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Posts Tagged ‘mind and body’

mind and body

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks

 

People around the world implement a variety of dietary and nutritional plans to achieve and maintain their health and wellness. Often, these choices can vary from one culture and set of traditions to another. Some dietary strategies focus on fats or other trending topics, and as a result, they come and go quickly. Other dietary strategies, such as the vegan diet, have more staying power.

vegan wrap with avocado and carrots

We’re going to talk about the potential benefits and risks of choosing a vegan diet. People choose to be vegan for a variety of reasons such as tradition, culture, ecological reasons, or ethical beliefs. Some people choose to be vegan simply because, based on several studies, it’s good for your overall health.

Vegan Diet Benefits and Risks

My Experience as a Vegan

man chopping vegetables on a cutting board

I personally have experienced being a vegan. 25 years ago, when I was a freshman in university, I went through a personal tragedy that made me want to be a vegan. My grandfather died of a heart attack much too early in his life. I had watched him eat a lot of fried foods and meats, and as an aspiring scientist, my first instinct was to look up dietary research. Sure enough, I found several articles that showed how being a vegetarian or vegan can reduce major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.

I was only a vegan for one year because as a freshman in college, I found it difficult socially to keep up with. My friends wanted to go out to eat hamburgers and hot wings, so I often found myself on the outside looking in. I chose to gradually reintroduce meat in a responsible way and that choice has stuck to this day. I eat a lot of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, healthy proteins, and healthy fats. When it comes to protein and dairy products, I make smart and ethical choices around what I choose to consume.

Being a Healthy Vegan

vegan protein sources like tofu, beans, and nuts

There is a healthy way to be a vegan as well as an unhealthy way. Some people switch to veganism and end up consuming primarily refined carbohydrates, thinking they’re making healthy choices. Unfortunately, that can lead to deficiencies in micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients like essential proteins.

If you’re not mindful of your food choices as a vegan, you may become deficient in calcium, iron, or zinc. It’s important to eat dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds for calcium and iron. Amino acid deficiencies can be common if you’re not eating enough nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes. The vegan diet also does not contain any natural vitamin B12 so it’s recommended that you use a supplement.

Beans and legumes tend to be low in an amino acid called methionine but high in lysine, both of which are essential amino acids. Grains are the opposite though, low in lysine but high in methionine. Therefore, it’s important to get both beans and grains in your diet, which will help you maintain good health on a vegan diet.


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!

 

 

 

Dairy and is it good for you Doctor's thoughts

Dairy: Is it good for you? Doctor’s Thoughts!

 

Many of our engaged and curious clients take time to write to us with questions, hoping for a deeper understanding of how to make smarter choices for their health. A common question came in recently: Is dairy really bad for you? The short answer is, ‘probably,’ but let’s get into the details.

Dairy: Is it good for you? Doctor’s Thoughts!

Why Dairy is Bad for You

spread of cheese and dairy products

A long time ago, the cows in parts of northern Europe went through a genetic mutation causing their milk to become full of a lectin-like protein known as casein A1. Once you ingest casein A1, it transforms in your body to become a new protein. This new protein is called beta-casomorphin and can cause autoimmune problems including diabetes. In fact, many people who complain of lactose intolerance and its symptoms are actually struggling from casein A1 intolerance.

In southern Europe, several cowherds never went through the genetic mutation, so they create a different protein called casein A2. Casein A2 is better for you and is not turned into the catastrophic protein, casomorphin.

Dairy is often called nature’s perfect food, but that’s only if you’re a calf. Dairy was evolutionarily created for cows and not for human consumption. If that sounds shocking to you, it’s because very few people are willing to tell the truth about dairy. Criticizing milk in America is like trying to go against classics like apple pie or baseball.

man trying to drink milk but experiencing lactose intolerance

Going against dairy is what we have to do based on the research though. Based on my experience practicing medicine, I advise most of my patients to avoid dairy products completely. I like ice cream and yogurt as much as the next person, but as a physician, I have to look honestly at what is known about dairy. From an evolutionary standpoint, milk is a very strange food for humans.

Consider this: the majority of humans naturally stop producing significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme needed to metabolize lactose, between the ages of two and five. In fact, the normal condition for most mammals is to stop producing the enzymes needed to properly digest milk from the mother after they’ve been weaned.

