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Mind & Body

Walking Compared to Exercise for Diabetes

Whether due to physical health problems, lack of free time, or lack of desire to engage in extreme exercise routines, many people simply don’t exercise. Because of this, America is the fattest nation in the world.

But you don’t have to beat yourself up in the gym in order to lose weight and stay healthy. Walking has been proven to provide amazing health benefits, and is much friendlier to your body than lugging weights around.

Research shows that brisk walking is just as beneficial for preventing diabetes as combined resistance and endurance type exercise, mostly because participants are more likely to stick with a structured walking regimen than a more physical exercise program.

One study examined diabetes patients and the clinical benefits of a 12-month exercise intervention program consisting of either brisk walking or a medical fitness program.

The study consisted of 92 participants with type 2 diabetes, each within 9 years of age 60. Half were assigned an exercise regimen consisting of brisk walking for 60 minutes, 3 times per week, and the other half were given a more strenuous exercise program.

After a 12 month period, the participants were measured for diabetes symptoms, including hemoglobin and blood glucose levels, changes in blood pressure, plasma lipid concentrations, insulin sensitivity, body composition, physical fitness, program adherence rate and health-related quality of life.

In 12 months, both groups had similar attrition rates, as more than half of the participants dropped out due to physical overuse injuries and lack of motivation, but the interesting outcome is that those who simply walked briskly a few times per week had similar health results as those who worked out more fervently.

Researchers concluded that walking “represents an equally effective intervention to modulate glycemic control and cardiovascular risk profile in type 2 diabetes patients when compared with more individualized medical fitness programs.”

It’s easy to imagine why walking, and difficult exercises for that matter, are easy to lose interest in. But studies show that simply put, those who walk frequently tend to live longer, healthier lives.

We’re not meant to be sedentary, and sitting around does much more harm than good, as joints become dry and stiff, and muscles become weak, so it is important to get outside and walk 3 times per week. It can even help relieve symptoms of diabetes.

Probiotics and Brain Health

Probiotics have experienced an enormous increase in popularity over the last ten years. Found naturally in many foods, probiotics are bacteria that inhabit the gut and are responsible for good digestive health. The understanding that intestinal health influences overall health dates back thousands of years.

Modern science has now unveiled that the gastrointestinal tract is inhabited by trillions of microorganisms—collectively called the human microbiome. These organisms interact with the intestinal mucosa as well as the immune, endocrine, and nervous systems. This multisystem web of communication has been termed the “gut-brain axis.” Its mediators include neurotransmitters, hormones, peptides, cytokines, chemokines, and byproducts of bacterial metabolism.

Science has revealed intricate details about the human microbiome and the gut-brain axis, but many questions remain. For instance, how does the microbiome affect a person’s mood? If changes in gut microbes accompany changes in emotions, which comes first? Can we modify the microbiome to support mental and emotional health? Where do probiotic supplements come into play?

Researchers have examined many of these questions in recent years. Results from human clinical trials are beginning to provide practical understanding of the microbiome and the gut-brain axis. Here’s a look at key studies that offer insights into probiotic supplementation to support mood, stress, and cognition.

PROBIOTICS AND MOOD

There are many proposed mechanisms by which probiotics might influence mood. Researchers have found that gut microbiota can modulate serotonin function, support healthy inflammatory pathways, and communicate directly with the brain via the vagus nerve. You can think of the vagus nerve as the gut-brain highway.

Researchers have evaluated whether probiotics offer mood support. In a 2016 study published in Nutrients, 40 participants were randomized to take a daily probiotic capsule or a placebo for eight weeks. The probiotic capsule consisted of three viable and freeze-dried strains: Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium bifidum. Results showed that the subjects taking the multispecies probiotic experienced a healthy mood in contrast to placebo.

Probiotics may also support a person’s cognitive reaction to mood changes. Why is this important?  Cognitive reactivity to mood increases vulnerability to dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors.

In a 2015 study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 40 healthy participants were randomized to take a multispecies probiotic product called Ecologic Barrier, or a placebo. The probiotic delivered 5 billion CFU per day of freeze-dried Bifidobacterium bifidum W23, Bifidobacterium lactis W52, Lactobacillus acidophilus W37, Lactobacillus brevis W63, Lactobacillus casei W56, Lactobacillus salivarius W24, and Lactococcus lactis (W19 and W58). After four weeks of supplementation, those taking the probiotic experienced less cognitive reactivity to their mood.

PROBIOTICS AND STRESS

One new area of research has been whether probiotic supplementation influences the stress response.

