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Heart & Lung Health

Paleo Diet for Blood Pressure

Paleo Diet for Blood Pressure

Modern foods don’t sit very well with our unevolved bodies. At least this is what proponents of the paleo diet believe, and research is continually being conducted that proves them right.

Consisting of only grass fed meat, seafood and fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds, and healthful oils like olive and walnut, the paleo diet recommends only consuming foods that our ancestors consumed during the Paleolithic era, over 10,000 years ago, and in proportionate quantities.

The Paleo Diet

For instance, while nuts and seeds are normally acceptable in the paleo diet, it’s not recommended to sit around stuffing cashews in your face. Our hunter/gatherer ancestors would have come across nuts somewhat infrequently, so peppering them into a more well-rounded diet is the name of the game.

The paleo diet stems from a belief that our modern diets, consisting of high fat, high carbohydrate, and high sugar foods have evolved past our body’s ability to effectively process them, which leads to poor health.

In addition to reducing inflammation in the body, the paleo diet can help you lose weight, detox the body, improve nutrient consumption, improve satiety, and decrease blood pressure.

Millions of people across the globe suffer from high blood pressure. Termed “the silent killer” high blood pressure can lead to hardening of the arteries, tinnitus, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even death.

The silent killer

Historical and anthropological studies show hunter-gatherers generally to be healthy, fit, and largely free of the degenerative cardiovascular diseases common in modern societies. Since we are what we eat, the natural conclusion is that in addition to nearly constant exercise, our ancestors consumed only wild and unprocessed food, providing a diet high in lean protein, polyunsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial phytochemicals.

The paleo diet can help lower blood pressure by producing weight loss – obesity is the number one cause of high blood pressure – reducing carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbohydrates like bleached flour, reducing refined sugar intake, and increasing intake of beneficial minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium.

It’s pretty safe to say that humans living 10,000 years ago, despite being exposed to much more harmful stressors – think sabre toothed tigers roaming about – weren’t plagued with high blood pressure as a civilization, so the root cause must be something we’re doing as modern people, and scientists believe that the diet is a great place to start looking for culprits.

Noni for Hypertension

Noni for Hypertension

If there was a killer in your neighborhood, you’d want to know right? What if there was a silent killer, and instead of residing in your neighborhood, this killer resided inside your body?

Hypertension, often referred to as a silent killer, affects millions of Americans, going unnoticed and unattended until it finally causes too much damage for the host to overcome.

High blood pressure

Hypertension is also referred to more commonly as simply high blood pressure, but make no mistake about it, high blood pressure can cause untold amounts of damage throughout your body, ranging from impotence to artery damage, and eventually stroke, heart attack, and even death.

The damage to arteries caused by hypertension is extensive, and very often extremely harmful.

Healthy arteries have certain characteristics that hypertension robs them of, namely flexibility, elasticity, and strength, and their inner lining, epithelial cells, are smooth and allow for easy and efficient blood flow. The arteries after a long life of hypertension are rigid, weak, and brittle, and their inner lining is not as smooth. All of this affects the way blood flows through the arteries, so someone with longstanding hypertension is in danger of life threatening consequences.

As arteries become damaged from hypertension, fats can begin to collect along the inner lining, and the lack of elasticity eventually prevents them from stretching and accommodating blockage. This limits the amount of blood flow throughout the body, leaving cells starved of oxygen, and increasing the risk of serious consequence like heart attack and stroke.


Another extremely dangerous effect of hypertension is an aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when a vein or artery forms a bulge due to continued high pressure and being in a weakened state. While aneurysms can form in any of your arteries, the most common location is your largest artery, the aorta. If and when an aneurysm bursts, internal bleeding occurs that cannot be stopped without intervention, and if it occurs in the brain, tissue dies from contact with blood and is never regenerated, causing irreparable damage, if not death.

A lesser known side-effect of hypertension is kidney damage. It’s easy to focus attention on the system that encompasses the blood that is under pressure, but there are also many peripheral effects of hypertension that also go overlooked.


Because the kidneys filter fluid and waste from your blood, they depend on healthy blood vessels to function properly. When arteries become damaged from hypertension, kidney scarring, kidney artery aneurysm, and even kidney failure can occur.


Prescription medications for hypertension often come with a hidden consequences like pervasive cough, dizziness, lightheadedness from reducing blood pressure too much, and many more unwanted side-effects.

Researchers are constantly examining alternative ways to treat disease and illness, and with this renewed vigor to explore all options, traditional medicines have begun to enter back into the western consciousness.

