Posts Tagged ‘Lifestyle Health’

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Sleep Health

In Dr. Morgan Camp,Sleep Health on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , , , ,

Sleep Health

Getting enough sleep is vital to create an energy that can run through your mind, muscles, and organs from head to toe and back again. It is during your sleep that your body repairs, detoxifies, balances hormones, and resets itself for the next day so that you can live optimally. At some point in time with busy work schedules, life stresses, or illnesses, getting enough sleep for your body to remain healthy may become a challenge. With small changes in habits and help from Functional Medicine, getting control of your sleep pattern is made possible.

Symptoms and Types of Sleep Deprivation

Feeling fatigued is the obvious signal that not enough rest was had during the night. However, less obvious signs are increased weight, headaches, an inability to concentrate, mood disruptions, or an inability to develop appropriate muscle in relation to a specific exercise intensity.

There are different levels of sleep deprivation, ranging from minimal, moderate, to severe sleep deprivation known as insomnia. At Morgan Camp and Associates, we are interested in learning, down to the biochemical level, the cause of your sleep disturbances. During an interview with tailored questions along with targeted sophisticated laboratory testing through blood, urine, or salivary samples, we will know exactly where the imbalance in your body systems occurs and, more importantly, how to correct it.

Depending on your sleep habits, such as how well you fall asleep or at what time you awaken during the night, a reasonable cause of your insomnia and necessity for specialized laboratory testing can be determined. The Mayo Clinic recognizes ten causes of Insomnia: stress, anxiety, depression, medical conditions especially those affecting the gastrointestinal tract, a change in your environment or routine, medications, poor sleep habits, ‘learned ‘ insomnia due to television watching, eating too much late in the evening, and stimulants or depressants such as caffeine, nicotine, chocolate and alcohol.

Medications and Medical Causes of Insomnia

In regards to medications, many prescription drugs can interfere with sleep, including some antidepressants, heart and blood pressure medications, allergy medications, and corticosteroids. Many over-the-counter (OTC) medications, including pain medication combinations, decongestants and weight-loss products, contain caffeine. Antihistamines may initially make you groggy, but they can worsen urinary problems and increase the frequency to urinate at night. It is important to use medications appropriately and under the supervision of a practitioner who pays attention to the wide affect that most medications have on the body systems, so as to avoid causing imbalances.

Medical conditions linked with insomnia include arthritis, cancer, heart failure, lung disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), overactive thyroid, stroke, Parkinson disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Making sure that your medical conditions are well treated may help with your insomnia?and with the use of specialized laboratory testing, the cause of your insomnia will be identified and appropriate measures taken for its resolution.

Insomnia Guidelines and Diagnostic Decision Tree

The outline below gives you a window into how we consider underlying conditions related to your insomnia as well as how we choose diagnostic tests and possible treatment plans.    Because there are so many bio-chemical, environmental, and hormonal factors involved in the etiology of sleep disorders, a myriad of problems must be ruled out depending on your symptoms, physical assessment, personal sleep history and lifestyle, and specific complaints.  Given the complicated number of factors to consider, you can see why a focused health history is so important to guiding testing recommendations and treatment plans.

Insomnia Etiology Outline

I. Symptoms worse in the 1-2 weeks prior to your Menstrual Cycle (Females only!)

– Low Progesterone

– Low Magnesium

II. Difficulty Falling Asleep:

– Low Melatonin

– Low Progesterone

– High Cortisol (Stress hormones)

III. CANT STAY ASLEEP:

– Poor Liver Detoxification

– Magnesium deficiency

– Low Blood Sugar

– High Cortisol

IV. Associated with Headaches during the day:

– Poor Liver Detoxification

– Poor Gallbladder Function

V. Light Sleep, Feeling of not being rested in the AM.

– Low Growth Hormone

Treatment Options:

I. General Guidelines for everyone:

1.Sublingual Melatonin: Start with 5 drops under your tongue at bedtime. Take every night whether you notice a benefit or not for a minimum of 3 Months. You may slowly increase the dose by 2-5 drops by night. Please note:

  • Melatonin is best taken under the tongue to avoid the liver metabolism of the hormone.
  • Signs of Too much Melatonin: Grogginess in the AM and/or Frequent Waking at night. ?If either of these occur, lower the dose by 1-2 drops until the symptoms resolve.

2.Magnesium: The best forms for sleep are Magnesium Glycinate or NeuroMag (Magnesium Threonine).

II. Condition Specific Treatments:

1.Suspect High Cortisol (High Stress Hormones)

1.Consider Salivary Adrenal Hormone Test Kit

2.If High Consider:

2.Indigestion/Heartburn (In Dr. Camp’s experience this is one of the most common over-looked causes of Insomnia in all of his patients)

1.Consider Stool Parasitology to check for

  • H pylori
  • Candida
  • Consider ALCAT test for Food Sensitivities

3. Poor Liver Function

1.Avoid Alcohol, especially high sugar content wine!