In a study published in 2016 in Translational Psychology, researchers evaluated whether consumption of the probiotic Bifidobacterium longum 1714 affected stress response or brain-activity patterns in healthy volunteers. Participants completed neurocognitive tests and stress tests before and after taking the probiotic for four weeks. Results showed that consumption of B. longum 1714 was positively associated with support for stress response and memory. In a study published in 2017 in the Journal of Functional Foods, daily intake of Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305 supported mental, physical, and sleep quality among Japanese medical students.

PROBIOTICS AND COGNITION

As with mood and stress, much study has gone into the potential benefits for using probiotics to improve cognition, which is our ability to think, reason and use our memories.

The Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) is widely used to assess memory. In a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, researchers evaluated the effects of probiotic supplementation on the MMSE. Sixty participants were randomized to drink either a placebo or milk containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Bifidobacterium bifidum, and Lactobacillus fermentum probiotics for 12 weeks. Results showed that the probiotic supplement had a positive effect on MMSE scores.

In 2020, a randomized clinical trial examining the impact of Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG probiotic supplementation on cognitive functioning in middle-aged and older adults was published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.  The outcome showed that supplementation supported healthy cognitive function in older adults.

In 2021, a study on the effects of probiotic supplementation on cognitive health in older adults was published in the The Journals of Gerontology. The goal of this randomized, controlled trial was to evaluate whether a probiotic combination of Bifidobacterium bifidum BGN4 and Bifidobacterium longum BORI would support cognition and mental health in older men and women. The primary outcomes of interest were healthy changes in cognition and mental health. A validated cognition test revealed a significant difference between the probiotic and placebo groups at week 12, with probiotics supporting mental flexibility.

A major problem with modern processed food is that for preservation and distribution to massive numbers of people, it is mostly sterile. Today’s foods contain almost no probiotics. Today’s food is regularly washed in chlorine, treated with antibiotics, pasteurized or irradiated. Food from our yesteryears, like foods fermented for long term storage, used to contain tons of naturally occurring probiotics.

The connection between probiotic levels existing in the gut and improved mental health is quite intuitive at its most basic. Bacteria in the gut helps break down food so that our bodies can absorb it more effectively. Thus, poor nutrient absorption, like that in a gut lacking sufficient probiotic presence, can lead to malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies. Some vitamin deficiencies, like folate deficiency, can result in depression, apathy, fatigue, poor sleep, and poor concentration.

No matter how you slice it probiotics are not only good for you, but essential for optimal brain health. Help feed the good bacteria in your gut with fiber rich foods and add to their population with probiotic rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, and natto. Consider taking a high dose, muti-strain probiotic supplement including many of the strains/species listed above in human studies. You can certainly begin to feel the difference in as little as a month.

Grass fed beef vs grain fed

Grass Fed Beef vs Grain Fed Benefits from a Doctor and Rancher’s Son

I just drove my boys eight hours across the country to Kansas so they could visit with their grandparents and I wanted to write this post from here for two important reasons. The first reason was to emphasize how deeply I value family. Not just my immediate family, but my extended family including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If you can foster healthy relationships with your family, friends, and community, science shows that you will live a happier, healthier, and longer life.

The second reason I wanted to write this post from here is because of these cows. My family has operated a small cattle ranch for a few decades and there are a couple of important difference between their cows and conventionally raised cows. Number one, my father treats his cows like they’re part of the family, checking on them several days a week to make sure they’re happy, healthy, and well.

father and son standing together and looking at cows grazing on farm

Number two, the cows are always grass-fed. Let’s talk about the benefits of grass-fed beef versus conventional beef. First of all, it’s healthier for the cows because grass is their natural habitat and natural food. They never get placed in a stockyard with hundreds or thousands of other cows and they’re not fattened up with grain. They eat grass their entire lives, staying happy and healthy.

Raising cows this way is also better for the environment. Multiple studies show that grass-few cows have far less environmental impact than conventionally raised cows or stock-raised, grain-fed cows. For us, grass-fed beef has fewer calories than conventional beef, especially if you choose 90% lean. Even if you choose 85% lean, fewer calories exist in grass-fed beef compared to conventional beef.

Grass Fed Beef vs Grain Fed Benefits

Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

grass fed herd of cows at grazing on green field

Grass-fed beef is lower in saturated fats, and we know that high saturated fat levels in the diet are associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many other chronic health conditions. These cows are never placed in a stockyard so they’re not injected with hormones or antibiotics, and they don’t develop any superbugs. When you consume grass-few beef, you’re not exposed to the antibiotics or hormones found in conventional beef.

Next, grass-fed beef contains higher levels of something called CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) which has been shown in studies to protect against certain types of cancers. Grass-fed beef is five times higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and protective against free radical oxidation. Grass-fed beef is also higher in micronutrients like vitamin A, vitamin E, lutein, and beta-carotene than conventional beef. On top of all of that, protein levels are higher and saturated fat is lower.

