A True StoryToday I met with a patient whose 17-year old son had been diagnosed with depression. When we'd last met, his son had been seen by a psychiatrist who determined from a short visit that he required treatment with an antidepressant. As none of the SSRI drugs ultimately worked, it was next decided to give tricyclics a try. They were unsatisfactory as well and so atypical antipsychotics were begun. On that regime, the son rapidly gained 45 pounds! These are very toxic drugs! And to make matters worse, he didn't improve! And on that note, I happened to meet with my friend, the Dad. I informed him that much data exists that depression can greatly be improved with the implementation of a healthy, plant-based diet and lifestyle changes. I recommended that his life activities be scheduled and adhered to every day. The boy was sent to a wilderness camp for 2 months and he was weaned off the meds. He lost over 40 pounds and began to feel energy and joy again. He ate "real" food and hiked miles each day, in beautiful nature. Back home again, he has continued to exercise daily and avoids all processed foods and sugars. He watches little television and isn't on the computer too much. He's doing well in school, has lost another 5 pounds, and has a fabulous relationship with his dad. Yes ... the brain needs proper care and nurturing!! Give it sunlight, proper nourishment, exercise, a loving environment with purpose ... and it will thrive!! The epidemic of psychiatric illness is greatly impacted by our awful lifestyles, chemical food devoid of nutrients, sedentary existences, lack of human contact, a world of electrical devices, and poor sleep! These are modifiable factors and once things are placed in the right ... the brain can recover! This story so resonated with me that I felt the need to share it with you! This applies to children and adults with ADHD as well. Mental health isn't an option to having a good life - it is life itself!
Selecting and Storing Sweet PotatoesThere are different varieties of sweet potato, and many come in different colorings and hues. Here are some tips for selecting, storing and preparing the vegetable, so that you can benefit from as much goodness as possible.
- Choose the darker variety of sweet potato at the grocery store if possible, because they have the higher carotene content, essential for the production of vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes, more commonly found in Asia, are also a great source of nutrients. Paler varieties are healthy but don't offer quite the same number of benefits as darker types, and many people often confuse them with yams.
- Avoid wrinkly, soft sweet potatoes and take time to select ones with good, firm flesh. If there are signs of green discoloring, then leave them alone.
- Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark and well-ventilated place. Do not leave them in plastic bags, or keep them in the fridge. Consume within 7-10 days of purchase.
- Prepare sweet potatoes in the same way you would prepare normal white potatoes. However, bear in mind that the skin contains a large percentage of the nutrients, so try to leave it on if possible. You can make fantastic sweet potato fries by leaving the skin on, and chopping the vegetable into strips.
- You can steam, bake, boil or roast sweet potatoes, and still benefit from plenty of nutrients. But as with any vegetable preparation, try not to over-cook them.
Specific Health Benefits of Sweet PotatoesAlthough they are soft, creamy and sweet enough to be used in some desserts, sweet potatoes offer a surprisingly huge range of nutritional benefits, many of which have specific health benefits. 1. Great for Heart Health The high levels of vitamin B6 and potassium found in sweet potatoes provide excellent benefits for your heart. B6 vitamins break down homocysteine, a substance which can harden blood vessels and block arteries. Potassium, meanwhile, helps balance fluid and blood pressure levels, while providing your body's cells with electrolytes that help regulate your heart beat. 2. Great Source of Vitamin A Sweet potatoes contain a huge amount of beta-carotene, a carotenoid that gives certain vegetables their orange color. The body can turn carotenoids into vitamin A, which is linked to cancer prevention, the maintenance of good vision, and also provides a number of anti-ageing benefits. Indeed, one large sweet potato is capable of providing 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 3. Great for Blood Sugar Levels Although they are sweet tasting, sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, which means they are a very good blood sugar regulator. Many starchy foods, including white potatoes, encourage blood sugar levels to spike and rise rapidly, but sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream much more slowly. This makes them a great choice for diabetics, who can safely consume the carbohydrates without associated problems. 4. Great for Skin Care Sweet potatoes can work to improve the appearance of your skin from both inside and outside your body. The high levels of vitamin C and E contained within sweet potatoes helps boost the body's defenses against the sun's harmful UV rays and encourages the production of collagen, which keeps the skin strong and supple. But it isn't only the consumption of sweet potatoes that can benefit your skin. If you boil them, don't throw away the water afterwards. Take a cup and use your fingers to gently apply the water to your face. This can help clean your pores, remove impurities from the skin and even reduce dark circles around your eyes. 5. Great for Digestion Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, while still being low in calorie content. Fiber promotes a healthy digestive tract, helping your body pass toxins and waste products out quickly and efficiently while guarding against constipation and bloatedness. 6. Great for Emphysema Prevention Emphysema is a condition that gradually damages the air sacs in the lungs, leaving sufferers short of breath. It is often associated with smokers, or people exposed to smoking on a regular basis. Smoking reduces levels of vitamin A, which helps regenerate the cells in the lungs. The beta-carotene contained within sweet potatoes encourages the production of vitamin A and helps heal the respiratory system. 7. Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamins C, E, B5, B6, riboflavin and copper. These nutrients offer a range of benefits for your immune system, red blood cell production, sleep patterns, mood, wound repair, disease prevention, muscle weakness and pain. 8. Great for Stress Relief Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of magnesium, often considered to be one of the best minerals for promoting relaxation, calmness and improved mood. As we already know, they are also rich in potassium, which helps regulate your heart beat when you are anxious or stressed.