5 Reasons to Stop Consuming Dairy

woman refusing to drink a glass of milk

  1. Milk does not reduce fractures. That’s why we’re always told to drink it, right? For “strong, healthy bones.” Contrary to popular belief, eating dairy products has never been shown to reduce fracture risk. In fact, according to the nurses’ health study, dairy may increase the risk of fractures by 50%.
  1. Less dairy actually means better bones. Countries with the lowest rates of dairy consumption, like those living in Africa and Asia, have the lowest rates of osteoporosis.
  1. Calcium doesn’t protect our bones the way we once thought. Studies of calcium supplementation have shown no benefit in reducing fracture risk, and vitamin D appears to be much more important than calcium in preventing fractures. Focus on vitamin D instead by leaving your house or office and getting more sunlight.
  1. Calcium supplementation may increase cancer risk. Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer between 30% to 50%. Dairy consumption also increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which a known cancer promoter.
  1. Calcium has health benefits that dairy does not, like reducing the risk of colon cancer. Not everyone can stomach dairy. About 75% of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products, which is lactose intolerance.

Don’t rely on dairy for healthy bones. If you want healthy bones, get plenty of exercise, sunshine, and supplement with vitamin D. Get your calcium from other food sources like leafy green vegetables, broccoli, sesame, tahini, sea vegetables, sardines, and fish. All of these are excellent sources of calcium and don’t have the bad effects that dairy does.

Test Your Dairy Tolerance with an Elimination Diet

coconut and coconut yogurt together

Try giving up all dairy by eliminating milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for two weeks and see if you feel better. You should notice improvements in your sinuses, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, energy levels, and weight. After the two weeks is finished, start eating dairy again and see how you feel again. If you feel worse, you should give up dairy for life.

If you can tolerate dairy, use only raw, organic dairy products. Try focusing on fermented products like yogurt and kefir, but only for occasional consumption. A great substitute for dairy products is coconut products like coconut milk, yogurt, butter, and fermented options. Coconut has some tremendous positive benefits without causing the problems that dairy does.

Overall, is dairy bad for most people? Probably. There’s a small percentage of people, like 10% to 25%, who are fine with dairy, but I encourage you to try the elimination diet mentioned above. Take all dairy out of your diet for a couple of weeks, reintroduce it, and see the difference avoiding dairy makes.


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 3 Pillars Of Perfect Gut Health

The 3 Pillars Of Perfect Gut Health

 

Maintaining perfect gut health is increasingly challenging in today’s society due to processed foods and stress, but promoting optimal gut health has so many positive benefits for your health and wellness. When I was in medical school, many of my professors advocated that all health starts in the gut and over the past couple of decades, I’ve seen that is true for many people. If you take good care of your gut, your gut will take good care of you.

The 3 Pillars Of Perfect Gut Health

Why is good gut health important?

young woman framing her flat stomach with her hands

Everything you eat has to be broken down, processed, and absorbed by your body. If your body is not able to extract and absorb the positive benefits of a healthy diet, you may not see the benefits from your diet that you should.

Without perfect gut health, you can experience physical symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, gastroesophageal reflux disease, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, belching, irritable bowel syndrome, and food sensitivities. To prevent these negative symptoms, we’re going to talk about three aspects to promote good gut health: probiotics, digestive enzymes, and fiber prebiotics.

Probiotics

healthy probiotics sauerkraut pickles yogurt

Probiotics are the healthy bacteria that live both in and on us. There are trillions of healthy bacteria living in us and on us, outnumbering human cells by a long shot. Of course, we’re not walking around looking like alien bacteria because human cells are huge compared to tiny bacteria, but they do actually outnumber us. We’re more bacteria than we are human, which is astonishing.

Probiotics provide many benefits, not just for the GI tract, but also for our immune system, weight loss, brain health, and even depression and anxiety. There are more serotonin receptors in the gut than in the brain, and healthy bacteria have unique ways of communicating with the brain to promote good physical health.

So why do probiotics, healthy flora, and healthy bacteria start to die off? A poor diet that is high in processed foods and carbohydrates can affect the good bacteria. High levels of stress and some medications can negatively affect probiotics as well.

Food is medicine, so I encourage you to get your probiotics through food sources. Some of my favorite sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, miso, kombucha, pickles, and natto. Do the best you can to get probiotics through food sources, but you can always take a high-quality supplement if you need to.

Digestive Enzymes

close up of blue and red Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes released by the pancreas include amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, phytase, cellulase, invertase, and maltase. These digestive enzymes break down macronutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Again, a poor diet, stress, and certain medications can decrease your body’s ability to produce these enzymes. These enzymes are absolutely necessary for not just digesting macronutrients, but also for extracting important micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Fiber Prebiotics

spoonfuls of high fiber prebiotic grains

For the most part, Americans are terrible at getting enough fiber. It’s estimated that Americans take in around 10 grams per day, but studies recommended getting 40-50 grams per day. Prebiotics are basically undigested fiber that these probiotics feed upon and promote more healthy bacteria.