2.Consider Organic Acid Testing at Metametrix

3.Consider supplements:

Female Hormone Changes Associated with Insomnia:

1.Low Progesterone: Suspect Low Progesterone if any of the following conditions exist:

  • You experience increased anxiety, insomnia, bloating, or water retention the last 1-2 weeks of your menstrual cycle or
  • You are over the age of 40 and have insomnia that has worsened as you have gotten older

If you are peri-menopausal:  contact Dr. Camp’s office for a lab slip to check your progesterone. If you are pre- menopausal, you should have your level checked ideally on Day 19-21 of your cycle.  Call us at (415) 383-9903

2.Low Estrogens: Suspect Low Estrogens if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Hot Flashes, Night Sweats, Fatigue, Eye Dryness, Vaginal Dryness, Depression
  • You are over the age of 40 and have insomnia that has worsened as you have gotten older

3. Low Growth Hormone: Suspect Low Growth Hormone if any of the following conditions exist:

  • Greater than Age 40
  • Sagging Skin, Loss of Muscle Tone
  • Light Sleep w/ excessive need for sleep
  • Chronic Anxiety for no reason

Male Hormone Changes Associated with Insomnia:

1. Low Progesterone: Suspect low Progesterone if you are male and any of the following exist:

  • You are over 40 and experience nervousness, anxiety, feel irritable or aggressive and generally “tensed.”
  • You have developed male-patterned baldness, abdominal bloating and weight game, are overweight.
  • Superficial, light and/or nervous sleep

2. Low Testosterone: Suspect low testosterone levels if you are male and over 40 (however it can happen in men as young as 30) and the following exist:

  • Behavior changes such as irritability, nervousness, indecisiveness, reduced self-confidence and initiative, and lack of mental firmness.  New onset of depression, anxiety and memory loss.  Classically, a reduced sex drive.
  • Physical changes such as reduced body hair, smaller muscles and reduced exercise endurance, premature aging, flat hair, male pattern balding, dry eyes, pale face, and overweight or increased abdominal obesity.
  • Disturbed sleep

3. Low Growth Hormone: Suspect low growth hormone if any of the following exist:

  • Greater than Age 40
  • Sagging Skin, Loss of Muscle Tone
  • Light Sleep w/ excessive need for sleep
  • Chronic Anxiety for no reason
  • Not feeling rested after getting enough sleep.

*For all male and female hormone deficiency concerns as a cause of sleep disturbances, please set up an appointment and/or get the appropriate labs from us for replacement therapy to improve your sleep.  We are experts in this line of medicine.

Sleep Hygiene and EMF’s

There is now an entire body of evidence suggesting that habits prior to sleep (such as TV watching in bed) and exposure to EMF’s (such as having a cell phone next to your head while you sleep) can have serious effects on your sleep.  The following is a link to an article reviewing appropriate sleep hygiene habits that will improve your sleep:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/02/secrets-to-a-good-night-sleep.aspx

In general, the following habits will improve your chances of a good night’s sleep:

  • Do not watch TV or work on the computer an hour before going to bed
  • TV’s and video games should be placed outside the bedroom.
  • Avoid stimulating foods and drinks before bedtime such as alcohol, chocolate, and caffeine.
  • Do not engage in vigorous exercise or activity in the late evening.
  • Create a soothing sleep routine to promote sleep.  Examples include:  take a lavender aromatherapy bath by candle light before bed or try reading for the hour prior to bed instead of watching TV or working on the computer, and always avoid stressful conversations and situations several hours prior to bedtime if possible.

Avoiding Electro-Magnetic-Frequency’s in the bedroom is another important strategy to consider.  The evidence suggests that exposure to high levels of EMF’s may cause headaches, fatigue, nervousness, and a host of health problems including insomnia.  Here is a second link if you would like to read more about this:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/02/21/are-you-sleeping-in-a-dangerous-electrically-polluted-bedroom.aspx

The following strategies will help reduce bedroom EMF’s:

  • Unplug all electrical devices in your bedroom while sleeping.
  • Put your cell phone on “airplane mode,” leave it in a different room or turn it off altogether.
  • Avoid digital clocks on the bedside table.
  • Mattresses with metal coiling may conduct electricity from other sources exposing you to high levels of EMF’s.

The evidence suggesting the health and sleep risks of EMF’s is gaining.  Do not ignore electrical devices in your bedroom as a source of insomnia, and instead find ways to reduce them or remove them.

Brain Neurotransmitters

Science is uncovering new information about the importance of brain neurotransmitters.  It is a constantly developing field of medicine.  Neurotransmitters are specialized cells in the body and brain that carry specialized electrical information between neurons or nerves.  These specialized messages initiate the cells to do specific activities or they may signal specific neural pathways.

There are both excitatory neurotransmitters that cause energy and motivation and rev up your brain and system, and there are inhibitory neurotransmitters that cause sleep, calm, and relaxation.

Elevated levels of excitatory neurotransmitters at the wrong time can lead to sleep disturbances.  So, for example, elevated levels of adrenalin when you are stressed out will excite the brain and nerves making sleep difficult.  Other excitatory neurotransmitters include histamine, norepinephrine, and glutamate.  Ideally, these neurotransmitters are at high levels during the day and at low levels during the night.

Conversely, low levels of the inhibitory, calming neurotransmitters during the evening will lead to sleep disturbances as well.   Calming, inhibitory neurotransmitters include serotonin, GABA, Taurine, and glycine to name a few.  These neurotransmitters ideally will be at lower levels during the day supporting wakefulness, and they will be at higher levels during the evening and night helping to induce sleep.

The delicate balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters are also elemental to the production of melatonin—a key hormone for sound sleep.  Around bedtime, the drop in excitatory neurotransmitter levels and a rise in inhibitory levels signal the production of melatonin.  During the night, low levels of excitatory transmitters and melatonin are what the body needs for deep, restful sleep.

Exercise

Regular exercise is an important factor contributing to restful sleep.  30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3-4 times a week as a minimum requirement will help cause relaxation and sleep.

Timing of when you exercise appears to be important.  The worst time to exercise would be right before bed or anytime after 7 p.m.  In this case, it would be too stimulating.  Avoid!

