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Dec 06

Sugar Can Decrease Testosterone in Men

More than two thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. As the American waistline increases so does the epidemic of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. The link between decreasing testosterone levels associated with these syndromes is well established in the scientific literature: men with diabetes have significantly lower levels of serum (blood) testosterone when compared with men without diabetes; as well men in the lowest levels of free testosterone have a four-fold increased risk of having diabetes when compared with men in the highest levels of free testosterone. We don’t know the exact mechanism between insulin resistance and low testosterone in men. Visceral adiposity (belly fat) also plays a role where the enzyme aromatase can convert testosterone into estrogen, which also decreases testosterone levels.

A recent study suggests that another mechanism may have a direct impact on testosterone levels: sugar consumption. A study with 74 men between the ages of 19-34 looked at the impact of 75g of glucose on serum (blood) total and free testosterone levels in men with varying glucose tolerance. Glucose ingestion was associated with a 25% decrease in mean testosterone levels regardless of glucose tolerance or BMI, and remained suppressed for 120 minutes. What is 75g of glucose equivalent to in real food terms? A can of Coca Cola has 75g, a McDonald’s M&M McFlurry has 84.8g, a cup of low-fat fruit yogurt has 46.7g, a Clif Z bar has 30g and a pumpkin spice latte (grande) has 50g of sugar. It’s easy to see how regular sugar consumption alone can add up to perpetually suppressed testosterone levels in men.

So what does this mean?  If you are concerned about your testosterone level, decrease or eliminate your sugar consumption.  Everyone knows we should eat less sugar, and here is one more reason we should do so.

Then have your testosterone levels measured with a saliva test, and be treated accordingly with physiologic dosing of bio-identical hormones, along with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise.


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Oct 25

Nine Reasons to Belly Breathe

​When I was in NP school, if someone told me how much I would be talking about breathing every day, I would not have believed that person.  I probably would have laughed outright.  Yes, I’d heard the statistic that 90% of appointments in family practice can ultimately be traced back to high stress, but breathing?  Really?  That’s something we do all day and all night without even thinking about it.  But here’s the thing—we SHOULD be thinking about it.  And even more importantly, we should be doing it with intent.

 

Deep belly breathing can drastically improve your health.  In fact, recently a patient told me, “Belly breathing has changed my life.”  That is exactly what he said to me, word for word.  No paraphrasing needed.  I even asked him if I could quote him, which I have done to many of my patients and now to all of you reading this.

 

If you’re wondering what belly breathing is, click HERE to my blog post about how to perform belly breathing.  But today we’re looking at WHY we should belly breathe.

 

Here are nine ways you can benefit from belly breathing…

 

  1. Increased oxygen.  When you breathe deeply, you deliver more oxygen to every cell of your body.
  2. Physical relaxation.  It’s hard to keep your muscles tense when you’re taking deep belly breaths.
  3. Increased endorphins.  With belly breathing, you produce more endorphins, which help feelings of well-being and decrease pain.
  4. Decreased blood pressure.  As physical tension decreases, the blood vessels also relax, which can lower blood pressure.
  5. Decreased mental stress and anxiety.  Belly breathing can stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which counteracts the sympathetic nervous system.  This is medical speak for telling your body that there are no tigers hunting you and your family, and that everything is okay, resulting in lessening anxiety and stress levels.
  6. Improved detoxification.  Your lymph system and liver work better under less stressful conditions, improving your body’s ability to eliminate toxins.
  7. Improved digestion. With better oxygenation, your digestive organs work better.  This means more regular elimination and you absorb nutrients better too.
  8. Improved adrenal function.  In my clinical experience, belly breathing is the best thing you can do to heal your adrenal glands.
  9. Better sleep.  By turning down your stress signals, relaxing your body and your mind, increasing the oxygen in your body, it helps you sleep, too, especially by doing some deep belly breathing before bed.

 

And if you need more reasons, here are two more: 

  1. It’s free.
  2. You don’t need any special equipment.

 

So start today, right now would be even better.

 


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Sep 20

Office Life--Continuing Education Seminar

Last weekend, I went to Portland, Oregon to attend a medical seminar about bio-identical hormone replacement, adrenal dysfunction, and neurotransmitter imbalance.  While I earned continuing education credits and much of the hormone topics were review, I learned some new thoughts and treatment options for adrenal fatigue and neurotransmitters.  And even better was being surrounded by a roomful of medical practitioner who are like-minded about using physiological dosing of bio-identical hormones and functional medicine.

 

 

I had a chance to explore the town a bit, try some interesting foods, have adventures getting around on the Max light rail, and wander through an amazing five-story bookstore.

