Aug 5, 2016

Stress and Diabetes: Cause, Prevention, Natural Treatment

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If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, mainstream medicine treats you as if you have an incurable disease. It’s like they’re saying, “Now you’re a diabetic… that’s who you are… and that’s who you’ll always be.”

diabetes-lellitusThis approach is dead-wrong.

How does diabetes develop?

Adult diabetes is not something wrong with you. It’s not that you were born cursed to develop it. It develops because of lifestyle choices and environmental factors. And it CAN be reversed.

And here’s something you probably don’t know: Mainstream medicine’s attitude that diabetes isn’t curable is actually making your health worse. Because it leaves you feeling hopeless and causes you stress.

What causes diabetes?

Stress leads to inflammation. And inflammation leads to chronic diseases — like diabetes.

Not only does stress cause your glucose levels to rise, a recent study has uncovered a distinct biological pathway between stress and diabetes.1 And it all starts in the part of your brain that regulates inhibition, or attention control.

Researchers found that people who have poor attention control also have higher anxiety. And when your anxiety increases, your body produces pro-inflammatory cytokines. One of them is called interleukin-6 (IL-6).

Diabetes and stressstress-diabetes

IL-6 is a biomarker of acute and chronic stress. It’s also been associated with higher blood glucose levels and diabetes.

Reading through the study, I was encouraged that its authors suggested both mindfulness therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy to address patients’ stress. I thought to myself: “That’s a good start… maybe they’re finally getting it!”

But the very next line read: “That doesn’t mean that medicines that promote inhibition, such as stimulants, shouldn’t be considered…”

It’s Big Pharma to the rescue! Of course!

Stimulant drugs are what they prescribe to kids — and sometimes adults — with ADHD. Adderall… Ritalin… Vyvanse… Concerta…

Side Effects of Stimulant Drugs

Not only can they have serious side effects, they’re highly addictive. Some of the side effects include:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Erratic and/or violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

They’re also totally unnecessary. At my clinic, I tackle stress and anxiety head-on. But I do it in a safe and natural way.

How does therapy help relieve anxiety?

I DO agree that mindfulness therapy is a great option. It’s a form of meditation. The practice is so useful at squashing anxiety that even the U.S. Marines and Special Forces use it!

One study looked at 30 Marines getting ready to deploy to Iraq. The Marines were split into two groups. One group practiced mindful meditation. The other group did nothing. The group that meditated scored much better on tests that assessed their stress and anxiety levels.

meditation

Meditate and Breathe

You can do this at home. Just sit somewhere comfortable and quiet with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes every day. Keep your back straight, your chin tucked in, and focus on your breathing.

Bali’s natural remedies for anxiety

Nature is also full of anxiety-busting remedies. I learned about some great new ones during my travels to Bali.

butterfly-peaI wrote about them in my new book, Healing Herbs of Paradise. But I want to share a few with you right now.

  1. Butterfly pea. This beautiful plant has so many healing properties. Studies show that it reduces both anxiety and depression. One of those studies revealed that it’s “adaptogenic” at higher doses. That means it can help your body adapt to stress. You can order dried butterfly pea flowers online. I like to add them to my salad. You can also grind them into a powder and mix the powder into a smoothie.
    1. Holy basil. The locals call it “tulsi.” So do the healers in India. The Balinese swear it’s excellent for reducing anxiety and depression. And animal studies back this up.2A great way to get the calming effect of holy basil is to make “tulsi tea.” Here’s how I do it:tulsi-tea

      Put 3 heaping teaspoons of leaves in a quart of hot water. Fresh or dried leaves both work. You can get dried leaves at most health food stores or online.Let them decoct for about 5 minutes.Strain into a cup or glass. You can drink it warm, but I like it over ice. ylang-ylang-oil

    2. Ylang-ylang. Aromatherapy can help soothe anxiety. The people in Bali use ylang-ylang essential oil to calm nervousness, anxiety and stress. I’ve tried it myself, and I definitely felt more relaxed after breathing in the beautiful fragrance. 

      You can buy ylang-ylang essential oil online or at an Asian specialty store. Make sure it’s 100% pure, therapeutic grade oil.

