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Feb 28

In the News: Artificially Sweetened Beverages Increase Risk for Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease in Menopausal Women

In the News: Artificially Sweetened Beverages Increase Risk for Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease in Menopausal Women


Read the article here:


The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study followed over 81,000 women for almost 12 years.  They have found some interesting trends as the numbers have been crunched.  This latest study was published on February 14, 2019 in the medical journal, Stroke.


Postmenopausal women who consumed two or more artificially sweetened beverages per day had a statistically significant increased risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, and all-cause mortality.  In obese women who had a BMI of 30 or higher, that risk went up even more.


“Artificially sweetened beverages may not be harmless and high consumption is associated with a higher risk of stroke and heart disease,” one of the authors said in a statement.


Here’s my conclusion: Get rid of artificial sweeteners!  This is just one piece of evidence pointing to what natural medicine practitioners have been saying for years.  These chemicals are not meant for our bodies.  They do more harm than good.  Let’s all say “so long” to sucralose!  Adios, aspartame!

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Feb 05

Product Highlight--Golden Milk... but how does it TASTE?

Have you heard about golden milk?  It is a drink, which is traditionally cow’s milk simmered with herbs, specifically turmeric root and ginger root.  The health benefits of this ayurvedic beverage are purportedly numerous, and I always have a dose of skepticism when it sounds too good to be true.


But I know how beneficial curcumin is (it’s the primary active ingredient in turmeric) as an anti-inflammatory and the research is plentiful in its use as pain control.  The anti-inflammatory effect is not limited to the joints.  It’s been shown to be effective for gut inflammation as well.


Traditionally, golden milk has been used for liver health, heart and brain health, immune system support (supposedly treats colds, flu, and sore throats), inflammation, skin health and healing, and is full of anti-oxidants.  Sounds good, doesn’t it?


Then I started reading about how to make golden milk.  Chopping, slicing, mashing fresh roots.  Simmer it in milk for 15 minutes, watching closely so it doesn’t scorch.  Then remove from heat and allow it to sit to continue infusing the milk with all that herbal goodness.  Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth.  Add honey to taste.  Then finally, you can drink it.




So I was very excited when Metagenics released Golden Fusion, a powder version of golden milk that is added to warm water, coconut or almond milk.  It’s been so easy that I’ve been drinking my Golden Fusion every day for three weeks now.  Can I see any difference in how I feel?  Yes, I can.  (If you want details on what I have been noticing, please ask me in person!)  Is it doing everything that golden milk claims it does?  I don’t know yet.  But I’m going to keep drinking it and see.


The big question is, how does it taste?  It was quite good in sweetened coconut milk (I accidentally bought sweetened coconut milk. Oops!), and it was oh, so soothing when I had a cold with a very sore throat.  In unsweetened coconut milk and warm water, it’s okay.  By no means does it taste bad or bitter, but it’s not something that tastes like dessert either.


If you want to read more about golden milk, and Golden Fusion, in particular, click this link:


Golden Fusion is available in our online supplement store.  Click the tab above for “Supplement Store.”  If you haven’t yet, you’ll need to create an account using your email address and password of your choice, then click “Shop Dispensary” and you’re ready to place an order. 

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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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