The best time to exercise to promote sleep appears to be late afternoon or very early evening anytime prior to 6 or 7 p.m.  This is because the exercise will raise your body temperature.  Body temperature changes are intricately related to the brain neurotransmitter production and balance described above.  As your body temperature cools down over several hours after exercising, calming neurotransmitters begin to get produced in relation to the body temperature change.

Exercising in the morning is another good time to exercise, but will not have the same sleep inducing properties as the late afternoon.  Exercise in the morning will promote a reduction in stress and a sense of well being which overall will benefit your sleep.

 

Concluding Remarks

Lack of optimal sleep is a common complaint at our practice, and with good reason!  Sleep deprivation is a known factor in most chronic health problems including cardiac disease, diabetes, obesity, fatigue, and immune problems including cancer.

With an accurate history and appropriate labs, practitioners of functional medicine such as Morgan Camp MD and Associates can discover the cause of your insomnia on a hormonal and biochemical level.  Lifestyle changes may be necessary as well.  If you would like a more thorough investigation of the cause of your insomnia, please make an appointment for a thorough assessment!

Optimal sleep is key to feeling vibrant and healthy!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

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Articles

Low Dose Antigen Therapy

In Dr. Morgan Camp,Low Dose Antigen (LDA) on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , ,

ALLERGY AND FOOD SENSITIVITY TREATMENT AVAILABLE

Have seasonal allergies and asthma got you down?  Are food sensitivities giving you gas, bloating and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms?  Feeling fatigued from all the nasal congestion?  Eczema or psoriasis making “shorts weather” unsightly?  Tired of trying to find a laundry detergent that doesn’t make you sneeze?

We are proud to announce that we will now offer Low Dose Allergen (LDA) Immunotherapy Therapy at our practice to help you with all your allergy symptoms!  We want nothing more for you (and ourselves) than to have freedom from those annoying allergy complaints.

LDA is a revolution in allergy relief.   Safe and convenient, with no risk of anaphylaxis, LDA is cost effective and may help you get the long term relief you’ve been looking for in an allergy treatment.

LOW DOSE ANTIGEN THERAPY (LDA THERAPY)

(Frequently Asked Questions)

What is it? Low dose antigen (LDA) therapy is a cutting edge immunotherapy for the reduction and removal of the allergic response to over 300 allergens.   The allergens LDA is formulated to treat include inhalant pollens, dust and mites, fungi, yeast, molds, foods, food additives, pets and dander, common chemicals and perfumes, and formaldehyde—almost any allergen you may have.

Why should I consider LDA therapy?  LDA therapy is useful for the treatment of:

  • Hay fever and seasonal allergies.
  • Food sensitivities and inflammatory gut problems related to food sensitivities.
  • Mold and fungus sensitivities.
  • Fatigue related to allergies.
  • Eczema, psoriasis, and various dermatitis conditions related to allergies.
  • Chemical sensitivities such as perfumes, chemicals, formaldehyde, and soaps.
  • Mood disorders such as ADD and ADHD when they are related to allergens.

 

It’s safe, convenient, and very effective.

How is LDA prescribed?  LDA is mixed at a compounding pharmacy and is given by intradermal injection here at the office once every 2 months.   You will have to come into the office to receive your shots.  The compounded LDA mixture will be sent to our office once a month, and you will have 1-2 weeks from it’s arrival at our office for you to schedule a time to come in and receive your injection.

To eradicate your allergies completely, most people will need 6-12 shots (1-2 years of treatment depending on the severity of your symptoms).  Occasionally, there are patients who require very infrequent booster shots.   A large percentage of patients will get immediate relief from the first injection.

How is LDA formulated?  LDA is made with an enzyme mixture containing an extremely low dose of over 300 allergens and beta-glucoranidase.  The enzyme mixture acts as a lymphokine, better signaling the immunizing effects of the allergens.  LDA induces the production of “activated” T-suppressor cells.  T-cells have a half-life of about 60 days; therefore, LDA can create a much longer lasting desensitization than the conventional immunotherapy used in the USA.  Patients generally need fewer allergy medications immediately and avoidance of the allergens becomes much less necessary.

Will I get relief right away?  It is common for patients with simple allergic symptoms like hay fever and seasonal allergies to get immediate relief.   However, the FULL benefit of LDA will take longer.  Patients with multiple and severe allergies may take 3-8 shots to get relief.

All patients will need a minimum of 6-8 shots for long lasting and full benefit with some needing as many as 12 doses.  It is very rare for a patient to have no response

Additionally, for foods that cause adverse reactions, like milk and wheat, usually take the longest time to desensitize completely.

What should I expect after the injections?  The response to LDA has two distinct phases after an injection:

  1. Immediate Reaction:  An immediate temporary “cure” of symptoms may result.  This may begin immediately after the first treatment and usually should last 2-5 weeks.  One may experience this for the first several treatments.  The first shot that should “work”—at least to some degree—for most patients will be either the first, second or third.  A positive response to the first injection occurs on an average about 70% of the time, a neutral response about 23%, and a poor response about 7%.  Response rates generally improve with subsequent injections.

 

  1. Delayed Action:  This should begin after 3-4 weeks (when the   lymphocytes mature) and may last to some degree for 2-4 months at first, then much longer later on in treatment.  This response begins usually between the sixth and eighth treatment, when there may be no apparent immediate response to the shot, but as lymphocytes mature, the positive effects are noted.   Patients may complain for 3 weeks after a treatment, only to find their shot “kicks in,” almost like magic, at about 3-4 weeks.

 

Do I need to worry about an anaphylaxis reaction?  No, there has NEVER been an anaphylactic reaction to LDA shots in the USA since it’s inception in 2002.

I have a true peanut allergy:  are these injections safe and effective for me?  Yes, true food allergies (IgE-mediated), such as life-threatening reactions to shellfish and peanut, do not exclude you from safely using this therapy.