Traditional medicines are often composed of naturally occurring compounds, found easily and readily in plants, and generally don’t cause the types and seriousness of side-effects commonly caused by western remedies.

One treatment for hypertension being explored is called noni. Derived from Morinda citrifolia leaves, noni is an edible plant that grows exclusively in tropical climate zones from India through Southeast Asia, and has a variety of medicinal uses, including antispasmodic, vasodilator and cardio-suppressant effects.

Morinda citrifolia leaves

The noni plant traditionally grows adjacent to lava flows in the Pacific Islands as well, and has been used to make red or yellow dye for clothes. Among this use, islanders have been using it for a variety of ailments like colic for infants, cough, convulsions, diabetes, stimulating menstrual flow, fever reduction, liver disease, constipation, nausea, and even cancer.

The list of noni’s uses goes on and on, but scientists have yet to prove its benefits for these ailments, so the FDA has issued warnings for companies making unverified claims.

Studies are underway however for the effect noni has on hypertension.

To study its efficacy for hypertension, scientists isolated vascular tissue from different animals, including rabbit jejunum, rat and rabbit aorta tissues, and guinea pig atria. Scientists used these tissues to test the cardiovascular relaxant effects of noni, a process that helps to relax the arteries and in cases of hypertension, allow blood to flow more freely.

These studies concluded that noni did indeed relax atrial tissue, reducing atrial force and the rate of atrial spontaneous contractions. This indicates that the vasodilator effects of noni can help prevent chronic hypertension, and preliminarily, it is believed that the side effects are much less than other western prescription medications.

Another very recent study examined the effects of noni on hypertensive rats, concluding that this powerful plant “significantly decreased the blood pressure of hypertensive rats. The combination group showed highest hypotensive activity by lowering systolic blood pressure by 16.71 ± 3.95%, diastolic blood pressure by 21.49 ± 7.90%, and mean arterial blood pressure by 19.58% ± 6.35. All extract treatments have not been able to repair or inhibit renal damage caused by dexamethasone induction.”

Noni juice

While the benefits of noni have been well established by now, the challenge remains in getting it to consumers. It is a bitter fruit that ferments rather quickly, meaning that its shelf life is quite short. Many noni manufacturers include it in a blend with other juices, masking the taste.

Some people are taking noni in the form of fruit leathers and supplements. The fruit leathers are similar to the ones found on grocery store shelves, containing dried fruit compressed into semi-tough thin and wide strips.

There are a handful of prescription treatments for hypertension, each accompanied by a Trojan horse of additional complications and side-effects. Current prescription medications available for hypertension bring with them, often times, more complications than they purport to alleviate.

Patients taking blood pressure medication report problems like extra urination, erection problems, weakness, cramps, fatigue, decrease in the body’s potassium levels, and more, while those taking beta blockers can experience asthma like symptoms, cold hands and feet, depression, erection problems as well, and insomnia.

As always, it is important to discuss any and all treatment options with a doctor, as even natural treatments derived through diet can have implications, especially if you’re on other medications. More than likely, your doctor will figure out a way to best treat you and introduce noni into your lifestyle with minimal invasiveness.

Noni fruit
Atherosclerosis The SECRETS OF LONGEVITY That You Do Not Know

Atherosclerosis: The SECRETS OF LONGEVITY That You Do Not Know

Atherosclerosis is the number one cause of disease and disability for adults in the United States, and research shows it develops in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. It’s important to understand so I want to share with you seven shockingly strange factors that contribute to heart disease and strokes.

atherosclerosis diagram of a clogged artery

Is it possible to prevent or reverse heart disease? Absolutely. When people ask me to explain heart attacks and strokes, I give them one simple answer: inflammation. Inflammation equals heart attacks and strokes.

Think of your heart and brain as plants that need a constant flow of water. High blood pressure is like turning the water pressure up too high, which causes damage to the arteries. High cholesterol, on the other hand, is like clogging your arteries with liquid concrete. However, cholesterol is not the enemy. It’s actually produced by the body in high amounts to repair the damage of inflammation in your arteries.

Secrets to Longevity… Atherosclerosis

7 Strange Factors Contributing to Heart Disease

1. Sound and Noise

young woman listening to headphones

Sounds can be damaging to your heart and your brain. Starting around 50 decibels, the volume of a refrigerator or a friendly chat, noise can raise your blood pressure and increase the likelihood of heart failure. For every 10-decibel increase, your odds of getting heart disease and having a stroke go up even more. It’s your body in survival mode, as it reacts to loud noises by pumping you with stress hormones.