A healthy gut impacts your overall health.The gut microbiome is highly responsive to diet, and impacts every aspect of physiology from digestion to endocrine function. In this video webinar for Pure Encapsulations, Dr. Felice L. Gersh discusses the clinical connections between the gut microbiome and women’s health, with a focus on nutritional support for ovarian function and metabolic homeostasis.* Watch the video and learn:
- Recognize gut health as a common barrier to successful interventions in women’s health care
- Review important facts about the gut microbiome and its role in reproductive function and hormonal balance in women
- Recognize food as both a hormone and a microbiome modifier that influences reproductive health
- Understand the impact of meal timing on a woman’s microbiome and endocrine system
- Learn how to support endocrine, ovarian and metabolic health using a nutritional approach that starts with the gut*
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. The very same nutrients that support cardiovascular, metabolic, and cognitive health help the skin shine. Focus on choices that are organic, with lots of fruits and vegetables. Everything that goes in your mouth should be real, whole food, and, most importantly, everything you eat should taste fabulously delicious.
- Heal the gut. Your intestinal tract’s job is to absorb the good nutrients, while keeping the bad stuff (artificial and natural toxins) out. Eating a good diet helps, but sometimes you need extra supplementation to get the job done and lower system-wide inflammation. A detox program can help with this.
- Avoid environmental exposures. None of us can escape living in the 21st Century with its abundance of chemical pollutants virtually everywhere. But you must do all you can to minimize your exposures and their terrible harms.
- Never use cosmetics and personal care products made with toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Find good alternatives and toss out the harmful ones.
- Have a daily skincare regimen. Don’t wait until the last moment before the big event and then try to hide blemishes under a layer of caked-on cosmetics. Come to our presentation on April 20, and Karen will show you how a daily routine can make your skin radiant every day of the week.
- Use organic - or as close to organic as possible - skincare products that have no toxic ingredients.
- Consider being proactive by addressing the unwanted effects of age and nature. Aesthetic treatments can make a big difference. And you can make the effects last longer with a daily skincare routine that nourishes the skin and reduces inflammation and oxidative stress. We provide free aesthetic consultations and all that we offer will be discussed - with no pressure to make any purchases.
Flu Vaccine 48 Percent Effective This Year, CDC Says
Bloomberg News (2/16, Cortez) reports the flu vaccine has been 48% effective so far this season, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Brendan Flannery, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s influenza division, said, “The 48 percent overall is not as good as we would like to see for flu vaccine, but the protection we see is significant.”
Medscape (2/16, Brooks) reports CDC officials said that “elevated” influenza activity is expected to continue for several more weeks in some parts of the US. Lenee Blanton of the CDC’s Influenza Division said in the report that influenza activity began to pick up in mid-December and has been “elevated” since February 4.