Is it safe to take all my current supplements and medications during the treatment?  LDA treatments require very specific guidelines for the use of medications and supplements.  You may be required to discontinue some of your medications, soaps, shampoos, lotions and supplements for a brief amount of time, and, in some cases, a longer  time before, during, and after the injection.  At your initial appointment with our Nurse Practitioner, you will be given instructions specific to your supplement and medication regimen.

Additionally, there may dietary changes for the three days surrounding your injection that will improve your chances of the injection being effective.

I’m moving to a different state in 2 months, should I still get the injections?  No, never plan to start LDA unless you’re willing to be treated for 12 months before you might see lasting results.

 

How do I get started?

IT’S EASY!

1) Set an appointment with either Dr. Camp or Nurse Practitioner, Marya Grosse, prior to the injection to discuss the protocol.  This appointment can be in person or on the phone.

2) Follow up with your injection as soon as 3 Days later.

3) Repeat your injection every 2 months for 1 year!

BE ALLERGY FREE!

Here is a link to an article explaining LDA from Dr. Shrader, the MD responsible for making this treatment available in the US:

http://www.townsendletter.com/April2012/allergen0412.html

 

See you soon,

Morgan Camp and Marya Grosse

Articles

The Master Hormone: Human Growth Hormone

In Bio-Identical Hormones,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , ,

The Master HormoneHuman Growth Hormone

Feeling fatigued?  Having difficulty losing weight?  Is your abdomen getting larger?  Surprised to find you have high cholesterol when your entire life it has been normal?  So you say you can’t sleep, huh?  Not feeling rested in the a.m.?  Any of these symptoms may be a sign off lowered Human Growth Hormone Levels.  In this newsletter we will help you understand what Human Growth Hormone is and what options you have to keep your body in balance.

 

Growth Hormone:  The Master Hormone

Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one of the most important of human hormones.  Human Growth Hormone creates feelings of health and vitality.  It effects almost every system of the body, and a Growth Hormone deficiency will cause all sorts of common complaints seen in aging such as increased abdominal fat, exercise intolerance, decreased muscle mass, reduced vitality, increased lipids and cholesterol, osteoporosis, increased risk of dementia, fatigue, increased wrinkling, a reduction of mental clarity, and even poor sleep.  

In this article, I hope to review what growth hormone is, what symptoms might reflect a HGH deficiency, how it is used in replacement therapy, and how it might benefit you.    Be sure to read the section on lifestyle habits, supplements and prescriptions that can boost this precious hormone!

What is Growth Hormone?

Human Growth Hormone is a hormone produced by your pituitary gland, a pea sized structure at the base of the brain.   The hormone is most abundant in your first 2 decades of life.  Indeed, Growth Hormone, as the name suggest, is responsible for spurring growth in children and adolescents.  Without Growth Hormone, you would never grow and develop in height and stature in a normal way.

But Human Growth Hormone is necessary for many more functions than just growth and development.  It is implicated in helping to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and heart function.  It is indicated in the proper function of every human organ.   Cosmetically, it is important for keeping youthful looking skin, avoiding fat accumulation on your back and in your abdomen, and is suggested to give people a youthful glow.   In terms of mental and emotional health, Growth Hormone deficiency is theorized to contribute to depression, memory loss, and a loss of vitality.  In other words, optimal levels of Growth Hormone help keep us mentally fit and energetic.

Is It Aging or Low Growth Hormone?

Human Growth Hormone reaches it’s height of production around puberty, and slowly it’s production starts to decline as we age starting around age 20.  Each decade represents a drop in HGH production anywhere from 10-14% of baseline depending on a person’s lifestyle and genetics.  Therefore, a 20 year old may produce up to 5 times more GH than someone at age 60.  Since GH is known to reduce fat and increase muscle mass, it is no surprise that people are fitter and more athletic in their youth.  Once again, the symptoms of aging are simply a reflection of decreased hormone production—including HGH.

When is Growth Hormone Produced?

Human Growth Hormone is produced in spurts with the largest production (1) during sleep and (2) after a work out.  One of the largest spurts occurs while sleeping.  If you do not sleep well during the early morning hours, you may miss this crucial GH spurt.    Night shift workers notoriously are low in GH since they miss this nocturnal surge in GH.

What are the Clinical Symptoms of Human Growth Hormone Deficiency?

Since HGH effects so many different body systems, there are multiple symptoms that may suggest an adult deficiency.   Here is a partial list of most likely symptoms you may experience with this hormonal deficiency as you age:

  • Cardiovascular symptoms may include exercise intolerance due to reduced heart muscle contraction and reduced cardiac output, abnormal lipid panels such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and an increase in LDL, as well as an increased blood pressure.
  • Abnormal body composition will include an increase in visceral and abdominal fat, decreased bone density leading to an risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength and muscle size, decreased lean body mass, and an overall increase in fat mass.
  • Physical Symptoms will include a significant lack of energy and increased fatigue, decreased sexual desire, a sense of muscle weakness, difficulty sleeping is a common complaint, and let’s not forget weight gain secondary to reduced muscle mass and increased fat composition.
  • Psychological Symptoms of HGH deficiency are some of the worst.  Patients will complain of social withdrawal and shyness.  Some may feel an increased nervousness or social anxiety.  Most find less of an interest in socializing leading to decreased social contact.  Common psychological complaints include sadness, depression, and feelings of hopelessness.
  • Neurocognitive Symptoms include a reduction in memory, a patient may complain that they feel like their brain moves slower or that they do not feel as alert.
  • Cosmetic Signs include increased wrinkles, particularly on the forehead, drooping areas of body fat and tissue such as the upper thighs, increased fat pads on the back, notable abdominal fat, and reduced definition and tone of arms and legs.

