other factors, such as sedentary lifestyle and obesity, are believed to be involved. In contrast, secondary hypertension is caused by other disease processes, including renal or endocrine pathophysiology.
Patients may unknowingly begin to trend toward hypertension without any overt
symptoms before diagnosis. This highlights the importance of regular blood pressure monitoring. When present, symptoms may signify more severe hypertension, and include headache, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, and arrhythmia.
Nutrition and lifestyle intervention serve as important facets of care in preventing and ameliorating hypertension. You can lower blood pressure through the maintenance of healthy weight, increased physical activity, stress management techniques, and adoption of a heart-healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet.
Additionally, nutrients that support vasodilation, healthy endothelial function, and blood pressure regulation can be emphasized through diet or supplementation.[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”2025″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” img_link_target=”_blank” link=”https://kingdomhealthcape.com/2021/05/a-functional-approach-to-high-blood-pressure/”][vc_column_text]
Action Steps to Support Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
Regular physical activity to support healthy cardiovascular function and a healthy body mass index (BMI).
Stress management practices, such as breath work, meditation, and yoga to
modulate sympathetic response and tone.
Therapeutic Diet and Nutritional Considerations
Consumption of a heart healthy diet such as the Mediterranean diet or dietary
approaches to stop hypertension, also known as the DASH diet.
Support blood pressure levels through intake of magnesium- and potassium-rich foods:
o Swiss chard
o Pumpkin seeds
o Beet greens
o Black beans and lima beans
o Tuna and salmon
o Dark chocolate
Supplement support based on practitioner guidance:
CoQ10 with lipoic acid
Functional medicine aims to focus on the cause of a medical condition rather than the symptoms. Conventional medical approaches can be quick to use drugs to control the associated symptoms rather than solving the underlying issue which can cause further issues in the long-run.
For example, high blood pressure is sometimes a result of poor eating habits or lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking. A functional medicine approach looks for the underlying cause and will include a range of different tests to determine what is going on.
The practitioner will consider the full medical and lifestyle history of the individual and use a patient-centered approach. There can be a wide range of triggers for high blood pressure including environmental and genetic causes.
Low levels of certain vitamins such as vitamin D and C, for example, can impact blood pressure and cause raised blood pressure levels. Exposure to high levels of mercury can have a similar effect. Low levels of potassium in relation to sodium also leads to high blood pressure. If someone is pre-diabetic they may have high blood sugar levels and a predisposition to chronic high blood pressure.
The cause of high blood pressure is often different for each individual and, where conventional medicine provides a one size fits all solution, the functional medicine approach looks for the unique factors that are causing the condition.
If someone is suffering from inflammation, for example, their high blood pressure may be a result of that particular health problem. Treating the inflammation and reducing it can in turn result in an improvement in terms of the patient’s blood pressure.
Lifestyle interventions make a huge difference to many chronic conditions we suffer from in the modern world, including high blood pressure. For one individual that could mean adding more foods high in potassium. For another, it might be reducing weight and living a less sedentary lifestyle.
While we recommend the action steps stated above to support a healthy blood pressure, we can not emphasize enough how important it is to talk with a functional medicine provider to create a personalized pathway to restore healthy blood pressure!
The thyroid produces two thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) and calcitonin (which helps to lower calcium and phosphate levels in the blood by helping the bones absorb more calcium). The thyroid hormones are essential for metabolism, as well as normal growth and development. They influence every cell in your body. They maintain the rate at which your body uses fats and carbohydrates, help control your body temperature, influence your heart rate, and help regulate the production of protein.
Unfortunately, most doctors focus on the individual hormones instead of the nutrients and processes that make those hormones. Thyroid dysfunction is a symptom of a much larger, whole body issue. It is just one piece of the puzzle. Medicating the thyroid is a bandaid, and is not actually addressing any of the underlying issues going on.
The regulation of the thyroid hormones depends on the relationship between the anterior pituitary and the thyroid gland. The pituitary secretes the thyroid stimulating hormones. This is why the HPA axis is so important in our health and why we can’t just focus on one part of the body. The HPA axis is the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal axis. If the HPA Axis is under stress, then the HPT axis is under stress as well- they are connected, and the HPA axis tends to take precedence. You cannot heal the thyroid if your adrenals aren’t healthy.
Gut Healing and Thyroid Health
The gut is one of the first steps to address in healing from any illness. The gut encompasses so much – digestion and nutrient assimilation, gut microbiome, gut/brain axis, and lots of inflammation can stem from the gut!
Stomach acid is so important for utilization of the nutrients needed to support a healthy thyroid, especially copper, iron, potassium and more. When our gut is out of balance, it can increase inflammation in the body which will stress out our HPA axis (and HPT axis). The conversion of thyroid hormones also depends on a healthy microbiome.[/vc_column_text]
Liver Healing and Thyroid Health
The liver has hundreds of functions in the body. If it is not happy, then lots of things can being going wrong in the body and many processes start failing. Regarding the two thyroid hormones – T4 and T3, T3 is the ONLY form of thyroid hormone that the cells can use. T4 must be converted to T3 before it can be used by the cells. Guess where that conversion takes place? Yep, in the liver! Thanks to the state of our food and environment, so many people have sluggish lovers because it gets sluggish when we have nutrient deficiencies, chronic underlying infections, and if we have lots of toxins.
Some of our favorite liver healers are castor oils packs, herbal infusions, bitter herbs like dandelion root, bioray liver life and liver detoxes.
There’s also high amounts of autoimmune thyroid issues these days (caused mostly by underlying infections like Lyme and EBV), but also from inflammation from many causes, including gluten and caffeine.
Avoiding gluten, processed foods, and goitrogenic foods like soy, can also help the thyroid. Focusing on a whole foods, organic diet with healthy fats and proteins is essential.
There’s a lot of focus on iodine for thyroid health but in isolated form, it can cause problems for some people. So, unless recommended by your practitioner, it’s best to get it from a good, clean source of sea veggies. Maine Coast Sea Veggies is a great brand!
