The Fight or Flight Loop Part 2
Continuing our series on the fight-or-flight loop, I want to talk about the genetic contributors that can make you more susceptible to becoming stuck in fight-or-flight mode. You may recall from Part 1 of this series that the fight-or-flight loop can create various symptoms that seem unrelated. Being stuck in this cycle can be expressed in multiple ways. If you have not yet read Fight-or-Flight, Part 1 of this series, I strongly encourage you to pause here and read that first.
Most of us have heard of 23andMe and Ancestry. Some of you have maybe even had testing done through one or the other. If you have run your genetics through one of these services but aren't sure what to do with the information, separate third-party reporting sites will make the codes you receive from them understandable. These sites can let you know if you have genetic variants that can make you more susceptible to living in a fight-or-flight state.
Fight-or-Flight Loop, Part 1
Are you familiar with the term fight-or-flight? Did you know that the fight-or-flight response can become ingrained within your body, creating many problems that can be detrimental to your overall health? Let's talk about the symptoms and signs that you're stuck in the fight-or-flight loop, how you get into it, and the mayhem it can create in your life and your health.
The Fight-or-Flight Loop
Fight-or-flight is the instinctual response to resist (fight) or run from (flight) a threatening or dangerous situation. This response dates back to our ancestors and their choices when facing danger. We may no longer need to run from a sabertooth tiger, but when we constantly have too much on our plate, live a stressful life, and don't take time to rest when we need it, we can become stuck in a seemingly ever-present loop where we're constantly on alert. There is a saying that goes, "When all you know is fight-or-flight, red flags and butterflies all feel...
What is digital demential? Digital dementia refers to a decline in cognition and in short-term memory loss from excessive use and reliance on technology. All of us are using our technology all the time to do tasks for us. These task used to be handled in your temporal lobe of our brain, which is responsible for memory, spacial awareness, auditory processing and more. Tasks like math, finding and getting to locations and memorizing things like phone numbers and important dates have all been are taken over by our phones and other electronic devices. We basically don't use that part of our brain anymore as much.
While Digital dementia affects everybody, it especially affects children and their development because while we as adults used to have to do manual math and find our way around town, children of this generation, have never really developed that part of their brain because they were born into a technological world. So...
The Scary Truth About Insulin Resistance
If you practically pass out after meals or find yourself feeling desperate for something sweet, you are likely increasing your risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s in your later years.
Post-meal sleepiness and sugar cravings are signs of insulin resistance, a condition in which blood sugar is chronically too high and aging your brain too quickly.
Look for other common signs of insulin resistance. For women this includes balding, growing more facial hair, and a deepening voice. PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is also commonly linked with insulin resistance. Men with insulin resistance may find they are growing breasts and they cry more easily. People take on characteristics of the opposite sex because insulin resistance promotes excess testosterone production in women and estrogen production in men.
Insulin resistance depends on your diet and on your level of physical activity. If you subsist on a high-carbohydrate...
Balance Can Improve Your Brain Function
While phone apps and online programs that exercise the brain are popular to improve memory and prevent dementia, most people overlook a key component to lasting brain function--your balance. Your brain requires good balance to stay sharp and lower the risk of dementia. In addition to doing brain exercises, make sure you regularly challenge and improve your balance.
What does good balance have to do with preserving memory and brain function?
The cerebellum, the area at the base of the brain, governs balance as well as precision, coordination, and timing. It makes sure you can walk upright, put a spoon to your mouth, or hit a tennis ball. The movements of daily life keep the cerebellum in a constant state of activity. This constant activity keeps the rest of the brain on its toes.
A healthy cerebellum feeds the brain a steady stream of information to keep it actively firing and healthy. This is also one reason regular physical...
Lou Gehrig's disease refers to a disorder called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. I don't frequently treat patients with ALS in my private practice, but I have encountered it enough times that I've done a good amount of research to discover how I can support my ASL patients. Some things I learned with my research:
- People with ALS have impaired methylation and high levels of oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Any effort to provide antioxidants, reduce sources of inflammation, and ensure proper methylation may assist in decreasing some of the mechanisms that are contributors to ALS.
- My treatment approach is a supportive, complementary approach. Not a cure or a replacement for standard medical care.Many people with ALS have the genetic variants SOD and MTHFR. For some, these genetic variants make a big impact as the disease progresses. For others, these variants may make no impact at all. Below is additional...
Do you space-out all the time? Does it feel as if you’re moving in slow motion through the fog and can’t snap out of it? Though it’s not considered a disorder worth a doctor’s visit, brain fog is nevertheless distressing, disorienting, and difficult to cope with. It’s also a red flag that your brain is aging too quickly and that you should take action right away.
Brain fog occurs when your neurons, or brain cells, don’t communicate well with one another. This poor communication causes overall brain function to slow down and diminish, giving you symptoms of brain fog.
The trick is to find out why those neurons aren’t communicating well with one another. There can be a number of reasons, both metabolic (having to do with diet and lifestyle) and neurological, that contribute to brain fog. In a nutshell, neurons need sufficient fuel, oxygen, and stimulation to function and prevent brain fog.
#1 Possible Cause: Blood Sugar is...
Dreading allergy season? The sun and wind arrive and suddenly it’s itchy skin, red eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, sinus pressure, and headaches. Likewise, you may react to certain foods with hives, headaches, nasal congestion, skin problems, a racing heart, or irritability.
What is the common denominator in both scenarios? Histamines. While many people just give up and suffer, some natural compounds can bring relief. To understand why these natural remedies work, it’s helpful to understand a bit about histamines.
What are Histamines?
Histamine is a protein that causes inflammation, redness, and irritation. It is produced in response to environmental or dietary proteins known as antigens. When the antigen comes in contact with the body, the immune system registers it as an intruder and produces antibodies to it. These antibodies cause a release of histamine into your bloodstream, and those histamines can build up with repeated exposure and increase your sensitivity....
Reverse Early Memory Loss with a Functional Medicine Approach
Although genetics play a big role in who experiences memory loss with age, you don’t have to be a victim to the ravages of brain degeneration. By taking action at the early signs of memory loss, you can reverse your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s before it’s too late.
One study showed that nine out of ten patients were able to reverse their memory loss when early intervention occurred. The same study subjects also showed significant long-term improvement in memory function. So what was the magic bullet? There was no magic. Just the solid implementation of functional neurology basics. Here’s what was done.
Study subjects underwent a dietary and lifestyle overhaul that included changes in what they ate, regular exercise, supplementation, better sleep, and exercising their brain. The improvements were so profound that some of the subjects were able to work again, having quit due to...
Must-Know Labs: Your Homocysteine Levels
Once upon a time, Homocysteine was a lab value that was used to assess your risk of heart attack and stroke. It is not standard protocol to measure this anymore. As a matter a fact, nearly every patient or client I have worked with who has tried to get their primary care physician to run this number has been denied.
However, I couldn’t disagree more. Homocysteine is an important marker! Let’s explore some of the reasons why, as well as a few clinical observations I have made in regard to this value.
What is Homocysteine?
Homocysteine is an amino acid found in every cell of our body. Although the normal lab range for homocysteine is less than 10.4 umol/L, when placed on the finer-tuned ‘functional medicine scale,’ we prefer it to be nearer to 6-7 umol/L. That level is where it is both indicating optimal function and contributing to optimal function.
Homocysteine, when everything in the body is working as it...