2. Irregular Menstruation

menstruation calendar

Women who get their first period before they’re 12 years old or who stop having their periods before they’ve reached 47 years old are more likely to have a stroke or develop heart disease. A woman’s risk also goes up if she’s had a miscarriage or have her ovaries or uterus removed.

3. Migraines

woman with headache working at her desk

You’re more likely to experience chest pain, strokes, or heart attacks when you get migraines because of inflammation. If heart disease runs in your family or you’ve had heart problems before, you should probably avoid taking medicines called triptans because they narrow your blood vessels and exacerbate the process of inflammation and atherosclerosis.

4. Loneliness

woman alone on a swing on the beach at sunset

Having too few friends or being unhappy with your life raises your odds of heart disease by about as much as second-hand smoke does. Feeling alone has been linked to high blood pressure and other effects of stress.

5. Stimulant Medications

medications and pills on the table

Stimulant drugs such as dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate are designed to help you focus, but they can also raise your heart rate and blood pressure. It’s important to work with your doctor to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks with these kinds of medications.

6. Overworking

woman overworking at her desk late at night

People who work 55 hours per week are more likely to have heart disease than those who only work 35 to 40 hours a week. This could be the result of many things including increased stress, a sedentary lifestyle, or perhaps drinking more alcohol. If you tend to work a lot, it’s especially important to take care of yourself to avoid heart disease and stroke.

7. Gum Disease

woman checking for gum disease

Bacteria from your mouth can enter your blood and cause inflammation in the lining of your arteries, which can lead to the buildup of fatty lipids and cholesterol. Research shows that by treating gum disease, you can lower the level of an inflammatory marker called C-reactive protein in your blood. Doctors use this measurement through laboratory results along with cholesterol levels to predict cardiac events.

Key Steps to Take

doctor checking patient's blood pressure

In order to protect yourself from atherosclerosis, there are several key steps you can take. Control your blood pressure, keep your cholesterol and triglycerides under control, stay at a healthy weight, don’t smoke, manage your stress, manage diabetes, and get plenty of sleep.


stethoscope wrapped around a red apple

One class of medications that are typically used to treat heart disease is blood pressure agents, and one of the most common agents is lycinapro. Lycinapro comes with a variety of side effects, so work with your doctor when taking this medication and get your blood pressure down through diet and exercise.

When it comes to statin medications, some studies have shown there is only a 1% decrease in heart disease if you’re taking a statin medication. Cholesterol is important for the body as a precursor hormone for testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. A decline in these hormones can aggravate the process of heart disease and stroke.

senior couple exercising outdoors together

The rise in cholesterol is late in the chain of events because remember, cholesterol is patching up the arteries and repairing the damage of inflammation. Fear of cholesterol comes from a primitive perspective of pharmaceutical companies and even some doctors. High cholesterol actually signals that you have extraordinary inflammation and your body is trying to repair the inflammation.

Statin medications lead to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. It decreases CoQ10, which can lead to negative consequences in your health like muscle pain, hormonal imbalances, and more. There are more than 300 adverse effects of statin medications, so try to correct your diet, activity level, and hormones first.

I tell patients that mindfulness is most important. Understanding heart disease as inflammation and not high cholesterol, and knowing that it can be improved with lifestyle changes. It takes some effort but you can make drastic changes not just for heart disease but for a number of health conditions.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!





What’s Worse Smoking Or Alcohol (Doctor’s Opinion)

We’re all gonna die. It is inevitable. Excluding accidents and genetic causes, the most common contributing factor to how we die is how we live and lifestyle choices. So when it comes to lifestyle choices, have you ever wondered which is worse? Smoking or alcohol? We’ll be looking at the statistics and effects of smoking and alcohol to evaluate if one is, in fact, worse than the other.

About smoking

fingers holding a smoking cigaretteNo matter how you slice it, inhaling any amount of cigarette smoke is bad for your health. A new meta-analysis study in the British Medical Journal found that smoking just one cigarette a day can drastically increase the risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke. They found that men who had one cigarette per day had a 48% higher risk of heart disease and stroke. For women, the numbers are even grimmer. Women who smoke one cigarette per day have a 57% chance of heart disease and a 30% higher risk factor of stroke compared to non- smokers.

middle aged man breaking a cigarette in halfAlthough cutting down smoking has clear benefits (particularly for the risk of cancer), the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk is not as large as smokers would hope. Smokers need to quit completely (rather than cut down) if they wish to avoid most of the risks associated with heart disease and stroke, two of the most common and major disorders caused by smoking.

Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke accounts for about 1 in 5 deaths annually, about 1300 deaths every single day in the United States. On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than non-smokers.

young woman smoking a cigarette against dark blue backgroundThe tobacco epidemic is one of the largest, biggest health threats the world has ever faced. Tobacco kills up to half of its users, which is more than seven million people each year worldwide. More than six million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco intake while 890,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Around 80% of the world’s population live in low and middle-income countries where people are more likely to smoke.

If you’re a smoker, there is still hope. Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking by almost 90%.

About alcohol

close up of hand holding onto a glass filled with whiskyPeople drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people and throughout history, we’ve struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power over us. About 27% of people over the age of 18 have reported that they’ve engaged in binge drinking in the past month. 7% report that they’ve engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month. Over 15 million adults over the age of 18 have some kind of alcohol-dependency problem. This includes 9.8 million men and 5.3 million females.

An estimated 88,000 people, approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women, die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third most preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical activity.

close up of waiter pouring red wine into a glassIn 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributed to alcohol consumption. In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions. Most notably, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries such as motor vehicle accidents.

So, smoking is a worse vice than alcohol. No cigarette intake is safe, whereas science does show that alcohol intake, particularly red wine or darker beer, may be protective in extreme moderation. Drinking one to two drinks a day can be beneficial, but any more than that and it can be extremely problematic.

What happens if you smoke and drink?

close up on a man's hand holding a glass of beer and lit cigaretteCigarettes and alcohol are often used together. Studies have found that people who smoke are much more likely to drink, and that people who drink are much more likely to smoke. Dependence on alcohol and tobacco is correlated. People who are dependent on alcohol are three times more likely than those in the general population to be smokers. People who are dependent on tobacco are four times more likely than the general population to be drinkers.

We all have vices. However, it is prudent to understand that some of your vices may leave serious impacts on your health. Quitting smoking and/or drinking in extreme moderation will help prolong your life. The good news is, there are options. You can reach out locally to organizations, societies, or your local physician to get help.

dr ryan shelton of zenith labsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




Pollution's Effect on Blood Pressure

Pollution’s Effect on Blood Pressure

Millions of Americans suffer from high blood pressure. It seems that most would attribute these massive numbers from either poor diet, lack of exercise, overconsumption of alcohol, or any other of the myriad of causes commonly associated with high blood pressure.

Traffic Pollution

However, research is pointing to additional, less obvious factors that may contribute to high blood pressure. It seems that sitting in traffic has more than just a temporary effect on blood pressure rising, as studies show that traffic noise and pollution can actually cause more long term damage, among this damage, high blood pressure and eventually, hypertension.

Studies have linked two extremely scarcely examined causes of high blood pressure. Studies show that air pollution, specifically the type caused by traffic and traffic noise show a strong connection with high blood pressure.

An August 2016 study looked at the effect of traffic-related air pollution on cardio-metabolic risk. The study divided 371 people from Shanghai, China into four categories according to their distance from major roads.

An August 2016 study looked at the effect of traffic-related air pollution on cardio-metabolic risk. The study divided 371 people from Shanghai, China into four categories according to their distance from major roads.

The study found that long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution may cause a whole host of problems like serious cardio-metabolic disorders related to increased systemic inflammation, reduces insulin sensitivity, hardening of the arteries, and last but not least, high blood pressure.

High blood pressure

Similar studies show that the effects of traffic noise can have an equal, even compounding effect on high blood pressure, with one study concluding that “Long-term exposure to indoor traffic noise was associated with prevalent hypertension and SBP.”

Similar studies show that the effects of traffic noise can have an equal, even compounding effect on high blood pressure, with one study concluding that “Long-term exposure to indoor traffic noise was associated with prevalent hypertension and SBP.”

Stuck in traffic

It’s important to continually monitor your exposure to traffic, and more importantly, the pollution that it creates. Sitting in traffic can become deadly, even for the calmest commuter.

Vision and Environmental toxicity

5 vegetables and 5 fruits high in potassium (besides bananas) to help fight high blood pressure

High blood pressure has been linked in numerous studies to such ailments as heart disease and stroke, erectile dysfunction, vision and hearing changes, kidney disease, and even may have links to increased likelihood for dementia.

A wonderful natural way to help lower high blood pressure is to increase foods rich in potassium while decreasing intake of foods high in sodium. An essential micronutrient, potassium is responsible for regulating fluid balance in the body, controlling the activity of the heart and other muscles, and counteracts the potentially harmful effects of sodium.