The best sources of prebiotics include chicory root, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, oats, oatmeal, apples, cocoa, burdock root, flax seeds, chia seeds, jicama, sweet potatoes, and seaweed. Again, it’s better to get your probiotics and prebiotics from food, but there are supplements you can take if necessary.

Probiotic T-50 supplement by Zenith LabsZenith Labs has created a highly-viable, highly-potent probiotic, called Probiotic T-50. It contains 11 strains of 50 billion organisms to help promote better gut health. We’ve also created an enzyme supplement called True Digestion to help with GERD symptoms and increase digestive enzymes, helping promote better overall health for you.


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!

 

 

 

Sirtuin and how it effects the aging process

Sirtuin and How it Effects the Aging Process

You’ve probably heard this advice your entire life: you have to live each day to the fullest. Treat each day as a special day and as if it were your last because life goes by fast.

Since the beginning of civilization, humans have looked for the Fountain of Youth in an effort to slow down the aging process. In the United States alone, the antiaging industry takes in over $50 billion a year.

Sirtuin How it Effects the Aging Process

woman's face through the aging processAs the Human Genome Project came to a close a couple of decades ago, scientists discovered an important enzyme called sirtuin, which helps slow down the aging process when it’s activated. There are multiple theories and mechanisms of aging, but sirtuin is a key enzyme in the aging process.

Sirtuin is a highly conserved enzyme, meaning that it’s followed evolution and been found in plants, ants, worms, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, and humans.

The enzyme is highly conserved because it plays a key role in deciding which pathway your DNA and genes are expressed through.

a strand of DNA As a biological catalyst, enzymes accelerate chemical reactions and sirtuin acts as a guardian of genome repair mechanisms. Sirtuin regulates metabolism, transcription of genes, and stress resistance, and it also decreases mating factors, maintains telomeres, and stimulates autophagy. Autophagy acts as a mechanism of repair and maintenance by degrading intracellular proteins, organelles, and membranes. You can think of it like taking out the trash and recycling.

samples of telomere length lossRemember how there are two pathways that genes can be expressed? One pathway is growth and reproduction, where a cell replicates and produces other cells. The other pathway is protection and maintenance. Sirtuin pushes the genetic expression towards protection and maintenance. Sirtuin also maintains telomeres, which caps the ends of DNA. This is important because as telomeres shorten, the aging process accelerates.

With the expression or activation of sirtuin, there’s a 30% increase in lifespan, but with deletion of the gene or enzyme, there’s a 50% decrease in lifespan. Science has also shown that restricting calories can lengthen your lifespan, and sirtuin mimics caloric restriction.

Sirtuin can trick your genes into thinking they’re getting fewer calories even when you’re not. This special enzyme is involved in glucose metabolism, fat mobilization, lipid metabolism, vascular tone, resistance to neurodegeneration, circadian rhythms, and the aging process.

Longevity Activator supplement by Zenith LabsThere are several natural substances you can take to promote the activity of sirtuin, including resveratrol, piceatannol, pterostilbene, fiseten, and melatonin. On the other hand, there are several things to avoid because they inhibit sirtuin, including increased caloric intake, increased weight, high blood sugar, and smoking. If you want to slow down the aging process, you’ve got to do everything you can to activate sirtuin in your system.

Zenith Labs has created a supplement called Longevity Activator, which contains several ingredients to help promote the activity of sirtuin. If you want to learn more about antiaging in particular, visit a website called Digital Ageing Atlas which covers all the influences and consequences of aging.


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! 

 

 

  

Sleep Tips and Tricks Doctor's Advice

Sleep Tips and Tricks Doctor’s Advice

 

We’re going to talk about sleep today and look at some simple steps you can take to get a better, more restful night of sleep. I’d like to share a real story with you to illustrate some of these steps. Recently, my wife and I purchased a camper so we could recreate some of the childhood memories we both had with our parents. We wanted to give our boys, ages three and five, the same kind of experiences.

Our boys had never been camping before but they had a ball the first night. I woke up around daybreak the next morning, made myself a cup of coffee, and relaxed at the table. Across the camper, I heard some rustling going on in one of the beds. Sure enough, my three year old looked at me, rubbed the sleep from his eyes, and came to cuddle with me.

little boy sleeping with teddy bear

We sat silently together for a few minutes, then he looked up at me. “Daddy, I love this. I want to do this again and again. This is an amazing experience,” he told me. Normally, my three-year-old is very grumpy when he wakes up, but not this morning. This morning, he was calm, peaceful, loving, and cuddly instead.