Obviously, the general theme of growth hormone deficiency symptoms could be described as a reduced sense of overall vitality.   Whether it’s a slower mental processing, exercise intolerance, feelings of fatigue or reduced sexual desire, growth hormone deficiency seems to define “getting older.”  If you feel like you currently have many of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Camp HERE for a complete work up or call us, (415) 383-9903 for a lab slip to start the evaluation.

Improving Your Growth Hormone Production:  Lifestyle Changes, Prescriptions, and Supplements that Will Help:

No newsletter would be complete without a list of lifestyle choices you can make to improve your own health.  When it comes to improving your Growth Hormone (GH) levels, here are a few of the best strategies!

  • Avoid carbohydrates and alcohol in the evening:  Carbohydrates and alcohol both contribute to a decrease in your GH production.  These foods cause a spike in insulin which interacts with your ability to produce this important hormone.  Since one of the largest spurts of GH production occurs while sleeping, eating simple carbohydrates and alcohol, like pasta with a glass of wine in the evening, is one of the surest ways to interrupt production of this precious hormone.  Following more of a Paleo diet at dinner time—eating protein and veggies only– will improve your GH production, stabilize your blood sugars, and reduce weight gain.  If you didn’t have enough reasons to reduce your carbohydrate intake, here is one more!
  • Sleep hygiene:  ahhhhhhh….sleep…..it not only makes you feel great, it’s important for every system in the body.  One of the reasons it’s so important is the spurt in GH that is produced when you sleep.  If you are not sleeping well, or are getting to bed frequently after midnight, you may be missing this important wave of hormone production.  Some tips for getting good sleep include: routinely getting to bed before 10, turning off TV’s and computers an hour before you hit the pillow and start calming down your nervous system with a good book or a hot bath, avoiding stimulants like chocolate and caffeine in the evening, and dimming the lights at nightfall. Televisions should be removed from bedrooms. Your body is intimately tied to light and the solar day.  In modern times, most of us don’t “get up with the sun and go to bed with the sun,” but taking time to mimic these patterns—even by just dimming the lights—can be important to getting some good shut eye!  Some people are extremely sensitive to electrical frequencies in their house.  If you think you are sensitive to EMF’s, you may need to unplug appliances, sleep without a bright alarm clock next to your bed, and turn your cell phone off.
  • Important supplements:

1.Melatonin: Supplementing with melatonoin will encourage sleep and encourage growth hormone production at night.    Start with a low dose such as 0.2 mg prior to bedtime.  You may order melatonin HERE

2.Vitamin D: Vitamin D is known to improve athletic performance.  How does it increase your HGH?  Vitamin D increases the number of fast twitch muscle fibers.  These muscle fibers are the ones implicated in the production of human growth hormone during your work outs.   We recommend following your levels with a lab test to make sure your levels are optimal.  Order your Vitamin D HERE.

3.Inner Power Supplement Powder: This arginine supplement is easy to use and works synergistically when taken prior to either sleep or a work out.  Mix one tablespoon in 4 ounces of water prior to bedtime for best results.  Will potentiate the use of sermorelin a well.  To order Inner Power, please click HERE

  • Prescription Options: 

(1) Replacement w/Tev-Tropin or  (2) Stimulation w/ Sermorelin:  In our office we use Tev-Tropin for actual replacement hormone.  This is an injectable prescription that replaces your HGH with Tev-Tropin.  A second option is the use of Sermorelin.  Sermorelin is a Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone that will stimulate your pituitary to release more of your own Growth Hormone.  The great thing about sermorelin is that it has little to no side effects.

  • Exercise: For those still waiting to start your exercise program, maybe this will give you the motivation you need!  High intensity exercise is proven to increase a person’s 24 hour secretion of GH by more than double!  Not just any type of exercise will do as interval training is the best form of exercise for increasing your GH.  Interval training is a process where the intensity of exercise is maximized for a time frame, then reduced to a regular aerobic pace.  This pattern is repeated over a 15 minute time frame.  So, for example, let’s say you are out walking–interval training would be where you walk for 2 minutes then sprint for 30 seconds.  Repeat this interval 5-8 times and you’ve got interval training.   You can do it with walking, running, elliptical machine, and with the bicycle–any exercise that uses the large muscle groups of the buttocks and legs.  Interval training will cause your muscles to burn usually by the 5th interval.   This burning in medical terms is called reaching “the lactate threshold.”    It is this burn during interval training that appears to increase GH production.  One benefit to this exercise is that you no longer have to work out for 45 minutes.  Do a 5 minute warm up, do your intervals, then do a 5-10 minute cool down and you will be done!  It is the intensity of the interval training (such as sprinting) that seems to be the key to GH release.  If you would like to read more on this phenomenon, you may purchase Phil Campbell’s book entitled “Ready, Set, Go!”
  • Avoid high glycemic foods and insulin surges: Once again, sugars and spiking insulin and insulin resistance will be a hazard to your health.  Sugars and insulin absolutely reduce your GH production.  So, no simple carbs in the evening and basically, avoiding processed food for most or your meals will make a big difference in your GH production.  In fact, to maximize your interval training as discussed above, you should avoid sugar—any type of sugar—for two hours after the exercise to avoid interrupting the sequence of hormones and pro-hormones that will increase your GH production.   The benefits of eliminating processed white sugar, white flour and high fructose corn syrup from your diet are never-ending!  Production of GH is no exception!  Skip the sodas, cookies, pastas and bread and start getting your health back!
  • Lose weight, particularly abdominal fat: Abdominal fat is implicated in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular risk for heart attack, increased blood pressure and stroke risk.  It is advantageous for all of us to attempt to reduce our fat ratio in our abdomens.   Abdominal fat acts like its own endocrine tumor producing the wrong amounts of the wrong hormones, and is implicated in leptin and insulin resistance.  Any attempt to reduce this fat whether by overall weight loss or walking if you aren’t in good enough fitness for interval training just yet, will help reduce your risks and improve your GH production.  If you need help losing weight, please set up an appointment to discuss your options with Dr. Camp or Marya Grosse NP by calling our office, (415) 383-9903 or clicking HERE to log into your online account with Dr. Camp.