Tips for Grass-Fed Beef

grass fed prime rib roast with mashed potatoes and asparagus

If you’re new to preparing grass-fed beef, be sure not to overcook it. Take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature so you can cook it slowly on lower heat. If you cook it too quickly on high heat, you may lose some of the important advantages of grass-fed beef like Omega-3 fatty acids and micronutrients.

There aren’t any disadvantages to grass-fed beef other than the cost. It is more expensive than conventionally fed beef, but I encourage you to buy it as often as you can because you will be doing your health a favor. You’re also doing the cows and the environment a favor. If you can afford it, purchase grass-fed beef over conventionally fed beef as often as you can. It’s healthier for you, the cows, and the environment.


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 Key To Happiness

The Key To Happiness | Doctor Shelton’s advice

Most of the posts here on the Zenith Labs blog are about health conditions and their potential solutions, but today I’d like to talk about happiness. Health and happiness are mutually exclusive, which is no surprise. You can make small choices in life without immediately understanding how they will completely change the trajectory of your life and happiness going forward.

Why are we talking about happiness? I value happiness both for myself and my patients. Recently, I was in a grocery store and saw a Time magazine article about the state of happiness in human beings. Dedicated researchers and scientists looked at the commonalities worldwide on how people can experience and create more happiness in their lives. There are several contributing components for happiness to familiarize yourself with.

The Key To Happiness | Doctor Shelton’s advice

Geography

map of northern European countries

Geography and where you live can either help or hinder your happiness. Some studies show that the economics of gross domestic products (GDP) of a country can increase happiness. Some northern European countries are rated as the happiest countries on Earth because the GDP per capita is quite high. This can translate to many years of healthy life expectancy and freedom to make decisions independently, both of which encourage happiness in individuals.

Generosity

happy young adults around a generosity poster

Generosity fosters happiness in your own life. Making a point of giving back on regularly feeds into your happiness, and also fights the perception of corruption or danger in your life. Being generous comes back around multiple times and encourages happiness.

Sleep

man and woman sleeping in bed

Something as simple as sleep has a dramatic impact on your emotional wellbeing. If you’re not getting an average of eight hours of sleep each night, I encourage you to start immediately. 42% of Americans get less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per day, which encourages happiness in your life.

Exercise and Being Outdoors

woman exercising and celebrating outside

Exercise and spending time outdoors can increase happiness. Exercise boosts endorphins and being outside increases the amount of Vitamin D your skin produces from the sun, both improving your overall health. Being outdoors also increases serotonin levels in the brain, which many psychiatrists say is the ‘happy’ neurotransmitter. Heading outdoors for a walk in the park or the woods will easily boost serotonin levels.

Good Posture

three women stretching on a bridge in the forest

Studies have shown that people who pay attention to correct posture are more enthusiastic and excited through daily life. Having good posture means standing tall, pulling back your shoulders, and pushing your chest out. Staying mindful of your body decreases your likelihood of being passive, sleepy, fearful, and intimidated. Smiling is another easy action that increases positivity and in many studies has been shown to lower blood pressure.

There are a few other factors that feed your happiness. 40% of your experience is due to behavioural changes and the choices you make. 50% is genetics, which you can’t control. 10% is circumstance such as your geographic location or economic circumstance. Life is happening for you, not to you, so it’s important to understand the things you can change to create more happiness.

Creating Your Happiness

a rainbow in a blue sky

People who do simple things to create happiness in their lives also end up improving their heart health, strengthening their immune system, and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Focusing on happiness also makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight, manage chronic pain, and increase the longevity of life.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of creating your happiness, remember that every master in the beginning was a disaster. Start by identifying what things will foster happiness in your life and making a few simple changes.

If you’re an introvert, you may not enjoy the work of creating relationships, being vulnerable in front of other people, or talking about your feelings and your health. I believe in something called the collective consciousness and the idea that we’re all in this together. If you can tap into that collective consciousness, be vulnerable, and create shared experiences with other people, it will go a long way in creating happiness in your life.

If you still struggle with the idea of being vulnerable, remember that we are here because of creation. Create something by writing down your thoughts, grow a garden build a bicycle, or make art. Keep it simple and just create something that has never been created before, and it will feed into your happiness.

There will be challenges and obstacles in creating your happiness such as doubt, skepticism, restlessness, and worry. Creating something will help you feel like you’re contributing something to the collective consciousness and fight those negative feelings.

Everyone craves happiness, wellbeing, and great health, and you can have that for yourself through creativity and connectivity to community.


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!

 

 

 

Laughter and Stress

Stress is often termed “The Silent Killer.” It is inevitable in the modern world. And while stress is unavoidable, it’s still prudent to make efforts to reduce it as much as possible. High stress levels can cause more than a bad temper or outbursts.  Stress is linked to serious health risks to common health problems that compound as stress increases.