Selenium is also a very important factor in thyroid health. A Brazil nut a few times a week will cover your selenium needs!
There is a lot to thyroid health!
Balancing minerals, replenishing other nutrients, healing the gut, and healing your liver are imperative for healing the thyroid.
Addressing any underlying infections or toxicities will help as well.
Since there are many variations in thyroid dysfunction, fixing the thyroid will be different for most people.
Here are some things you can do now to help your thyroid:
Cervical spine chiropractic care
Addressing trauma’s and feeling “heard”
Addressing oral health such as amalgams & root canals as these are a direct download to the thyroid.
Nourish your body with minerals through whole food, natural sources.
Avoid taxing toxins & toxicants such as BPA, bromine, mercury, and lead. As these all compete with the receptors for iodine thus inhibiting thyroid hormone production!
Need More Help?
Specific Testing & Working with a Provider
Find a healthcare provider who looks at the body as a whole, avoids overusing prescriptions, and practices lifestyle medicine.
Empower yourself and the women in your life with these top 10 ways we can support breast health.
This October and going forward, take control of the things you CAN control… because we believe breast cancer doesn’t have to be 1 in 8.
10 Tips for Breast Health from our provider Taylor:
1. Regular self-breast exams
See our last post for a how-to picture or ask your doctor/mom/trusted friend to teach you!
You know your body best – don’t forget to check in on it. If we do regular (weekly or bi-weekly) breast exams, we will be able to catch an unfamiliar lump WAY sooner than if we just wait to get an annual breast exam or mammogram by our physician.
This focus becomes so important because breast cancer has increased dramatically over the past few decades.
Whereas one in 20 women had it in the 1960s, today that number has risen to one in eight women. According to The American Cancer Society, over 40,000 women will die from breast cancer in 2025.
These and other statistics suggest environmental factors are driving cancer. What we eat, toxins, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, and other problems in modern-day society become catalysts to increase breast cancer risk.
Through Functional Medicine, we consider the factors that increase breast cancer risk and then eliminates them. From that perspective, we can literally change the soil in which cancer grows.
According to Dr. Hyman, imbalances in seven key systems in your body contribute to breast cancer and every other disease. Among these seven key systems include hormonal imbalances such as high insulin levels that eventually create insulin resistance.
Sugar, along with refined grains, becomes the driver behind high insulin levels. Every time we eat sugar, we raise insulin levels, which make cancer cells grow and promote inflammation – which is made worse with processed vegetable oils. It’s literally like adding fuel to the fire.
High insulin levels also increase estrogen levels. High estrogen levels correlate with increased breast cancer risk.
Sugar, especially as high-fructose corn syrup and other processed carbohydrates, surges our insulin levels, increasing estrogen in the bargain.
Put bluntly: Every time we eat sugar, we increase our risk for breast cancer.
Increased insulin also means our body becomes really good at storing fat, and a vicious cycle ensues as our insulin and estrogen levels stay cranked up. Studies show excess body fat increases our risk for breast cancer.
When someone is deprived of sugar and then injected with radioactive sugar, that sugar goes right to cancer cells, which triggers insulin, inflammation, all while feeding the cancer cells. Cancer cells love sugar.
These are found in beauty products, processed canned foods, plastics, commercial soy products, birth control pills, and unfiltered water.
Diet plays a major role in breast cancer, but so do other factors like environmental toxins. The most damaging ones include estrogen and substances that mimic it, which we call xenoestrogens.
Xenoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors that activate estrogen, stimulating cancer pathways. In fact, these estrogen mimickers are 1,000 times more powerful than estrogen, and they react synergistically.
To lessen our exposure to these toxins, choose filtered water and organic food; Always opt for high-quality meat sources like wild salmon and grass-fed beef; Become more aware about how things like household cleaners and cosmetics can increase your toxic load at the EWG.
4. Supplement with antioxidants
such as black seed oil and black cumin!
The amount of healing properties provided by life on this earth will never cease to amaze us! Plants such as herbs, roots, fruits and vegetables are packed with micronutrients, phytonutrients, and essential minerals to aid and repair our bodies.
Antioxidants are plant or phyto-chemicals that protect your cells and tissues from damage caused by electrically charged molecules, a.k.a. free radicals. Cell and DNA damage is at the root of most diseases – including: autoimmune disease, cancer, and chronic inflammation. Antioxidants act like natural sponges, mopping up these free radicals to protect your cells and DNA from damage. This is why it is so vitally important to get as many antioxidants into your body as you can.
Antioxidants can be found in fruits and vegetables as well as herbs. You can ensure you’re getting these cancer preventing photo-chemicals in supplements – our provider Taylor recommends Black Seed Oil or Black Cumin! Talk to us about which brands we love and trust to ensure you are getting a high-quality supplement to aid your body!
5. Ditch commercial deodorants
that contain aluminum, parabens, & estrogen mimicking chemicals which increase your risk of breast cancer.
We want to avoid any deodorants with toxins such as aluminum, p-dichlorobenzene, and/or phthalates. We can’t recommend any certain brands – you can also make your own as it is the most effective and affordable. This also ensureds knowing that there are no hidden ingredients and our skin is being protected from toxins.
underwire and snuggly bras restrict circulation and lymph flow. Opt for a bralette or wire-free option.
Aside from helping us look good and giving us support, how many of us have thought about how bra wearing affects our breast health? The fact is women of all breast sizes who wear bras, especially for extended periods of time and especially bras with underwires, are negatively impacting breast health.
Bra wearing confines and constricts the breasts, reducing lymphatic drainage. It is very important to have optimal lymphatic drainage to remove the toxins from the breasts that contribute to breast congestion and inflammation. Estrogen is produced in the breasts and fat cells and if the lymph system is clogged, the breast environment becomes stagnant and unhealthy, leading us down a path none of us want to go down.
According to the book Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer, women who wear bras more than 12 hours a day have a 1 out of 7 risk of developing breast cancer. While women who wear bras less than 12 hours a day have a 1 out of 52 risk, and women who never wear bras have a 1 out of 162 risk.
