6 Surprising Chronic Pain Triggers

pain_killersBy Emily Main

There’s nothing worse than suffering from debilitating chronic pain—except, perhaps, not knowing why you’re in pain or how to cope.

Treating these mysterious aches has become the mission of Gary Kaplan, DO, a pioneer of integrative medicine and director of the Kaplan Clinic for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Virginia. He treats people with chronic pain every day. In Kaplan’s new book, Total Recovery: Breaking the Cycle of Chronic Pain and Depression, he addresses the root causes of chronic pain, and how most doctors are going about treating it in all the wrong ways.

“Treating chronic pain is never as straightforward as treating a bacterial infection,” he writes. “As a medical scientist, I was convinced that when patients in chronic pain had a history of emotional, physical, and infectious assaults, all of those assaults must somehow be working together.”

In his decades of treating chronic pain, he’s found some surprising causes of people’s misery, such as these six:

#1: Emotional trauma. Doctors are increasingly realizing that deep-seated emotional pain from a past trauma, be it abuse or post-traumatic stress, can manifest itself as chronic physical pain. Dr. Kaplan notes that research hasn’t yet uncovered what links the two, but in his practice, he writes, he’s found that patients who have chronic pain that doesn’t respond to traditional treatments have, upon further evaluation, often had some traumatic experience in their lives.

One prevailing theory, he says, is that emotional trauma, physical injury, or environmental toxins appear to stimulate microglia, molecules that live in the central nervous system that spew out a continuous supply of inflammatory chemicals whenever they’re stressed. Your body’s response to this constant inflammation manifests itself in two significant ways: chronic pain and psychological disorders like depression and anxiety.

#2: Painkillers. Surprising, but true: Overusing pain killers dulls your body’s response to pain, so you need more, and more potent, painkillers to alleviate chronic pain. But that just leads to increased sensitivity to pain in the long run. Dr. Kaplan says this problem is particularly bad with prescription opiod painkillers, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin. Using painkillers to deal with chronic pain is “shortsighted,” Dr. Kaplan writes.

#3: Poor-quality sleep. Our perception of pain increases when the quality of our sleep is poor, Dr. Kaplan writes. Deep sleep is a time when your muscles have an increased blood supply, which helps with tissue growth and repair. You can see an increase in generalized muscle pain, he adds, within just a week of not getting regular deep sleep. And sleeping pills don’t help, since they just put you to sleep without improving the quality of sleep, which means you might not reach those deep, pain-relieving stages you need to feel better.

#4: Your leaky gut. Seventy percent of your immune system is located in your gut, which is filled with nerves as well as tiny hairs in the walls known as villi that prevent your body from absorbing too many toxins. Taking too many painkillers, or even having food sensitivities like gluten sensitivity, can damage both the nerve endings and those villi, leading to a condition known as “leaky gut.” When your gut “leaks,” undigested food (with sometimes problematic proteins like gluten), bacteria, and other environmental chemicals that can cause those microglia to get stimulated and lead to chronic pain.

#5: Magnesium deficiency. Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body, Dr. Kaplan notes, and good health is practically impossible if you don’t have enough. And most of us don’t. In fact, 57 percent of Americans don’t get enough. But this vital mineral blocks your brain’s receptors of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that can cause neurons to be hypersensitive to pain. Dr. Kaplan says he prescribes intravenous magnesium to many of his chronic pain patients, but you can get your daily recommended amount easily if you load up on leafy greens, dried apricots, avocados, brown rice, almonds, cashews, and bananas.

#6: Lyme disease. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States, carried predominantly by the black-legged, or deer, tick. Roughly 32,000 cases are diagnosed every year, and that number will surely rise as climate change allows ticks to survive longer and travel into new regions.

Dr. Kaplan writes that the standard treatment for Lyme disease is a two- to four-week course of antibiotics—which can damage your gut—but as much as 20 percent of treated Lyme sufferers develop Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, which is characterized by achy joints and can linger six months or longer after treatment. Research into this syndrome is ongoing, he adds, but many scientists theorize that Lyme can provoke an autoimmune response that continues long after the antibiotics have killed the bacteria, leaving people suffering from debilitating pain even as tests don’t detect any lingering signs of the disease.