Stress has been deemed at least partly responsible for increased risk of ailments like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, memory loss, and diabetes.

The short term effects of high stress levels are headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, decrease in sex drive, and many other less severe, yet still impactful symptoms.

Change what you can in your own environment to help reduce stress.  However, you must accept that life is complicated and some amount of stress will always be present.  This means that you will also need to have stress reduction techniques in your self care tool belt to help you manage the experience of stress.  Laughter may be an easy, and fun, tool to consider.  This may cause you to laugh due to its simplicity, though scientific studies back this up. Laughter is a primitive behavior.  Laughter is a primitive form of medicine.

In a recent study, laughter therapy was found to be an effective, noninvasive, non-pharmacological form of therapy, effectively reducing the effects of stress.

The study, published in the Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine, was based on the premise that laughter is a positive sensation, seemingly being a useful and healthy way to overcome stress.

As stress levels increase, the body responds by producing higher levels of stress hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, growth hormone, and 3, 4-dihydrophenylacetic acid. If stress is not resolved, depression can ensue due to neurotransmitters in the brain, including norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, becoming significantly reduced.

The research revealed that laughter therapy can alter dopamine and serotonin activity in the body, effectively creating a more pleasurable, less depressed mood.

In this way, laughter therapy can affect mental health by increasing important chemicals in the brain and lowering harmful chemicals created during stressful situations. Laughter increases social connectedness. We know that social connectedness increases longevity. Laughter represents just one easy important tool to help you deal with stress.

What makes you laugh?  Think about it.  A funny book, a funny TV show or movie, hearing a joke, watching a funny event or situation occur?  Did you know that laughter yoga exists? Being tickled or tickling someone else almost always works. What any one individual considers funny is elusive. The bottom line tends to be that humor results when a person simultaneously recognizes both that a norm has been breached and that the breach is benign.  You may spend hours online researching how to improve your health.  Spend a few minutes to consider what you find to be funny and try to create more of it in your life:)

Stress and Hair Loss

 

While we are all aware that some types of stress are necessary and beneficial for us, motivating us to achieve certain successes in life. However, prolonged and excessive stress is responsible for an incredible amount of harmful effects, disrupting nearly every system in the body.

Chronic stress can shut down the immune system, making you more susceptible to sickness. It can upset the digestive system, causing indigestion and other complications, and even lead to hardening of the arteries which brings about increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Oh, and both depression and anxiety can rear their ugly heads with stress as well.

Well, new research says that it’s time to add another side effect of stress to this already long list. Research shows that stress can also cause hair loss. This is true in both males and females.

The way that stress can cause hair loss, or slow down hair growth, is via the endocrine (hormonal) system.

The endocrine system is a set of glands that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, skin and hair health, and mood.

A very important part of the endocrine system is the adrenal gland. Located at the upper area of the kidneys, the adrenal gland is the main mechanism responsible for regulating stress in the body, producing several hormones in moments of stress in order to support your body.

adrenal glands highlighted

This type of function is valuable, aiding us in our fight or flight response and boosting our senses during times of duress. However, prolonged production of adrenal hormones in response to excessive stress quickly becomes a problem, even in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. Correcting your response to stress can impact your health in positive ways

Another hormone produced during stressful situations is cortisol. Cortisol regulates your body’s response to stress hormones, including blood sugar levels and other natural reactions.

If we consider these hormones, and the chain of events that causes their production, then we begin to understand how prolonged stress can cause hair loss, or slow hair growth down.

Prolonged stress causes the overproduction of adrenal hormones and the under production of other important hormones in the body including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This cascade can all lead to changes in insulin, which then leads to the sustained overproduction of cortisol. Prolonged overproduction of cortisol can wreak havoc on your body in many ways.

All of this prolonged production of hormones leads to what’s known as adrenal fatigue.

A negative side effect of adrenal fatigue is an increased concentration of the hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a derivative of testosterone, again, in both males and females.

While we think of testosterone as a macho hormone, causing men to have more body hair and bigger muscles, though with high concentrations it can actually have a counterintuitive effect on the body, shrinking hair follicles, slowing down hair growth, and in severe cases damaging hair follicles so badly that hair growth is impossible.

healthy food stress free Leading a balanced, healthy lifestyle is the key to reducing stress and its numerous harmful effects on your body. Getting adequate sleep, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, drinking plenty of water, and practicing stress relieving techniques are all great ways to reduce stress, reduce the workload on your endocrine system, and prevent stress from causing abnormal hair loss. Please consider initiating adaptogenic herbs such as Rhodiola, Schisandra, Eleutherococcus, and Ginseng to support your adrenal hormones. Herbs which curb to negative effects of DHT on hair loss include Saw Palmetto, Pygeum, Pumpkin seed oil extract, Rosemary, White mulberry, and the amino acid L-Carnitine. Take action now to decrease inflammation in your body, better control stress, and nourish those hair follicles.