Over 85 percent of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the armpit lymph nodes (also why it’s not helpful to block this detox pathway with antiperspirants). Most of the rest drains to the nodes along the breastbone. Bras and other external tight clothing can impede flow. The nature of the bra, the tightness, and the length of time worn, will all influence the degree of blockage of lymphatic drainage. Thus, wearing a bra can contribute to the development of breast cancer as a result of cutting off lymphatic drainage, so that toxic chemicals are trapped in the breast.
Does this mean we should stop wearing bras? Not necessarily. If you do choose to wear a bra, avoid bras with underwires and make sure you get a proper fit! This makes a HUGE difference in circulation and lymph function.
7. Avoid medications that impact hormone levels
such as HRT (synthetic hormone replacement therapy) or birth control pills. There are other alternatives out there such as cycle mapping! If you use birth control as a method of hormone balance consider a bioidentical option such as BioTE.
Conventional treatments for hormonal imbalances typically include synthetic hormone replacement therapies, birth control pills, insulin injections, thyroid medications and more. Unfortunately, for the majority of people suffering from hormonal disorders, relying on these types of synthetic treatments often does three things:
It makes people dependent on taking prescription drugs for the rest of their lives in order to keep symptoms under control.
It simply masks the patient’s symptoms, but doesn’t solve them, which means that the patient can continue to develop abnormalities in other areas of the body while the disorder progresses.
It potentially causes a higher risk for serious side effects, such as stroke, osteoporosis, anxiety, reproductive problems, cancer and more.
Is it possible to balance hormones naturally? The good news is: yes, in many cases it is. At our office, we address root causes of hormonal problems, as well as provide treatment options to help you balance your hormones naturally.
daily movement increases circulation and lymph flow. Rebounding!
Regular, moderate exercise supports cellular health and the cellular process of autophagy, which is the recycle and cleanup of old or damaged cells. We CAN NOT recommend daily movement enough! Go for a walk, garden, turn up your favorite music and have a dance party while you clean… just move your body!
A new study adds to existing evidence linking physical activity with longer survival in women diagnosed with high-risk breast cancer.
Just like in nature, where there is stagnation – there is disease.
Be sure to move everyday!
9. Decrease & manage stress
we recommend certain adaptogens, prayer/meditation, and other creative, calming outlets.
Studies connect chronic stress levels with increased breast cancer risk. Whether you opt for meditation, stretching, deep breathing, walking barefoot in the grass, or another de-stressor, find something that works for you and do it.
10. Quality sleep and good sleep hygiene
effects the body’s ability to repair itself and fight off disease!
Studies show an inverse association between sleep duration and breast cancer risk. Listen to your body or aim for eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night.
When it comes to cancer – and really, optimal health – we’re all in this together. We can all learn from each other. If you’ve found ways to reduce your breast cancer risk, we want to hear from you. We would love to hear your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.
Known as PCOS, this condition can happen at any age after puberty. Every month, as part of a healthy menstrual cycle, the ovaries release an egg. In women that have PCOS, the ovaries will develop a thickened outer wall underneath which many partially stimulated eggs form cysts, hence the name polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Normally, the ovaries release a small amount of male sex hormones, called androgens. However, in women with PCOS, the ovaries start making slightly more androgens – which is the reason for masculine symptoms like extra facial and body hair and male pattern baldness.
Traditionally, the diagnosis of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome was made when an imaging study revealed multiple cysts on the ovaries. We now know not every woman diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome has visible cysts on her ovaries. Polycystic ovarian syndrome can still be diagnosed if the majority of other common symptoms are experienced and/or they have the common endocrine abnormalities associated with PCOS. This is because the “cysts” are actually just increased number of follicles.
How Do I Know If I Have PCOS?
Pay attention to your body! Your body is wonderfully and brilliantly made. It will tell you if something is off. At the start of your next cycle, pay attention to these signs.
Symptoms of PCOS:
Trouble getting pregnant (infertility)
Irregular menstrual cycle
Hirsuitism, with hair growth on the face, chin, or parts of the body where men usually have hair
Acne on the face, chest, and upper back
Thinning hair or hair loss on the scalp; male-pattern baldness
Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
Darkening of skin, particularly along neck creases, in the groin, and underneath breasts, which is commonly associated with insulin resistance
Anxiety and depression
Elevated waist to hip ratios, overweight and obesity
What Causes PCOS?
While the exact cause of PCOS is unknown, several factors, including genetics, diet, stress levels, and environmental toxins can all play a role because they influence your hormones. The common hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS include high androgens (testosterone/DHEA), overproduction of CRH (corticotropin releasing hormone) and cortisol, elevated insulin/glucose levels, elevated estrone levels and improper ratios of LH (lutenizing hormone) to FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).
High insulin is not just a symptom, it is a major driver.
The body makes insulin but can’t use it correctly increasing risk for T2DM. Insulin lowers your blood sugar by storing glucose in cells. The cells become resistant to the constant insulin and need more to be signaled to lower the blood sugar. When the resistance goes on for a while, this results in high insulin and high blood sugar.
Can I Treat PCOS Naturally?
Diet and exercise are the most fundamental ways to manage insulin and PCOS! Our Functional Medicine providers recommend engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 min per day to regulate blood sugar.
Regular movement throughout the day helps your body use sugar as it was designed to and, therefore, improve insulin sensitivity!
Things you can do to improve hormone balance and reduce PCOS:
Avoid high sugar foods and having low carb diet, rich in protein and fat balance blood sugar.
Avoid excess caffeine
Prioritize sleep and reduce stress
Avoid xenoestrogens/endocrine disruptors – non organic meats/dairy, skincare/cleaning products
Consuming a nutrient-dense, low-glycemic diet will improve insulin sensitivity, body composition and androgen levels. In the Journal of Obesity, participants followed a low starch/low dairy food plan for 8 weeks, which resulted in a decrease in testosterone, improved insulin sensitivity and weight loss. In addition, there may be some association with improper detoxification and bodily retention of environmental toxins in patients with PCOS. We suggest most patients consume a whole foods diet, limiting exposure to pesticides, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners. Include a plethora of non-starchy vegetables, grass-fed/pasture-raised meat/poultry, wild-caught fish (salmon is my favorite), nuts/seeds and unrefined oils/fats like coconut oil, olive oil and avocado.
