A few years ago, a patient came in with some unexplained symptoms. She’d been to the hospital twice, and even had a small surgery that didn’t help the problem. Bad as that was, she’d also gotten some bad news on a related genetic test. You can imagine she was pretty scared.
At its root, health really isn’t that complicated. Getting and staying health comes down to three simple things — assimilation, elimination and managing inflammation. In this short(ish) video, Dr. Izakson breaks it down and gives you the key to the natural-health kingdom.
It’s no secret I’m a plant lover. It’s why I went into medicine.
I love that plants reinforce our connection to nature, while helping us navigate the modern world. Nearly every patient I treat gets some kind of plant-based prescription, whether it’s a powdered herb, a tea or an herbal extract such as a tincture or a gemmo.
The plant medicines I use most in practice are flower essences. They’re safe and gentle, don’t interfere with any other prescriptions and reliably make big changes in my patients’ well being.
We all have times when we don’t eat exactly as we should. So supplementing with a multivitamin makes sense, right? Or does it?
As doctors and research scientists look into the value of multivitamins, the picture has become increasingly muddled. Many studies find multis don’t offer any discernable benefit. You may have heard that some brands pass into and out of your body without being digested at all — much less absorbed into the blood stream so nutrients can get to your cells.
Trying to lose weight? A recent raft of studies show that more sleep may be just what you need.
Here’s how it works.
First, well-rested people make better food choices. But when you’re sleep deprived, the parts of your brain associated with addiction do more of the decision making. That makes the doughnut look far more appealing than a yummy salmon salad — with predictable consequences for health and weight.
“Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University analyzed studies looking at the impact of sleep deprivation on weight and energy balance that were published between 1996 and 2011. They found in several studies that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night is linked with increases in the hunger-stimulating hormone ghrelin, decreases in insulin sensitivity (a risk factor for diabetes) and decreases in the hormone leptin (which is key for energy balance and food intake).
“Researchers found that if dieters got a full night’s rest, they more than doubled the amount of weight lost from fat reserves.”
So how much sleep is enough?
This awesome New York Times article, part of a handout I now give all my patients, describes a couple of research studies that came to the same conclusion: Almost everyone needs 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Just two weeks of getting 6 to 7 hours nightly leads to reaction and cognitive deficits equivalent to being legally drunk. Even worse, those folks are so used to the sleep deficit they don’t even realize how impaired they are. These are the folks who insist they’re fine with just 5 hours of sleep each night. They’re almost definitely not.
So make sure you get your zzzzs. If you’re having trouble, give us a call. We have tools to help.
Sedatives and sleeping pills are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs, despite having serious side effects and becoming addictive to many people. Now German researchers have found a sweet alternative in an aromatic form: The scent of jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) seems to activate the same chemical pathways in the brain as do drugs like valium. Benzodiazepenes, barbituates and anesthetics work by making receptors in the brain more responsive to GABA, a calming neurotransmitter. The researchers studied the effects of specific natural and synthetic jasmine fragrances and discovered they work exactly the same way as the drugs do, and are just as potent. (Via ScienceDaily.com.)
Happiness is good for the heart metaphorically, but new research shows it’s true physically as well. Researchers followed 1,700 people for 10 years, and considered their emotional states over that time. Participants rated their anxiety, joy and other emotions on a five-point scale. By the end of the study, researchers determined that each step up on the scale saw a corresponding 22-percent decrease in heart-disease risk. How does it work? Likely because reducing stress, improving sleep and moving on from tough experiences inflicts a lower toll on the physical body. The take-home message is that happiness is an important part of daily self care, just like moderate exercise and eating well. Here’s to happy, healthy hearts!
Finnish researchers have uncovered grandpa’s secret: Turns out that rye bread is nature’s great answer to constipation. Writing in the Journal of Nutrition, the researcher found rye is not only more effective than laxative medications, it also helps make the gut healthier. Rye is rich in a compound called arabinoxylan, a favorite food of healthy bacteria in the colon. The bacteria ferment the compound to create short-chain fatty acids, which make the colon more acid, less friendly to pathogens and more active in moving wastes out. Constipation affects an estimated 27 percent of people in Western countries. Turns out grandpa had it right after all.