 

 

Dr Ryan Shelton

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STRATEGIES FOR STRESS

STRATEGIES FOR STRESS And How They Benefit Your Health

Do you feel tired all the time, drifting through most days in a sluggish state even if you’ve had a full night’s sleep? Fatigue disrupts your pep and vitality, your creativity, and interferes with your relationships. It also negatively impacts your ability to be a parent and to work productively each day. Unfortunately, fatigue has many different causes so it can be hard to track down the specific culprit. I’ve struggled with fatigue from time to time, so I want to go over some of the possible causes to your fatigue.

STRATEGIES FOR STRESS…

Common Causes of Fatigue

Lack of Sleep

man awake in bed at night suffering from lack of sleep

The most obvious cause of fatigue is a lack of sleep. It’s estimated that 60 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. Even if you do get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night, various factors like your hormone levels can affect the quality of your sleep and make you feel less rested. Two key hormones involved in your sleep cycle are melatonin and cortisol. The levels of these hormones fluctuate throughout the day and are a determining factor of your sleep cycle.

Melatonin and Cortisol

illustrated diagram of how melatonin affects the brain

Melatonin regulates the body’s internal biological clock and is most active in the evenings. There are receptors in the back of your eyes to sense when it’s dark and time to sleep, which increases the output of melatonin. However, production of melatonin can be easily disrupted by too much ambient light, working night shifts, or jet lag. When the production of melatonin is disrupted, so is your sleep cycle.

illustrated diagram of cortisol strands

Cortisol signals your body to be awake and responsive. It’s produced by the adrenal hormones and is usually most active in the mornings. Certain factors such as chronic stress, lifestyle, diet, and other health issues can cause irregular cortisol levels which can negatively affect your sleep cycle.

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but chronic stress will take a toll on your health and leave you feeling constantly fatigued. Stress-related cortisol spikes will disrupt your sleep, weaken your immune system, and strain your cardiovascular system. On the other hand, long-term stress taxes your adrenal glands which can lead to a depletion of cortisol and fatigue.

Dietary Habits

balanced foods like nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables

Your energy levels are determined by what you eat because your body converts the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that you eat into daily energy. Therefore, if your diet is less than ideal, it could become a cause of fatigue. A diet high in refined carbohydrates such as pasta, white breads, sugary desserts, sweetened sodas, and fruit juices can contribute to fatigue.

Fatigue can also stem from what you’re not eating. If you’re not eating a well-balanced diet consisting of colorful vegetables, fruit, lean proteins, and healthy fats, you could be deficient in essential nutrients. Micronutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, folate or folic acid, iron, and zinc are also necessary for a healthy sleep cycle, which is why diet is so important.

Other Hormones

illustrated image of thyroid hormones

The thyroid gland affects almost every organ in the body, producing hormones that regulate nearly every bodily process from how fast your heart beats to how efficiently your intestines can absorb foods. The two main thyroid hormones are T3 and T4, and their production is regulated by another hormone called the thyroid-stimulating hormone. If any of these hormones are out of balance, you will experience fatigue.

Hormonal changes leading up to, during, and after menopause can cause excessive fatigue. Estradiol, progesterone, thyroid, and adrenal hormones are involved with regulating energy at the cellular level. Menopause can cause these hormones to fluctuate at random, so if you’re going through menopause, make sure to get those hormones tested and balanced.

A low testosterone level in men and women is also linked to long-term fatigue. Testosterone has several important functions in the body, impacting many areas of health including bones and muscles, immunity system, fat distribution, heart health, blood sugar, metabolism, hair growth, and hair distribution.

How to Cope with Stress

man meditating cross legged under a sunset sky

Having coping strategies for stress is important. Make sure you have tools at the ready, like deep breathing exercises, meditation, and socializing with your loved ones.

Often, I have family members and patients who come to me with a long list of symptoms. Many of them say they feel fatigued and want to focus on getting their energy back. I always suggest addressing any issues with sleep, diet, and stress levels. I also recommend adaptogen herbs like ashwagandha, Rhodiola, holy basil, cordyceps, Schisandra, ginseng, and Eleutherococcus. These herbs help the adrenal glands combat stress, plus promote relaxation and sleep.

Meditation in a Bottle supplement by Zenith Labs

If your energy level is at a six, that’s not good enough. It needs to be at a nine or 10 because we only get one chance at this life and you should have the vitality to enjoy it fully. Zenith Labs has a supplement called Meditation in a Bottle which I often recommend to patients to make a difference in their energy levels. It will help you overcome fatigue and give you the energy to connect with your community, get creative, and be mindful of how you feel again.