Increased stress will elevate your cortisol levels which in turn elevates blood glucose levels. This will lead to increased weight gain around the abdomen as well as an increase in androgen levels. Excess androgen levels can lead to aromatization and an increase in estrone levels created by the increase in adipose (fat) tissue. Elevated estrone levels disrupt the proper ratios of LH and FSH that lead to menstrual irregularities and the many other symptoms associated with PCOS. Many patients admit to experiencing stress in their lives, however, most are not aware of the real physiological changes that occur when they feel stressed.
Some suggestions for reducing stress are to spend more time in nature, try mindful movement, breathing, and meditation a few times per week. Start a heart-centered meditation, engage in daily prayer, start a journal and ensure that you are getting proper sleep (at least 7-9 hours per night). Other suggestions include acupuncture, energy therapy such as marma therapy, massage and/or chiropractic.
Getting regular movement is part of any treatment plan for patients diagnosed with PCOS. It is important to engage in moderate activity to improve body composition, burn fat and lower cortisol levels. Some women make the mistake of engaging in extremely intense activity, which can actually cause more hormonal imbalances. As a general rule, we recommend listening to your body and paying attention to how you feel during and after your exercise routine.
Herbs known as adaptogens can help promote hormone balance and protect the body from the effects of cortisol caused by chronic stress. Ashwaganda, holy basil, rhodiola and maca root can are a few of the herbs that can be helpful in PCOS. Licorice can lower testosterone levels, however, care must be taken if you also have hypertension. Inositol is another commonly used supplement to improve symptoms associated with PCOS, although it seems to be more helpful in the patients that are not classified as obese. There are two types of inositol: myo-inositol and D-chiro-inositol and doses somewhere between 1,200-2,400 milligrams per day can help with follicular maturation, weight loss, reducing leptin levels , lowering triglyceride levels and improving HDL levels. Lastly, omega- 3 supplementation can affect gene expression that is involved in insulin and lipid signaling pathways.
[/vc_column_text][vc_cta h2=”Tried All These Recommendations & Still Can’t Relieve Your PCOS Symptoms?”]
Sirmans SM, Pate KA. Epidemiology, diagnosis, and management of polycystic ovary syndrome. Clin Epidemiol. 2013;6(1):1-13. doi:10.2147/CLEP.S37559
Sirmans SM, Parish RC, Blake S, Wang X. Epidemiology and comorbidities of polycystic ovary syndrome in an indigent population. J Investig Med. 2014;62(6):868-874. doi:10.1097/01.JIM.0000446834.90599.5d
Ding T, Hardiman PJ, Petersen I, Wang FF, Qu F, Baio G. The prevalence of polycystic ovary syndrome in reproductive-aged women of different ethnicity: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Oncotarget. 2017;8(56):96351-96358. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.19180
Gibson-Helm M, Teede H, Dunaif A, Dokras A. Delayed diagnosis and a lack of information associated with dissatisfaction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017;102(2):604-612. doi:10.1210/jc.2016-2963
Mathur R, Ko A, Hwang LJ, Low K, Azziz R, Pimentel M. Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with an increased prevalence of irritable bowel syndrome. Dig Dis Sci. 2010;55(4):1085-1089. doi:10.1007/s10620-009-0890-5
Cooney LG, Lee I, Sammel MD, Dokras A. High prevalence of moderate and severe depressive and anxiety symptoms in polycystic ovary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Hum Reprod. 2017;32(5):1075-1091. doi:10.1093/humrep/dex044
Jason J. Polycystic ovary syndrome in the United States: clinical visit rates, characteristics, and associated health care costs. Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(13):1209-1211. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.288
Schmidt TH, Khanijow K, Cedars MI, et al. Cutaneous findings and systemic associations in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(4):391-398. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4498
Lim SS, Hutchison SK, Van Ryswyk E, Norman RJ, Teede HJ, Moran LJ. Lifestyle changes in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;3:CD007506. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007506.pub4
Lua ACY, How CH, King TFJ. Managing polycystic ovary syndrome in primary care. Singapore Med J. 2018;59(11):567-571. doi:10.11622/smedj.2018135
Kazemi M, McBreairty LE, Chizen DR, Pierson RA, Chilibeck PD, Zello GA. A comparison of a pulse-based diet and the therapeutic lifestyle changes diet in combination with exercise and health counselling on the cardio-metabolic risk profile in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):E1387. doi:10.3390/nu10101387
Wolf WM, Wattick RA, Kinkade ON, Olfert MD. The current description and future need for multidisciplinary PCOS clinics. J Clin Med. 2018;7(11):E395. doi:10.3390/jcm7110395
According to the CDC, women are 100% more likely to visit the doctor for annual examinations and preventive services than men. Here at Kingdom Health, half of our patients are men (usually thanks to some caring yet persistent women)! Nonetheless, kudos to you awesome guys!!
Thank you for understanding that your body was created intelligently. And, that admitting when there is an interference, taking the steps to seek care, and then taking action allows you to live fuller so you can get back to doing the things you love.
There is a silent health crisis in America…it’s that fact that, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women.” Dr. David Gremillion Men’s Health Network
The main reasons men come to our office is due to symptoms of hormonal imbalance such as:
muscle mass loss
loss of bone mass, otherwise known as osteoporosis
We also see men due to hypertension, cardiovascular health, inflammation, gut issues, and food sensitivities – because, like so many, prescription medication wasn’t fixing anything.
Men tend to wait until its the last resort until seeking help – DON’T WAIT! There are better options out there!
Here at Kingdom Health, we do not guess – we test. Our providers start care with in-depth functional testing – not your conventional lab work. We test based on your individual health history, your symptoms, and your lifestyle. And, the test we do are full panel tests so that we can uncover what is going on physiologically and biochemically.
