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Myofascial Release: The Pain Solution

Click here to listen: Myofascial Release: The Pain Solution

Welcome, everyone to this presentation on Myofascial Release: The Pain Solution. I will be presenting for the first half of tonight’s presentation on the anatomy and a discussion on the fascia. Then, for the second half of tonight’s presentation, I’m going to turn the presentation over to Lisa Buerk who is our Discover Health Movement Membership Self-Myofascial Release Instructor. She’s going to be focusing on the lumbar spine and how you can do self-myofascial release for the lumbar spine.

Welcome, everyone to this presentation on Myofascial Release: The Pain Solution. I will be presenting for the first half of tonight’s presentation on the anatomy and a discussion on the fascia. Then, for the second half of tonight’s presentation, I’m going to turn the presentation over to Lisa Buerk who is our Discover Health Movement Membership Self-Myofascial Release Instructor. She’s going to be focusing on the lumbar spine and how you can do self-myofascial release for the lumbar spine.

First of all, this very first slide for our title slide of Myofascial Release: The Pain Solution, what you see in the image is a spider web. Now, there are so many different analogies related to the fascia. The fascia is a fabric. I call it the “fabric of life.” You also can call it the “web of life.” And so, it connects everything. It connects every single thing in your body to the next thing in your body. It is a three-dimensional system that we’ll be talking about in detail tonight. If you think about it, any kind of fabric has threads. So, you’re looking at the threads of a web, a network.

The other thing I’ll point out about the spider web you’re looking at is the fact that you see water droplets on all of the different fibers of the thread. This is going to be really important to understanding how to keep your fascial system, your connective tissue system, ultimately healthy.


Now, the other thing I want to emphasize with this portion of the presentation and right off the bat, folks, is your myofascial system is the master designer of our structure. You see, when we are in utero and we are just an egg and we get fertilized and we start to develop as the fetus, we start out developing three primary layers. They’re called the endoderm, the mesoderm, and the ectoderm. Different parts of us come about from these different layers of the developing fetus. What I want you to understand is that when we develop what are called limb buds, meaning when we start to develop our extremities, the first thing that buds off the torso, if you will, or the egg itself or the developing fetus, is called a limb bud. That comes from the mesoderm. The mesoderm is the middle layer that develops guess what? Your connective tissue system, your fascia. And so, this limb bud, if you will, becomes the master designer. It becomes the bag or the fabric upon which all of our parts start to develop into the master designing limb bud. So, the bones, the muscles, the nerves, the blood vessels follow the fascia and start to fill in the bag. The web of life is the fascia.

Now, myofascial release is the technique that I have been doing my entire career and it’s when a medical provider or a health provider lays their hands on your connective tissue, on your body, and evaluates it for symmetry, for balance, for restrictive tissue versus loose tissue. Myofascial release is a system of diagnosis and treatment that was first described by Andrew Taylor Still, who was the founder of Osteopathic Medicine which is the type of provider I am, an Osteopathic Medical Doctor.

Now, when using this treatment modality, a medical provider engages continual palpatory feedback to achieve release of the myofascial restrictions. Again, we lay our hands and we evaluate the tissues. The tissues may have a direction of ease and can have a direction of restriction like where the knots of the tightness are, the tissue doesn’t want to move as easily. And so, I as the provider or whoever you tend to go to if they know how to do myofascial release, you can do either direct myofascial release or indirect myofascial release, where you engage the tissue and you either go into the most restricted area and into the knots and into the tension and engage a tension into the tissue. The tissue’s alive so it’s going to respond to that and try and unwind. You can also do myofascial release in an indirect technique where you take the tissues away from the restrictive barrier more in the direction of ease and the same thing in the end outcome should apply in the essence of unwinding restrictions and bringing balance back into the fabric, back into the bag, back into the master designer of the body.

Now, I’ve been studying fascia and connective tissue my entire career. That’s over twenty years. I know it is the main answer to people’s pain, meaning I have studied the bones and I’ve studied the joints, but if you really want to move those bones and you want to move those joints and you want to bring balance into the structure and you want to optimize blood flow and you want to optimize neurological communication and decrease someone’s pain – the answer is in the fascia. Most people don’t know this.

What I will also tell you is that the fascial system is the least studied system of the body. The very first international conference, or congress they called it, where all the scientists of the world that study the fascia came together to share with each other what we know…how long ago do you think that happened? It happened in 2007! Folks, that’s only thirteen years ago. The fascial system is a very young system as far as us understanding it.

Now, you can come to someone like me and I can do myofascial release for you and you can pay me the bucks it takes to do that, for sure! Sometimes you’re always going to need a provider because you can’t do everything for yourself, but I will tell you that the second half of tonight’s presentation is so important because Lisa is going to show you that you can have this tool in your own toolbox and you can learn how to do self-myofascial release. Again, I’m going to get into some more discussion of the anatomy of the fascia.

At the end of my presentation, I’m going to share a video with you by Tom Myers. Tom Myers is a Rolfer or now they call themselves structural integrators. He’s a very famous one. He’s written a book by the name of Anatomy Trains. He’s been instructing in structural integration and teaching about the fascia for over thirty years. He has a Google Talk, obviously perfectly free and available to anyone on Google. You go to YouTube and you can search “Tom Myers Google Talk on Fascia.” Also, we’re going to put it in the chat box for you. If you want to listen to his entire presentation after tonight’s done, you can go to that link and watch his entire talk. I am, at the end of my presentation tonight, going to share a three-minute clip with you of a video he shares on that talk that shows you some actual true fascial anatomy.

Then when I’m done, I’m going to turn the presentation, as I said, over to Lisa, and she’s going to present to you some self-myofascial release for the lumbar spine. Before I keep going, let me just now introduce Lisa and give you some of her background so you have a sense of who’s going to be presenting for the second half of tonight. When I’m done, we can just transition right in to having Lisa present. Let me read Lisa’s bio.

Lisa Buerk, who is a RAD Mobility and Recovery Specialist and a Registered Yoga Teacher, grew up in South Florida and was a children’s dance teacher before becoming a flight attendant. She has lived in New York, California, and finally (to our luck) has landed in New Hampshire.

Lisa has been studying the human body and how we move for more than 25 years. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Dragonfly Yoga Barn in 2015 and is currently pursuing her Yoga Medicine therapeutic specialist certification with Tiffany Cruikshank. Through this program, she was introduced to Myofascial Release and completed her initial 55-hours of Myofascial Release training. Completing this training and incorporating these techniques into her yoga classes inspired her to obtain her Mobility and Recovery Specialist certification with RAD.

Other certifications and trainings include more than 40-hours of anatomy and physiology training through the South Bay Massage College, Bernie Clark’s Yin Teacher Training, and Pilates Mat certification. Lisa is excited to share her self-myofascial release techniques to help you increase mobility, help with pain management, and enhance recovery from injury.

Now, your body has three holistic systems that go into every nook and cranny of your body. If you were able to isolate each of these systems and display these three-dimensional systems, they would look just like the body it was taken from. Now, you’re seeing an image of an orange or a grapefruit and you’re seeing all of the white stuff under the skin. That’s fascia, folks. As you see, the white fabric gets thinner and separates the orange into its sections. Like when you peel the orange and your friend or somebody asks you, “Can I have a section of your orange?” You’re able to peel it apart and say, “Yeah, here! Here’s a section of my orange.” That’s fascia that sections off those pieces. If you also look closely at this image, you will see that the pulp is contained in smaller bags, little tiny bags, within each section of the orange. Then down the middle of the orange in the center you see more fascia surrounding, if you will, the spine of the orange in the center. Folks, an orange is a wonderful example of the fascial system being a holistic system.

Now, the three holistic systems in the human body consist of the nervous system…and the nervous system is an intricate network of nerves and cells that convey messages in the forms of electrochemical impulses between parts of the body. It is what coordinates everyday activities such as walking, eating, and dancing, and it regulates body processes such as breathing and digestion. The existence of the nervous system was conceived and demonstrated a long time ago in the third century B.C. That’s the first holistic system of the body.

The second holistic system of the body is your vascular system. The vascular system consists of veins and arteries that transport blood to and from every single nook and cranny of your body delivering oxygen and nutrients and removing harmful waste matter such as carbon dioxide. The function of the heart and circulation of blood was discovered and first accurately published in the sixteenth century. Yes, I did say the sixteenth century. Hundreds of years ago!

Now, the third holistic system of the body is the fascial system. The fascia is the connective tissue, the fabric of life. It surrounds every single blood vessel, every organ, every muscle, and every nerve. It encompasses even the first two holistic systems that we’ve just gone over. Just like any fabric, the fascia has threads that runs through it and therefore it looks like a matrix or, as we saw on our first image tonight in our introduction, a spider web, particularly on a microscopic level. The fascia is alive, and the tendrils or threads of the fascial fabric move if they are well hydrated. If they’re dried up or become dehydrated from lack of movement, then the fabric of life that surrounds everything in your body will start to restrict blood flow, affect your neurological ability to communicate, and your organs won’t work well because the fabric of the bag they’re contained in is too tight.

Let’s get into what the anatomy of the fascia really is. The big thing to realize is that we have layers of fascia. These different layers should be well hydrated, again, and they should slide on each other. The tissue needs to be lubricated well. As you see on this slide here, there are different layers. The superficial fascia, that’s the first type you see, lies directly under the dermis of the skin. This fascia also is very fatty. It stores fat and water and creates passageways for nerves and vessels. You know, when you pinch your belly, if you will, and you pinch the skin and you can pinch an inch or whatever you can pinch. That is the skin and the superficial fascia below it that has the adipose or fatty cells and tissue in it. This is also called the hypodermis, and it is made of very loose connective tissue.

Deeper than that is the deep fascia. The deep fascia is formed by a connective membrane that sheaths the muscles like Saran wrap. It aids in muscle movements, provides passageways for nerves and blood vessels, provides muscle attachment sites, and cushions muscle layers. This fascial layer is made of dense connective tissue.

And another type of fascia is called the subserous fascia. The subserous fascia separates the deep fascia from the membranes that line the cavities of our body, the thoracic and abdominal cavities of the body, for example. The loose connection between these layers allow for flexibility and movement of the internal organs. This is also a dense connective tissue.

Let’s get into the detail now. Look a little bit more microscopically at the fascia and the cells of the connective tissue. First of all, the most important cell of the connective tissue is called the fibroblast. You can see it named there and can see a black line going out to point at one of the purple circles in this web. Those purple circles are cells. They’re fibroblast cells. These are the least specialized of all the cells. They are mainly responsible for secreting the non-rigid cellular matrix of the fascia including the fibers of collagen. So, if you look at the slide again, you’ll see dark pink or red thick tubules running through the slide and the web and they’re the collagen fibers. The thinner parts of the web that are dark purple are elastin fibers. The fibroblasts are what put out the material to create these different fibers of the web of life.

What you don’t see in this image are the adipocytes, which are fat storing cells. You also don’t see in this diagram macrophages, mast cells, and plasma cells. These are all cells that are in the connective tissue that are part of your immune system cells. Your immune system is in your connective tissue system.

Beyond all of that, what you’ve got to understand about the fascia is that there is what’s called a ground substance. The ground substance of what’s call the extracellular matrix is an amorphous gelatinous material. It’s gel-like; it’s transparent; it’s colorless; and it fills the spaces between all the fibers and cells. Again, if you look back at the diagram, you’ll see all the light pink spaces between the webbing and between the threads of the fabric. Folks, that’s all gelatinous ground substance. This gelatinous gel-like ground substance consists of large molecules called glycosaminoglycans (don’t try to say that ten times fast). Again, that’s glycosaminoglycans which link together to form very large molecules that are even bigger than them called proteoglycans. The point of this all is that, the ground substance absorbs water like a sponge, such that 90% of the extracellular matrix is made up of water.

So, the fascia is sponge-like, and we’re going to talk about that a little more, but it’s also again a fabric. The point of this slide is to emphasize that the fascial system is truly the fabric of life and made up of its thread, the tendrils of life. If you see in this image you have a muscle, and then you have muscle fibers, then you have blood vessels running between the muscle fibers. The point of this slide is that everything, no matter how small the tissue is, is surrounded by guess what? The fabric of life – fascia.

Here, let’s talk about the consistency of fascia. In this slide, you see on the left an actual sponge that’s taken from the ocean. Sponges are natural things and they’re living organisms in the ocean. You can go down and find them and you’re looking at a sponge from the ocean on the left. Of course, it’s sitting out on a counter and it’s been dried up. So, you see what it looks like and the consistency of a real actual sponge. On the right, you are seeing an image of fascial tissue that has been magnified so that you can see the consistency of it looking very much like the consistency of the sponge.

Folks, what happens when you leave a sponge out on the counter overnight and you go to pick it up the next morning? It’s stiff. It’s tight. It won’t bend. It’s not flexible. It’s not pliable. It’s brittle. It might break or tear. We are just like that. The fascia must be hydrated and moved. The other thing is, when you put a sponge in water what will it do? It will start to suck up that water, the ground substance of your fascia will do the same because remember it is 90% water. The more you squish the sponge and the more you squeeze the sponge and then put it back in the water, what will it do? It will suck up even more water. If you want to hydrate your tissues, if you want to decrease your pain, if you want to age well, if you want your organs and your nervous system and your blood vessels to be able to communicate and be able to transport blood all over your body, you must enhance the health of your fascial system.

Now, I’m going to share this video by Tom Myers. Again, this is by Tom Myers. This is not mine. This is from YouTube. It’s only an excerpt from about a 45-minute talk. We’re going to watch about a two and a half or three-minute portion of it. I’m going to show the video you will be able to see the images, but it doesn’t work well on Zoom (the way we’re doing the presentation webinar) for you to hear Tom’s voice well. What I’m going to do is turn the sound down because I know you won’t be able to hear it. I’m going to explain to you what you’re looking at. Of course, we’re putting in the chat box the link to Tom Myers’ entire talk and by all means, follow that link. We will also put the link tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group for anyone who’s a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group. If you’re not already a member, then just go to Facebook. Go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and just request to become a member of our group. Let’s show you this because this is an amazing video…

To watch the video excerpt with Dr. Trish’s commentary, please visit our YouTube recording of this webinar: The commentary section begins at approximately  24:50. To watch the full Anatomy Trains video by Tom Myers from Talks at Google, please visit:

At this point, I’m going to turn this over to Lisa.

Hello, everybody! So, Dr. Murray has left this slide up just because I just like the picture of how the fascia looks when it’s hydrated and organized. It has this nice pattern to it; everything is straight, and you can tell it would be easy to move around. Then when we become immobile and we get those fascial adhesions and lack of hydration it gets disorganized and dry and looks all tangled like a tangled mess. It reminds me of when you take the hair out of your comb all tangled up and hard to move it around. I just like that little slide as a visual for what the fascia should look like and what it can look like when we stop moving.

From there, I’ll just talk a little bit about a little deeper looking at the fascia and its role in pain. [click_to_tweet tweet=”The fascia has six times as many nerve endings as any other system in the body except for the skin. So, you can see how it responds to movement and touch” quote=”The fascia has six times as many nerve endings as any other system in the body except for the skin. So, you can see how it responds to movement and touch”] and as well as lack of movement and touch. I want to talk a little bit about some of those nerve endings, the neurons, nociceptors that alert us to potentially damaging stimuli. Studies are showing that there are three times as many nociceptive neurons in the lumbar fascia than in the spinal muscles. So, I think so many people deal with lower back pain. Sometimes it’s very specific to an injury or something that has gone on in the body that causes this pain, but sometimes it’s a little less specific. I also, from personal experience, sometimes we get a diagnosis of something and we carry it with us over the years. I think it’s important sometimes, unless you’re actively being treated by your physician, if you’ve had an injury that you started to immobilize yourself in some way (I’m speaking from experience because I’ve done this). We don’t give our bodies the chance to kind of test it out again in a very safe way. It just becomes more immobile, right? It gets that dried out gnarly look like we looked at in that picture. So, we’re going to look at those fascial connections in the lumbar fascia and working kind of outside in. Not necessarily working on right in the lumbar area but the muscles that have those fascial connections right through the lumbar fascia.

Just a couple interesting statistics, I found them interesting. People with lower back pain tend to have 25% thicker connective tissue in the low back which tends to lead to a 20% less shear strain or less slide and glide. I know if you are a participant in my class I talk about slide and glide a lot. Dr. Murray’s mentioned it. It has to do with the ground substance, the glycosaminoglycans like hyaluronic acid. Lack of use, lack of movement causes a 40% loss of hyaluronic acid which leads to reduced ability to slide and glide of those tissues.

So, with that being said, we’re going to look at the lumbar fascia but it’s connections with the muscles that are around it.

To learn the self-myofascial techniques with Lisa Buerk, please watch and follow along with the video of this webinar uploaded to our YouTube channel: These demonstrations begin approximately 33 minutes into the video.

Hopefully you had some sense of relief or just maybe it might be a slight little noticing difference of how you feel. For me, a lot of times the biggest difference or sensation that I have is just that feeling of fluidness and hydration and just juiciness of the tissues that I’ve worked. So, again, as I started to talk about a little bit when we got on the ground…not just the stretching but also strengthening. Very good idea to also join Discover Health Movement Membership’s yoga class and movement for longevity. All very important modalities, all three, to keep the tissues hydrated, sliding and gliding, taking that nice relaxation of the self-myofascial release but working your body a little bit in those other classes as well just to also have some strength there.  It’s a balance of strength and flexibility that really helps keeping our tissues and our bodies moving fluidly and carrying us through life and being able to recover when we do have setbacks and little injuries and things that come up for us.  I hope you found that small presentation interesting and helpful and like I said, this coming Tuesday’s class I’m going to build from there, connecting those three layers that are connected to the lumbar fascia. Even if this didn’t necessarily give you and real sense of relief in the lumbar spine, it might be another muscle that’s connected there that might be partially contributing to what might be going on if you have that lower back pain. I’ll turn it back over to Dr. Murray. Thank you very much!

Lisa, thank you for that. that was awesome! My body feels loosey-goosey and tingly actually after I was done with that.


I do want to share a couple of last slides to just sum up tonight.

Folks, if you’ve enjoyed tonight and you would like to learn more about the fascia and the anatomy of the fascia, my latest book is entitled No More Band-Aids 2.0: Finding Answers in a Broken Medical System. This is a collaborative book of actually seven different authors in the functional medicine world. My chapter in this book is called, “The Missing Link to Healthy Aging.” It’s about the fascial anatomy. I also challenge you to a 21-day challenge and I give you exercises to do, I talk about diet, and I talk about hydration in order to optimize your fascial system. At the end of that 21-day challenge, if you have found benefit, the next step would be, as Lisa brought up, to absolutely join our Discover Health Movement Membership. To get to that or after tonight if you’re like, Wow! I want to be at Lisa’s class on Tuesday, because she is going to give you much more. She presented and demonstrated in the way she teaches during her Self-Myofascial Release class. The other webinars we’ve done over the last two months have been by the other instructors: Jim Chaput who is our Movement for Longevity teacher, his focus is on balance and strength, and Meghan Vestal who is our Discover Yoga instructor. If you want to learn more and you really should sign up because I’m telling you, if you really want to improve your health, if you want to age with grace, if you want to optimize the function of all the systems of your body, go to Thank you so much for joining us tonight, everyone!


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Why Your Posture is so Important

Welcome everyone! The title of this presentation is “Why Your Posture Matters.” My name is Dr. Trish Murray. I am a physician, I am a best-selling author, and I am the Health Catalyst Speaker. I absolutely love supporting people like yourselves that are here who are motivated to take control of your health and transform your lives so you can experience and achieve the goals and aspirations of your dreams.

During this presentation I am going to start out discussing the importance of posture and making some educational points using the slides as we usually do and obviously speaking. But we also have Meghan Vestal with us for this particular webinar. Meghan is the Discover Yoga instructor for our Discover Health Movement Membership, and for the second half of this webinar she is going to discuss posture for a couple of slides in the same way that I am for the first half of the talk. Then we’re going to stop sharing the slides and Meghan is going to demonstrate for you, and have you hopefully experience it with her and do the movements with her, some yoga poses and movements to help you optimize your own posture.

Just to give you a little background for Meghan. Meghan Vestal is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level. She completed both her 200- and 300-hour trainings consecutively through Dragonfly Yoga & Ayurveda in Sandwich, New Hampshire. She teaches a multitude of yoga classes outside, in-studio, and online. Meghan teaches gentle yoga, vinyasa flow, yin yoga, restorative yoga, and beginner yoga. Her philosophy is that everyone can benefit from yoga in some way, and that yoga is ultimately the best practice to connect with body, mind, breath, and spirit. In addition to teaching the physical practice of yoga (called asana), Meghan also provides guided meditation and breath work (pranayama) instruction.

So, why is posture so important? Here’s the thing – most of us were never taught proper posture. If we were, that training more than likely consisted of large-scale school drills telling us to “sit up straight,” “don’t hunch your back,” or “don’t ever carry your school bag on one shoulder even though it’s what all the cool kids are doing.” We were never really taught why.

The majority of us go around unconscious and unaware of the effect that our posture is having on our physical and mental health. Today we’ll discuss the following benefits of correcting your posture:

  • Bone and muscular alignment
  • Joint surface health
  • Optimization of breathing
  • Fatigue prevention
  • Optimizing circulatory health
  • Communication
  • Spine health
  • Fitness and workout functionality
  • Functional health

Wow! Who knew that posture had all these different categories related to it? Now, how do you feel your posture directly affects your everyday life? What I’d like you to do if you’re willing and I hope you just have a piece of paper and a pencil nearby or a pen if you grab it for just a second. I like to have people check in with themselves at the beginning of these talks so that you can get a sense of what do you want to address for yourself. If you take a scrap piece of paper and write down your answer the following questions. First of all, do you feel your posture could be improved? That’s pretty much a yes or no question, of course. But if you feel it could be improved, list a couple things of how is your posture affecting your daily life? How is your posture affecting your daily life? And finally, write down specifically what aspects of your posture you would like to improve. What do you think needs to be improved?

Now that you’ve answered those questions, let’s get into these categories. One of the major reasons why good posture is important for the human body is to ensure that bones and muscles grow and continue to flourish in the healthiest alignment possible. Particularly for children and young people who have not reached their maximum height or finished the growth stages of development, it’s vital to maintain a healthy posture, especially in the spine.

Think of it in terms of a bone fracture or if you break a bone. In order to ensure the break or fracture heals correctly, it must be held in place, aligned, and maintained in a particular way to ensure it doesn’t heal badly. The same can be said of bones and ligaments which are not fully formed yet. 

Positioning the body in its optimal state with regard to gravity and the forces working against us is ultimately what posture describes. It’s key to helping us to heal, grow, and function in the healthiest way possible. This stands true for us in order to age well. The way to fight against the pull of gravity as we age is to maintain our strength, alignment, and balance and working on maintaining optimal posture is one way toward reaching these goals. 

Similar to ensuring that bones develop and strengthen in the most aligned and positioned way, healthy posture is vital to ensuring the continued growth and development of muscles, too. Our muscular composition is continuously changing as we fluctuate between periods of engagement and non-engagement, and the more the muscles are cultivated in certain movement patterns, the more the muscles will grow and support your overall structure. Thus, it makes sense that repeated muscular engagement in repetitive patterns will cultivate habitual movement and habitual posture, and if these habitual posture and patterns are not correct, it can cause dysfunction over time and eventual risk of, of course, injury. 

Now, I love to use the analogy that…what I want you to do is think of your bones as the sticks of a puppet and your muscles and the fascia that surrounds them as the strings of a puppet. The muscles are what support your structure and move your structure, so keeping your muscles and fascia strong, flexible, hydrated, and fluid is extremely important to your posture and overall health.

And as Meghan will show you in a bit, yoga is a great modality to optimize bone and muscle alignment and function. Yoga will strengthen the muscles and help to mobilize, align, and optimize the position of the bones and typically unwind the negative habitual patterns that we develop throughout our typical daily movements or our work patterns.

Joints are formed wherever two bones come together. The surface of your joints and the interaction that bones have when they move in relation to one another is the very foundation of postural health. Correct posture decreases the wear of joint surfaces, which are composed of a substance known as cartilage. Cartilage does not have a very good blood supply, meaning that if you damage it, it actually cannot repair itself very well. This is why it’s so important to place emphasis on healthy movement and optimizing care of your joint structures!

This wearing down of cartilage can occur from poor posture and dysfunctional patterns of movement and dysfunctional patterns when you exercise. Understanding how to move and align the body properly may sound like a basic course of action to combat and prevent the onset of mobility issues, but it’s one that way too many people still neglect. In this way, we can understand how incorrect posture can, over time, lead to the development of diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and more. 

Now, the next reason why maintaining correct physical posture is so important. It may not seem initially obvious, but posture will also have a positive or negative effect on our different organ systems. Remember that your connective tissue system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia, and this system is what connects everything in your body. That’s why it’s called the connective tissue system. When you realize this, it’s no surprise that the bones of the ribcage, the diaphragm muscle, and the fascia that surrounds everything are vital to optimal breathing.

When breaking down the physiology of breathing, it’s fascinating to learn that the majority of people are only breathing to around 30% of the entire lung capacity! And the reasons behind this stems from a lack of correct what? Posture. Now, singers and public speakers are very aware of the effect that correct posture can have on the efficiency of breathing, and it follows that those who suffer breathing complications would benefit from improving their overall posture. By optimizing one’s spinal posture and reducing imbalance of the pelvis (and by the way, if you missed our talk last month go back and listen to my podcast for the podcast and webinar we did last month on imbalances and how to treat them for the pelvis), we give more freedom to the diaphragm muscle and the rib cage to take deeper breaths. Now, utilizing our lung capacity to its full extent has so many benefits which extend far beyond good posture, but posture is definitely a good place to start!

It’s more than just your breathing that’s affected by bad posture, although this in itself can be the root cause for developing subsequent illness and disease. Poor posture can be responsible for at least a contributing factor to the following complications. These are only a few examples:

  • SHOULDER AND BACK PAIN: If your poor posture habits come in the form of upper back and shoulder pain, the cause could be more straightforward to fix than you might think. Tensing the muscles in the upper back for prolonged periods of time can lead to pain and discomfort in this area, especially for those accustomed to sitting at desks or being hunched over for long periods of time.
  • GASTROINTESTINAL AND DIGESTIVE DISCOMFORT: If your poor posture involves the leaning of the head too far forward, it could have a direct effect on your digestive system. The compression of the stomach and intestines which occurs during long periods of sitting can ultimately mess with your digestion and make bowel movements more difficult. This is why it’s recommended to move your body as much as possible throughout the day and why the typical office setting of desk jobs needs to be rethought. You could consider a desk that’s work height can be changed from either sitting height or move it so that you can stand at your desk. Also, take movement breaks every hour to at least walk around or do some twisting or yoga movements as Meghan will be showing you later.
  • SHORTNESS OF BREATH: Another complication resulting from over-compression of the rib cage and lung cavity, many people who suffer from shortness of breath would benefit from improving their overall posture.

Now, posture can also directly affect your energy levels. Remember that habitual bad posture, is going to over compress the lungs and prevent them from providing us enough oxygen to convert into energy. Tight or hypertonic muscles are also compressed and will require extra energy to support and move the bones like the puppet. As such, we wind up spending more energy than necessary on muscular support and keeping ourselves upright.

If the muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and fascia are cultivated through movement we will be well aligned, hydrated, strong, fluid, and then your energy system will benefit rather than be depleted. It might be worth checking in with your postural habits in the workplace and at home to investigate your tendencies. Be mindful of how you are sitting or how you are standing or how you are moving, as they may have a direct effect on your energy levels. It’s interesting to learn that chronic fatigue syndrome often includes posture-correcting exercises in courses of treatment that place emphasis on proper alignment of bones and muscle to ensure an optimized and consistent state of maximized energy.

Now, the circulatory system. Poor circulation can occur as a direct result of what? Poor posture. As we’ve already discussed, contracting the ribcage and diaphragmatic cavity on a regular, unconscious basis can cause a decrease in oxygen supply to the rest of the body. Also, remember that the fascial system or the fascia encases every single blood vessel and every nerve, so if you want your circulatory system and nervous systems to function optimally you must address your connective tissue system and optimize you posture.

And in my latest book, No More Band-Aids 2.0: Finding Answers in a Broken Medical System, which is a collaborative book actually with seven authors, my chapter in the book is entitled “The Missing Link to Healthy Aging.” It explains the fascial system and provides specific steps to take to optimize your fascia. In that chapter, I actually challenge you to a 21-day challenge of doing the exercises I provide you in the chapter and I suggest some very definitive and specific dietary things to follow, and I suggest a very specific amount of water to be drinking every day. If you follow it for the 21 days and you see the differences and you feel better, then hello! That’s going to be hopefully convincing to you that you need to be focused on this connective tissue in your posture and your movement on a regular basis.

Another relatively unexplored facet on the importance of maintaining good posture can be observed in our communication. Relatively speaking, it’s easier to effectively communicate with someone who is calm, relaxed, open, and in a positive frame of mind than someone, of course, who is grouchy, tired, and unwilling to negotiate or discuss ideas. All of these qualities are either consciously or, of course, unconsciously manifested through our body language, which has a direct relation to our posture.

The next time you communicate with someone in a straightforward, pleasant, and relatively easy way, take note of their posture. Chances are it will be good. The flow of blood, oxygen, and energy around their body has ultimately provided them with the most balanced and energized state necessary to conduct productive thought and engage in discussions, instead of someone who might seem stubborn to entertaining ideas or communicate effectively.

Bad posture causes energy to quite literally get stuck in areas of the body which are not designed to hold or process it. Stuck energy has many different ways of manifesting itself – most commonly as negative emotions or unconscious actions. In yoga, these energy centers are referred to as the chakra system, and most practices will focus around balancing out these areas to encourage a steady flow of energy. But you don’t have to be a yogi to understand and smooth out your energy. Simply being more aware of your posture can be an excellent place to start.

The spine is an intricate structure comprised of many webs of nerves, muscles, and important pathways through which energy can travel around the body. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Correct posture is more than just a cosmetic recommendation. It is a vital factor in overall spinal health.” quote=”Correct posture is more than just a cosmetic recommendation. It is a vital factor in overall spinal health.”]

Back and neck pain are two of the most common complaints which are directly caused by poor posture, both of which are associated with the spine being held in asymmetric and dysfunctional positions for prolonged periods of time. Over time, the stress of poor posture can change the anatomical characteristics of the spine, leading to the possibility of constricted blood vessels and nerves, as we’ve talked about, as well as problems with muscles, discs, and joints. All of these can be major contributors to back and neck pain, as well as headaches, fatigue, and possibly even concerns with major organs and, of course as we’ve said, breathing.

In order to optimize posture and improve your ability to move and decrease pain, I am a huge proponent of functional movement as being your focus. So, what does that mean? In order to improve one’s functional movement, diverse whole-body exercises should be implemented. This is why, folks, we have created Discover Health Movement Membership which has weekly online classes in multiple movement modalities to affect your balance, strength, posture, flexibility, and even your mental clarity.

In short, functional movement involves the repetition and engagement of different muscle groups and areas of the body with organic movements. These are designed to access and assess the most fundamental movements of the individual human body. The theory behind it is that our bodies, while they all appear similar in structure, mobility, and function, are in actual fact vastly contrasting from one another and as such will not all benefit from particular exercises in the same way. And if you typically exercise in only one way such as always running or always biking or always weightlifting then your functional movement abilities and performance will not be optimized. You see, movements that integrate the nervous and connective tissue systems in diverse full body exercises will not only help optimize your posture but also your overall health.

There is a surprising amount of correlations between proper posture and elevated mood levels. This is due to a number of reasons, the most evident of which stems from the relatively r[click_to_tweet tweet=”ecent discoveries and studies into the gut-brain relationship. In a situation where the individual is not engaging in proper posture, it’s likely that his or her gastrointestinal tract will be pressured or compressed in one way or another. Recent discoveries and studies into the gut-brain relationship. In a situation where the individual is not engaging in proper posture, it’s likely that his or her gastrointestinal tract will be pressured or compressed in one way or another.”] This can lead to indigestion and complications with nutritional absorption which, of course, occurs in the gut.

This lack of proper digestion and absorption of nutrients in the gut contributes to what has become understood as the gut-brain axis, simply that the gut’s ability to absorb and process nutrients has a direct effect on the neurotransmissions and the neurotransmitters in your brain, which affects your overall sense of wellbeing and positivity. In this way, we can understand how posture and overall happiness are also connected.

It’s not just when we’re sitting down or standing that we should be wary of our posture either. Getting the most out of workouts and ensuring your body stays safe as you strain it and as strain is placed on specific areas during a gym session, for example, comes down to proper alignment and body awareness during exercise. Especially during weightlifting sessions, it’s vital to align the body correctly. Having been a competitive body builder in my twenties and thirties, I was trained and it was drilled into my head, folks, by my trainer that prior to doing any lift to first focus on my feet or my feet and my foundation, then my legs, my pelvis, and then my core before I ever initiated lifting the weight itself. This is imperative to the form of the exercise and kept me from injuring myself over many years of very heavy lifting.

The muscles and ligaments and if they have imbalance that result from poor alignment or imbalanced movement or poor habitual movement whether you’re at work or whether you’re exercising can lead to all sorts of problems including:

  • Specific injury or chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Foot, knee, hip, and back injuries
  • Headaches
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle atrophy and imbalance or weakness
  • Impingement and nerve compression
  • Sciatica
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome

This is why whether you are an elite athlete, a weekend warrior, or a couch potato you need to learn movement techniques and tools that can empower you to align your own spine, unwind your own fascial knots, hydrate your tissues, strengthen your core, and optimize your posture. Now, with all of this in mind I am now going to turn the presentation over to Meghan Vestal, who is our Discover Health Movement Membership yoga instructor.

Yes. Thank you, Trish!


Alright. So, it’s widely thought that the overall most important factor in optimizing our physical posture is simply to cultivate higher levels of body awareness. Studies have shown that those with higher levels of body awareness generally experienced lowered intensities of physical illness than those with lowered body awareness. This supports the theory that simply by being more aware of our bodies, we reduce the likelihood of developing imbalances related to illness and poor posture.


By observing things like gait, repeated movements, and repeated instances of particular illnesses and imbalances, we cultivate greater body awareness. Other things that improve our ability to accurately observe our bodies on deeper and more personal levels are things such as yoga, pilates, and meditation. The slowed-down, strength and alignment-based movements of these exercises allow practitioners to cultivate a stronger sense of bodily alignment which, over time, can lead to drastic improvements in things such as body awareness and body image.


In anatomy, proprioception refers to the awareness and sense of the relative positioning of one’s physical place in space and the impressions and beliefs of strengths and weaknesses to this.

So, you might be asking yourself, how do I improve my posture? It’s one thing to understand your poor posture and accept that maybe something should change, but it’s another thing to actually know how to safely do so.

As with any physical adjustment and alignment,optimum posture varies for everyone, and it’s incredibly important to ensure that any changes you make are actually beneficial and healthy for your body. There are a number of ways that we can have poor posture, but I’ll go through two specific examples:

  1. SLOUCHING: If you’re used to slouching in a chair, the exercises to strengthen your core and buttock muscles (along with some back extensions) will help correct a slouching posture. Exercises to correct this slumping or slouching include things like bridges, back extensions, and planks.
  2. PRONOUNCED LOWER BACK CURVE: If your bottom tends to stick out, you may have hyperlordosis. This kind of looks like a “Donald Duck” posture. So, core and buttock strengthening exercises, hip flexor and thigh stretches, and making a conscious effort to correct your standing posture are recommendations to help correct a sticking out bottom. Exercises to also correct this “Donald Duck” posture include things such as planking, side-lying leg raises, hip flexor stretches, and the standing thigh stretch.

To learn the posture exercises with Meghan Vestal, please watch and follow along with the video of this webinar uploaded to our YouTube channel: These demonstrations begin approximately 34 minutes into the video. You’ll want to have a chair, a mat, a blanket, and a mirror (optional) to participate along with Meghan’s demonstration.

Thank you, Meghan, for your presentation. Awareness – that was a really awesome thing to point out to folks. If we’re not aware, we do so many things in our unconscious, habitual behaviors. What I’d like folks to do right now is look back at maybe the way you answered the questions in the beginning and then ask yourself how do you feel right now compared to the way you did when you signed in to the webinar tonight. I can tell you that I’ve had a very busy day and even though my job is to treat patients with my hands and I’m up and down out of my chair and back in my chair throughout the day, stress and things make my body tight. The wonderful presentation that Meghan just gave…I was sitting originally at my desk here giving this presentation. At first, I did it in my desk chair when we were seated, then I just moved my chair out of the way and did the movements. I feel less stressed, I feel more relaxed, my muscle tightness has reduced, and my posture feels like it’s better! Ask yourself, what did you notice or what do you notice right now that might be different for you if you went through those movements with Meghan. Go ahead and write it down on your own little piece of scrap paper.

Ultimately, folks, good posture is important for so many different aspects of our lives. Optimizing your posture can outshine the effects of many exercises. You see, no amount of working out can fix bad posture.

This is why we created Discover Health Movement Membership. This program provides three online classes per week, one of which is, of course, Discover Yoga with Meghan who just presented her wonderful presentation. The second class each week is Self-Myofascial Release which teaches you how to unwind your own fascial knots and adhesions. The third is Movement for Longevity which educates you on how to optimize the interaction between your nervous system and your connective tissue system.

All of these classes are put together to complement each other in optimizing your physical performance and movement as well as your mental clarity. To learn more about Discover Health Movement Membership you’re going to go to

I hope you’ve found today’s class to be informative, and if there’s anything more I can do to help you understand the importance of maintaining good posture, please let me know and reach out.

As we age our posture, strength, flexibility, and overall health takes more and more effort to maintain. Our goal at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center and Discover Health Movement Membership is to make this easier by giving you the information and the tools you need to take control of your health so you can transform your life. 

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding what we’ve covered today. If you think of something later there are numerous ways that you can reach out to us. First of all, you could go to Facebook, and if you’re not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, just go to Discover Health Functional Medicine Center’s Facebook page and request to join our Discover Health Facebook Group. Everyone is welcome! In that group you can ask questions and we also will post all of the resources we used to put this talk together tonight. Another way to reach out is through Health Coach Trish. There’s Dr. Trish and there’s Health Coach Trish. Coach Trish just has a lot more time than I do to receive the emails and then go to the right person to get the answers. Her email is .  

And as we typically do after every one of my monthly presentations or webinars, we post in our Discover Health Facebook Group numerous links to the resources that were used to create the presentation. Again, to join our Discover Health Facebook Group, just go to Discover Health Functional Medicine Center on our Facebook page and request to join our group!

So, thank you all for attending today and giving your all. Also, I want to thank Meghan for her awesome presentation and for taking us through some yoga moves that will help us optimize our posture. Just remember – strong posture starts with good body awareness!

And don’t miss next month’s webinar as it will be all about the anatomy and function of the fascia. Lisa Buerk, our Self-Myofascial Release teacher, will be joining me to show you some of the Self-Myofascial Release techniques. You are not going to want to miss it because as I say in my latest book, the fascial system is the missing link to healthy aging.

I want to thank everyone so much for coming. Meghan, thank you so much for presenting. It was wonderful! We will see everyone next month for a focus on the fascial anatomy and self-myofascial release.


Watch this full webinar on our YouTube channel:

Contact Meghan Vestal

For more information on the Discover Health Movement Membership



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Raw and Living Foods

Welcome to Raw & Living Foods! If we’ve not met, my name is Dr. Trish Murray and I am a physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. It is my passion to educate you on the tools to achieve optimal health! I am here as a facilitator and a support system to assist you in any way I can, whether it be from guiding you to make informed decisions about your health or helping you identify and remove any limitations that may be in the way of achieving your goals!