      Try mixing a few drops into a teaspoon of honey and add it to your bath water. Then breathe in the soothing aroma as you soak in the warm water.

      To Your Good Health,

      Al Sears, MD

      Al Sears, MD, CNS


      1. Williams M. “Rice study details stress-diabetes link,” Rice University (news.rice.edu). June 6, 2016
      2. Cohen, Marc Maurice. “Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons,” J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2014 Oct-Dec; 5(4):251-259

Naturally Overcome Daytime Fatigue

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fatigue-daytimeIt’s 2 p.m. and you’re yawning.

Your eyes are getting heavy and you’re thinking, “Boy, I could use a nap right now.”

Trouble is, you already get eight hours of sleep every night. You wake each morning refreshed and ready to conquer the world.

Fatigue Causes

So why are you so tired in the middle of the afternoon?

Most people believe fatigue, naps and poor sleep are inevitable as we age. So do many doctors, which is why they’ll simply tell you to get more sleep at night. Or even worse, they’ll write you a prescription for a sleeping pill.

But they’re wrong. It’s more complicated than that, and a pill won’t always fix the problem.

It could be that your internal body clock is out of sync. Or should I say, your circadian clock.human-clock-circadian-rhythm

What is your circadian rhythm?

This internal “clock” controls your periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout the day.

Your circadian rhythm rises and dips at different times. For most adults, the strongest sleep drive occurs between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The sleepiness you experience during these circadian dips is less intense when you have had sufficient sleep. It’s more intense when you are sleep deprived.

The circadian rhythm also causes you to feel more alert at certain points of the day.

hypothalamus

What controls your body clock?

Your body clock is controlled by a group of nerve cells in your brain’s hypothalamus that respond to light and dark signals.

melatonin-sleep-trigger

How can light affect your sleep?

When light travels from the optic nerve of the eye to these nerve cells, it’s like the alarm on a clock. It signals it’s time to wake up. The cells then alert other parts of your brain that control hormones, body temperature and other functions that make you feel sleepy or awake.

The release of melatonin

For example, at daybreak the cells trigger a rise in body temperature and produces hormones like cortisol. In the evening, they respond to darkness by releasing melatonin. This hormone is produced when the eyes signal that it’s dark and time to sleep. That’s why melatonin levels rise in the evening and stay elevated throughout the night.

This explains why we have jet lag when traveling to other time zones. The shift in time and light cues the brain and forces the body to alter its normal pattern to adjust. As a result, travelers have more difficulty thinking and performing well.

But these symptoms can also occur in everyday life. When we keep long and irregular hours, our circadian rhythm is disrupted. And that can result in more serious problems than just daytime fatigue.

A recent study found that irregular sleep-wake cycles may be risk factors for Parkinson’s disease.1Another study links disruption of circadian rhythms to inflammatory bowel disease.2

To make sure your body clock is properly “set” and avoid daytime fatigue, here’s what I recommend:natural-sleep-cycle

  • Keep lights dim at night as bedtime approaches. Keep your tablets and smartphones out of the bedroom.
  • Get into bright light as soon as possible in the morning.
  • Allow plenty of time for quality sleep — at least seven to eight hours per night.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule. This is more important than the actual number of hours you sleep.

If you have difficulty falling asleep, I recommend a melatonin supplement.

Your body is already equipped with this natural sleep inducer. But as you get older, the amount of melatonin in your body slowly disappears. By the time you turn 65, your supply of melatonin is almost completely depleted. And as the level of melatonin drops, the quality of your sleep gets worse.3

If you don’t have the right amount of melatonin in your bloodstream, you’ll end up tossing and turning.

But don’t take melatonin in pill form. Your gut destroys most of it. Research shows you could be getting only 1% into your system this way.4

Take melatonin the most effective way. Orally, through a spray delivery. A few pumps before bed and your body has all it needs to sleep the whole night through.