As the grayness of dawn started to reveal the colors of day, my son got more excited about his experience. I wondered, “Why the change in this kid? Why is so calm? And so amazed with life?” After some thinking, I realized it was because he had a great night’s sleep.

Sleep Tips and Tricks Master Tip!

Why You Need a Good Night of Sleep

young woman sleeping under dark blue covers

Sleep is important because it allows your body to recover every night and perform essential metabolic processes, such as cleaning toxic proteins in the brain. During REM sleep, your brain is very busy consolidating short-term memories and turning them into long-term memories.

Unsurprisingly, a lack of proper sleep has been associated with a multitude of health issues. It can increase inflammation and impair focus, fat loss, insulin signaling, testosterone production, and cardiovascular health.

Getting enough quality sleep isn’t just a health necessity either. It can help you perform better mentally, physically, and sexually. Overall, a good night of sleep will make you happier.

5 Simple Tips for Better Sleep

Five simple things created a better sleep for my son when we went camping, and you can use these five tips to encourage a more restful night of sleep for yourself. These five things made a difference in his attitude and his psychological wellbeing for the rest of the day.

1. Light

young african american woman waking up in a bright room

The first night of our family camping trip, we basically went to bed at sunset. We did enjoy a campfire and s’mores, but soon after that, we read the boys a couple of books as the sun was setting and they went to sleep peacefully.

Lighting is important, so make sure it’s dark in your bedroom at night. Avoid having televisions or computers on in the room, and be careful of bright alarm clocks too. It needs to be dark in your bedroom because darkness signals certain cells in your eyes to tell the brain to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone.

In the morning, make sure you have access to the sunrise. When you wake up, light is a natural signal for your eyes and your brain to stop producing melatonin so you can wake up naturally and feeling refreshed.

2. Noise

Young couple asleep in bed together

Many of us have a lot of noise to deal with in modern society and our homes. On the second day of our camping trip, both of my sons commented on how amazing the new noises were. They were amazed by the natural noises they heard at night like crickets chirping, owls hooting, and coyotes yelping in the background. The natural background noise was calming and helped them sleep through the nights incredibly well. In the morning, the boys heard a different set of noises. Once the sun started to rise, they could hear the welcoming songbirds starting the day.

At home, make sure any artificial noises are turned off. If weather will allow, open a window so you can hear more natural noise. Those calming sounds will put you to sleep at night and help you wake up in the morning.

3. Temperature

bedroom with the window open and a breeze on a moonlit night

Make sure your bedroom is not too hot nor too cold. Of course, we had all the windows open in the camper for a nice breeze. Do what you can to create the perfect temperature in your room. If you’re too hot or too cold through the night, you will struggle with sleep.

4. Exercise

senior woman giving thumbs up with people exercising

The first day of camping was full of hiking and playing so the boys were super active all day, which helped them sleep very well at bedtime. Exercising and being physically active throughout your day will help your body shut down at night.

5. Cold Shower

close up of a shower head for a cold shower

When you’re camping, you don’t always get the benefit of a hot shower. It might be warm, but it’s usually lukewarm or cold, so all four of us took cold showers while camping. For millennia, humans have used either cold baths or cold showers just before bedtime to help calm the nervous system and prepare for sleep.

This recent camping experience with our boys reminded me how simple it is to encourage a better night’s sleep. Use these tips around light, noise, temperature, exercise, and cold showers to create restful sleep for yourself.

Never doubt the small changes in your life that can make an enormous impact on your health.

Sleep Wave supplement by Zenith Labs

At Zenith Labs, we’ve developed a supplement called Sleep Wave which contains herbs and melatonin. Along with the five sleep tips, you can use this supplement to help calm your nervous system and achieve a better, more peaceful night of sleep.


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!

 

 

 

Doctor Reveals His #1 Master Tip To Deal With Anxiety

Doctor Reveals His #1 Master Tip To Deal With Anxiety

Millions of people suffer from stress and anxiety, so we’re going to talk about a simple and effective strategy for improving anxiety. First, I’d like to share two different stories.

The first story happened to me a few years ago in San Diego. I was walking back to my office on lunch break and I passed a guy who was obviously homeless. He reached out his hand and asked, “Sir, do you have any money to spare?”

I honestly didn’t. I had no cash, just debit and credit cards. However, he was an engaging fellow so I talked to him for about ten minutes. The entire time, I kept gazing down at his feet.