Back Surgery to Dependency?

pills1One year after spine surgery, almost a third of patients were still using narcotic painkillers, reported a recent medical study. The findings were reported in MedPage Today after analyzing data from 172 patients who underwent elective surgery for repair of the cervical spine. Of those who were not using the drugs before surgery, 18 percent were using them a year later. Said Richard Deyo, MD, a professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University who has done research on back pain and opioid use, “The worrisome thing is patients often are getting opioids because it is the easiest thing.”

Source: “Opioid Use Common After Spine Surgery,” by John Fauber, Medpagetoday.com, October 9, 2013.

Wellness Tip: Total Lifestyle Transformation… One (Tiny) Switch at a Time

saladOne tiny switch at a time can transform a lifestyle-in fact, it’s the best way to do so. “Unhealthy behaviors develop over the course of time, so replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time,” state experts with the American Psychological Society.  “Many people run into problems when they try to change too much too fast. To improve your success, focus on one goal or change at a time.”  A few micro-changes to recommend for overweight patients, for example: Make one healthy choice per meal. Switch the fries for salad. Choose water instead of soda. Add a veggie or fruit to each meal to boost fiber intake.

Source: “Making Lifestyle Changes that Last,” The American Psychological Association, www.apa.org.

Are You Eating This Ingredient Banned All Over The World?


Azodicarbonamide 101


  • Azodicarbonamide is a yellow orangish powder, more commonly used commercially in the creation of foamed plastics – like yoga mats, shoe soles, floor mats and window gaskets.
  • The FDA allows food companies to use azodicarbonamide as a flour bleaching agent and dough conditioner in any food product giving it a status of GRAS or “Generally Regarded As Safe”.
  • But, the FDA doesn’t even keep track of the companies who use azodicarbonamide as an ingredient. The lack of information leads the FDA to not update or include an toxicity information about this ingredient in its EAFUS or “Everything Added to Food in the United States” database.
  • When a truck carrying azodicarbonamide overturned on a Chicago highway in 2001, it prompted city officials to issue the highest hazardous materials alert and evacuate people within a half mile radius! Many of the people on the scene complained of burning eyes and skin irritation as a result. (Source: Pandora’s Lunchbox by Melanie Warner)
  • The U.K. has recognized azodicarbonamide as a potential cause of asthma if inhaled, and advises against its use in people who have sensitivity to food dye allergies and other common allergies in food, because it can exacerbate the symptoms.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) studied azodicarbonamide, and also linked it to asthma and other allergic reactions.
  • When azodicarbonamide partially degrades with the heat of processing, it forms trace amounts of semicarbazide, which shows carcinogenicity that can result in tumors over time.
  • The United States is one of the only countries in the world that still allows this ingredient in our food supply. It is banned as a food additive in the U.K., Europe, and Australia, and if you get caught using it in Singapore you can get up to 15 years in prison and be fined $450,000. I’d like to see the head of the FDA put in jail for allowing it, wouldn’t you?


Popular Products That Contain Azodicarbonamide


Sara Lee (many of their breads, bagels, etc.)

Sara Lee
McDonalds (almost all their breads, baked goods, bagels, etc.) McDonalds
Subway Breads (many items on the menu) Subway
Wendy’s (many items on the menu) Wendy's
Arby’s (almost all of their different breads) Arby's
Starbucks Starbucks

These are just a few examples, but there are many more companies that use azodicarbonamide in their products (Pizza Hut, Publix Grocery StoreJason’s Deli, etc)


Why The Heck Are Companies Using This Ingredient?


Dough conditioners allow companies to pass off chemically processed cheap food as “freshly baked” because it recreates perfect, evenly packed air pockets within the dough, improving the texture after coming out of large industrial machines from processing. If a company uses azodicarbonamide as a flour bleaching agent it speeds up the processing, making bread larger and whiter than normal. Faster processing with cheaper ingredients = more money in Big Food pockets.


The Next Time You See Your Friends or Family, Ask Them:

Remember to buy organic bakery goods that prohibit the use of highly questionable chemical ingredients like azodicarbonamide and other dough conditioners. Please spread the word and share this video with everyone you know… no one should be eating yoga mats, their shoe sole or a floor mat. Yuck.

Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?


chair sittingDR. LEVINE’S MAGIC UNDERWEAR resembled bicycle shorts, black and skintight, but with sensors mounted on the thighs and wires running to a fanny pack. The look was part Euro tourist, part cyborg. Twice a second, 24 hours a day, the magic underwear’s accelerometers and inclinometers would assess every movement I made, however small, and whether I was lying, walking, standing or sitting.

