Why am I still in pain?!

Why am I still in Pain???

Are you still in pain even after taking medications and have gone the surgery route? Why does this happen to so many people?
Even though our understanding of pain and how the brain processes pain has improved drastically, certain treatments are still based on old, and outdated information or models. For example, the Cartesian pain model, and the belief that our brain is hardwired.

Usually therapists have an understanding of “pain fibers”. A person sprains his or her ankle, and the “pain fibers” send “pain messages” to the brain, then pain is perceived by the brain and the person will do something to help the ankle. But how does this explain the reason for pain when there is no injury? How does this explain phantom limb pain? Or explain how Kerri Strug in the 1996 Olympics was able to pull off a faultless vault performance? Her ankle injury was so severe her coach had to carry her to the platform. Truth is, it doesn’t explain, hence why the medical profession needs to update their information about pain.

 

The Old School Train of Thought: The Cartesian Model

The Cartesian Model could be the reason for the misunderstanding about pain and where it starts. This model comes from Renè Descartes. (1596-1650) Even though this model is extremely outdated, its theory of pain is the backbone of the way doctors approach pain issues today. This model basically says if you were to put your foot either in or near fire, that a message is sent to the brain via pathway or wire. When the message hit the brain it would result in a ringing of a bell producing pain. Not only is this idea extremely simple it’s incorrect. Therefore, if the teaching is overly simple and incorrect, the treatment will be as well.

(Little known fact: Descartes believed that nerves were hollow tubes and that spirits flowed up and down them).

When looking at the Cartesian model you’ll see that to treat a person in pain, several options show up.

1. Remove foot from the fire.

First, the person can take his foot out of the fire, but what about the persistent pain that exists afterward? This also doesn’t account for the instance of pain triggered by emotion. For example, fear of being burned while standing by the fire can cause pain or evoke the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is our flight/fight/freeze mechanism.

2. Dousing the fire.

Second, you can douse the the fire with a bucket of water. Looking at the modern approach, “dousing the fire” would be pain medicine or injections. However, Medicare in the U.S. has had a 629% increase in expenditures for lower back pain over the last five years (Deyo, Mirza et al.,2009), yet pain rates are increasing, not decreasing. So logically, you can say “dousing the fire” doesn’t work.

3. Cutting the wire.

Third, and more severe approach to the Cartesian model of getting rid of pain would be to cut the wire. This would severe the message even getting to the brain, so if the brain can’t receive the message, pain will not exist. This modern approach would be surgery. If the Cartesian model was correct than surgery would be 100% successful. However, “20% of lumber discectomy patients have the same if not worse pain after surgery. (Ostelo, Costa et al., 2004); Lumbar fusions, in general, only have a 50% success rate in decreasing pain (Deyo, Nachemson et al.,2004; Deyo Gray et al., 2005).

More than 360 years after Renè Descartes death, this model continues to have influence on the way doctors and therapists think of pain.

Incorrect assumptions.

As a result of the outdated information, when you go to a therapist or doctor you might be introduced to some inaccurate assumptions. For example:

There is a direct link between the amount of tissue damage and the level of pain that you feel.

  • All pain is caused by an injury and if there is a increase of pain it must mean more tissue damage.
  • If you are dealing with chronic pain, under the Cartesian model, this means that the tissue isn’t healing and the damage is still going on.
  • Pain is an input driven system.
  • The nervous system is simply built for conduction (a wire).
  • However pain is just way more complex.

Pain fundamentals.

As mentioned above, its been a belief that our brain plays a role when we experience pain. The idea was that there was a specific area in the brain, like a “pain center.” However, science today has proven that there is not a specific spot in the brain that deals with pain. In fact, their is many areas of the brain that are involved when we are in pain. So when looking for answers on how to treat your pain, understand that there are more than a few ways to fix it.

Pain is actually an action signal. The brain makes a decision based on its perception of threat. For example: someone hurts their ankle, and is crossing the street. They see a bus approaching them very fast. The person now runs across the street with no pain in their ankle. As soon as the person calms down their ankle pain comes back. Why did the pain go away? The brain perceived that the bus was a greater threat to your survival, so no pain was produced to protect the ankle, allowing the person to get out of harms way.

Pain is part of the survival system. This means that if your brain views something as a threat, it will create pain.

Pain is also individual. This means that two people can be hurt in the same way, and have two different pain experiences.

Pain is a multi-system output event. This means again, since survival is of upmost importance to the brain, pain will influence body-wide changes in order to help us handle the threat that has presented itself.