The Raw and Living Foods Diet is a lifestyle choice that promotes eating food in their natural, unaltered state. A food is considered “raw” as long as it has not been processed, refined, pasteurized, or heated over essentially 104°F. You see, it is believed that the processing and heating of food reduce its nutritional value and makes it less available for our bodies to use as fuel. In contrast, raw foods are also expressed as living foods due to their intact living enzymes that otherwise would be killed off in the cooking process. Instead, this diet implements different means of preparation, such as blending, juicing, dehydrating, sprouting, and soaking.

There are so many delicious foods included in the Raw and Living Foods Diet. I am going to read out, at this time, a list for you to contemplate. But, of course, when I provide lists of things or resources we always go ahead and post them in our Discover Health Facebook Group for people to be able to utilize. If you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, then all you need to do is simply go to Facebook and go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and simply request to join the group.

Now, this list of foods that you can contemplate are obviously things like:

  • fresh fruits
  • raw vegetables
  • raw nuts and seeds
  • raw grains and legumes (soaked and sprouted)
  • dried fruits
  • nut milks (almond milk, coconut milk, etc.)
  • cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil
  • fermented foods
  • sea vegetables and algae (like seaweed)
  • edible flowers

Some people also choose to include raw dairy, eggs, meat, and fish, but these options are a matter of preference as well as availability and, of course, a big portion of it is concerned around safety.

The foods to avoid when going on a raw diet include:

  • cooked fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats
  • roasted nuts and seeds
  • refined oils, sugars, and flours
  • baked goods
  • pasteurized dairy
  • coffee
  • alcohol
  • processed snacks

These foods are commonly a massive part of our daily diets, but to know the power in removing them and the benefits of transitioning to a raw lifestyle make it all worth the change!

Everyone can benefit from a raw diet! The process of cooking foods denatures valuable digestive enzymes we use in our bodies. This leads to cooked foods often being more difficult for our body to digest optimally, causes physical stress on the body in order to be able to digest it properly, and costs more energy to sustain ourselves and our being. Beneficial nutrients like antioxidants and vitamins are lost in cooked foods transforming our once-nutrient-dense food into subpar nutrition.

Raw foods, however, provide nutrients, efficient energy expenditure, and a balanced gut, as what we feed our microbiome (the bugs that live within us that we live in synergy with) determines which organisms live in our ecosystem. This is important for everyone, but people that suffer from any of the following will especially benefit:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • bone issues
  • kidney disease
  • gallstones
  • food allergies
  • fatigue
  • joint pain
  • frequent headaches
  • autoimmune diseases
  • hormonal imbalances
  • pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)

That’s a pretty extensive list, and it’s not even an exhaustive list! Absolutely, a raw food diet and getting the optimal enzymes would benefit just about everyone.

The benefits of implementing a raw foods diet are plentiful! Some benefits include:

  • decreasing inflammation
  • improving digestion
  • increasing natural energy
  • clearing skin imperfections
  • maintaining a healthy body weight
  • preventing nutrient deficiencies
  • lowering the number of antinutrients in your diet
  • providing high content of nutrients and phytochemicals
  • preventing many diseases (such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer)
  • adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle

These are only a handful of the many benefits of how the raw food lifestyle can benefit you, and I will also be highlighting a few of these in more detail as we go along.

Folks, the most important thing out there in the chronic disease world is to decrease inflammation in order to prevent the ability of diseases to take place in the first place. They’re two of the most important relationships with the raw food diet and your health. This has always been true, but especially now during the COVID-19 global pandemic we must take responsibility for our health by decreasing inflammation so that we can optimize our immune system function and protect ourselves.

Research has found that inflammation is at the root of almost every health condition, but inflammation is not always, remember, a bad thing. Our immune system does it because it is a role is to defend our bodies, remove harmful invaders, and aid in this healing process. You’ve got to realize, there are two different kinds of inflammation. One is acute inflammation and the other is chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation begins quickly and also subsides rather quickly, or once the problem is resolved, such as if you step off a curb, roll your ankle, and sprain your ankle you’re going to get immediate swelling and pain and redness maybe and warmth in that joint. You’re going to see it and feel it. Over seven to ten days, it’s going to start to resolve and within a couple of weeks it should be back to normal. That is acute inflammation and a normal healing response of the body and the immune system. However, [click_to_tweet tweet=”chronic inflammation is often a result of a poor diet since the body is continually struggling to eliminate the insubstantial nourishment.” quote=”chronic inflammation is often a result of a poor diet since the body is continually struggling to eliminate the insubstantial nourishment.”]

How does disease evolve from inflammation, you ask? Folks, disease is inflammation! Chronic inflammation has been linked to all of the following diseases:

  • heart disease
  • arthritis
  • asthma
  • diabetes
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Crohn’s disease (IBD)
  • multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • lupus
  • osteoporosis
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • cancer
  • and many, many more

Raw and livings foods are packed with nutrients! When we eat food that is more bioavailable to us or easier for our bodies to digest, we end up satiated without depleting our energy reserve as raw foods are inherently healthier than the processed alternatives and offer the best balance of water, fiber, and nutrients your body needs. Let’s go over and talk in a little bit more detail about some of the major nutrients that we get from raw foods that you may not get as optimally once you cook and heat them.

1 – Fiber

Fiber is an indigestible component of plant foods. We do not digest fiber. It helps to populate the gut with the beneficial bacteria, it helps to lower cholesterol, it helps to regulates our blood sugar, and it helps to prevent constipation. Fiber is one of the best examples of the symbiotic relationship between us and the microbes or the bugs that live in our gut. We actually are not able to digest fiber. The bugs or microbes that live in our colon digest fiber”] for us and when they do, they produce what are called short-chain fatty acids (SCFA). These SCFA are the nutrients that feed the cells of our own gut lining. So, this example shows that we need our microbiome to digest certain foods for us and to feed the cells that line our colon. Therefore, if you want your gut to function optimally you must ingest fiber.

2 – Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are plant chemicals that contain disease-preventing compounds. Some examples include chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and lycopene. The prefix “phyto-” means plant, so these are nutrients that come from different colored plants to protect them from germs, fungi, insects, and other threats. Folks, [click_to_tweet tweet=”there are thousands of different phytonutrients and there are different ones in different colored fruits and vegetables. This is why you want to be sure you eat all the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables as much as you possibly can.” quote=”there are thousands of different phytonutrients and there are different ones in different colored fruits and vegetables. This is why you want to be sure you eat all the colors of the rainbow in fruits and vegetables as much as you possibly can.”]I try and eat every color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple) of fruits and vegetables, at least one serving of every color every single day of my life so that I get as many phytonutrients as a I can. If they protect the plant, they’re then also going to protect you! 

3 – Antioxidants

We’ve all heard the term “antioxidants,” but what the heck are they? What are antioxidants? Antioxidants neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and stress on the cells of your body. Free radicals are formed when any chemical is being broken down or detoxified by your body. We all produce hormones; we all produce chemicals in our body, and we take chemicals into our body from the outside world. Our body must detoxify them and break them down. Part of breaking chemicals apart is that they are positively charged or oxidized and can cause increased degeneration, aging, or inflammation in the body. Antioxidants are negatively charged chemicals, and what they do is they bind to those positively charged free radicals and therefore neutralize them. This will slow or even eliminate the degenerative process, aging, and of course inflammation. 

4 – Vitamin and Minerals

Raw and living foods are full of vitamin and minerals, often with a high nutrient-per-calorie ratio.”]They are abundant and bioavailable and provide us with a vast amount of the A, Bs, Cs of all the vitamins. I don’t know about you, but I would rather get as much of my vitamins and minerals from real food rather than having to take supplements consistently all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong – I take quite a few supplements in my day and every day of my life, but remember they are meant to be supplemental to our diet and not eating the typical American diet or cooked foods and subpar nutrient foods and then expecting those supplements to do all the work. That’s not the right thinking.

The raw food lifestyle is an environmentally conscious decision for many other reasons. It’s a very eco-friendly diet. Almost a third of the global carbon footprint is attributed to the food we eat but taking a stand on committing to eating raw foods significantly decreases our carbon footprint impact. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the fossil fuel input for the production of one calorie of animal protein is ten times larger than the input needed for a calorie of plant protein. That adds up pretty quickly!

Furthermore, raw foods will rarely come in unnecessary packaging like cans, wrappers, plastic, or Styrofoam. This reduction in garbage makes a huge contribution to the integrity of our Earth. Less waste, whether it be energy waste or packaging waste, is produced when implementing a raw foods lifestyle. This is something that is of utmost importance and all of us must be mindful for our kids and grandkids. 

Adopting a raw and living foods lifestyle usually requires quite a bit of change for the average person. Here are some tips that will make for a smoother transition. First and foremost, folks, after listening to this if you’re going to make some changes, make small, sustainable changes. We never recommend going from A to Z in one step. It takes time and life is a journey. Transitions are a journey. Another recommendation is trying to fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables. Next, lightly cook foods (less than 100°F) when you want to heat them or warm them up. Experiment with steaming, light slow cooking, juicing, and sprouting. Begin to focus on quality when phasing out cooked, animal products. Practice moderation; this is definitely not all-or-nothing! You can live a lifestyle that is a mixture of raw and living foods and cooked foods. Replace all refined grains and sugars with healthier alternatives. Please swap out and stop ingesting hydrogenated oils for healthier oils like cold-pressed olive oil or coconut oil. Hydrogenated oils are essentially, folks, a poison. Try to grow some food on your own and have a garden! Plan ahead with an arsenal of recipes and places to get fresh foods. Keep it simple and make sure to include a lot of variety. Again, remember color and all the colors of the rainbow. Learn to listen to your body’s needs. And start where you are! Wherever you are, it’s the best place to start! Up next, I will be sharing tons of resources to get you inspired, confident, and excited to start your journey on raw foodism.

Before I do that, I want to give a discussion here and talk about soaking and sprouting. This is extremely important because, you see, eating seeds and nuts and beans – all of those are essentially seeds. Seeds are the babies of plants and determine the continuance of their species. Of course, they need to protect themselves! Seeds and nuts and beans that are all basically different kinds of seeds contain toxins. They contain things that are called lectins. They contain (as you see on this slide) phytic acid, and they contain anti-nutrients. All of these chemicals or things that are on the outside of the seed are meant to protect them against predators. These natural toxins that exist as a coating around the seed or the nut or the bean exist in order to protect them and they can inhibit absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract. As you can see on this slide, the way to get rid of these toxins (phytic acids, lectins, and protective antinutrients) is to soak seeds before you eat them. When you soak them, it will break down the coating that is protective to the seedling. You are starting the process when you soak seeds of the germination process. The germination process of first soaking and then sprouting of germination:

  • produces vitamin C
  • increases vitamin B content (especially B2, B5, and B6)
  • increases vitamin A (carotene) eightfold
  • increases fiber that’s available to you, the iron, and the protein
  • sprouting neutralizes phytic acid in the coating and the lectins in the grains, legumes, and seeds
  • enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process

How do you do this? How do you soak and then how do you sprout? Let’s talk about soaking first because that’s the first thing you want to do. When you buy raw nuts, bean, or any type of raw grain, you’re going to put them in a glass bowl or a half-gallon canning jar, for example. Then you’re going to cover them with twice as much filtered water as the amount of nuts and seeds or beans you have in your container. You’ll also want to add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a half tablespoon of salt for every two cups of nuts, seeds, or beans that you’ve put in your container. The point of that is also to help break down that coating of phytic acid. Then you basically just wait and let your legumes, grains, and seeds soak for an appropriate amount of time.

What’s the appropriate amount of time? That depends, guys, on the type of nut or seed or bean or legume or grain that you’re soaking. That information, if I started listing that off of a million different things, you’d never remember. Look up and Google, you know a wonderful thing, “how long do I need to soak cashews in order to break down the phytic acid?” Or “how long do you need to soak cashews?” It’s 2 – 2.5 hours. The other thing that’s interesting is that cashews do not sprout. When we talk about soaking and sprouting, there are certain nuts that do not sprout. Cashews are an example, and you would soak them for 2 – 2.5 hours and not expect them to sprout. Pecans you want to soak from 4 – 6 hours, and they also do not sprout. However, almonds, another example, you would soak from 8 – 10 hours and it will take them as many as 12 hours to start the sprouting process. Almonds do sprout. Again, you can Google this. You can search on the web for soaking and sprouting and how long does it take for black beans or almonds or cashews or any type of grain. You can figure it out!

When you’ve soaked something for the appropriate amount of time, here is where you can choose to stop your journey and continue down another path towards eating it because you’ve eliminated the phytic acid and broken down that coating. Once you’ve soaked them, you can dehydrate them in a dehydrator or you could dehydrate them overnight in an oven or during the day for anywhere from…it usually takes to dry them out and dehydrate them at the lowest setting your oven will go for maybe eight or ten hours until they are completely dry. Nuts, once you’ve soaked them, can be made into nut milk. Recipes later I’ll be listing off…you’ll hear about cashew cheese or cashew milk that can be made at home using cashews that you’ve soaked.

Beans also as soon as you’ve soaked them for the appropriate amount of time based on the type of bean can be cooked right away after that. They’ll take less time to cook, of course, after you’ve soaked them.

Now, the next question is if you’ve soaked something and you do want to sprout it. In order to sprout it, it takes longer. What you want to do is place anything you’ve soaked whether it be beans, grains, seeds, nuts and you’re going to place them in a jar and put what’s called a sprouting lid on the jar. What does that mean? A sprouting lid is one that has holes in it, and it looks like a filter, if you will, at the top of the jar rather than a closed top. It has holes in it. You usually will put it on an angle face down in your dish rack because you want to allow the excess water to drain off and also air can circulate throughout the bottle and the jar throughout the day. Then you’re going to rinse at least twice a day, but maybe several times a day. You’re going to put water in the jar, rinse it out, and then put it upside down and rinse it out again. Again, how long does it take to sprout different types of things? Again, you can look this up online. Lentils, for example, will take anywhere from twelve hours to three days to start to sprout. They can sprout to at least an eighth of an inch long. You’ll see this white or green tail coming off the seed. Broccoli, to compare, takes as many as four to six days to sprout and they will grow as many as a one to two-inch-long sprouts once they’ve germinated and started sprouting. I hope that helps about the concept of being able to soak and sprout nuts and seeds and grains and beans.

Juicing is a great way to get a concentrated amount of plant nutrients and to be creative in the kitchen! With juicing you are essentially removing all fibrous materials, leaving only the liquid of the fruits and vegetables. Juicing can be done with a specific kitchen appliance called a juicer, or it can also be done using a typical blender and then using cheese cloth, for example, to separate the fiber from the juice. There are many different delicious juice blends to try. Two examples are just to list it off so you can hear it, again we will put this in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow. You can take one orange, one cup of strawberries, two kale leaves, three carrots, one peeled banana, throw it all in the juicer and get an amazing blend. Another example is to take three stalks of celery, half a large cucumber, one green apple, and one pear. You notice, you can do quite a mixture of different fruits and vegetables to get amazing options for juicing.

Honestly, for me though I prefer smoothies because I also get the fiber in my diet with these.  With blending you get all the pulp and fiber that bulks up the produce in the first place. This can help you feel fuller and improve your digestive health.

I have actually created a Smoothie Video Course that takes you through many different options for making smoothies. It’s a series of five different videos, and I start out with the most basic concept of let’s say a fruit, a protein powder, and almond or coconut milk. But by the fourth video you will be amazed by how many things are on the countertop that I am demonstrating that you can use as ingredient options from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, spices, herbs, and even supplements. I personally drink a smoothie for breakfast most days and find it sustains me throughout a busy morning for as much as six or seven hours without feeling hungry or needing any snack to keep me going. You can get my smoothie course in the shop of my website at

There are so many smoothie options out there as far as recipes. Of course, you can also Google that and find out. We do have a list of different recipes with connections to different websites such as a mango and hemp smoothie or a chocolate and blueberry zucchini smoothie or a super kale shake or a turmeric ginger smoothie. If any of these sounds good, again make sure that you check out our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow and we will be listing all of those links for you.

You are not limited to starting your day with a juice or a smoothie. There are so many other options. Here are some great alternative breakfast ideas to consider. Chia pudding is something that you can make. If you take chia seeds and you put them into a glass canning jar and simply add coconut milk or almond milk and keep shaking it until the chai seeds stop sinking, they’re going to start soaking up all the liquid and within a few hours being in the refrigerator it turns into a pudding. It’s delicious!

Another option are acai bowls. Acai is a berry with very high antioxidants and low sugar content. You usually purchase this either as a power or you can purchase it as a frozen pulp of the berry. This berry is a very delicate berry so it’s not like you would eat it like a blueberry raw. You usually buy it as a frozen pulp or as a powder or as even a supplement in a capsule. Especially if you buy it as the frozen pulp, an acai bowl is as thick and creamy in consistency as yogurt and is the base of the acai bowl. Then you can layer it with other things like strawberries, roots, hemp, etc. Of course, another option for breakfast could be granola or fruit salad.

Something I’ve learned about in preparing this presentation for you tonight is called banana “ice cream.” I’ve started making it since I’ve been planning this talk. What I’ve learned you do is you take a couple (2 – 3) bananas that are quite ripe, and you put them in your freezer. Then you take those frozen bananas and you put them in your blender or your food processor until they become the texture of soft ice cream. If you add a little fat such as nut butter or full thickness coconut milk, it starts to taste unbelievable delicious and like a soft serve ice cream!

Another option is no-bake cookies. If you simply Google “no-bake cookies” they are usually in the vegan world and you will learn a ton about how to make no-bake cookies. They usually do involve dehydrating so either using a dehydrator or using the lowest temperature your oven will possibly go to.

Another option, of course, is a raw banana bread. This is typically a mix of bananas, flax, nuts, dates, and other fruits and veggies in a food processor then poured into a pan and either dehydrated at the lowest possible temperature of your oven. These are all possibilities. We’re not done yet! Raw protein bars; any protein bar that is made without baking can be made with dehydrated fruit, nut butters and ground up nuts, dates, etc. Again, you could be Googling these things or go to Pinterest and look up “raw protein bars.” I’ve made these many times by buying dehydrated fruits, nuts, and seeds and breaking them up, adding a nut butter, and shaping them by making them into a mold. Another is raw porridge. Soak buckwheat and almonds, for example, and then throw this in your food processor with cinnamon, fruit, and tahini. Process for a few seconds and “voilà” – you have raw porridge to eat with a spoon for breakfast. Obviously, the other thing for breakfast options is to eat salads. Salads aren’t just for lunch and dinner, folks. You can shift your thinking that breakfast can only be one type of food or another. Get creative with it! To search these different concepts, again, check out vegan recipe sites or Pinterest.

Salads on a raw and living foods diet are going to be a staple, but they do not need to be boring. I can list off some inspiration of some delicious salad names, and again these will all have links tomorrow on our Discover Health Facebook Page. Rainbow slaw with sweet tahini dressing; arugula, fennel, and citrus salad; superfood kale garden salad; kale cucumber Caesar salad; quinoa, cauliflower, and cranberry salad with cashew miso dressing; and then Pad Thai salad. If any of these are sounding interesting and your mouth is watering, please go to our Discover Health Facebook Group page and check these out tomorrow. Some more recipes to get your taste buds watered up if you haven’t eaten yet tonight or if you want to learn more about these. Sun-dried tomato raw hummus (if you haven’t made hummus before it’s so easy to make and it’s delicious), lentil and walnut tacos, raw lasagna with cashew cheese (remember I talked earlier about soaking cashews and then you can make your own cashew cheese), portobello mushroom with cashew cheese is another cashew cheese option, raw sushi rolls, kelp noodle pesto, summer vegetable soup, sun-dried tomato and corn chowder, you can even learn how to make raw savory crackers. Again, tomorrow on our Discover Health Facebook Group we’re going to list all the resources we used to create this talk as well as all of these different recipes and I haven’t even read all of them off. If you’re someone out there that is either already eating a raw diet for a big percentage of your lifestyle – that’s awesome! If you’re looking for new recipes, you may want to check that out. If you’re someone who really is new to this and has never really understood what a raw diet is like and you’d like to try it and learn some recipes and some new ideas, please make sure to check out all the resources.

I know that I just shared a ton of information with you and it may be a bit overwhelming. That’s okay, especially if it’s new. Healthy eating is a staple of a high-quality lifestyle, and it is something to put time and energy into as the side effects include more energy, a higher quality of life, protection against diseases, and feeling great!

If you feel like you need support on incorporating more raw and living foods into your diet, We are here to help! Actually, Health Coach Trish from our office, Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, will be starting a new Healthy Nutrition Class next week starting next Monday August 24. There will be a small in-person class for only a maximum of six participants with, of course, appropriate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but there will also be an online zoom version of the class as well. The live class will be starting on Monday and be for five Mondays, and that timeslot will be from 4:00 – 5:00 PM EST. The online version of the class will be 7:00 – 8:00 PM EST. If you’re local and you want to be in the local class, we already have four or five signed up so there are not many spots left so call us immediately. If you’re interested in the online class there’s not a restriction of how many people can take it, but a number of people are already signed up. If you’re interested in either version, just email or call our office at 603-447-3112.

Thank you for taking the time to experience this program on raw and living foods. I love sharing this topic with people who are eager to amplify their health. This group was just awesome! If you have any further questions or any questions at all, please I hope you’ve been posting them in the chat box. If you come up with questions later, even after we’re done this evening, please realize that you can post them at Discover Health Facebook Group or you can also email them to that same email address . Our coach, Health Coach Trish, is in charge of overseeing those emails and she brings any of them to me and we discuss them and then we respond.

We’ll see you next month on the next webinar! I’m in the process of creating the whole next years’ worth of topics. We’re also going to be starting to promote more and more our Discover Health Movement Membership. I think next month’s we’ve planned to do something on the pelvic floor, and I’m going to have Jim Chaput with me who is an Applied Movement Neurology Master. He has also done a study on pelvis floor dysfunction with folks based on his modality. If you want to hear both of us speak on pelvic floor dysfunction or you have friends who have problems with that, then be sure not to miss next month’s webinar.

Take care, everybody!

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Heart Health 101

Hello everyone and welcome to this program on the heart and heart disease 101. I am Dr. Trish Murray – physician, author, and Health Catalyst Speaker. To kick off our event today, it is important that we are all on the same page when it comes to understanding what heart disease truly is.

According to Medical News Today, Heart disease is a term used to describe several conditions, many of which are related to plaque buildup in the walls of the arteries.” I’m going to be explaining how and why plaques develop. What truly causes an acute heart attack or a stroke to happen is that a plaque in the wall of an artery becomes unstable and either what’s called the cap or, if you will, the scab that is securing the plaque breaks down allowing the insides to spill into the bloodstream and form a clot that eventually blocks blood flow to a part of your heart or brain. Now that we are all clear on this, you may be asking yourself how this relates to you and if plaques are the problem, what causes them? How do they become unstable? How do I know if I am at risk?

With the following information I’m going to shake up your world a little bit! You see, abnormal cholesterol levels are NOT the primary causes or indicators of heart disease. Consuming a high cholesterol diet or eating eggs does NOT significantly raise your cholesterol levels. All LDL or “bad cholesterol” is NOT harmful. All HDL or “good cholesterol” is NOT protective. Blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office may NOT be an accurate measure of your true blood pressure. Fasting glucose or sugar of 99 when the normal range in the traditional medical model is less than 100 is NOT safe or normal. Normal body weight does NOT ensure heart health. You see, most doctors talk about coronary heart disease prevention as if it were a matter of simply dodging five specific bullets”

  1. Elevated cholesterol such as the “bad guy” LDL
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Diabetes mellitus
  4. Obesity
  5. Smoking

Now, I’m not saying these aren’t important. As important as these five items are, in many regards this list is ten to fifteen years outdated. That’s what we’re going to be talking about tonight.

This is the cover of a book written by Mark Houston who is a physician as well as a has a master’s degree in nutrition. What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease. The information in this presentation is predominantly sourced from this particular book and journal articles written by Dr. Mark Houston. Again, he is a cardiologist and he has a master’s degree in nutrition. He has been the primary cardiology instructor for the Institute for Functional Medicine for many, many years.

I’m going to read to you in a moment in Dr. Mark Houston’s words a little passage from his book. This is, “I prefer to think of the evolution of heart disease as a trip through a giant maze. When you first enter the heart disease maze, you see hundreds of little pathways that wander all over the place leading nowhere in particular. The walls lining these pathways are low and there’s plenty of light, so you experience no feeling of urgency or danger. Instead, you feel as if you can safely wander from path to path forever. If you just stroll down a few of these paths for a while then hopped over the short walls and walked out of the heart disease maze all would be well; however, if you kept walking and followed too many paths or followed one or more for too long, you would suddenly realize that you were moving along a different kind of path – one with higher walls, less light, and a kind of spooky feeling. You would have moved from the innocuous variations pathway to the one of considerably more dangerous ‘fast track to heart disease’ pathways. You wouldn’t have noticed any signs indicating you were leaving in the little variations pathways and entering the ominous fast track to heart disease pathways, but there you’d be. For many people, the fast track pathways of greatest concern are the following seven. These seven are the inflammation pathway, the oxidative or toxic stress pathway, the vascular autoimmune pathway, the dyslipidemia pathway, the blood pressure pathway, the blood sugar pathway, and/or the obesity and increased body fat pathway.”

Again, from Dr. Houston’s words, “As a hypertension and vascular specialist practicing preventative cardiology, I’ve been frustrated by the fact that most people have no idea they’re in the heart disease maze until they are already on the faulty arteries pathway or have splattered into the brick wall at the end of the journey. If only they knew how easy it is to step out of the maze at the beginning of the journey or how to get off the fast track to heart disease and faulty arteries pathway or better yet, how to avoid them all together. But they don’t know because they’re not told these things by their physicians.”

Let’s look at an artery, particularly what’s called the endothelium which is where the trouble begins. Folks, arteries carry blood away from the heart. They are complex, multilayered living tubes. They have three layers to them. The most inner layer is called the tunica intima. The tunica intima is the inner most layer and is composed of a thin layer of endothelial cells that in the smallest arteries, called capillaries. This is actually the only layer that exists, and this is the layer that nutrients and gases pass (like oxygen) through to get into your tissues. The next layer of the artery is called the tunica media. This is a muscular middle layer made of smooth muscle that allows an artery to constrict or dilate to adjust the volume of blood needed by a particular area of your body or tissue. The final layer of an artery is called the tunica externa. This is the outer most layer of the artery and is made up of connective tissue that provides protection for the vessel or the artery or the hose or the tube.

Now, the intima or the endothelium lining the vessel of the artery is the point of contact between blood inside the vessel and the inner artery wall. Remember that the endothelium is extremely thin. It is just one cell layer deep. If you’ve listened to my other talks and you’ve learned about the intestines, then you know that the lining of our intestines is also only one cell layer thick. Similar to the lining of the intestines, our arteries our inner lining…remember the concept of leaky gut? Well, you can have leaky arteries as well. Now, the job of the endothelial lining and the cells that make up the endothelium of your arteries, folks, have a lot of jobs that they have to do:

  1. Act as a barrier
  2. Fight off disease by regulating immune responses to bacteria, viruses, or other types of infectious agents
  3. Regulate blood pressure
  4. Control the response to toxins (such as inflammation and oxidative stress)
  5. Control blood clotting
  6. Control the growth of new arteries (Neovascularization: if a certain area of your body needs more vessels you grow more of them. Remember, this is living tissue. We are alive and we can grow new arteries at different times.)

The endothelium, or the intima, makes executive decisions and is a living organ. [click_to_tweet tweet=”As one of the largest organs in the body, it consists of the surface area of 6 ½ tennis courts!” quote=”As one of the largest organs in the body, it consists of the surface area of 6 ½ tennis courts!”] It is not protected. In continues to be in direct contact with bacteria, toxins, hormones, and other substances that can either harm it or give it information or alter its behavior.

The belief that heart disease happens due to excess cholesterol just sticking to the inner lining of your arteries is an obsolete and completely outdated concept! Heart disease truly begins with an injury to your endothelium, that inner lining of an artery, that then leads to wound healing. Just in the same way that if you scratch your skin and you have wound healing, if you scratch the inner lining of your artery you also are going to have, what? Wound healing. It is the wound healing process initiated by your immune system that then leads to the development of an atherosclerotic plague. So, let’s take a look at this process.

What happens is, in your blood certain things can be dangerous to the vessel wall. A microscopic scratch or irritation to the endothelium can be caused by many different things. Some of the things that can cause this are:

  • sugar
  • cigarette smoke
  • chronic infections
  • heavy metals
  • oxidized (or toxic) LDL
  • elevated blood pressure
  • inflammation

You see, once a scratch or irritation occurs to an area of the endothelium white blood cells, platelets, and other immune cells rush to patch things up and initiate the wound healing response. Now, some of these cells burrow inside the artery wall and create a toxic brew that remains and gets walled off from the bloodstream, and a fibrous cap or scab forms over this toxic brew. This brew that is now enclosed within the artery wall – you got it – is the development of an atherosclerotic plaque.

But guess what? This walled off toxic brew is not harmless! You see, it continues to send out signals to increase inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune responses. Over time the toxic brew grows larger and more dangerous, especially if you’re on one of those seven fast tracks to heart disease paths and in the heart disease maze. See, as the plaque grows it then may bulge into the lumen (the inner aspect of the hose of the artery) and interfere with blood flow. But what you need to need to understand is that’s not what causes the heart attacks. Even a 50-90% blockage can be actually asymptomatic, meaning you don’t even know it’s there.

The real reason why a heart attack truly happens and when it happens is that the fibrous cap or scab comes off and the toxic brew of the plaque and the insides of the toxic brew is spewed into the bloodstream. Substances in the toxic brew initiate an instantaneous blood clot. This immediate clot formation can be big enough to fill the artery, block blood flow, and cause, therefore, a heart attack or a stroke.

Again, I’m going to share with you a bit of story from Dr. Houston’s book. This story is about a gentleman named Ron. “Ron, a 42-year-old man, was rushed to the emergency room when he complained of chest pain. He told the doctors that he had been having ‘moderate chest pain’ off and on for several months. Ron, who was severely overweight, also divulged that he smoked a pack of cigarettes every day and was under a lot of stress. He was given the standard tests which revealed that he had elevated levels of total cholesterol, LDL (the bad guy cholesterol), blood pressure, and fasting blood sugar. However, his cardiac angiogram showed that his coronary arteries were all ‘wide open’ with only minimal blockage. That’s not surprising. For toxic brews can be hidden in the arterial walls and not protrude much into the lumen of the artery. Ron’s doctors assured him that he was fine and just needed to stop smoking, lose weight, take medicines to control his cholesterol, and otherwise keep his big five risk factors under control. Ron turned out to be an excellent patient and took his medicines exactly as prescribed. He also lost twenty pounds and cut back from one pack to half a pack of cigarettes a day. At his regular checkups, his doctor was delighted, but then three years later, Ron had his first heart attack.”

He was sent to see Dr. Houston, and the tests that Dr. Houston performed showed significant damage to the endothelium which could have been detected earlier, had someone looked. If Ron had worked to reduce the factors that contributed to his endothelial dysfunction, he probably would never have had that heart attack. Again, this is a quote now from Dr. Houston from his book, “Let me be clear – I don’t mean to imply that it’s okay to have elevated cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar or smoke or to be obese, but our decades long insistence that the big five are the be all and end all of heart disease is a tragic myth that has led millions to an early grave. Endothelial dysfunction is much more important than any of these factors.”

Now, there are tests other than just blood tests that can help to look at the thickness of your arterial walls and not just look at how the lumen looks, for example. There are two of them, tests that can attest the thickness of the artery walls. One is called Carotid Artery Duplex Scan and the other is called a Carotid Intimal Medial Thickness Scan. Both of these tests are done by ultrasound. They are not invasive tests. Another thing I would point out is there is a blood test that is out there but probably no one, unless you probably have seen me or some other functional medicine doctor out there, has done the blood test. It is a mark that if elevated is a sign that there is unstable plaque that is leaking from your artery walls. We’re going to talk more about this, but you’ll see it’s called LP PLA2 or for short PLAC test. I’m going to get more into detail about that in a little while. So far, folks, in summary of what we’ve covered so far:

  1. My first objective was to shake up your world a bit and to point out that some of the ideas of heart disease that we’ve been following and believing for the past fifty years are not all there is to it. They are outdated.
  2. I listed for you the seven fast track to heart disease pathways.
  3. I hope you’re understanding how atherosclerotic plaques truly develop and that they are the cause of any heart attack or stroke.

Now, what I want to go into in the second portion of this talk today is this thing called an advanced lipid panel. You see, the traditional lipid testing that most people are still having today…medicine on the street today is about 10-15 years outdated. The traditional lipid panel that is still happening today most of you have had. It is not an accurate assess of your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, but there is a better test, and it’s been out there a long time. It’s called an advanced lipid test.

I want to go into the details of this, but before we even get into the specific details of this test, I’d like to share with you some of the evidence that’s out there and has been out there in journals for quite some time saying that looking for new answers is extremely important in heart disease.

First of all, “Cardiovascular medicine needs a complete functional and metabolic evaluation related to diagnosis, prevention, and integrative treatments. We have reached the limit in our ability to treat cardiovascular disease appropriately.” Yes, you guessed it. This quote is from Dr. Mark Houston in a journal called the Journal of Restorative Medicine, and the title for his article there was “The New Concepts in Cardiovascular Disease.” This article was published back in 2013.

Next piece of evidence, and folks, this quote is from a journal called Circulation, and guess what? That is the journal of the American Heart Association. The title of the journal article was called “From Vulnerable Plaque to Vulnerable Patient.” It was published as far back as 2003, and it had as many as fifty different authors that were listed. The article said, “Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease results in >19 million deaths annually. Despite major advances in treatment of coronary heart disease patients, a large number of victims of the disease who are apparently healthy die suddenly without prior symptoms. Available screening and diagnostic methods are insufficient to identify the victims before the event occurs.”

And finally, another piece of evidence. This quote is from a Lipid Specialist at the Florida Lipid Institute. “The sensitivity of the traditional lipid panel using the current criteria for identifying people at risk is about 40% in the American population. In other words, 60% of Americans at risk for coronary events are not identified using the current criteria and the traditional lipid panel. As a physician this means you are flying half-blind. There are not many areas in medicine that you would consider 40% predictability state of the art.” Folks, 50% of people having a heart attack right this minute have had a normal lipid panel in the last six months.”] If you consider that the right assessment of your risk of heart disease, that’s ridiculous! We must do a better job!

Let’s look at why this test that we’ve been using since the 1970s, basically, is outdated and why it’s not the best test. First of all, in the traditional lipid panel the LDL cholesterol is not directly measured. Rather, it is estimated using a mathematical equation called the Friedewald equation. You’ll see that the equation is: [LDL] = [total cholesterol] – [HDL] – [triglycerides/5]. That’s how your LDL number is determined on the traditional lipid panel. Thus,[click_to_tweet tweet=”your LDL cholesterol level is estimated, not actually measured, and it does not correlate well in patients already diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, previous heart disease, or other vascular diseases.” quote=”your LDL cholesterol level is estimated, not actually measured, and it does not correlate well in patients already diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, previous heart disease, or other vascular diseases.”]

What you’re seeing now is the results of a sample advanced lipid panel. I’m going to take you through this. This advanced lipid panel we’re going to be using is by a lab called Quest Diagnostics. That’s a national lab here in the United States. It is the lab I use because they do any labs, but they also offer the advanced lipid panel.

As we look at this, you will see that the traditional lipid panel numbers are there, and they’re in the first subsection of the report. The lipid panel, for example, the total cholesterol in the sample you see on this slide the result for this person’s sample is 166 of the total cholesterol. Optimally, this is the same for even the traditional lipid panel, your total cholesterol should be less than 200. This person is, and they’re in the green which is optimal. Next, HDL cholesterol (the good guy) should be greater than 40. For the sample number you see on this test on the slide, the person’s result is 61. Therefore, it’s also optimal or in the green. Next, triglycerides. The person’s triglycerides are 81. That’s less than what’s recommended at 150. This person also for their triglycerides is in the green – it’s optimal. Next, the bad guy LDL cholesterol. This person in the sample result is 89. It’s recommended to be less than 100. Again, this sample is in the green and it’s optimal. This person looks like they are doing great! Next, the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol for this person in this sample is 2.7, recommended to be less than 3.5. Again! In the green, optimal. Finally, in the lipid panel numbers, the traditional type numbers, the non-HDL cholesterol is 105, recommended to be less than 130 so again, this person all the way through all of these traditional lipid numbers has been in the green and looks great! This person’s primary care doctor would tell them they have no risk of heart disease, “Don’t worry about it, live a healthy life, but you have no risk of heart disease.”

Well, wait a minute. If you look down at the rest of the information and you look under the hood some more at this person’s numbers, before I even get any of the details, there are six different numbers that we haven’t talked about yet that are not in the green. They are in the yellow which means they are moderately elevated and three of them are in the red which means they are pathologically elevated. This person does have risk of heart disease that they’re not aware of if they’ve never had the advanced lipid panel done.

One of the top numbers, the next number I’ll go over is in this lipoprotein subfractions, the number called the LDL particle number. You’ll notice for this person their LDL particle number is high. It’s 1503, recommended to be less than 1260. Huh. Let’s look at what this means.

First of all, the advanced lipid panel is a measurement of the “true” particle number. It is not calculated like we talked about before in a traditional lipid panel. They actually take a sample of blood and they count the number of LDL particles. It is not an estimation; it is a true measurement of how many LDL particles there are. Now, how many LDL particles there are in a sample of blood is determined by the size of the particles.

I love to share this particular analogy with people to understand this concept. If you imagine a laundry basket. Envision a laundry basket in your bathroom or you room. If you were to take basketballs and fill your laundry basket with basketballs, you probably fit, what? Five maybe in that laundry basket. If you take out the basketballs now and instead you take softballs and you fill that laundry basket with softballs, you’re going to fill it with maybe as many as fifty. As many as ten times more softballs than basketballs. Now, take the softballs out of your laundry basket and fill it with Ping-Pong balls. Folks, you’re going to fill it with a hundred times as many Ping-Pong balls as you are with basketballs. [click_to_tweet tweet=”Lipids are fats, and lipid and fat should be big fat globular and float down the bloodstream and bounce around and not cause any danger. As lipid and fat gets more toxic and more inflamed, it gets denser and it gets smaller.” quote=”Lipids are fats, and lipid and fat should be big fat globular and float down the bloodstream and bounce around and not cause any danger. As lipid and fat gets more toxic and more inflamed, it gets denser and it gets smaller.”]You develop more toxic smaller particles. Therefore you develop more LDL particles when they become toxic and inflamed they get to be more the size of the softball or the Ping-Pong ball and they become more dangerous to banging into the wall of the artery and causing a scratch and irritation and a wound and start that brew that we talked about in the beginning of the talk.

Studies have shown there is excess risk with normal total LDL cholesterol but increased LDL particle number. Dr. Houston and other functional medicine cardiologists have pointed out that the LDL particle number is probably the most important number of all in determining a person’s risk of vascular disease and heart attack. LDL particles that are inflamed and toxic become denser and smaller and dangerous, and they can be the primary cause of atherosclerotic plaque development.