He had no shoes, no socks, and his feet were in bad shape. They were cracked, discolored, and on the verge of infection. I continued to talk to him, learning his story and how he had fallen on hard times. I looked down at my own feet. I had shoes and I knew I was only a couple blocks away from my office.

Homeless man asleep on a park bench

“You know what,” I said to him, “I don’t have any money, but I want you to take my shoes. I’ll walk back to my office, it’s fine.” I gave him my shoes and pleaded with him to seek care for his feet because I didn’t want him to lose them.

The point of this story is that there’s a difference between stress, which is a human experience, and stressors. Stressors can certainly cause stress, but it’s more about our reaction to those stressors.

For example, this homeless guy had his wits about him. He had fallen on hard times, but he was still quite positive. His feet weren’t causing him stress, but they were causing me stress because I’m a doctor and I wanted him to be well. He wasn’t anxious though, so you can see there’s a difference between stress from human experience and the stressors that cause anxiety.

Doctor Reveals His #1 Master Tip To Deal With Anxiety
How Anxiety Affects You Physically and Emotionally

silhouette of a stressed out male sitting on a bench

Stressors can be in our environment or our social systems, and the anxiety from stress can be problematic both physically and emotionally. Physically, anxiety can cause sweating, palpitations, fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, or muscle tension. Emotionally, anxiety can cause worry, fear, irritability, apprehension, or sleep disturbance.

It’s important to note that stress is not the only cause of anxiety. Some may have neurotransmitter imbalances, hormone imbalances, or reactive hypoglycemia. Anxiety can also be exacerbated by caffeine or food allergies.

The Difference Deep Breathing Can Make

air traffic controller waving a plane in

Now for the second story. Several years ago, I had a patient who was a gentleman in his mid-50s with a very stressful job as an air traffic controller. He came in for an appointment with me and was on medication for both high blood pressure and anxiety.

During his appointment, he asked, “Dr. Shelton, is there anything else I can do to manage my stress and to help defeat the anxiety that I feel each and every day? Because it’s affecting my entire life.”

We sat down, reviewed his medical history, and made some changes to his diet and lifestyle. I also recommended a couple of botanical nutritional supplements to help with his blood pressure and anxiety.

The main thing I taught my patient that day though was deep breathing. I told him he only needed to engage in deep breathing exercises a few minutes every day to help with his stress, anxiety, and blood pressure.

man taking a deep breath of fresh air outside

He immediately replied that he didn’t have the time to do deep breathing or meditation, but I convinced him to do it for just a couple of minutes a day. I taught him a breathing technique that would use all three breathing muscle groups: the diaphragm which pushes out the belly, the intercostal muscles that expand the chest, and the scalenes which pull the chest up to the neck.

While there are many different deep breathing strategies, I taught him a simple one. Breathe in through the nose for eight seconds, breathe out through the mouth for eight seconds, and then repeat that process for as many minutes as you can.

The patient thanked me and it was about a year before he made another appointment. He came in beaming and was a different man entirely. He told, “Doc, I didn’t think I had the time for deep breathing exercises but I started with just a couple minutes a day and I loved it. It made such a difference in my stress and anxiety levels!”

At this point, he had progressed to 15 minutes of deep breathing a day. He was able to cut his dose of anti-anxiety medication in half and come off his blood pressure medication completely. A simple deep breathing technique, a few diet and lifestyle changes, and botanical nutritional supplements made a profound difference in his life.

Why Deep Breathing Exercises Have a Profound Effect on Anxiety

young couple enjoying the sunset together

The nervous system is broken into two branches. One is the musculoskeletal which moves muscles and joints, and the other is the autonomic which is essentially responsible for all the automatic things your body does. The autonomic is involved in heart rate, breathing, digestion, the gastrointestinal tract, the genitourinary tract, and reproduction and sex.

The autonomic nervous system is broken down again into two branches. The first branch is the sympathetic, which is the fight or flight feeling you experience when stressed or fearful of danger. The second branch is the parasympathetic, which is quite relaxing.

The captain, so to speak, of the parasympathetic nervous system is the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve controls basically everything from the neck down, like heart rate, respiration rate, and digestion. The wonderful thing about deep breathing exercises is that you can use them to change how the vagus nerve speaks to the rest of the body and change how respiration relaxes you.

Studies on Deep Breathing  

musicians playing on stage

Let’s take a look at two studies on the positive effects of deep breathing. The first study was done on a group of musicians from the Julliard School of Music, where there was a study group and a control group. The study group was instructed to engage in deep breathing exercises for 10 to 15 minutes a day and the control group was vaguely told to ‘relax.’