- Women who breastfeed have lower stress hormones
- Women who breast feed tend to lose the weight gained during pregnancy better
- The hormones of breastfeeding, prolactin and oxytocin do wonderful things for your heart, your immune system, and your mood
- Women who breastfeed have less overall inflammation
- Women who breast feed tend to eat a healthier diet, as they are eating for the baby as well
- Genes are turned on and off by breast feeding in such a way to give the woman a better overall health status
When you sit down at the table to eat, what do you think makes for a great meal?My first rule of thumb is quite simple – all food must taste good and be good for you! Those rules simply cannot be broken. Next, once it meets those qualifications, it is really important that it is truly scrumptious. If given a choice, why go for food you don’t really love, and who doesn’t love to eat? Eating is one of the true joys of life, and it makes me, and actually everyone, happy and satisfied when eating wonderful food. Second, we should think about nutrition – is the food we’re eating supporting our long-term health. If it isn’t, then we’re setting ourselves up for all the dangerous health consequences that plague PCOS women: obesity, pre-diabetes and type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. And of course we will think about the toxin content of the food. Is it organic or not? What chemicals are contained in it or is it a processed food, which, by the way, I never will eat! And is it fresh and full of nutrients, or old and wilted. Rarely, however, do we think about the food we eat in terms of feeding the 30-40 trillion (that’s right, trillion!) bacteria that inhabit our GI tract, call the gut microbiome. This is a lot more important than you might think, because the latest scientific research is telling us that these little fellows – who have been part and parcel of who we are for the past several million years – have an incredibly powerful impact on virtually every organ system in our bodies. They help digest and process our food and create a vast range of metabolites that we absorb and use all over our bodies. They also produce neurotransmitters that control our feelings of anxiety and depression and also help regulate our blood glucose levels through several mechanisms – and that’s just scratching the surface. So, the bottom line is: when you sit down to eat, remember that you’re not just eating for yourself, the 20-30 trillion (yup, there we go with the trillion again) human cells that make up your body, but also for the gazillion microbial guests, who are also seated at the table. And exactly what, you may ask, would they like to eat? Fortunately, the answer to this is relatively straightforward and not at all discouraging. They like to eat high-quality, whole foods, and they like variety. They love lots of vegetables, both above ground and root vegetables, and a slightly lesser amount of fruit, especially when they are organic and not tainted by residues of herbicides and pesticides. They prefer plant-based sources of protein (beans, lentils, quinoa, and amaranth) over animal-based sources and do well with good doses of the fatty acid, Omega 3. And please avoid simple sugars and sugar substitutes, as they are quite toxic to the microbiome. It is simply much better to be focusing on carbohydrates containing lots of fiber. Fiber is the foundational food for the microbiota which dwells within our gut. If you give these single-cell companions what they want, they will reward you in spectacular ways. Your weight, blood pressure, body fat percentage, cholesterol levels, and fasting glucose level will drop, all of which will lead to substantial reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress. And, if you stay tuned to this blog, we’ll give you wonderful recipes and cooking advice that will make your new diet every bit as delicious as it is good for your health!
- Eat no more than three meals a day
- Avoid snacking
- Stop eating at 7 pm, but at least by 8 pm
- Have at least a 12 hour fast between dinner and breakfast
- Eat mostly plants with many vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains
- Avoid or limit grains which have been pulverized (aka-bread and crackers)
- Eat at the same times every day
The Pros and Cons of CalciumPreviously, it was thought that calcium supplements provided a large array of metabolic benefits: improving cardiovascular wellbeing, lowering blood pressure, and reducing diabetes risk. Of course, it was also thought that it would help bones stay strong. Certainly, calcium itself is important for those functions. The current state of knowledge is that calcium supplementation in small amounts may be beneficial, but larger quantities of calcium supplements do not seem to provide those desired benefits after all and actually may increase the incidence of kidney stones! There is even concern that excessive calcium supplementation may cause calcium deposits to develop in the artery walls.
What is the Best Source of Usable Calcium?It turns out that the best way to get calcium into your body, to ensure a healthy set of bones and a healthy cardiovascular system, is through the diet. The dairy industry has made it seem absolutely necessary that large amounts of dairy products be consumed daily, and the newest US nutrition guidelines also advise a glass of milk with each meal! Not only is this unnecessary, it is downright harmful, most particularly for women with PCOS. Dairy is an acid producing food, and calcium will not get into bones if the blood is acidic, making dairy products an inferior source of calcium. Calcium is a natural antacid. Removing it from the blood would make the blood even more acidic, and calcium cannot move out to the tissues from an acidic environment. Only in an alkaline situation can calcium leave the blood to move into tissues. The only foods which alkalize the blood are vegetables! Did you know that there is much more usable calcium in a cup of collard greens than in a cup of milk? Most people don’t realize the calcium content of greens is so high. Best of all, the calcium in greens is usable by the body and doesn’t just pass out with the urine or cause stones!