Looking again at this person’s particle sizes now, look at the lipoprotein subfractions which is the second category of the test results. You see that this person’s LDL particle number is elevated at 1503, and there should be less than 1260 LDL particles total. Now, the next thing is look at LDL small. That is telling us how many Ping-Pong balls this person has. You will notice that the number of Ping-Pong balls or LDL small particles a person should have optimally is <162. This person in this sample is in the red, astronomically high, pathologically high at 236! Next, look at LDL medium or how many softballs does this person have. Should have <201. This person has a total of 273. Again, in the red, pathologically high over 271 at 273. Folks, even though this person’s sample results where all in the normal range for their total cholesterol and their number of LDL, the size of these particles and the amount of particles in the sample are toxic, inflamed, dangerous, and causing possibly endothelial damage and scratches causing atherosclerotic plaque. This is what helps provide a clearer picture of risk and helps determine the best treatment approach. Guess what? Statins which are the primary medicines used today against high cholesterol are not very effective in reducing your LDL particle number and usually do not increase LDL particle size. They’re not going to have an effect on this problem in this sample we’re looking at here.

To go on with this concept, now this slide talks about in the advanced lipid panel you also will get a grade, if you will. The grade will be based, again, on the size of your particles. Bigger is better! You want an A because if you get a mark or pattern if you’re given the marker that your pattern is a pattern A pattern, that means as this slide shows your LDL particles are large. Also, this same concept applies, everybody, to HDL particles. The larger the particle, again, the better. If you are told that your pattern is B, that means that you have smaller particles that are denser, more atherogenic, more toxic, and more dangerous. You want an A, you don’t want a B, and you also don’t want to mix A-B pattern. The bottom line is optimally you want an A because bigger is better when we talk about lipids.

Now, a whole other marker to look at in the advanced lipid panel that is never included in the traditional lipid panel is called lipoprotein (a). This marker is a genetically determined marker. If it is elevated, it has been called and nicknamed the “widow maker.” If present, it is a sign that the person has an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Folks, it’s not just a little risk. It doubles the person’s risk of the possibility of having a heart attack or stroke.

Let’s go back to our sample; I’m always coming back to the same sample we’ve been looking at. Again, this person has normal lipid panel in the traditional model. They had dense and small particles that were dangerous. If you go down and you look at the lipoprotein (a) that is recommended to be <75, this person’s number in our sample what we’re looking at is 77. It’s not astronomically high, but it is elevated which is concerning for this person having a double increased risk of vascular endothelial dysfunction. As you’ve noticed, if we’re looking under the hood at some of these numbers, this person is not to be told there is no risk in their life of having a heart attack. They absolutely do have risk, but there are things we could be doing to help them reduce this risk. This person would never had known this if they don’t do an advanced lipid panel.

Now, let’s take a look at HDL. Remember, HDL is supposed to be the good guy. It’s supposed to be protective. Let’s talk about HDL. See, HDL carries fat to the liver for excretion and is a potent antioxidant. The analogy I like to give is it’s like the garbage truck that takes bad cholesterol particles to the dump to get rid of them, but you want a big and effective garbage truck.

And there are different kinds of HDL. You see, in the primary care model today in the traditional lipid panel, HDL is just looked at as good no matter what. Well, advanced lipid studies and advanced lipid research has shown there are different kinds of HDL. HDL-2 is more active or protective than HDL-3.

Low HDL, yes, is a marker for metabolic syndrome. And, yes, low HDL overall is independent marker for increased risk of heart disease. We’ve always known that, but high HDL >40 and <70 is the optimal range and it shows a decreased risk for heart disease. But, HDL >70 can actually be a sign of dysfunctional HDL. So, if you have had an HDL level >70 and been told that this is protective against cardiovascular events, and it balances out your bad LDL…this may not be accurate anymore and not be the case. You see, the larger the HDL the better. The bigger the garbage truck the better. The smaller HDL can be possibly more toxic and more inflamed and dysfunctional.

Here are two studies that prove these points. First, the classic inverse correlation of HDL and coronary heart disease is not sustained when evaluating subjects with HDL <70. That study was called the “IDEAL” study. Next, dysfunctional HDL inhibits insulin output and may increase a person’s risk of diabetes. Dysfunctional HDL is possible and that was called the “FINNS” study.

Let’s take a look at the sample we’ve been using throughout this presentation. Same results and the same sample. Well, if you look at the top the HDL cholesterol total was 61, and that’s greater than 40, optimal, and in green. If we drop down to the size of the HDL, this person’s HDL size is large. It’s recommended to be >9386 in the test, and it is. It’s 9454, so you notice it is presented in the green, and their HDL particles are big, optimal size large, and so this person in this sample we’ve been using as an example doesn’t have to worry about their HDL particles being dysfunctional. They are big garbage trucks, there are plenty of them, and they are taking the cholesterol to the liver for getting rid of them. That’s good! This person does not have an HDL dysfunction problem. They’ve got some other problems we’ve been talking about, but they do not have and HDL problem.

Let’s move on to another marker in the advanced lipid panel to provide accurate assessment of your risk for heart disease. Let’s look at a marker called hsCRP. This stands for high sensitivity C reactive protein, and this is a general marker of inflammation and it should be <1.0. If it’s higher than 1.0 then anyone with a hsCRP >1.0 has generalized inflammation in their body and in their vessels and is causing irritation and endothelial function. On the slide you’ll see the cardinal signs of inflammation, which are swelling, redness, pain, loss of function, and things are hot.

So, let’s go back to our sample results. The result in our sample for hsCRP of the person we’re looking at here is 4.5! It should be, as we said, optimally less than 1.0. Folks, this is a significant elevation, it’s red, and it’s pathologically elevated. This person is on the fast track to heart disease related to inflammation and endothelial dysfunction due to their level of underlying inflammation in their system. Again, we’re looking under the hood and we’re finding numerous issues for this person that with a traditional lipid panel would have been told they have absolutely no risk of heart disease.

Let’s go on and get back to the marker I brought up early on. The LP PLA2 or what’s called the lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2. What is that? Folks, it’s an enzyme specific marker for atherosclerosis-related vascular inflammation. You see, [click_to_tweet tweet=”individuals with elevated plaque or LP PLA2 activity are twice as likely to experience a myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease-related death within the next five years.” quote=”individuals with elevated plaque or LP PLA2 activity are twice as likely to experience a myocardial infarction and coronary heart disease-related death within the next five years.”] This is a marker for unstable plaque that is leaking from the artery wall. If this is elevated, folks, a person is at an increased risk of having that fibrous cap or that scab that’s supposed to be keeping the plaque stable – it’s leaking. That’s dangerous, and it’s a high risk for an event to come within the next five years. It can be measured in your blood.

Looking back at our blood sample, here. The sample result of the advanced lipid panel. If we go down to the LP PLA2, which is the last marker on the slide and on the sample, you’ll notice for this person it is recommended overall to be <123. This person is 120. It is less than the marker, it is optimal, and it is in the green. This person, thank goodness, even though they have other markers that are concerning (elevated inflammation, toxic-size particles, increased genetic risk for heart disease), they do not show that they are leaking plaque into their bloodstream. This person, once we get them on a path to get them off the fast track to heart disease and increase the size of their particles, lower their inflammation, and decrease their genetic risk, they are probably not going to have an event.

In summary, the advanced lipid panel is the most up to date lab test to assess cardiovascular disease risk. Elevated LDL particle number means you have too many small particles and those particles are toxic and inflamed. Bigger LDL and HDL particles are better! Lipoprotein (a) is a genetic marker for increased risk of heart disease. Plaque, or this enzyme LP PLA2, is a sign of vascular inflammation and unstable plaques.

Now that we’ve covered what causes heart disease, the plaques and what causes them, and we’ve looked at the advanced lipid panel, let’s look at some myths that are out there about heart disease in general. Let’s debunk some of these myths. You see, most of us have heard some information surrounding heart disease, and of course, there are always naysayers or just questions that surface when considering our health and the accompanying recommendations.

I wanted to look at a few commonly believed myths and discuss why they are not credible. This is one we hear often: “Heart disease is something only older people should worry about.” Folks, this can’t be more false. According to the Mayo Clinic, all of us should take heart disease seriously. Heart disease or vascular disease and the development of plagues in the walls of your vessels begins decades before any heart attack or stroke occurs. There are also risks even for younger people based on family history and lifestyle, particularly that concept of the lipoprotein (a).

Another myth: “If I’m a long-time smoker, I can’t reverse the damage I’ve caused to my heart or reduce my risk of heart disease.” Again, this is false. Harvard Medical School states that quitting smoking has immediate benefits, no matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking, and those benefits start the moment you quit. After just one year of not smoking, your risk of heart attack reduces by 50%. After 10 years, the risk drops to that of a person who has actually never smoked. As mentioned above, contact a medical professional for the tools you’ll need to help you quit. You can quit today!

And this concept goes for all paths to heart disease. You can take control of your health and reverse vascular disease, but you must take action, you must make changes, and you must be motivated to improve your health.”] Just taking a pill, such as a statin…as I’ve mentioned, statins are not going to change the particle size, they are not going to reduce the LDL particle number, and they are not going to lessen the genetic risk of lipoprotein (a). Just taking a pill is not going to reverse the bad behaviors that may have been going on for decades.

The next myth is: “I am only at risk for heart disease if it runs in my family.” Again, folks, this is false. Genetics do play a role in developing heart disease, which is claimed by the Cleveland Clinic, but [click_to_tweet tweet=”90% of heart disease cases are the result of lifestyle. Of course, this includes smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, toxic exposure, stress, inflammation, and so on.” quote=”90% of heart disease cases are the result of lifestyle. Of course, this includes smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, toxic exposure, stress, inflammation, and so on.”] It is often these lifestyle choices that can raise your level of inflammation and cause your cholesterol or lipids to become dense, toxic, and dangerous. As Dr. Mark Hyman states, “Lifestyle changes can even reduce the risks for heart disease when it comes to hereditary risk.”

I have seen people improve their lipoprotein (a) and get it into the normal range. I personally have had an elevated lipoprotein (a) in the past, and my lipoprotein (a) is no longer elevated. It is now in the green, in the normal level, based on lifestyle things and supplements that I have taken. It is absolutely possible to decrease your genetic risk.

Now, we’ve covered a lot here today. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, but you’ve got this! You came for a reason: to make more informed, healthier decisions when it comes to the health of your heart. You are on your way to making a difference in your life, and our hope is that the information we provided today are just what you need to get started!

One important thing to acknowledge is while getting accurate information is always the first step toward better health, in and of itself, it is not capable of improving your health. Instead, action is needed for you to live a healthy and happy life. If you want to accurately assess your present risk of heart disease and endothelial dysfunction by doing an advanced lipid panel and you would like your numbers evaluated, I am offering an opportunity to you as a result of your listening to this program. What I’m going to offer is the ability for those listening who are interested in doing the advanced lipid panel and a 30-minute one-on-one interpretation session with me. I will tell you that most primary care doctors on the street do not know about the advanced lipid panel and they do not know how to interpret it. I will tell you that, yes, if people live in my local area and you are already a patient of record or if you choose to become a patient of record, my office and I act as a hybrid. Meaning the things that are allowed to be covered by insurance, you can use your insurance. Things that insurance won’t cover has to be paid out of pocket. That’s not up to me, it’s up to the insurance model.

If someone listening lives in the local area and you’ve never had an advanced lipid panel and you would like one done, you could become a patient of record and we may be able to use your insurance. We have to figure that out with each and every individual. But, if you live outside of my local area such as in another state, or if you don’t have medical insurance or you choose not to use your medical insurance, this offer I am giving you is the following: you will receive an ability to get the Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel test done through Quest Diagnostics. The cost of that test is included in this price. And you will get a 30-minute interpretation session of your results with me. The cost for this offer is $500.00. The value of this offer is way more than $1200 actually. Basically, the cost of this test if you sent it to your insurance company is probably $1200 and then the interpretation by me, my cost on top of it. I’m offering the cost of the test and the interpretation 30-minute session with me for only $500.00.

Plus, let’s say your results show that you are on the fast track to heart disease and you need help to get off of it because it is absolutely reversible, then we have coaching packages to work with myself or a combination of myself and our Health Coach Trish Chaput. It’s pretty easy around here to find one of us or know our names. Just say, “Trish,” and we’re both going to say, “What?” because we’re both named Trish! If your results show that you need to get off the fast track to heart disease, there will be a $100 discount on any of our further coaching packages with myself and/or Health Coach Trish. If you’re interested in any of this, and particularly the offer of the Cardio IQ Advanced Lipid Panel and the 30-minute interpretation for $500.00 just email and let us know you’re interested, and we’ll get you hooked up. Again, if you are interested in this offer email .

At the end of most of the webinars I give once a month, I usually post in our Discover Health Facebook Group (a closed group on Facebook). If you go to Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook Page and simply request to be a member and join our closed group, you will get a listing of resources that were used to put this presentation together. We always post those the day after the webinar in our Discover Health Facebook Group. Don’t miss joining and getting access to this amazing information!

Thank you so much for attending our event! It means a lot to be able to share this information with people like you who are ready to make healthy changes in their lives. Now it is time to find out your risk and gain the tools to reduce it. Again, if you are interested in the testing offer and interpretation that I offered to get the advanced lipid panel and the 30-minute interpretation visit with me for only $500.00 or if you think you might be eligible to use your insurance, then email . Please reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We are always here to help! Take care, everybody!


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Managing Arthritis

Welcome to this talk on managing arthritis! I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. I am so happy you are joining me today! I am motivated to help you take control of your health so you can transform your life with natural holistic techniques that allow the body to heal itself. Again, if you have any questions during our time together, please feel free to post them and I’ll be happy to respond to them.

Before we start to discuss the management techniques of any type of arthritis, let’s first talk about the different conditions and symptoms of arthritis.

What is arthritis? First of all, folks, you need to understand that arthritis is not a single disease. It really is a term referring to various conditions of joint pain or other joint diseases. Arthritis affects people of all ages, all genders, and all races and is the leading cause of disability in America as more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. There are actually over 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions, but the most common types are the following:

  • osteoarthritis (OA)
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
  • fibromyalgia
  • gout
  • lupus (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus)

Now, osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is the most common form of arthritis. It’s the one most people are the most familiar with. Cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that supports smooth joint motion. Osteoarthritis occurs when the joint space between bones becomes narrowed and the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down over time leaving bone rubbing on bone if the joint space is so narrowed and the cartilage is gone. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint in the body, however, joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine are more frequently affected than other joints. Common symptoms which develop over a long period of time for osteoarthritis include:

  • Pain in the joint during movement
  • Joint tenderness when pressure is applied
  • Stiffness following periods of inactivity (such as when you get up in the morning)
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Grating or grinding sounds or sensations with the use of joint (this in the medical field is called “crepitus”)
  • Bone spurs can form around the affected joint

Now, common risk factors for osteoarthritis include:

  • Overall risk increases with age (as we get older, we’re at more risk for osteoarthritis)
  • It is more common in men prior to age 45 years but becomes more common in women after age 45
  • Carrying extra body weight stresses the joints and puts someone at increased risk
  • Sports injuries such as when we’re younger can also put us at risk (I, myself, for example experienced a very significant injury to my lower back with a disc herniation at nineteen or twenty years old. Over the years I have developed significant osteoarthritis at the base of my spine – at the very bottom of the lumbar spine L5 where that meets the top of the sacrum S1 right where my herniation occurred in my younger years. I do have osteoarthritis and it’s in that area due to an injury or trauma I suffered as a young person.)
  • Certain occupations with repetitive stress on a joint. If your job over your lifetime requires repetitive movement, that would also put those joints involved at increased risk of osteoarthritis development.

Pain is commonly associated with the loss of cartilage causing the bone to rub against bone. However, there are other conditions that may cause pain. With osteoarthritis you can develop these bone microfractures that occur when the cartilage is lost, placing stress on the bone and resulting in these little bone bruises or bone fractures. Osteophytes, or bone spurs, are small bony growths that can occur on the sides of joints. This occurs as a result of tension or rubbing on the bone. Many of us are familiar with the concept that when you go to the gym and you lift weights to make your muscles bigger, you’re stressing the muscles and you’re actually injuring those muscles but in return or in response to it they hypertrophy or grow bigger. Well, osteophytes or bone spurs are this same concept. When bone is stressed or rubbed on, it will hypertrophy or grow bigger. That’s how osteophytes, or bone spurs, develop.

Joints are lined with a membrane or liquid called synovial fluid. This helps the joints to move smoothly. When this lining becomes inflamed, too much fluid can build up leading to synovitis. Any word in the medical field that ends in “-itis” means inflammation. Any inflamed synovium or synovial fluid is what synovitis means.

Joint pain often leads to being more inactive which leads to muscle weakness. Weak muscles will place additional stress on joints because they’re not able to support them properly. Ligaments are bands of tissue connecting bones together. Damage to ligaments is also common with osteoarthritis because you’ve lost your support of the joint space.

My new book, No More Band-Aids 2.0: Finding Answers in a Broken Medical System, has become a best seller during its launch a few weeks ago (and I thank anyone listening that did purchase it – I really appreciate that)! I explain in my chapter in this book in detail the fascial system. The fascial system is your connective tissue, and I call it the fabric of life. It is a holistic system that surrounds everything in your body – every muscle, every ligament, every organ, every joint, every artery, every nerve, and every vein. If is this system or fabric becomes dried up and tight, it can be the underlying cause of your osteoarthritis because the bag or the fabric that’s surrounding the joints and the muscles and the connective tissue is too tight and therefore reducing the space between the bones and pulling on the bones in a negative way causing increased fabric tension and therefore possibly leading to osteoarthritis, bone spurs, and osteophytes.

I provide detailed information of diet, water intake, and exercises that can lubricate, stretch out, and optimize the function of your fascial system in this new book. No More Band-Aids 2.0 can be obtained on Amazon in the digital form right now. The print version will be available soon.

Let’s move on to a different type of arthritis call rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy body tissue causing chronic inflammation. This form of arthritis affects more than joints and it can also damage other systems of the body such as your skin, your eyes, your lungs, your heart, and your blood vessels. With rheumatoid arthritis, bone erosion and joint deformity are caused by painful swelling of the joint lining and is not associated with just wear-and-tear damage like the osteoarthritis is.

The actual cause of rheumatoid arthritis is still unknown. However, there are three things necessary to develop any autoimmune disease. I talked about this in my first book, Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease. The three things you must have in order to develop any autoimmune disease is:

  1. A genetic susceptibility. We are all born to our parents and we inherit their genetic risks and we pass that down through our family line. We all have certain genetic susceptibility – there’s no doubt about that.
  2. A barrier dysfunction. That many times has to do with your skin or your gut lining which we will be talking later about leaky gut.
  3. An environmental trigger. Environmental triggers include food sensitivities or allergies, toxins from our environment, infections, or stress.

Besides that, rheumatoid arthritis typically starts in small joints such as your fingers and your toes and can progress to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and even shoulders. Symptoms generally occur in the same joints on both sides of the body and include:

  • Tender, warm, and swollen joints
  • Joints might even look red and hot
  • Joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity
  • Generalized fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

If you notice, it’s a more systemic disease process. Things to keep in mind with rheumatoid arthritis is that:

  • Women are more likely to develop the condition than men
  • It can occur at any age, but most commonly occurs between the ages 40 – 60
  • Family history can increase someone’s risk
  • Smoking increases your risk and your disease severity
  • Environmental exposures such as asbestos are especially known to increase the risk of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Obesity also increases someone’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis

Let’s talk about a different one, psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis is also an autoimmune inflammatory disease. It affects some people who have psoriasis as you see on this person’s elbow in the picture above. The abnormal immune response leads to inflammation in the joints in addition to the overproduction of skin cells.

Genetic susceptibility, barrier dysfunction in the skin or gut, and environmental triggers are the same three factors that play a role in the development of this condition as they do in all autoimmune conditions. Symptoms can worsen over time with alternating periods when symptoms go into what’s called “remission.” When you come out of remission it will worsen. So, it will wax, and it will wane. Symptoms often resemble rheumatoid arthritis but can affect both sides or even just one side of the body. Psoriatic arthritis is more likely to cause:

  • Swollen fingers and toes
  • Foot pain
  • Lower back pain

Common risk factors for this are:

  • Having psoriasis, the skin condition, in the first place
  • Family history
  • Age (most often occurs between the ages of 30 and 50)

Fibromyalgia is actually considered a central pain syndrome. What does that mean? That means that the brain and spinal cord (our central nervous system) does not process pain signals normally. The pain signals are magnified. Researchers propose that fibromyalgia magnifies pain sensations by affecting the way your brain processes the pain signals.

Other symptoms common among fibromyalgia sufferers include tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression are also higher in people with fibromyalgia. Again, it’s affecting the central nervous system and the brain more than the other types of arthritis. Symptoms with fibromyalgia can gradually accumulate or have a triggering event such as a physical trauma, a surgery, an infection, or a significant psychological stress. Even an emotional stressor can initiate or trigger the beginnings of fibromyalgia. Symptoms include:

  • Widespread pain (such as a constant ache that lasts for months at a time on both sides of the body and both below and above the waist and all through the body)
  • Fatigue is a major symptom, feeling tired even after a long sleep period
  • Cognitive difficulties impair the ability to focus on or pay attention to mental tasks

Now, keep in mind fibromyalgia is much more common in women than it is in men, there is a higher risk when there is a family history, and other disorders such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus can increase someone’s risk of developing and progressing to fibromyalgia.

The next type of arthritis we’re going to cover is gout. Gout is a common and complex form of arthritis, but it does not cause body-wide inflammation. Gout is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in a particular joint (most often the joint at the base of the big toe).

Gout results from the accumulation of a very particular chemical in the body called urate crystals. When the body produces too much uric acid and it cannot remove the uric acid fast enough from the body, uric acid crystals start to form in a joint. Uric acid is a product from the breakdown of purines. Purines are found in certain foods such as steak, organ meats, seafood, and alcoholic beverages. This disease is quite common in people who eat a lot of red meat and drink a lot of alcohol. Maybe you’re aware of someone who broke out in a gout exacerbation after, for example, going to some celebration and overeating and possibly over-indulging in alcohol.

Uric acid normally dissolves in blood and passes through the kidneys to be excreted through urine. When this process is disrupted, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint and surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation, and swelling. Symptoms typically occur suddenly often at night at first and include:

  • Intense joint pain usually in the big toe, ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, or fingers
  • Pain is most severe within the first 12 hours of an attack; however, discomfort can last for up to weeks later
  • Inflammation or redness in the affected joints
  • Limited range of motion during the exacerbation

Common risk factors include:

  • A diet rich in meat and seafood and drinking either alcohol or beverages sweetened with a lot of fructose (fruit sugar)
  • It occurs more frequently in men or postmenopausal women
  • Obesity will put someone at increased risk
  • Untreated high blood pressure and chronic conditions such as diabetes where someone’s blood sugar is out of control or metabolic syndrome will also put someone at increased risk. Heart and kidney disease increase the risk of developing gout because you’re not able to clear the uric acid well.
  • A family history of this as a genetic susceptibility

Lupus is another systemic autoimmune disease where inflammation can affect many different body systems including your joints, your skin, your kidneys, your blood cells, your brain, your heart, and your lungs. Lupus most likely develops from a combination of genetic and environmental factors like we’ve talked about before. It’s an autoimmune disease. The cause in most cases is unknown; however, the triggers can include:

  • Sunlight
  • Infections
  • Medications
  • Environmental toxins
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Stress

Lupus symptoms typically mimic other ailments, making it not so easy to definitively diagnosis. No two cases are exactly alike, but the most common signs of lupus include:

  • Fatigue
  • Chronic fevers
  • Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Uniquely for lupus – a butterfly-shaped rash on the face that covers the cheeks and the bridge of the nose
  • Rashes elsewhere on the body
  • Skin lesions that appear or worsen particularly with sun exposure (photosensitivity)
  • Fingers and toes that turn white or blue when exposed to cold or during stressful periods (Raynaud’s phenomenon)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches, confusion, or memory loss

Risk factors for lupus include:

  • It can happen at a very broad age range, anywhere from 15 – 45 years old is the typical time when people are first diagnosed.
  • It’s actually more common in African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.
  • It is much more common in women than it is in men.

Now that we have discussed some of the major types of arthritis, now let’s discuss management and/or treatment. In functional medicine, we look beyond the symptoms to uncover the real root cause of any chronic condition. Thankfully, research has found a link between gut health and arthritis and most studies examining the role of gut health in joint pain centers around autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and lupus have shown this connection between gut health and any of these types of arthritis, particularly the autoimmune ones.

Conventional traditional medicine relies largely on pain-relieving, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and ibuprofen. If you’re taking a lot of this, it disrupts the gut microbiome even further and leads to more problems. Also, right now with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not a good idea for someone to be taking anti-inflammatory medicines chronically every day. It can put your risk of severity of the COVID virus, if you were to ever contract it, worse.

A plethora of scientific literature connects gut health and joint pain and reveals a strong association between an altered intestinal microbiome (the bugs we live in symbiotic relationship with) and various arthritis types. Some studies have found depleted levels of certain types of bacteria like Hemophilus species and an overabundance of a different species called Lactobacillus salivarius. Inflammation can be aggravated by the overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria or a lack of immune-modulating good bacteria. Someone’s microbiome can be tested doing stool tests, and we do that with many of our patients at Discover Health. Other studies report to finding high levels of a bacterium called Prevotella copri and low levels of a genus of bacteria called Bifidobacterium. That’s a lot of detail, folks, but the bottom line is that your microbiome (the bacteria that you live in a commensal relationship with) must be fed the right food and the linings of your intestines must be held and their integrity intact or it’s going to feed inflammation in your body. It’s going to feed immune dysfunction, and that leads you down the path of many different types of arthritis.

A microbiome is the dynamic collection of microbes (it’s not just bacteria, folks, it can consist of yeast as well as viruses) in an ecosystem. And in this instance, we’re talking about the microbiome in your gut. The human body hosts a variety of different ecosystems or microbiomes. The gut microbiome refers to the microbes that are living along the entire digestive tract, which ranges from your mouth down through to your anus, or your poop shoot. Most of these microbes lives in the intestines, particularly your large intestine. There’s not as many microbes in your stomach, for example, because your stomach is a very acidic environment and they don’t live there because this acid would kill them. There’s not supposed to be as many in your upper intestine, your small or longer intestines, because again just below your stomach is a much more acidic environment and so the bacteria don’t live there. They mostly live in your lower intestines such as your colon. Gut bacteria serve a variety of purposes, they:

  • Help the immune system to function optimally
  • Break down nutrients for absorption and they feed the cells that line our colon
  • Regulate chemicals that communicate with the brain which affect mood, memory, and sleep
  • Regulate hormones to keep the body properly balanced

The microbiome is extremely important to our health. There are approximately 400 species of bacteria in your system that make up your gut microbiome. Did you know that a lack of bacterial diversity (meaning you don’t have a good diverse ecosystem in your gut) is called “dysbiosis” and is associated with various forms of arthritis and other autoimmune diseases?

While every person has a unique gut microbiome, the general population shares very common different populations in their ecosystems. In fact, across nations populations show varying gut microbiomes. For example, people living here in the United States have a notably different microbiome in their gut that people living in China or different parts of Africa or South America or things like that! We live in different environments so different bugs are more prominent.

Did you know that newborns inherit their microbiome from mothers at birth? They go through the vaginal canal and they pick up bacteria which therefore populate their gut.

When the ‘bad’ bacteria outnumber the ‘good,’ the result is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can occur at any stage of life and can occur suddenly or it can happen slowly over time. Sudden imbalances are usually the result of an infection or the use of antibiotics, whereas diet, medications, alcohol use, and smoking can create an imbalance that’s going to happen more over a longer period of time. Testing for dysbiosis is not standard practice for conventional medical practices. However, testing gut bacteria is usually one of the first steps when working with a functional medicine professional. Dysbiosis is typically diagnosed by doing a stool sample. It’s called a comprehensive stool analysis. I do this with many of my patients on a regular basis to help assess for underlying gut imbalances which then directs our treatment.

Common symptoms of gut dysbiosis include:

  • Frequent gas, bloating, and belching
  • Loose stools, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Acid reflux
  • Unexplained weight gain or difficult weight loss
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Anxiety, depression, or frequent mood problems
  • Chronic bad breath (halitosis)
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis)
  • Low energy and chronic fatigue
  • Diagnosis of any autoimmune condition (such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Allergies and food sensitivities
  • Chronic yeast or fungal infections

What do we do in order to treat gut dysbiosis? To heal the gut, it is necessary to regain proper bacteria balance as beneficial bacteria need to be restored while problematic bacteria needs to be eradicated or at the very least reduced. When doing so, improving diet and reducing chronic stress are key factors to consider in order to balance your microbiome. What you feed them and how you treat yourself is going to determine whether your microbiome is doing well or not.

Stress can cause inflammation of the gastrointestinal system and make you more susceptible to infection. It’s important to find ways to reduce stress when healing dysbiosis. Mind-body practices and exercise are also beneficial for stress reduction. The key is to find an activity you enjoy. Dancing, yoga, meditation, and breathing practices are great for stress relief!

Also, keep in mind that the food we eat has the power to heal or destroy gut bacteria. Avoid added sugars as sugar feeds yeast and promotes inflammation. Sugar goes by many names, folks, so look out for cane sugar, table sugar, high fructose corn syrup (this is absolutely a poison – please don’t eat it), brown sugar, and glucose. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and sucralose, can also negatively influence bacteria in your gut. Natural sweeteners should also be avoided at an abundance, particularly in the initial stages of gut healing. Refined grains also breakdown into sugar and can feed yeast and other negative bacteria. You’re better off to stay away from processed grains!

It’s recommended that 70% of your diet come from vegetables of all the colors of the rainbow as they contain different types of fiber to feed beneficial bacteria in your gut. Foods to eat more of to optimize your gut health and microbiome include:

  • Lightly steamed vegetables
  • Bone broth
  • Healthy fats (such as fatty fish, avocado, and coconut oil)
  • Fermented foods (such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or kefir)

The other most common causes of arthritis and joint pain is chronic inflammation. In fact, a number of foods have been found to increase the body’s inflammatory response and should be avoided:

  • Sugar
  • Fried foods
  • Refined flour, usually listed as enriched flour
  • Vegetable oils found in mayonnaise, salad dressings, barbecue sauce, crackers, bread, and potato chips
  • Dairy
  • Artificial additives
  • Saturated fats
  • Processed meats (like bacon, hot dogs, bologna, sausage, or jerky)
  • Trans fats (another poison usually found in margarine or shortening used in packaged baked goods like doughnuts, cookies, and muffins; non-dairy coffee creamers; frozen foods like pizza; and even frosting)
  • Fast food/drive-throughs
  • A drink here and there is okay, but avoid regularly drinking beer, wine, and liquors. The key is to consume alcohol in moderation. (My mom always said, “Everything in moderation.” Gosh, I didn’t like when she said that when I was young, but I sure understand what she meant now!)

If you have been avoiding this list of items and are still not feeling optimal, then you need to consider doing a comprehensive elimination diet. I have created a course that anyone can access in the Shop of my website entitled the Detox Plus Program. This program provides a guidebook with supportive videos to teach you exactly how to implement a comprehensive elimination diet so that you can identify your own food sensitivities that are fueling your arthritis pain. The website is

Detoxing is a great way to rid the body of toxins that are responsible for the inflammatory conditions associated with any of the different types of arthritis that we’ve talked about. Poor circulation in the joints can occur with arthritic conditions which can then cause the areas to become clogged with organic waste and toxins. Thankfully, drinking plenty of pure water can help flush out these accumulated waste products. Implementing a cleanse or a detox diet like my Detox Plus Program a couple of times per year can help decrease any of these toxic build ups.

For an extra boost, try drinking lemon water with fresh lemon juice which works to decrease inflammation. In fact, regular consumption of lemon water can improve digestion, detox the gallbladder, and boost your liver. I teach clients about what I called the stomach acid elixir. You make this by taking a drinking glass and putting in a teaspoon of lemon juice and a teaspoon to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. You then place a quarter of the glass of any type of juice you think would fit like cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, or cherry juice. The rest would be water. You would drink this elixir while you’re making your meals. The reason for that is it is detoxifying, but it also increases the acid in your stomach in preparation for the food you’re about to eat so that you digest it and break it down better, you have less waste products, and you can absorb more of the nutrients.

Also, try to add healing teas to your daily routine. Turmeric, ginger root, and peppermint are all things that could be teas or a mixture within one tea that would be helpful.

Functional medicine programs usually incorporate a plan for detoxification as metabolic detoxification provides nutritional support to facilitate the body’s natural pathways involved in the processing and excretion of toxins. As I have discussed eating the rainbow, implementing a comprehensive elimination diet cleanse, and drinking pure water can all be helpful, but testing for heavy metals is another avenue that could be considered if someone is still having problematic joint pain. Mercury, lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals could be another possible underlying cause of someone’s ongoing arthritis pain.

Any good detox program should include:

  • Identifying and eliminating your food sensitivities
  • Supporting healthy living function
  • Using clean eating of organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meat, and wild caught fish to lessen the burden of incoming toxins
  • Optimizing your gut, liver, and kidney function with phytonutrient-rich foods (eating all the colors of the rainbow)
  • Getting antioxidants to support your detoxification
  • Encouraging healthy elimination (being sure that you are moving your bowels at least once every day and drinking lots of plain, healthy water to make sure that you are urinating multiple times per day on a regular basis)
  • Balancing hormone metabolism

Elimination diets are a short-term eating plan to eliminate foods causing digestive reactions. Following an elimination period, foods are gradually reintroduced one at a time in order to determine which are not well-tolerated. Elimination diets are beneficial for pinpointing exactly which foods are the culprits for your health-related issues. Benefits of any elimination diet include:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Supporting a healthy microbiome
  • Increasing phytonutrients to heal the gut
  • Reducing toxic burden
  • Promoting body awareness of food

As stated earlier, if you’re interested in implementing a comprehensive elimination diet to first cleanse your system and quiet your inflammation and then systematically reintroduce the different categories of foods so that you can identify your own food sensitivities or triggers properly, then go to and in the Shop you will find my Detox Plus Program.

Let’s talk about some supplementation. Supplements can be useful for returning your gut microbiome to normal or for reducing pain associated with arthritis conditions. Some research even suggests the use of certain supplements may enable you to lower the dosage of your prescription medications. However, this should always be discussed with your doctor. Let’s talk about some specific supplements, particularly related to arthritis.

  • Studies report positive results for glucosamine supplementation and reducing osteoarthritis pain in particular. Glucosamine can protect cartilage from deteriorating while helping your joints to move better.
  • Chondroitin Sulfate. Experts believe chondroitin sulfate can help keep cartilage healthy, slow down osteoarthritis progression, and may lower arthritis pain and inflammation.
  • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM). MSM is naturally found in fruits and vegetables and is thought to help form connective tissue in the body and may possibly reduce arthritis pain.
  • Vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant is important for building connective tissue and keeping it healthy.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and other inflammatory-type arthritis.
  • Digestive Enzymes. The more I read about digestive enzymes…we all essentially need to be taking them because they help in so many different conditions from arthritis all the way to cancer. Proteolytic enzymes have been found to have anti-inflammatory effect because they help to improve overall gut health and overall immune health.

Let’s talk about some herbs and some herbal therapies.

  • Ginger root is known to improve joint pain and reduce inflammation for people with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • The potential anti-arthritic effects of turmeric include inhibition of joint inflammation, reduction in swelling, and slowing the destruction around the joints in osteoarthritis.
  • Massage this oil directly onto painful areas to help reduce inflammation.
  • Comfrey can be added to topical creams to help with pain for arthritis.
  • Burdock Root. Add to stir-fries or make a decoction (simmer it for a long time and then let it sit as it gets more powerful). This is a powerful anti-inflammatory herb.
  • Stinging nettle is an amazing herb for all types of arthritis and gout. It has anti-inflammatory benefits plus it’s packed with minerals (such as boron, calcium, magnesium, and silicon). It will ease the pain while it also helps to build strong bones. If someone’s also concerned about osteoporosis, then nettles and stinging nettles would be something also to consider.
  • Licorice is an antioxidant that can help to decrease free radicals at the site of inflammation and inhibit inflammatory enzyme production.

Besides supplements and herbs that we might rub on our skin or take internally, there are natural therapies that someone can try. The following alternative or complementary treatments can be used to ease pain and inflammation associated with your joint pain:

  • Osteopathic Manipulation. This is a gentle form of manipulation of the joints and what’s call the fascia (the connective tissue, the holistic system of the body) to decrease pain and optimize motion and mobility of the joints. Remember we talked about the fact that if your fascia, your holistic system, is too tight it’s going to make your joints too narrow or tight and restricted and therefore increase tension. If I or another osteopath or another person working on the tissues loosens them up and lubricates your tissues more, then you’re not going to have as much pain and you’re not going to progress with your arthritis as quickly.
  • It involves the insertion of very fine needles into the skin and connective tissue, or fascia, at very specific points on the body. Did you know that all acupuncture points are found within the fascial system of your body, the connective tissue? The fascia is a holistic system of the body and it surrounds everything in your body.
  • Uses the fingers, knuckles, and palms to apply pressure along your body at similar points as acupuncture within the connective tissue or fascia.
  • Hot or Cold Therapy. Alternating heat and cold can reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis.
  • Massage Therapy. It can provide pain relief by relaxing muscles and improving circulation and lubricating the fascial system.
  • Mind-Body Therapies. Guided imagery, meditation, visualization, hypnosis, tai chi, and yoga. These are all modalities that can help a person manage their pain, lubricate their fascia, improve their blood flow, decrease their inflammation, and slow the progression and improve arthritis.

If you haven’t heard me speak on the fascia before, I just want to point out and take a moment and again state that this system – the fascial system – is the system that most of these therapies are having an effect on. It is considered the connective tissue of the body, and it is a holistic system. It surrounds everything in your body, and it is also considered the master designer of any organism. What I mean by that is when any organism like a grapefruit or when we were in our mother’s womb developing, the fabric of life, the fascia, the interstitium is the fabric that starts to show the organism how to develop and to design the shape and the size of the organism. When you peel a grapefruit, or an orange, and you interact with that white fibrous material just underneath the orange or the yellow skin – that’s fascia! You’ve done this, you’ve taken an orange, or a grapefruit, and you’ve opened it into sections. What allows you to break it into these different sections is the fascia that designed it in those sections. In the very middle of the grapefruit there is a spine and there is a spinal column with white material and fabric that surrounds it. We are the same! Every organism out there has a fascial system that is the master designer of us. It is the roadmap of development.

Now, why is it such an important piece to our aging and why is it such an important thing for you to realize that you must keep it healthy, so you don’t progress with your arthritis no matter what type of arthritis it is? That is because the makeup of our fascia is similar to the makeup of a sponge. In my book, No More Band-Aids 2.0, you’ll see that our fascia looks like a sponge. In the same way that if you leave a sponge on your counter overnight and then in the morning you get up and you try and use it dried up, you notice it’s stiff. It might tear, it won’t bend, and it’s not pliable. We are the same! As we age the aging process, folks, is a degenerative, drying up process.

In order to prevent it, in order to fight against it, we must do numerous things. First of all, we must hydrate our fascia or our sponge by drinking plenty of water. Two, we must eat an anti-inflammatory, colorful, phytonutrient-rich diet to decrease inflammation of our fascia. Three, we must move. Remember that if you take that dried up sponge and you put it in water it will soak up the water. When you pick it up if you squeeze it, squish it, bend it, and ply it then you put it back in the water – what’s it going to do? It’s going to soak up even more water! So, the more you drink water and then you move, and you squish your own tissues, the more water you’re going to get out of your arteries and veins and out into your fascial system.