Comprehensive testing provides our patients with information and knowledge about the function of their body that they typically do not receive from their conventional doctor visits. These tests are performed to get to the root cause of the symptoms or disease.
In addition to helping resolve health issues, we also have testing to optimize health. Perhaps you are feeling good but you want to feel and function even better. We have testing that analyzes the factors of aging and then allows us to modify these factors. The goal is to Function Optimally and to Thrive, not to merely ‘not be sick’.
HORMONE OPTIMIZATION plays a huge role in not only women’s health but men’s health as well! Testing helps us uncover root of these symptoms so we can work with you to create a plan that will get your body back to optimal health!
Better energy, better libido, better recovery, better gut health, better moods! These are all things are male patients walk out of our office saying.
You probably know it is a root cause of countless health problems and is the only factor common to all chronic diseases – including Alzheimer’s & dementia due to an antimicrobial response to pathogens or other inflammatory causes. The word inflammation comes from the Latin word inflammatio; inflammare which means to set on fire. The best way to describe inflammation is to say the tissues of the body are “on fire.” Your body is creating this fire in response to damaged cells in your body.
What Causes Inflammation?
In functional medicine, we are very interested in the subject of #inflammation because until it is brought under control we simply cannot help people’s bodies restore function and therefore health. When your cells are damaged by anything, your body starts a fire. The purpose of this fire is to contain/limit the damage so it does not spread, break down damaged cells for removal and permit the development of new, healthy cells — just like controlled burns in nature!
So, while your body is not technically on fire, inflammation is like a fire in your body. But, what causes this body-fire? A lot of natural chemicals your body creates in a response to damaged cells.
Below are some of the chemicals your body makes to create this fire:
Complement system (a group of about 20 different proteins)
Cytokines including lymphokines and monokines
As you can see from the list above, the process of inflammation is not caused by a single chemical; it is a complicated process, involving many different chemicals. This is why so few people understand what inflammation actually is… there is not a single cause. You just need to know that inflammation is like a fire in your body.
What Triggers an Inflammatory Response?
Inflammation is an immune response. Innate immune response is how your body recognizes and defends itself against bacteria, viruses, and substances that appear foreign and harmful. The inflammatory response (inflammation) occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins, heat, or any other cause that damages cells including microorganisms, physical agents, chemicals, inappropriate immunological responses, and tissue death.
Infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria are some of the most common stimuli of inflammation. Viruses give rise to inflammation by entering and destroying cells of the body; bacteria release substances called endotoxins that can initiate inflammation.
Physical trauma, burns, radiation injury, and frostbite can damage tissues and also bring about inflammation, as can corrosive chemicals such as acids, alkalis, and oxidizing agents. As mentioned above, malfunctioning immunological responses can incite an inappropriate and damaging inflammatory response. Inflammation can also result when tissues die from a lack of oxygen or nutrients, a situation that often is caused by loss of blood flow to the area.
The damaged cells release chemicals including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These chemicals cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. This helps isolate the foreign substance from further contact with body tissues.
The chemicals also attract white blood cells called phagocytes that “eat” germs and dead or damaged cells. This process is called phagocytosis. Phagocytes eventually die. Pus is formed from a collection of dead tissue, dead bacteria, and live and dead phagocytes.
Most Common Causes of Inflammation That We See
Chronic Infections – such as infections of the gut, Lyme’s Disease, Epstein–Barr virus, etc
When inflammation is short-term and controlled, it is a very good thing because it is a necessary part of the healing process. The “fire” of inflammation cleans out the useless and damaged cells and lets new healthy ones take their place. This is what we call “healthy inflammation.” Every time we eat, we also consume a significant quantity of bacteria. The body is faced with the challenge of simultaneously distributing the ingested glucose and fighting these bacteria. This triggers an inflammatory response that activates the immune systems of healthy individuals and has a protective effect In healthy individuals, short-term inflammatory responses play an important role in sugar uptake and the activation of the immune system.
Supporting a balanced intestinal microbial community is essential for the integrity of the immune system, for the prevention and response to infections (inflammation), and for recovery from illness. The microbes and their metabolites influence physiological function (particularly metabolism), local mucosal homeostasis, inflammation, and interactions between multiple body systems. Therefore, an imbalanced intestinal microbiota may have system-wide effects and contribute to blunted immune reactivity. Gut microbiota alterations due to unhealthy lifestyle factors and dietary triggers may contribute to inflammation, intestinal permeability, immune system dysfunction, and the pathogenesis of a broad spectrum of chronic diseases. Healthy lifestyle factors, including a diversified diet, limited consumption of processed and refined foods, and consumption of adequate dietary fiber, may all promote a healthy microbiome and therefore a healthy immune response!
CHRONIC inflammation is BAD
Just like how fire is a cleansing process in forests; this process in nature is beneficial when it occurs periodically. It would be harmful if the forest was constantly burning or if it burned down every year. This is what happens in your body with chronic inflammation…the fire never dies out. The cells of your body cannot repair themselves and new, healthy cells can’t form. Your “forest” can’t rebuild and thrive and function as nature intended.
If the agent causing an inflammation cannot be eliminated, or if there is some interference with the healing process, an acute inflammatory response may progress to the chronic stage. Repeated episodes of acute inflammation also can give rise to chronic inflammation. The physical extent, duration, and effects of chronic inflammation vary with the cause of the injury and the body’s ability to ameliorate the damage.
Some of the most common and disabling human diseases, such as tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic lung disease, are characterized by this type of inflammation. Chronic inflammation can be brought about by infectious organisms that are able to resist host defenses and persist in tissues for an extended period. These organisms include Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the causative agent of tuberculosis), fungi, protozoa, and metazoal parasites. Other inflammatory agents are materials foreign to the body that cannot be removed by phagocytosis or enzymatic breakdown. These include substances that can be inhaled, such as silica dust, and materials that can gain entry to wounds, such as metal or wood splinters.
