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Sugar ! The “other” White Powder

2619f2b6b8454582_187481430Sugar (and Spice) May not be all things Nice –

 Let’s not Sugar Coat it!

Sugar, has now become the “other” white powder and is associated with systemic inflammation tooth decay, increases in diabetes both in adults and children.  It contributes to Metabolic Syndrome X and obesity.  To add to the problem, in an attempt to substitute with other alternatives a large number of people are turning to sugar substitutes which have been shown to contribute to cancer.   On average Americans consume a staggering 130 lbs. of sugar yearly.  Sugar is found in nearly every food and manufactures of processed foods often sneak in sugar substitutes using names such as malt, high fructose corn syrup, fructose, maltodextrin to name a few.

What is it: a sweet crystalline substance obtained from various plants, especially sugar cane and sugar beet, consisting essentially of sucrose, and used as a sweetener in food and drink. It’s a short chain, water soluble carbohydrate.

Where is it Found:

  1. White Sugar – Calories 16 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein,  2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  How is it manufactured?  From Sugar cane which is then shredded mixed with water and sometimes a saturated syrup then its crushed between rollers redissolved with chemicals, char filtered and evaporated further then boiled and crystalized removing its color and rendering it right.   Sugar, especially highly processed sugar is used in processed foods, candies, cereals etc.  While we need glucose for energy any excess gets converted to fat by the liver.images
  2. Brown Sugar – Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product with a distinctive brown color due to the presence of molasses. It is either an unrefined or partially refined soft sugar consisting of sugar crystals with some residual molasses content, or it is produced by the addition of molasses to refined white sugar. Calories 17 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium 2 mg, potassium 16mg, protein,   43g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Basically same refining process except that residual molasses is left behind
  3. Coconut Sugar Mahava  – Calories 15 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, with trace magnesium, zinc and iron, potassium,  0g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  This product is Non-GMO, Organic, its sustainable and unrefined but the bottom line is it is essentially still a sugar.  images-1
  4. Honey – Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein, 17g of Carbs but because it is sweeter than sugar the theory is that people use less.  It contains small trace amounts of vitamins and minerals and there is only one processing tip and that is heating the honey which cuts out 3 refining steps of sugar.
  1. Agave Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein,   2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Agave comes from the Agave plant and most Agave in the US comes from the Blue Agave Plant BUT it is as highly processed as high fructose corn syrup, is extremely sweet and at the end of the day while it is a “fructose” its still a sugar and if in excess in the body it does get converted to fat.
  1. Stevia – Calories 20 in a Tsp, 0 g of fat, cholesterol. Sodium, potassium, protein, 2g of Carbs all Sugar with no trace vitamins or elements.  Stevia comes from the Stevia Plant and its active compound steviol glycosides are sweeter than sugar are calorie free and are effective for those on calorie/carbohydrate controlled diets as steviol does not increase blood glucose levels but beware for most commercially prepared stevia products there are 40 steps in the process using chemicals such as methanol, acetone, ethanol and isopropanol. Many of these chemicals are known carcinogens.   Most brands also use erythritol which is generally obtained from fermented genetically modified corn.
  1. Aspartame & Saccharin & Sucralose – Sugar Substitutes – Used as substitutes to sucrose to sweeten foods and drinks.  Usually zero calorie with no nutritional properties but with links to cancer (with the exception of sucralose) in lab animals prompting FDA warnings that these products are harmful to your health.  I usually do not recommend these products to any patients as a substitute.

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 Recommendations

Sugar is a sugar is a sugar!  In excess it will convert to fat by the liver and be deposited and stored.   Advice use the least processed sugar possible in the smallest amount necessary and always stick with “natural” products and not the sugar substitutes!

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net

 

 

 


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The Importance of Vitamin D & the dangers of Vitamin D Deficiency

 

unknownVitamin D Deficiency and 5 Conditions

 

 

 

The Sunshine Prohormone & Vitamin

 

Often called the “sunshine drug” Vitamin D is produced as the skin responds to sunlight activation.  Sadly, low levels of vitamin D have been implicated in stage III Colorectal, lung, breast, thyroid and prostate cancers, immunity responses, mental health, and now obesity.  Clinically I see Vitamin D Deficiency in nearly all of the patients I treat I therefore test for Vitamin D levels routinely in all patients.

