Monthly Archives: October 2014

Put your Metabolism into Spring by Eating to Increase Glucagon

Glucagon is a hormone you probably haven’t heard a lot about, but it plays a major role in breaking down fat and allowing your body to have the right energy levels. Glucagon counterbalances insulin, and is also produced in the pancreas, along with insulin. While insulin has the job of helping nutrients get into cells, the job of glucagon is to release the stored nutrients to be used for energy as needed.

Glucagon promotes the release of stored glucose from the liver and the release of free fatty acids from your fat store. Therefore, this hormone actually breaks down fat. Since glucagon counterbalances insulin, they aren’t present at the same time. The pancreas either is releasing insulin in response to sugar or releasing glucagon in response to protein foods. However, neither is released when nonstarchy vegetables and fats are consumed. The ratio between insulin and glucagon determines whether food is used as building materials and fuel or stored as fat. A higher proportion of glucagon means that more food is used as building material or fuel.

A high carbohydrate diet will cause people to overproduce insulin and not enough glucagon. You can heal your metabolism and encourage glucagon to burn fat by balancing your insulin. When you eat natural fats and adequate amounts of protein, eliminate refined carbohydrates and exercise, you naturally increase your levels of glucagon, which encourages your body to use nutrients as fuel and building blocks for muscle and other important tissues in your body and to not store them as fat.

The following factors increase glucagon:

  • Diet low in sugar and low blood sugar
  • Exercise
  • Increased blood amino acid levels (eating protein)
  • Protein foods

The following factors decrease glucagon:

  • Free fatty acids in the blood (from too much sugar)
  • Frequent meals
  • High blood sugar
  • Insulin
  • Refined carbohydrates in diet
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Are you Sensitive to Gluten?

It seems like “gluten-free” is the marketing buzz term of the moment. It’s in the news and labeled on products all over the grocery store. But, what is gluten and why is it affecting so many people? We’ll address the issue of gluten in this issue, help you determine the symptoms of gluten intolerance and suggest what you do to determine if you are sensitive to gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in some grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. Though it was once thought to be very rare (1 in 2200 people), Celiac Disease, a genetic intolerance to gluten, has become more common over the past few decades (1 in 100 people). In certain Western European populations, Celiac Disease is found 3 to 6 times more commonly (up to 1 in 17 people)!  Blood tests can determine if you have genetic Celiac Disease.

The issue with gluten intolerance is that it creates irritation and inflammation in your small intestine which damages the lining. This prevents the small intestine from absorbing adequate nutrients to keep us healthy. In addition, it creates a break in the barrier between our intestines and the rest of our body. Food proteins that our body is not used to seeing get into our bloodstream and cause our body’s defense system to think that we are being invaded by a dangerous enemy. These food proteins may look very similar to our organs such as thyroid, pancreas and nerve cells. We make antibodies against those proteins because we think we need to protect ourselves. However, these antibodies can start attacking our healthy cells and create a number of problems.

Symptoms of gluten intolerance are varied and depend on what organs are being attacked by the antibodies. Many people experience diarrhea, gas, bloating and fatigue. However, severe untreated Celiac Disease can cause symptoms like failure to thrive in children, other autoimmune illnesses, osteoporosis, infertility and neurological diseases. Treatment is recognizing the disease and removing all gluten from the diet.

You don’t have to have the gene for celiac disease to have problems tolerating gluten. An estimated 10-15% of the population has a form of gluten intolerance called nonceliac gluten intolerance. This is not a true food allergy so the symptoms are more subtle. These side effects from gluten include:  sinus congestion and stuffiness, fatigue, “brain fog” or difficulty concentrating, headaches, stomachaches, rashes, joint aches and autoimmune diseases. Also, there is an increase in nonceliac gluten intolerance in those with autoimmune thyroid disease due to cross reactivity of the anti-thyroid antibodies with those produced by antibodies to the various food proteins seen in gluten intolerance.  In addition, there is an increase in Celiac disease and nonceliac gluten sensitivity in those with Type 1 diabetes AND their families (mom, dad, siblings and children).  If you’re being treated for thyroid disease or Type 1 diabetes and are finding, even with the right medications, that the disease is difficult to control, you may have a superimposed gluten intolerance.