How Does a Patient get Screened for Growth Hormone Deficiency?  Labs:

  • IGF-1: Your IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor 1) mirrors your GH levels and is a good reflection of your general GH production.  Optimal levels are well over 200.   We may take 2 of these tests to demonstrate serial low IGF-1 results before treating you with GH.
  • GH Stimulation Test: This is a slightly more complicated test which carries some risks and is therefore not used that often.  For this test you will fast 10-12 hours over night and get a baseline blood test.  Then you will be given glucagon which should stimulate GH production.   After the glucagon, you will get a series of blood tests to see if GH was produced.  This test shows us if your pituitary is able to produce enough GH.  If you fail to produce GH during the stimulation test, then you are certainly a candidate for GH replacement.
  • 24 Hour Urine Test: The 24 hour urine test is our favorite for identifying most hormonal deficiencies.  The urine test gives you an exact amount of hormone or hormone byproducts created over a 24 hour period and eliminates the need for guesswork.  We can best diagnose thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, adrenal, and testosterone hormonal levels with this test, and Growth Hormone is no exception.

Concluding Remarks

The research suggests that this HGH is vital for reducing multiple health risks and complaints associated with aging.  Patients who receive GH replacement have been shown in the research to have reduced risks of osteoporosis, improved cardiovascular health, improved inflammatory markers, healthier body composition, less fatigue, and better mental acuity.

If you are concerned about any of these health problems and are interested in assessing your own growth hormone production, please do not hesitate to set up an appointment with Dr. Camp for a thorough assessment!  We wish all of you health and happiness!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates

Articles

Cold and Flu Season: How to stay Healthy!

In Cold & Flu Prevention,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 13, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , ,

It’s Almost Cold and Flu Season:  How to Stay Healthy!

The darker and colder days of winter are almost upon us!  And, while holiday fun is something many of us look forward to, unfortunately, this time of year also means a surge in colds and flu!  While friends, family and co-workers may be hacking away around you, you CAN stay healthy!  If you do catch a bug, we have the information you need and an effective supplement plan to greatly minimize the damage!  We want to get you ahead of the curve so you can stay healthy this season.  Following is a review of lifestyle and diet habits that may prevent colds and flus as well as a list of supplements to knock it out if you do get an infection.  It’s great to have at least some of these supplements on hand at home as many are most effective literally at the first sign or couple of hours after exposure or symptoms. Get your supplements today so that you and your family are prepared for cold and flu season! Read on!

General Prevention

There are many things you can do to prevent catching a cold or flu.  With a healthy lifestyle and diet, you can prevent almost any acute infectious illness.  If you missed last month’s newsletter on Adrenal health, please review now by clicking HERE as protecting your adrenal health is an important key to staying healthy.   Here is our list of your top lifestyle and foods that are infection squashers!!!!!!

Frequent Hand Washing:  Many experts agree and it is well documented that frequent hand washing prevents the spread of infectious organisms, both viral and bacterial.  If someone is sick at home or at work, preventing hand to nose/mouth transmission of the infectious agent is your first big block to acquiring the illness.   Effective hand washing does not necessitate chemical soaps.  It DOES necessitate 10-15 seconds of soaping and rubbing hands together firmly and rinsing in warm water.  Count the seconds.  It will feel long at first.  Do this as frequently as needed.  If you are surrounded in an enclosed environment (home, work, court, Target, wherever!), hand washing every hour or more would be appropriate!

Avoid Hand to Nose/Mouth Contact:  Handwashing is a part of avoiding spreading infection, but so it avoiding touching infected items that someone sick may have touched.  Avoid sharing the following with sick people: sharing pens, utensils, cups, door handles, elevator buttons, and almost anything you can think of that multiple people touch in a public environment.  Use your elbow to press elevator buttons in public areas during cold season (I do this year-round).   If you must touch an infected public door handle or other infected item, wash your hands as soon as possible and avoid touching your hands to your face until you do so.

Keep Your Vitamin D Optimal:  Keeping your Vitamin D levels in an optimum level is an effective way of preventing colds and flus.  It is not a simple coincidence that people contract far less of these infections during the summer.  As many of you know, vitamin levels naturally increase during increased exposure to the sun.  Vitamin D enhances immune function and is a primary hormone for improved immune function and cold and flu prevention.

Optimize Sleep: We all have heard about the benefits of sleep.  Most of us hardly function if we miss out on more than 1 or 2 nights of good sleep.  Sleep is when your body repairs and rejuvenates.  It’s critical for healthy immune, adrenal, hormonal, neurologic, brain and gastrointestinal function.  If you are able to get regular, deep sleep, you will have a head start on a strong immune system for preventing colds and flus.  Start creating a sleep routine that supports a good nights sleep.  Turn off all TV’s, computers, game devices, and bright lights at least an hour ahead of your expected sleep time.   For a full read on sleep and how to improve it, please click HERE to read our article on Sleep.