 

When I test patients I request a 25-hydroxy vitamin D as this is the most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body.  A normal range is above 30 ng/ml and I will treat below that number.  Abnormal results are usually due to lack of sunlight and great adherence to sunscreen (yes we do a great job of that in Florida), not enough D in the diet, chronic kidney and liver disease (which I see a lot of in my patient population of Heroin addicts and alcoholics) plus medications such as dilantin, phenobarbital and malabsorption in gastric bypass patients.

 

Deficiency:

 

  1. Immunity: In studies done on Japanese schoolchildren supplemented with Vitamin D versus placebo those supplemented with Vitamin D had 40% lower occurrence of Flu during winter months. Early treatments for TB consisted of light treatments and colds and flus are highest during winter months in Northern climates when Vitamin D levels are lowest and sunlight is shortest supporting a “seasonal stimulus”

 

  1. Cardiovascular– If your Vitamin D Levels are low, studies suggest your chances for heart disease are much greater.    Men with low levels of Vitamin D are at greater risk for Heart Failure, Sudden Cardiac Death, Stroke, Cardiac Disease and more.  Vitamin D is associated with the functioning of calcium which of course is linked to vascular health, blood pressure and artery health which does explain the link

 

  1. Psychiatric– Recent studies have shown a strong link between depression, fibromyalgia, bipolar and low levels of Vitamin D with symptoms improving with supplementation.  Seasonal affective disorder, commonly seen in Northern countries such as Norway, Sweden, Ireland probably have higher levels of hypovitaminosis than countries located on the equator.  Sadly, according to Dr James Greenblatt Vitamin D deficiency (levels less than <20 ng/ml) are regularly seen in schizophrenia, psychosis, elective mutism and anxiety.

 

  1. Orthopedic- Vitamin D is important for people with osteoporosis. Studies show that calcium and vitamin D together can increase bone density in postmenopausal women. Vitamin D also helps with other disorders associated with weak bones, like rickets.

 

  1. Endocrine – This is actually a little complicated so I will try and simplify it here – please feel free to call or text me for clarification if you need – Simply put in Type 2 Diabetes patients were found to have low levels of Vitamin D indicating to researchers that there was a possible link between low levels of Vitamin D/Type 2 Diabetes/ Pancreatic Beta Cell Function.  Additionally, low levels of Vitamin D also played a part in insulin function and inflammation.   Researchers think there is a “switch” in Vitamin D that that turns “on” Pancreatic Beta cells making them work to secrete Insulin.  So Low Levels Vitamin D – No Beta Cell Activation – Low Levels Insulin – Increased Sugar Levels – Increased Diabetes – Increased Obesity Levels (Disclaimer – this is a VERY simplistic, translated explanation) Take away – Helps with Weight Loss

 

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Outlook:

The take away from this is have your Vitamin D25 Level Checked and supplement accordingly with between 600 -800 IU Daily this is assuming that you are getting 450 IU of Vitamin D from food sources (not often easy to do).  Good Vitamin D Food Sources are Salmon, Fish, Mushrooms, Eggs, Fermented Milks, Vitamin D3 Only Capsule 600 – 800 IU daily but please consult with your health care professional.

vitamin-d-reduce-infographic

Sunlight:  Get 20 – 30 Minutes of Sunlight Daily .

 

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores

 

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net


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Don’t Panic – but so many of us do !

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5 Tips to decrease possibility of Panic Attacks!  Don’t Panic ! but so Many of us Do!

Most people don’t know that I suffer from debilitating panic attacks and I have done so for about 5 years.    Panic attacks can happen to anyone and for no apparent reason.  They come on completely unexpectedly and can also leave and subside the same way.   Some attacks can be mild and you can get them under control while some are so debilitating that sufferers can and do end up hospitalized.  Nearly 6 Million people (females more than males) suffer from Panic disorder so its not unusual when you admit to panic attacks that many people will tell you that they too suffer!

What does a Panic Attack feel like?

Symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness extreme fear and anxiety, numbness and tingling, feeling as if you are disconnected, trembling, sweating, shivering, inability to articulate words – but mostly there is a sense of overwhelming fear or impending doom, a complete disconnect from reality, a fogginess and “blackness !  The following are 5 Things that we all should be doing that help keep Panic Attacks at bay.  If the attacks are debilitating and severe, though, you should see your healthcare professional for additional strategies to understand, treat and control attacks.

  1. Water – What happens when you’re dehydrated. Your blood pressure drops and the body compensates by increasing your heart rate to pump fluids faster to essential organs.  That feeling of increased or racing heart actually mimics the feeling of panic and in addition with a faster heart rate most people feel “light-headed” which contributes to fear and anxiety.  If you are dehydrated cells are not being nourished and in addition hormones are not being effectively transported to cells – in short the body is not functioning optimally at any level.  The trick is to not get to the point of dehydration.
  2. Food– Alcohol, coffee, excess sugar, processed foods, energy drinks should all be avoided as all contribute to anxiety symptoms. You should consume foods that are rich in B Vitamins such as chicken, leafy greens and legumes, rice, nuts and eggs.  In addition, foods high in tryptophan’s are precursors to serotonin a calming neurotransmitter so turkey, oats, soy and nuts are good sources (though studies do not prove whether this crosses the blood/brain barrier).  Eat salmon and foods high in Omega 3’s which are proven to boost mood and proteins which also boost mood such as eggs, soy, beans and nuts.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  No processed foods, foods are low in sugar and are in their natural states – so avoid dyes, additions and chemicals!
  1. Sleep – One of the most debilitating things is lack of sleep. Being tired makes you feel edgy, irritable and anxious.  You see lack of sleep fires up the brains amygdala which is responsible for emotional processing.  Repeated sleep deficit actually causes a cumulative effect.  Studies at Berkeley have shown that Sleep Therapy can actually reduce or ameliorate anxiety and panic (http://news.berkeley.edu/2013/06/25/anticipate-the-worst/).  So what can we do?  In a previous article we discussed sleep http://bit.ly/2dE7N45 so please look at sleep strategies here.  But try to go to bed earlier and a pre-determined time, avoid alcohol and heavy food before bed, keep room cool and dark for better sleep.
  1. Exercise – So where do you start? Exercise is a no brainer in that it reduces stress, releases endorphins, improves mood, decreases stress and tension.  For those that suffer with panic attacks exercise can relieve the associated tension and pent up nervous energy and jitters.  Done regularly, exercise can keep panic attacks at bay decreasing both frequency and intensity.  In addition, exercise has been demonstrated to improve how people see and feel about themselves – the better you feel about yourself the less likely you are to let thoughts of panic and fear invade your mind. 
  1. Supplements – Supplements such as Omega 3, B Vitamins especially thiamine (B1), B12,) Maca, & Magnesium all help to ward off depression and anxiety. Valerian Root, St. Johns Wort and Kava have also been shown to decrease stress, nervousness and irritability.  As with any medication you should consult with your nurse practitioner or doctor prior to starting any of these supplements as a comprehensive review of all your medications should be done to ensure there are no adverse interactions.

I call the above 5 items my “Back to Basics” list for panic attacks.  If you consistently improve each of these areas, you should also decrease the intensity and frequency of your panic attacks.  If you feel that your signs and symptoms are not improving, then you absolutely need to see a healthcare professional.

Outlook:

From a personal stand point, there is hope and effective treatments available but it can take time to see a difference.  My approach is to try and implement all five of the above strategies into your life.  If you follow them consistently you should see improvement.  If, however you don’t then you will need to follow up with your health care professional.  While doing the above it is also a good idea to have your labs checked especially thyroid and B vitamin levels amongst other things.

For Loved ones or significant others:

Unfortunately, when a person is in the midst of severe panic attacks it is often hard to reason or rationalize with the sufferer that everything will be ok.

Try to be empathetic and understanding

Try to get the individual to focus on something such as breathing or distract them

At all costs ensure that the person suffering from the panic attack understands that you are “there” for them and that they are safeimages-2

Don’t judge

Don’t patronize (you’re being ridiculous)

Don’t minimize

For more confidential help or if you have a topic you would like discussed – you can call me at 561-866-1211.  Thanks Dolores

Synergy Health and Wellness   Dolores@synergyhealthandwellness.net