 

 

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Aug 15

Product Spotlight: FindWhy? Genetic Testing for Weight Control

Genes play a role in the development of obesity. It is believed that genes regulate how our bodies capture, store, and release energy from food including the drive to overeat, the tendency to be sedentary or physically active, a diminished ability to use dietary fats as fuel, and an ability to store body fat easily.

 

FindWhy™ Genetic Testing for Weight Control looks at five genes that are known to have a significant impact on the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and responsiveness to exercise. The genes in the FindWhy™ Genetic Testing were chosen by a very thorough review of research literature related to genes, exercise, obesity and nutrition. The genes tested are:

    •    FTO—Regulation of metabolism and satiety

    •    MC4R—Regulation of satiety and meal frequency

    •    ADRB2-E27Q—Sensitivity to carbohydrates and stress impact

    •    FABP2-T55A—Fat absorption and insulin regulation of sugar

    •    SH2B1—Regulation of insulin and leptin systems

 

Testing is performed on the DNA collected from cheek cells which are collected by brushing the three swabs on the inside of the mouth.

 

Testing your genes can give you specific dietary and exercise recommendations, such as eat five small meals a day or perform high intensity cardio exercise.  When you know that your body converts sugar straight into fat, it makes you think a bit harder about eating that piece of cake…

 

For more information about FindWhy™ Genetic Testing or to schedule your testing, call us at 208-433-9188.

 

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Aug 10

Office Life--Lunch and Learn!

At Abundant Life Health Care, we always continue to learn.  Karole regularly attends seminars on various health topics, as well as webinars in the office during lunch.  And sometimes, Lesa watches the webinar too!

 

 

Today, we learned about the newest theories of root causes of high blood pressure.  It was not a “you’ve got high blood pressure, take this medicine to lower it” kind of webinar.  It was about studies that show the three types of cellular dysfunction in blood vessels that cause high blood pressure.  In fact, a study that was discussed resulted in 62% of participants getting off their blood pressure medicine when these root causes were treated and cellular function was normalized!  Amazing!

 

Now, Karole is NOT telling you to dump your blood pressure medicine.  But it means there is hope in treating high blood pressure that may not include prescription drugs and corrects the underlying cellular dysfunction that is causing the high blood pressure to begin with.  Stay tuned as more research continues…


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Aug 01

How to Perform Belly Breathing

Belly breathing.  When I was in Nurse Practitioner school, if someone told me that I would spend a good portion of my time with patients talking about breathing, I probably would have laughed at them.  But here I am, talking about breathing every day.  And now, I’m even blogging about it!


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May 24

Does Menopause Affect Women's Heart Disease Risk?

While the risk of developing heart disease rises for both men and women as they age, associated symptoms can be more evident in women after menopause. Menopause does not cause cardiovascular diseases, however, certain aspects of menopause can affect your risk factors.

Menopause is a natural part of a woman’s life, and it’s marked by a decline in estrogen production, as well as other hormones. It’s believed that estrogen has a positive effect on women’s artery walls as well as keeping blood vessels flexible. Before menopause, a woman’s estrogen helps protect her from heart disease by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL).

Menopause and Heart Disease

When women undergo menopause the protective effect of estrogen declines. This alone does not explain the rise in women’s risk for heart disease, however, and it is something that researchers continue to try to explain.

Other factors that can affect women’s heart disease risks include:

  • Diabetes: For women who do develop heart disease, this typically occurs ten years later than in men. Because of the associated risk factors of diabetes (obesity, high cholesterol), this ten-year advantage women have is lost.
  • Metabolic syndrome: Metabolic syndrome is a combination of conditions that include high blood sugar, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and excess body fat around the waist. Each of these individually increases women’s risks of developing heart disease, but when combined they are perhaps the most important risk factor for determining a woman’s heart attack or heart disease risk.
  • Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely than male smokers to suffer a heart attack.

In addition, there are several steps you can take to help reduce your risk for heart disease. These include:

  • Be more physically active: As little as 30 minutes of exercise daily can reduce women’s risk of heart disease by about 20%.
  • Eat healthily: Choosing to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium can all help decrease your risk of developing heart disease.
  • Reduce your stress: When we become stressed, our bodies release a series of hormones and chemicals that can increase our blood pressure, send our heart rate skyrocketing, and cause us to expend more energy than normal. Chronic stress (and the accompanying effects) can cause long-term strain on our arteries and cardiovascular system. Developing healthy coping mechanisms can help reduce this stress and in turn lower your risk of stress-induced health risks.
  • Don’t smoke: As far as heart disease is concerned, smoking increases your blood pressure, reduces your capacity for exercise, and decreases good cholesterol (HDL). The risk of suffering a heart attack doubles when you smoke as few as four cigarettes a day.

Some in the medical community believe that maintaining proper estrogen levels throughout your life, even through menopause, can help your body retain the protective benefits.