James Levine, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., has an intense interest in how much people move — and how much they don’t. He is a leader of an emerging field that some call inactivity studies, which has challenged long-held beliefs about human health and obesity. To help me understand some of the key findings, he suggested that I become a mock research trial participant. First my body fat was measured inside a white, futuristic capsule called a Bod Pod. Next, one of Dr. Levine’s colleagues, Shelly McCrady-Spitzer, placed a hooded mask over my head to measure the content of my exhalations and gauge my body’s calorie-burning rate. After that, I donned the magic underwear, then went down the hall to the laboratory’s research kitchen for a breakfast whose calories were measured precisely.

A weakness of traditional activity and obesity research is that it relies on self-reporting — people’s flawed recollections of how much they ate or exercised. But the participants in a series of studies that Dr. Levine did beginning in 2005 were assessed and wired up the way I was; they consumed all of their food in the lab for two months and were told not to exercise. With nary a snack nor workout left to chance, Dr. Levine was able to plumb the mysteries of a closed metabolic universe in which every calorie, consumed as food or expended for energy, could be accounted for.

His initial question — which he first posed in a 1999 study — was simple: Why do some people who consume the same amount of food as others gain more weight? After assessing how much food each of his subjects needed to maintain their current weight, Dr. Levine then began to ply them with an extra 1,000 calories per day. Sure enough, some of his subjects packed on the pounds, while others gained little to no weight.

“We measured everything, thinking we were going to find some magic metabolic factor that would explain why some people didn’t gain weight,” explains Dr. Michael Jensen, a Mayo Clinic researcher who collaborated with Dr. Levine on the studies. But that wasn’t the case. Then six years later, with the help of the motion-tracking underwear, they discovered the answer. “The people who didn’t gain weight were unconsciously moving around more,” Dr. Jensen says. They hadn’t started exercising more — that was prohibited by the study. Their bodies simply responded naturally by making more little movements than they had before the overfeeding began, like taking the stairs, trotting down the hall to the office water cooler, bustling about with chores at home or simply fidgeting. On average, the subjects who gained weight sat two hours more per day than those who hadn’t.

People don’t need the experts to tell them that sitting around too much could give them a sore back or a spare tire. The conventional wisdom, though, is that if you watch your diet and get aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you’ll effectively offset your sedentary time. A growing body of inactivity research, however, suggests that this advice makes scarcely more sense than the notion that you could counter a pack-a-day smoking habit by jogging. “Exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting,” says Marc Hamilton, an inactivity researcher at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

The posture of sitting itself probably isn’t worse than any other type of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching “Wheel of Fortune.” But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. This is your body on chairs: Electrical activity in the muscles drops — “the muscles go as silent as those of a dead horse,” Hamilton says — leading to a cascade of harmful metabolic effects. Your calorie-burning rate immediately plunges to about one per minute, a third of what it would be if you got up and walked. Insulin effectiveness drops within a single day, and the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes rises. So does the risk of being obese. The enzymes responsible for breaking down lipids and triglycerides — for “vacuuming up fat out of the bloodstream,” as Hamilton puts it — plunge, which in turn causes the levels of good (HDL) cholesterol to fall.

Hamilton’s most recent work has examined how rapidly inactivity can cause harm. In studies of rats who were forced to be inactive, for example, he discovered that the leg muscles responsible for standing almost immediately lost more than 75 percent of their ability to remove harmful lipo-proteins from the blood. To show that the ill effects of sitting could have a rapid onset in humans too, Hamilton recruited 14 young, fit and thin volunteers and recorded a 40 percent reduction in insulin’s ability to uptake glucose in the subjects — after 24 hours of being sedentary.

Over a lifetime, the unhealthful effects of sitting add up. Alpa Patel, an epidemiologist at the American Cancer Society, tracked the health of 123,000 Americans between 1992 and 2006. The men in the study who spent six hours or more per day of their leisure time sitting had an overall death rate that was about 20 percent higher than the men who sat for three hours or less. The death rate for women who sat for more than six hours a day was about 40 percent higher. Patel estimates that on average, people who sit too much shave a few years off of their lives.