In autoimmune reactions the stimulus to chronic inflammation is a normal component of the body to which the immune system has become sensitized. Autoimmune reactions give rise to chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
We could keep going, but we think you get the idea, chronic inflammation causes many problems for your body. Functional medicine providers specialize in connecting symptoms + health history to pinpoint the type of inflammatory response and finding the root cause/s of unhealthy inflammation by asking questions such as what is damaging the cells? what microorganisms, physical agents, or chemicals are prevalent? are the intestinal microbial communities balanced?
Now you have a more in-depth understanding of what inflammation is…the body on fire and this fire is your body’s response to damaged cells. Discover what is causing the damage to cells and you can reduce inflammation.
Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
This illness affects a third of people over the age of 85 in the U.S. By 2050, there could be as many as 7 million people age 85 and older with Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for half (51%) of all people 65 and older with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative brain disease and the most common form of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a group of symptoms.
This Brain Dis-ease can rob people of the ability to think clearly, perform everyday tasks and ultimately, remember their family or who they even are. Because the disease is so devastating, and since previous treatments failed to come up with a cure, we’re always on the lookout for Alzheimer’s natural treatment options and Alzheimer’s news, scouring the medical journals for Alzheimer’s breakthroughs.
It is claimed that “no one survives a diagnosis of dementia,” a disease with “no effective treatment.” As practitioners, we have struggled over the years with patients with cognitive decline, since there has been so little to offer… There is still much that we do not know about the brain, but there are several theories for dementia root causes including free radical damage, an inability to use glucose properly, vitamin deficiencies or environmental toxinsthat can be used to improve cognitive function and, perhaps, prevent dementia and its related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Understanding the Brain
Your brain is your most powerful organ, yet weighs only about three pounds. It has a texture similar to firm jelly. It is comprised of 3 main parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the brain stem.
Your brain is nourished by one of your body’s richest networks of blood vessels. When you are thinking hard, your brain may use up to 50 percent of the fuel and oxygen. With each heartbeat, arteries carry about 20 to 25 percent of your blood to your brain, where billions of cells use about 20 percent of the oxygen and fuel your blood carries. The whole vessel network includes veins and capillaries in addition to arteries.
Your brain’s wrinkled surface is a specialized outer layer of the cerebrum called the cortex. Scientists have “mapped” the cortex by identifying areas strongly linked to certain functions. Your brain is divided into right and left halves. The right side is responsible for controlling the left side of your body and the left side is responsible for controlling the right side of your body.
Your brain is a NEURON FOREST. Neurons are information messengers. They use electrical impulses and chemical signals to transmit information between different areas of the brain, and between the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Neurons are the chief type of cell destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease.
Cell Signaling & Signal Coding
The real work of your brain goes on in individual cells. The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse, carrying signals to other cells. Scientists have identified dozens of neurotransmitters. Alzheimer’s disease disrupts both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters.
100 billion nerve cells. 100 trillion synapses. Dozens of neurotransmitters. This “strength in numbers” provides your brain’s raw material. Over time, our experiences create patterns in signal type and strength. These patterns of activity explain how, at the cellular level, our brains code our thoughts, memories, skills and sense of who we are.
Understanding How Alzheimer’s and Dementia Affects the Brain
Alzheimer’s disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all its functions.
Scientists can also see the terrible effects of Alzheimer’s disease when they look at brain tissue under the microscope. Scientists are not absolutely sure what causes cell death and tissue loss in the Alzheimer’s brain, but the plaques and tangles in the figures below are prime suspects.
Alzheimer’s tissue has many fewer nerve cells and synapses than a healthy brain.
More About Plaques…
More About Tangles…
Tangles destroy a vital cell transport system made of proteins. This electron microscope picture shows a cell with some healthy areas and other areas where tangles are forming.
In healthy areas:
Orderly, parallel strands for delivering key materials to the cells
A protein called tau helps keep the strands straight
In areas where tangles are forming:
Nutrients and other essential supplies can no longer move through the cells, which eventually die.
Tau collapses into twisted strands called tangles
The strands can no longer stay straight and disintegrate
Progression Through the Brain
Plaques and tangles tend to spread through the cortex in a predictable pattern as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. The rate of progression varies greatly. On average, a person with Alzheimer’s lives four to eight years after diagnosis, but can live as long as 20 years, depending on other factors. The course of the disease depends in part on age at diagnosis and whether a person has other health conditions.
In the earliest stages, before symptoms can be detected with current tests, plaques and tangles begin to form in brain areas involved in.
In mild to moderate stages, brain regions important in memory and thinking and planning develop more plaques and tangles than were present in early stages. As a result, individuals develop problems with memory or thinking serious enough to interfere with work or social life. They may also get confused and have trouble handling money, expressing themselves and organizing their thoughts. Many people with Alzheimer’s are first diagnosed in these stages.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, individuals may experience changes in personality and behavior and have trouble recognizing friends and family members.
In advanced Alzheimer’s disease, most of the cortex is seriously damaged. The brain shrinks dramatically due to widespread cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, to recognize family and loved ones and to care for themselves.
Using Functional Medicine To Treat Alzheimer’s And Cognitive Decline
With functional medicine, the goal is to treat the root cause of the issue instead of only alleviating the resulting symptoms. For instance, the leading hypothesis from conventional medicine asserts that amyloid plaques in the brain cause Alzheimer’s and aims to remove the plaques to cure Alzheimer’s. Thus, billions of dollars have been invested in trials to clear amyloid-beta with no success to date. In fact, there is some evidence that several have worsened cognitive decline.
Functional medicine goes deeper. Rather than solely focusing on the removal of amyloid plaques, functional medicine asks why plaques arise and seeks to prevent their development in the first place.