The more you move and keep your sponge mobile, pliable, and loose around all of your joints, the less arthritis you’re going to have. You’re going to feel younger again. Again, I speak about this in my new book, No More Band-Aids 2.0: Finding Answers in a Broken Medical System. This book is available on Amazon presently in the digital or Kindle version right now. The print version is not out yet, but it will be out soon. The publisher has let me know that it’s been sent to the printer so we’re waiting for the print version. The Kindle version is available.

If you understand what I’ve been talking about with the fascia and you want to learn how to move, we have created an online program entitled Discover Health Movement Membership. With COVID right now, if you’re in-person classes are not happening or going out to classes is not happening or has not worked for you whether we’re in a pandemic or not, we have created Discover Health Movement Membership where we provide three classes per week of movement to optimize your mobility, decrease your pain, and improve your arthritis. This program involved three different classes:

  1. Self-Myofascial Release. You are given the tools and taught how to use a ball to roll your entire body and lubricate and maintain the hydration and the pliability of your fascia and break up the adhesions that are adding to your arthritis pain.
  2. Movement for Longevity. This class is taught by Jim. Your nervous system is involved in the tightness of your muscles and the narrowing of your joints. If your nerves are tight, then they’re adding to the pain! You need to learn about your nervous system, you need to improve your balance, you need to maintain your strength to hold up your fabric of life (your fascia). This is where Jim comes in.
  3. Discover Yoga. We’ve got to stretch and maintain our flexibility. That’s where Meghan comes in with Discover Yoga. This class is not a twist-yourself-up-like-a-pretzel yoga class! This is what I call a “medical yoga class.”

Each one of these instructors is absolutely amazing! Discover Health Movement Membership is available off our website. If you go to it will take you right to that banner on the homepage of my website to learn more about Discover Health Movement Membership. If you want to halt and reverse your arthritis and move like you’re thirty again, you need to go and learn more about Discover Health Movement Membership.

Now, folks, we’re coming to the end of this presentation. I will always remind you that the references I’ve used to put this presentation together we give you through our Discover Health Facebook Group. There are links to different places you can go to learn more, and there are many of them for this talk. Please be sure if you have not joined already and you’re not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, all you do is going to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook Page and then ask to join the group! Remember, every week, Coach Trish does a Coach’s Corner on Mondays and other focuses on different days. If you ever have questions that you think of later then just go into the Discover Health Facebook Group and ask your questions there; we are happy to answer them for you!

I appreciate you all for taking the time to experience this presentation with me today. As you can tell, I certainly love sharing natural ways to aid the body’s own healing process. I am extremely passionate about this and want to give you the tools to transform your life!



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Your Bones Matter

Welcome everyone! I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Tonight, we’re going to take a deep dive into bone health. Folks, first of all, at birth we have around 270 soft bones. As we grow, some fuse together leaving us, as we become an adult human body, with 206 bones, twenty-six of which are in each foot and fifty-four of which in each hand and wrist. We have a lot to cover, so let’s dive in!


Now before getting too in depth, I want to share some facts about bones. Arms are the most commonly broken, accounting for almost half of all adult broken bones. The collarbone is the most commonly broken bone among children. Bones are made up of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and other minerals, as well as the protein collagen.

Bones function as the skeleton of the human body and protect organs from impact damage. They also produce red and white blood cells. We’ll get into more details as we move forward!

You may not know this, but bones are living, active tissues that are constantly being remodeled. They support the body structurally, they protect our vital organs, and they allow us to move. Additionally, bones provide an environment for bone marrow, where blood cells are created, and they act as a storage area for minerals, particularly calcium.  More than 99 percent of our body’s calcium is held in our bones and teeth; however, bones are mostly made of the protein collagen.

Many people take collagen supplements in capsules or possibly as a powder for their fingernails and their hair, but you need to know that collagen is also essential for your bone and your connective tissue health.

Bones have an internal structure that is similar to if you visualize a honeycomb. This is able to make them rigid yet relatively light. Bones are composed of two types of tissue:

  1. A hard outer layer that is dense, strong, and durable, called compact (or cortical) bone. It makes up around 80 percent of adult bone mass.
  2. The second type of bone is called cancellous bone or spongy bone, and this consists of a network of what is called “trabeculae” or rod-like structures. It is lighter, less dense, and more flexible than compact bone.

Bones are continually being remodeled. Again, we’ve said they’re alive! They are not static structures. This process involves three main cell types. We’re going to go over each one now:

  1. Osteoblasts are responsible for making new bone and repairing older bone. Osteoblasts produce a protein mixture called osteoid, which is mineralized and becomes bone. They also manufacture hormones, including prostaglandins.
  2. These are inactive osteoblasts that have become trapped in the bone that they have just created. They maintain connections to other osteocytes and to osteoblasts. They are important for communication within the bone tissue, to let the bone know when it needs to create more or decrease some.
  3. These are large cells with more than one nucleus. Their job is to break down bone. They release enzymes and acids to dissolve minerals in bone and digest them. This process is called resorption. Osteoclasts help remodel injured bones and create pathways for nerves and blood vessels to travel.

Optimal bone health is always a matter of the right balance between building new bone by osteoblasts and the resorption or breakdown of older bone cells by osteoclasts.

In addition to supporting the frame of the body and protecting internal organs, bones provide several metabolic functions. Again, bone is living tissue. It’s very involved in our metabolism. Let’s look at a few examples:

  • Storing minerals
    • Bones act as a reserve for minerals, particularly calcium and phosphorous.
    • They also store some growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor. This is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin which plays an important role in childhood growth and has an anabolic affect in adults.
    • Bones can raise or reduce calcium in the blood by either forming bone and taking calcium out of the blood or breaking down bone in a process called resorption and putting more calcium into the blood.
  • Fat storage
    • Fatty acids can be stored in the adipose tissue of your bone marrow which is deep in bones.
  • pH balance (the acid/base balance)
    • Bones can release or absorb alkaline salts, resulting in the blood to stay at the right pH level.
  • Detoxification
    • Bones can absorb heavy metals and other toxic elements from the blood.
  • Endocrine function
    • Bones release hormones that act on the kidneys and influence blood sugar regulation and fat deposition.

Back in the 1970s, it was determined that our bones secrete a protein called osteocalcin that not only rebuilds the skeleton but also acts as a hormone to keep blood sugar levels in check and burn fat. It is also been shown to be important for maintaining brain function and physical fitness; restoring memory in aged mice has been studied and boosting performance during exercise in older mice as well as in humans. Wow! Did you have any idea that our bones were that involved with that many metabolic functions?

[click_to_tweet tweet=”The process of bone remodeling is done in two phases. First, with the resorption when osteoclasts break down bone. The second phase involves formation when new bone tissue is laid down by osteoblasts.” quote=”The process of bone remodeling is done in two phases. First, with the resorption when osteoclasts break down bone. The second phase involves formation when new bone tissue is laid down by osteoblasts.”] Remodeling allows the body to fix damaged sections, reshape skeleton during growth, and regulate calcium levels. Hormones such as parathyroid hormone, calcitonin, vitamin D, estrogen in women, and testosterone in men control bone remodeling so the breakdown or the building and the balance between that. This may surprise you – [click_to_tweet tweet=”approximately 10 percent of an adult’s skeleton is replaced every single year!” quote=”approximately 10 percent of an adult’s skeleton is replaced every single year!”]

Now a hormone that we definitely need to discuss when we talk about bone health is cortisol. This is our primary stress hormone. This hormone has a negative effect on bone, by reducing osteoblasts from building bone and turning up the activity of osteoclasts that break down bone. It also has an indirect mechanism such as calcium malabsorption, so you’re not going to absorb the calcium as much. You’re also going to urinate more calcium out of your body, this is called hypercalciuria. And you’re going to have hypogonadism due to high cortisol, which means your sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are going to be reduced and therefore affect your bone health.

So, if you are someone, or someone you know is, under chronic stress or always anxious, this can be a primary cause of osteoporosis or low bone density as we age.”

Now that was a lot! Is everyone still with me here? Now, that was covering the bone anatomy and physiology and the heavy-duty science stuff. Now, let’s talk about how to keep bones healthy! Once you reach 30 years of age, you have achieved your peak bone mass. Fortunately, many nutrition and lifestyle habits after 30 (if you’re focused on them and you work hard on them) can help you build strong bones and maintain the density of your bones as you age.

Let’s talk about ways to do that. First of all, you definitely need to eat your veggies because vegetables are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C stimulates the production of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts). Some studies even suggest that vitamin C’s antioxidant effects may protect bone cells from damage.

Now, vitamin C can also be supplemented. Many people take about 500 mg a day or maybe 1000 mg a day. I don’t know that everybody knows that you can supplement vitamin C to what’s called bowel tolerance. This means you can go up in your dose of vitamin C until it causes loose stools. Then, of course, once you have started getting loose stools from the increased vitamin C, back off and get back down to a dose that is not causing bowel disruption. This might be as high as 3000, 4000, 5000, even as high as 6000 mg a day. Folks, right now with COVID-19 out there and the coronavirus, I would highly suggest you dose vitamin C up to bowel tolerance and take a bunch of it. It’s going to boost your immune system as well.

Bone density describes mineral density, and vegetable intake increases mineral density leading to stronger bones.

Strength training and weight-bearing exercises are essential for bone health. One of the best types of activity for bone health are weight-bearing or high-impact exercise, because this promotes the formation of new bone.

There’s been many studies in older men and women who performed weight-bearing exercise showed increases in bone mineral density, bone strength, bone size, as well as reductions in markers of bone turnover and inflammation.

Some great weight-bearing exercises include things like Tai Chi (which would be quite gentle on the bones, but it is moving and weight-bearing), yoga, hiking, golf, all sorts of exercises outdoors. I also offer on my website at in the Health Library a series of Exercise Videos on weight resistance and on core strength that are completely free! Everything in my Health Library on the website is free, including my Discover Health Podcasts. Check out this free resource, because you don’t want to miss out. It’s a great resource for maintaining your optimal health!

Protein is essential to bone health; however, getting too little or too much can cause adverse effects. Approximately 50% of bone is made up of protein. Research has shown that low protein intake may affect rates of bone formation and breakdown.

High protein diets may come with their own risks. Concerns have been raised that high-protein diets leach calcium from your bones in order to counteract the increased acidity in the blood from all of the protein from meat. However, with adequate calcium intake, this may not be as much of an issue.

If you are eating the typical Standard American Diet with meat portions like Fred Flintstone, you need to increase your veggies and decrease your meat intake to a better balance. Also, if you are a vegan or a vegetarian, you need to be sure to research how to get the right balance of what are called complete proteins in your diet for optimal bone and overall health.

Calcium is the most important mineral for bone health and should be consumed every day. Many people think that dairy is the main and only source of calcium and that’s just not true. Dark leafy greens such as bok choy, Chinese cabbage, kale, collard greens, and turnip greens all provide excellent sources of calcium. In fact, just one cup of cooked turnip greens provides 20% of your daily requirement! Folks, if you’re eating upwards of five servings of dark green leafy vegetables a day then you’re getting your calcium from them! If you’re dairy sensitive, you don’t have to worry – you’re still getting your calcium from dark leafy greens.

Also, there are other high calcium foods that include seeds, sardines and canned salmon, beans and lentils, as well as dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.

Vitamin D and vitamin K are essential for building strong bones.

Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, and low vitamin D levels are associated with low bone density. The sun typically is what activates vitamin D formation; however, if you live far from the equator like we do up here in New Hampshire or you use sunscreen a lot you can easily be lacking in vitamin D. I will also tell you that even people living in Florida that are out in the sun a lot can be found to be low in vitamin D. Consuming fatty fish and liver can provide good sources of vitamin D and other foods that might be fortified with vitamin D can also supplement.

You also can take a supplement of vitamin D. Actually, vitamin D is a fat-stored supplement or vitamin and you can store too much of it. Studies have shown that to supplement daily with between 2000 – 4000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D3 is typically not going to get anyone into a toxic state. That would be a range you could consider taking on a daily basis. Between 2000 – 4000 IU of vitamin D3.

Vitamin K helps protein and minerals bind to the bone. Small amounts of vitamin K can be found in liver, eggs, meat, and fermented foods like cheese, sauerkraut, and a soybean product called natto.

Basically, vitamin D ensures that calcium is absorbed easily, and vitamin K2 activates the protein we discussed earlier, osteocalcin, which integrates the calcium into the bone. Without vitamin D3 and K2, calcium cannot do its job effectively.

You’ve got to understand that low-calorie diets can be harmful to bone health. Studies have shown that diets providing fewer than 1000 calories per day can lead to lower bone density in normal-weight, overweight, or even obese individuals. If weight loss is your goal, and you have been having trouble losing weight and you feel like you’re eating like a bird and you still can’t lose weight then you’re going to need to look at it from a different avenue.

I would suggest you consider going to my website and obtaining my Detox Plus Program. It’s available in the shop of my website What it is is you’re going to implement a three-week detox and then systematically re-challenge the foods that you’ve eliminated in order to identify your own individual food sensitivities that may be causing inflammation and hormonal imbalance that are causing your weight problems. After most people have done this, they are well on their way to finding the trigger for their weight problem and changing their food habits for the better.

Many people don’t realize weight loss involves bone loss; however, this is less pronounced in obese individuals experiencing weight loss than in normal-weight individuals that are experiencing weight loss.

Folks, being underweight can also be extremely harmful to bone health. In fact, research shows that being underweight increases the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. Low body weight is the main factor contributing to reduced bone density and bone loss among postmenopausal women.

Additionally, the other thing that a lot of people do is they have yo-yo dieting that they’re doing. This can be harmful to your bones, since repeated loss and regaining of weight is particularly detrimental to calcium and to bone health.

While calcium is king when it comes to bone health minerals, a number of other minerals also play a role in optimal bone health. Magnesium plays a crucial role in converting vitamin D into the active form that promotes calcium absorption. Foods high in magnesium include avocados, nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, and whole grains. So be sure to boost your intake of these different things. Potassium neutralizes the acid in your body that can leach calcium out of your bones. Sweet potatoes are a great source of both calcium and potassium.

Zinc is a trace mineral needed in minimal amounts. It helps make up the mineral portion of your bones. Excellent sources of zinc include beef, shrimp, spinach, flaxseeds, oysters, and pumpkin seeds.

Healthy fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids, have been shown to help protect against bone loss during the aging process. In a typical diet now and particularly the Standard American Diet and even those eating pretty darn healthy diets, the balance of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids isn’t correctly balanced. We are usually too high in omega-6 and don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids. In order to increase your omega-3 intake you would want to increase your intake of chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

One can also supplement, of course, fish oil high in omega-3 fatty acids. The typical dose daily of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil is usually between 1000 – 3000 mg per day. If you’re someone with high cholesterol, you also would want to take omega-3 fatty acids as fish oil, and you would want to be up higher to around 3000 mg a day. Just be aware, of course, that fish oil taken as a supplement at high dosages like 3000 or 4000 mg a day is also going to be thinning your blood. If you’re on blood thinners, you want to be careful and I’m sure you’ve already been told not to take fish oil with blood thinners.

The use of tobacco products and alcohol consumption contributes to weak bones. Research suggests women who have more than one alcoholic drink a day, and men who have two or more drinks daily may have an increased risk of osteoporosis. We do need to be careful in that regard with alcohol.

In women, bone density decreases dramatically at menopause due to dropping estrogen levels. The prolonged absence of menstruation before menopause also increases the risk of osteoporosis. In men, low testosterone levels also can cause a loss of bone mass.

What I want to make sure people understand is in the functional medicine world, the sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) can be tested to determine levels. There are treatments that can be done to take supplemental hormones. That’s done a lot in the traditional medical model, but what I want you to understand is that in the functional medical world we want to get more to the root cause.

In functional medicine it is emphasized to first look “upstream” at the hormones that affect the production and mechanism of the sex hormones that are considered what’s called “downstream.” These more upstream hormones we’ve talked earlier about cortisol which when it is elevated steals in what’s called “cortisol steal.” It steals from the production of estrogren and testosterone. Also, thyroid hormone needs to be optimally balanced and functioning optimally to maintain optimal bone health and optimal estrogen and testosterone levels. Really, you want to get these things looked at if you haven’t in order to optimize your bone health as well as your sex hormone health.

Some studies report collagen supplementation as a way to help protect bone health. Collagen is the main protein found in bones. It contains the amino acids glycine, proline, and lysine, which help build bone, muscle, ligaments, and other tissues. A 24-week study found that giving postmenopausal women with osteoporosis a combination of collagen and the hormone calcitonin led to a significant reduction in markers of collagen breakdown.

We can’t have a talk about bone health and bone density as we age getting into osteoporosis or osteopenia without talking about the different medications that are out there that can be helpful, but they are not without risk. Let’s take a few slides to talk about that.

This slide lists the different bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat osteoporosis. As a category they are called antiresorptive therapy which means they slow the body’s normal breakdown of bone to reduce the risk of fractures. The different bisphosphonates include:

  • Actonel—a tablet you take daily or weekly
  • Boniva—an injection you can get once every three months
  • Fosamax—a tablet you take either daily or weekly. (It’s been around the longest and is the most commonly prescribed.)
  • Reclast—a treatment you can actually take intravenously initially and every two years after that.

Again, the biphosphonates are not without side effects or concern. They have been shown to decrease fractures in people with osteoporosis, but actually studies have not been clear if they do so for those with osteopenia. It depends on where you are on the spectrum of bone loss. Again, they are not without side effects.

Side effects of biphosphonates include heartburn or irritation of the esophagus. When you take a pill of a biphosphonate you must take it on an empty stomach. You must drink a lot of water to make sure that it gets down past the esophagus and into the stomach. You need to wait at least thirty minutes. You need to be upright; you should not be laying down, and you shouldn’t be bending over. If this medicine gets up into your esophagus it can do damage to your esophagus and irritate it.

Another side effect of biphosphonates is they can cause an ongoing muscle or bone aches and pains. The most dangerous of side effects that could happen, but it happens more in people who have been on these medicines for more than five years, is osteonecrosis of the jawbone which is actually when the bone of your jaw in an area will start to degenerate and break down. Also, the last one here is an atypical fracture of the thigh bone. We’re talking about a medicine that is supposed to increase our bone density and protect us from bone fractures, which it has shown in studies to do, but also if we’re on the medicine too long, or in some percentage of people, it may cause an actual atypical fracture of the thigh.

Now, the biphosphonates are not the only medicines. There are other medicines in the bone density world. These are listed here and I’m going to go through each one. First of all, one called denosumab (Prolia) is actually considered a biologic drug that slows bone loss.

Next would be hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or estrogen therapy. The problem with this is we’re really not prescribing this anymore specifically for bone health because it’s been found by research that hormone replacement therapy increases the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and stroke in some women. Therefore HRT is not being prescribed specifcally to treat osteoporosis because the risks are thought to outweight the benefits.

Next, another medicine is called raloxifene (Evista), and this is another antiresorptive option. The way that this works is this medicine has been used in breast cancer treatment for a long time. What it does is it mimics estrogen therefore decreases the turnover of bone; however, this medicine has been showen to increase risk of blood clots and so people who are at risk of blood clots or heart disease should not be on Evista.

Finally, teriparatide (Forteo) is recommended for people who’ve possibly already had a fracture and are at high risk of having another fracture. This drug works by stimulating the creation of new bone, as opposed to the antiresorptives that stop bone breakdown. So, Forteo is a synthetic version of a hormone called parathyroid hormone which is responsible for promoting the acitivity of osteoblasts to produce more bone. Again, all of these medicines can have side effects. Forteo can raise calcium levels in blood, therefore it might increase the risk of kidney stones.

So, there are a number of different medicines that can help with maintaining better bone density as we age, but there are side effects to consider. If you have definitive osteoporosis by a bone mineral density (BMD) test then be sure to talk with your doctor about your individual options and what would be best for you!

We covered a lot of information today so here’s a quick recap on some great ways to help maintain bone health:

  • Eat your veggies
  • Perform weight-bearing exercise
  • Get the right balance of protein in your diet
  • Boost your calcium intake
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin D, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and zinc (you can also consider taking those in a multivitamin)
  • Avoid low-calorie diets
  • Ditch the tobacco and limit your alcohol intake
  • Talk to your doctor about hormones and other types of bone density enhancing medications if you have osteoporosis
  • Try a collagen supplement

Remember that we list for you all of the resources I used to create this talk on our closed Discover Health Facebook Group. Anyone can join! All you need to do is go to Facebook, go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook Page, and just request to join our Discover Health Facebook Group. Everybody’s allowed in, it’s just we need to make sure we create that group so we can communicate with each other as a closed group.

Every day after I do these webinars, we post a list there for all members of our closed Discover Health Facebook Group of all of the links to the different online resources I used to produce these talks. If you have an interest, make sure to join our Discover Health Facebook Group. The other thing is that in our Discover Health Facebook Group, every Monday our Health Coach Trish Chaput does a Coach’s Corner. She also has very themed ideas throughout the week. Like one day is a recipe day and another day is another theme and so on. You also can ask us questions. It’s a communication device. If after we’re done tonight and you have questions after I’ve finished and you think of a question tomorrow or the next day, be sure to join our Discover Health Facebook Group and you can ask your questions through that method.

Thank you so much for taking part in this experience. Take care everyone!


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Arm Yourself Against Cancer

Welcome everyone to this webinar entitled “Arm Yourself Against Cancer.” I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. I just want to welcome everyone, and there’s a lot of material here so let’s just dive right in!

Cancer refers to a group of related diseases where some of the body’s cells become abnormal. They begin to incessantly divide and eventually enter into the surrounding tissues. This can start almost anywhere within the body. The abnormal cells that would have otherwise died off survive, multiply, and initiate the growth of a tumor. It is really important to understand that each of us produce, as part of our normal metabolic processes, cancer cells. Actually, we produce anywhere from a few hundred to as many as 10,000 cancerous cells each and every day! But if your immune system is functioning properly, it recognizes each and every one of these cancerous cells and removes them from your body. The reason that everyone does not get cancer is because a healthy immune system is designed to prevent it.

Tumors, also known as neoplasms, are swollen masses of tissue that have been a result of uncontrollable cell division. Malignant, or cancerous, tumors are classified by the type of cancer present as well as their state of development. Depending on the type of cancer, they could be either a solid tumor or a fluid-filled tumor. Tumors have the ability to invade other nearby tissues, facilitate the further movement of cancer cells throughout the body, and in turn encourage the growth of new tumors contributing to a very vicious cycle. Non-cancerous tumors are tumors that are considered benign.

The difference between cancerous cells versus normal cells. First of all, the major differences between cancer cells and otherwise healthy cells include:

  1. Growth. Normal cells stop reproducing or growing when there are enough cells present. However, cancer cells do not. They continue to grow, which in turn begins the formation of a tumor.
  2. Communication. Normal cells react and respond to nearby cell signals, whereas cancer cells do not.
  3. Cellular repair. When a cell is damaged, a normal cell either is repaired or dies off naturally. In contrast, cancer cells are unable to be repaired or go through what is called apoptosis which is controlled cell death.
  4. Cohesion and spreading. Normal cells secrete substances that help them stick together, keeping them in their primary location of the body where they belong. Cancer cells, however, fail to do this increasing the rate these cells freely travel throughout the body or what’s called metastasize.
  5. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells vary in cell size and shape from one another. Also, the nucleus of cancer cells appears much larger and darker than that of normal cells.
  6. Normal cells mature whereas cancer cells tend to rapidly grow and divide before cells are fully mature. This results in immature or what’s called undifferentiated cells.
  7. Immune system relationship. When normal cells are damaged, the immune system typically recognizes them and removes them. However, cancer cells can trick the immune system by secreting chemicals that disable the immune cells from coming to the scene of the tumor growth so they can hide from your immune system.”
  8. Normal cells inherently function properly doing the function they are designed to perform. However, cancer cells may not be considered functional at all.

In order for a normal cell to become an abnormal cancerous cell, many changes must occur. Some of them are the following:

  1. Allowance of rapid growth. The cells must possess a growth factor that promotes them to grow beyond what is normal or necessary.
  2. Failure to stop that growth. The proteins that would otherwise instruct the cells to halt growth and die are inhibited and, in turn, become abnormal.
  3. Disregard for bodily signals. The cells also evade other signals received from other cells in the body.
  4. Lack of adhesion. The normal adhesion properties of the cells are lost.

There are all attributed to or caused by gene mutations. It is overall difficult for the normal cell to become a cancerous cell. If it happens naturally in our bodies everyday but not all over the place. But the gene mutations are possible and necessary changes in order for it to occur.

Now let’s talk about gene mutations and what causes them. Gene mutations can occur for many different reasons, but there are two main ways that gene mutations can occur and they are:

  1. Inherited gene mutations. Some genetic mutations are passed down hereditarily, from one generation to the next through our parents. However, this accounts for a small percentage of cancers.
  2. Environmentally-provoked gene mutations. Some of the causes of these gene mutations include carcinogens, viral or other infections, hormones, obesity, inactivity, and chronic inflammation. We’re going to be going through and discussing more of these in detail throughout our time together today.

Surprisingly, mutations occur quite regularly throughout the normal cell growth. The cells, however, do have the ability to recognize, identify, and repair these mistakes. Unfortunately, cancer occurs when these mistakes go unnoticed.

Now that’s a lot of heavy science stuff I’ve present there so far, folks. These factors do not need to be present in order for cancer to develop. Meaning these common cancer risks I’m about to go over. These are some of the factors known to definitely increase a person’s risk of cancer.

  1. Overall, as we age, it is known that our cancer risk increases.
  2. Lifestyle choices.Habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, poor diet, excessive sun exposure, remaining overweight, unsafe sex, and inactivity all play a role in cancer risk.
  3. Family history. While the hereditary gene mutations are not as common, it is still worth being aware of your family’s health history because it can be very relevant to your cancer risk.
  4. These include exposure to secondhand smoke, harmful chemicals, and other environmental toxins.

Let’s get to the positive here – [click_to_tweet tweet=”believe it or not, cancer is preventable!” quote=”believe it or not, cancer is preventable!”] According to a study conducted in 2008 by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center researchers, 90-95% of all cancer cases are due to lifestyle and environmental factors.

Evidence concluded that cancer-related deaths were due to the following factors:

  • 25-30% were due to tobacco
  • 30-35% were due to diet. I’m shocked that there are doctors out there that would say to someone that your diet doesn’t matter in your overall chronic health. It absolutely does!
  • 15-20% were due to infections
  • Remaining percentages were due to stress, lack of physical activity, environmental pollution, and radiation exposure.

There have been many studies continually being released with this common theme – cancer is preventable! At the end of this and tomorrow on our Discover Health Facebook Group…if you haven’t joined just request to join! Everybody’s welcome. The day after these webinars I always post a list of the resources and the links of the resources and articles used to put this talk together.

Now a lot of what I’ve discussed in this presentation comes from this book, Cancer: Step Outside the Box by Ty Bollinger. Ty Bollinger lost both of his parents to stomach cancer. His father at only 52 years old, within weeks after his diagnosis in 1996 and then five years later his mother received the same diagnosis but did live a number of years later and passed away in 2004. From experiencing these devastating losses, Ty Bollinger set out on a mission to learn all he could about cancer and how it can be prevented or treated. [click_to_tweet tweet=”What he learned is that there is a lot out there about natural and non-toxic treatments that the general public does not know about without searching for them.” quote=”What he learned is that there is a lot out there about natural and non-toxic treatments that the general public does not know about without searching for them.”] He has spent sixteen years researching and gathering all the information and has summarized it in this book, Cancer: Step Outside the Box.

Throughout the book he discusses the traditional medical treatments of cancer and then explains the biology of cancer and the non-toxic treatments of cancer. How important nutrition and diet are for preventing and treating cancer and also a number of supplements to treat and prevent cancer. Throughout all of the information he provides resources and links to read further on the scientific research to support the different options he summarizes in the book. If you’re listening and you or a loved one are facing cancer or are concerned about your risk of developing cancer, you must get this book!

Before we go onto the next slide, here are just a few examples of the information he presents:

  1. According to Dr. John Baylor who spent twenty years on the staff of the National Cancer Institute and was editor of its journal, speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science back in 1985 said, “my overall assessment is the that national cancer program must be judged a qualified failure.”
  2. In his book, Understanding Cancer, a different doctor Dr. John Laszlo who was a former Vice President of research for the American Cancer Society indicates that when chemotherapy and radiation are given together secondary tumors are 25x more likely than the normal rate.
  3. According to a study conducted by the Department of Radiation Oncology at Northern Sydney Cancer Center and published in December 2004 issue of Clinical Oncology, the actual impact of chemotherapy on five-year survival rate in American adults is only 2.1%

Now that we have established that the vast majority of cancer can be prevented, let’s talk about what you can do to truly arm yourself against this devastating disease. If you have been diagnosed with a form of cancer, then you must realize that cancer is a disease that always results from a compromised immune system and an increased level of toxicity. The number one way to cure it and heal from it is to optimize your immune system through the following list of options:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve gut health
  • Address food sensitivities and intolerances
  • Refine your diet
  • Reduce toxic exposure
  • Manage stress
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Quit smoking
  • Up your clean water intake
  • Limit direct sun exposure
  • Exercise regularly
  • Adopt a healthy sleep routine

Essentially, get on the journey to cleaning up your habits in your personal environment.

According to the National Cancer Institute, obesity is one of the major risk factors for cancer. Although the association with obesity is dependent on the type of cancer, the following mechanisms are thought to generally contribute to cancer growth:

  1. Excessive estrogen production within fat cells
  2. Increased levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
  3. Adipokines (hormones from fat cells) that have an ability to stimulate or inhibit cell growth
  4. Fat cells’ influence on cell growth regulators, such as mTOR and AMP-activated protein kinase
  5. Chronic low-level inflammation
  6. Altered immune response
  7. Heightened oxidative stress

Now I know that some of this may sound unfamiliar, but it is most important to recognize [click_to_tweet tweet=”there are many ways that obesity, or an unhealthy amount and distribution of body fat, can be detrimental to your long-term health and significantly raises your risk of cancer.” quote=”there are many ways that obesity, or an unhealthy amount and distribution of body fat, can be detrimental to your long-term health and significantly raises your risk of cancer.”]

Inflammation is a vital immune response. It is our body’s natural way to defend against invaders, heal from harm, and repair damage.”]If you step off the curb and you twist your ankle, and it gets red and hot and swollen and warm that is normal. It’s an acute inflammatory response to an injury. Chronic inflammation, however, is not helpful. To have inflammation consistently, the body’s ability to recognize, attack, and defend is weakened significantly. When the body remains in a “high alert” state for an extended period of time, the immune system becomes impaired and lasting damage occurs.

This state of chronic inflammation draws parallels with many of the chronic diseases we see today, including cancer. If it is not addressed, more complications occur such as insulin resistance, autoimmune complications, and tumor progression. Chronic inflammation will also take our cells into a more anaerobic state of respiration. What this means is that our cells can produce energy in two ways. Let’s go over that.

Aerobic respiration is a method that requires good oxygen supply to happen and is the most productive and efficient way of producing fuel for your body. The second way to produce energy is anaerobic respiration. This uses glucose or sugar through a fermentation process that does not require oxygen to occur. This method is much less efficient and does not produce as much energy as aerobic respiration. It is also thought to be the main method that cancer cells use for energy production.

Dr. Otto Warburg, a cancer biochemist back in 1931 and a Nobel Prize winner in medicine, first discovered that cancer cells have a fundamentally different energy respiration than healthy cells. He discovered that cancer cells are anaerobic, thus whatever causes this anaerobic respiration to occur is the cause of all cancers. His thesis was that cancer is a fermentative disease caused by cells that have mutated and changed from aerobic respiration to anaerobic respiration, resulting in glucose fermentation and uncontrolled cell growth. He theorized that tumors are nothing more than a walled off toxic waste dump inside the body that is being sustained by the fermenting of what? Sugar.

This primary concept of all cancer treatment methods was discussed in Cancer: Step Outside the Box. The question is – what can bring more oxygen to all the cells in the body to optimize their function and kill any and all cancer cells naturally to prevent and treat any cancer? What are the primary steps that will optimize aerobic respiration, meaning get more oxygen to all of your cells and decrease inflammation? Well, guess what? Boosting your gut health and eating right, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that is low in sugar and low in toxins, taking proper supplementation to optimize the aerobic respiration of your cells, doing regular detoxing, treating infections optimally, managing your stress healthily, and maintaining physical fitness and moving and getting your cells to use more oxygen in order to respirate and breathe.

In his book, Cancer: Step Outside the Box, Ty Bollinger summarizes many non-toxic treatments for cancer. I’m going to take a moment here and just list off a partial list of this section of his book and the names of these different non-toxic natural ways to optimize the oxygenation of your cells. Later, I’ll go over some of these in more detail. Take a look at this list, I’m going to list off fifteen different things and that’s just a partial list!

  1. Aloe arborescens. This is a synergistic combination of natural honey and a special form of aloe called aloe arborscens that has been proven to boost immune system function.
  2. Bio oxidative therapies
  3. The Bradnt Care Grape Cure
  4. Enzyme metabolic therapy
  5. Essiac tea
  6. Frequency generators such as pulsed electromagnetic frequency. Many of you may have heard of the BEMER. The BEMER is a pulsed electromagnetic frequency mat. It’s only one of many that are out there on the market, but it’s probably the most heard of.
  7. Gerson Therapy
  8. The hemp plant has had a bad rap for too long. The hemp plant is one of the items and plants that can help as a non-toxic treatment of cancer.
  9. Saunas or heating the body up to get rid of cancerous cells.
  10. Intravenous vitamin C
  11. Insulin potentiation therapy
  12. Sodium bicarbonate
  13. Oleander
  14. Ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy
  15. Vitamin B17, also called laetrile

I do not have the time to discuss all of these in this presentation. The point of reading all that out is so you realize how many things that are non-toxic and natural that are discussed in Ty Bollinger’s book Cancer: Step Outside the Box. But I will summarize some of them in a little bit as we go through some more slides.

The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of organisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, viruses, and protozoan throughout the digestive tract in particular. Far beyond just your digestive health, the immune system, among other organ systems, are closely related to gut health. Because of this close association between our microbiome and immunity, research suggests that the gut has a very significant role in determining cancer risk. A few of the most common enemies to gut health include:

  1. The Standard American Diet (SAD)
  2. Excessive use of prescription medications
  3. Toxic exposure
  4. Untreated infections
  5. Chronic stress
  6. Inadequate digestive enzyme activity. Ty Bollinger in his book Cancer: Step Outside the Box talks about this a lot in any of the different treatment and preventative ways for cancer. Of the multitude of options that are presented to treat cancer in Ty Bollinger’s book, digestive enzymes come up again and again as imperative to optimal prevention and treatment of cancer. Some researchers and physicians state over and over that cancer cells progress due to a dysfunctional immune system and a lack of pancreatic enzymes in order to digest the cancerous cells.

What we eat (as well as what we don’t) can either fuel or discourage the development of cancer. Research has concluded there is solid evidence that certain dietary habits have a sizable impact on cancer risk. For example, the encouraged cancer-prevention diet is plant-based and provides essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.”] Some things that are the major points of this would include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables (such as broccoli, spinach, and beans)
  • Whole fruits
  • Fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C (such as oranges, berries, peas, bell peppers, and dark leafy greens)
  • Vegetables rich in lycopene (a phytonutrient in tomatoes, guava, and watermelon)
  • Vegetables rich in carotenoids (such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash)
  • Unprocessed grains
  • Healthy oils (such as olive oil and coconut oil)

Another thing to really emphasize is that it is also recommended that we eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables. 70-80% raw because cooking actually destroys the enzymes that the fruits and vegetables supply. Remember I mentioned that enzymes are extremely important for us to be getting digestively and from our foods.

Conversely, on the other side of the coin, these foods heighten the risk of cancer and should be avoided as much as possible:

I’ll highlight a few of the foods and herbs discussed in Ty Bollinger’s book now. Let’s go through some of these that he talks about specifically. I will tell you as I was reading this material it was blowing me away. First of all, apricot and apple seeds which are considered high in vitamin B17 (laetrile). This is one of the first alternative cancer treatments that Ty Bollinger learned about after his dad died back in 1996. Again, it’s called vitamin B17 or laetrile and comes from the seeds of certain fruits.

Dr. Ernst Krebs back in the 1940s and 50s theorized that cancer was caused by the lack of an essential food component in modern man’s diet, identified as part of the nitriloside family, which is found in over 1,200 edible plants. Krebs learned of the kingdom of Hunza in the Himalayan mountains of northern Pakistan who were said to be cancer free. He heard of this place, the kingdom of Hunza, and the people that lived there had the lowest or no cancer rate whatsoever. He then learned of their diet and that they regularly eat the pits of the apricot seeds which are one of the richest sources of nitrilosides. Nitrilosides are especially prevalent in the seeds of the apricot, peaches, apples, millet, bean sprouts, buckwheat, and bitter almonds. Dr. Krebs also was able to determine how to extract the nitrilosides from the plants and applied for a patent for clinical use. He called it laetrile or also vitamin B17.

You may have heard that eating the seeds of apricots or apples is not safe and that they have a dangerous amount of cyanide. In Cancer: Step Outside the Box, this is stated as patently false. Studies show that vitamin B17 is harmless to healthy cells. Here’s why – each molecule of vitamin B17 contains one unit of hydrogen cyanide, one unit of benzaldehyde, and two units of glucose that are all tightly locked together. In order for the hydrogen cyanide to become dangerous, it is first necessary to unlock the molecule and to release it. This can only be done by a particular enzyme called beta glucosidase which is present all over the human body only in very minute quantities. Guess what? In huge quantities at only one place and that’s in cancer cells. Healthy cells produce the enzyme rhodanese which has the ability to completely break down the cyanide into harmless substances of thiocyanate and salicylate. Malignant cells contain no rhodanese enzyme at all and leaves them at the mercy of the cyanide poison. Your healthy cells have ways to neutralize the dangerous cyanide and the malignant cells do not.

In order to optimize the performance of vitamin B17, a person should also add zinc and pancreatic enzymes. Zinc carries the vitamin B17 around the body and the blood and pancreatic enzymes are imperative as they serve as the first layer of defense the body has against cancer. There are two sites that are listed in the book Cancer: Step Outside the Box, where a person can purchase B17. We will post these sites in our Discover Health Facebook Group.

Chlorella and spirulina are forms of algae and they both contain an enormous amount of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is one of the greatest substances for cleansing the bowel and other elimination systems such as the liver and the blood. It is also instrumental in transporting oxygen to the body and brain enhancing aerobic respiration. There is an online book entitled Superfoods for Optimal Health: Chlorella and Spirulina by Mike Adams. It available for free!

I hope you like hot food because cayenne…this culinary spice has been used for centuries. Did you know that cayenne is perhaps the most valuable medicinal herb in the herb kingdom? It acts as a catalyst and enhances the effectiveness of other herbs. The active ingredient in cayenne is called capsaisin. In 2004, Dr. Srivastava and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine treated pancreatic cells with capsaisin and the results of their study were published in the April 20, 2005 issue of the Innovations Report. In this article, Dr. Srivastava stated, “Our results demonstrate that capsaisin is a potent anti-cancer agent, induces apoptosis (natural cell death) of cancer cells and produces no significant damage to normal pancreatic cells indicating its potential use as a novel chemotherapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer.”