What all these fundamentals of pain boil down to is the most current view of pain. Science is now calling it the neuromatrix. The neuromatrix highlights the fact that its not one thing that causes pain, you need to take a persons background, emotional state, physical state, etc into consideration.

neuromatrix

If you are someone who is still in pain after medication and surgery, I encourage you to look at your life, and see where there may be something your brain is viewing as threatening. This can come in ways of eating inflammatory foods or not enough food, poor sleep, lack of movement, and a stressful job.

Movie Review: “What The Health!?”

Heavy Thoughts Fitness Talk Show

Movie Review:  “What The Health!?”

In this episode of Heavy Thoughts, Peter and Jenn review the newly popular Netflix Documentary, “What the Health.  

Often we are asked by others what our thoughts are on certain movies and documentaries, and so we decided to try something new on the fitness talk show, Heavy Thoughts.  

The Quick Run Down…

We give this movie a 4 out of 10.  Honestly, it ended up being a big vegan commercial.  Many of this same arguments you may have heard for veganism in the past are presented in the movie along with more and more evidence of abuse within the foods industry.  Let’s break it down a little further.

First off, a lot of the information in this movie is worth hearing in relation to the current state of our food industry.  The way many companies within the food industry operate is just truly appalling.  Livestock is mistreated far beyond what most people realize.   Chemicals are added to our foods without our knowledge and the companies themselves turn a blind eye to the fact they don’t even really know the long term effects of their consumption.  And so, the story of how animals are abused and people are fed poisons in the name of saving the bottom line still stands.  This documentary thoroughly depicts the evils of the food industry and we think everyone needs to see it.  

On the other hand, the documentary uses every resource it has to fight for the vegan cause.

The Vegan Diet: Science or Religion?

Veganism is more like a religion than a scientifically based theory.  There isn’t a lot of sound science to prove the idea that people should be completely avoiding animal products, but people deeply believe it to be true anyway.  It’s a belief system with a lot of great stories, and yet not a whole lot of concrete evidence.    For example, one of the arguments made by a doctor in the film is that people shouldn’t be consuming cow’s milk because the milk is designed to take a baby calf and turn it into a 1200 lb. cow.  He goes on to discuss the hormone content being unnatural for humans, but never gets specific.  

I call these types of arguments, “connect the dots science.”   There isn’t any scientific proof that people shouldn’t drink milk, but by stating multiple facts about cow’s milk, it’s function in raising calves, historical timelines involving when people began to maintain livestock, what their teeth look like, and the shapes of their spots, people connect the factual dots, so to speak, to tell a story that corresponds with their beliefs.  

The one thing I can say in defense of all vegans is they truly care about animal rights.  Whenever I encounter a new member with health issues who is also vegan, I always start the conversation with one question. 

“Do you avoid animal products because you can’t stomach eating living things or do you believe it to be the healthiest way to eat?”

If the answer I get relates the little rabbit you once befriended as a child appearing as the main course for your 7th birthday dinner, I can see how that might be traumatizing.  But, if the answer has to do with veganism or vegetarianism being healthy, then we can have a conversation.  

Just a quick disclaimer… I don’t hate vegans or vegetarians.  I don’t choose to dislike people because of their beliefs.  So if you refuse to eat meat and animal products don’t take this as an attack on your person. The only argument I care about is whether or not eating in a such a way is optimally healthy or not.  If people are suffering from metabolic disorders and their answer to the problem is to go vegan, I try to provide information as to why I’d be concerned.  Regardless of what I say, just know the decision is always yours to do what you want with your health.  

Here are some great references to check out:

Website:  raypeat.com

Website: dannyroddy.com

 Book:  “How to Heal Your Metabolism” by Kate Deering

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!   

 

How to get out of PAIN!

If you’re in pain and you’ve tried everything to fix it, you need to watch this video to get a better understanding of what pain REALLY is!   

We help people get rid of nagging pain every day.  It’s one of our specialties.  No, we’re not physical therapists or doctors.  In fact, pain rehabilitation and performance training are actually the same exact thing!  That probably sounds odd to you, but it’s the truth.  The same exact style of training that gets a person out of years of pain is also what takes an elite athlete to their peak performance.  

The First step to getting out of pain:  UNDERSTAND WHAT PAIN IS.

It all comes down to understanding the nervous system and how it uses pain to protect you.  Here’s the best part…  It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in pain, how bad the pain has gotten, or how many times you’ve tried and failed to relieve it.  You can still be rid of pain.  You just have to fully grasp its function in the body.