The whole-body systems approach of functional medicine has proven optimal for treating the chronic illnesses that lead to Alzheimer’s disease, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and more. Consequently, these efforts have led to unprecedented success for treating Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s Is a Multifactor Pathological Condition
Dr. Dale Bredesen, a renowned AD researcher, goes against popular opinion and states that AD is a multifactor pathological condition. Amyloid-beta is not the main problem, but rather the brain’s response to one (or more than one) insult (3). By removing the insults and optimizing health, this method has reversed AD in many cases. Through years of work, Dr. Bredesen has identified several types of AD, each with unique causes (4, 5):
Type 1 (“inflammatory”) is due to an antimicrobial response to pathogens or other inflammatory causes.
Type 2 (“atrophic”) is associated with reductions in factors that support brain health, like estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, and vitamin D.
Type 1.5 (“glycotoxic”) is a composite of types 1 and 2. Inflammation from high blood glucose levels combines with a trophic loss of insulin sensitivity.
Type 3 (“toxic” or “cortical”) is associated with exposure to toxins or toxicants (a toxicant is any toxic substance; toxicants can be poisonous and they may be man-made or naturally occurring) such as heavy metals, insecticides/pesticides, antimicrobials, and commercial/industrial toxins.
Type 4 (“vascular”) is associated with reduced vascular support.
Type 5 (“traumatic”) is associated with previous head trauma.
Your Lifestyle & Environment Play Key Roles
Since lifestyle and environmental factors play a major role in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, a functional medicine approach is the ideal strategy for addressing Alzheimer’s at its roots. To accomplish this goal the Functional Medicine operating system consists of the Functional Medicine Timeline, Advanced Testing, and the Therapeutic Lifestyle Factors (Sleep & Relaxation, Movement & Exercise, Nutrition, Stress, and Relationships). Advanced Testing allows the practitioner to evaluate imbalances at the cellular level. This helps sort out why the disease has occurred in the first place. By understanding each of these imbalances, the patient is empowered & supported to make changes to correct them!
[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/6″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]What if we told you that a health condition affects about 72 million — or 1 out of every 3 — American adults under old guidelines? And, what if we told you that under new guidelines that number will rise to about 103 million Americans?
We’re talking about a highly common, yet preventable, condition called high blood pressure, also known as hypertension — which is why you need to pay attention if you have high blood pressure symptoms.
High blood pressure (HBP) isn’t just a problem in and of itself, but it also leads to other dangerous health conditions, including stroke, heart attack, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.
Did you know that most people with high blood pressure or hypertension have no symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings reach dangerously high levels? In fact, about many U.S. adults with high blood pressure still doesn’t know they have it. Scary, we know.
Under the guidelines, formulated by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, the number of men under age 45 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure will triple, and the prevalence among women under age 45 will double.
What is High Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure happens when this force is too high. Scary, but true: Most people who have this condition display zero signs or high blood pressure symptoms, even when their blood pressure readings are at dangerously high levels.
Elevated: Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic less than 80;
Stage 1: Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic between 80–89;
Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.
The top number is systolic pressure, the blood pressure when the heart beats while pumping blood. The second or bottom number is diastolic pressure, the blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.
Frequently, there are no high blood pressure symptoms as blood pressure increases, but some warning signs for very high blood pressure can include chest pains, confusion, headaches, ear noise or buzzing, irregular heartbeat, nosebleeds, tiredness or vision changes.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
Knowing what triggers high blood pressure can help you prevent or reverse it. Like with most other chronic diseases, the reason someone develops HBP has to do with several factors.
HBP seems to be highly dependent upon the type of lifestyle someone leads – which can develop based on family patterns. Women are at an increased risk when taking birth control pills, during pregnancy, or if taking hormone therapy medications to control menopause symptoms. Obesity or being overweight increases the odds because this puts more pressure on the heart and arteries.
High blood pressure has a real laundry list of risk factors. The good news is that the majority of these hypertension risk factors are well within your control. They include:
Age — High blood pressure risk increases as age increases. It’s more common in men through the age of 45. Women are more likely to develop high blood pressure after age 65.
Family “history” — High blood pressure tends to run in families based on lifestyle factors.
Race — High blood pressure is especially common among African-Americans and often develops at an earlier age than it does in Caucasians. Serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney failure, are more common among African-Americans suffering from high blood pressure.
Being overweight — The higher your body weight, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the volume of blood circulated through your blood vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls and your blood pressure.
Not being physically active — People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity and exercise also increases the risk of being overweight, which are some of the reasons a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous.
Tobacco use — Whether it’s smoking or chewing tobacco, both immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily. Additionally, the chemicals in tobacco damage the lining of your artery walls, which causes your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke can also raise your blood pressure.
Too much alcohol — Over time, heavy drinking can damage your heart. Having more than two drinks a day for men and more than one drink a day for women may affect blood pressure negatively.
Too much unnatural sodium in your diet — Too much salt or sodium in your diet causes your body to retain more fluid, which increases blood pressure.
Too little potassium in your diet — Potassium is a mineral that helps balance the sodium content of your body’s cells. If you don’t consume enough potassium or retain enough potassium, you can accumulate too much sodium in your blood stream. That’s one reason why you want to avoid low potassium.
Stress — High levels of stress can lead to a temporary increase in blood pressure.
Certain chronic conditions — Certain chronic conditions also may increase your risk of high blood pressure, such as kidney disease, diabetes and sleep apnea.
Pregnancy — Sometimes pregnancy can contribute to high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is most prevalent in the adult population, but children are also at risk. Sometimes children can experience high blood pressure symptoms that are caused by problems with the heart or kidneys.
However, more and more children who experience high blood pressure are dealing with this chronic issue at a way too young age because of poor lifestyle habits. When we say poor lifestyle habits, we’re referring to an unhealthy diet and a lack of exercise, which both directly relate to the increase in childhood obesity and childhood hypertension.
Take Action: What You Can Do to Reverse High Blood Pressure Symptoms
High-potassium foods — According to the American Heart Association, a diet rich in potassium is an important part of controlling blood pressure because it lessens any negative effects of sodium on the body. Potassium balances the effect of sodium and helps lower blood pressure. Potassium-rich foods include things like coconut water, melons, avocados and bananas.