The best way to determine your sensitivity is to completely stop all gluten for 30 to 60 days and pay close attention to how you feel. Many people realize that they no longer have headaches, gas, bloating or the other symptoms previously listed. I have had a number of patients lose 5-10 ponds as well! Then, you can reintroduce a food that contains gluten and see how you feel. Keep in mind you need to consume gluten only 10 to 15 days to maintain symptoms of gluten intolerance, so if you don’t see a difference in the way you feel, make sure that you’re extremely careful about reading labels. Gluten is contained in many things, particularly prepared foods and sauces, so it’s easy to accidentally take in gluten without knowing it.

The best way to avoid gluten is to focus on whole foods such as meats, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. Additionally, look for foods labeled “gluten-free.” There really is a much wider selection nowadays, but be careful to read the labels for additives. Acceptable grains include: amaranth, brown rice, gluten-free oats, quinoa and sorghum. Grains and foods to avoid include: bagels, breads, breakfast cereals, cookies, foods containing refined white or wheat flour and sugar, pastas, pastries and processed grains.

How Exercise Can Affect Your Weight

How Exercise Can Affect Your Weight

How many of you are not a fan of exercise or have trouble getting started? Or do you start an exercise regimen only to stop after a few weeks? I know it can be difficult to maintain, but it is important to make yourself exercise because it dramatically enhances your hormone balance and positively affects your energy, endurance and stamina. It’s difficult to imagine the benefits, but once you get started and stick with a program, you’ll start to experience them and then you’ll be a believer, too.

Exercise plays a key role in reversing insulin resistance, increasing activity of glucagon, a fat-burning hormone, increasing testosterone and DHEA and increasing natural HGH. It is also connected to improving cortisol balance. When people are not exercising, it is easy for these important hormones to be out of balance and create a scenario to gain weight.

In addition to hormone balance, exercise increases the amount of endorphins, natural morphine-like biochemicals that help you handle stress and improve your mood. It also raises the brain’s level of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you happy.

If I still haven’t convinced you to get moving, here are even more benefits:

  • Keeps your blood sugar stable
  • Controls your weight
  • Controls your appetite
  • Keeps your bones strong
  • Prevents cancer
  • Improves joint function
  • Reduces the risk of stroke
  • Prevents urinary incontinence

I recommend a mix of interval training, strength training and yoga for the best hormone balancing results. Check out chapter 17 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hormone Weight Loss for more information on these exercises and for step-by-step instructions for functional movement exercises.

So start exercising today. For your health and happiness!

Supplements to Aid Weight Loss

Vitamins and minerals ensure that thousands of reactions take place in the body to maintain a healthy metabolism, balanced hormones, and good health. A deficiency with just one vitamin can create a chain reaction that slows your metabolism and brings your health down along with it. Nutrients in our food can be depleted by any number of factors, so it’s important to make up for this depletion with supplements such as a quality multivitamin.

To support hormonal balance, weight loss, and good health, there are some key ingredients to look for when choosing a multivitamin.

  • Vitamin A, which supports thyroid function, enhances your metabolism and allows for weight loss.
  • B vitamins, which have many weight-loss qualities including helping metabolism, keeping adrenal glands healthy, converting carbohydrates into energy and breaking down fats and protein.
  • Vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important during times of stress and vital for virtually all aspects of wellness, including healthy metabolism. Low levels of Vitamin C correlate with excess weight and might promote cravings for sweet or salty snacks, or beverages that are sugary or contain stimulants, such as caffeine.

Multivitamins don’t contain adequate Vitamin D, and it is estimated that only four percent of Americans consume enough Vitamin D, so taking Vitamin D in supplement form is important. Vitamin D plays a major role in overall health, but in weight loss terms, it helps the pancreas release insulin and endocrinologists have discovered that weight-loss success is more likely for those taking Vitamin D.