Types of pain we help people remedy:

  • Back
  • Sciatica
  • Neck & Shoulder 
  • Joint
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines and Head Aches
  • Old Injuries and Surgeries

The Next Step:  Let us help.

Watch Peter’s video above to take the first step in getting out of pain.  If you need more help reach out by calling us at 702-220-8222 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation neuro-evaluation.

Heavy Thoughts: The Ray Peat Diet

In this episode of Heavy Thoughts, Jenn and Peter discuss who Dr. Ray Peat is and his research on nutrition and metabolism.  

Who is Dr. Ray Peat?

Dr. Ray Peat is a biologist who has spent his life studying nutrition and its effect on human physiology.  He’s becoming more commonly a topic of discussion due to his alternative views on nutrition, stress, light, and metabolism. 

We here at FitLife Fusion have been following Ray’s guidance for years. With his work, we’ve helped hundreds of people make breakthroughs unlike any we’ve been able to accomplish prior to finding Ray’s work.  

The one thing that sets Ray Peat apart from the rest is his view on sugar.  Ray argues that sugar in the form of fruits, fruit juices and even table sugar, is necessary for cellular function.   Whereas complex carbohydrates aren’t as useful due to their effects on blood sugar and stress hormones.  

Ray also has a lot to say about fats.  Basically, unsaturated fats are problematic and saturated fats are healthy and have an important role in the body.  

He ties in some pretty hefty conversation around politics, institutions, food industry giants, cancer, autoimmune disease, and much more into the articles on his website, to which you can find a link at the end of this blog post.

What is the Ray Peat Diet?

Jenn and Peter discuss some of the basics of Dr. Peat’s work in terms of how we and others apply it when constructing a person’s diet.  There isn’t actually a “Ray Peat Diet” per say, but there are more and more people developing their diet plans around his work.  Diving into this topic isn’t easy to simplify because the information is so vast and there are so many pieces to it, but we try to simplify things and give you the general idea. 

You can find dozens of articles and even keep up with Ray’s current work by signing up for his newsletter by visiting RayPeat.com

3 Drills for 3 Common Pain Problems

Here’s a little article I wrote recently for people who suffer from neck pain, shoulder pain, and/or back pain.   Download it below and let me know how you do!

Click Here —> 3 Drills for Common Pain (article)

 

Keep moving,

Peter

What Exactly IS Self Control?

Today, I did the unthinkable… I ate a blueberry muffin.  

I gave into weakness.  I knew that muffin was no good, but I just couldn’t handle the urge to buy and consume it.  All my progress is lost.  I’ve failed.  Why do I even try, sometimes?

What a sec!  Is eating a muffin really so frickin’ terrible?  I’m an adult.  I can do what I want!  If eating one muffin leads to my demise, well I’ve lived my life the way I chose to live it and I’ll die happily knowing that.  I’m in control, and if I want a fricken muffin, I’ll eat one, damn it!  

I am in control… right? 

create self control

Are you in control?

Let’s rewind and allow me to set the scene.

It’s a windy spring day in Vegas and to tell you the truth I’d been stressed with the many things on my plate.  A few days prior I had a great meeting with a business coach and marketing consultant which lead to some really positive outcomes, but as you know, positive outcomes in a strategy meeting usually leads down a road to a whole lot of work that needs to be done.  For me that meant a whole lot of writing.  It’s both exciting and nerve wracking because I love creating new content and making videos.  The thought of helping more people by providing them with new blogs, videos and coaching programs is what I live on.  But I know it takes time to create and I always feel crunched for time.  

I’m wondering if maybe you could relate to the stress of wanting to get a lot done, and yet there never seems to be enough time to get it all done.  Can you relate?  Well, I was having one of those days, and so I decided to head to a nearby coffee shop to begin typing.

Desert Wind Coffee Shop

I typically enjoy camping out and getting work done in a neutral setting like a coffee shop, so I headed for my new favorite spot called Desert Wind Coffee Roasters.  It’s a cool looking café with a Breaking Bad Theme to it inside.  I walked in and ordered my usual café au lait.  Then I spotted it.  To the right of the register, a blueberry muffin staring me in the face.  

Immediately I felt the craving for something sweet to have with my coffee.  I knew I shouldn’t have one because it would interfere with my training goals to win the world hand ball championships 5 months from now.  Muffins aren’t going to help me drop any weight or make me more athletic.
Now as you may know, I’m not the kind of guy who likes to feel out of control in any situation.  My desire to be in control kicked in and I wanted to eat the muffin not simply because I felt a craving.  Now I wanted to eat it because I felt like it.  And so the controversy amongst the voices in my head ignited…

Voice 1:  “Man!  I really want one.”