Scientists found that the study group had better vagal tone, sleep, preservation of safety, performance, coping skills, and focus. They experienced less anxiety just through deep breathing.

Emotions are not solely a phenomenon within the brain but are composed of body responses as well. These can include autonomic and behavioral responses such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, and respiration. Among these physiological responses, respiration has a unique relationship to emotion. While the primary role of respiration concerns metabolism and homeostasis, emotions such as disgust, anger, and happiness also influence respiratory activities.

While respiratory change that accompanies emotions can occur unconsciously, respiration can also be voluntarily altered associating with an activation of part of the brain called the motor cortex. There may be no physiological expression for the association of the three areas of the brain that regulate respiration: the brainstem, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex. The brainstem works to maintain homeostasis, the limbic system is responsible for emotional processing, and the cerebral cortex controls intention. If you’re able to grab hold of that vagus nerve, you can change how the brain functions and responds to stress.

three people meditating at sunset

The second study was done on Zen meditation practitioners. The scientists asked the study group to continue their practice, and then had a control group as well. The study group was asked to focus on deep breathing exercises with all three muscle groups: the diaphragm, intercostals, and scalenes. They engaged in deep breathing exercises for 20 minutes a day.

Compared to the control group, scientists found there were dramatic changes in heart rate, incidents of asthmas, abdominal pain, pro-inflammatory cytokines, blood pressure, anxiety, and mental focus.

young woman relaxing outside

Just 20 minutes of deep breathing a day caused these significant improvements in physiological function. The respiratory system listens and carefully remembers how previous stimuli affects breathing. For example, repeated slow breathing sessions trigger a respiratory memory to strengthen the ability of respiratory motor neurons to trigger the contraction of breathing muscles, even when you’re not thinking about it. This type of respiratory plasticity is known as long-term facilitation

If you can commit to a few minutes of deep breathing exercises every day and increase the length over time, you’ll see a difference in your stress, anxiety, and other physiological effects that stress can cause. Never doubt that small changes, like deep breathing exercises, can have a profound effect on your health.

Meditation in a Bottle supplement by Zenith Labs

Zenith Labs created a supplement called Meditation in a Bottle. It contains several botanical adaptogens that help with stress hormones such as cortisol. Meditation in a Bottle can help with adrenal health, along with reducing the amount of stress and anxiety you feel.


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!

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Master Tip to Help Collagen

The #1 Master Tip to Help Collagen

 

Everyone wants to look and feel healthy, youthful, and vibrant. A big part of that is diminishing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin due to the aging process, as well as the appearance of dark spots due to sun exposure. We also want our joints to be pain-free and flexible, and we want our immune system to be powerful.

The #1 Master Tip to Help Collagen

Several years ago, I had a patient in her early fifties walk into my office with two large bags of cosmeceutical and topical agents that she was applying as part of her daily routine. She was frustrated because she was spending hundreds of dollars a month and thousands of dollar a year on these anti-aging products, but not seeing the results the marketing material promised her.

“Dr. Shelton,” she asked, “Is there something else that I can do to improve the effectiveness of my skincare products?”

We sat down, and one by one, reviewed the topical ingredients of the products she was using. Some contained well-researched ingredients, but some were just a waste of her time and money.

senior woman with hand on her face

At the time, I knew the importance of a diet that was high in antioxidants like vitamin C and E, green tea, lycopene, and coenzyme Q10. These antioxidants prevent the oxidative and pro-inflammatory chemical damage of the skin, collagen fibers, elastin fibers, and reticular fibers.

For this patient however, I dove deeper into the research and what I found was surprising. There were many research articles on the importance of oral supplements to promote healthy-looking skin. It makes sense, consider I’ve always believed that health and wellbeing start from the inside out, even for the skin. Let’s go over three oral supplements that are important for healthy skin.

1. Oral Collagen

collagen pills and powder with a glass of water

Oral collagen has been shown to activate skin stem cells, improve the skin’s response to growth factors, stimulate collagen genes, neutralize free radicals, and decrease the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers.

Preliminary results are promising for both the short and long-term use of taking oral collagen supplements for wound healing and preventing the signs of aging skin. These supplements increase skin hydration, elasticity, and dermal collagen density. When dermal collagen and elastin fibers break down, we start to see the effects of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.

relaxed middle age woman lying in the grass

Collagen supplementation is generally safe with no reported adverse effects. A randomized double-blind placebo control was conducted on 120 subjects who consumed either a test oral collagen supplement or a placebo for 90 days. Subjects who consumed the oral collagen had a significant increase in skin elasticity by 40% compared to those taking the placebo. In addition to the skin benefits, the consumption of the collagen product reduced joint pain by 43% and improved joint mobility by 39%.