Another study, published last year in the journal Circulation, looked at nearly 9,000 Australians and found that for each additional hour of television a person sat and watched per day, the risk of dying rose by 11 percent. The study author David Dunstan wanted to analyze whether the people who sat watching television had other unhealthful habits that caused them to die sooner. But after crunching the numbers, he reported that “age, sex, education, smoking, hypertension, waist circumference, body-mass index, glucose tolerance status and leisure-time exercise did not significantly modify the associations between television viewing and all-cause . . . mortality.”

Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”

The good news is that inactivity’s peril can be countered. Working late one night at 3 a.m., Dr. Levine coined a name for the concept of reaping major benefits through thousands of minor movements each day: NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In the world of NEAT, even the littlest stuff matters. McCrady-Spitzer showed me a chart that tracked my calorie-burning rate with zigzagging lines, like those of a seismograph. “What’s that?” I asked, pointing to one of the spikes, which indicated that the rate had shot up. “That’s when you bent over to tie your shoes,” she said. “It took your body more energy than just sitting still.”

In a motion-tracking study, Dr. Levine found that obese subjects averaged only 1,500 daily movements and nearly 600 minutes sitting. In my trial with the magic underwear, I came out looking somewhat better — 2,234 individual movements and 367 minutes sitting. But I was still nowhere near the farm workers Dr. Levine has studied in Jamaica, who average 5,000 daily movements and only 300 minutes sitting.

Dr. Levine knows that we can’t all be farmers, so instead he is exploring ways for people to redesign their environments so that they encourage more movement. We visited a chairless first-grade classroom where the students spent part of each day crawling along mats labeled with vocabulary words and jumping between platforms while reciting math problems. We stopped by a human-resources staffing agency where many of the employees worked on the move at treadmill desks — a creation of Dr. Levine’s, later sold by a company called Steelcase.

Dr. Levine was in a philosophical mood as we left the temp agency. For all of the hard science against sitting, he admits that his campaign against what he calls “the chair-based lifestyle” is not limited to simply a quest for better physical health. His is a war against inertia itself, which he believes sickens more than just our body. “Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day,” he said. “The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it’s time for the soul of the nation to rise.”

James Vlahos (jamesvlahos@gmail.com) writes often for Popular Science and Popular Mechanics.

Dieting Forces Brain To Cannibalize

Submitted by Lois Rain

Diet eats brainModern dieting misinformation abounds: “Eat few calories! No fat! Tiny portions! Less food!” All of which might be all right if people were actually getting loads of nutrition, which is why this writer refers to current dieting fads altogether as “The Starvation Diet.”

In the midst of all the dieting confusion, comes an under-the-radar claim from scientists that dieting literally forces the brain to eat itself!

Just as other parts of the body such as muscles begin to cannibalize, brain cells eat themselves as a last resort to keep the body from starving to death. This inevitably creates a more intense hunger and sets up a bad cycle for weight gain.

Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York were really on to something when they discovered the process of autophagy (literally, self eating self) in test mice placed on diets. However, their findings are geared towards finding the new best weight loss treatments, i.e. drugs to trick the brain out of self-cannibalism. Even though lack of nutrition was the basis for autophagy, more nutrition simply couldn’t be the solution to keep the brain from pulling a zombie attack on itself.

Their findings, reported in the Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism, do present evidence that supports the claim that diets (without nutrition as a basis) do not work; thus, the yo-yo effect. Extreme dieting can cause other damage as well. The Biggest Loser strength coach, Jillian Michaels, learned the hard way after years of trying rigid diet fads. She explains in her book, Master Your Metabolism, how she destroyed her metabolism in the early days and sadly, lost the use of her thyroid.

Previously, it was believed that the brain was able to resist the starvation-cannibal response. Dr Rajat Singh, who led the study, had found a similar starvation-induced response in the liver.

The new evidence shows that lipids within the so-called agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons are mobilized following autophagy, generating free fatty acids. Those fatty acids in turn boost levels of AgRP, itself a hunger signal. -Prevent Disease

Singh mentioned, “A pathway that is really important for every cell to turn over components in a kind of housekeeping process is also required to regulate appetite…Treatments aimed at the pathway might make you less hungry and burn more fat, a good way to maintain energy balance in a world where calories are cheap and plentiful.”