The top 10 sources of sodium in our diets, which include a lot of food we find quite tasty are, in order: breads and rolls, luncheon meats, pizza, poultry, soups, cheeseburgers and other sandwiches, cheese, pasta dishes, canned foods, and snack foods like potato chips and pretzels. These foods account for 50% of all the sodium we eat in a day.  Changing your sodium to potassium ratio intake of foods can dramatically change your risks for developing high blood pressure.

Studies have shown that those who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1,000 mg per day).

When potassium is mentioned, most people think of bananas, but there are loads of potassium in many of the most common foods we eat. Here are 5 vegetables and 5 fruits (other than bananas) high in potassium that you probably were not aware of but should very much consider adding to your diet.


Leafy Greens

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are a fantastic source of potassium. One cup of spinach contains about 839mg, beet greens about 442mg, and amaranth leaves contain as much as 980mg, so don’t skip the salad.  Also consider dandelion greens, arugula, Swiss chard, kale, and bok choy.

2. Regular and sweet Potato with skin

A large sized potato contains approximately 845 milligrams of potassium, with about 88% in the skin. Potato skins are also a great source of iron, providing as much as 57 percent of the daily recommended values for men, and 25 percent for women. Sweet potatoes make a great casserole, go great with Mexican dishes, and are great additives to salads. Consider that sweet potatoes have about 950mg of potassium per one medium-sized specimen and you have one sweet source of potassium.

3. Bean and Legumes

The highest source of potassium is contained in lima beans, containing 896mg of potassium per cup of cooked beans, though all beans and legumes should be considered.

4. Brassica vegetables

Brussel sprouts are the potassium king in this cherished family of vegetables coming in at 495 mg of potassium per cup, though broccoli is a close second at 547 mg of potassium per cup

5. Acorn Squash

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, there’s no better time to load up on potassium than now. Acorn squash are not only delicious, they also contain approximately 900mg of potassium per cup.


1. Avocados

Not only are avocados rich in essential fatty acids, which also help with heart health, but an average sized avocado also has about 1068mg of potassium. Next time, pass on the salsa and enjoy the guacamole.

2. Guava

Guava is a tropical fruit that my sons and I enjoyed daily while living on the Big Island of Hawaii. We ate them whole, made smoothies with them, even made guava ice cubes and ice cream.  They contain a whopping 688mg of potassium per cup.

3. Kiwi

When you find a good kiwi and allow it to ripen to flavor, there’s nothing quite like it. This fantastic fuzzy fruit packs 592mg of potassium per cup.

4. Melons

Both cantaloupe and honeydew take time to grow to size but once ready can provide an excellent source of potassium for you.  I always think of melon salads, breakfast treats, or melon ice cubes to enjoy.

5. Apricots

These tiny fruits are excellent sources of beta carotenes.  They also, both fresh and dried, provide over 400mg of potassium per serving.

We’re all familiar with bananas, but next time you’re in the grocery store, give another rich source of potassium a try. Many foods are much more loaded with this essential mineral and can help break the monotony of a banana-centric diet. Make a difference in your blood pressure levels by choosing to use foods as medicine.

Pill Nation Doctor Speaks Out


Instead of talking about a specific health condition in this article, we’re going to touch on a topic I’m quite passionate about. In fact, it’s one of the reasons I ultimately decided to become a naturopathic medical doctor. It’s something I call, ‘pill nation.’

Pill Nation Doctor Speaks Out

An important disclaimer

small glass jars of pills, supplements, and medicine

First, let’s start with a disclaimer: many medications are essential for maintaining good health and you should never discontinue a medication without speaking to the prescribing physician first. Many supplements, whether nutritional or botanical, are great for supporting health and wellness. Again, you should not discontinue these supplements without checking in with the individual who recommended or prescribed them to you.

Alarming facts around pill dependency

pile of different pills

There’s an alarming trend that’s been developing in America over the last few decades, and unfortunately, other countries around the world are following our patterns.

In the year 2000, 50% of Americans were taking at least one medication. Fast forward to 2012 and that number jumped up to 60%. During that 12-year gap, the number of people taking five or more medications doubled from 8% to 16%, and these numbers are still increasing every year.

Why are people taking more than five medications? There are many factors. We know that medications can cause side effects, so some doctors prescribe additional medications to treat the side effects of the first, second, or even third medication. Another key factor is due to the legal changes that happened in the early 1980s. Legislation was passed by Congress and Ronald Reagan, president at the time, allowing for direct to consumer marketing and advertising.

handful of different pills

This new legislation took some of the power from a physician. A physician would typically review your medical history, give you a physical exam, make a proper diagnosis, recommend a treatment, and probably prescribe medication. Thanks to the new legislation though, big pharma companies were able to bypass this practice of medicine by marketing directly to people. Suddenly there were commercials on TV, sometimes with cartoons involved but always with happy people.