Other vitamins and minerals for weight loss include:

  • Chromium, an essential nutrient involved in the regulation of carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Chromium has been recognized for its beneficial effect on reducing blood sugar levels, burning calories, decreasing sugar cravings, reducing fat and decreasing cortisol.
  • Selenium, acts as an antioxidant and is required for proper thyroid function.
  • Zinc, another trace mineral, is good for your metabolism, helps insulin do its job and necessary for healthy thyroid function.
  • Calcium, is required for breaking up fats and energy production. Too much though can reduce thyroid function and make it more difficult to lose weight.
  • L-Carnitine, is helpful for weight loss by converting stored fat into energy.

Our sex hormones at play

Our sex hormones – estrogen, progesterone and testosterone – work together to build us up, giving us our strength and resilience, however, as we age, these key hormones start to decline. Other factors besides our natural aging cycle can also cause a decrease in levels. Those factors pertain to our lifestyles, such as, eating the wrong foods, living in a state of chronic stress, being overweight, getting too little exercise and being exposed to too many environmental toxins.

Sex hormones play many important roles in our bodies. Estrogen performs more than 400 functions in the female body, such as maintaining memory, mood and muscles, maintaining bone and protecting against osteoporosis and protecting against heart disease. Progesterone has a calming effect and enhances mood, balances blood sugar and thyroid function and rebuilds bone. Testosterone builds muscle, increases energy and libido, enhances sense of well-being and strengthens bone.

This situation of declining sex hormones can be addressed with bioidentical hormones, but in order to sustain long-term health and well-being, certain lifestyle requirements must be followed. Changes in the way we live can be difficult at first, but once it becomes routine, it becomes the new way of living and can be done naturally, without much thought.

Proper nutrition and getting essential nutrients is key. Then comes stress management. We can’t live in a constant state of stress. It is important to stop and evaluate what the major stressors are in life and address ways to control and respond to this stress, not react to it. Taking part in physical activity also helps build up our hormones by eliminating excess weight, which is one of the biggest robbers of testosterone.

Adding certain vitamins into your diet promotes hormone balance as well as improves overall health.

Adopting a way of life that fosters optimum functioning of our hormones will lead to a healthier, happier and longer life.

Vitamins to Help Estrogen Fluctuation

How Low Testosterone can affect the Heart

There are a lot of factors to take into consideration when keeping your heart healthy – diet, exercise, family history. New research suggests you might also want to keep an eye on your testosterone levels.

Over the last decade, a large body of literature has emerged suggesting that a link exists between androgen deficiency and cardiovascular disease. It has been concluded that testosterone levels are consistently lower in men with cardiovascular disease.

A number of other studies have suggested that reduced testosterone levels are also associated with increased total cholesterol and increased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL). Testosterone replacement therapy for androgen deficiency reduced total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Lower testosterone levels in aging are also associated with elevated triglycerides and increased risk for insulin resistance and diabetes.

So what are some ways you can elevate your testosterone levels?

  • Lose the belly fat. Excess weight around the midsection leads to more estrogen, less testosterone.
  • Lift weights. Training your muscles by lifting weights has shown to increase testosterone and your natural production of growth hormone.
  • Make nuts your snack of choice. Monounsaturated fats help raise testosterone. Good sources are nuts, organic peanut butter, canola oil and olive oil.
  • Don’t overtrain. Yes, lifting weights is good for raising testosterone, but you also must give your body adequate time to recuperate. Get eight hours of sleep and never train the same muscles two days in a row.
  • Don’t binge drink. Alcohol can cause a reduction in your testosterone production and the higher levels that occur with binge drinking make it worse.

Also, keep a good eye on your testosterone levels by having your physician test them periodically. If your levels are too low and you have symptoms of low testosterone, you may want to speak with your physician about prescribing bioidentical testosterone to fit your needs.