So what do I recommend?Eat large quantities of green vegetables and lots of greens. As a side note- chard and spinach are very healthy, but the oxalates in them bind with the calcium and preclude their use, so be sure to include a variety of vegetables each day. I also recommend only a small amount of calcium as a supplement in most cases. Keeping the supplement dose to 500 mg daily is safe and may help. Women over 50 or those with low stomach acid should avoid calcium carbonate. It is poorly absorbed. In general, keep calcium carbonate to a minimum and choose other forms. Remember that calcium, like all minerals and vitamins, doesn’t work in isolation. Be sure to get plenty of sunlight for Vitamin D production and magnesium from walnuts and sunflower seeds, and include supplements for them as well, if needed. In summary, fresh green vegetables should remain your primary source of calcium. And please avoid dairy, it is inflammatory, increases acne, and it is associated with weaker (not stronger) bones. That is truly what the data shows! Now go eat a wonderful green salad and some sautéed greens! Good luck and good food choices always! *This is a repost of a guest post Dr. Gersh orginally posted on PCOS Diva at: http://pcosdiva.com/2016/04/step-away-from-the-calcium-supplement/
What is a gallbladder and why do you have one?The gallbladder is a very important part of digestion … don’t part with it lightly or readily. The gallbladder is a storage vehicle. It holds cholesterol and bile, secreted by the liver. Bile is truly a fascinating creature. It, like many things in the human body, is an amazing multitasker! Bile is vile! Well… just sort of. Bile is the toxic waste material created by the liver in the process of detoxification, also known as biotransformation, of your body’s own old hormones and neurotransmitters, and of environmental toxins and pharmaceuticals. It really is toxic waste!! But it’s amazing stuff. It is also an emulsifier. When you eat fat, you need to break it down into its little component pieces and then digest and absorb it. Please don’t think fat is evil. Actually, it is essential to life, which is why fats are called essential fatty acids. You truly cannot live without fats in your diet. You need a proper balance of the different types of fats, and many women are deficient in the type called Omega 3, which is primarily obtained from fish and somewhat from plants like flax seeds and walnuts. Many of you have probably heard that olive oil and coconut oil are healthful fats. So is the fat in the yolk of organic eggs. We will talk more about fat another time…for now, take me at my word that fat is essential to life and you need bile to help you digest it. Back to bile… it is a natural emulsifier. That means it can take a fat and turn it into being water soluble, so it can mix with water! This is truly like a miracle. You probably know that if you have greasy hands and simply run them under the water faucet, the hands stay oily. If, however, you rub in soap, the grease will be able to be washed off your hands without a problem! Soap is an emulsifier-it makes fat able to be washed off with water. Without bile, you simply can’t digest fats, and with the fats come the fat soluble vitamins… like Vitamin E, A, K, and D! These vitamins are essential to proper functioning! If you don’t have a gallbladder, or the one you have doesn’t work well, you will naturally have difficulty with your digestion of fats and of fat soluble vitamins!! If that’s the case, you need to actually take bile at the beginning of each meal. This type of bile comes from an ox! It’s the closest we have to human bile, and it works well. You also need to take digestive enzymes as well because that nearly always becomes a problem when the gallbladder is gone or malfunctioning. The gallbladder triggers the pancreas to release it digestive enzymes. It is very important that you do this, or you’re quite simply not going to digest your food properly! Women with PCOS have enough issues…malnutrition shouldn’t be one of them!
What goes wrong?So why do women with PCOS have problems so often with their gallbladders? It’s related to gastrointestinal problems in general, and women with PCOS are renowned for what we term “gut problems.” Many have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with constipation or diarrhea and general gut issues, acid reflux (GERD), dysbiosis (the wrong gut bacteria), and sometimes even more serious inflammatory bowel disease. There are quite a few theories as to why PCOS women how so many gastrointestinal problems, but it is known for sure that many have what is called “leaky gut” and small intestinal bowel overgrowth, along with many food allergies, sensitivities, and autoimmune states as well. Because of these issues, the proper signals to the gallbladder don’t occur and it becomes sluggish, can actually get sludge in it, and it can even progress to gallstones. Just because you have sludge or stones does not mean the gallbladder must go! Only if you’ve had recurrent pain, pancreatitis, or infection, is it then absolutely necessary to have it removed, but remember you’ll absolutely need a bile and digestive enzyme supplement.