Patients turned into consumers, visiting the doctor, requesting a certain medication based on an advertisement they saw, and having the doctor sign off on it. This trend is still on the rise. In 2014, 4.3 billion prescriptions were written, equaling $375 billion – and that doesn’t even include over the counter medications or supplements. In 2014, roughly a third of Americans were taking at least one nutritional or botanical supplement, equaling $5 billion. We’re becoming increasingly dependent on pills.

Why it’s dangerous to depend on pills

young woman sorting through her pills

Why is the idea of a ‘pill nation’ so alarming? Some pills certainly cause side effects and some pills can actually cause disease. A common one is proton pump inhibitors. Proton pump inhibitors are quite effective at reducing acid reflux, but they’re almost too effective. They can decrease your acid to the point where you’re not able to extract and absorb certain nutrients anymore.

If you’re not absorbing nutrients because of low stomach acid, you can face mood changes, physical pain, increased rates of asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even osteoporosis.

In 2018, John Hopkins University showed that due to medical errors and excessive medications, modern medicine is now the third most common cause of death. I believe that most doctors intend to help with health, but the trend of individuals taking more and more pills is alarming.

Good health begins with you

close up of herbal pills

Instead of immediately turning to pills, remember that good health begins with you. If you follow a healthy diet, engage in physical activity, balance your hormones, and reduce stress in your life, you can make tremendous strides in your health and wellbeing.

The next step in creating your good health is adding in nutritional or botanical supplements. Look for companies that do in-house testing and third-party testing to ensure the potency and purity of the ingredients. If you do need medication for a health condition, remember to consult with a physician instead of blindly following an advertisement. You can have a dramatic impact on your health with the right lifestyle changes.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




Arjuna for Blood Pressure

Arjuna for Blood Pressure

Feeling stressed out in today’s fast paced world is seemingly a byproduct of life, unavoidable with the amount of stressors present. But continually being a little stressed out can do more damage than you think.

Extreme stress

Chronic stress can lead to an incredible amount of complications later in life. Stress, and the stress reaction in the body, causes the body to produce hormones that are intended to help it react to physical danger, a remnant of our ancestral tribulations.

Stress in the modern world is not the same as it used to be when our bodies evolved to respond effectively. We used to use our fight or flight response to avoid physical stress and danger present in the world around us, but modern stress is much more pervasive and persistent. We’ve got mortgages, family matters, traffic, work problems, and other daily stressors that we take home with us, and constantly weigh on our minds.

This pervasive stress forces the body to constantly produce stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, which over a long period of time and continual exposure, do damage to the body. Stress can cause serious ailments like asthma, obesity, fatigue, irritability, lack of motivation and interest, headaches, upset stomach, reduced appetite and sexual drive, and the stress related diseases that kill are heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more.

Referred to as the “silent killer”, high blood pressure is as dangerous as the name implies. Statistics show that as many as 110 million people die from stress and related issues every year. High blood pressure alone has been found to harden the arteries, leading to an incredible range of problems.

High blood pressure

Researchers have found that modern stress, that which is persistent and continual, causes the body to remain in the alarm phase of fight or flight, after which the body attempts to repair itself and return hormone levels to normal. But pervasive stress response renders the body unable to repair itself and return to normal, which eventually leads to the final phase, the exhaustion phase.

Exhaustion is a common side effect of adrenaline release. This stage in the stress response is thought to be the cause of many chronic diseases because the body is constantly in a state of exhaustion.

Prescription medication

With so much damage being done by stress and high blood pressure, it is important to treat it in a way that is sustainable and effective. Many of the prescription medications people take are doing more harm than good, themselves causing health issues within the body.

Traditional medicinal systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, and Ayurvedic medicine in India, have been treating stress and high blood pressure with natural, safe, and effective remedies for centuries, and studies from the west are finally lending credence to their traditional medicines. Arjuna has been used as a heart remedy in India for over 3000 years.

One such treatment often used in traditional medicine is called arjuna. Terminalia arjuna is a tree of the genus Terminalia. It is commonly known as arjuna or arjun tree in English, thella maddi in Telugu, kumbuk in Sinhala, marudha maram in Tamil and neer maruthu in Malayalam.

Terminalia arjuna

Many people around the world rely on arjuna as a natural remedy for their high blood pressure, believed to provide such benefits as supporting the muscle tone of the heart, providing antioxidant power and healthy flavonoids and polyphenols, and benefitting blood flow throughout the body. Many animal and clinical studies have validated its anti-ischemic, antihypertensive, antihypertrophic and antioxidant effects.