Voice 2:  “I shouldn’t.”

Voice 1:  “I need something sweet to go with my coffee.”

Voice 2:  “Stop it.  Don’t give in to the craving.”

Voice 1:  “I deserve it.  It won’t make that bid a of a difference.  And I worked out earlier today, so…”

So I bought it.

I sat down and quickly unwrapped the muffin.  The sweet smell hit me in the face and the slight oily feeling of the muffin in my hands was a sure sign that this muffin is going to be moist.  This could be the king of all blueberry muffins.  I tore a chunk off with a massive blueberry in it and popped it in my mouth.  F@$kin’ delicious!  It was exactly what a blueberry muffin should taste like.  Moist, sweet, and the blueberries weren’t sour or bitter.  Needless to say, it fed the craving.  

Five minutes after finishing the ‘King Muffin’ I felt like shit.  I felt my blood sugar dropping.  My eyes became heavy.   My breathing shallow.  I even began feeling a bit of guilt, depression, and regret.  And so began the internal pep talk in my mind…

Voice 1: “Don’t worry about it.  It’s not big deal.”

Voice 2:  “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”

Voice 1:  “Don’t turn this into something bigger than it is.  We’ve got work to do so just focus.”

Voice 2:  “I have a goal, damnit!  Be the example!  LEAD!  Quit being weak!”

Was I being weak?  

Was I being weak or was this a show of strength?  Was I really in control or did I succumb to an inner weakness and as a result, fail myself?  Along with all of this confusion, I felt paralyzed.  All the motivation and energy I  had walking into the coffee shop was gone.  I just couldn’t collect my thoughts in order to start on my work.

That’s when it hit me.  The answer lies within my goals.  What are my current goals?  My goal is to increase my level of athleticism as much as possible in the next five months and win the world championship of handball in September.  That’s the goal, and what a goal requires to be accomplished is focus.

So back to the original question at hand.  Was I displaying weakness or strength in my decision to eat the blueberry muffin?  Weakness.  The answer is weakness.  In fact I took the path of least resistance.  I chose to eat the muffin which made me feel good and in control for about 5 minutes, but sabotaged me temporarily from my longer term goal.  I say all the time, and I mean all the time, that we are built for survival and not for performance, and we must argue for change because we are pre-set to gravitate toward the path of least resistance. The  path of least resistance is not change, does not require focus, and also, doesn’t not keep us on a progressive path to greater success.  

It was not clear what the driving force was behind my decision to sabotage myself.  And yes, it was “only a fuckin’ muffin,” but in the grand scheme of things the muffin stands as a symbol of self sabotage which compounds itself with every decision to take the path of least resistance steering me further and further away from my current athletic goal. 

Now that I’ve identified this pattern I can interrupt it when I’m craving something that off-sets my journey.  And I’m not just talking about ignoring cravings that may be alerting me to some sort of nutritional deficiency.  I’m talking about maintaining a laser focus on my goals in order to assess the steps I take on a daily basis which lead to my outcomes.

I think of the people I work with and I reflect on their behavior in our coaching sessions.  It brings to mind when they don’t want to carry on lifting because it burns, when they tell me they just don’ have time to journal their food, or when they tell me they can’t find the time to work out often enough, or perform their daily mobility drills…  I know it provides them with a sense of control by feeling able to set their own limits.  Setting limitations on themselves is a way of feeling like they’re putting their foot down and taking control of the situation, but it’s a false sense of control.  It’s momentary comfort, not control.  

If you really want to take control…

human takes control

I have the POWER!

If you really want to take control of your life you must ask yourself, “What is my goal?  Why is it important to me?”  and remind yourself every time you find yourself in a questionable situation.   Ask yourself if the decision you’re about to make supports your goal or if it sabotages it.  If it supports, do it.  If it sabotages, don’t do it.  That’s true control over the one thing you can control which are your own actions which provide you the results you deserve to get.

“But I have to have something sweet after a meal!”

“But I need to have a cigarette first thing in the morning.”

“But I don’t have time to cook for myself.” 

“…to journal my food.”

“…to exercise 3 times per week.”

“…to eat that often.”