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!

 

 

 

Pineapple And Papaya for Join Pain

Pineapples are fantastic in our favorite tropical drinks, but they are so much more diverse, undeserving of a fate filled with garnishing blended sugary drinks for tourists.

Contrary to its sweet flavor, pineapple is actually low in calories per single serving, and contains lots of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, and is part of a healthy diet in many more ways.

There’s more good news for pineapple lovers, especially those who suffer from joint pain, pineapples can help with this as well.

Pineapples naturally contain a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain, which is prevalent in other tropical fruits as well. Bromelain has been found to fight inflammation in the body, making pineapple well suited to decrease joint pain.

Not only is pineapple great for decreasing inflammation and relieving joint pain, part and parcel of bromelain’s benefits is its ability to reduce osteoarthritis pain as well as some common anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen when taken in supplement form.

Some studies of bromelain suggest that its joint aiding promise doesn’t end with relieving small joint pains, research shows promise that bromelain can also provide relief for such life plaguing, and sometimes debilitating, diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

Another tropical fruit that can treat joint pain is papaya. Like pineapple, papaya is also high in an anti-inflammatory enzyme.

Papaya is not only high in the enzyme papain, it is actually the only source of this enzyme.

Papain has been found to be so effective that it is used in an injectable form to treat back pain, and can be used topically to relieve pain from burns, stings and wounds and help ease post-operative pain.

Cholesterol Myth Here's The Truth

Cholesterol Myth Here’s The Truth

Recently, I had a female patient in her early 50s come into my office in tears. She was upset because she applied for life insurance at a premium rate and was denied for the sole reason that her total cholesterol was elevated. I want to share some of the information I gave her so you have the facts on cholesterol and how it’s a potential risk factor for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

This patient is a professor at a local university, so she’s extremely intelligent and asked relevant questions. Is cholesterol a myth or a controversy? Is there valid debate surrounding the benefit of cholesterol medication or is the evidence and the scientific consensus on one side of the issue? Has data been manipulated by researchers to corroborate their theories simply so they get more grant money?

Cholesterol Myth Here’s The Truth

The Science of Cholesterol

atherosclerosis is an accumulation of cholesterol in arteries

It is clear that among adults in industrialized countries, one-fourth of all deaths result from arterial blockage caused by atherosclerotic plaques. ‘Total cholesterol’ is a phrase used to refer to all circulating cholesterol molecules and is totaled by adding LDL, HDL, and VLDL, and it is distinct from triglycerides. However, LDL and HDL are proteins which envelop and carry cholesterol.

The key thing about cholesterol is the size of the particle, the density of the particle, and whether or not the particle is oxidized. In a lipoprotein, you have proteins carrying fatty acids and cholesterol weaving in and through it. It begins as a chylomicron, which is basically a joint effort between your liver and intestines to absorb fat. Chylomicron becomes VLDL, which becomes IDL, which becomes LDL, which ultimately becomes HDL. As VLDL and LDL go around the bloodstream to distribute fatty acids and cholesterol to cells around the body, it becomes denser.

Apolipoprotein and its receptor site in the liver are key proteins that allow the liver to reabsorb fatty acids and cholesterol. Unfortunately, sugar can glycate and disrupt the apolipoprotein binding site, preventing the cholesterol and fatty acids to be reabsorbed by the liver.

LDL particles binding to LDL receptors on the cell membrane

LDL brings fatty acids and cholesterol from the liver and then circulates them to tissues. They move slowly and are susceptible to oxidation compared to HDL by free radicals. Unfortunately, sugar can oxidize LDL which then contributes to cardiovascular disease. This means that LDL is often named the bad cholesterol, but is ‘bad’ a pejorative term?

In 2016, 16 out of 19 showed an inverse relationship between total LDL and all-cause mortality. That means as total LDL went up, all-cause mortality went down, and vice-versa. Total LDL does not take into consideration the size of the particle or how much it’s oxidized. As a marker, we can use lipoprotein(a) because it only attaches to oxidized LDL particles. HDL brings circulating cholesterol and fatty acids back to the liver in order to clear them from the blood, be recycled, and hopefully removed from the body.

Cholesterol is essential for human health and plays important roles in cell membranes, and it’s a precursor to many hormones and vitamin D. The body produces about 2000 milligrams of cholesterol a day. To put that into perspective, an egg contains about 300 milligrams of cholesterol.

High cholesterol, particularly LDL, may be a compensatory physiological response to arterial injury, inflammation, and stress. Cholesterol is needed for tissue repair and is a precursor to stress hormones like cortisol. You can think of cholesterol as the body’s Band-Aid and attempt to heal the inflammation in the arteries. Cholesterol is not the culprit, but the middleman instead. Inflammation and oxidation are the culprits.