High-fiber foods — Unprocessed foods high in fiber, such as vegetables, fruits, seeds and beans, should be the basis of any healthy diet, especially one looking to lower blood pressure readings.
Omega-3 rich foods – Consume omega-3 foods like grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, chia seeds and flaxseeds to reduce inflammation.
Apple cider vinegar — Apple cider vinegar is naturally very high in potassium. It also helps to keep the body alkaline, which can help naturally lower your blood pressure. Make your own “shot” or use apple cider vinegar in your salad dressings!
Tea — White tea in particular can actually thin the blood and drastically improve artery function. Drinking white tea several times a day on a consistent basis can actually lower the pressure of your blood and protect the body against one of its common health enemies, stroke. This only works when you drink the tea every day, a couple of times a day.
Dark chocolate — Look for a dark chocolate that contains at least 200 milligrams of cocoa phenols, which can reduce blood pressure, is low in processed sugars & fats.
Supplement When Needed!
The mineral magnesium is great because it helps relax your blood vessels and can have an immediate impact on naturally lowering blood pressure (and many people have a magnesium deficiency, which plays in to high blood pressure). To start, talk with a provider to address the type & amount of magnesium for your blood pressure issues.
2. Fish Oil
One of the main causes of high blood pressure is inflammation in the arteries over time. Study after study has shown consuming fish oil, which is high in EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 fatty acids, reduces inflammation of the body, which is why fish oil benefits heart health. Taking a high-quality, fish oil dose every single day with your meals is one of the best natural ways to lower blood pressure.
3. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is an antioxidant critical for supporting heart health, and it’s crucial if you’ve ever been on blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering medication. Talk to a provider to determine the amount of CoQ10 per day you need for a great, natural remedy for high blood pressure.
Available in powder form, consumption of cocoa increases your intake of flavanols, which help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and heart. Cocoa is also a natural vasodilator, which means it increases nitric oxide in the blood and widen blood vessels.
Garlic is another natural vasodilator, and if you can’t get enough of it in your diet, then it’s readily available as a whole food supplement in liquid or pill form. A 2016 study showed that aged garlic reduces peripheral and central blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. It also has the potential to improve arterial stiffness, inflammation and other cardiovascular markers in patients with elevated levels.
Natural Lifestyle Remedies
1. Increase Physical Activity and Exercise
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure. Ideally, you should engage in some form of physical activity and/or exercise for at least 20 minutes per day to unlock the benefits of exercise. Children and adolescents should aim to get one hour of physical activity every day. Walking, gardening, swimming, playing, hiking, etc. are all great, fun ways to get in physical exercise & improve your heart health!
2. Reduce Stress
Yet another reason to reduce stress is its ability to raise blood pressure. But don’t relax by relying on physical substances such as eating more or using tobacco or alcohol. These activities only increase the problem.
For high blood pressure symptoms and good health in general, it’s a great idea to practice daily relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, healing prayer and/or meditation, painting/coloring, etc. These natural stress relievers help you relax and reduce your blood pressure.
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils can lower blood pressure by dilating arteries, acting as antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress and by decreasing emotional stress. The best choices when it comes to lowering high blood pressure include neroli, lavender, ylang ylang, sweet marjoram, clary sage and frankincense. You can use these oils in a diffuser. You can also include a few drops in a neutral carrier oil or lotion and massage the mixture on your body – talk with a provider or an Apothecarist to ensure no medical implications apply to you.
4. Keep Up with Chiropractor Visits
Blood pressure levels tend to go up with age of life & stress levels, which is why prevention, early detection and management through a healthy lifestyle are so crucial for lowering blood pressure. Remember that you likely won’t have any noticeable signs or symptom of high blood pressure, so you can’t just assume that everything is normal and okay because you don’t feel any differently.
If you’re at a high risk for various forms of heart disease, make sure to have your pressure checked professionally at least once every month. If your blood pressure is normal, great — you can work on keeping it that way as you get older! But if it’s high, you’ll need to make some changes and work with your doctor to manage the condition, possibly by changing your diet and helping you lose weight. Keep in mind that HBP is a chronic disease and ultimately needs lifelong treatment, so support is helpful to make it easier to stick to a healthy lifestyle plan!
5. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Diet to Maintain a Healthy Weight
Want to know how to control your blood pressure without the need for medications? The first step is looking at your diet. Your diet is one of, if not the most, important piece of the puzzle when it comes to controlling your blood pressure naturally. People with high blood pressure tend to eat an unhealthy diet that’s low in nutrients, electrolytes (especially low levels of potassium), antioxidants and fiber.
Sodium, alcohol, refined grains, sugar and trans-fats can all raise inflammation that makes it more likely you’ll develop HBP. Center your diet around unprocessed, whole foods as much as possible− especially fresh, local, organic veggies, fruit, healthy fats and “clean” protein. Your doctor might recommend you follow The DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) which includes the high fiber foods above and limits alcohol and unnatural sodium (table salt). It’s rich in essential nutrients, protein, and fiber but encourages you to choose unprocessed, low-sodium and no-added-salt foods.
7. Quit Smoking
Smoking damages your blood vessels and raises the risk for various heart problems. It will also worsen complications and make it harder to reverse the problem. The U.S National Library of Medicine offers resources to help you quit, such as links to join online or in-person support groups offered in many hospitals, workplaces, and community centers for free.
Further Actions May Be Needed:
One out of 5 U.S. adults with high blood pressure still doesn’t know he or she has it, as people can experience no high blood pressure symptoms despite having even dangerously high levels. If you know you have high blood pressure, immediate action may be necessary. It is important to be reactive as well as proactive while pursuing natural ways to lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
In-depth testing with functional ranges may be necessary to get to the root of your abnormal blood pressure. If you are still dealing with high blood pressure after trying to modify your lifestyle, try in-depth testing to uncover what else could be going on.
Get a support system
Change can be difficult and uncomfortable. You are 99% more likely to succeed if you have a support system to guide you, accompany you, and encourage you throughout your healing journey.