Terminalia arjuna bark

The bark is the primary material used for medication, which contains phenolic constituents (arjunolic acid and terminic acid), glycosides (arjunetin and arjunosides I–IV), flavones, tannins, oligomeric proanthocyanidins and b-sitosterol.

In addition to high blood pressure, arjuna has been thought to help with a variety of other ailments, including the suppression of the herpes virus by inhibiting viral attachment and penetration, and even to help heal wounds.

For hypertension, arjuna has been studied with impressive results. One study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, tested the ability of an arjuna extract on pulmonary hypertension. Researchers created an extract of the stem bark of arjuna and tested it on lab rats.

This study placed subjects into groups, and treated some with a prescription medication called sildenafil, a vasodilator used to treat erectile dysfunction and hypertension, and the others into a group treated with arjuna extract. The study concluded that arjuna was able to treat high blood pressure as well as the prescription medication sildenafil, yet arjuna is widely believed to be completely free from side effects, while sildenafil carries with it sometimes significant side effects.

Other studies have found much of the same, with one concluding that “Most of the studies, both experimental and clinical, have suggested that the crude drug possesses anti-ischemic, antioxidant, hypolipidemic, and antiatherogenic activities” and that “So far, no serious side effects have been reported with arjuna therapy.”

Arjuna medication can be found easily online, especially as it continues to gain popularity. For high blood pressure, arjuna works via its mild diuretic properties, as it can reduce blood clot formation, enhance prostaglandin levels, and lowers blood lipid levels, each of which contributes to its ability to help mediate hypertension.

Like all medications, it is important to consult with a physician before beginning a serious treatment process. Currently, arjuna is widely believed to have zero counter indications with medication, and little to no negative side effects, so it is believed to be very safe for use.

Not only is arjuna believed to be extremely safe when used in conjunction with other medications, some studies have shown that it actually may aid other medications in their effectiveness. Western doctors and researchers are only just beginning to scratch the surface of this traditional eastern remedy, but it looks as if arjuna will soon be included in the typical western remedy for hypertension.

It is helpful to think of stress not as the cause of a problem, but the symptom of problems that are occurring externally. It is our body’s reaction to external problems, thus, if we are to effectively treat stress, we must help our bodies better adjust to external factors, and arjuna indeed provides promise, helping the heart function more effectively, improving blood flow throughout the body, helping the body cope with adrenaline response, and much more.

Vaping vs Smoking

Vaping vs Smoking

Someone recently asked us if vaping was safer than smoking, and this question was particularly intriguing to me. It’s a rather new human behavior and very little is known about it. I love research though, so I decided to find out as much as I could about the subject and share the information with you.

First of all, I want to assure you that we are not going to pull a new rabbit out of an old hat – both vaping and smoking are bad, and I want to be clear about that. The simple answer through research is that yes, vaping may be less harmful. It’s not that vaping is healthier, but simply less harmful than smoking cigarettes.

Vaping vs Smoking

What is Vaping?

close up of female vaping with cloud of smoke

Over 500 articles have been published on vaping in the last few years, but very few of them are direct comparisons on the health risks or benefits of vaping versus smoking cigarettes. E-cigarettes are devices that produce an aerosol by heating a liquid containing various chemicals including nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Users inhale the aerosol and those additives into their lungs. The aerosols produced by e-cigarettes can contain harmful chemicals such as heavy metals, lead, volatile organic compounds, ultra-fine particles, potentially cancer-causing chemicals, and other agents used for cleaning the device. Over 80 compounds are inhaled every time that you use an e-cigarette. Compare that to over 7,000 chemicals that are inhaled every time you smoke a cigarette!

electronic cigarette lying next to regular cigarettes

There has been a recent epidemic of e-cigarette users going to their doctor or even the emergency room because of lung disorders. The onset of respiratory findings, which can include nonproductive cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath, can occur several days or weeks before hospitalization. Systemic findings can include fast heart rate, fever, chills, fatigue, GI distress, and diarrhea preceding the lung symptoms.

Adult smokers who are attempting to quit should use evidence-based smoking cessation treatments, including counseling, nicotine replacement, and FDA-approved medications. Those who need help quitting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, should contact their medical provider.