How Abundant Life Health Care Can Help

The most effective way to diagnose hormone imbalances is through saliva testing. This gives us the most accurate snapshot of the “active” hormone levels currently in your body. We can then correct these imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.
At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms. In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness.

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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May 14

The Science and Art of Nursing

Nursing is a science but it is also an art...


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Apr 12

Debunking Common Myths About Menopause

Menopause is a natural process that affects practically all women at some point in their lives.

Though menopause is a very common occurrence, not every woman will experience the same symptoms in the same way. Because of these differences, there are a variety of myths and misunderstandings about menopause that persist.

Today we’re debunking some of the most common myths surrounding menopause. Five of these menopause myths include:

1. Menopause is just a phase.

Even the definition of menopause is often misunderstood.

Technically, menopause is the point at which a woman has gone 12 consecutive months without a menstrual cycle. Up until that point, she is pre-menopausal, after that point she is post-menopausal. Once a woman is menopausal, she will remain menopausal for the remainder of her life.

The average U.S. woman is 51-years-old when she officially becomes menopausal, and remains menopausal for 30 years. So is this just a phase? I don't think so - it is a significant portion of a woman's life!

A recent study showed that menopausal symptoms lasted an average of 7-12 years. Even the duration of symptoms doesn't meet my idea of "just a phase!"

2. If your mom was miserable after menopause, you will be too.

While it is true that women tend to have the same onset of menopause as their mothers, lifestyle plays a significant role in menopausal symptoms. There is much you can do nutritionally before menopause strikes to help minimize symptoms.

Phytonutrients, phytonutrients, phytonutrients! This means vegetables, and lot of them.  It is especially helpful to eat dark green, leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, chard, and broccoli.  Low intensity exercise, such as walking or yoga, can also be helpful to minimize hot flashes and night sweats.

We also have better treatment options with bio-identical hormones than your mother had. There's no reason to suffer through menopause just because your mother did. Research your options. And we really hope that bio-identical hormones (and our practice in particular) is your choice for menopausal treatment!

3. The earlier you start your periods, the earlier you’ll hit menopause.

The average age of menarche (the onset of menstrual periods) in the U.S. is currently 12.4 years old. In women born prior to 1920, the average age of menarche was 13.3 years old.

Yet the average age of onset of menopause in the U.S. has been 51 years old for decades. So there is no correlation between how old you were when you start your period and the age you will be when you start menopause.

The only somewhat accurate indicator? Genetics!

Women tend to go through menopause around the same age that their mothers did. However, that isn't very accurate either...

4. Blood tests are the gold standard to test hormone levels.

Hormones that are produced in a gland are released into the bloodstream. Hormones that are NOT produced in a gland (produced in fat, converted from other hormones, etc.) are NOT released into the bloodstream; these hormones are released directly into the tissues of the body. Therefore, a blood test shows the hormones that the ovaries (or other glands) are currently making.

After menopause, what are the ovaries producing? Little to nothing. This is exactly why we use saliva tests to look at hormone levels. Only 35-50% of a women's estrogen is made by the ovaries, leaving 50-65% of estrogen coming from elsewhere in the body.

To determine hormone imbalance, and if we've achieved the correct re-balancing of hormones, we need to know how much hormone is in a woman's tissues, so saliva testing is the best method to determine this.

5. Hormone replacement is dangerous.

When hormones are employed, starting with progesterone-only therapy can be a gentle and often effective treatment, although there are many cases when estrogen is of absolute benefit.

Unfortunately, the 2002 Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) findings of increased incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and breast cancer have caused many women to falsely believe that they must choose between the risk of heart attack or cancer and living with symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability, and more.

The WHI study was done using oral conjugated equine estrogen and medroxyprogesterone acetate, which is not the same thing as bio-identical progesterone. The general public, led by the medical community at large, does not typically differentiate between these hormones (conventional HRT) and therapies that employ bio-identical hormones (BHRT) such as estradiol and progesterone.

When hormones are given in physiologic doses, and in correct ratios, the risk profile is profoundly different. Knowledge is power and accurate expectations about menopause and the real risks and benefits of the many treatment options available will have profound impact not only on individual women, but may help to correct the spread of misinformation.

Do you have a hormonal imbalance? We can help.

At Abundant Life Health Care, we understand that treating hormonal imbalances means addressing more than just your symptoms.

In order for you to have the best outcomes, we address all of the factors that contribute to your wellness. We can then correct these imbalances using bio-identical hormones, nutrition, dietary supplements, and lifestyle changes.

It’s our goal to help you discover your optimal energy and wellness. Request an appointment to start your journey toward abundant health today.


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Apr 05

It's our Birthday

Happy Birthday to Abundant Life Health Care!

 

 


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