What can you do?Some PCOS women get gallstones or sludge because she goes on a low fat diet for a long time. I don’t recommend a woman go on such a diet!! That is not the way to get healthy! You already know that fat is essential to life!! I believe strongly that all women with PCOS should have their GI tracts checked out for overgrowth of bad bacteria, small intestinal bowel overgrowth (SIBO), issues with low levels of stomach acid and digestive enzymes, constipation or diarrhea, stomachaches, and the like. Please…do not go on a low fat diet…nor should you go on a prolonged very low calorie diet…as that too will make you more prone to gallstones. If you do have gallstones and you haven’t had severe pain, infection or pancreatitis, get another opinion before having your gallbladder removed. Often women can live a long and normal life with gallstones. With gallstones, you’ll want to do a liver detox regularly, eat a healthy amount of good fats, work on stress as that is so unhealthy for the gut, and you can even consider medication to try to dissolve your gallstones if you meet the criteria. In general though, my first choice, as always, is to try to work with you simply with a lifestyle approach. The key take-home points are that we should:
- try hard to maintain good gallbladder health by eating healthy fats,
- getting the GI tract checked out by a good doctor who understands what is needed for PCOS women, and
- if you have gallbladder issues already or have had yours removed, get on bile and digestive enzymes right away!
Here are some supplements that Dr. Gersh recommends for gallbladder support. All from Pure Encaspulations. 1. Digestion GB 1-2 with each meal Contains gall bladder digestive enzymes, bike salts, taurine, and herbal extracts to promote healthy gall bladder function and fat utilization. 2. Digestive Enzymes Ultra with Betaine HCl This is for those women who have additional issues with digestion, and can use the addition of stronger digestive enzymes and some stomach acid to facilitate digestion. I normally recommend that women be seen by a physician such as I to embark on these sorts of supplements, as I think Gut Healing should involve healthcare professionals. 3. Heartburn Essentials or DGL Plus These are great products for those who have heartburn and indigestion. Take one at the start of meals and for symptoms should they occur. 4. GI Fortify Great product to support a healthy GI environment, bowel regularity, colon cell function, and detoxification and support production of short chain fatty acids. I prefer the powder but the capsules are great if powder not preferred. For a great gallbladder cholegogue, try Vitanica’s Bitters Extra-it helps stimulate the gallbladder to contract.*This is a repost of a guest post Dr. Gersh orginally posted on PCOS Diva at: http://pcosdiva.com/2016/03/pcos-and-gallbladder-issues/
- Why the gut is called the 2nd brain
- What steps to take in order to calm and treat GI inflammation
- The impact of stress, emotions and anxiety on your gut and overall health
- The link between nutrient deficiencies, leaky gut, insulin resistance, acne, hair loss, Hashimotos and other auto immune disorders
- How mouthwash is ruining your arteries
- Foods and supplements that can help repair your gut and reduce inflammation
- The extreme dangers of pharmaceuticals like Prilosec, Prevacid and Nexium
The Microbiome and PCOS: An Evolving Area of Research of Huge ImportanceUntil fairly recently, you could look at yourself in a mirror and believe that the reflection was the real “you.” No longer is that the case! It is now recognized that more DNA exists within us that derives from our Microbiome than from our own genetic tissues. The Microbiome consists of the trillions of bacteria which live both on and in us. And what is now understood is that those little critters are not freeloaders! To the contrary, they are key players in all aspects of our health, and unfortunately for those of us suffering from PCOS, the bacteria comprising our Microbiome are unlikely to be the right ones, nor to be present in the correct amounts, for our maximal wellbeing. The particular areas of the Microbiome I’ll touch on in this article will include the mouth, along with the rest of the gastrointestinal system, and the female reproductive system. Next month, I will deal with acne, so I’ll touch on the skin Microbiome at that time. The topic of the Microbiome is truly “hot!” New information is coming out about the enormous significance of these bacterial colonies on a weekly basis. In fact, along with a colleague of mine, I am currently designing a study of the Microbiome of PCOS women. If you’re interested in being a part of it, I may actually be soliciting your help in the near future! Let’s start our review of the Microbiome by beginning at the top, with the mouth. I would say that virtually no one has been thinking of the mouth bacteria as important except as an annoyance, as something to wipe out as much as possible with mouthwash. Let’s all kill those germs on contact!! Well….unfortunately, it turns out that the bacteria in our mouths are actually critical to making nitric oxide, a necessary ingredient for the proper function of our cardiovascular system. It has been realized that when we eat certain vegetables which contain nitrates, the bacteria in our mouths, after being swallowed with our saliva, works in the stomach with our stomach acid, on the food, to create nitric oxide. Without the right bacteria, nitric oxide quite simply will not be made. Nitric oxide is an essential