STOP FEEDING YOURSELF BULLSHIT, LIMITING BELIEFS.  They’re bullshit and you know it.  You can do anything if you decided to prioritize it over the temporary comforts that take you absolutely fuckin’ nowhere.

Set your standards high.  Set goals, and base even the smallest of daily decisions off of them.  That’s self-control.  Control over one’s situation is what people believe they lack and that’s one of the most common reasons why people feel helpless to make positive change.  You want to get out of pain, lose weight, make money, have a worth while relationship?  Then do so, decision by decision until you’re there.  

Healthy Foods to Eat and Some Supplements

The first question I get when it comes to nutrition is “What should I eat?” 

Flank Steak, Potatoes, Roasted Vegetables.

If you saw my latest post, “Let’s Take A Fitness Journey,” you know I have a big goal to win the World Handball Championships in 2017 here in Las Vegas.  While on my quest, I’m documenting and sharing my process with all of you.  That includes my training schedule, training programs, and diet.  The food journaling will be coming soon as I’m in my first week, but until then I thought it would be a good idea to list some of my go-to foods and meals just to give you a starting point.

Let’s just get right into the list and then I’ll briefly discuss the thought process behind the combination of foods in meals, macronutrient ratios, and micronutrient concepts.

An off the top of my head list of foods I usually depend on for my everyday eats:

Proteins Fats Sugars (mo’ Sugars)
Lean Beef Coconut Oil Watermelon Orange Juice
Eggs Grassfed Butter Applesauce Cherries
Shrimp Dairy Cantaloupe Cane Sugar Soda
Lamb Whatever I get from meats Honey Dew Melon Table Sugar (usually just in coffee)
Collagen (Gelatin)   Apples  Small White Potatoes
Milk/Icecream   Oranges  Various Cooked Veggies
Cottage Cheese, Part Cheese, other cheeses   Grapes  

This is a short list.  I do ad variety in the form of other red meats, shellfish, and tropical fruits/fruit juices when available.  I also drink a lot of coffee.  Coffee gets a bad rep, but if it’s consumed with ample amounts of milk and sugar then the “bad effects” of coffee are generally nonexistent for most people.   

In terms of foods I try to avoid, if I have any bread it comes in the form of sourdough.  I strictly avoid PUFA (polyunsaturated fats like nuts and seed) and refrain from eating super fibrous things like raw veggies and legumes.  

I do eat veggies.  They’re just usually cooked well with the exception of carrots which are the only veggies I eat raw.  Raw carrots are like metabolic magic.  Here’s a great little video by Danny Roddy on how to make a carrot salad:  http://www.dannyroddy.com/weblog/raypeatdietcarrotsalad

When I’m this active I’m usually around 3000 calories a day or more, but we’ll discover where I really am once I post my food journal next week.

I also try to eat as often as possible.  I generally eat about 4 meals per day and eat fruit or sip on orange juice and milky coffee the times in between.  
My meals tend to be a ratio of approximately 2-3 times more sugar than protein and as little fat as possible.  Again, we’ll explore this even more when I get the journaling done.  It’s been a while since I’ve taken heart rate and body temperature before and after meals, and considering metabolism can fluctuate with stress levels, it’ll be necessary for me to get back in touch with my macro ratios.    

 

Supplements

 

When I workout:

 

Creatine –  This is a great supplement for immediate energy and building muscle mass.  This supplement has truly lasted the test of time and has proved it’s value.  It went through some tough times when Mark McGuire tried playing off his illegal steroid usage as “just creatine.”  Everyone then related it to other steroids.  There are rumors of blood in the urine as a result of supplementing creatine, but a person would have to take massive amounts to experience something like this or they’d already have to be dealing with other physiological issues unrelated to creatine usage.  Either way, it’s always a good idea to check in with your physician, and monitor how you feel if you decide to take ANY supplement.  I just take the recommended 5 grams per day during my workouts.  I don’t necessarily cycle it or 

Supplements for building muscle

Peter’s Workout Stack

BCAAs – Another old school supplement which increases protein synthesis.  Coaches have been using this stuff for years with their athletes to help them regenerate muscle after training.  The protocol that’s always worked for me is about 10grams per 40 lbs of body weight.  So I take about 40-50g/workout.

Beta-Alanine – This supplement increases contractually ability making the strength gains a bit quicker along with increasing muscular endurance.  This kicks and pre-workout supplement’s ass!  I take 3 grams 3x/day.  If you decide to start taking this one, just know some people are more sensitive to it than others so you may just need to start off with smaller amounts and build your way up to 10g/day.  You know if you’ve taken to much if if makes your skin itchy.