The researchers wrote that, “The present study demonstrates the unique nature of hypothalamic neurons in their ability to upregulate autophagy in response to starvation that is consistent with the roles of these neurons in feeding and energy homeostasis.” They showed that when autophagy is blocked in AgRP neurons, AgRP levels fail to rise in response to starvation.

Of course, whenever research leads to such discoveries, their conclusions almost always recommend new drugs that shut down neuro-pathways allowing obesity-laden folks to keep living the same nutritionless lifestyle, while eating less, and burning more.

Yeah, that sounds much healthier.

~Health Freedoms




No Deaths from Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids or Herbs

no vitamin deathsThere was not even one death caused by a dietary supplement in 2008, according to the most recent information collected by the U.S. National Poison Data System. The new 174-page annual report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology, shows zero deaths from multiple vitamins; zero deaths from any of the B vitamins; zero deaths from vitamins A, C, D, or E; and zero deaths from any other vitamin. Additionally, there were no deaths whatsoever from any amino acid or herbal product. This means no deaths at all from blue cohosh, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, kava kava, St. John’s wort, valerian, yohimbe, Asian medicines, ayurvedic medicines, or any other botanical. There were zero deaths from creatine, blue-green algae, glucosamine, chondroitin, melatonin, or any homeopathic remedies.

Furthermore, there were zero deaths in 2008 from any dietary mineral supplement. This means there were no fatalities from calcium, magnesium, chromium, zinc, colloidal silver, selenium, iron, or multimineral supplements. Two children died as a result of medical use of the antacid sodium bicarbonate. The other “Electrolyte and Mineral” category death was due to a man accidentally drinking sodium hydroxide, a highly toxic degreaser and drain-opener.

No man, woman or child died from nutritional supplements. Period.

61 poison centers provide coast-to-coast data for the U.S. National Poison Data System, which is then reviewed by 29 medical and clinical toxicologists. NPDS, the authors write, is “one of the few real-time national surveillance systems in existence, providing a model public health surveillance system for all types of exposures, public health event identification, resilience response and situational awareness tracking.”

Over half of the U.S. population takes daily nutritional supplements. Even if each of those people took only one single tablet daily, that makes 154,000,000 individual doses per day, for a total of over 56 billion doses annually. Since many persons take more than just one vitamin or mineral tablet, actual consumption is considerably higher, and the safety of nutritional supplements is all the more remarkable.

If nutritional supplements are allegedly so “dangerous,” as the FDA and news media so often claim, then where are the bodies?

Those who wonder if the media are biased against vitamins may consider this: how many television stations, newspapers, magazines, and medical journals have reported that no one dies from nutritional supplements?


The Truth About Lowering Cholesterol

By Luella May on 09/07/2011

Lowering cholesterol levels has been a major focus of the medical profession for the last three decades. A routine doctor’s visit entails checking cholesterol levels, and much too often the patient leaves the doctor’s office with a prescription for some type of cholesterol lowering drug.

We are taught to fear cholesterol and told that high levels can lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease. However, the truth of the matter is that our bodies need cholesterol, and it is highly unlikely that cholesterol will cause heart disease or otherwise harm our health.

While it is true that high cholesterol has been associated with heart attacks and other problems, no cause and effect relationship has ever been established. There has been no proof that high cholesterol itself causes heart attacks or other problems, nor has there been any proof that merely lowering cholesterol with drugs prevents such problems. The medical myth of cholesterol being evil sells lots and lots of drugs, but those drugs do not promote better health. In many instances such drugs actually lead to health problems.

The body needs cholesterol. Cholesterol is a vital component of every cell. Without cholesterol the body cannot make vital hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and cortisol. Cholesterol is a precursor to the hormone known as Vitamin D, which is vital for good health. In fact, too low a cholesterol level can increase a person’s risk of death.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy, fatty substance produced by the liver and found in the bloodstream and every cell in the body. Cholesterol performs vital bodily functions such as maintaining healthy cell walls and the production of bile acids. It is instrumental in the formation of memories and is necessary for neurological function.

According to the simplistic and self-serving explanations of conventional medicine and the pharmaceutical companies that make cholesterol-lowering drugs, there are two types of cholesterol:

High-density lipoprotein(HDL) is considered to be “good” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is said to keep arteries clear and remove arterial plaque.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is considered “bad” cholesterol. This type of cholesterol is said to build up in arteries causing plaque to form, thus narrowing the arteries and making them less flexible. This is the condition called atherosclerosis. A blood clot forming in one of these narrowed arteries could result in a heart attack or stroke.