part of our health. Unfortunately, we have done a great job of killing off the essential bacteria within our mouths through the use of mouthwash, antibiotics, toothpastes, and numerous bacteria-killing chemicals in foods. Also, drugs such as Nexium and Prilosec, which block stomach acid production, prevent proper nitric oxide production in the stomach. Even without the things we do to kill off our bacteria, it seems from several small studies, that women with PCOS have different bacteria in their mouths than do “normal” woman. What that means is still unclear, but most probably, PCOS women do not, as a group, produce nitric oxide properly. One thing that is clear is that women with low nitric oxide have higher pregnancy complications, which we know is true of PCOS women, and more cardiovascular conditions. Moving down the GI tract, we come to the Microbiome of the Gut. These bacteria are critical to every function of our bodies and the wrong Microbiome results in increased risk of cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, depression and anxiety, cognition issues, and cancer. It is beyond the scope of this small article to go into great detail on all aspects of the Microbiome, but it is important that you at least learn that it exists and its critical import to your health. The analogy I like to use is the following: there is a complex society-an advanced civilization of microscopic people living in our intestinal tract, and they perform many critical functions necessary for our wellbeing. By not realizing their importance, we’ve systematically gone about trying, inadvertently, to destroy them. We’ve dropped bombs on them (antibiotics), starved them (inadequate fiber in our diets), and tortured and killed them (additives and chemicals in foods). Most of us weren’t even given the best start to the formation of our Microbiomes since we weren’t breast fed for at least a year. For all of these reasons and more, our Microbiomes have reduced diversity and absolute numbers and may include many wrong players as well. When the conditions within our Gut are not right and the Microbiome is “wrong,” there is typically inflammation of a low grade in the Gut, resulting in inflammation throughout our bodies. Systemic (body-wide) inflammation leads to increased insulin levels, insulin resistance, weight loss resistance, elevated levels of IGF 1, and higher levels of testosterone. Now, with this new knowledge, evaluating my patients’ Microbiome has become commonplace for me and healing the inflamed Gut and remediating the Microbiome is an essential part of my treatment plan. Lastly, I want to mention the Microbiome of the female genital tract. The bacteria in the vagina are essential to the health of the organs which lie above-the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. We’ve known that there are bacteria within the vagina, but the essential functions they perform for the health of the reproductive tract and their role in fertility was minimally comprehended. What is now coming to light is that the vaginal Microbiome is related to the proper function of the sperm, facilitating proper motility and ultimate fertilization of the egg. Additionally, in the past we believed that the environments within the uterus and fallopian tubes were sterile, but in fact, that is not true. The bacteria within those spaces are critical to having normal fertility. Even the ovary can contain some bacteria, and they must be of the right sort for all to work properly. So what can you do today? Do not use mouthwash or chemical toothpaste-use a natural one. Do not take a drug to lower stomach acid production. If you are on one, work with a doctor who knows how to wean you off. I can help, if necessary. Do not take antibiotics unless it is absolutely essential…. and I mean that! Don’t put chemicals in or near your vagina. Use organic aloe vera gel or coconut oil as a lubricant. Use Vitamin E suppositories or oil for irritations. In general, use natural products for all treatments of the vulva and vagina. Recognize that oral contraceptives are bad for nitric oxide production and the Microbiome. If you use them, there are risks and benefits which must be considered. This is, unfortunately, one of the risks. Eat lots of root vegetables (all vegetables from below the surface), as well as beans and lentils, buckwheat and millet. Those items contain resistant starch-hard for you to digest but great for the bacteria to ferment! Eat above ground vegetables too. Avoid all sweeteners, soft drinks, bread, processed foods, dry and instant cereal, alcohol, and please try to eat all organic. Eat fermented foods. Work with a doctor who can test your Microbiome and treat it. Also work with a doctor who understands nitric oxide. These are all really important items. Email me if you need help, and I will see what I can do: email@example.com Treat your Microbiome like the important complex civilization it is! You need them as much as they need you!! It is the ultimate symbiotic relationship! *This is a repost of a guest post Dr. Gersh orginally posted on PCOS Diva at: http://pcosdiva.com/2015/07/hot-new-pcos-research-the-microbiome-and-pcos/
- Avoid plastic like the plague! Don’t store food in it, use plastic utensils, or microwave in it. Remember that the chemicals are most likely to leach out and into the food when the food is warm, so if you must use plastic, only use it with cold food. Try not to touch receipts, don’t buy food from cans, and place water in glass or stainless steel containers as much as possible!