They also talk about cayenne tea which one of the providers talk about one teaspoon of cayenne in a cup of hot water. I will tell you, I tried this, and I would not use a full teaspoon! Unless you really like hot food and a hot taste. I’d take maybe 1/8 of a teaspoon and put it in my tea, I drink an herbal non-caffeinated coffee made from dandelion roots. In my evening drink or my morning drink, I do take about 1/8 of a teaspoon of cayenne powder and it’s really quite delicious, but I don’t know that I would go to a full teaspoon unless you really love the taste of cayenne and hot food.

Let’s get to this Brandt Care Grape Cure. In the 1920’s, Johanna Brandt of South Africa said she cured herself of stomach cancer by eating lots of grapes. Grapes are known to have resveratrol. According to Dr. John Pezzuto of the University of Illinois at Chicago, the naturally occurring phenol of resveratrol in grapes, “has multiple modes of action inhibiting cancer growth at a lot of different stages,” which is unusual. It is also believed that resveratrol activates the p53 gene which induces apoptosis or natural cell death. Especially Concord grapes contain several other nutrients that are known to kill cancer cells such as ellagic acid, lycopene, selenium, catechin, quercetin, gallic acid, and vitamin B17. What an amazing cancer fighting arsenal! Of course, be sure to only ingest organic grapes and be sure to eat the whole grape – skin, seeds, and all of it in a preventative method. If you want to learn more about how to use the specific Brandt Care Grape Cure…it involves a very specific protocol that involves fasting and eating large amounts of grape mush, whole grapes, along with other supplements.

For more information on this, you’ll need to read the full book, Ty Bollinger’s book, in its entirety as there are numerous non-toxic cancer treatment methods presented and links to further research and learning. Just from these summaries, I would not recommend implementing it. I definitely have been getting Concord grapes and eating the whole grape now as a preventative. If you do have a diagnosis of cancer and you want to implement a specific Brandt Care Grape Cure, then there’s a lot more information you would need to know.

Let’s go onto another one. Essiac tea. Back in 1922 a Canadian nurse named Rene Caisse noticed scar tissue on the breast of an elderly woman. This woman told her that doctors had diagnosed her with breast cancer many years before. She explained she had met an old Indian medicine man who told her that he could cure her cancer with an herbal tea that included sheep sorrel weed. Later, the nurse was walking with a retired doctor who pointed to that same sheep sorrel weed and said, “Nurse Caisse, if people would use this weed, there would be little or no cancer in the world.” The doctor explain that he had watched his horse cure itself of cancer by repeatedly grazing on sheep sorrel weed. Rene Caisse went on to create a recipe for what she called Essiac tea which includes sheep sorrel weed, slippery elm bark, Turkish rhubarb root, and burdock root. She treated thousands of cancer patients in Canada over many years. In 1937, an American Chicago doctor named John Wolfer, who was the director of the Tumor Clinic at Northwestern University Medical School arranged for Nurse Caisse to treat thirty terminal cancer patients under the direction of five doctors. After supervising eighteen months of Essiac therapy, the Chicago doctors concluded that the herbal mixture, “prolonged life, shrank tumor, and relieved pain.” Rene Caisse never commercialized her recipe and never divulged it to any large cancer institute. Anyone can learn this recipe today by simply visiting the Rene M. Caisse Memorial Room. The recipe is also given in Ty Bollinger’s book Cancer: Step Outside the Box.

There are many other foods, non-toxic treatments, and supplements discussed in Cancer: Step Outside the Box. I have highlighted and discussed only a small number of them during this presentation. As I said earlier, if you or someone you know is either at high risk of cancer or is dealing presently with a cancer diagnosis please be sure to get this book and read it. It may just help and save your life.

Let’s get back to the basics of optimizing your immune system, aerobic respiration, and decreasing your toxicity. Based on extensive research, there is strong scientific evidence connecting drinking alcohol with several types of cancer. According to the National Toxicology Program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, alcohol is listed as a known human carcinogen.

The research indicates that the more someone drinks regularly, the higher the risk they have of developing cancer. It was once believed that limited alcohol consumption was an appropriate part of a cancer prevention plan. However, emerging studies have concluded that even minimal consumption (even within national guidelines of one drink for women per day and two drinks for men per day) still raises cancer risk. Therefore,


 if you really have a concern about cancer, it is best to skip out on the drinks altogether.

 Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer as well as death from cancer. The chemical within tobacco products contain chemicals that directly damage DNA, which is unsurprisingly the main contributor to cancer development.”]For more information on the harms of tobacco and the health benefits of quitting, visit this website.

A growing body of research has supported the importance of physical activity in cancer prevention. Some of the benefits of exercise for specifically reducing the risk of cancer include:

  • Regulating blood levels of different hormones
  • Reducing exposure to dietary carcinogens by accelerating your metabolism and optimizing your aerobic respiration
  • Prevention of body fat accumulation

The most important advice we can give you for adopting a fitness routine is to make it fun! It must be something you enjoy doing to ensure it is something that becomes a lifestyle habit rather than something you struggle to continue with.

How do YOU get movement in? If you are looking for a way to get moving that will help your balance, your strength, and your flexibility and empower you to be active in your own home (especially during this crazy time of COVID-19 if you’re not able to get out as much as you’d like) we have created our Discover Health Movement Membership which includes online live and recorded classes each week of yoga, self-myofascial release, and movement for longevity. If you want to learn more about this, if you feel like you are looking for more ways on how to move better and to do it in your own home and connect with others online via zoom during this crazy COVID time, then go to our website to learn more. You’ll see videos about it, you’ll read about our instructors, and find out everything you would need to know.

Quality sleep is essential to proper immune function, healing, and mental health. Ensuring you schedule at least seven to eight hours of sound sleep every night also reduces your risk of cancer! We are told our whole lives how important sleep is for our health, but science is now, too, on slumber’s side. Studies have been addressing the relationship of insufficient sleep habits with some of the top cancers in the United States. Still, 1 in 10 people experience sleep disturbances. The most shocking part of this all is that some of these sleep issues can be avoided! Some strategies to improve your sleep include:

  • Create a sleep schedule and stick to it
  • Limit screen time before bedtime by at least an hour
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar intake later in the day
  • Adopt a nighttime ritual
  • Try essential oils
  • Drink herbal tea
  • Leisurely read before bed or in bed (puts me to sleep all the time!)
  • Supplement with melatonin and/or magnesium

And of course, stress now. The prevention of cancer is truly a holistic process.  Stress is the primary driver for chronic inflammation and in turn, disease.”]Some ways to relieve stress include:

  • Meditation
  • Practicing yoga
  • Gardening
  • Taking a walk in the woods or wherever you can get out and walk
  • Spending time with loved ones (at this time if you are feeling isolated, please reach out to some form of community even if it is on the zooms of the world)
  • Listening to calming music
  • Getting a massage
  • Reading a good book
  • Cooking a yummy meal (and preferably share it with others)
  • And so much more!

In fact, in chapter 7 of Cancer: Step Outside the Box by Ty Bollinger, Dr. Rashid Buttar, another doctor that he interviewed in his book, explains the seven toxicities that can lead to cancer. He states, “my experience having worked with several thousand patients from all over the world has taught me that the vast majority of toxins come from seven major sources.” This is the list:

  1. Heavy metals
  2. Persistent organic pollutants (primarily coming from pesticides)
  3. Opportunistic infections
  4. Energetic toxicity
  5. Emotional toxicity
  6. Food toxicity
  7. Spiritual toxicity

Tomorrow we will be posting in our Discover Health Facebook Group the following resources that were used to assemble this class for you. I’ll be listing some from Ty Bollinger’s book but also some from other sources that we used. Again, if you have not yet joined our Discover Health Facebook Group please make sure you do so you get access to all of this information.

Thank you so much for taking time to experience Arm Yourself Against Cancer. I am passionate about sharing this topic with people who are eager to ensure they reach and sustain optimal health! If you have any further questions, please contact us through our Discover Health Facebook Group or email us at .

You can also go to my website ( where there is an enormous amount of educational material and a Health Library you can assess my podcast and more! If you have never been a patient of ours before, there is also an option to schedule a 30-minute free introductory consult with either myself or our health coach, Trish Chaput. We are here to support you and we just want to help you on your journey to optimize your health!

I really appreciate everyone being here. I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this. I have not considered myself a functional medicine cancer specialist. I work mostly on autoimmune disease and inflammation, but I’ve always known that chronic inflammation is connected to cancer. Now that I’ve read Ty Bollinger’s book and I’m following a lot of the links and reading the research, and actually have had my own run-ins with cancer in my life, I tell you – I’m going to be researching this more and more because it’s just blowing me away at how many non-toxic natural modalities there are that can help people. Have a wonderful evening, day, or afternoon depending on what time it is where you are!

June 18 will be our next regular webinar on the third Thursday of June. June 18 at 6:00 PM EST. That webinar is on the Safety in the Sun, sun related cancers, and sun safety. Finally, June is a busy month! I am really excited because I am coming out with my next book! We’re going to launch the book on June 25 and 26 through Amazon, and you can get a kindle copy. This is a collaborative book; I’m not the only author. There are about six or seven authors in this book. The evening of June 25 I’m going to be interviewing each of the authors and present our chapters and what we’ve talked about in the book. If you’d like to catch that, we’re going to be sending out more information soon! With that – thank you so much! Have a wonderful evening or afternoon.


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Mysteries of the Thyroid

Welcome, everyone. Thank you for joining me! My name is Dr. Trish Murray. I am a physician, author, and Health Catalyst Speaker. I am passionate about educating you on how to take control of your health and transform your life! My first book is entitled Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease, and I am presently working on a new book that will be discussing the future of medicine.

[click_to_tweet tweet=”At Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, we say goodbye to the “pill for every ill” mentality. Instead, we work with you in a holistic, multi-systems approach to truly optimize your performance and your quality of life.” quote=”At Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, we say goodbye to the “pill for every ill” mentality and the piecemeal approach of being bounced from one specialist to another. Instead, we work with you in a holistic, multi-systems approach to truly optimize your performance and your quality of life.”]

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the trachea (or more commonly known as the windpipe) and just below the larynx or your Adam’s apple in the neck. The shape of the thyroid is similar to a butterfly with two halves that are called “lobes.” These two lobes are connected by a band of thyroid tissue called the “isthmus.” The loose connective tissue that surrounds the thyroid gland allows it to move and change its position when we swallow. Interesting, the thyroid initially develops in the back of the tongue and then migrates down to the front of the neck before birth as we are developing. On average, the thyroid weighs between 20 – 50 grams (about 2 ounces). Each lobe contains a high number of small sacks that are called “follicles.” These store thyroid hormone in the form of little droplets.

To understand the function of the thyroid, it’s essential to discuss the endocrine system. The endocrine system is a collection of glands that produce hormones. Hormones regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, response to stress, sleep, and mood. In addition to the thyroid gland, the pituitary gland, the parathyroid glands, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the ovaries in females, and the testicles in males all make up the glands of the endocrine system. Each gland of the endocrine system stores hormones to be released into the bloodstream which then are transferred to the body’s cells.

The thyroid gland uses iodine to make two main hormones. One is called “triiodothyronine” or “T3.” (Don’t try to say it three times fast, it’s a difficult one!) The other one is called “thyroxine” and that is “T4.”  To a lesser extent, the thyroid also produces calcitonin which helps control blood calcium levels.

The body cannot make the mineral iodine which is why it is required through the diet. Iodine is absorbed into our bloodstream from food in our gut. It is then carried to the thyroid gland where it is eventually used to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid cells are unique in that they are highly specialized to absorb and use iodine. Thyroxine is called T4 because it contains four iodine atoms. T4 is the form of hormone that is released by the thyroid gland, but it is typically not an active hormone. T4 needs to be converted to T3 by the removal of one iodine atom.

Thyroid hormones travel in your bloodstream to reach almost every cell in your body, and they regulate the speed with which the cells and metabolism work. For example, thyroid hormones regulate your heart rate and how fast your intestines absorb and process food. If T3 and T4 levels are low, you may have hypothyroid symptoms which would cause your heart rate to be slower than normal and you may have constipation as well as weight gain. If on the other side T3 or T4 levels are too high and you have hyperthyroid symptoms, you may have a rapid heart rate, diarrhea, or weight loss.

The pituitary gland and hypothalamus both control the thyroid. When the thyroid hormone levels drop too low, the hypothalamus located at the base of the brain secretes a hormone. That hormone then goes off to the pituitary gland which is also in the brain, and that puts out thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The thyroid responds to this chain of events by producing more hormones. The amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) that the pituitary sends into the bloodstream depends on the amount of T4 that the pituitary sees in your bloodstream. Once the T4 in the blood goes above a certain level, the production of TSH is shut off.

Basically, you can imagine this cycle like a heater and a thermostat. When the heater is off and the room becomes cold, the thermostat reads the colder temperature and turns on the heater. When the heat rises to an appropriate level, that same thermostat senses this and turns off the heater. The thyroid and the pituitary gland in your brain, like a heater and a thermostat, turn on and off.

People with an overactive thyroid have a condition called hyperthyroidism. Excess amounts of T3 and T4 produced and released cause disruptions throughout the body. The symptoms of hyper- or overactive thyroid including the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hand tremors
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness or anxiety
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Skin dryness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Weight loss
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Women will experience lighter periods or skipped periods

Hypothyroidism is just the opposite, too little T3 and T4. Approximately 10 million Americans are likely to have this extremely common medical condition. In fact, as many as 10% of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency. Hypothyroidism is much more common in women than it is in men, but this does not mean that men are immune to this condition. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Course, dry hair
  • Hair loss
  • Dry, rough, pale skin
  • Cold intolerance
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Decreased libido

Obviously from this list, you can see how important the thyroid is and how the thyroid function needs to be normal for us to feel well and to be optimally healthy. There are several conditions that can also result from abnormal function of the thyroid. In addition to hyper- and hypothyroidism, the following conditions can also occur:

  • A goiter – a bulge in the neck. A toxic goiter is typically associated with hyperthyroidism. A nontoxic goiter, also known as a simple or endemic goiter, is typically caused by iodine deficiency and is more common in people with hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroiditis – an inflammation of the thyroid. This may be associated with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. When the thyroid gland is inflamed, it can cause the thyroid cells to die, making the thyroid unable to produce enough hormones to maintain the body’s normal metabolism. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. This is an autoimmune condition caused by the immune system creating antibodies against your own thyroid gland and actually attacking it. This is the most common reason why people eventually develop hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer can develop and has become relatively common today. Long-term survival rates are actually excellent. Thyroid cancer can affect anyone at any age, though women and people over thirty are the most likely to develop this condition.

Before we get into a more functional discussion of the thyroid, I want to make sure I cover the lab tests that are necessary to fully diagnose if the thyroid is functioning optimally or not. In the traditional medical model, I and all other physicians were trained and are still trained that doing a blood test to assess the level of TSH is a very highly sensitive test and all you need to determine if the thyroid gland is functioning normally. But with what I’ve explained so far, TSH does not even come from the thyroid gland! It comes from the pituitary gland in your brain which is the thermostat and not the heater. For example, if there’s something wrong with the heating system in your home, is the technician only going to examine the thermostat? Or are they going to examine your furnace as well as the thermostat?

The bloodwork you want to ask for or have done to fully assess the function of your thyroid gland includes thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This is an excellent test but again this hormone only comes from the pituitary gland in your brain. You also want to test free T3 and free T4, the two hormones that are actually put out by the thyroid. T4 is put out by the thyroid and then needs to be converted to free T3. You want to make sure you know the levels of these. Another lab test is that when T4 gets converted it might get converted to normal free T3, the active hormone, but it also could be converted to something called “reverse T3.” Reverse T3 is actually not an active hormone. It’s created in an abnormal formation and doesn’t function normally when it binds to the cells. The other thing you want to test for is if you have an autoimmune condition against your thyroid gland. There are certain antibodies that your immune system can create against your thyroid. You want to ask to test for the antibodies that can be produced by your immune system against your thyroid gland including antithyroglobulin antibodies or thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

As you now know, the thyroid gland is where the production and secretion of the hormones T3 and T4 take place. But what are the functions of the thyroid? Let’s get into a more functional discussion. The thyroid is responsible for regulating the body’s metabolic rate as well as heart rate and digestion function, muscle control, brain development, mood, and bone maintenance. Its correct function depends on having a good supply of iodine from the diet.

Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories. You can separate the types of calories that your body burns into two different categories. One type of category of calories is called “resting calories,” and the other is called “activity calories.” Even when we’re just sitting on the couch watching TV or listening to a webinar like this, our body is burning calories. This is considered our baseline or basal metabolic rate. In fact, it accounts for about 60-75% of the total amount of energy you burn every day! While at rest, your organs and essential biological functions are still working hard for you which is why we need energy in the form of nutrition even when we’re inactive. Our thyroid hormones are involved in how well we burn our calories for fuel. A few examples of specific metabolic effects of thyroid hormones include thyroid hormone levels stimulate fat metabolism. This is the process of either using fat for energy or storing it in the body for later use. Thyroid hormones also stimulate almost all aspects of carbohydrate and sugar metabolism. If your thyroid hormones are off, you will not balance your sugar levels optimally and you will not metabolize your fat storage properly.

You can see that in addition to metabolism, the thyroid plays a significant role in several other body functions. Thyroid hormones are necessary for healthy growth in children. Studies revealed normal levels of thyroid hormone are essential for the development of the fetal and the neonatal brain. Thyroid hormones increase heart rate, cardiac contractility, and cardiac output. They also promote dilation of your blood vessels which leads to enhanced blood flow to many different organs. Both decreased and increased concentrations of thyroid hormones lead to alterations in mental state. Too little hormone will cause you to feel you mentally sluggish and have brain fog, while too much thyroid hormone increases anxiety and nervousness. Normal reproductive behavior and physiology are dependent are having essentially normal levels of thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism, in particular, is commonly associated with infertility.

There are numerous natural techniques you can utilize to boost the health and function of your thyroid gland. Stress is a natural part of our lives, however, today more people are experiencing higher levels of stress which can wreak havoc on our health. Living in a constant state of fight or flight can tax the adrenal glands which can suppress the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands, both of which directly influence the thyroid function.”] We all must find ways to minimize stress. I recommend my clients and patients to have a daily practice (at least five to ten minutes a day) of calming the mind such as doing meditation, deep breathing, stopping your day and going for a walk, or doing some journal writing. All of this is important.

Let’s take a look at the thyroid adrenal connection. When our stress is up, we need to produce more cortisol. Cortisol is your stress hormone that helps you handle all the stress of our lives and gets you up in the morning. In order to get out of bed in the morning, you must have an increase in your cortisol. The thyroid comes from a connection of hormones that first starts coming from the brain. The hypothalamus in the brain to the pituitary in the brain and then TSH tells the thyroid to put out T4. Then T4 has to get converted to T3. On the stress side of things, you notice in the image shown above that the hypothalamus puts out a hormone that then goes to the pituitary gland that turns on your adrenal glands to put out cortisol which is your stress hormone. If you are over stressed and your brain is constantly focused on putting out the correct hormones to give you enough cortisol to deal with your stress levels, you will notice that too much cortisol, or any of the hormones that are precursors to cortisol, inhibit the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone and inhibit the production of T4 and inhibit the production or the conversion of T4 to T3. It might be your stress that causes thyroid symptoms to occur when excess cortisol blocks the production of TSH or prevents the conversion of T4 to T3. You experience thyroid symptoms such as fatigue, cold intolerance, weight gain, memory problems, poor concentration, depression, hair loss, dry skin, and infertility. It’s extremely important to realize the crazily increasing levels of stress in our lives affect not only our adrenal glands but also affect our thyroid function and can lead to the main reason why we are having a hypo- or even hyperthyroid.

The body requires sleep for overall health and healing, however, thyroid conditions can impact sleep patterns. For adults, essentially the optimal amount is between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. Keep in mind if you miss a few hours you also cannot catch up later on. Missed sleep is typically felt to be scientifically lost. If you have trouble sleeping this is typically related to stress and lifestyle habits. Try eating dinner at least two hours before bed. Have a cup of calming, herbal tea. Do some deep breathing or stretching prior to going to sleep, or learn about essential oils and which ones can help promote sleep. There are many avenues that can help reduce stress and improve sleep.

Physical activity is excellent for assisting in hormone production. If you’re experiencing a sluggish metabolism, aim for 20 to 30 minutes of low-intensity exercise three times per week, and do some gentle basic stretching every day. That is not a lot of exercise! Some of you are out there thinking you need to go run a marathon to be healthy – you do not! Again, aim for 20 minutes of low intensity exercise three times per week and do some gentle basic stretching every day. If you know you are not moving enough and are not sure how to get started then another option is go to the Health Library on my website and click on the link to Exercise Videos. There you will find Level 1 demonstration videos by me on stretching, core strength, and weight resistance exercises. Just follow along with them and you’re going to start creating your exercise practice. We also offer gentle yoga classes on Friday mornings as well as balance and strength Movement for Longevity classes. To learn more about any of our classes, go to our Discover Health Calendar.

Refined sugars and carbohydrates as well as alcohol can wreak havoc on your body and your thyroid. These foods cause inflammation, weight gain, and blood sugar issues. If you have a sweet tooth, turn to fresh fruit. You’ll be surprised how quickly your taste buds will adapt to the natural sweetness. Also, beware of hidden sugar in packaged foods, condiments, and sauces. Make sure to check ingredients to avoid products with added sugar. A diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as selenium, iodine, zinc, thiamine, B12, and vitamin D can help heal your thyroid and reduce inflammation. Fill you plate with dark leafy greens, quality fats, and plant-based protein sources. You can also test out incorporating more sea vegetables like seaweed into your diet. In fact, just one dried sheet of seaweed contains well above the daily recommended value of iodine. You can buy in little packets these little squares the size of your palm or smaller of dried seaweed sheets that you just put in your mouth and chew. They are a little bit of an acquired taste. Some people love them, and some people think it’s an acquired taste. Again, one of these sheets gives you well above the daily required amount of iodine. Another tip is a handful of Brazil nuts can contain more than your daily recommended value of selenium which kickstarts the production of active thyroid hormones. Actually, eating only two Brazil nuts per day can typically give you the daily required amount of selenium you need to optimize your thyroid function. More is not always better, and the saying “less is more” applies in this case of Brazil nuts. You don’t want to eat a handful every day. Only two a day is about all you’re going to need. One egg contains about 20% of your daily recommended value of selenium and 15% of your daily recommended value of iodine. Lentils are an excellent of plant-based protein, but they also provide iron to the body. Low iron levels have been linked to poor thyroid function. You can learn how to optimize your diet which we help people do every day at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center with group classes and through one-on-one appointments with myself or our health coach in-person or online! We work with people from all over the country. This may be what you need to correct your thyroid problems, especially if you have subclinical issues, without even ever needing to go on prescription medicines.

If you are on a prescription medicine for your thyroid, I never recommend anyone stopping any medication until you’ve working with someone. If you’ve had hyperthyroidism and then they needed to irradiate your thyroid, then you don’t have a thyroid anymore and you must take your thyroid medicine. I never recommend stopping any prescription medications without absolutely working with a functional medicine provider and making sure your individual situation is completely understood to determine whether you’re going to need to stay on your thyroid medicine. Maybe you’re going to improve your overall health so you’re not going to need to keep increasing your thyroid medicine. Maybe you’d even be able to reduce it. Everyone is different, and that’s what you need to understand.

Another food example is garlic. Garlic is thyroid-friendly because it supports blood sugar metabolism and can fight against inflammation. Over the last twelve weeks we have been running a study on the effects of eating fermented black garlic on inflammation, blood sugar, and cholesterol. This study is essentially coming to an end right about now and people are getting their repeat or end of the study bloodwork done. Over the next couple of months we’ll be seeing what effect it has had for people. Stay tuned for that information!

The best thing you can do when planning a meal is to limit dietary stress which is caused by eating foods that create inflammation, sensitivity, allergic response, a spike or rapid fluctuations in your blood sugar, or contain toxins or chemicals that can trigger immune responses.High amounts of unhealthy fats like trans fats or hydrogenated fats that are found in all packaged and processed foods should be avoided. With a few strategic changes, you can help eliminate your dietary stress. Some recommendations for you to focus on are these:

  1. Eliminate heavily processed foods (foods that come in boxes or bags that can live on a shelf for years at a time).
  2. Skip table salt and instead opt for a natural form like unrefined sea salt or Himalayan pink salt.
  3. Incorporate more good fats in your diet such as olive oil, avocados, healthy nuts and seeds, coconut, coconut milk, and coconut oil.
  4. Avoid eating too much in one sitting.
  5. Give your body a ten to twelve-hour break from eating every day (overnight for example).

According to the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans as well as animals. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that mimic our hormones. When this occurs, the chemical disruptor interferes with the messages our hormones are trying to send to our cells. A wide range of substances, both natural and human-made, are thought to cause endocrine disruption. These include chemicals like dioxin, dioxin-like compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls, DDT and other pesticides, and plastics and plasticizers like bisphenol A (BPA). When you go to the grocery store and they hand you a receipt and you touch the ink on the receipt, for example, that ink has bisphenol A in it which is an endocrine disruptor. Certain cosmetics that we use…if you read the ingredients on any of your creams or any of your makeup or any of your cosmetics out there that men or women use and you read the list, if you see the word “parabens” or you see the word “phthalates” these are typically very commonly used chemicals in many common cosmetics and cleansers and things we use on our bodies every day. These are endocrine disruptors. They are blocking your normal and optimal hormone function.

For more information on this topic because this is a huge topic of its own, to avoid endocrine disruptors, there is a wonderful organization called the Environmental Working Group. This is a non-profit organization, and if you go to their website you’re going to learn a ton about how to clean up your world when it comes to cleaners, cosmetics, and things like that. Endocrine disruptors may be found in everyday products including plastic bottles, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, food, toys, cosmetics, and pesticides. To reduce expose to endocrine disruptors, choose glass containers over plastic containers, drink filtered water, and buy organic produce. Additionally, opt for nontoxic, natural bath and beauty products, household cleaners, and laundry detergents. For more information on what products are safe and which are not, visit Environmental Working Group’s website. There are different things you can click on there where I’ve stood, for example, in a health store pharmacy looking at the different cosmetic and makeup aisle and I’ve been able to put in any product I’m looking at on the website and they will rate that specific product I have in my hand or am looking at. They will rate it green (go ahead and use it), yellow (think about it), or red (please do not buy it because it is full of toxins and endocrine disruptors).

Thank you everyone for being a part of this!


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It’s All Connected: Functional Medicine Edition

Welcome to this talk, “It’s All Connected: Functional Medicine Edition.” I’m so glad all of you are joining me today. It’s fantastic that you’re taking your health seriously and are actively working to educate yourself about ways to better yourself and make improvements where necessary. Our goal for today’s event is to explain how functional medicine differs from conventional medicine and how it can play a role in your overall health.

To begin, let’s consider first of all our definition of health. I’m actually going to ask you to be active here. If you could take out a piece of paper and a pen, and what I’d like you to do is write down your answer to the following few questions. I’m going to want you to consider your answers as I go through the talk tonight. First of all, the very first question is what is your definition of health? That could be maybe one word, it might be a sentence or two, but think about it for a moment and write down your answer to – what is your definition of health?


Question number two, would you consider yourself to be healthy? That might be just a yes or a no. Do you consider yourself healthy?


Number three, whether you considered yourself healthy or not, many of us do have health concerns. Please list your present health concerns. Might be just one, might be one or two or three, but take a moment and list your top health concerns.


The fourth and final question before we get into the heart and soul of all this talk…I’d like you to write down your answers because you can go back and consider them…what would you like to work on or what would you like to optimize about your health? Again, please write it down. What would you like to optimize or work on about your health?


Keep these four questions and the answers you just wrote down in your mind as we provide an overview of functional medicine today. As we go along, ask yourself if functional medicine might be right for you based on the answers you just put down to these questions.


Defining health might seem simple, but what it means to have health has changed over the years. When asked to define health, some refer to the way a person looks or acts yet others take into account someone’s state of wellbeing. In the past, health was defined as someone simply free from disease or illness. Presently, of course, in the midst of the present coronavirus pandemic, this may be a clear definition. You either have the illness or you don’t. This does not take into account a person’s overall wellbeing and ability to optimally function or their ability to optimally fight an infection.


Health today is closely linked to how we live as the leading causes of death are related to lifestyle factors. This distinction had led to wellness being the primary factor of health. Wellness can be defined as “a positive, whole health approach that includes physical, social, intellectual, and emotion wellbeing.” This distinction becomes crucial as we delve into the difference between conventional and functional medicine.


When it comes to determining the status of your health, four different factors have been identified for consideration. They include personal health behavior, physical environment, hereditary influences, and the quality of health services available to you.When it c omes to determining the status of your health, four different factors have been identified for consideration. They include personal health behavior, physical environment, hereditary influences, and the quality of health services available to you.”] I’m going to discuss each of these a little bit.


Our health habits contribute at least 50% of all the major causes of death today. While hereditary certainly does play a role in certain disease factors, in many cases behavior and lifestyle choices can reduce or possibly increase the risk of disease. While hereditary certainly does play a role in certain disease factors, in many cases behavior and lifestyle choices can reduce or possibly increase the risk of disease. The concept of what’s called “epigenetics” has been around for many years now. More and more people are starting to understand this concept. It’s been proven that a person’s daily environment of diet It’s been proven that a person’s daily environment of diet exercise, stress level, supplements, and toxicity level all affect the genetic signaling in the body and determine which genes get turned on and which remain quiet daily environment of diet, exercise, stress level, supplements, and toxicity level all affect the genetic signaling in the body and determine which genes get turned on and which remain quiet daily environment of diet, exercise, stress level, supplements, and toxicity level all affect the genetic signaling in the body and determine which genes get turned on and which remain quiet. 


Also, I will comment that during this pandemic of the coronavirus, all of those aspects of health and a person’s daily environment will affect the ability of your immune system to function optimally and be able to defend you against the virus if and when you ever contract it.


The fourth concept here about determinants of health or the health services…this aspect refers to one’s ability to access healthcare. This includes the ability to reach a healthcare facility as well as their financial ability to access it. For example, lack of health insurance most likely results in lower access to healthcare.


Noncommunicable diseases (those not transmitted by infection) have been the leading cause of death globally with notable exceptions only on the continent of Africa for many, many years now. Now we all know that the present coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our typical daily lives and is an unusual situation for all of us. Chronic, noninfectious disease have been, for many decades now, the major problem of our time. The main factors for chronic disease include smoking, physical inactivity, high levels of alcohol consumption, poor diet, and obesity. [click_to_tweet tweet=”The main factors for chronic disease include smoking, physical inactivity, high levels of alcohol consumption, poor diet, and obesity.” quote=”The main factors for chronic disease include smoking, physical inactivity, high levels of alcohol consumption, poor diet, and obesity.”] Although tobacco remains the leading cause of chronic conditions, sedentary lifestyles aren’t far behind. The main types of chronic diseases that have been the main killers include:


  • cardiovascular disease (which relates to heart attack or stroke)
  • diabetes
  • certain forms of cancer
  • chronic respiratory diseases


All of these are heavily linked to underlying inflammation that is caused by our lifestyle choices. Lifestyle-related diseases often also have a very long latency period, which means they make them difficult to detect until the condition has already been around for a long time. Until it’s in an advanced stage, you don’t detect it. However, annoying nonspecific conditions or symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, joint pain, heartburn, diarrhea, constipation…if all of these annoying, daily symptoms are all going on for you on a daily basis, they can all be a sign that there is disfunction, leading over time slowly toward covert disease.


Now that we’re all on the same page discussing the definition of health, we can explain functional medicine and talk about the similarities and differences between functional medicine and conventional medicine. In many ways, functional medicine is similar to conventional medicine. They are both practiced by licensed medical professionals, and both are evidence researched based. They both employ advanced diagnostic tests and they may use prescription medications.


Where the two styles of medicines differ is in the guiding philosophy. Conventional medicine is well equipped to correlate present, immediate symptoms with a specific illness. I’m not arguing anything about this! This is ideal for addressing acute and urgent medical conditions like infectious diseases such as the coronavirus, broken bones, and physical trauma. However, we just shared that the leading causes of death today are chronic conditions that develop over a long period of time and have many nonspecific symptoms for a long time prior to causing definitive disease. This is where functional medicine comes into play. While conventional medicine is so focused on the symptoms and treatment with medications solely to quiet those specific symptoms, [click_to_tweet tweet=”functional medicine address illnesses by searching for, identifying, and addressing the underlying root cause of the problem” quote=”functional medicine address illnesses by searching for, identifying, and addressing the underlying root cause of the problem”] and trying to stop the symptoms, stop the underlying cause of disease, stop the progression, and prevent the essential disease process from developing any further. Some of the key differences are as follows:

It’s important to note that functional medicine does not reject conventional medicine at all but uses conventional medicine foundations on which to add new dimensions in the evaluation, management, and prevention of chronic disease. Using myself as an example, I was originally trained in internal medicine and was a primary care provider for adults for a number of years. I used, and continue to use, that training every day in my evaluation and work-up with my patients, but I got tired of the “pill for every ill” mentality of the conventional medical model and realized it was not helping my patients to truly transform their lives and take control of their health. This is why I went searching for more answers and I found the Institute of Functional Medicine.  Functional medicine offers a personalized and integrative approach to healthcare. The process involves prevention, management, and understanding the root causes of complex chronic disease.  Functional medicine offers a personalized and integrative approach to healthcare. The process involves prevention, management, and understanding the root causes of complex chronic disease. Because of the dramatic shift from infectious to noncommunicable disease, functional medicine is needed to address the chronic lifestyle-related illnesses of our time. In functional medicine, healing the patient replaces treating the patient. During this time of the coronavirus global pandemic it becomes even more clear that if you are not living a healthy lifestyle and keeping your immune system and all of your systems functioning optimally, you are putting yourself at more risk of not being able to handle this virus.


Let’s talk about the pillars of functional medicine. It’s basically based on three main pillars of healthcare. Number one is patient-centered care. What does that mean? Patient-centered care is the practice of caring for patients and their families but in ways that are meaningful and valuable to the individual patient. Patient-centered care is the practice of caring for patients and their families but in ways that are meaningful and valuable to the individual patient. This involves creating a client-doctor partnership for creating an individualized care plan and utilizing also a health coach in many instances to educate patients so that you are given the tools you need, and you can keep yourself accountable to the plan in order to optimize your success in transforming your life and optimizing your health.


The second pillar is integrative science-based methodologies. Functional medicine uses the latest evidence in medical research and clinical experience. The complex web of genetics, medical history, physiology, and lifestyle create an inside-out approach to identify and physiologic imbalances. This is why in the functional medical model we use a timeline of a patient’s life and their specific lifestyle habits as an extensive amount of history. It is imperative to be able to connect all the dots and identify the complex web of dysfunction that might be happening and how to heal it and optimize function again. It is imperative to be able to connect all the dots and identify the complex web of dysfunction that might be happening and how to heal it and optimize function again.


The third pillar is integrating the best medical practices from multiple disciplines. In this case, functional medicine often combines western medical practices with other types of therapeutic approaches from all over the world! Functional medicine often combines western medical practices with other types of therapeutic approaches from all over the world! The integration of multiple disciplines emphasizes:


  • prevention of disease through nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle
  • the use of the latest laboratory testing and diagnostic techniques
  • accesses the combination of medications, botanicals, supplements, therapeutic diets, exercise plans, rehabilitation plans, detoxification programs, and stress-management techniques


You’ll see it takes in all different aspects of different tools to try and help you optimize your health.



We record the history of someone’s life from all the way back prior to your birth when your mom was carrying you and then goes through the birth itself and then even goes through every single decade of your life of physical illnesses, physical traumas or emotional traumas. All of these events or issues that occurred during your life have led each one of us to where we are today and provides the clues to the root causes of your present conditions. In my office (there’s Dr. Trish and there’s Health Coach Trish) Health Coach Trish collects this information and fills in this timeline with you and prepares the record for me.



Then I read through it all and use it to fill out the next form called the functional medicine matrix. Our health coach also asks about each person’s lifestyle habits including your sleep and relaxation, your exercise what you do specifically for exercise and movement, your nutrition and your diet what do you eat each day, your stress level, and your relationships. Do you have a good support system or not? You’ll notice that’s across the bottom of the matrix form. This information gets filled in along the bottom of the form and from all of the collective data I read through it. I take what I call the “30,000-foot view” and I try and identify numerous things.


First of all, I try and identify antecedents. Antecedents are looking at your genetic risks that yes, you inherited and do not have any definitive control over. But then we also look for triggering events. These could be events or habits in one’s life that have initiated a problem and may be the underlying cause of how you’re feeling now. Many times, someone might say in their timeline, “I haven’t felt well since…” a certain time. “I was in that motor vehicle accident” or “I took those antibiotics for that infection I had five years ago.” Whatever that might be, when we’re listening those are the triggering events we’re listening for.


Another thing I’m looking for are what are called the mediators and the perpetrators. These are the habits in your lives that may be fueling the dysfunctions in your systems. We can have control over these and we can make changes in these to improve the function of our system and affect the underlying problem that’s causing our chronic disease. I also plug the different events that are listed in the timeline of one’s life into the different systems of the body. You’ll notice on this matrix, assimilation is your GI tract essential, defense and repair are your immune system, and then your energy system, and then your biotransformation and elimination system are your detox system, transport system is your cardiovascular system, your communication system is your hormone system, and your structure is your structural integrity.


Once all the data has been plugged into the matrix, patterns typically present themselves and certain systems are found to be the most affected by the events and illnesses throughout your life. The clinical imbalances become clearer and once I can see the patterns and show you the patterns, then you and I can create a treatment plan of attack in order to reverse these patterns and improve these patterns and optimize the function of your different systems to optimize your health!


The most important element of the functional medicine approach is the prevention of disease. As the adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The goal is to help the body to function optimally with the intent to support self-healing. Rebalancing the body once a disease has progressed is more involved and may require medical intervention which is why prevention is preferred.” quote=”The goal is to help the body to function optimally with the intent to support self-healing. Rebalancing the body once a disease has progressed is more involved and may require medical intervention which is why prevention is preferred. The tools utilized by functional medicine reach far beyond pharmaceutical prescription and surgery. Detoxification programs and stress management techniques are often used and tailored to what the individual patient needs.  The partnership created between physician and patient, as well as the health coach, allows the patient to become an active participant in the healing process. The partnership created between physician and patient, as well as the health coach, allows the patient to become an active participant in the healing process. Providing the patient with the education and the tools necessary…again this is our motto – to take control of your health and transform your life!


Systemic disease is a term used to describe conditions that affect the entire body rather than a single organ or body part. Many diseases can be systemic. Let’s list off some common systemic illnesses. They include:


  • arthritis
  • cancer
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • hypertension
  • autoimmune diseases such as lupus, Sjogren’s, or rheumatoid arthritis


A vital aspect of addressing disease and illness is to first identify the root cause. A vital aspect of addressing disease and illness is to first identify the root cause. Not just giving the uniform and saying you have one of those systemic diseases but trying to identify what is the root cause for you of that condition. There can any number of factors causing an illness. A few common root causes include this list:


  • inflammation
  • improper sleep
  • poor diet
  • leaky gut
  • stress
  • immune imbalances
  • trauma (physical or emotional)
  • negative thought patterns
  • lack of regular exercise
  • digestive problems
  • toxin exposure


Functional medicine is especially equipped to address many different diseases and health issues and some of them include these systemic conditions like allergies, depression, cancer, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, heart disease, anxiety, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Now, look back on your paper. Where these on your list of health concerns? Think back to your list. Are your answers to the questions in the beginning sounding like conventional medicine and identifying symptoms as the answer for you? Or are the things I’m talking about with functional medicine a better fit?