Experiment with dose and timing for best results. When it comes to melatonin, often less is more.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS


1. E Lauretti, A Di Meco, S Merali, D Pratic. Circadian rhythm dysfunction: a novel environmental risk factor for Parkinson’s disease.Molecular Psychiatry, 2016; DOI:10.1038/MP.2016.47
2. Robin M. Voigt, Christopher B. Forsyth, Stefan J. Green, Ece Mutlu, Phillip Engen, Martha H. Vitaterna, Fred W. Turek, Ali Keshavarzian.Circadian Disorganization Alters Intestinal Microbiota. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (5): e97500 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097500
3. Zhdanova et al. “Endogenous melatonin levels and the fate of exogenous melatonin: age effects.” Journal of Gerontology. 1998. 53A:B293–B2
4. Fourtillan et al. “Bioavailability of melatonin in humans after day-time administration of D7 melatonin.” Biopharmaceutics & Drug Disposition. 2000. 21(1):15-22

 

Best Exercise To Prevent Cancer

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You may think if you live long enough, it’s inevitable that you’ll get cancer.

Most people feel like every time they turn around, they hear about another person who has the disease.

But that doesn’t have to be the case.

It doesn’t take “good genes” or a drug with dangerous side effects to prevent cancer.

It takes exercise. That’s as simple as it gets.

Study shows exercise prevents 13 kinds of cancer

A new report backs this up. The study, published last month in the JAMA Internal Medicine, found that exercising can eliminate your risk of developing 13 different kinds of cancer. Including lung, colon and breast cancer. Three of the top four killers.

types-cancer-men-women_mini_mini

Exercise also packs a wallop against leukemia, myeloma and cancers of the esophagus, liver, kidney, stomach, endometrium, rectum, bladder, and head and neck.

How exercise helps prevent cancer

It has to be the right kind of exercise. The “experts” still recommend a program of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio activity a week… and that just won’t cut it.

The Study That Mainstream Media Ignored

There was a second study about exercise and cancer that received a lot less media attention.

How high-intensity exercise help reduce tumors

This study focused on the connection between a high-intensity exercise program and cancer. In this case, shrinking tumors.

Published a few months ago, this report found high-intensity exercise reduced tumors in mice by50%.2

Researchers believe it’s because of the adrenaline surge that a high-intensity exercise produces.

The adrenaline pushes cancer-busting natural killer (NK) cells toward tumors.

NK cells are part of your innate immune system. They are a kind of white blood cell that seeks out and kills other infected cells (including tumor cells) while sparing healthy cells.

They also found that a chemical signal produced by muscles during exercise called Interleukin 6 (IL-6) helps guide NK cells toward the cancer cells.

PACE Your Way to Being Cancer Free

Our stone-age ancestors with their fight-or-flight adrenaline surges didn’t get cancer. And you don’t have to either.

To really get your adrenaline pumping, try my PACE program.

What is PACE?

PACE is a series of high-intensity, short-duration exercise routines. This kind of exercise duplicates the natural demands our ancient ancestors faced. A quick burst of speed to escape danger or capture dinner. It gave them fit, trim bodies.

PACE yourself to get started

pace-intense-interval-training

Here’s an example of an easy routine to get you started. You can do it anywhere you have room to run.

  1. Run as fast as you can. Go all out. Exert yourself. Feel your adrenaline pumping.
  2. Then slow down to an easy pace when you feel you can’t go a second more. You should be panting hard. Take 3 to 5 minutes to recover. Focus on your breathing and feel it slowing down. Keep track of how long it takes for your breathing to return to normal as a way of monitoring your progress.
  3. Now challenge yourself again. But this time, sprint a little faster than you did last time. Or go a little longer. If you’re panting but not so out of breath that you can’t talk, then you’re doing it right. Repeat for a maximum time limit of 12 minutes. Not a second more.

The benefits of PACE

The best part about PACE is that it works no matter what your current fitness level is. Start out slowly and gradually increase the challenge. Either increase the number of repetitions you do or how fast you do them.

Remember, to make it a true PACE workout, you must rest and recover between sets. Just like your ancestors did.

To Your Good Health,

Al Sears, MD

Al Sears, MD, CNS

1. healthguidance.org/entry/15796/1/Top-5-Killer-Cancers.html
2. Line Pedersen et al. Voluntary running suppresses tumor growth through Epinephrine- and IL-6-Dependent NK cell mobilization and redistribution. Cell Metab.2016 February. DOI:10.1016/j.cmet.2016.01.011