Are E-Cigarettes Safer Than Tobacco Cigarettes?  

man holding electronic cigarette and tobacco cigarettes

Smoking tobacco cigarettes is the primary cause of preventable cardiovascular deaths in the United States, and stopping the use of tobacco has long been the focus of public health organizations. According to the Surgeon General Report in 2014, rates of smoking in the US have reached historic lows. Parallel to the decline in cigarette smoking is the use of electronic cigarettes, which were introduced to the US in 2007. The market has since increased, especially among young people, which is a major concern. 3.1 million high school students in 2018 used e-cigarettes or vaped, and only 600,000 of them are illegal age.

E-cigarette use may be less harmful than tobacco use, but it comes with its own risks. Usage has increased from 700,000 users in 2012 to 3.2 million users in 2018. The effects of e-cigarettes on long-term cardiovascular health are rather inconclusive but still concerning. Multiple studies have shown temporary increases in oxidative stress, inflammation, vascular dysfunction, and platelet aggregation as well. These effects are consistent with the properties of nicotine, though the other components of e-cigarette emissions may also contribute to this.

E-cigarette use is less carcinogenic than tobacco smoke, as tobacco smoke is associated with lung cancer and other cancers throughout the body. It’s the number one risk factor for cardiovascular disease in the United States and worsens virtually every health condition we’re aware of. Tobacco smoke weakens the walls of the lungs, so we got plenty of air when we breathe in, but there’s little lung tissue left which means we’re not actually delivering air to the vital cells of our bodies.

vaporiser with different flavors on tabletop

Now let’s be clear: the vapor of e-cigarettes contains less harmful substances than tobacco smoke, but e-cigarettes are not a hazard-free lifestyle product. Just like tobacco, e-cigarettes cause inflammation of the lungs. E-cigarettes are also associated with a higher rate of illicit drug use because other drugs can be used in the vaporizing units.

Vaping with e-cigarettes may be less harmful to your health than tobacco cigarettes and less associated with cancers, but they have their own acute symptoms to be aware of. There’s a recent epidemic of e-cigarettes because of market increase and adulterated agents that you can put in the vaporizers, causing more individuals to need emergency room visits.

If you smoke tobacco, you should certainly move to e-cigarettes. If you use e-cigarettes, work with your healthcare provider to come up with techniques for quitting permanently.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!  




The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

Did you know that every 40 seconds in the United States someone dies of a heart attack? You likely know someone who has suffered the devastating, often deadly effects of a heart attack. A heart attack is called the silent killer because we don’t know when and where it’s going to happen.

The Single Best Daily Habit To Prevent A Heart Attack

What is a heart attack?

man having a heart attack, clutching his chestA heart attack begins with inflammation, which can be caused by chemicals that your body produces, environmental toxins you’re exposed to every day, or damage from high blood pressure. Inflammation causes damage to the interior lining of blood vessels, specifically your arteries.

That inflammation begins to attract white blood cells and platelets which thicken the arteries over time. A heart attack is a silent killer because a small clot of that thickening can unknowingly break off, travel down the bloodstream, and cut off blood supply to the heart.

We have to get inflammation under control, and I want to share with you my favourite habit for preventing heart attacks.

The Best Daily Habit to Prevent a Heart Attack

woman holding a plastic red heart in her handsMy son Maxwell loves riding his bike every day, and that’s an example of my recommended habit for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. I recommend exercise and therapeutic movement for 75 to 150 minutes every week. If you can bump that up to 200 to 300 minutes per week, you would be doing yourself an even bigger favor and greatly reducing your risk of coronary artery disease.

My favourite kind of exercise to recommend is the exercise you will enjoy each and every day. Maxwell riding his bike is the perfect example because it’s an activity he enjoys. It’s a form of play for him and he doesn’t even realize he’s decreasing his future risk factors. Maxwell is just playing, moving, having fun, smiling, and gaining the benefits of exercise.

heart-healthy diet with fruits and vegetablesThere are other contributing factors that can cause a heart attack and it’s important to get them under control.

To reduce risk factors, quit smoking, get your weight within a normal BMI, limit your alcohol intake, get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, and eat a balanced diet. Be sure to limit saturated and trans fats, and get healthy fats instead, like omega-3, 7, and 9. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, aiming for nine servings of five colors every day.

Remember though, the best strategy to reduce your risk factors for heart attack and coronary artery disease is engaging in exercise. Moderate movement like walking, biking, or cycling will reduce your risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Ryan Shelton of Zenith LabsIf you liked this video/article, do share it with your friends and loved ones. Subscribe to the Youtube channel for weekly tips on new tools and techniques to improve your health and well-being.

I believe in the original meaning of the word doctor, ‘docere’, which means teacher. I’m here to help educate you on how to take care of yourself in ways that you may not have heard of before, but that are effective. I always want to hear your ideas and feedback so be sure to leave me comments below!




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