Additionally, triglycerides and lipoprotein are considered to be factors, which also determine the cholesterol count. Elevated triglycerides have been linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Lipoprotein is said to be made by “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and a protein called apoprotein. Elevated lipoprotein levels pose a high risk of heart disease. Interestingly, although lipoprotein has been well established as a high risk factor in heart disease, very few physicians check for high levels of it in their patients.

Through the years, the American Heart Association’s recommendation has been that total cholesterol levels be less than 200 mg/dl. It is interesting to note that cholesterol levels cannot determine heart disease risk unless they are above 330. However in 2004, the American Heart Association updated their guidelines, lowering the recommended LDL level from 130 to less than 100 for healthy patients, and to less than 70 for patients they consider at high risk for heart disease. There is no way to reach these ridiculously low levels other than by taking cholesterol-lowering drugs.

In 2006, a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that there is insufficient evidence to support these numbers and further found that studies attempting to provide evidence that achieving specific LDL numbers improved health were flawed.

Beyond simplistic explanations and pharmaceutical company hype, Ron Rosedale, M.D., one of the leading anti-aging doctors in the United States, takes the cholesterol story beyond the simplistic explanation of conventional doctors and pharmaceutical company ads. He states that there is only one type of cholesterol and it is neither good nor bad, an explanation that fits with the common sense notion that Nature does not make mistakes.

Additionally, all LDL is not bad. LDL consists of different sized particles, ranging from large to small. The only LDL hat can be perceived as being a threat would be the small particle LDL, as it has the potential to squeeze through the lining of arteries, possibly oxidizing and thereby causing inflammation. Conversely, some HDL particles are also better than others, so keeping track of LDL and HDL levels really does not achieve much.

The president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Sally Fallon, goes so far as to say that high cholesterol is an invented disease. She states that if your cholesterol is high, it is because of increased inflammation in the body. This inflammation is not caused by cholesterol.

The purpose of the extra cholesterol manufactured by the liver during the inflammation process is to repair the inflammation. Therefore, if excess cholesterol is being distributed throughout the body due to chronic inflammation, it makes more sense to treat the chronic inflammation, instead of lowering cholesterol, especially through artificial means.

Lowering cholesterol can actually be dangerous. Despite what the medical profession says, any cholesterol under 150 is too low. An optimum level is 200. Lowering cholesterol can adversely affect the body as follows:

Cholesterol affects the metabolism of serotonin. A study conducted by Dutch researchers found that men with chronically low levels of cholesterol were at risk for depressive symptoms. Low cholesterol has also been linked to aggressive and violent behavior, two other results of low serotonin levels.

Studies performed at the Mayo Clinic have found that cancer patients with too low a cholesterol level are at a higher risk of dying. Too low a cholesterol level may impede the body’s ability to make healthy cells, thus making it difficult or even impossible for a person to recover from this disease.

Other reports indicate that cholesterol levels below 180 or 160 mg/dl are associated with a high risk of death due to hemorrhagic stroke, respiratory infections and infectious disease. It is interesting that cases of serious lung disease are on the rise along with the use of cholesterol lowering drugs.

Dangers of cholesterol medications

Cholesterol-lowering medications, besides bringing cholesterol levels dangerously low, also come with their own added dangers. Statin drugs work by inhibiting a liver enzyme that is necessary for the production of cholesterol. In the process, they deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) that is necessary for heart health, energy and muscle function.

Depletion of CoQ10 leads to fatigue, sore and weak muscles, and eventually to heart failure or cancer. The sore and weak muscles that characterize statin use are a very serious sign and can be life threatening. This condition is called rhabdomyolysis, and it can lead to muscle atrophy including atrophy of the heart muscle. Weak and sore muscles can also be a sign that body tissues are breaking down, a condition that can lead to kidney damage.