When you visit a functional medicine practitioner, you can expect to spend a lot more time than you would a conventional provider. You can also expect to do most of the talking. A functional practitioner is trained to listen to patients while gathering a detailed personal and family history. The circumstances around your first symptoms and your lifestyle habits and health behaviors with the timeline, lifestyle habits, and matrix are recommended to be collected in depth. The reason for such a detailed account of your health is to uncover the underlying causes of your health problems and determine which types of laboratory testing are best suited for your individual needs if they are needed. Topics your practitioner may discuss with you include:


  • assessing someone’s family medical history and using functional medicine of a means of prevention to decrease genetic risks
  • strengthening the body’s normal healing abilities rather than merely attacking symptoms or disease
  • eating whole foods full of color instead of unhealth, processed foods that are mostly white and brown and devoid of nutrients


When addressing specific conditions, functional medicine taps into a number of core body systems to encourage natural healing. The body wants to come to health! It’s an amazing machine, and if you give it the right fuel, the right chemicals, and the right information the body is going to come to health. The body wants to come to health! It’s an amazing machine, and if you give it the right fuel, the right chemicals, and the right information the body is going to come to health.


The very first step is often to optimize nutrition. The right balance and quality of macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) can kickstart the body’s natural healing process. It’s true, we are what we eat! A diet high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods will cause the immune system to be overactive and inflamed, whereas a diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients from all the colorful pigments in plant foods support our wellbeing. A diet high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods will cause the immune system to be overactive and inflamed, whereas a diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients from all the colorful pigments in plant foods support our wellbeing.”] Through functional medicine, you will work with your practitioner to create a diet that works for your lifestyle and provides your body with the fuel and protection it needs.


Hormonal balance is another core body system addressed through functional medicine. Imbalances can occur for any number of reasons including medication side effects, diabetes, stress, thyroid disorders, and more. Hormonal imbalances can occur in both men and women and are responsible for a number of adverse health conditions. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance can range from mild to severe and can include weight gain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, cognitive problems, brain fog, and physical pain – just to name a few. Depending on the type of hormonal imbalances in question, functional medicine uses a number of tests to confirm if there is an imbalance or not.


Inflammation throughout the body often accompanies any chronic disease. While inflammation plays a vital role in protecting the body from foreign invaders or abnormal cells, an overactive chronic inflammatory response is typically an underlying cause of chronic illness. I explain this in detail in my book, Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease, which you can purchase through the Discover Health Shop. In this book, I explain the immune system and how it functions and how it dysfunctions in ways that everyone can understand. I was actually a high school teacher for ten years prior to ever entering medical school at the age of 35. I’m used to taking complex information and explaining things in a way that everyone can understand. If you want to understand how to boost your immune system in this time of the coronavirus pandemic, I strongly recommend you get my book and read it because it gives you the tools you need to optimize your immune system against this virus.


Functional medicine addresses inflammation by correcting nutrient deficiencies, identifying food sensitivities, and the hormonal imbalances we were just talking about. Our bodies are fueled by the foods we eat which is why addressing issues of the digestive system is something that functional medicine takes very, very seriously. One of the major root causes of inflammation is leaky gut. The digestion, the absorption, and the assimilation of all the foods and nutrients we eat is critical to our overall health. A breakdown anywhere in the different phases of the digestive tract is the process that can create illness. Many conditions stem from what is known as the leaky gut syndrome. The balance of beneficial and harmful bacteria in the gut plays a tremendous role in our health. Our microbiome. By properly balancing the gut bacteria and optimizing gut function, many symptoms can be lessened, and most conditions absolutely resolved.


For example, I had a patient this week that I was talking to on telemedicine and all she did was implement my Detox Plus Program, a three-week comprehensive elimination diet. Her heartburn is completely gone. This person was having nausea on a daily basis and when she bent over she’d get nauseous so badly that many times she would vomit. She just did the elimination diet for three weeks and all of those symptoms are completely resolved at this point! If you don’t understand the connection between food and your health, you may need to consider functional medicine. The conventional medical model does not look at this. This same person I just described has seen many specialists – gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, neurologists – and no one suggested that she do an elimination diet and consider the food that she was eating may be connected to her illnesses.


Detoxification. The body is intelligently designed to eliminate toxins, however today’s highly processed diet and chemical filled environment can overwhelm the detox organs. Functional medicine addresses issues with toxin burden and enhances the body’s natural ability to detoxify. A straight-forward technique for adding detoxification may be to drink more pure water! Everyone should be drinking at least an ounce of water for every pound of lean body mass. You could take about half your body weight and an ounce of water for that amount would be optimal for you. You could go by that old adage of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Many herbal remedies can also be utilized to promote the optimal functioning of the liver and the other detoxifying organs.


Because functional medicine addresses more than just physical wellbeing, reducing stress is also an essential aspect of disease prevention.”] Any number of stress reduction techniques can be utilized depending on what will fit into your personal lifestyle. Your practitioner may suggest incorporating a daily meditation practice, but not all of us can do that well. You can use breathing techniques, yoga, or other kinds of movement-type exercise like walking in the woods. Between the pressures of work, social, and home life, stress is an inevitable aspect of our lives. Finding natural outlets for reducing stress are recognized by functional health practitioners as an essential aspect of wellness.


One program that we have initiated just this month during the coronavirus is called the Discover Movement Membership. This program includes numerous online movement classes per week including movement for longevity, self-myofascial release, and yoga. These classes are focused on helping anyone over the age of forty or fifty learn to move more fluidly, manage stress, and become more mindful of movement techniques. To learn more about this membership and get access to the three classes per week and also the recordings, you can visit our Discover Health Calendar.


The future has arrived! While conventional medicine has been the methodology for treatment for decades, it may not be enough to address systemic conditions. Because chronic disease diagnosis has been on the rise, many people are looking to functional medicine to treat conditions systematically. Functional medicine has been referred to as “medical care for the future” because it takes conventional medicine to the next level by incorporating holistic ideas and methods that actually work! There was a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) about four or five months ago. That article was a research article comparing a functional medicine primary care office to a conventional medicine primary care office. Guess what it showed? It showed statistically significant data that a functional medicine based primary care office improved people’s quality of life better than the conventional primary care office.


Here’s a quick review of the topics we’ve covered.


  1. Functional medicine considers the whole body both in the diagnosis stage and the treatment stage.
  2. Functional medicine treats the root cause of an illness, not just the symptoms.
  3. Functional medicine uses natural treatments, therefore fewer side effects happen.
  4. Functional medicine combines scientifically proven treatments with alternative medicine to produce an integrated medical solution.
  5. Functional medicine looks back at a person’s entire life history and their lifestyle habits to identify antecedents, triggers, and mediators to the present disfunctions.
  6. Functional medicine focuses on disease prevention and more adequately addresses chronic conditions.


When it’s all said and done, functional medicine recognizes the need for a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment as essential elements for achieving optimal health.”] Again, look back to what you wrote down as your definition of health. See if what I listed as the bottom line better resonates with you or not for functional medicine versus conventional medicine.

As usual, I always post on my Discover Health Facebook Group. Tomorrow my staff will post for you the resource list that we used to create this webinar.  If you’re not already a member, ask to join our closed group. Once you’re in you can ask questions and you can get access to this resource list. Also, Health Coach Trish has a different theme every day and she does live video chats including “Coach’s Corner.” Don’t miss the opportunity of that resource, to join the Discover Health Facebook Group.


Thank you all for joining me. We know a lot of information was covered so if you have questions, please reach out! You also may find it easier to allow the information to sink in, and you may come up with a question later. If you do have a question later, you can join the Discover Health FMC Facebook Group and ask there. Also, if you go to my website there is a way that you can set up a free 30-minute consult to speak with me or Health Coach Trish about your concerns, questions, or issues and we’re happy to try and answer them. Many times, the whole point of that 30-minutes consult is to hear your concerns, talk with you about our services, and see if it’s a fit for you to become a patient with us. We’re here to provide you with the answers and the help you need to take control of your health and transform your life!


I hope everyone has a fantastic rest of your day. Stay safe everybody!

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Don’t Let Life Live You

Hello everyone, this is Dr. Trish – physician, author, and Health Catalyst speaker and I am over-the-top excited for this podcast entitled, “Live Life, Don’t Let Life Live You,” with Bert Oliva. Hi Bert!

Hello Dr. Trish Murray!

Welcome to the show.

I thank you very much for this opportunity. I usually say that to everyone that’s going to do an interview. It’s just an opportunity, being able to connect with you and your followers.

Yes, and I have experienced Bert’s coaching. I was at a professional public speaker boot camp in Pennsylvania about a month or so ago and Bert’s amazing! I’m going to read about his bio in just a second, but he’s been in business for over two decades and he is an internationally renowned coach. I can tell you now from my experience he doesn’t hold anything back. He’s a straight-shooter and he’s taught me so much! But also, he is all about human behavior and so I’m just so excited to have him on this Discover Health podcast because I’m all about subconscious patterns in us that can block us from reaching our potential. So, thank you so much, Bert, it’s such an honor to have you here. 

I’m going to read a bit from your bio. Bert Oliva is a world-renowned international speaker, author, and corporate trainer on leadership and human behavior. Bert has received global recognition for delivering “how to” techniques with a high-energy message; showing people how to communicate more positively and powerfully. Bert Oliva’s teachings come from his studies of psychology, numerology, physiology, sociology, and neurolinguistics programming. By studying 4-dimensional concepts: physical, emotional, logical, and spiritual, Bert has mastered the science behind human potential and empowers, motivates, and teaches people worldwide how to unlock the potential inside them.

His vision is to share his knowledge and empower over 100 million individuals to follow their dreams and take action! Through his signature seminars, keynotes, and programs, Bert demonstrates how every single person has a seed of greatness inside of them but the conditioning we received from our parents, our schools, our peers, our bosses, society, and culture has caused us to subconsciously place limitations on ourselves. The key goal in Bert’s teachings is to reach your maximum potential and push your limits. Bert many times uses what are called “breakthroughs” which are feats such as walking barefoot on glass, eating fire, or even bending steel rebar with your throat. Without guidance and focus all can be dangerous but in Bert’s signature presentations, they are metaphors for the other challenges life can present. It is by not backing down from the feat and facing the discomfort and not succumbing to the pressure one feels during breakthrough that one develops a new outlook of what is possible in one’s life. That’s amazing, Bert!

So, first question I like to ask everyone I talk with is how did you get to where you are in your life today?

That’s a good question. It takes a lot of hard work and it takes a lot of discipline. I truly believe that we need to follow a certain pattern, for example, being consistent, following directions so that way we can learn how things were done at one time and at least figure out the recipe and then making sure you follow through. A lot of people don’t follow through. They get excited, they get into something and it works out for a little bit and then they get sidetracked. If you want something in life and you really want to be great, we all have potential of being great within us, the only person that holds us back is really ourselves.the only person that holds us back is really ourselves.So, at the end of the day the reason that I’ve been doing this for over twenty-six years now is because I fell in love with the self-help world because I figured out that a lot of it was about systems, creating some systems and certain techniques and tools and you apply them.  Anyone can be successful, but you should actually be consistent and be very disciplined and follow through. Anyone can be successful, but you should actually be consistent and be very disciplined and follow through.

By the way, I want to sidetrack really quick. We just did the speaker boot camp with Orly Amor and you were a topic! We were talking about leaky gut!

I love that!

Why we were talking about it is because you were so passionate with your delivery in Pennsylvania that those people that attended the event again didn’t forget it! So, it was really a strong anchor. That’s what I’m talking about, when you really do things that you truly love, and you put your heart into it the audience can tell, people can tell. I wanted to bring that in because that was something that became a topic for the entire weekend, actually. And then when we were choosing foods for lunch or dinner we were like, “Remember leaky gut!”

That’s awesome! Thank you, Bert. You’re the one that taught me the anchor, “you might have leaky gut!” That’s awesome.

Bert, why did you become involved in human behavior?

Well, one of the things is I’m an immigrant. I came to the United States when I was eleven months old. My mother left the Cuban regime because my father happened to have been communist. When I got to this country I never had a brother, no grandparents, no sister, basically my mom and myself were the only thing that I knew. I never had a family. I started realizing that…I used to work for corporate America. I used to work for a company called Xerox Corporation. They used to take us up to Leesburg, Virginia where they had the university where they would teach you sales techniques and all these other things and I was able to actually see like Jim Rohn and Zi Ziglar. I was like, wow, this is really cool. This is really cool, and I want to learn more about this.

One of the things that I learned was that God gave us the gift of doing whatever it is that we want to do, however, there are certain patterns. It doesn’t matter what country, culture, or what gender – we all have patterns. We all have certain things that we do, and we don’t even know that we’re doing it on a subconscious level. I was so intrigued through psychology how we’re all the same, but yet we’re not. The more research I started doing, the more I started getting involved, the more I realized that there are systems to create success. In order to create success, there are certain systems, certain things that we do – how we respond, how we act. The anchoring, for example, having a leaky gut right? There’s certain things that we’re doing. We don’t even know that we actually do it. When you realize it, you realize how much more powerful you are as a human being by finding out how the human mind works. I just became fascinated and I kept doing more and more research and became a leading expert around the world.

That’s awesome. You know, I was looking at your website and obviously all your material and one of your logos is, “make it happen,” and you’re an awesome coach with people in that. I read this term, “synchrodestiny,” and I was so intrigued by that word, that term. Sychrodestiny. Is that something you came up with? Is that something that someone brought to you? It’s that idea of being in synchrony with your destiny and where you’re going to head.

I’m really known for things like that. For example, for many years when I travel I tell people I do “workations.” Right? Where you work and vacation at the same time. Whenever I do a keynote anywhere in the world, I usually either come in a little early or stay for an extra two days and enjoy the environment, enjoy the culture. I can learn more and see how people relate.

I kind of put words together. My latest one for the new decade is not “workation” it’s “paycation.” For many years I was working and vacationing. Now it’s time for you to get paid and still vacation. So yeah, I just come up with words and I kind of put them together because it’s really systematic. We’re all systems, there are certain things that we do. We’re conditioned. One of the things I tell people is in the United States we see the color red on a light pole, what are you supposed to do when you’re driving?

You’re supposed to stop.

Right. And if you see green, you’re supposed to what?


The holidays in this country, what’s orange and black?

Well, Halloween.

Red and green?


Colors condition us. Words condition us. How we dress, how we actually communicate is all about conditioning. That’s why I’m so fascinated. And I’ve done this for a room with over 10,000 people in the room and they all answer together because it’s conditioning. A lot of people a lot of times say they have success within them, they’re doing the right things but they’re not paying attention to the details. There are certain things that they would just suggest a little bit more. If you do just a little adjustment like they’ll be here in life and then the next ten years you’re over here. But it also goes backwards. You adjust something and then ten years you’re over here. The whole thing is about being aware. And that’s why I tell people, “You want to be successful? Don’t just wake up in the morning. That’s just waking up. Being aware is really being enlightened. You see things other people don’t see.”

So, what is the biggest thing that people think about motivational speakers?

Well, hence my latest book is called, Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid. The reason is because a lot of times, especially when you start creating a larger following and people attend your seminars, your significant other or your counterpart or maybe even a family member will tell you, “Oh, you drank the Kool-Aid.” It goes back to Jim Jones and the whole incident about the mass suicide that they created with drinking Kool-Aid. The thing is a lot of times because you want to do better in your life, the people that are around you don’t understand it. They automatically think, oh you just got into that motivation and at the end of the day that’s not really going to change your life. Why don’t you get back to work? That’s the way we’ve been conditioned, right? If you go back in history, or not too long ago, baby boomers were conditioned to go school and check in. That’s why they did the attendance. Later on in life you knew that you had to have eight hours of work, you’d go ahead and check in and then check out. Again, it’s all about conditioning. What I’m trying to tell you is basically people that go to seminars and they really get into it a lot of people will tell you, “you’ve drank the Kool-Aid, you’ve been brainwashed.” We’re all being brainwashed without going to a seminar. Media brainwashes us. Sometimes even the people we surround ourselves with will brainwash in a negative way. That’s what they think. Most of all, we’re all motivational speakers in some sort of way, right? If you have children or significant other, we always have an answer for them. One of the biggest issues I see is a lot of people have those answers, but when it comes to themselves they kind of forget the advice that they’d be giving someone else. It’s not about motivation as much as inspiration. Motivation is great. You go to an event and you feel good, but then life happens as soon as you walk out of that event. All of that stuff was just momentary. But inspiration can last you a lifetime. Motivation is great. You go to an event and you feel good, but then life happens as soon as you walk out of that event. All of that stuff was just momentary. But inspiration can last you a lifetime.”] Especially when you get proven tools and techniques that people can actually apply immediately – that’s really what it’s all about.

Yes, I mean the idea of getting into the energy of a room and the motivation but then like you say the inspiration. You can ride that inspiration because energy is flowing everywhere, if you just shift it. You talk about transforming self-limiting beliefs into self-fulfilling breakthroughs. What are some of the ways you promote or help people to do that?

Well I do that with the breakthroughs like having people lie on a bed of nails and getting a cinderblock and putting it on their chest and getting a sledgehammer and breaking through that. Usually we do that when there’s relationship issues, right? The husband and wife are not getting along and I’m like, “Well, does he make you upset?” “Yes, he does!” “Well, why don’t we lie him down on a bed of nails?” And her physiology and everything starts shifting like, “I don’t want to see him get hurt.” “But that’s not what you said five minutes ago. You were done.” “So, here’s a brick, a cinderblock on his chest. By the way, here’s a sledgehammer. Why don’t you hit him?” “No, I don’t want to do that.” “But that’s not what you said.” So be careful with what you say because in reality that’s not what it is. A lot of times we justify why it is when we’re going to do some things in our lives. So long story short, we’ll go ahead – I’ll take the sledgehammer, I’ll break it. Nothing happens to the person, the person gets up and they’re like, “Wow. Phenomenal! Yeah!”

Look, it’s mind over matter. If you actually put your mindset and you’re going to succeed no matter what, the economy can go to crap, we can have ten wars. There’s always people that, if you look at the history books, have succeeded because they don’t see that and allow what other people or media are telling them to actually hold them back from what they really want out of life. Life is going to continue to happen. How you approach it or how you embrace it is really the outcome that you’re going to receive in your life. Life is going to continue to happen. How you approach it or how you embrace it is really the outcome that you’re going to receive in your life.” Look, we’re all on this place called earth for a certain moment in time, and most people by the time they become older like maybe 70, 80, 90 whatever their age is like, “I should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.” Why? You’re never too old and you’re never too young. The best time to get ready to have an amazing life and leave a legacy behind is right now!” quote=”The best time to get ready to have an amazing life and leave a legacy behind is right now!

That’s one of the things I fell in love with when I saw you doing your talk, I was like, “Wow.” Even though the leaky gut might be a hook, just to get them to listen because there’s so many other issues with people and their health that they’re overlooking. Sometimes that would be a breakthrough. That would be like a shock and awe. Maybe I have a leaky gut. At that moment they realize, “Dr. Trish, what else can I do?” “Well, Bert, you know what, maybe you don’t have a leaky gut, but have you ever thought about this? What about are you eating the right foods? How are your macros? Are you sleeping enough?” Just sleeping alone will change your life. People don’t realize it. They’re like, “Oh, I sleep six hours a day.” “How’s that working for you?” Maybe you’re a person that can do six hours a day, but I tell you what, if you add an extra hour I guarantee you that you would be more focused. You’ll have better energy. Right? Because sleep is important and how you’re sleeping. There’s so many other things that you can teach them, but we need to shock and awe the system. By having a quote like that, “leaky gut,” it’s like, “what?” Now I have your attention, let me talk to you about what else Dr. Trish does. That’s the same thing as when we did the breaking through having people eat fire, walking on a bed of nails, walking through fire, all this stuff! People are like, “Well it’s a little gimmicky.” “No, it’s not. It’s edutainment.” There you go again, putting two words together. When education and entertainment come together, people are entertained. Once a person is entertained, they’re willing to learn because they’re having fun in the process.” quote=”Once a person is entertained, they’re willing to learn because they’re having fun in the process.

Absolutely. “Live life, don’t let life live you.” I can remember (I don’t think you know this about me) I was a public-school teacher for ten years and I left at 35-years-old to start medical school. People would look at me at that time and say, “What are you doing?” And I’d say, “It doesn’t matter what my age is. I’m going to be forty whether I keep teaching or whether I leave and go to medical school. Who cares? I want to live life!” That’s what led me down that path.

That’s where that quote comes from. I came up with that quote and it’s “live life, don’t let life live you” because we spend too much time letting life guide us. “Bert, the beard is not going to be working for corporate.” When I had no beard, corporate wasn’t hiring me anyways! When you are you and you are in your being state, which is what Orly spoke about this weekend at the event, when you’re in your being state, who are you being? Because at the end of the day, there’s over seven billion people on this planet, and there’s a huge group of people that want to connect with you, they just don’t know you exist. That’s how you’re able to help people – you have to get your name out there. You have to get people to understand what messages…but you’re not going to do that by wishing. You’re going to do that by taking action like what you’re doing right now! This is so important. Just having this interview, not because I’m on your show, I know you love what you do, and it came out when we saw you on stage and it comes out even here in the interview. Because you’re just like, I’m going to have two or three questions, and then you go in what some people would call a rabbit hole, but we actually expand on it. Let me tell you something, at the end of the day we’re all the same. It’s nothing new that you’re going to learn. A lot of this stuff maybe they heard in another book or they’ve seen in another video – it’s not going to change but how you deliver your message is what makes a difference. Which is why I believe that was so important because no one else in your industry would do that, and eventually you’ll be known for that! As crazy as it sounds, crazy people succeed!

That’s awesome. Bert, if people aren’t familiar with your stuff, how do they get in touch with you? How do they find you?

Very simple. If you look up the word “Bert Oliva” you can Google me, you can go to any social media and we are actually there as Bert Oliva. I’m not hard to find.

No, you’re not! I Googled you, and I found a ton of information. The last question I love to ask all of my guests, Bert, is what is your secret for living a healthy life?

There’s a couple of things. I’m going to make it really quick. A couple of years ago…no matter how motivated you are, life will happen. So, my mom passed away and at that same precise moment I got sued for over $800,000 which we won the lawsuit, but at that moment it was just more leverage, more leverage. I’m 6’2” and usually carry about 240 pounds and I work out a lot, however, my life started falling apart. And you’re like, “Yeah, Bert, but you’ve been doing this for so many years.” “Yes, I know, but I am human and so are you. You’re going to have bad moments in your life. There’s transitions.”

What happened was I went up to like 310 pounds, and I said, “Well Bert, how much further are you going to get in life? Eventually you’re going to have a heart attack or stroke. Something’s going to happen. Why? Because you’re not taking care of yourself.” It’s so important to balance your life out. A lot of these gurus are saying that life/work balance doesn’t work. I does work. Find your balance, not someone else’s balance. One of the things that we do is I make sure I work out five days a week. I make sure that I eat a healthy diet. Am I doing that all the time? No, a lot of times when I travel especially in these other countries you’re not able to get certain foods, so I know that as long as I do it a majority of the time it keeps me healthy. I also jot down all the food that ingest like I’ll have an app that I’ll download, whatever your preference in apps are. One is called Lose It! The other is called…I forgot the other one…but that’s the one I use – Lose It! And I’ll go ahead, and I know my macros what I need to do and how much protein and calorie intake and fats and carbs so before I put food in my mouth I’ll look at it to the point that now I’m aware what is half a cup of rice versus one cup of rice. So, eating is really important.

And then nutraceuticals – vitamins. Making sure you’re getting your vitamins. I also do make sure that I have a physical no less than twice a year. To make sure as we age certain things needs to be adjusted. A lot of times I don’t need a stack of vitamins, I can get a lot of those vitamins from the foods. I knew you would agree with this because this is what it’s all about! Buying a bunch of vitamins is really going to get you sicker, the best thing I tell people is, “sometimes certain vitamins you really can’t get from food as much. Depending on the amount if you’re depleted and you need. But for the most part, if you change the way you eat, your entire lifestyle will change. If you eat better, you’ll be able to be more motivated to be able to create that massive change you want to do in people’s lives.” If you yourself are falling apart, how are you going to be able to change people’s lives or even get your message out there? Forget about changing people’s lives, just getting the message out there. How are you going to do it if you’re tired and you’re overweight, you can’t breathe?

Right now, we had a conversation before we started the webinar. You were working. You had just done a project the entire weekend, and then now you’re doing a podcast. As soon as we get off this podcast you’re going back to work! Why? Because you’re eating right? That’s what the source of energy comes from.

And one last thing – water. Drink water! Water will cleanse your body. Instead of drinking an energy drink, grab a cup of water. You’ll get more energy out of that and you won’t get hurt by having energy drinks…even though at one time they were my sponsors! But I really, honestly the older I get I realize how important our temple is and we take it for granted.

Absolutely. Folks, listen to Bert because he has gotten it right! He’s found the balance, and he’s teaching others how to find it. If you’re looking for a coach to help you make it happen, Bert Oliva is definitely the one that I know has helped me make it happen! Thank you so much, Bert, for being on the show with me today. Thanks for all the great tips!

Thank you so much and looking forward to connecting with you again. Everyone out there: make this decade the best decade ever! Don’t look at it as, oh this is a new year. This is a new decade. A major transformation’s about to happen but only if you take action. My name is Bert Oliva – remember to live life and don’t let life live you. I’ll see you guys real soon.


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Migraine Solution


Welcome everyone, I’m Dr. Trish Murray. I am a physician, author, and a Health Catalyst Speaker. It is my passion to help people just like you feel your best. Migraine pain is like no other. Migraines can stop you in your tracks, keeping you from experiencing the daily joys. Many of us are told there is no solution, that we’re just one of the unfortunate ones who have to suffer through. But folks, this talk will cover many of the possible underlying causes of migraines and give some suggestions for treatment. Before I get started into all the detail, I would like to ask you to write down the answers to a few specific questions. Just jot down what first comes to mind.

  1. How often are you having headaches?
  2. For how long do your headaches last?
  3. Where are they specifically in your head? Are they on the right, left, forehead, behind your eyes, back of your skull?
  4. Why do you think you’re having headaches? What do you think is the underlying cause?

As I go through this information, ask yourself, does one of the possible root causes resonate with you more than another? If it does, be sure to seek out the appropriate evaluation and treatment that I’m going to suggest for that particular cause.

The Migraine Solution can significantly improve your migraine headache complications for good. The Migraine Solution can significantly improve your migraine headache complications for good.” But here’s the catch, The Migraine Solution doesn’t work unless you do! The Migraine Solution is only recommended for people who:

  1. Understand that serious lifestyle changes lead to migraine freedom
  2. Believe they can actually achieve freedom from their migraines
  3. Have a positive, encouraging community for support as you make the changes that may be necessary
  4. Can fully commit to taking control of their migraines are going to have the most suggest

Migraines can be categorized as various subtypes. First, the major subtypes are migraine with an aura and a migraine without an aura. Next, are the root cause subtypes. Some of the ones are post-traumatic, facial, thyroid hormone, structural, adrenal hormone, glucotoxicity or related to elevated blood sugar, reproductive hormones, and environmental toxicity. We’re going to be going through all of these subtypes.

Major Migraine Subtypes

The first major type, migraine with aura, is a headache that strikes after or along with sensory disturbances called an aura. You can have visual auras that might include blind spots or “scotomas” which are sometimes outlined by simple geometric designs. You also could have zig zag lines that gradually float across your visual field. You could get shimmering spots or stars. You could also have changes in your vision such as blurry vision or actual vision loss. And you can get flashes of light in your vision. Additional sensory auras include feelings of numbness, typically felts as tingling in one’s hand or in their face somewhere; difficulty with actual speech and language, slurring speech, or inability to get a word out; or even muscle weakness.

A migraine without these auras is more than just a headache. The pain is debilitating and often accompanies nausea and vomiting for some people. This type of migraine actually accounts for the majority, about 75% of all migraines. Headache pain is typically localized in the front of the head and can last anywhere from 4 – 72 hours. Associated symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • yawning
  • irritability
  • low blood pressure
  • feeling hyper or wired
  • sensitivity to light, sounds, or even motion
  • dark circles under one’s eyes

The Root Cause Subtypes

One of the root cause subtypes of migraines is a post-traumatic headache. This is defined by the International Headache Society as “a headache developing within seven days of some type of injury or if someone lost consciousness after regaining consciousness.” Because post-traumatic migraines are associated with an injury, it’s important to identify and understand the nature of the injury for treatment. Following traumatic injury, at least 25% of people with mild traumatic brain injury do not seek medical attention.[click_to_tweet tweet=”It is really important to realize if you have ever suffered a head injury, even if you thought it was minor, it could be connected to your chronic migraines.” quote=”It is really important to realize if you have ever suffered a head injury, even if you thought it was minor, it could be connected to your chronic migraines.”] Migraines can occur due to any of the following related to the trauma:

  • displacement of structures within the skull
  • inflammation
  • decreased blood flow and/or metabolic changes
  • increased muscle tension in the head or the neck
  • inflammation or irritation of the layer of the connective tissue coating the brain called the dura or the meninges
  • increased pressure within the skull (if you’re not draining blood, for example, out of the skull that can cause increased pressure)

Musculoskeletal headache is the most common cause of head discomfort or headache after trauma and is often one of the most overlooked. Osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) is one my primary specialties and is very effective in evaluating and treating headaches caused by traumatic events. If you have ever suffered a head injury and you have chronic migraines, then you owe it to yourself to find a provider who can evaluate and treat you structurally. What I suggest you do is find either an osteopathic physician like myself or a therapist that is certified in what’s called craniosacral manipulative therapy.

The next subtype, facial subtype, is associated with a root cause happening in the face. Typical causes of facial-related headaches include:

  • dental issues such as a chronic infection
  • temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ)
  • if you clench your teeth or grind your teeth (bruxism)
  • sinus problems, chronic sinusitis
  • allergies
  • irritation of a facial nerve

Each cause of these different facial types has its own treatment plan. Depending on your specific cause, an individualized and personalized treatment plan can be developed. “You’re going to need to work with a provider who is willing and able to take an extensive history and talk in depth with you about your symptoms and narrow down with you what the possible root cause it. This is what functional medicine providers do! You’re going to need to work with a provider who is willing and able to take an extensive history and talk in depth with you about your symptoms and narrow down with you what the possible root cause it. This is what functional medicine providers do! We take a full lifetime history of your entire life, called the timeline, in order to look for patterns or triggers to your present state of health. If you do not feel you have worked with a provider that has fully listened to your symptoms and asked about your diet, lifestyle, habits, and past medical, emotional, physical, and metabolic concerns then you owe it to yourself to seek out a functional medicine provider and dig deep for the most possible root cause for your migraines.

Next, let’s talk about another subtype – thyroid hormone subtype. Imbalances in the thyroid are linked to numerous conditions including migraines. Lab work can be done to access the function of your thyroid gland to determine if this subtype may account for your chronic migraines. Of all the different thyroid conditions, “hypothyroidism” or low/sluggish thyroid function is the most frequent associated with migraine complications. The symptoms of a sluggish thyroid gland include being cold all the time, dry skin, hair falling out particularly if you’re always cleaning hair out of the drain in your shower, irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, slow heart rate, and constipation. However, an overactive “hyperthyroid” gland can also be associated with migraines. The way you find out is bloodwork to assess the function of a person’s thyroid. This can show if this may be a root cause of your migraines.

What I want you to understand is that out there in the traditional medical model, the typical primary care physician will only check what’s called your TSH level. TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. This hormone comes from your brain, from what’s called the pituitary gland. It does not come from your thyroid. If you’re really trying to get a sense of the full function of the thyroid gland itself, you need to do more lab work than that. The TSH alone does not give information about the full function of the thyroid gland. To fully assess your thyroid function, you should ask your primary care provider or find a provider that’s willing to test the following list of things:

  • TSH
  • Free T4 (the hormone that is actually put out by the thyroid gland)
  • Free T3 (the active hormone that causes us to be vibrant, have good temperature regulation, not lose hair, move our bowels, etc.)
  • Reverse T3
  • If your immune system is creating any antibodies against your thyroid gland. The most common cause of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism is an autoimmune condition during which your immune system is attacking your own thyroid gland and creates antibodies against it.

The next subtype is the structural subtype. Structural migraines are linked to various localized pain in different structural parts of the head or neck and do not have to have been initiated by any specific trauma.  Structural migraines are linked to various localized pain in different structural parts of the head or neck and do not have to have been initiated by any specific trauma. Common structural conditions include:

  • neck pain and shoulder tension
  • at the base of the skull is an area called the sub-occipital area, if the muscles and tissues just below the base of your skull are tight, they can be blocking appropriate blood flow in and out of the head and pinching on important nerves to the head and face
  • chronic position stress, like working on a computer or at a desk job all day long
  • strain in your shoulders, upper back, or neck

Correcting the source of pain in a structural-related migraine will effectively reduce the intensity of a migraine. Craniosacral manipulation is one of many osteopathic manipulative treatment modalities. It can quiet the muscle tension or structural imbalances in the head and neck that could be the root cause of your migraines. Massage and acupuncture are also useful techniques for treating structural migraines. Stretching on a daily basis and physical therapy can also help balance structures and quiet strain patterns to help improve and correct posture and eliminate pain.

If you are not stretching every day, I suggest you go to my website and on the home page of the website, go across the horizontal menu and click on the Health Library. In the drop-down menu, click on what says Exercise Videos and in there the very first thing you’re going to come to is Level 1 Stretching. It’s perfectly free! Just go to Level 1 Stretching, watch my video, and do the stretches every day. I challenge you to do the stretches every day for the next 21 days and assess what effect is has on your migraines. If it starts to improve them, then your subtype may very well have an aspect of structural migraine related to it.

Let’s talk about adrenal hormones. The adrenal glands are tiny organs that sit on top of your kidneys. They are part of your hormone system and regulate stress, metabolism, and a variety of other functions. Cortisol and another hormone named dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) are the stress hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Chronic stress causes the adrenal glands to produce excess levels of cortisol and DHEA and can lead overtime to exhaustion of your adrenal glands. DHEA is perhaps the most abundant steroid hormone in the body and is connected to one’s vitality. If it decreases in level, this can be very detrimental to your overall wellbeing and lead you down the path of exhaustion and chronic migraines.

Adrenal dysfunction is diagnosed best with saliva tests with multiple samples. In order to do this testing, what you do is you essentially spit in a tube at four different times on the day of your testing. These multiple samples assess what is called the circadian rhythm of your cortisol. Your cortisol is supposed to be highest in the morning when you first wake up because we need to wake up for our day and we need to be vital. The cortisol rises very high first thing in the morning. Then the cortisol is supposed to decrease gradually throughout the day and be the lowest at bedtime, so we can go to sleep and not stay awake.

There are three different stages to adrenal dysfunction and this salivary cortisol test where you spit in the tube four times in the day is necessary to identify if your adrenal glands are dysfunctioning and what stage of dysfunction you may have. I have done a podcast in the past specifically on the adrenal glands, entitled Stress and the Adrenal Glands. During that podcast, I go into great detail about the appropriate testing even further and the appropriate treatment for your adrenal fatigue depending on which stage it is. For any stage of adrenal fatigue or adrenal dysfunction, the most important therapy is stress reduction and relaxation. If someone is having migraines caused by adrenal hormonal imbalances, calming activities can be particularly helpful. Stretching as well as daily breathing techniques can be a very important step in quieting the mind and improving adrenal balance.

Melatonin, which also is a hormone, is supposed to be at its highest level at night to help us sleep. This can be supplemented to help correct your sleep cycles which can also be altered from under or active adrenal hormones. Taking melatonin, which is really simple to do, as a supplement can over time help to balance your cortisol levels and maybe bring your adrenal glands into better balance.

If you have been under increased stress for a prolonged time and you think your adrenals may not be functioning properly, the very first step is to focus on techniques to quiet your mind such has deep breathing and meditation. A trial of taking low doses of melatonin (3mg) at bed time. If you’re doing this and this is only helping a little, then remember you owe it to yourself to find a functional medicine provider and do the salivary cortisol test to specifically identify your stage of adrenal fatigue and how to appropriately treat it further.

Glucotoxicity is a condition in which your blood sugar level remains high for prolonged periods of time. Glucose is a toxin to your body; it is a neurodegenerative chemical that causes inflammation that’ll take you down a horrible path of illness and chronic disease. Glucose is a toxin to your body; it is a neurodegenerative chemical that causes inflammation that’ll take you down a horrible path of illness and chronic disease.  Glucotoxicity, or high blood sugar indicators include:

  • insulin resistance
  • symptoms of metabolic syndrome such as high fasting blood sugars
  • increased abdominal fat right around the belly
  • high cholesterol
  • systemic inflammation
  • more frequent headaches
  • neurodegeneration causing slow and progressive memory problems

If you are experiencing an increasing amount of brain fog, this can be a sign of elevated blood sugar levels and may be the underlying cause of your migraines. Opposite of a high blood sugar causing one’s migraines, it could be possible that you have low blood sugars on a regular basis that too could be the cause of your headaches. Especially if a person’s blood sugar is crashing such as in the late afternoon, late morning, or sometimes in the middle of the night. This is typically due to a person’s diet being too high in grains and carbohydrates because when we eat grains or carbohydrates it all get converted quickly to sugar. Your sugar load goes up really fast but then your body puts out insulin and takes the sugar down really fast. If that happens you can have high and low crashing blood sugars up and down all day long which could be related to your headaches. The answer could simply be making sure that you decrease the amount of grains in your diet and add in protein and healthy fats in order to get a better balance in your blood sugar.

Migraines related to glucotoxicity require repairing the balance of your blood glucose. If this is thought to be a possible cause, then the blood sugar can be tested, and a person’s diet can be explored and changed to bring more balance. The standard American diet today, the acronym SAD, is full of far too much sugar and carbohydrates and grains that all get converted to sugar in the body. In my book, Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease, I explain in great detail the concepts of what I call the “rainbow diet.” This an optimal diet to keep your blood sugar under good control.

Migraines related to the reproductive hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are more common among women due to the predominance of estrogen. The fluctuation of estrogen, specifically plummeting levels, is most often associated with ovulation, menstruation, and perimenopause. The hormone progesterone can also have some effect, but estrogen is often a stronger contributor. Estrogen is believed to be the main reason why women have more migraines than men, which is why women tend to have them right before or after their periods, when their estrogen level drops to its lowest level of the month. In the functional medicine paradigm, we are trained that it is actually best to look upstream from the reproductive hormones to the adrenal glands and the thyroid, but if the thyroid and the adrenals are functioning normally, then the reproductive hormones should also be assessed.

Magnesium is especially helpful if you’re prone to monthly headaches. Magnesium is especially helpful if you’re prone to monthly headaches. Try to get between 250 – 450mg of magnesium every day from foods like spinach and Swiss chard but also you could take a supplement of magnesium of 250 – 450mg. Other good sources of magnesium are sweet potatoes, bananas, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. The one thing about taking magnesium as a supplement is that if you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, you’ve taking magnesium and a lot of it. Remember that if you take a lot of magnesium or one that is combined with certain things, it may increase loose stools and may give you diarrhea. There is a supplement called magnesium glycinate (because most minerals are bound to something in order to take them as a supplement) at around 250mg a day is the least likely compound to cause loose stools or problems with your bowels.