How Atherosclerotic Plaques Form

illustration of fat cells in the bloodstream

Inside every blood vessel is something called the glycocalyx, which is a fuzzy, furry lining. Unfortunately, oscillating sugars, foods high in lectins, and oxidized LDL can damage the glycocalyx. Once it’s been damaged, small LDL particles slip into the subendothelial layer of arteries. LDO and white blood cells called macrophages can slip though as well, forming a huge foam cell. Macrophages start to scavenge receptors for damaged, oxidized LDL particles, which attracts more oxidized LDL particles. This foam cell ultimately attracts calcium as well, ultimately leading to atherosclerotic plaque or hardening of the arteries. The blood flow through the artery decreases, and when it becomes destabilized, there are problems of heart attack and stroke. 

Research of cholesterol and its relationship to cardiovascular disease began in earnest in the 1950s, and then regulation of cholesterol metabolism was extensively studied by several scientists in the US in the 1960s. Cholesterol in the body can be derived from what is absorbed from diet, chylomicrons, and from what is synthesized in the body by the liver. The former type is supplemented by the latter if the required levels are not met. Once the former type of exogenous dietary cholesterol reaches its required level, the liver’s synthesis function of cholesterol is suppressed to prevent excessive production of cholesterol.

doctor holding chalkboard with LDL cholesterol written on it

The suppression of cholesterol synthesis in the liver is mediated through changes of an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase, which catalyzes the conversion of HMG-CoA to another compound. Changes in reductase activity are closely related to changes in the overall rate of cholesterol synthesis. The liver can take up both LDL and HDL, but it cannot take up oxidized LDL.

In humans, cholesterol is produced in the liver and when it exceeds what is absorbed from the diet, the liver backs off its synthesis. This suggested to researches and drug developers that the inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase would be an effective means of lowering plasma or blood cholesterol in humans.

Studying Cholesterol

Three-dimensional molecular model of Cholesterol

The controversy between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease began early. The first studies compared the cholesterol between rabbits and dogs, but other scientists sad, “No, that’s not relevant because rabbits are vegetarian and dogs are carnivores.”

The next study was called the Honolulu Study, which compared Japanese men living in Japan compared to Japanese men who moved to Hawaii. When they moved to Hawaii, their risk factors and rate of cardiovascular disease and stroke went up. Maybe environment or maybe diet has an effect here.

A famous study began in 1948, called the Framingham Heart Study, coined the term risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It’s since become part of medical dogma for cardiovascular disease and stroke ever since.

The next studies were on particular diets, and the first one looked at individuals moving from a diet high in saturated fat to a diet high in polyunsaturated fat. Sure enough, individuals moving from polyunsaturated fat had lower risk factors and incidences of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Drug companies said, “You know what? People aren’t going to change their diet, so let’s develop a drug.” They developed medications that block cholesterol absorption, an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, and a drug that work through the LDL receptors on the liver.

HMG-CoA reductive inhibitors work through other mechanisms as well. They’re anti-inflammatory, reducing C-reactive protein and decreasing advanced glycation end products. They’re the second or third most commonly prescribed drug in the United States.

Lowering Cholersterol

We know that lowering cholesterol reduces the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality, but ultimately, we just want to live a long and happy life. A meta-analysis looked at 11 studies with 90,000 total participants to see what the average lifespan increase would be. The average lifespan increase of individuals taking statin with a history of cardiovascular disease was only five to six days, and just three and a half days in individuals without cardiovascular disease.

An increase in LDL receptor statins can cause an increase in LDL receptors in the liver, which is great. They take in LDL, but not oxidized LDL, which can increase the ratio of oxidized to non-oxidized by 10%. When it comes to medication, about 25% of individuals have side effects to statin medications. 1 in 10 cannot tolerate statins, means taking two different statins at the lowest dose instead. Common side effects include myalgia, muscle soreness or pain, liver damage, and an increased risk for diabetes. It also inhibits the production of an important nutrient called CoQ10, which is metabolized by HMG-CoA reductase. If you take a statin medication, please supplement with CoQ10.

Making Diet and Lifestyle Changes

image of a bicycle created with vegetables

The fact is that the benefits of statins are severely limited without diet and lifestyle changes. In fact, a recent quote from Mayo Clinic doctor said, “You can overeat your statin.” A pill will never be a replacement for lifestyle changes.

You need to avoid saturated fats, trans fats, diets high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, and unfiltered coffee. These things can exacerbate LDL and oxidized LDL. Skipping breakfast and other meals can be problematic, so eat small meals frequently.