Statin drugs have been associated with a weakened immune system, liver disease, and increased risk of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

If you are intent on lowering cholesterol, do it naturally by focusing on a healthy diet and lifestyle, coupled with the following suggestions:

  • Animal-based omega 3 fats should be taken, an excellent source of which is fish oil.
  • Eliminate grains and sugar from your daily diet. Read the label on everything you buy and make sure it does not include dangerous sugars such as isolated fructose.
  • Eat as many raw fruits and vegetables as possible.
  • Eat healthy raw fats, including olive oil, coconut oil, organic raw full-fat dairy products (butter, cream, yogurt and cheese), avocados, raw nuts, seeds, eggs, and organic grass-fed meats.
  • Eliminate smoking.
  • Exercise daily. Exercise does not have to be strenuous. Do something you enjoy, such as walking or bike riding.
  • Work on resolving emotional issues and reducing stress. Implement methods such as meditation, relaxation, exercises, and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

Be aware of the cholesterol myth. Our bodies need cholesterol, and too low a cholesterol level can actually endanger health. Eating the proper foods, together with following a healthy lifestyle, is the safest method of lowering cholesterol.

Jill Bolte Taylor’s stroke of insight

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story.

Chiropractic: A Safer Alternative to Deadly Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Drugs

HRT drugs cause breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, serious blood clots, dementia, and even brain shrinkage. MenopauseHormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) drugs (a combination of estrogen and progesterone) are still prescribed frequently for relief from sleep-disrupting night sweats, hot flashes and mood swings. Despite clearly documented risks, about 15 percent of postmenopausal women in the United States still take hormone therapy. Others suffer needlessly, when safe, gentle, effective chiropractic care may provide relief.

The risks of taking the combination of estrogen and progesterone—breast cancer, stroke, serious blood clots, dementia, even brain shrinkage—have been well established.

A study published in the February 5, 2009 New England Journal of Medicine, found that taking hormones for a full five years doubles your annual risk of getting breast cancer.

A study based on data from the landmark Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial in May, 2009 concluded that use of combined hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is associated with a higher risk of dying for women diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer.

Now a new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows an association between hormone use and ovarian cancer—and it kicks in almost immediately after women begin taking hormones.

In the study, which culled the health records of nearly 1 million Danish women, researchers found a 38 percent greater risk of ovarian cancer among women who were currently taking hormone therapy. The risks didn’t appear to be affected by the types of hormones women were taking, the dose, the duration, or whether they were taking estrogen alone or a combination of estrogen and progesterone.

Unfortunately, bioidentical hormones—which have been touted by some as safer than traditional hormone therapy—are associated with the same increased ovarian cancer risk.

Women in the Danish study all took estradiol, a bioidentical hormone that has the same chemical structure as estrogen made by the body. And there was no difference in cancer risk between women who took non-identical synthetic progestin and those who took bioidentical progesterone.

Chiropractic care has an important and unique role in women’s health, including during menopause. Its benefits warrant exploration and consideration by all women.

Chiropractic care serves to promote function and repair communication and coordination of the nerve system through subluxation detection and correction. These factors can influence the success of the complex hormonal system, the stress response system and the immune system, to name a few areas important to women’s health.

How exactly does chiropractic care impact menopause symptoms? Here’s how it works.

Estrogen and progesterone are stimulated by the anterior pituitary gland, which is controlled by the hypothalamus portion of your brain. The hypothalamus is often referred to as the master control of your body, because it regulates and controls so many functions.

The hypothalamus receives its information from the internal organs through the nerve system that is housed within your spine.

The hypothalamus, in addition to regulating estrogen and progesterone, also receives information from other sections of your brain as well, such as your thalamus and limbic system. These systems control critical, delicate functions of your body such as emotions, sexual desire, thirst and hunger, body temperature, and sleep patterns.

Chiropractic specifically deals with your nerve system and spine. The spine, when under stress, irritates and decreases the function of the nerves that send the signals to control the levels of estrogen and progesterone. Simple stresses such as sitting for long periods, preservatives in foods, or a stressful day at work, can easily and often cause the spine to misalign causing subluxation.

Chiropractors reduce or eliminate these misalignments (subluxations) with safe, gentle chiropractic adjustments of the spinal vertebrae.

Since the nervous system controls all the functions of your body, it is imperative that you get your spine checked by a chiropractor regularly.

Simply getting under chiropractic care, exercising regularly, eating as many “hormone free” foods as possible (read the labels) and getting proper rest will help regulate and balance your hormonal system and help manage and diminish the effects of menopause.

Doesn’t that sound like a better idea than taking a drug that causes breast cancer, ovarian cancer, stroke, serious blood clots, dementia, and even brain shrinkage?