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Archive for August, 2016

613 sunglasses at night copy 2

Have you noticed how shockingly bright streetlights are these days? Although they’re great for night time visibility, the newer LED streetlights tamper with the body’s internal clock, skewing metabolic function and raising disease risk.

The effect of blue-rich white light at night on human health is so significant that the American Medical Association (AMA) issued a policy statement about street lighting.

It warns LED street lights are five times more disruptive to the human sleep cycle than traditional street lighting and that recent large surveys link brighter residential lighting with reduced sleep, poor functioning, and more obesity. The lighting also increases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

These bright blue-white lights also strain the eyes and can cause problems walking or driving safely at night. Enough blue light can even damage the retina.

How night time lighting can be safer for health

LED lights were introduced because they consume less energy. The AMA suggests ways to make the lighting friendlier to human biology (and that of area wildlife):

  • Lowering the color temperature of the lights away from the blue end of the spectrum (which signals the brain it is daytime) and towards the orange end of the spectrum. Current lights have a color temperature of 4000K to 5000K. Compare this with the use of fire and candles human have used for most of history, at 1800K. The AMA recommends lights be no bluer than 3000K.
  • Better shielding the light to reduce eye-straining glare.
  • Using adaptive controls to dim or extinguish the lights.

Residents complaining about bright lights

You don’t have to understand the science to feel the effects of these lights. Residents in areas where they are installed around the country are complaining, saying the lights feel like a car lot or strip mall parking lot. The LED street lamps also light up the insides of homes, especially in hilly areas such as Seattle.

Davis, California residents found them so objectionable the city agreed to replace all existing LED streetlights with more biologically friendly lighting.

Do you need sunglasses at night?

Of course, it’s dangerous to wear dark glasses at night. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have recourse if LED streetlights are a part of your night life.

You can switch the light coming into your eyes to a more biologically friendly hue by wearing orange or rose tinted glasses that aren’t sunglasses. Examples include affordable Uvex safety glasses from Amazon, orange glasses from Low Blue Lights (these glasses are more expensive because they are scratch resistant), or rose tinted migraine glasses.

Also, cities are taking note of complaints, so be sure to add your voice.

Avoid night time blue lights indoors too

LED streetlights aren’t the only culprits when it comes to confusing your sleep-wake cycle. LED televisions, smart phones, tablets, computers, and LED bulbs also bombard you with too much blue light at night, hindering the output of sleep hormones.

Purchasing orange bulbs for lamps, orange filters to put over your screens, or wearing orange glasses a couple of hours before bed are ways to encourage the production of sleep hormones and maintain the delicate but important sleep-wake cycle.

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low blood sugar ages you copy

Do you crash when you go too long without eating, losing energy and becoming “hangry?” Hanger—hunger plus anger—is that explosive combination of low blood sugar and irrepressible irritability that turns a normally nice person into a multi-headed hydra.

People joke about being hangry, but when it happens regularly, it means your body and brain are in a perpetual state of alarm. This constant stress raises inflammation and accelerates degeneration of the brain.

In other words, being chronically hangry ages you too fast.

How being hangry ages your body too fast

The low blood sugar that triggers “hanger” sends your body into an emergency “fight-or-flight” mode, causing you to snap at loved ones or fly into a rage because you can’t untangle your earphone cords. This constant stress ages the body and brain.

Low blood sugar also raises an immune messenger called IL-6, which triggers inflammation that destroys tissue.

If you have a chronic or autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s or rheumatoid arthritis, the inflammation from low blood sugar can trigger flare ups that destroy tissue, worsen symptoms, and advance your condition.

Autoimmunity means an over zealous and imbalanced immune system is attacking and destroying tissue in the body. Many people have autoimmunity but have not been diagnosed. Low blood sugar can worsen autoimmunity and speed destruction of tissues or glands in the body.

In a nutshell, the stress and inflammation from chronically low blood sugar ages your body too quickly.

How being hangry ages your brain too fast

The low blood sugar from being hangry deprives the brain of fuel and impairs brain function. This speeds degeneration because energy-deprived brain cells die.

Brain-related symptoms of low blood sugar include:

  • Irritable and easily upset
  • Lightheaded
  • Fatigued
  • Feeling shaky, jittery, or tremulous
  • Agitated and nervous
  • Eating gives you energy
  • Poor memory, forgetfulness
  • Blurred vision
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Energy crash around 3 or 4 p.m.
  • Wake up anxious around 3 or 4 a.m.

Being hangry can worsen brain autoimmunity

Chronically low blood sugar also ages the brain by triggering autoimmune flares in the brain.

A number of people have autoimmunity to brain and nerve tissue but don’t know it—it’s more common than realized.

When blood sugar drops too low, it can trigger the autoimmune process in the brain just as it does in the body, speeding the brain degeneration process.

A few common symptoms of brain autoimmunity include fatigue, “crashing” after too much stimulation or exertion, brain fog, memory loss, anxiety or depression disorders, autism or ADHD symptoms, and poor balance.

If you suffer from any brain-related symptoms, preventing low blood sugar is crucial.

Tips on avoiding low blood sugar to slow aging

If you want to function optimally and slow the aging process, make sure to avoid getting “hangry.”

Tips include never skipping breakfast or other meals, avoiding sugars and processed starches, eating plenty of vegetable fiber and healthy fats, minimizing caffeine, eating small meals every two to three hours until blood sugar stabilizes, and avoiding foods to which you are sensitive (such as gluten and dairy for many people).

A number of herbal and nutritional compounds can also help bring blood sugar to normal levels and balance immune and brain health. Ask my office for more advice.

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gluten sensitivity is a real thing

Research has confirmed what many people have long known: Gluten sensitivity is a real thing.