Environmental toxicity can be a tricky diagnosis as we are constantly exposed to various toxins. Some of the most common toxins include:

  • mold
  • organic toxins such as fungicides in the farming industry
  • chemicals
  • pesticides
  • heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and lead

The treatment varies depending on the type of environmental toxin responsible for your migraine. For heavy metal toxicity, a detox cleanse can help release toxins stored in your tissues and remove them from the body. One of the best ways to detoxify from heavy metals is to sweat. To take an infrared sauna is one of the best ways to sweat and release toxins from the stored places in your body. If mold is thought to be the cause of migraines, there are home mold kits that can be used to determine if you are being exposed to mold in your immediate home environment. Depending on the type and extent of mold infestation, professional removal may be required. Limiting the chemicals around your home can also reduce exposure to organic chemicals. For example, changing lawn care products to natural alternatives and opting for organic and local produce can help limit your exposure. There is a wonderful organization called the Environmental Working Group and this non-profit organization can help a lot in learning what foods need to be bought organically and which do not and what consumer products are safest for you and your family.

I always post additional resources in our Facebook Group. If you have not already joined our Discover Health Facebook Group, which is a closed group, simply go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and request to join our Facebook Group. This is where we always post additional resources. If you have any questions, by all means post it in our Discover Health Facebook Group. That is our community where you can ask questions and get answers. Also, every Monday, our Health Coach Trish does a live “Coach’s Corner.”

I hope you have a better understanding of the various causes of migraines. What I’d like you to do is look back at what you wrote down for the answers of the questions I asked at the beginning. Did one of the different subtypes of the migraines resonate with you more than another? If it did, then you should go with your gut and create an action plan for looking further into that possible root cause of your migraines and for treating your migraines for good! If anyone would like additional information, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

Thank you!

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Don’t Let Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Life



Welcome to Don’t Let Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Life. The term “adrenal fatigue” was formulated in 1998 by a naturopathic doctor by the name of James Wilson. This syndrome was explained as a collection of related symptoms caused by insufficient adrenal gland function. In other words, when the adrenal glands operate inadequately, complications arise, and adrenal fatigue syndrome can develop. Usually the onset of adrenal fatigue is attributed to either prolonged stress, chronic infections, hormonal imbalances, immune responses, and/or metabolic changes. Those suffering may not present any physical signs of pathologic illness but will still feel generally fatigued, have trouble cognitively with brain fog, and experience strong food cravings. Sleep does not solve this exhaustion, so it is common to see increase in the intake of coffee, sugar, and other stimulants to sustain energy throughout the day. Unfortunately, these habits are counterproductive to adrenal fatigue.

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Don’t Let Adrenal Fatigue Impact Your Life

Now I will be going over more detail on how these habits affect this complicated phenomenon throughout this presentation. But first, what do the adrenal glands even do? The adrenal glands are two glands located above the kidneys and are made of two different parts. Both are responsible for hormone production but differ greatly. The first part is called the adrenal cortex. The adrenal cortex produces hormones such as cortisol and something called aldosterone that are central for life. Cortisol works to regulate our metabolism, our immune system, and stress response. Aldosterone helps control blood pressure and proper cardiovascular function. The second part, called the adrenal medulla, produces what are called non-essential hormones, or ones that are not vital for life. This does not mean that this component of the adrenals is not important however. The adrenal medulla is incredibly valuable for dealing with physical and emotional stress and contributes to the fight or flight response of our parasympathetic nervous system. The most notable chemical messenger produced in this part of the adrenal is called adrenaline. The adrenal glands also produce the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, as well as various neurotransmitters such as dopamine. When the proper production of these hormones is disrupted, adrenal fatigue can develop.

[bctt tweet=”Cortisol works to regulate our metabolism, our immune system, and stress response. Aldosterone helps control blood pressure and proper cardiovascular function” username=””]

Let’s talk about the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Because of the multitude of responsibilities these little glands have, adrenal fatigue can manifest very differently depending on each and every individual. Some signs of adrenal insufficiency, dysfunction, and fatigue include:

  • Persistent and non-specific fatigue
  • Struggle waking up in the morning
  • Imbalanced energy levels throughout the day
  • Difficulty handling stress
  • Food cravings (particularly salt)
  • Weakened immune system (frequent infections or allergies)
  • Unexplained body aches and joint pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Impaired recovery after physical activity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor circulation and numbness
  • Light-headedness or dizziness
  • Weight gain and fluid retention
  • Decreased libido

If you are dealing with a number of these symptoms, this talk may give insight into why, and you may want to do the testing for adrenal function that I will be discussing during this presentation.

Contrary to popular belief, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are a good thing! When released appropriately they provide mental clarity, physical strength, and overall brain and muscle efficiency. Have you ever heard of the term “adrenaline rush?” This term refers to your body appropriately responding to stress by activating its fight or flight mechanism. This can be used to propel you out of danger, help someone in a pressing situation, or conquer a fearful situation. However, when your body unloads adrenaline when you are not in a tasking situation and you feel a sudden adrenaline rush like heat that runs through your body when you’re just sitting at your desk working at the computer, then that is your body showing you that it’s using its stress hormones incorrectly. On the other hand, chronic stress that is constant and unrelenting suppresses adrenal functional. As the adrenal glands become unable to continue producing cortisol needed to recover. Stress can be caused by a number of things such as:

  • Unresolved biomedical dysfunction such as infections, hormonal balances, or chronic illness
  • A poor nutritional diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Stimulants such as caffeine or energy drinks
  • Work/life imbalance
  • Over-training physically (people who are addicted to exercise and are over-exercising could be affecting their adrenal glands in a negative way)
  • Emotional or physical trauma

The body’s response to stress includes a surge of cortisol, a boost of energy, an increase in blood sugar, slowed immune response, and the breakdown of stored protein and carbohydrates. As you can tell, in an emergency this is a good thing because it keeps us going and able to handle the stress of the difficult situation. But when this does not stop, and we never go into a rest or digest mode then the system can wear out – blood sugar remains too high and insulin does not function normally, we cannot build muscle well, and our immune system cannot protect us optimally and we get sick more often. So, the rise and inevitable drop in stress hormones impact the thyroid by slowing thyroid production and disrupting the conversion of thyroid hormones to their active and usable forms. If the thyroid does not operate properly, then many of the common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are present as well such as fatigue, depression, weight gain, muscle aches, brain fog, and low libido. Unfortunately, due to the similarities in symptoms of both hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue, the two conditions can be easily confused. These glands are seen to work together due to their collective roles in supplying essential hormones throughout the body. It is not uncommon for those suffering from thyroid dysfunction to also have weakened or dysfunctional adrenal glands.

Now this picture below shows you both the thyroid pathway to produce the thyroid hormone and the adrenal pathway to produce cortisol. You’ll notice that at the top of the picture it says the hypothalamus on both sides. Whether you’re trying to produce cortisol down the cortisol pathway or whether you’re trying to produce thyroid down the thyroid pathway, you’ll see the top organ is called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is in our brain. Whenever you produce hormones in the endocrine system it’s sort of like following the bouncing ball – one organ produces a hormone and that hormone goes to another organ through the bloodstream and tells that organ to put out another hormone and that hormone goes to another organ and tells that organ to put out another hormone…you get the idea that it’s sort of a “passing the ball” to finally produce the hormone that you’re after. Whenever you produce hormones in the endocrine system it’s sort of like following the bouncing ball.

What you’re looking at is the pathway toward cortisol and the pathway toward thyroid hormones. The hypothalamus for the cortisol pathway puts out CRH (cortisol-releasing hormone). The hypothalamus can also put out TRH (thyroid-releasing hormone). Those hormones then go to the pituitary gland which is also in your brain, and the pituitary will put out ACTH (adrenal corticotropic hormone) down the cortisol pathway and will put out TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) down the thyroid pathway. These hormones then go to the end point gland, the adrenal gland to put out cortisol or to the thyroid to put out what’s called T4. T4 is an inactive hormone that needs to be converted to active T3.

What I want people to understand is if your stress is always elevated and you’re always producing more and more cortisol, some of the hormones within the cortisol pathway, even the very first one (cortisol-releasing hormone) will inhibit the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone. The production of cortisol itself is the end hormone will inhibit the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone, it will also inhibit the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3. What I’m pointing out to you is if the adrenal gland is dysfunctional it could be the cause of your hypothyroidism, and the symptoms of both issues or predominantly the thyroid dysfunction include fatigue, cold-intolerance, weight gain, memory problems, poor concentration, depression, hair loss, dry skin, and even infertility for folks still in the reproductive age.

Thyroid deficiency is incredibly common. It goes undetected by many of the standard thyroid tests by as much as 80% of the time! Most endocrinologists examine patients solely on their TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level, which is produced in the pituitary gland in the brain and NOT in the thyroid gland. But they do not, many times, order further testing, and they ignore other important markers of imbalance. This misunderstanding leads to skewed lab results and failure to diagnose thyroid dysfunction accurately. And of course, they’re not even testing your adrenal gland! Comprehensive thyroid testing includes measurements of the following hormones. A full panel should include TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), free T4, free T3, something called reverse T3, and then also your immune system could be producing antibodies against your thyroid gland – there are some called thyroglobulin antibodies and there are others called thyroid peroxidase antibodies created by your immune system against your own thyroid cells. These are a sign that your immune system is creating antibodies against your own thyroid gland, showing that you have an autoimmune thyroid disease. Without looking at all of these factors and thyroid function, the prescribed treatment may be unfit for the person. For example, if a patient is advised to take synthetic hormones for hypothyroidism and are still experiencing fatigue, then they may want to revisit some further testing including antibodies against their thyroid or evaluate the function of their adrenal gland and see if that is really the cause of their thyroid dysfunction.

Now with today’s conventional medical model, there is no formal adrenal fatigue testing. This is where functional medicine becomes crucial for an accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of your adrenal function. Functional medicine is a systems-oriented approach that employs a personal medicine approach to identify, understand, and treat the underlying cause of the disease. Therefore, a functional medicine practitioner takes the signs of adrenal fatigue very seriously. Being that this disorder can be both a cause and a result of an imbalance within the body, some of the many signs of adrenal dysfunction practitioners will look for include:

  • Fatigue
  • Thyroid imbalances
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Low or high blood pressure
  • Unstable blood sugar
  • Hair loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Infertility
  • Anxiety or feeling wired
  • Depression or lack of motivation due to exhaustion

One of the common diagnostic tools for adrenal testing is the cortisol saliva test. With this test, a person actually spits some saliva into a small tube to collect a saliva sample numerous times throughout the day of their testing so as to get multiple time periods of cortisol levels. There’s an awakening right when the person first wakes up, there’s a late morning, there’s an afternoon, there’s an evening, and there’s a late-night sample at the later hours of the evening. Everyone should have a natural circadian rhythm to their cortisol level. It should be the highest first thing in the morning on awakening so that we can get up and increase our energy from sleep. It should be lowering slowly throughout the day to its lowest point at night right before going to bed so that we can sleep well.

Adrenal fatigue progresses through four different stages of advancement. Symptoms increase in frequency and severity throughout each of these different stages. I’m going to take us through these stages. The phases of adrenal fatigue go as follows: stage one is called alarm reaction, stage two is called resistance response, stage three is called adrenal exhaustion, and stage four is an actual pathologic disease called Addison’s disease. This disease is not very common in the population, however, president John F. Kennedy actually had Addison’s disease where his adrenal glands completely failed on him. Up next, we will discuss each phase of this process in detail.

The first stage of adrenal fatigue is often called alarm reaction or the fight or flight response. It is characterized by cortisol levels that may be high in one or two of the times that could be tested when you spit in the tube with the salivary test. Or, they could all also be normal as the system in stage one is still able to correct the cortisol level appropriately. During this phase, the body’s ability to adapt physiologically to stress is still normal. This stage describes the body’s immediate reaction to a stressor. At this time, there is very little physical or physiological dysfunction noticeable. Fatigue is considered mild, it may not sustain as a problem all day long. Sleep patterns are typically disturbed, and uptake of caffeine, sugar, and carbohydrates is usually present because the person is feeling wired and tired and trying to keep themselves going. This stage is often categorized as the feeling of exactly that – being wired but tired.

In fact, most people enter this stage of adrenal fatigue many times in their lifetimes. Most of us can probably remember a time in our lives when stress was temporarily elevated and yes, we felt wired and tired and could not sleep well. But the time of extreme stress ended, and our system quieted down again, our nervous system quieted down, and we were able to get back to our normal feelings and sleep well again. A person in this first stage may have mildly abnormal salivary cortisol level or again the test may be completely normal.

Stage two is called the resistance response. This is where the adrenals begin to lose their ability to keep up with the body’s demand for cortisol. During this stage, fatigue becomes much more noticeable and extends beyond the morning, early afternoon, and even into the evening. The body will need more rest than usual to recover and will very rarely feel refreshed when waking up in the morning after a night’s sleep. Infections, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, decreased sex drive, and irritability in this stage are much more common. And physiologically, our physiology cannot compensate very well anymore and hypertension, thyroid dysfunction, and blood sugar imbalances like pre-diabetes start to become a problem. This is where people begin to recognize their symptoms and seek medical attention typically. There are substantial drops in important hormones such as DHEA and testosterone, in exchange for the continual cortisol production. This is a concept called cortisol steal. When your cortisol is always elevated, you can’t produce the appropriate other hormones, particularly sex hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA. This phase can last a couple of months up to several years. The cortisol saliva test will typically show elevated cortisol levels, low or normal DHEA hormone (DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone is one of your vitality hormones), and an abnormal ratio of DHEA to cortisol.

Above is an example of the salivary cortisol test and what you might see in someone in stage two of adrenal fatigue. First of all, you get a response, a reading, and a measurement for what’s called the cortisol awakening response. When we wake up in the morning and you’ve been sleeping, your brain and body quiet, you need to wake up! Your adrenal glands are supposed to normally have a large increase in cortisol outflow in order to wake us up, wake up our brain, and get us moving. You notice in this example, this person’s increase after awakening their cortisol rose by at least 50% and you’ll see in the graph that the person in this example’s cortisol awakening response is normal and it goes up drastically when they first wake up. They show more cortisol in their saliva when they first wake up in the morning.

The other thing you’ll notice is that when we look at the graph to the right, there are little black squares that tell you each saliva test from 7:00 – 9:00 AM, from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM, from 3:00 – 5:00 PM, and then from 10:00 – 12:00 AM. Each one of the black boxes is the saliva measurement of cortisol in that particular person. What you see is that their morning awakening cortisol was normal, but every other time they tested it throughout the day the cortisol level was high and above the normal range. You notice their adrenal gland is over producing cortisol and they’re always feeling wired and tired, the adrenal gland is dysfunctioning. Down below, the DHEA level in this person is low/normal. Over to the right, the DHEA cortisol ratio is abnormally low. These are the findings of the stage two the resistance response phase.

In stage three as the adrenal glands are becoming continually less and less effective, the body ever increasing need for adrenal hormones remain unchanged while the stress is still going on and present. Stage three is true adrenal insufficiency and the body recognizes the decline in cortisol output and focuses on conserving its energy for survival. To do this, the body begins to slow down and also starts to break down existing muscle tissue in order to use it for energy. In adrenal exhaustion, chronic fatigue is common as well as other things such as reduced exercise tolerance, longer recovery times after any activity, brain fog, insomnia, depression, increased infections, weight gain, lack of sex drive, less productive during the day, and increased need to rest. If not treated, the body further loses homeostasis (the ability to maintain stability or function through changes). Luckily, it is extremely uncommon to progress this beyond this “burnout” to the final/fourth stage of adrenal progression to adrenal failure. But in adrenal fatigue and adrenal exhaustion, much of the body’s stress hormones, sex hormones, and neurotransmitters are very low representing the crash after suffering from stress for a long period of time.

Let’s talk about what you might see in the salivary cortisol test. What you see here is another example of the cortisol salivary test and the first time the person spits into the tube first thing in the morning is called that cortisol awakening response. This time we’re seeing the cortisol response first thing in the morning is not elevated. This person is not able to produce enough cortisol to get them going in the morning and it does not have an expected 50% increase in cortisol output. The adrenals are just dysfunctional and are not putting out enough cortisol first thing in the morning, so they feel exhausted.

As you look to the right, you see that the normal ranges should be higher in the morning and then slowly drop down throughout the day. This person’s levels are all pretty flat and low for the most part. Some of them are in the normal standard deviation range, but you’ll see a flattening of the levels across in a horizontal pattern. This person’s DHEA level is actually okay but their DHEA to cortisol ratio is extremely low. You’ll notice that this person is showing even more dysfunction than the stage two was. That’s the whole point of this – that things are progressively getting worse.

Now as I mentioned, it is uncommon to enter the final stage of adrenal fatigue called adrenal failure, but it is possible. It is also dangerous, and it is very important to recognize if it’s happening. For most people if it’s happening, they’re going to end up in an emergency room because the adrenal becomes completely exhausted. The severe advancement of adrenal fatigue can manifest very similarly to the clinical adrenal sufficiency disease called Addison’s disease. And the symptoms of Addison’s disease include:

  • Sudden pain in the lower back, legs, and abdomen
  • Digestive distress such as vomiting and diarrhea
  • Severe dehydration
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Very high risk for cardiovascular collapse

Obviously, someone is down and in an emergency situation if they’re having adrenal failure. Although these symptoms are much more obvious, there is still the change of misdiagnosis in the ER. This is incredibly important to recognize the signs and see a trusted physician and be in the appropriate place.

Once adrenal fatigue enters this stage, the change of becoming fatal is possible. And again, it is very uncommon for the average person to progress to this level of adrenal failure but is not unheard of because John F. Kennedy, one of our most famous presidents, did have Addison’s disease.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reverse adrenal fatigue. There are many that are available and accessible to you because they’re mostly lifestyle changes. Some include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Adrenal supporting supplements and adaptogens
  • Reduce adrenal stress and overall stress in one’s life
  • Minimize depleting exercise (exercise that is too intense)
  • Increase rest or a more restorative type of movement like yoga or walking in the woods
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Detoxification
  • Adequate hydration
  • Heal existing infections
  • Practice meditation

In Chapter 4 of my book, “Make a DENT in Chronic Disease,” I discuss the sympathetic (fight or flight) versus the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems and the adrenal gland and how our daily environment and emotion response to stress is what drives the dysfunction of our adrenal gland. I also provide concrete and implementable ways for people to improve their daily lives, to decrease stress, improve adrenal function, and optimize health. To get my book, a person can go to directly to or to my website and link from there to the book on Amazon.

A diet full of processed grains, vegetable oils, and sugars, much like the Standard American Diet (SAD), is known to stress the adrenal glands. Conversely, a nutrient-rich diet including healthy fats and fiber helps support adrenal health and can aid in adrenal fatigue recovery. In particular, these foods are especially impactful in the fight against adrenal fatigue:

  • Healthy fats such as coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, olives, olive oil, nuts, seeds, grass-fed butter, fatty fish like salmon, and grass-fed meats. These are an incredible tool in stabilizing blood sugar and we will be explaining why this is such an important factor for recovery up next.
  • Vegetables also are awesome to provide vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients to nourish the whole body including the adrenals
  • Fermented foods for their probiotics
  • Protein especially in the morning. It is recommended to consume approximately 40 grams of protein in the morning to provide support to the adrenal glands throughout the day because remember your largest output of cortisol should be in the morning.

Now what foods should you absolutely exclude?

  • Caffeine
  • Sugar and sweeteners
  • Starchy carbohydrates
  • Processed foods particularly processed meats such as cold cuts
  • Hydrogenated oils

Let’s talk about the role of blood sugar. The increased levels of cortisol that result from the early stages of adrenal fatigue also raise our blood sugar extremely quickly. This high level of glucose or blood sugar in your blood stream upsets your body’s balancing act, resulting in a dump of insulin into your system. This insulin orders our cells to take up as much sugar as possible to regain safe blood sugar levels. Insulin also signals our bodies to store extra glucose for later use. However, if our diet continues to provide more sugar than our body ever needs to use weight gain, inflammation, and health complications develop. It is very important to address blood sugar stability when healing adrenal fatigue due to its pivotal role in the energy production process.

Vitamins are necessary for most of the body’s natural processes. Minerals are essential for hormone production and utilization. A few of the most important vitamins and minerals to supplement for adrenal dysfunction include the following:

  • Sodium – natural salts like Himalayan pink sea salt not necessarily iodized salts. Aldosterone is also a hormone responsible for salt regulation and is typically reduced by adrenal fatigue.
  • Vitamin C – not only is this a powerful antioxidant that works to protect the body from free radicals, but vitamin C is also an essential building block for adrenal gland recovery.
  • Many of the B vitamins, particularly B5, B6, and B12, are especially involved in cell metabolism, energy production, and fatigue reduction.
  • Vitamin D – this vitamin is especially important for adrenal fatigue as it increases the enzyme needed for the production of adrenal hormones.
  • Magnesium – energy levels are maintained by magnesium. Deficiency results in fatigue, depression, and many other adrenal fatigue-like symptoms.
  • Probiotics – improve digestion, immunity, aid in vitamin absorption and hormone production.


It is most important to follow a professional’s guidelines specific for you for proper supplementation due to the deficiency, severity, and stage of your adrenal fatigue. If you feel as if you fit the symptoms of adrenal dysfunction, it would be best to seek out a functional medicine provider or other provider that is familiar with how to order and interpret an adrenal salivary cortisol test. Most traditionally trained primary care providers are not familiar with this testing, so you’re going to need to possibly seek out someone beyond your primary care provider.

Adrenal fatigue and sleep dysfunction are closely related. Due to the body’s natural schedule of cortisol secretion, cortisol levels naturally rise and fall throughout the entire day. Adrenaline and cortisol both increase alertness and affect sleep schedules in a number of ways. You may experience trouble falling asleep, you may wake up in the early hours of the morning, or you may suffer with both of these issues. The best recommendations other than stress relief for regaining a proper sleep routine include:

  • Creating a sleep schedule for going to sleep and waking and being consistent with it
  • Resting when you feel tired as much as you can
  • Aiming to sleep between 8 – 10 hours per night
  • Avoiding staying up too late or being stimulated too close to bedtime
  • Turning off all computers, TV, and cellphones at least an hour before bedtime
  • Turning down lights
  • Listening to meditative music or reading a book when getting ready to go to sleep


The obvious problem around adrenal fatigue is stress. There’s no surprise that stress relief is one of the most important factors in optimal recovery. Some recommendations to manage stress include:

  • Use essential oils (lavender for example)
  • Practice mindfulness meditation
  • Practice yoga (we offer Gentle Introductory Level yoga class 9:00 – 10:15 AM on Friday mornings)
  • Deep breathing
  • Spend time with people you care about and love
  • Take down time to relax
  • Journal
  • Listen to enjoyable music
  • Read a good book
  • Drink tea
  • Go for a leisurely, gentle walk in the woods
  • Get a massage


Thank you so much for learning about adrenal fatigue with me! We all at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center are passionate about sharing these topics with people who are eager to transform their lives and finally achieve optimal health. If you think of any question later, be sure to join our Discover Health Facebook group, where you can always post your questions. And if you feel you may need to have testing of your adrenal function, reach out to us at or call the office directly at 603-447-3112. We are always here to support you!

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Your Complete Guide to CBD

DH 53 | Guide To CBD Oil


CBD oil or the Cannabidiol has been exploding in the mainstream world today. Though it has only been gaining the hype it deserves now, the CBD already has a rich history and background. Dr. Trish Murray guides us in understanding this innovative supplement. She discusses what CBD oil is along with its history. Dr. Liz then further shares many of its research-proven benefits, the different types of CBD products you should be aware of, and the contraindications to using it.

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Your Complete Guide to CBD

The Rich History Of CBD

I am so excited to have the chance to share the great benefits of CBD oil with you. The use of CBD oil has exploded. It seems to be everywhere you look, but the CBD lives up to the hype. I’ll let you decide for yourself, but what I want to do is start by taking a look at the history of CBD. I’ll explain what CBD oil is and I’ll end by sharing some of the benefits associated with CBD oil. Many people assume that CBD is a new and innovative supplement. However, CBD has a rich history. Roger Adams, a Chemistry Professor at the University of Illinois first discovered CBD in the 1940s. Adam separated CBD oil from the hemp plant to study its properties and found it had many benefits.

Modern CBD history began in 1946 when Dr. Walter S. Lowe conducted the first CBD test on lab animals. The tests were performed to prove that CBD does not cause an altered mental state. Further research continued in the 1960s on primates and finally, the first CBD oil meant for therapeutic use was released by the British Pharmacopoeia. The research continued over the next few decades and another discovery was made in 1980 by Dr. Mechoulam who ran a study that showed cannabidiol could be a critical factor in treating epilepsy. The stigma surrounding CBD is starting to disappear as the benefits are finally beginning to be understood. CBD supplements made from industrial hemp are legal in all 50 states, the United Kingdom and many other countries around the world.

Hemp Versus Marijuana

Scientists are still researching CBD and conducting experiments that reveal their beneficial uses. This is how I got intrigued by CBD. I’ve had many patients that were starting to come in on either CBD alone or on medicinal marijuana, but I was seeing such benefit in people that I was so intrigued in wanting to understand that I dove into the research and that’s what’s led me to want to do this for you. One question many people often ask is, what’s the difference between hemp and marijuana? To understand the difference between hemp and marijuana, I’ll start by discussing cannabis.

Cannabis is a plant family that includes many species such as both hemp and marijuana. Although they come from the same plant family, they have distinctly different purposes and uses. Here’s an example. Cabbage and turnips are both different vegetables, different tastes, different fields and different looks, however, they both belong to the plant family called the Brassicaceaes or the cruciferous family. Hemp and industrial hemp refer to the strain of cannabis plant that is grown for agricultural products such as textiles, seeds and oils. Industrial regulation restricts THC yields greater than 0.3%. Marijuana, on the other hand, is known for its flowering plant tops. The flowers are bred to contain high THC content.

The average content of THC contained in marijuana is about 10% and plants are illegal to grow without proper licensing in the participating states that allow it. There are two simple distinctions between hemp and marijuana. First of all, hemp is a non-psychoactive plant primarily for use in clothing, paper, biofuels, bioplastics, dietary supplements, cosmetics and personal care products as well as in foods. Hemp is cultivated outdoors as a large crop with both male and female plants being present to foster pollination and increase seed production. Marijuana also, the scientific name, Cannabis Sativa is specially cultivated to enhance its THC content to be used for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Marijuana plants are typically grown indoors under very controlled conditions. Growers remove all the male plants from the crop to prevent fertilization since fertilization actually lowers the plant’s THC level. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds which include Cannabinol and the active constituents of Cannabis. There are at least 113 different cannabinoids that have been isolated from the cannabis plant. The best study of cannabinoids includes Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is THC, Cannabidiol, which is CBD and Cannabinol, which is CBN. Let’s look at the differences between these three. First of all, THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Some of the therapeutic qualities of THC include pain relief, relaxation, appetite stimulation and insomnia. CBD may inhibit tumor growth, making chemotherapy more effective without harming healthy cells and tissues.

Secondly, CBD or Cannabidiol is present in many strains of cannabis at lower levels. Some of the popular uses of CBD include relief from chronic muscle pain, convulsions and inflammation. Thirdly, CBN or Cannabinol is usually formed when THC is exposed to UV light and oxygen over a prolonged time. CBN has some psychoactive properties but not nearly the same level as THC. You may be very surprised to learn that there is a system in each of our bodies comprised of receptors that interact exclusively with cannabinoids like CBD. It’s known as and called the endocannabinoid system. It is the reason we benefit from CBD. The endocannabinoid system is made up of a network of receptors and was discovered in the late 1990s. CBD bonds with our own body’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, helping to maintain vital health functions and restore the homeostasis or balance within the body.

Benefits Of CBD

Many of us are actually depleted of cannabinoids because hemp has gotten a bad rap over the years. We need to replenish the endocannabinoid system in our body and that’s one of the major reasons why many people do benefit from taking CBD. What are the benefits and what has research shown are the benefits of CBD? Researchers still have a lot to learn about the benefits of using CBD oil. So far, preliminary studies have indicated that CBD may one, inhibit tumor growth, making chemotherapy more effective without harming healthy cells and tissues. It has been used complementary or in combination with chemotherapy for different types of cancers. Two, it may relieve pain and inflammation including chronic pain and cancer pain.

Three, it reduces nausea and vomiting. These top three you’ll notice will be used quite a bit in benefit, in oncology and cancer treatment. Number four, it is known to lessen anxiety. Number five, it improves the quality of sleep. Six is it fights viruses and viral infections. Seven, it relieves the muscle spasms in people suffering from multiple sclerosis. CBD has shown remarkable potential in research studies for its ability to do also the following: lower convulsions, anxiety, inflammation and nausea. It lessens the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia and reduce or prevent metastasis in breast cancer and other types of cancers.

DH 53 | Guide To CBD Oil
Guide To CBD Oil: Researchers have suggested that the stress and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure pain.


Let’s take a look of what the research has to say more specifically. I’ll start with the facts. Number one, CBD will not get you high. Two, CBD can provide a natural method to care for a wide range of ailments. Three, CBD has become very popular in the medical community. Researchers from around the world have conducted countless clinical trials and medical studies. Four, researchers have discovered that due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antipsychotic, anticonvulsant, and antidepressant properties, CBD benefits a wide range of many conditions. Five, research shows CBD benefits over 50 different conditions.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect more than 18% of the population. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the single most significant contributor to disability worldwide, while anxiety disorders rank six. More and more people are turning to CBD as a natural alternative to prescribed medications which caused adverse side effects. According to a survey published in cannabis and cannabinoid research in 2018, almost 62% of cannabidiol users reported that they use CBD to treat a medical condition. The top three conditions being pain, anxiety and depression.

A report published in the journal Neurotherapeutics in 2015, scientists analyze this preliminary research and found that CBD oil shows promise in the acute treatment of conditions like generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. Another small study published in Neuropsychopharmacology back in 2011 determined that CBD may help alleviate social anxiety. Researchers also believe that CBD’s ability to act on the endocannabinoid system and other brain signaling systems may provide benefits for those with neurological disorders. One of the most studied uses of CBD is in treating neurological disorders, particularly epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Those were some of the earliest and most abundant studies done.

CBD has also been researched for its potential effectiveness in treating other neurological diseases. For example, several studies have shown that treatment with CBD improved the quality of life and sleep quality for people with Parkinson’s disease. In one long-term study, researchers gave CBD to mice genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s disease, finding that it helped prevent cognitive decline. High blood pressure is linked to higher risks of many health conditions including stroke, heart attack and metabolic syndrome. Research has linked CBD with several benefits for the heart and circulatory system, including the ability to lower high blood pressure. Researchers have suggested that the stress and anxiety-reducing properties of CBD are responsible for its ability to help lower blood pressure.

Pain, chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis have been the subject of many studies regarding CBD and pain relief. CBD oil has steadily gained popularity as a natural approach to pain relief. It’s thought that CBD oil might help ease chronic pain in part by reducing inflammation. Some of the common types of chronic pain that CBD has shown benefit for include cancer pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, low back pain, migraines, multiple sclerosis pain and neuropathic pain, which is pretty much any disease process that causes of the pain being neurological irritation and disruption. Osteoarthritis and of course, TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint disorder.

Different Types Of CBD Products

While THC increases appetite, CBD has the opposite effect. In 2017 review of scientific literature regarding CBD found that weight loss was a common side effect when it was used to treat seizures in people and reduced food intake and weight gain in rats. More research is needed to understand the weight loss benefits of CBD. However, this is an exciting potential use as weight gain and obesity are considered the cause of many different chronic diseases. Let’s talk about the different types of CBD products and there are many different types of CBD products out there available. Determining how to use CBD oil first starts with choosing your route of administration. There are three basic categories of CBD oil products. Number one would be ingestibles, things you take and eat. Smokables, which of course speaks for itself. Third would be topicals like creams and ointments. Ingestibles offer the most variety. There is liquid hemp oil like CBD tinctures or CBD drops. CBD concentrated into a thick paste.

This is often referred to as Rick Simpson Oil or RSO. Encapsulated CBD oil, so you take a pill. Another would be phytocannabinoid-rich sprays or spritzers generally designed for application beneath the tongue. Another is bottled water containing nano-size CBD particles. Another is CBD infused chewing gum. Another would be on-the-go dissolvable powders containing CBD frequently blended with other adaptogenic herbs. Another is that they’re starting to add cannabinoids to cooking oils such as coconut oil or olive oil. Finally, CBD infused edibles like gummies, brownies or cookies.

Some methods don’t require an explanation of how to use them. For example, with edible products, you eat and enjoy, but CBD oil tinctures and extracts work best using the following tips. Drops or tinctures should have a suggested serving size and the total milligrams of the CBD listed on the packaging. Once you determined the dosage you want to take of the CBD, you can determine the amount of CBD you would like to ingest to meet that dose. Simply place the correct quantity of drops under your tongue using the dropper and hold the CBD oil in place for a minimum of 60 seconds before swallowing. This allows for absorption via the blood vessels underneath your tongue. Figuring out how much CBD oil to take can feel trying to navigate through a complicated maze. It’s not easy to do. When you’re trying to determine how much oil to take, there are certain factors to consider. CBD can provide a natural method to care for a wide range of ailments.

First of all, what is the concentration of the CBD that you have and you’ve purchased? Two, what is your weight or the weight of the individual planning on taking it? Next, the individual’s body chemistry will play into what dose should be used and fourth, the severity of the condition trying to be treated. Even when taking the above factors into account, there is no one size fits all dosage. Some degree of trial and error may be needed before finding the correct amount for your needs. I have had numerous people come in and say to me, “I’ve tried CBD and it didn’t work.” I would read that statement again then. Some degree of trial and error may be needed for finding the correct amount for your needs. The thing about dosaging with CBD can get confusing.

Let’s talk and start with the product concentration. The concentration amount per dose may not be listed and can vary quite a bit from product-to-product. The product should have a total amount of CBD listed. When you see a dose on a bottle of CBD or on the packaging of a CBD product you’re purchasing, that actually equals the total dose of the entire bottle or the entire tube. To determine the concentration, you need to do some math. You’re going to have to divide the total amount of CBD in milligrams by the volume of the container in ounces. For example, to determine the concentration of a four-ounce bottle of CBD that has a total of 1,500 milligrams of CBD in it.

You’re going to need to divide the 1,500 by 4 in order to come up with 375. This bottle in this example of a four-ounce bottle of 1,500 milligrams that’s four ounces in size, has a concentration of 375 milligrams per ounce. You notice it’s different than buying other supplements that tell you or what the dosage per pill is or a prescription medicine that tells you this is the dose per pill or for the size of what you’re taking or the cream you’re using. You have to do some math to figure out the concentration of CBD.

What are some suggestions on where to start with the dosage? Option one, a good rule of thumb to determine your proper CBD dosage use to take anywhere from 1 to 6 milligrams of CBD for every ten pounds of body weight based on the individual’s level of pain or what they’re complaining of. Consider your pain level using start out with 1 to 2 milligrams from mild pain, 3 to 4 milligrams for medium pain and 5 to 6 milligrams for severe pain. Someone could be taking upwards per ten pounds of body weight then you’re going to want to be taking significant amounts of CBD in that option. Option two, another suggested dose is 25 milligrams as a flat dose twice a day and then increasing the amount of CBD you take every 3 or 4 weeks by another 25 milligrams until you attained symptom relief or determine whether you think it’s working for you or not.

The Mayo Clinic suggests CBD dosages based on scientific research, publications, traditional use and expert opinion. The following suggested dosage recommendations from the Mayo Clinic for various illnesses include some of the following examples. Chronic pain, their recommendation is anywhere from 2.5 milligrams up to 20 milligrams of CBD per day. Epilepsy, it’s going to be quite different. You may use as much as 200 to 300 milligrams of CBD daily. Sleep disorders, a recommendation of 40 milligrams to up high as 160 milligrams of CBD and that would typically be at bedtime. Multiple sclerosis symptoms, there are cannabis plant extracts containing anywhere from 2.5 up to 120 milligrams of CBD daily. Schizophrenia, suggestions could range anywhere from 40 milligrams up to 1,200 milligrams orally per day. Another item they list on the Mayo Clinic is glaucoma and a single sublingual CBD dosage of anywhere from 20 to 40 milligrams could be tried for glaucoma.

How The Body Detoxifies And Metabolizes Medications

Something that we must understand is that all medications and supplements, once you take them into your body, must be broken down, metabolized, detoxified and then eliminated from your body. How does our body do this? There are many enzymes that are involved in these processes and the system of your body of enzymes that usually detoxifies or metabolizes, medications or supplements is called the Cytochrome P450 Enzyme System. THC and CBD can have interactions with these enzymes and therefore can affect how you metabolize some prescription medications you’re on.

This is an important point to be made during this and for people to realize. For example, THC, if someone’s on medical marijuana induces a certain enzyme called the aCYP1A2. If you induce this enzyme, therefore it’s going to decrease and break down other medications in one’s bloodstream faster because it’s inducing the enzyme. CBD is a potent inhibitor of other enzymes. Therefore, if you inhibit those enzymes and the medication does not get broken down as quickly, CBD may increase the concentration of many drugs in the bloodstream.

If you or someone you know is on, for example, a medicine called Warfarin or Coumadin, which is a blood thinner. People are on that if they have very specific reasons to be on it, but both THC and CBD can increase Warfarin levels in the body. For example, if someone is on Warfarin, you really need to talk with your medical provider if you’re going to consider taking any medicinal marijuana or CBD over-the-counter. You don’t want to take it and not understand that it could be interacting with prescription medicines.

DH 53 | Guide To CBD Oil
Guide To CBD Oil: All medications and supplements, once you take them into your body, must be broken down, metabolized, detoxified, and then eliminated from your body.


Alcohol may increase THC levels. Therefore if they are utilizing THC as medicine or THC recreationally, alcohol may increase its levels. Another example is not so common, a medicine called Theophylline. If someone has respiratory disease and they’re on a medicine called Theophylline, smoked cannabis can decrease the Theophylline levels in the bloodstream. There are many others and there are many more common medicines too, but Clobazam, which is actually a seizure medicine used in children a lot. CBD can increase the level of this medicine in the bloodstream. It’s very important to make this point that people need to be aware that CBD bought over-the-counter is essentially safe, but it can interact with other medications. You would not want to take CBD at the same time that you are taking any of your prescription medicines.

For example, if you take your prescription medicines in the morning, I will take CBD only at night. If you take prescription medicines both morning and night, then if you’re going to try CBD, I would only take it at noontime. If you obviously are on numerous prescription medicines and you are considering trying CBD, which can be purchased over-the-counter, you should be talking to your medical provider. If you are on approved medical marijuana, then you would be talking to your provider who has approved you for that.

Contraindications To Using CBD

What are some contraindications to using a CBD? In the world of contraindications, there are different categories. One is an Absolute Contraindication, meaning you should absolutely not be taking CBD in the following situations and there’s not a lot. If someone is having an acute psychotic episode, they should not be using CBD or any other unstable psychiatric condition, meaning a person is feeling very unstable and they’re thinking that CBD is going to cause an acute relief of that situation. That’s probably not realistic. The next would be relative contraindications. Relative contraindications would be any severe metabolic conditions such as a severe cardiovascular, immunological, liver or kidney disease where you are in an acute situation. We belong in the closest emergency room, not taking over-the-counter CBD or any other over the counter medication. Cannabis may exacerbate arrhythmia. If someone has a history of arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation, then you definitely want to be talking to a medical provider and not considering taking CBD.

Some final notes, know that there is no established lethal dose of CBD and chronic use has been repeatedly shown to be well-tolerated in humans. The risks of taking CBD are extremely low. As with any natural product, it is essential to speak with your physician before beginning use. Before you start taking CBD, please speak with your doctor about drug interactions. That’s probably the biggest caution I would give to anyone about CBD. You can rest easy knowing CBD oil is not physically addictive but being active and eating a diet rich in DHA. People are probably familiar with EPA and DHA as Omega-3 fatty acids. DHA might increase the effects of CBD.