Head-to-Toe Benefits of Argan Oil

Our age-proofing expert Louisa Graves shares organic, paraben-free alternatives to help us look and feel our best. For myriad ‘head to toe’ challenges Louisa recommends raw, Certified Organic, 100% pure, Argan Oil. A product from the Moroccan Argan tree, Argan Oil is considered one of the rarest oils in the world due to the small and very specific growing area.

Argan Oil can be used on skin, hair and nails. It is very rich in essential fatty acids, and contains almost twice as much vitamin E as olive oil. It is rich in saponins, which restore the skin’s water lipid layer so skin becomes instantly hydrated without clogging pores. You’ve likely heard about argan oil for revitalizing hair, but I bet you didn’t know that it can be used to strengthen brittle nails, dry scalp, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and more.

Some of the many benefits and uses of Organic Argan Oil include:

FOR WRINKLE REDUCTION & REJUVENATION: Three nights a week, after cleansing apply two drops of Argan Oil onto face, around eyes, and on neck. You can apply a night time moisturizer overtop. This regimen helps hydrate and soften skin, reduces appearance of wrinkles and alleviates chapped, cracked, or rough winter skin.

QUICK REGIMEN: Before a special event, massage Argan oil onto clean face, on neck, body, hands, hair and scalp. Leave on for 20-30 minutes and then shower, and shampoo/condition hair as normal. Your skin and hair will look and feel amazing.

FOR ACNE or OILY SKIN: Every other night, apply Argan Oil onto face. It moisturizes while keeping acne and blemish-prone skin in check.

ARGAN OIL SHAMPOO BENEFITS BEAUTIFUL, SHINY HAIR: Argan Oil is an excellent capillary mask for beautiful hair. It nourishes and revitalizes hair, adds lustrous shine, natural softness and silkiness. Apply Argan oil onto scalp and hair. Massage and wait at least 30 minutes before shampooing or leave on overnight.

ARGAN OIL FOR DANDRUFF, DRY SCALP: For those with flakes, dryness, eczema or psoriasis on the scalp, at night massage Argan Oil onto scalp and throughout hair. Leave on overnight, then shampoo in the morning. Argan Oil will not stain your pillow case.

FOR ECZEMA or PSORIASIS ON THE SKIN: Massage Argon Oil sparingly onto red, flaky patches for all day relief.

FOR NAILS: To help strengthen soft and brittle nails combine equal parts Argan Oil and fresh lemon juice and dip nails into this preparation for 10 minutes.

A few drops of Argan Oil are sufficient for applying on the skin. . It’s cold-pressed, paraben and fragrance-free, grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and tested free of any chemical residue. Refrigeration after opening is recommended.

Top Beauty and Age-proofing Expert, Louisa Graves, is one of the most highly sought-after experts in the media. She reveals scientifically proven, non-invasive “look and feel good” alternatives on TV, radio, magazines, and more. Louisa is the author of doctor-recommend book, “Hollywood Beauty
Secrets: REMEDIES to the RESCUE”, revealing age-proofing tips that don’t cost a fortune.

All About Hormones

Hormones are natural chemicals that deliver messages to your body’s organs and tissues through the bloodstream. They are made in endocrine glands, which include pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas. Additionally, women also produce hormones in their ovaries, and men produce them in their testes.

The way our hormones work is a very integral part of every person’s life. Our hormones are responsible for energy levels, hunger, mood swings, libido, concentration, sleep and many other things that can have a direct affect on our everyday lives.

Hormones are also extremely powerful. It only takes a small amount to result in major changes in a tissue or organ, or even your entire body. Your diet, stress levels and exposure to various toxins can have an adverse affect on your hormones, and subsequently, the way your body operates.

Once it is determined how your specific stress level, diet, toxin exposure, etc. is affecting your hormones and health, Dr. Stanton can begin creating a holistic plan to help balance your hormones and help you maintain a healthier life

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