Include Coconut Oil in Your Diet:  Coconut oil is fast becoming the latest in good health.  There are many good reasons for this:  coconut oil promotes weight loss, helps reduce insulin, may improve metabolism, and what’s important for our topic here is that coconut oil has many anti-infectious properties.   It is useful in the treatment of gut candida infections, but it also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.   While vitamin D and other supplements go into my suitcase for travel trips, coconut oil does too.  It’s useful for scrapes and burns, improving skin, is anti-inflammatory in general, but I add it into my tea or coffee when traveling for added defense against colds and flus.   If you start using it regularly in your cooking, you will get this added benefit year round.

Include Garlic, Onion, and Shallots in Your Cooking:  Onions and garlic and their relatives (leeks, shallots) are super foods to keep in your kitchen this fall and winter to prevent illness.  Both onions and garlic are in the Allium vegetable family and they are rich in sulfides and sulfoxides.  These sulfers are potent anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial elements.  Even some antibiotic resistant strains of staph bacteria have been shown to respond well to garlic.   Garlic is a particularly potent anti-infective.

Garlic loses some of it’s anti-infective properties when cooked.  Unfortunately, raw garlic makes many people nauseous.  I discovered in college the best way to get raw garlic down without nausea was to create a raw garlic-butter or oil toast.  Here’s how to make your gluten free toast with some raw garlic butter or garlic olive oil or coconut oil.  Start by melting 2-3 teaspoons of organic, raw butter or olive oil or coconut oil over low heat in a saucepan.  Meanwhile toast your gluten free bread and chop 1-2 cloves of garlic.  When the butter is just melted but not hot, add the garlic and immediately put the garlic oil or butter on the toast and eat.  You will have a raw garlic toast treat that will not make you nauseated! Do this 2-3 times per day at the onset of a cold!

Regular Exercise:  Exercise is not just good for mood, your waistline, and your cardiovascular health.  It is great for improving your immune system and reducing your chances of getting colds and flus.  Research continually confirms that it does not need to be intense or exhausting for you to reap the immune-boosting benefits.

Some findings show that moderate exercise such as 20-30 minute walks several times a week reduces the number of colds and flus a person will get.   Research shows that regular exercise boosts both the number and the aggressiveness of natural killer cells by as much as 50%-300%.  These immune cells are one of your initial defenses that battle infectious intruders.

In another study in the American Journal of Medicine, women who walked for 30 minutes every day for a year had half the number of colds as women who did no exercise at all.  Another study found that T-Cells—a white blood cell that fights infections–were also increased with a simple walking program.

Get moving to avoid colds and flus.  Start your walking program today!

What To Do After An Exposure

Ok, so you’ve been taking your vitamin D, washing your hands, getting lots of sleep, and eating all kinds of garlic and coconut oil, but now you are certain you had close contact with a very sick person and got exposed. You’re even feeling a little fatigued as if illness may soon ensue.  No worries.  It only means it’s time to start taking the correct anti-virals and immune support at the correct dosing.  All of these products are available at our online store.  Buy a few today so that you are prepared at the first sign of exposure! Click the highlighted word to order these supplements from our online store so that you are prepared at home!  Here’s your infection battle plan:

  • Vitamin D3:  Start loading our Liquid-D3 by Rx Vitamins immediately after exposure.  You should take 1 dropperful per day x 3 days, then 5 drops per day for one month.  Then re-check serum blood levels
  • Argentyn 23:  This bio-active silver hydrosol product Argentyn 23 is available through licensed professionals only.  It is a refined and pure colloidal silver which enhances immune function and is used as an anti-infectious agent, killing various viruses and bacteria.  Take 1 teaspoon 3 times per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes then swallow.
  • Vitamin C:  Take 3,000 milligrams 3 times per day of our Vitamin C Powder by AllergyResearchGroup.  Vitamin C has long been heralded as a strong anti-viral at therapeutic dosages.  Our powder is highly absorbable to help knock out that infection!  This dosage may give you some loose stool, a normal side effect. You may decrease your dose to 2 grams 3 x per day if this side effect is bothersome.  However, loose stool may enhance your healing ability by detoxing and improving liver and gut health which will improve your chance of fighting of the exposure, an added bonus actually.
  • Selenium:  Selenium is touted as being a big gun against the flu virus specifically. Take 200 mcg per day of our highly absorbable Selenium Solution.
  • Pregnenalone:  Get out your sublingual Pregnenalone to enhance your immune function!  If you read our adrenal health newsletter, you will already understand that cortisol will help improve immunity and fight infection.  Pregnenalone is a pre-cursor hormone that will convert in part to cortisol, boosting your immune system. Take 10 drops sublingually 3 times a day until symptoms resolve.  Be sure to hold the drops under your tongue a full 60 seconds for absorption!

Treating Full Blown Colds and Flus

Below are listed powerhouse supplements that will greatly reduce both the intensity and the duration of your cold or flu.  As soon as you realize your exposure has moved into the infection stage, start the following supplement regimen as soon as possible.   Again, to order click the highlighted product to get directed to our online store for purchase.

  • Vitamin D3:  Increase the amount of Vitamin D3 you take immediately to 1,000 Units per pound of body weight (or 1 drop per kilo per day x 3 days).  Again, ramping up your Vitamin D will quickly increase your immunity.
  • Argentyn 23:  Ramp up the dose of this potent anti-microbial.  Take 2 Tablespoons 3-4 times per day.
  • Virattack:  Add on this powerful herbal mixture.  As the name implies, this mixture is a specifically concocted anti-viral.  Take 1 dropperful 5 times per day.
  • D-Lenolate:  An olive leaf extract formulation, D-Lenolite can be used to remedy many different types of viral infections including colds and flus.  D-Lenolite has many anti-inflammatory properties as well.  Take 1 capsule 3 times per day.
  • Bio-Identical Hydrocortisone:  For those of you currently taking Hydrocortisone as part of your hormone regimen, hydrocortisone is fantastic at improving immune system response and minimizing colds and flus.  Take an extra 5 mg at the onset of symptoms, then take another 5 mg 30-60 minutes later.  You may need to double your regular dose for a few days.