If you’re trying to maximize the effect of CBD and it maybe get away with a lower dose, then you do want to make sure you’re taking fish oil that has EPA and DHA in it. Those under high levels of chronic stress would potentially need higher CBD oil dosage to achieve the same effects obtained by people who are not chronically stressed. Remember that you may need to start out at a higher dose of CBD and replenish the receptors of your endocannabinoid system. After a week or two or three, you may not need the same dose. We will post many resources that were utilized to create this in our Discover Health Facebook group.

If you have not joined our close Discover Health Facebook group, go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and request to join the group. We’ll let you join and we hope that we want to grow the community as large as we possibly can and have people that are interacting with each other. Many members will add recipes or ask questions or provide information quite often. Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end. You’re practically an expert on the subject of CBD. Thank you for joining me.

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Cognitive Decline; Why Does it Happen? When Does it Start?

DH 52 | Causes Of Cognitive Decline


Alzheimer’s is one of the worlds’ leading causes of death and it has become shocking and devastating because most of the families don’t know how to prevent it in an early stage. Statistically, it is found that it will affect 50% of people over 85 years old. In this episode,  host Dr. Trish Murray talks about cognitive decline, why it happens, and when does it start. She shares a program to prevent and reverse the cognitive decline of dementia that can benefit your family.

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Cognitive Decline; Why Does it Happen? When Does it Start?

Our topic is about cognitive decline, why does it happen and when does it start? This topic is near and dear to my heart because my mom passed away at 86 years old from Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. She had six children after getting married at the age of 30. I was number five. When I was in my twenties, mom was in her late 50s to early 60s, at that relatively young age, she started to develop memory loss and she went on to develop Alzheimer’s. We lost her long before she ever passed away at the age of 86, basically a vegetable in the bed. If you know someone who has cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease, they lose their own history. They lose their personality. They lose the ability to interact with family and friends.

Some of the statistics around Alzheimer’s disease are becoming shocking and devastating. It will affect 50% of people over 85 years old. It is presently the seventh leading cause of death, which is 10% of people 65 years or older have some form of cognitive decline and 25% in their seventh decade. By 75 years old, one in four have some form of cognitive decline. One out of every two people in their eighth decade, by the time we’re 85, are estimated to have either Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of cognitive decline. This is not right.

Dr. Dale Bredesen’s The End Of Alzheimer’s

I’m going to be focusing on the work by a neuroscientist and a physician by the name of Dr. Dale Bredesen, who’s written a book called The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. Dr. Bredesen has also created a protocol. He calls the ReCODE Protocol, which I am certified. We do work with people who are interested in the ReCODE Protocol through Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. I also want you to understand that one of the major themes that runs through Dr. Bredesen’s work is that the problem of cognitive decline, it’s not in your head, it’s in your body. It’s caused by many different factors that become unbalanced in us as we go through our lives. It could be due to an imbalance in the gut-brain connection, for example, which means you have an unhealthy gut from possibly diet, stress, disease or infection such as the microbiome and the microbiota of bacteria, viruses, and fungus that many times enter us because of how we eat. Not only because of how we eat but our initiating problems between the gut and the brain.

Another underlying cause of cognitive problems and many other chronic diseases is inflammation. Another is the hormone brain connection, such as many hormones being out of balance, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, which is your stress hormone, and many others, such as insulin related to someone’s diet and how much sugar we ingest. There are many things that go into the possible underlying cause of the development of cognitive decline. Another one that I would need to not miss mentioning is toxicity such as heavy metals, chronic infection or toxins from the receipts you’re handed at the grocery store because it’s full of certain chemicals that are toxic to us. Problems in your body are still problems, don’t put it off and wait for it to get worse.

The other thing I want to make sure we talk about in this show is that you do not age and get into your fifth-decade, sixth-decade, seventh-decade and eighth-decade and all of a sudden catch cognitive decline. It’s happening for many years before your family, friends or you start to notice that you can’t quite calculate the numbers as much. You can’t remember people’s names. You can’t remember why you walked into this room or that room. You can’t remember how to drive to your office. It didn’t happen overnight. It happens over the decades. That’s the thing we need to understand. If you are suffering from a collection of symptomatology such as depression, anxiety or mood swings, this should be a sign to you that there is something out of balance in your body, your metabolism, and your hormones and your inflammation possibly is too high. It’s causing your brain to show you signals that you’re not functioning optimally. If you’re feeling nervous and emotional more than you think you should. If you’re having brain fog, that is an early sign that there are degenerative processes and inflammatory imbalances or hormone imbalances going on that are affecting the optimal function of your brain.

If you are not sleeping well, if you have insomnia, if you have hair loss or hair thinning or if you feel fatigued, tired and have lost your mojo, these are all signs. If you have bowel difficulties, irritable bowel syndrome with a mixture of either diarrhea or constipation and you never feel like you empty, if you have bloating. You’ve got to try and find a way to figure out why that’s happening to you. You need to figure it out as soon as possible so that you can find an underlying cause, solve the problem, and avoid future problems that are going to affect your brain more. Cold hands and cold feet, night sweats, chronic pain, weight problems, all of these things are signs. If you’re putting on weight but you feel like you’re eating like a bird, something is out of balance that’s not related to how much you’re eating.

These are the things that if you read that list of many different types of problems and symptoms and you are realizing that you have numerous of the things I listed off, then you have to understand that you and many of us have become hypersensitive to our environment. The unhappy, chaotic, disorganized, disengaged, forgetful brain is an imbalanced, inflamed, toxic brain. You need to understand that these problems are a problem. Don’t put it off and wait and say, “I’ll figure that out when I’m retired.” That’s too late. You need to think about it now because symptoms begin in the brain, years if not decades, before the diagnosis of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease is ever diagnosed.

Why Does Cognitive Decline Happen?

Let’s talk about why does it happen and what’s happening physiologically in the brain when we start to have brain fog and cognitive decline and why is there an imbalance?

DH 52 | Causes Of Cognitive Decline
The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline

First of all, we have to talk about the fact that the brain is like a computer. The brain has billions and billions of nerves or neurons. Those neurons have synapses with each other. Synapse means that one nerve is communicating chemically through little branches that are near each other. They send chemicals across the branches through the synapses, these areas where the chemicals are communicating from neuron to neuron and nerve to nerve. We need healthy synapses. If the synapses break down and the nerve dies because it’s inflamed or toxic, then we are not going to have as many synapses. There is a concept in science and in medicine around these two words, a blastic cell or a clastic concept. If we use the word synapse, when we talk about a synaptoblastic situation, that means synaptoblasts are growing more synapses. They’re healthy cells and they’re growing more branches to go talk with more nerves. More communicating wires are being blasticly grown in order to communicate and make our computer better.

Synaptoclastic is the opposite. It means you’re breaking down the wires. The wires are not working and they’re dying off because they’re not functioning normally. All of life, it’s normal to have the appropriate balance between a building up of cells and getting rid of old and dysfunctional cells. You need to have a good balance between synaptoblastic situations where you’re growing more and synaptoclastic where you’re getting rid of the old. This is normal. For example, let’s talk about bones. People are familiar with the concept of osteoporosis where people lose more bone than they’re growing. We are born and by the time we’re 30, approximately in our first three decades, we grow bone more than we break bone down or degenerate bone or lose bone. We have more osteoblastic cells that are creating bone than we do osteoclastic cells that are degenerating and breaking down bone.

When we turn in our third decade, we start to reach our peak of bone development, we start to lose bone. In our 50s, 60s, 70s, there are more osteoclasts breaking down bone than there is osteoblast building bone. Some people, unless we’re doing something that causes our body to produce more bone and create more osteoblasts to make more bone, then there’s more osteoclasts out of balance and breaking the bones down. That’s what leads to osteoporosis. Osteopenia first and then possibly osteoporosis. That’s an example in your bone system.

We’re not talking about our bones. We’re talking about our brain cells, our neurons, and our nervous system, but the same concept applies. If you have more synaptoblastic production, then you’re growing more synapses, you’re growing more cells and your brain is going to remain healthy. If you have an imbalance and you’re breaking down and you’re having too much synaptoclastic behavior, the nerve endings in the nerve synapses are depleting, degenerating, breaking down and the neurons are dying. This is the basic concept of cognitive decline, which is that there’s an imbalance. You’re having too much synaptoclastic behavior where the synapses are breaking down, dying and creating a synapse or a neuron can commit suicide. My old cells, if they’re not functioning properly, are supposed to get a message to die off, commit suicide and go away because they’re in the way, and healthier cells are supposed to be taking their place. That’s normal physiology.

Balance Vs. Imbalance: Neurological System Of The Brain

The whole concept is about balance. Is this imbalance or is it out of balance? In Dr. Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s, he gets into some detail about explaining this concept in the neurological system of the brain. I want to take a few minutes and go into the process he explains. First of all, amyloid-beta. You may have heard of amyloid-beta in the cognitive decline world and that it’s been thought for a long time. Amyloid-beta causes the plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease and plaques to build up in the brain. These plaques cause the breakdown of nerves, breakdown of the synapses, breakdown of memories and breakdown of the function of the computer and the cognitive decline that comes with it. What Dr. Bredesen has determined in his lab through many decades of research that there is a receptor. In science, all cells have receptors. The problem of cognitive decline is it is not in your head, it’s in your body.

That’s another way, one cell will communicate with another cell or where molecules that are floating around in our interstitial fluid will communicate with a cell and bind to a receptor. There is this big receptor called an amyloid precursor protein. It’s a very large receptor in the brain on neurons, nerve cells. It has as many as 695 amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Receptors are proteins. They’re structural pieces to a cell. A nerve has these big receptors on it called amyloid precursor protein. It is that’s receptors’ job to have molecules bind with it and to either nurture it and feed it or to give it a signal to start to degenerate and die. What Dr. Bredesen has explained is that the amyloid precursor protein receptors on nerve endings or neurons, based on the molecules that bind with it, get messages.

If certain molecules bind to that receptor, it may break it and cause that receptor to be cut by another chemical called a protease. It is an enzyme that will cause the protein to be broken into different fragments. The amyloid precursor protein can be broken into multiple different fragments based on the signal it gets from molecules in our bloodstream, in our connective tissue or in the interstitial fluid that surrounds the cell. For example, if a certain molecule called the netrin-1 molecule binds to the amyloid precursor protein, then that molecule will send an anti-Alzheimer’s message and growth and nutritional message to the neuron. The protein receptor will be broken in one place and break into two different fragments. Those two fragments are called a soluble amyloid precursor protein alpha and an alpha-CTF.

You’ll notice that it is broken into two pieces. These two pieces nourished the neuron for growth and health and it blocks the message for the neuron to commit suicide, meaning it stays alive and it stays healthy. However, if a different molecule or amyloid-beta, which is a much smaller protein and it’s a piece of the amyloid precursor protein receptor. It’s a small fragment of the receptor itself that if the piece is broken off from amyloid precursor protein, then it goes back and binds to another amyloid precursor protein receptor. That receptor will be cut and fragmented in three different places creating four fragments. Those four fragments are called soluble amyloid precursor protein beta, a Jcasp, a C31, and the big problem, a fragment of amyloid-beta.

If you break the amyloid precursor protein receptor, it gets the message for amyloid-beta to break into four different fragments. This leads to a message to the neuron that causes a loss of the synapses that neuron is having with other nerves. Therefore, it causes a shriveling up of the part of the neuron that extends out to connect to other neurons. It also activates the neuron’s suicide programming. You have this receptor and it’s going to get messages from the world around, its environment. If the messages are positive and give a message to cause increased growth, then the receptor will be cut in one place and will have two fragments. If amyloid beta has already been produced by the environment and that receptor has been getting a message to cut itself in three places, causing four fragments and one of those fragments is amyloid-beta, that’s going to cause a synaptoclastic behavior that’s pro-Alzheimer’s. You’re going to produce more amyloid-beta. The more amyloid-beta exists, the more amyloid beta is going to bind to the receptor and cause its own suicide as a vicious cycle of degeneration.

DH 52 | Causes Of Cognitive Decline
Causes Of Cognitive Decline: If you live a lifestyle of the standard American diet that is pro-inflammatory and high sugar, you’re breaking down your gut lining and you’re living a stressful life.


Dr. Bredesen says that this is called a prionic loop where there’s a vicious cycle where a piece of the receptor itself breaks off, it goes in and binds to other receptors, causes them to break down into the wrong pathway. It is a synaptoclastic pathway where you’re degenerative and breaking down synapses rather than growing more synapses. If you’re following this concept, the bottom line is how do we promote netrin-1? How do we promote the molecules in our brains and in our environment of fluids around our brains? How do we promote the synaptoblastic growth of our synapses and keep our computer healthy rather than allow the computer to have cells that are breaking down and becoming synaptoclastic fragmenting in the four pieces, creating the amyloid-beta and causing more of this vicious cycle?

One thing to realize is that Dr. Bredesen has also found that there is not just one thing that is going to promote more netrin-1 and less amyloid-beta. He talks about it as if you have a barn as an analogy. You look up with the barn’s roof and you see one hole in the roof. You go up on the ladder to the roof. You close that one hole in the roof. You’re not going to have any more rain leaking in your barn. That’s fine because you only had one hole. The problem with cognitive decline and synaptoblastic versus synaptoclastic balance is that Dr. Bredesen has found in his research that there are many different factors in our daily environment, in our own metabolism and physiology that can tip the person’s balance to a more synaptoclastic breakdown of synapses rather than a synaptoblastic building of synapses.

For example, if you live a lifestyle of the standard American diet that is pro-inflammatory and high sugar. You’re breaking down your gut lining. You’re living a stressful life where you don’t take time to take care of yourself, you don’t take time 5 to 10 minutes a day at the very least to quiet your mind and your being and you don’t exercise. You don’t drink enough water, then you’re developing hormonal imbalances that may include estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, insulin and cortisol. All of these hormones could be out of balance. Each one of them would be a different hole in the roof of the barn.

If you have inflammation in your system because you drink too much sugar, you have too much stress, you take in too much out of balance alcohol or recreational drugs. You don’t get enough sunlight and you’re not producing enough vitamin D, you’re not exercising or like many of us, you’re burning the candle at both ends and you’re not getting enough restful sleep. You’ll notice every single one of these parts of our daily environment and the world we produce for ourselves, represents a different hole if you’re not taking care of it on your roof. He’s talked about as many as 30 different factors in a person’s hormonal, physiological, metabolic life and lifestyle that are different holes in the roof in his analogy.

If all these holes are open, then you’re going to have a flood in your barn. If that’s the case, that’s going to tip an imbalance in the molecules of your brain that are floating around in the cerebral spinal fluid. That is going to bind to the receptor, the amyloid precursor protein. It’s going to give it that wrong message. It’s going to give it a suicide message and tell it to break down. To summarize this analogy, your amyloid precursor proteins are receptors on your nerve cells in your brain. There are billions of them. They act like a different analogy as the chief financial officer of your company. It takes an inventory of the income and the products that are available. The brain is very smart. It’s going to get rid of last hired, first fired in the business world.

If there are no growth-promoting hormones, vitamins, minerals and nutrients to sustain and maintain the existing synapses and form new ones. If there’s no production going on to produce new neurons with good hormones, good vitamins, good minerals in an anti-inflammatory state, then the financial officer, that amyloid precursor protein is going to send out a downsizing memo to initiate the three cuts in itself, rather than the one cut in itself, leading and producing a message for neuronal suicide and degeneration. The other thing that’s important to understand about this message is that the brain is very smart. It’s going to get rid of last hired, first fired. In the business world, that analogy applies here as well. If you’re not promoting an environment of growth and there’s too much inflammation, cortisol, toxins and there’s been trauma and that’s not a productive state, then the brain is going to start and the amyloid precursor protein will send these messages in the four fragments. The amyloid-beta is going to be growing and it’s going to be last hired, first fired.

What that means is that recent memories go first, older ones go next and the oldest memories go last. If you are familiar with someone in your family or friends that have had cognitive decline, this is why we can’t remember what we had for breakfast, but we remembered what we did when we were 25 years old. We’ve always remembered our children, but we don’t remember who we met before because recent memories go first. The brain is smart. It doesn’t feel it needs to hold on to what you ate for breakfast, but it does need to remember how to walk around the house you live in. This is groundbreaking information. Dr. Dale Bredesen is on the cutting edge of this. He has developed a program that he calls the ReCODE Protocol. You can google that and Dr. Dale Bredesen, or you could go to my website, We have information about the ReCODE Protocol. The fact that I am a certified provider within it, this is near and dear to my heart. I am doing, walking the walk, and learning everything I can to avoid developing what my mom has suffered. I hope this has helped. I’ll talk to you in the next episode.

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Combating IBS

DH IBS | Combating IBS


IBS is a serious disorder and must not be taken lightly. Dr. Trish Murray, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, shares her extensive knowledge of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and its diagnosis and treatments. Being one of the most undiagnosed conditions in the US, its prevalence is one in every four people, and because of the stigma of its diagnosis, digestive discomfort related to it is considered normal already. Dr. Murray discusses in greater detail some of the causes and explains the role of functional medicine on IBS and how it differs from other medical models used today. In this episode, know more on how to prevent and combat IBS using the food elimination diet, the five categories of FODMAP foods, and adhering to the Four R approach to gut healing.

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Combating IBS

What is IBS?

What is IBS? Irritable Bowel Syndrome often referred to as IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder. It is characterized by a host of different digestive dysfunctions and discomfort such as frequent abdominal pain, gas, bloating, indigestion and constipation or diarrhea. You can have either/or and it can wax and wane back and forth between the two. The symptoms and level of severity vary greatly between individuals, but the digestive disorder can be quite disabling. For some, IBS may mean mapping their day around every single public bathroom that they know of, limiting their social life to avoiding going to unfamiliar places and rejecting travel plans due to the behavior of their large intestine. Anxiety and depression are often associated with dealing with IBS and it has the ability to negatively affect one’s emotional, social and professional life. Doctors define IBS as a “functional gastrointestinal disorder,” because although the GI tract isn’t functioning properly, there is no apparent physical damage.

Functional Medicine

People have colonoscopies or people have upper endoscopies and there’s no structural physical damage found in the gastrointestinal tract. This attitude can encourage a lack of initiative in further research, searching for a cure or questioning the cause of the dysfunction. Instead, most medical professionals are trained to medicate to alleviate symptoms but unfortunately, this does not solve the long-term health problem that people are suffering with. Functional medicine doctors, however, work to discover the why behind the disease as IBS is a collection of different symptoms specific to the individual. The root cause will also likely not be the same for everyone. Ignoring the diversity in this disorder is dangerous because leaving the underlying cause untreated can escalate to a more serious condition such as an autoimmune condition.

Functional medicine is revolutionizing healthcare by empowering patients to better understand imbalances in their bodies. How these imbalances affect your health and the solutions available to support the normal healing mechanisms in the body. Functional Medicine uses conventional medicine practices for acute care but also incorporates complementary and integrative healthcare approaches for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Functional medicine differs from other medical models used now due to its defining principles of one, personalized care specific to the individual. Two, focus on the causes of discomfort rather than simply the symptoms. Three, educating and empowering people to use diet and lifestyle changes to heal themselves and four, a deep-seated trust in the body’s ability to heal if the cause of the dysfunction is identified and modified.

IBS is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in the United States. In fact, studies have shown that the prevalence of the disease ranges anywhere from 10% to 25% of adults. That’s one in every four people. It is unclear the accuracy of these figures. However, due to the stigma and ignorance around an IBS diagnosis, some obstacles include people not consulting with a physician, patients being written off as experiencing psychosomatic symptoms, the attitude that digestive discomfort is “normal.” Regardless, Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the most common functional digestive disorder. Some reports estimate between 38 million and 96 million Americans suffer from IBS in their lifetime. Yet, only 5% to 7% of these people receive a proper diagnosis. IBS is one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in the United States.

IBS Diagnostic Tests

IBS is diagnosed through the process of what’s called exclusion in medicine. This means that extensive lab testing, diagnostic workup and procedures are performed and recorded. If everything comes back normal and the doctors are unable to accurately identify a diagnosable condition, then the patient is categorized by exclusion to having IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A more straightforward diagnostic system is difficult due to IBS’s lack of apparent one, anatomical or structural problems and two, physical or chemical findings that would be abnormal. What happens is this process strengthens the conventional medicine methods of symptom management versus looking further or working with someone to uncover the true cause of the dysfunction.

Some of the diagnostic tests that would be done and are used to identify Irritable Bowel Syndrome include everything in medicine starts with a medical history and a physical exam. Comprehensive blood tests can be done, a stool analysis can be done. There’s a big range in how a stool can be tested. The basic tests that are done by, for example, the typical traditional primary care doctor is not necessarily the test that’s going to tell any definitive answers. There is a comprehensive stool analysis that can really tell a lot about someone’s microbiome, such as the bugs that live in your colon that are supposed to be there versus the wrong ones. Will it also tell about the function of someone’s upper GI tract such as is there enough acid to digest the foods properly? The type of stool testing that’s done is important whether it’s a basic test or a more comprehensive functional test.

IBS Risk Factors

Another test that can be done is testing someone’s inflammation levels. One way to test that is with blood, one test is called the sedimentation rate and the other is called the CRP, C-Reactive Protein. These are general measures if someone’s body is inflamed. Upper endoscopy is where they go with a tube and they look in a camera and go down and look at someone’s upper GI tract. Another is IgG antibody testing to test for food sensitivities or inflammation. Another would be breath testing to assess for what’s called SIBO. SIBO stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. Everyone’s experience with IBS is highly individualized, so are the initial causes of the disease. Not everyone fits in the same box as to why they have IBS.

Although IBS is not formally classified as an autoimmune disease, it shares many of the same risk factors, potential causes and complications of the inflammatory conditions we know of now. Some of these include a poor diet such as the Standard American Diet and you’ll notice that if you take the SAD, that stands for an acronym of SAD. Another cause could be leaky gut which the Standard American Diet, which is SAD leads to leaky gut, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, another cause could be dysbiosis in the large intestine. We have bacteria in our colon. We have to have bacteria in our colon. We have as much as three pounds of bacteria in our colon and they must be there because we live in a symbiotic relationship with them. If the wrong gang is running the colony of bacteria in your colon and they are not healthy ones, then that could lead down the path to IBS.

DH IBS | Combating IBS
Combating IBS: Due to the stigma and ignorance around an IBS diagnosis, people developed an attitude that sees digestive discomfort as “normal.”


Causes Of IBS

Yeast overgrowth or parasites could also be the cause of IBS, food intolerances, antibiotic use. When we do a timeline with people and they talk about in their teens, their childhood or in their early adulthood they were put on antibiotics over and over again for chronic or recurrent infections. That could lead down the path in the future towards Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Toxin exposure can cause IBS. Chronic infections, stress is a big cause of leaky gut and also hormonal imbalances can cause leaky gut. Genetics can also put someone at an increased risk of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is a very extensive list of possible causes and if you have multiple of them that they add up on each other and make things even worse. Up next, let’s discuss some of these causes in greater detail.

Leaky gut, the GI tract is naturally permeable meaning that things are supposed to pass through it to be absorbed such as nutrients. It also serves as a barrier to prevent substances that aren’t supposed to enter from entering the bloodstream, such as undigested food particles are not supposed to be digested, microbes such as bacteria, yeast or viruses and as well as toxins. It is supposed to allow the absorption of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. One of the most vital and basic duties of the cells that line the intestinal wall is to regulate this intestinal permeability. However, when these cells become damaged, they begin to break apart and in turn, allow particles to leak into the bloodstream that is not supposed to.


As this happens, the immune system, which is your military, attacks these substances as they are seen as invaders or pathogens. This results in inflammation and this goes on unchecked can be the initial problem that initiates many different chronic diseases. This dysfunctional process is what is known and called leaky gut. Food intolerances, infections, stress and age, are all factors that affect the gut’s permeability and integrity. As we age, we get more and more at risk for leaky gut. The best way to address leaky gut syndrome is to participate in functional medicines for our program. Studies have reported that approximately 80% of people with IBS suffer from SIBO. SIBO occurs when bacteria migrate from the large intestine up into the small intestine that is not supposed to be there. This results in an overgrowth of bacteria where they’re not supposed to be.

This condition is often fueled by a diet heavy in sugar, alcohol and refined carbohydrates because many of the strains of bacteria indicative to SIBO feed off these anti-nutrients. The use of antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs and steroids can also disrupt the gut flora creating an attractive environment for SIBO. SIBO can be diagnosed by a breath test. This test provides information on the bacterial activity in your body and the best treatment protocol that would be most effective specifically for you. Treatment for SIBO also includes the four R program, dietary changes and sometimes if needed, a prescription of a particular antibiotic can be used called Rifaximin. Rifaximin is a unique antibiotic in that it does not get absorbed into your bloodstream. It stays directly in the GI tract and only has the antibiotic effect in the GI tract and kills the bugs there. That’s why Rifaximin can be used successfully in people with SIBO. Yeast overgrowth can be another cause of IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. Instead of bacteria, it is a yeast or a fungus that is overgrown. It’s an out of balance in the gut flora and the most common form of yeast overgrowth is Candida. Candida is a type of fungus that is naturally present in our mouths and in our intestines to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption. Yeast overgrowth can be another cause of IBS symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, and diarrhea.

However, when it becomes in excess and it starts to run the neighborhood and becomes the most prominent gang, Candida contributes to the breakdown of the intestinal wall that is a common characteristic of leaky gut. This can lead to a variety of health problems specifically IBS symptoms. Candida feeds on sugar, which puts most Americans at risk due to the incredible increase in sugar in our food supply. Parasites are much more common than most people consider. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to travel only to a high-risk area out of the United States to be exposed to parasites. In fact, it is not difficult to contract a parasite by the imported food at the local grocery store. Much of our food does not come domestically. It comes from other countries and travels thousands of miles to get to us. Since the parasites are usually ingested, the most common issue they contribute to is digestive damage and compromised nutrient absorption.

Unfortunately, the healthy bacteria in the gut is many times not strong enough to defend against the parasite’s rate of reproduction. The parasite reproduces and reproduces and starts to cause problems. The long story short, parasites are another type of bug that can cause GI dysfunction such as IBS but the good news is they can be tested for, and if present, eradicated. Food intolerances, allergies and sensitivities can contribute to significant digestive distress. They can be very hard to detect for a number of reasons, including you may stop or for more than one, meaning more than one food causes a problem for you. Elimination testing takes time and effort. It needs to be done correctly. Not everyone reacts the same to food sensitivities and symptoms of food intolerance can easily be misinterpreted. Luckily, there are several ways to test if you are suffering from a food allergy or intolerance.

First of all, immunoglobulins or antibodies are created by your immune system to fight against pathogens that invade the body and there are different antibodies. IgE is the antibody that typically rises when we have an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions to food such as peanuts or eggs are immediately obvious with breaking out on the rash or itching all over or hives, abdominal pain or even breathing problems. If a person has a food allergy, they typically know it right away and they know that they must avoid that food substance completely or anytime they get exposed to it, the reaction may even get worse. In Immunoglobulin G or IgG is different. This is a different antibody and it is the most abundant antibody in the human body. It is found in all of the body’s fluids and works as a protection mechanism against bacterial and viral infection. It is also the antibody that will be elevated in food what are called sensitivities, not allergy, but sensitivity.

Elimination Diet

It may not rise immediately in reaction to food. It can actually take up to 72 hours for this antibody IgG to rise and cause any GI dysfunction or other symptoms in other systems of your body. This time delay is why it is so difficult to many times identify what food categories we may be sensitive to. There are blood tests available to check for both IgE and IgG antibody levels to specific foods for allergies and sensitivities, but the IgG tests are not standardized from lab to lab. This is why doing a comprehensive elimination diet is considered the gold standard way to identify a person’s food sensitivities. An elimination diet refers to the process of eliminating foods that may be sabotaging your health to see if you feel better. Once you feel better and you’ve quieted your immune system, then you systematically re-challenge the different food categories to identify your individual food triggers.

DH IBS | Combating IBS
Make a D.E.N.T in Chronic Disease: Your Guide to Living Pain Free Through Functional Medicine

The elimination portion of this diet takes three weeks, 21 days because that amount of time allows for any adverse food reactions to dissipate it. The goal is to bring your body and your immune system to a blank slate and allow your immune system to quiet down. During the first week of an elimination diet, you may not feel very well as your body is the detoxifying. Until week two and three, most people that do have food sensitivities have said to me time and time again, “I have not felt this good in the last several years of my life. I feel fantastic.” On day 22, you’re going to begin to reintroduce food groups individually or as categories. This gives you the opportunity to really recognize how each individual food or category makes you feel and therefore be able to identify which food makes you feel ill. The common food offenders as far as IBS, food intolerances and digestive stress include dairy, gluten, soy, corn, nightshade vegetables including peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant, eggs, refined sugar, peanuts, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, hydrogenated oils, and packaged and processed foods. Don’t worry, I know that sounds like, “What do I eat?”

There are plenty of foods you can eat during the three weeks of the elimination diet. Unless advised otherwise individually, the following foods are safe and encouraged to consume during the elimination diet. When you do an elimination diet, it is not about restricting calories. The volume of the food you eat is not restricted in any way. What is restricted is the categories I already listed, but you can eat gluten-free grains such as rice, quinoa, amaranth, tapioca, buckwheat and teff. You can drink all the dairy substitutes or eat the dairy substitute you choose, almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk. Vegetables galore except for the few I’ve mentioned such as corn and nightshade vegetables. You can eat all the whole fruit you want. It can be fresh, frozen and water-packed. Lean and clean animal protein such as wild game, lamb, organic chicken, turkey and fresh fish are all fine. Nuts and seeds are fine except for peanuts and peanuts are actually not a nut, they’re a legume. Beans and most legumes are acceptable except for soybeans and peanuts. You can also ingest high-quality oil such as coconut oil, avocado oil and cold-pressed olive oil.

Herbal teas are fine and sweetener alternatives in moderation such as black strap, molasses, brown rice syrup or monk fruit. Spices are allowed. During the reintroduction phase of the elimination diet, it is incredibly important to pay attention to how each food makes you feel. This is probably the most important part of the diet. You survived the three weeks and didn’t ruin it by going out and having a pizza and a beer because you’re going to lose the opportunity to reintroduce food groups one-by-one for 72 hours at a time. You would pick one food category to include into your diet again. Take note of how it makes you feel for the next three days. If any time during those three days you experienced negative symptoms, then this is your sign that you have a sensitivity to that food category and you should eliminate it again.


If you do not notice any issue for those three days, then you can choose to reincorporate that food into your regular diet as you do not have a sensitivity to that food. Continue following these steps with the remaining eliminated food category and if any seem to cause any discomfort, stop eating them and wait until any symptoms subside before continuing on with the re-challenging process. Note that it is imperative to allow the adequate amount of time for both the elimination and the reintroduction phases to ensure you receive the most accurate results possible. I explained this entire process in my book called Make a D.E.N.T in Chronic Disease and it is one of the first steps we support people within our DENT program at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. The D in the DENT stands for Detox and involves implementing a comprehensive elimination diet I call the Detox Plus Program. Beyond the foundational comprehensive elimination diet concept, there is another diet that those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome need to consider and this is called the FODMAP diet. Digestive enzymes assist in the breakdown of food and aid in nutrient absorption.

FODMAP is an acronym that stands for the F is Fermenting, O for Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols. Oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, polyols are all a different type of sugar that in some people initiate the IBS symptoms of bloating, gas and inflammation in the intestines. At times, people with IBS, I recommend overlapping the FODMAP diet on top of the elimination diet. I get it that this makes the diet even more restrictive, but it can make all the difference in the world to a FODMAP-sensitive patient. There are five categories of foods within the FODMAP concept that consist of the following five categories. Fructose, certain fruits and sweeteners that are high in fructose will cause IBS symptoms. The next category is lactose, so milk, cheeses and dairy products. You’ll notice lactose, for example, in dairy products, you’ll already be eliminating in a comprehensive elimination diet. That one’s already gone. Certain fruits would also then be eliminated for the high fructose fruits like apples and pears, for example.

The next category of the five FODMAP categories is fructans and certain vegetables are high in fructans. You would think broccoli is extremely healthy and I will share my experience and the fact I was eating broccoli numerous times a week before I ever learned of the FODMAP diet and I suffered for years with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. When I learned the FODMAP and I put myself on the FODMAP diet, within two weeks I no longer had any symptoms of IBS. There are galactans which are usually different types of beans such as black beans, chickpeas and lentils. Polyols is another sugar, cauliflower, mushrooms, any type of sweetener like xylitol are polyols. These are the different categories within the FODMAP diet that could be the ultimate cause of your IBS. These categories can be re-challenged, can be eliminated, then re-challenged similar to the elimination diet concept to identify which category or multiple categories of these five an individual is sensitive to.

Years ago when I started learning functional medicine and I was learning different things along the way, I had IBS for years. We all know that story of feeling bloated, full of gas, sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night and wanting to empty but never feeling like you’re emptying even though you feel like you need to go. I experienced this. I know what it feels like and I get it. When a patient came in on the FODMAP diet and that brought this concept that I had heard of, but I hadn’t learned or read about yet up to the top of the pile of things I was learning at the time. I said, “I eat this food just about every day.” When I put myself on a FODMAP diet, eliminating the different categories for three to four weeks, within two weeks, my symptoms of IBS were gone. I have followed essentially a low FODMAP diet for years now. I can get away now and then with some broccoli here and there now, but I can’t eat it every day for a week or three or four days. That’s going to cause a real problem. The point here is the FODMAP diet is another diet specific to IBS that could change your life.

The Four R Approach To Gut Healing

Let’s get down to besides the diets implementing the four R approach to healing your gut and the four R program is administered to heal from digestive distress, reverse gut complications, rebalance your gastrointestinal microbiome. It is an incredible tool to acknowledge and treat health issues, dysfunctions imbalances and personal health needs. What are the four Rs? First of all, the first R stands for Remove and what that means is to remove and eliminate problem foods, aka back to the elimination diet. It’s also eliminating toxins, eliminating any low-grade infections such as SIBO or other types of pathogens or yeast or things like that and also reducing and removing oxidative stress. Diet, detox, antimicrobial herbs, antibiotics sometimes, educating oneself about the clean fifteen and the dirty dozen. Educating oneself about clean, non-toxic cosmetics and home cleaning products are all part of the remove portion of the four R approach.

DH IBS | Combating IBS
Combating IBS: Managing stress is one of the most important things you can do to support, optimize, and sustain your health.


Number two, the second R stands for Repair. Begin reintroducing a clean diet with essential nutrients your body needs. Drink bone broth and take L glutamine or Slippery Elm, for example, to repair and heal the mucous membrane of your gut lining. The third R stands for Restore which means repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria to restore the proper balance of gut flora and that might mean taking probiotic supplements and/or eating fermented probiotic food and even prebiotic food. The fourth R stands for Replace. Replace digestive enzymes, replace antioxidants, replace immune-boosting vitamins and promote sustainable and healthy digestion. We as functional medicine practitioners are trained in this four R protocol and enthusiastic about making sure your individual needs are addressed during this process.

Probiotics are live bacteria that promote a healthy balance of bacteria throughout the digestive tract. They can be naturally found in food such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi and kombucha. Prebiotics are a type of plant fiber and act as fertilizer or food for the probiotic bacteria that already live in your colon. In short, prebiotics is needed for probiotics to thrive within your digestive system. Prebiotics are found in food such as artichokes, garlic, onion, asparagus, beans and apples. These are some of the examples of high-fiber food. When we eat this high-fiber food, we do not digest them. The bacteria in our colon digest fiber for us. The bacteria that digest the fiber then give off what are called short-chain fatty acids and these short-chain fatty acids are the fuel that feeds the cells that line our colon. This process and this example I’ve explained is the perfect example of how we live in a symbiotic and mutually beneficial relationship with the good bacteria in our microbiome. Without them, we would not survive.

We must have them in our colon. You absolutely must optimize the probiotics that are living in your colon or you will not be healthy. Digestive enzymes assist in the breakdown of food and aid in nutrient absorption. According to a study published in 1999, taking digestive enzymes after a high-fat meal reduced many of the discomforts that people with IBS experienced such as gas, bloating and uncomfortable fullness. Another study that was done in 2011 studied IBS patients’ reaction to digestive enzymes compared to a placebo group, meaning a fake pill. Those taking the true digestive enzymes demonstrated a significant decrease in symptoms so they demonstrated an improvement in a decrease in symptoms including their gas, their bloating and their abdominal pain.

Other important nutrients and supplements suggested for those suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome may sometimes include supplements such as fiber such as Inulin, L glutamine and Slippery Elm, vitamin B complex, omega-3 fatty acids such as fish oil, magnesium, calcium, vitamin E, glutathione. Glutathione is not put out by your liver, that’s the number one thing that will help you detoxify any toxin in your body. Melatonin will also help improve your digestive tract, peppermint oil and ginger. Everyone’s needs are different, so it’s very important to get the proper nutritional testing and follow your functional medicine doctor’s recommendations for your individual supplement needs. The exposure to toxins we experience on a regular basis can build up in our systems, weaken our immune and digestive functions and truly deplete our body’s ability to heal. Different forms of toxic exposure include pesticides on our food, air pollution, water contamination and toxic chemicals in household products such as cleaners, cosmetics and exposure, for example, through someone’s employment in factories or this or that. Even if they do artwork with metals, you can be exposed to heavy metals.

Ways to practice prevention and help you detoxify include proper nutrition, hydration, proper amounts of water intake, particularly clean water. You do want to have your water filtered if you need it. You should have your water tested at your home. Air purification systems, exercise because it is going to cause you to sweat and also move things through your GI tract and through your urinary system better and so we’re going to eliminate the toxins that we take in. Sweating with hot baths or exercise or even infrared saunas. We’ve got an infrared sauna at Discovery Health Functional Medicine Center and the first infrared sauna for anyone is free because it’s a solo sauna where you lay comfortably on a massage table and you pull the sauna up over your chest. You sit listening to wonderful music all by yourself and it’s completely relaxing but you’re also sweating and detoxifying at a deep level. Another one would be toxin-free personal items, you want to learn about the different cosmetics that would not be toxic to you.

The last but certainly not least is stress relief. Managing stress is one of the most single-handedly important things you can do to support, optimize and sustain your health. Studies have supported that a high-stress level increases the rate of IBS complications. It aggravates symptoms, lengthens the time of an exacerbation episode and decreases the rate of repair of the digestive damage. As the gut and central nervous system are closely related, your gut is actually called your second brain and serotonin, people with depression who are put on selective SSRIs which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. The majority of your serotonin comes from your gut, so it really comes from your second brain, not your first brain. It is incredibly important to find stress management techniques that will work well for you. Some examples include deep breathing, exercise such as yoga or walking in the woods, massage, meditation, creative arts, spending time with loved ones and relaxation time, going outdoors. Things like aromatherapy or also a modality called neurofeedback which is biofeedback for your brain, which is another modality that we have at Discovery Health Functional Medicine Center. There are many more.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog on combating IBS. I hope you can tell that I am passionate about sharing this topic with people who are eager to transform their lives and finally achieve optimal health. This is everything that we’re about at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. If you have any further questions, you could go to my website, There is a way on my website to schedule a free 30-minute phone consult with myself or our health coach, a person of one of our team, where you can get to know us so we can get to know you and see if there’s a fit and talk about what programs would be best to help you optimize your health. Take care.


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