- Get your BPA levels checked. There are labs which do BPA testing.
- Eat a high fiber diet, low in protein and with moderate amounts of healthy fats.
- Keep stress controlled.
- Use supplements advocated by myself and PCOS Diva to control inflammation and assist proper metabolic functioning.
- Consider supplementation with bio-identical hormones.
PCOS and it’s Smoldering Driver: Chronic inflammationPCOS is the most common endocrine dysfunction of women, now affecting, in varying degrees, up to 20% of all women across the world! There is now no area of the globe in which women are not impacted by this condition. It is widely recognized that women affected by PCOS have many medical troubles….obesity with weight loss resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes, increased risk for strokes and heart attacks, menstrual dysfunctions, infertility, pregnancy complications, recalcitrant cystic acne and excessive facial hair, sleep problems, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, mood swings, and thyroid problems. There is a powerful piece of foundational understanding of PCOS, which is often neglected, and that is the essential fact that inflammation is the driver of ALL of these problems!! Amazingly, the majority of scientific and medical researchers in this field remain unaware of this powerful connection, yet the recognition of the relationship between PCOS and inflammation is critical to the proper approach to managing and treating it! It goes beyond the scope of this article to explain the entire array of factors underlying the chronic and unremitting inflammation present in all PCOS women, including the 20% who are lean, but I want you to understand the very basics of this issue and why it is so critical that YOUR level of inflammation get measured, monitored, and as best it can be…..remediated! So here is a brief overview of inflammation and PCOS….. Women with PCOS live in a chronic state of physical stress (and often emotional stress) with an up-regulated adrenal system, giving rise to elevated levels of the hormone cortisol. Chronic over-production of cortisol results in a lowered level of metabolic activity, with reduced thyroid functioning, elevated levels of blood glucose, and intestinal abnormalities. This creates a state of inflammation in the intestines and insulin resistance throughout the body. This chronic, low level intestinal inflammation damages the intestinal lining, impairing the function of a critical barrier, a barrier designed to prevent transport of toxins and bacteria across the intestinal wall. When this barrier no longer functions properly, the result is “leaky gut.” Intestinal contents actually cross into the body proper, inappropriately stimulating the immune system….inciting inflammation!! As well, women with PCOS have adipose tissues (fat) which function abnormally, with low production of a hormone made by fat tissue called Adiponectin. Adiponectin is a very anti-inflammatory hormone which promotes fat burning and the transport of glucose across cell membranes. When the levels of Adiponectin are too low, insulin resistance grows and the body cannot burn fat properly! The combined effects of low Adiponectin and elevated cortisol levels, result in abnormal fat accumulation and distribution, and high levels of circulating glucose. This then leads to a “snow ball” effect. High blood sugar induces more inflammation; excessive fat tissue elevates levels of inflammation; low Adiponectin further increases inflammation; leaky gut augments inflammation, and high cortisol levels perpetually fuel the fires of PCOS inflammation…..So what is the sum result of all of this? This results in the perfect storm of inflammation producing factors! These factors create a persistent and constant up regulation of macrophages-the white blood cells of the body which produce what are called inflammatory cytokines-chemical messengers of the body designed to enable us to fight and fend off invaders, like bacteria. But in women with PCOS, this defensive mechanism is being activated inappropriately and persistently…with the potential for dire results. Inflammation is now universally recognized as a factor contributing to the development of cancers, dementia, cardiovascular disease, depression, arthritis, tendinitis, autoimmune disease, and more!!! Unattended, PCOS women all have a lifetime elevated risk of all of those outcomes. Now comes the good news! Although all PCOS women are impacted, we can dramatically lower this state of chronic inflammation, promote weight loss, reduce insulin resistance, improve acne and facial hair, as well as improve