Add more polyunsaturated fats, nuts, seeds, and fish to your diet. You should also add monosaturated fats like olives and olive oil. Specific foods that help LDL and oxidized LDL include rice, bran, oil, oat bran, soy, nuts, seeds, tomatoes, complex carbohydrates, foods high in stanols and sterols, and fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. I recommend nine servings of five colors of produce each and every day.

Consider taking supplements like vitamin B5, niacin, calcium, chromium, garlic, copper, L-carnitine, and red yeast rice. Garlic has 17 positive studies showing it can reduce LDL and increase HDL. Red yeast rice is interesting because it works on HMG-CoA without the side effects of statins.

selection of keto diet approved foods

Keto and paleo diets are more effective than low-fat diets for LDL particles, oxidized LDL particles, increasing HDL, and decreasing triglycerides. Remember, the culprit is not cholesterol. It’s inflammation! You have to get free radicals, oxidation, and inflammation under control.

There are other important risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke, like high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high homocysteine, high c-reactive protein, high lipoprotein-a, high fibrinogen, and high platelet aggregation. Looking at that list, most of these are indicators of high inflammation and not a high total of cholesterol.

The Need for Melatonin

woman stretching in bed after waking up

The final thing I want to point out is that melatonin is one of the most powerful antioxidants our body naturally produces. Melatonin is the sleep hormone produced at night when it’s totally dark, so make sure your bedroom is completely dark with no ambient light, no technology, no alarm clock, or television. Your eyes communicate with your brain when it’s completely dark to promote the production of melatonin. Melatonin is cardioprotective because of its antioxidant properties, so consider taking it as a supplement.

If you have questions about LDL and its relationship to cardiovascular disease and stroke, please let me know. I want you to understand the true relationship between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. I’ll help you achieve and maintain optimal health.


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!

 

 

 

Epigenetics What really influences our genes

Epigenetics: What really influences our genes?

How would you feel if I told you the expression of your genes and the chance of developing certain health conditions are not set in stone? Imagine the possibilities to your health if that were true! Good news: it is true thanks to a subcategory of genetics called epigenetics.

Epigenetics developed about 20 years ago, just as the human genome project was wrapping up. The human genome project was a huge scientific effort to try sequencing human genomes, which had scientists studying the expression of genes. Scientists were left scratching their heads because the code or sequence of DNA was not necessarily the determining factor on how genes were expressed.

Epigenetics: What really influences our genes?

female doctor looking at strand of DNA

In human beings, cells are the fundamental working units. Some scientists say there are close to 37 trillion cells in the body, and inside every cell is a nucleus which contains the majority of genetic material and chromosomes. A chromosome is made up of DNA, and the DNA sequence is important because it makes us all unique.

DNA is made up of approximately 3 billion nucleotides and the sequence of the code is what determines our life instructions. Interestingly enough, our DNA sequence is quite similar to that of a chimpanzee. The codes are 98% the same, so it’s only a fraction of distinctly different sequences within the nucleotides making humans unique.

Within the 3 billion bases, there are about 20,000 genes and epigenetics acts like a switch that tells your DNA which genes to switch on or off. Epigenetics is influenced by almost everything, like what you eat, where you live, who you interact with, how you sleep, how you exercise, your development stages in utero, environmental chemicals, prescription drugs, supplements, and even how you think and what you believe. All of these eventually cause chemical modifications around your genes, turning them on or off over time. This is exciting news because it gives you’re the power to control the expression of your genes. It’s a game-changer!

DNA strands that look frozen

In certain diseases, such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, various genes will be switched away from a normal healthy state but knowing that genes are not set in stone offers incredible potential for wellness. Phenotype is the expression of genes whereas genotype is the genes you’re born with, and how your genes are expressed is determined by your lifestyle. This research came to light about 20 years ago from studies on identical twins with the same genetic code and DNA sequence. Expression of genetics is different based on choices and environment. Epigenetics puts the power of health in your hands and empowers your choices.

two female researchers working in a lab

Epigenetics is all about histone tails, which are the switches to activate the expression of your DNA. You can think of histone tails as remodelers, or even like the director of a movie. Every cell plays a part, but the histones are the directors that make a profound difference.

30 or 40 years ago, we believed that behavioral choices made a difference in life but scientists at the time said it was pseudo-science that didn’t matter. Now a deeper understanding of epigenetics is changing medicine, how you look at your health, and your lifestyle choices. There are now 6,000 studies a year on epigenetics showing how powerful it is, changing how doctors practice and how patients live.

Longevity Activator supplement by Zenith Labs

At Zenith Labs, we’ve created a supplement called Longevity Activator which helps the histone tails activate healthy genes. We want you to learn more and feel empowered about your health and wellness. When you understand how powerful your behavioral and lifestyle changes are, you can change how your DNA is expressed and change your future.


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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