 

Daily Supplements:

Vitamin K2 – My diet just isn’t very high in Vitamin K and therefor I supplement it to ensure the mobilization of all the calcium I consume daily.  It also helps with male pattern balding.  

Aspirin – I take a daily dose of pure aspirin powder.  The benefits are countless.  Dr. Ray Peat discusses the many benefits of aspirin in detail on his web blog RayPeat.com.  

Collagen Powder – I try to add protein into my day by adding a tablespoon or two of collagen to my coffees. Collagen is high in mains acids that counter the inflammatory effect of eating too much muscle meat.  One such amino is glycine.  It aids in the healing of gut tissues and has a de-stressing effect on the body.

Let’s get this started!

Again, this is just what I do which means if you wanted to eat this way you can use this just as a starting point, but the real magic happens when you start testing which foods and macronutrient ratios work for you.  Taking heart rate and body temperature will let you know what works for you along with observing symptoms.  There are other foods and supplements I could be taking, but I’m just currently not at the time.

Here’s one of my videos on nutrition for more info on this stuff: http://fitlifefusion.com/new-youtube-series/

For more info or if you have any questions don’t hesitate to email me at info@fitlifefusion.com, reach out on social media, or call 702-220-8222.

Hypertension, High Blood Pressure, Edema… Salt may be the Solution

hypertension and salt

Does salt cause high blood pressure?

I wanted to share with you a helpful tool I use when working with my clients… SALT.

I, like so many other people was convinced salt was a bad thing, and limiting your intake of it was a wise and health-conscience decision. We are told that a diet with a “high” salt intake could lead to issues such as high blood pressure, hypertension, edema, and heart disease. However, my personal experience with salt has been a positive one. In the past when I’ve cut salt out or decreased intake, it led to more health issues.  Finally, my confusion lead to a whole lot of researching and experimenting.  The following is my experience with salt.

Working with my clients and through research on how to help issues such as high blood pressure and edema, I discovered increasing salt intake was the answer to fixing them. The more I studied about the human body’s functions the more dumbfounding contradictions I found in the medical literature. For many years they have told us to stay away from salt, however, in an emergency situation, like dehydration, poisoning, or major blood loss,  you would be given an intravenous drip of saline… SALT!!

Some doctors have been known to use salt to reduce inflammation, improve sleep, aid muscle recovery and function, increase insulin sensitivity, improve thyroid function, and stabilize blood pressure. So why is there so much conflicting information our there?!

When and How Did Salt Get Its Bad Rep?

In the 1950s drug companies marketed newly discovered (thiazide) diuretics to the general public.  This new drug was being sold as a solution to deal with swelling, edema and hypertension.  Pregnant women found themselves as a big market for the sale of diuretics.  The one noticeable side effect of taking the drug was the loss of sodium in a person’s urine.  This raised a few flags, but instead of questioning the safety of the drug, the diuretic company claimed this excessive sodium loss must be a result of too much salt consumption in the diet.

It is the belief of several doctors, including Dr. Ray Peat, that the diuretics industry convinced a whole generation of doctors that pregnant women should limit salt in their diet, take a diuretic for preventive measures, and restrict calories to prevent “excessive” weight gain.  The advertising campaigns created also created a strong belief that salt was the culprit in hypertension.

Millions of women and their babies were harmed by these claims.  The prescribed diuretics intended to treat high blood pressure, pulmonary edema, heart failure, “idiopathic edema,” orthostatic edema, obesity, and other forms of water retention, including pregnancy.  The loss of all this sodium in their systems caused various disfunction in their bodies.  And since they caused sodium to be excreted in the urine, their sale was accompanied by advising patients to reduce their salt intake to make the diuretic “more effective,”  compounding the problem.  Modern diuretics use new chemical mixtures, but still have a damaging and negative side effects on the kidneys.

The Study…and 50 deaths… or maybe more.

What about the actual studies regarding salt and the effect on the body? David McCarron, M.D., (professor of medicine and head of the Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Clinical Pharmacology at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland) looked at the government’s recommendations and the figures they were based on.   He found that people who limited their sodium intake had the highest blood pressure.  In contrast, people who consumed more sodium had lower blood pressure or became  “healthier”.  [McCarron found this to be inaccurate and in his research he claim a calcium deficiency to actually be the cause of  hypertension. Sadly, even though Dr. McCarron wrote 150 articles on the subject, the CA university where he taught, asked him to leave. Sodium was just an innocent bystander, but we’ll come back to this in a moment.]