In another study, after 12 weeks of taking an oral collagen supplement, visual assessment scores and three parameters of skin wrinkling were significantly improved compared to the placebo group. After just 12 weeks, skin elasticity, hydration, and wrinkling were significantly improved in the collagen supplement group compared to the baseline group.

2. Antioxidants

foods rich in antioxidants like salmon, nuts, and produce

You can get a range of antioxidants through a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables, but certain antioxidants prevent the appearance of aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. You can supplement your diet with Vitamins C and E, CoQ10, lycopene, and green tea. Just be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drink at least two cups of green tea every day.

3. Polypodium

Polypodium vulgare grows among thick moss

Polypodium is a herb, coming from a species of fern, that acts like an internal sunscreen when taken orally. To be clear, I’m not dismissing the importance of applying external sunscreen to protect against the damaging UVB rays of the sun, as those rays can cause dark spots along with exacerbating fine lines and wrinkles.

However, polypodium is one of the most studied herbal substances that has proven protective activity, along with green tea extract, carotenoids, and carotenes. In one study, the results showed that polypodium can be used as an agent to lessen the negative photobiological effects from UVB rays.

The use of polypodium has been reported to be beneficial in the treatment of atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, and psoriasis. It’s also useful for the prevention of polymorphic light eruption, sunburns, and squamous cell carcinoma. As I’ve already suggested to many of my patients, taking oral polypodium supplements can help with youthful, vibrant looking skin.

Collagen Refresh, supplement by Zenith Labs

At Zenith Labs, we’ve created a supplement called Collagen Refresh that contains many of these helpful ingredients. With a lemon berry flavor, it has an enjoyable taste. My wife uses it daily and has seen significant positive changes to her skin’s 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!

 

 

 

Acid reflux remedy and what to do about it

Acid Reflux Remedy and What to Do About It

When struggling with acid reflux, also known as GERD, some individuals experience it as heartburn. Other individuals end up with chest pain, throat pain, regurgitation of food, a sour taste in their mouth, coughing, hoarseness, or wheezing. If the acid makes it too far up the esophagus, dental erosion can be a problem too.

Acid Reflux Remedy and What to Do About It

Acid reflux is more common than you think

senior man with a hand on his chest experiencing heartburn

As a doctor, I cannot tell you how many times my patients have complained about acid reflux. I call it an ‘out the door’ symptom because patients typically come in for high blood pressure, a skin rash, menopausal symptoms, or hair loss and as they’re walking out the door, they’ll add in, “By the way, I have acid reflux too.”

Acid reflux is quite common. 10% of people experience it daily, 30% experience it at least once a month, and 20% deal with it twice a week. Many people who struggle with acid reflux take medication for it, such as antacids or proton pump inhibitors. However, taking antacids daily has been shown in studies to cause a 200-600% increase in esophagitis.

Proton pump inhibitors do nothing for H. pylori, common bacteria that thrives in stomach acid, and yet these inhibitors are two of the top five over the counter medications purchased in the United States. Acid reflux is so common that it’s become a five-billion-dollar annual industry.

What causes acid reflux?

young man holding his stomach feeling acid reflux

Acid reflux is due to the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring that causes pressure on stomach contents to keep those contents down and in the stomach. There are several reasons the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES, can become relaxed and allow stomach acid to come up into the esophagus.

The stomach is lined with mucus to protect itself from the naturally occurring acids it produces to digest your food, but your esophagus is unfortunately not. When the naturally occurring acids are regurgitated up into the esophagus, acid reflux occurs.

How can you prevent acid reflux?

man refusing to eat a burger

Certain foods relax the LES and cause negative effects, such as saturated fats, alcohol, sweet and sour foods, spicy foods, tomatoes, citrus, and coffee. Other foods to avoid are canned good, fast food, fried foods, dairy, chocolate, mint, and gluten. Limit these foods in your diet and increase your intake of fresh or frozen produce instead.

Diets and acid reflux reactions are different for every individual. The best thing to try is an elimination challenge diet where you eliminate all potentially problematic foods for three or four days. After a few days, you can reintroduce each food item one by one, a few days apart, to see which foods are causing or contributing to your acid reflux.

illustration of the digestive system and DNA

Stress can also contribute to acid reflux problems. The entire gastrointestinal tract is known as the enteric nervous system, nicknamed the ‘little brain.’ There are so many nerves that interact between the gut, the digestive system, and the brain.