A Columbia University Medical Center study found gluten sensitivity is not an imagined condition, as many seem to think these days, and that celiac disease or a wheat allergy are not required to react to gluten.

Although people with gluten sensitivity may not demonstrate classic symptoms or lab markers of celiac disease, gluten nevertheless causes an acute immune response in gluten sensitive people.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity vary widely and often include fatigue, brain fog, memory problems, mood imbalances, joint pain, skin eruptions, respiratory issues, and worsening of existing health conditions.

Gluten sensitivity different than celiac disease

In celiac disease, the immune response to gluten happens primarily in the small intestine.

With gluten sensitivity, however, the immune response is systemic, meaning the inflammatory cells travel in the bloodstream throughout the body. This explains why symptoms vary so widely.

Researchers found that six months on a gluten-free diet normalized the immune response and significantly improved patient symptoms.

Gluten sensitivity awareness crucial for patients

Studies like this are important to help educate doctors that gluten sensitivity can cause chronic health problems.

Many doctors still believe that only celiac disease is to blame for a reaction to gluten. Because gluten sensitivity is largely dismissed and conventional testing for it is so inadequate, many patients unnecessarily suffer from undiagnosed gluten sensitivity.

Gluten linked to autoimmunity and brain disorders

What’s worse, gluten is linked to many autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks and destroys tissue in the body. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes.

However, the tissue most commonly attacked in response to gluten sensitivity is neurological tissue.

In other words, your undiagnosed gluten sensitivity could be destroying your brain  This is why gluten causes brain-based disorders in many people.

Gluten sensitivity more common than celiac

Celiac disease was long thought to affect about 1 percent of the population, but newer research shows rates have gone up 700 percent in the last 50 years.

Also, numbers are likely even higher because testing for celiac disease is extremely stringent and outdated. (Diagnostic criteria were developed in Europe, where a celiac diagnosis qualifies one for disability payments.)

Estimates for the rate of gluten sensitivity range from 6 percent of the population to considerably higher—a randomized population sample of 500 people conducted by immunologist Aristo Vojdani, PhD found one in three people had gluten sensitivity.

Proper testing and strict gluten-free diet are vital

Most testing for gluten sensitivity is inaccurate as people can react to at least 12 different compounds in gluten. Standard tests only screen for one, alpha gliadin.

Also, many people have cross reactions to gluten, meaning they respond to other foods they eat as if it were gluten. Dairy is one of the most common of these. It’s important to test for cross-reactive foods and remove them from the diet along with gluten.

It’s also vital to strictly adhere to a gluten-free diet as the occasional cheat can keep inflammation high and chances at symptom recovery low.

Ask my office for advice on the latest in testing for gluten sensitivity.

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It’s a frustrating but not uncommon scenario: You struggle with food or chemical sensitivities, suspected autoimmunity, and leaky gut symptoms. You plunk down hundreds of dollars (or more) for state-of-the-art testing from Cyrex Labs, eager for specific guidance.

And all the results come back negative. Or they all come back positive. Either way, you’re poorer and still clueless about the specifics of your situation.

Because Cyrex Labs testing is relatively new, people are still learning how best to test. Follow the tips below to maximize your lab testing dollars.

Make sure immunity is sufficient enough to test

This is a major culprit in producing primarily or totally negative results. If your immune system is wiped out, you may not produce enough antibodies to test.

You can screen for this prior to your Cyrex test by ordering a total immunoglobulin (IgG, IgA, and IgM) test. If they’re low, your Cyrex results may come back negative despite obvious symptoms.

Shoring up your immune system is an in-depth topic, but here is an overview: Follow the autoimmune diet and supplement with nutrients such as vitamins A and D, glutathione and other compounds to dampen autoimmune flares, and omega 3 essential fatty acids. Plenty of sleep, balancing blood sugar, physical activity, and lowering stress are also important.

A key strategy is to eat an ample amount and wide variety of vegetables to foster the gut bacteria that support immunity. If you cannot eat many vegetables, supplement with short-chain fatty acids and probiotics.

Also, you may need to ferret out and address hidden sources of infection.

Please note that taking immune-enhancing herbs such as Echinacea is not recommended as it can worsen autoimmunity in some people.

Avoid drugs that suppress immunity if possible

Immunosuppressant medications and drugs that contain steroids, such as hydrocortisone, will often result in false negative results. If you are able to go off them, wait at least a couple of months before testing.

Don’t expect positive results to foods you don’t eat

Don’t expect positive results for foods you don’t eat, even if you know they are problematic for you. You need to eat the foods on the panel at least a month before testing. If you have not eaten that food in the last three to four months you will not test positive (unless you ate it accidentally).

If you know you react severely to certain foods, then of course do not eat them just to test.

What if most Array 5 results come back positive?

If almost all of your results on the Array 5 Multiple Autoimmune Reactivity come back positive, this does not mean your entire body is under attack. Instead, it means you’re likely fighting an active viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection.

What if most Array 10 results come back positive?

If you test positive to most of the 180 foods on the Array 10 Multiple Food Immune Reactivity screen, this does not necessarily mean you have to give up all of those foods. Instead, it means you have lost “dietary oral tolerance” and the immune system is over reacting to all foods.

When this happens, only avoid foods to which you knowingly react and work to restore oral tolerance using the same strategies to shore up your immune system. The key is to dampen the hyper zealous immune response and boost secretory IgA levels so you can better tolerate more foods.

This is a very general overview of some things to address before using Cyrex Labs testing. When approached with the right knowledge, the results can be powerful in helping fine tune your wellness journey.

Ask my office for more advice on Cyrex Labs testing and autoimmune management.

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