Dr. Michael Alderman, a blood pressure researcher at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and editor of the American Journal of Hypertension, said medical literature on salt and health effects were inconsistent.  Allow me to explain…

The study was published in the May 4, 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/899663.  The objective of the study was to see whether the amount of urinary sodium excretion in a 24 hour period could predict blood pressure and health outcomes.  The initial study only involved participants without high blood pressure.  The results were considered at best suggestive and not conclusive.  It included 3,681 middle-aged Europeans with high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease who were followed for approximately 8 years.

The researchers analyzed the participants’ sodium consumption at the start and end of the study, and  measured the amount of sodium that was lost over a 24-hour period.  All the sodium a person consumes is lost in urine within a day, so this method is the most precise way to determine sodium consumption. However, that may have been inconsistent as well.

Dr. Peter Briss, a medical director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, “its subjects who seemed to consume the smallest amount of sodium also provided less urine than those consuming more. This acted as an indication that they might not have collected all of their urine in an 24-hour period.”  Briss thought the urine samples of those with lower sodium levels weren’t properly collected.

A follow up was implemented on all 3,681 participants over a period of around 8 years.  Researchers found that the less salt people consumed, the more likely they were to die of heart disease — 50 people in the lowest third of salt consumption died during the study.  24 in the medium group, and 10 in the highest salt consumption group. Those eating the most salt had, on average, a slight increase in systolic blood pressure — a 1.71-millimeter increase in pressure for each 2.5-gram increase in sodium per day — they were no more likely to develop hypertension.

“If the goal is to prevent hypertension” with lower sodium consumption, said the lead author, Dr. Jan A. Staessen, a professor of medicine at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, “this study shows it does not work.”

What’s the cause for high blood pressure then?

Dr. Ray Peat teaches  how low-salt diets have been shown to increase inflammation and activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAA) system, stimulating greater activity of the sympathetic nervous system. Meaning, that low-salt diets trigger the stress and inflammation chain reaction in the body that can lead to hypertension.

Also having a deficiency in calcium causes an increase of the para-thyroid hormone to pull calcium out of the bones and moves into cells. When too much calcium enters a cell it activates many enzymes, prevents muscle, blood vessels, and nerve cells from relaxing, and eventually kills the cell.

How to fix the problem

Having a diet with a good amount of salt and calcium will relieve symptoms of hypertension, high blood pressure and edema. Sodium stimulates energy production and protects against inflammation and other stress reactions. It also activates thyroid function and pushes calcium from the cells and helps cells to relax.

Dr. Ray Peat recommends  2,000 mg of calcium and other alkalizing minerals: magnesium, sodium, and potassium to relieve your symptoms.  Sodium also aids in the production of CO2. Increasing carbon dioxide  eliminates calcium from the cells which will relax the blood vessels, allowing  the calcium to move out of the blood vessels, and back into the bones, ultimately decreasing blood pressure, water retention and more symptoms of hypertension. Other ways to increase carbon dioxide in the cells, is to breathe into a bag, add a pinch of baking soda to your drink, or  baking soda to your bath.

 

 

References

http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/899663

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/04/health/research/04salt.html

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/salt.shtml

http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/calcium.shtml

 

Dairy Sensitivity? How to fix Lactose Intolerance.

ice-cream-happinessYou had a stressful day at work and you just wanted to treat yourself to your favorite flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. On the drive home you begin the mental debate  “should I take that gamble?” You think about the last time you had dairy and rationalize why  this time won’t be as bad. That last time was just an fluke. So you take the leap, go to the store, and buy your ice cream. Already starting to regret your decision, you take that first bite. You wait a couple seconds waiting and listening for your stomach to let you know how your night is going to be. After awhile you finish your bowl and you lay on the couch and settle in for a nice night… Then it happens.. your stomach comes alive!. You sit up right away clutching your stomach and your doing the dash down the hall.

Sound familiar? Many people deal with a dairy sensitivity today.  If you are someone that personally struggles with this issue, you’re in luck.  It can be fixed!

First let me go over what milk is.  As you already know, milk comes from mammals.  Milk from cows, sheep, and goats have great nutritional value.  Milk contains magnesium, potassium, selenium, and vitamins A,B,D,and K, as well as high levels of Calcium.  Whole milk contains about 87 % water, 4.6 percent lactose (sugar), 3.4 % protein, and 4.2 percent fat ( about 70 % saturated fat, 25% monounsaturated fat, and then less than 2% is polyunsaturated fat).  Did you know that higher milk consumption has been linked to lower body fat, lower levels of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), improved bone density, bone mass, and healthier teeth?