the large array of additional maladies suffered by PCOS women around the world! The journey to health begins by measuring your personal level of inflammation, evaluating your initial inflammatory state and monitoring its subsequent improvement following the institution of appropriate therapies. To provide my patients with the ultimate in excellent healthcare, I utilize the premier, specialty cardiovascular laboratory in the U.S., Cleveland HeartLab. By utilizing their unique panel of inflammatory biomarkers, in addition to other cardiovascular and hormone tests, the progress towards restitution of health can be measured and monitored. If you would like to learn more about the special inflammatory lab panel I utilize and how you can get these tests drawn on yourself, no matter where you live, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My team will contact you, so you can get your needs met! To learn more, please access an excellent educational website at www.chlcme.com. You can view, at no charge, a webcast I did last month. It’s entitled, “Tame the Flames of PCOS: A Unique Integrative Approach.” As you all know from working with this wonderful resource, PCOS Diva, there is much that you can do! With lifestyle changes, adequate sleep, exercise, stress reduction, proper nutrition, reduced toxin exposures, and select nutraceuticals, although the flames of PCOS may not be completely quenched, they can be very well controlled to such a degree that you really can live the life you deserve! *This is a repost of a guest post Dr. Gersh orginally posted on PCOS Diva at: http://pcosdiva.com/2015/05/pcos-and-inflammation-transform-from-inflamed-to-tamed/
- How gut inflammation is the root of many of your toughest PCOS symptoms
- The 5 steps you need to take today to reduce inflammation
- How to protect your children from PCOS starting even before birth
- Whether a hysterectomy will cure your PCOS
- How to monitor your inflammation levels
Greetings!This month’s Pharmaceutical Alert highlights the ongoing problems with PPIs, the Proton Pump Inhibitors. We wrote to you about the problems with these drugs more than a year ago, and finally the FDA is taking action, issuing a Warning Alert. We hope you will read through the following story and then take the appropriate action.
FDA Warning Alert on Proton Pump Inhibitors
What should you do?
Adverse Event Reporting System
Greetings!Approximately two weeks ago, we were all shocked by a story appearing in the national news media warning that women taking vitamins had a higher mortality than women not taking vitamins. Subsequent to this, many patients called our office, concerned that their use of vitamins and supplements might be dangerous. In response to these concerns, we are forwarding one of the many well-reasoned rebuttals that appeared after this story was published. Our take on this matter is no different from the position we have always held. We believe that good lifestyle choices – based on sound principles of good nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, minimizing exposure to environmental toxins, adequate amounts of sleep, and an upbeat emotional attitude – are the mainstays of a long, healthy, and happy life. Nevertheless, obtaining adequate vitamins and minerals on a daily basis is a challenge for many people. Fast foods, processed foods, and our continued exposure to high levels of environmental toxins combine to make high-quality vitamin/mineral supplements a good idea. Of course, all vitamins and supplements should be of the highest quality – low quality, hard-pressed vitamin tablets filled with suspect binders and synthetic (not bio-identical) vitamins are not a good choice. Although the study could not appropriately draw any conclusions due to its poor design, the best conclusion one could draw from this flare-up of silly science and media headline mongering would be that it is best to avoid substandard quality in supplements. Below is an excerpt from the rebuttal written by an expert on supplements, Dr. Alan Miller, Director of Medical Education and Research at Thorne Research, Inc. Sincerely, Felice L. Gersh, M.D. Medical Director Integrative Medical Group of Irvine
A recent study, “Dietary Supplements and Mortality Rate in Older Women,” published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 2011, Volume 171(18):1625-1633, has caused some concern among the public about the safety of dietary supplements. We have thoroughly reviewed this study and share the following analysis in order to help you better understand the study’s design and its findings, and to help allay any concerns you may have.