In fact, there are more serotonin receptors in the gut than there are in the brain. If you feel stress, anxiety, depression, then you’ll be able to feel it in the bowels, stomach, and intestines.

There were a couple of studies done in the 1920s and 1930s around factory workers who switched to office work. There was a dramatic increase in the number of acid reflux patients because they were stressed out. Since they switched from working with their hands to working with their brains, the stress caused an increase in acid reflux. Another study completed around 9/11 first responders showed that a quarter of them developed acid reflux, likely due to the stress of the event.

True Digestion supplement by Zenith LabsWe can see that both diet and stress play a role in acid reflux. At Zenith Labs, we’ve created a supplement called True Digestion. It contains zinc, since zinc deficiencies can cause mucosal damage and lower acid production. True Digestion also contains mucoligens like alginate, slippery elm, marshmallow, and DGL. One study has shown that alginate showed an 81% improvement, which is considerably better than antacids or proton pump inhibitors. Our supplement also contains barberry, which attacks the H. pylori in your gut that contributes to acid reflux. On top of all that, True Digestion also contains the other important digestive enzymes: amylase, protease, lipase, lactase, phytase, cellulase, invertase, and maltase. It’s a fantastic supplement and people are reporting tremendous benefits from taking it.

For some reason, treating acid reflux is an afterthought for most people. So many people just accept it as part of life, but you don’t have to. You need to value every warning signal your body gives you because it’s a disruption in your 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!

 

 

 

Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using is to lose weight, improve their health, and simplify their lifestyles. Many studies have shown that it can have powerful effects on your body and brain, possibly even helping you live longer.

Top 7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

What is Intermittent Fasting?

intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting doesn’t specify which foods you should eat, but when you should eat instead. It’s not a diet in the conventional sense, but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts or fasting for 24 hours twice a week, and lots of patients in my own practice have followed these methods.

Fasting has naturally been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunters and gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators, or food available year-round, so sometimes they simply didn’t have anything to eat. As a result, humans evolved to be able to function without food for extended periods.

In fact, fasting from time to time is more natural for our biological process than eating every three or four hours throughout the day. Fasting is also done for religious reasons, often practiced by those following Islam, Christian, Jewish, or Buddhist faiths.

7 Liquids You Can Drink While Intermittent Fasting

While fasting, it’s important to take in enough fluids for your body. There are seven different fluids you can use to support the benefits that intermittent fasting brings you.

1. Water

young woman drinking glass of water

The first and most obvious fluid to consume while fasting is water. Wondering how much water you should drink each day? Here’s a simple formula to use: Take your body weight in pounds, divide that number by two, and that’s how many ounces of pure water you should drink every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, your minimum goal would be 75 ounces.

2. Green Tea

glass mug of green tea outside

Green tea is known for supplying powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. It does contain some caffeine, but those antioxidants are important for brain health and liver detoxification. As a bonus for some, studies have shown green tea may aid in weight loss.

3. Kombucha

two glasses of kombucha

Kombucha is a fermented drink made tea, typically green or black tea. Kombucha contains the same powerful antioxidants as green tea, but since it is fermented, it also contains probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that are necessary for good gut health.

4. Detox Tea

looking down at a mug of detox tea

There are many brands of detox tea here in the United States, such a Yogi Tea or Traditional Medicinals. Detox teas contain herbal agents that help your body get rid of built-up toxins, so it’s recommended to have at least two or three cups of detox tea while you’re fasting intermittently.

5. Green Drink

glass of green drink with green fruits and vegetables

A green drink contains extracts from herbs, mushrooms, fruits, and veggies. A good green drink combines all kinds of nutrients in one beverage, so consuming one every day while fasting can be very helpful.

6. Vegetable Juice

beet juice with carrots

Though it’s not part of a strict fast, vegetable juice is a good beverage to consider during intermittent fasting. A vegetable juice made from root vegetables, like carrots and beets, is a powerful tool during a weight loss program like intermittent fasting.

7. Epsom Salt

epsom salts in a wooden dish

The last liquid to consider contains Epsom salt. You could consume Epsom salt diluted in water but it usually acts as quite a laxative in most people. Instead, take a hot Epsom salt bath. Simply fill the tub with hot water, add about a cup of Epsom salt, and then soak in it. Epsom salt baths have been used for centuries to help with aches, pains, muscle and joint relief, and detoxifying the liver.

bottle of pure greens superfoods supplement

These seven fluids are important to include during intermittent fasting. To help you out, Zenith Labs has created a green drink called Pure Greens. It contains 57 superfoods in one delicious beverage. It’s so tasty that even my two young sons drink it, calling it their ‘special juice.’


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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