Something to keep in mind..

The media, cultural morals, and the way we were raised, have all had major influence on our thoughts and beliefs about nutrition.  From time to time it’s good to step back and question or test the beliefs that we have taken on through the years.

When reading research relating to nutrition and health, we should ask what alternative possibilities are being neglected for “practical” reasons, cultural preferences, and business interests.

For example those who pay for research are those with an investment in or a commitment to the preservation and expansion of the existing systems of production and distribution. Producing a cheap product, and ensuring its durability and long shelf-life are more important than the effects of these foods on your health. The biggest companies are usually able to keep public attention away from the harm they do. Dairy products definitely fall under this category.

Where does the intolerance come from?

Some people with digestive milk issues have found just changing brands have helped with their problem.  Milk with a reduced- fat content is required by U.S. law to have vitamins D & A added.  The methods used in the vitamin preparation, and the chemicals that come in the “pure” vitamins themselves, are  possible sources of allergens in commercial milk.  So when choosing a milk, whole milk would actually be a better option as it commonly found to be less irritating amongst my clients.

A thickening agent found in many dairy products is carrageenan.  It is a powerful allergen that has been found to cause a “pseudo-latex allergy” (Tarlo, et al.,1995).  Carrageenan has given good reasons to believe that its toxic effects are the result of the human body having issues with metabolizing calcium. (see for example Abdullahi, et al., 1975; Halici, et al., 2008; Janaswamy and Chandrasekaran, 2008).

In my experience with people, I find the common problem of digesting dairy is actually a sugar sensitivity.  Lactose, or milk sugar, requires the enzyme lactase to digest properly.  A hormonal condition that may contribute to someone having a lactase deficiency is being deficient in progesterone. A lack of progesterone in the body can come from stress and an increase of estrogen and cortisol. When this happens, a common problem is that the production of the enzyme lactase decreases.  When a person is  deficient in the enzyme lactase, symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas and more severe distress for some, such as a “shards of glass” feeling in the intestines.  Lactase is produced in the microvilli of the small intestine, and is released once lactose enters the intestines.  The problem starts when the gut and intestines become inflamed and damaged (usually happens over time with the consumption of alcohol, drugs, poly-unsaturated fats (PUFAs), grains, processed foods, additives, etc.) and lactase production shuts down.  When this happens, lactose cannot be broken down and what we develop is intolerance to anything containing lactose.

So how do you fix this…. 

Since the issue is inflammation within the gut, cutting out foods that irritate the stomach and intestines would be a good move. Foods that are in high in fiber cause more damage and increased inflammation and irritation to our already damaged guts.  So cutting out or minimizing raw veggies, and fibrous fruits would be ideal. When we consume that much fiber on a daily basis on a inflamed gut, the fiber, which is essentially wood pulp, just sits in the gut and ferments.  This encourages unhealthy bacterial growth and brings stress on the body.  By limiting or cutting out consumption of alcohol, nuts, seeds, grains (PUFAs), and junk foods, you’ll give your stomach and intestines a break allowing them to heal.

To help with the healing process, add good sugar to your diet such as fruit, juice, honey, and even at times table sugar to your daily diet. Sugars can reverse the damage of stress that your body is under.

Today I consume probably 24-32 0z of milk daily, as well as eating plenty of cheese and good quality ice cream.  Whenever I have a few extra pounds i’d like to lose, dairy is the first thing I increase.  

milk-and-coffeeYou may find adding dairy into your life will simplify things.  A glass of milk with a little added honey contains a sufficient ratio of protein, fat, and sugar to qualify it as a small meal.  It’s the easiest meal you’ll ever prepare.  Adding a small amount of milk with your meals is a good place to start when attempting to build up your production of lactase.  We’re talking 1 or 2 ounces of milk with a complete meal consisting of protein, fat and sugar.  For example, I may eat a small piece of steak, a side potato, some melon and a glass of sparkling water. I’ll then just add a couple ounces of milk to chase the meal.

Another great way to add milk into your day is by drinking it in your coffee.  So many people find they can handle milk when it’s in coffee.  

Give it a shot!  Be sure to leave a comment and keep me posted on your progress.  

Video: How to Eat Before, During and After Workouts

Jenn is coming at cha with some vital information you’ll need to have to make sure you’re properly fueling yourself before, during and after your workouts.  Check it out!