Please see the Cold and Flu Treatment Quick sheet below for a synopsis of these supplement remedies.

Cold and Flu Treatment Qucik Cheat Sheet: 

What to take ASAP after Exposure:

  • Vitamin D3: 1 dropperful per day for 3days, then 5 drops per day for 1 month
  • Argentyn 23: 1 tsp 3 time per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes
  • Vitamin C: 3,000mg, 3 times per day
  • Selenium: 200mcg per day
  • Pregnenolone: 10 drops, 3 times per day sublingually until symptions resolve

What to take for Actual Treatment when Sick:  Take immediately at START symptoms.  (This is a very potent infection treatment plan!)

  • Vitamin D3: 1,000 Units per pound of body weight (or 1 drop per Kilo of body weight for 3 days)
  • Argentyn 23: 2 tbsp, 3-4 times per day.  Hold in mouth for 1-2 minutes
  • Virattack: 1 dropperful, 5 times per day
  • D-Lenolate: 1 capsule, 3 times per day
  • Hydrocortisone: Take an extra dose immediately at onset of symptoms, then again 30-60 minutes later.  May need to double dose for a few days.

  

Concluding Remarks

All of us here at Dr. Morgan Camp MD and Associates want to wish you a safe and healthy holiday season!  Get a head-start on your prevention plan today.  Print out and post on your refrigerator the supplement cheat sheet for cold and flus below so the information is practical and handy.  Log in to our online store HERE to get your cold and flu supplement remedy stash together and ready for combat action!

Articles

Adrenal Health

In Adrenal Health,Dr. Morgan Camp on November 12, 2013 by drmorgancamp Tagged: , , , , , ,

Adrenal Health

Are you prone to fatigue?  Do you suffer from insomnia?  Is anxiety interfering with your life?  Do you suffer from feelings of mental fog?  Is getting your coffee in the morning the best part of your day?  Do allergies or asthma bother you?   Ever feel like you have drops in blood sugar that seem sudden or unexplainable?  Do you feel like you have a lack of vitality that keeps you from working out effectively?  Low libido?  You are not alone!  Adrenal-related issues are incredibly common and are one of the primary reasons why people seek help at our practice.

Fall Focus

As the sun moves South and the long, lazy days of summer begin to fade, busy school schedules resume, workloads shift back into gear, and the holidays loom in the foreground.   As stress levels start to rise with these increased demands in your schedule, protecting your adrenal health should be one of your primary fall health goals.  Read on for a discussion on how your adrenal glands function, how they impact your health, and what you can do to keep them functioning well.

Symptoms Of Adrenal Problems

Adrenal problems often pop up after either physical stress–such as a chronic infection or a busy schedule–or after emotional stress such as the death of a loved one or a break up.   After prolonged physical or emotional stress, eventually a person will end up with either symptoms reflecting adrenal imbalances or other health syndromes and diagnoses that are related to adrenal fatigue.

Here are some common symptoms and physical indicators that you having disruptions in your adrenal function.  You only need one or two for us to suspect an adrenal imbalance:

  • Chronic sense of fatigue
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Feeling tired in the morning even after a “good” nights sleep
  • Loss of libido
  • Weight gain
  • Feelings of exhaustion
  • Unable to cope with stressors
  • Feelings of overwhelm
  • Insomnia or deranged sleep patterns
  • Feeling rundown
  • You may feel most energetic in the evening
  • Low stamina, poor to recover from exercise
  • Difficulty concentrating or frequent “brain fog”
  • Consistent low blood pressure
  • Unexplained anxiety

 

Health problems and diagnoses associated with adrenal imbalances:

  • Food sensitivities or environmental allergies
  • Chronic allergies or asthma
  • Frequent infections such as sinusitis, bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Chronic gut infections and inflammation
  • PMS and other debilitating menstrual symptoms such as severe cramping
  • Frequent dizzy spells
  • Low immune function
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Joint pain and muscle pain
  • A diagnosis of “fibromyalgia” or chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Feeling drawn to adrenal stimulants such as coffee, tea, sodas, sugar, nicotine and alcohol
  • Anxiety disorder or depression
  • Any type of tick-borne illness or disease such as Lyme disease or Bartonella

 

Obviously, adrenal complaints are no laughing matter and many of these signs and symptoms can impact not only your physical health and personal well being, but your work performance and relationships.  If you have any of these infections, signs or symptoms, you would be wise to consider testing.

What Are Your Adrenal Glands?

Your adrenal glands are tiny, triangular shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys.  They are responsible for creating and releasing hormones that help you cope with stress, reduce inflammation in the body, regulate sodium and potassium levels in the blood, and stabilize blood sugars.  Most people are familiar with cortisol and epinephrine (or “adrenaline”) as they relate to stress, but most people are not aware that these hormones impact your blood sugars and glucose metabolism as well.  Additionally, cortisol reduces inflammation, helps fight infections, and is critical at optimal levels for creating a sense of vitality and well being.

When you become stressed for any reason whether it be a difficult conversation with someone, a car accident, a stressful day at work or a situation where you may be in danger, your adrenals release epinephrine (adrenaline.)  The adrenaline hormone quickly increases your heart rate, contracts blood vessels, and dilates air passages to give you what’s commonly described as a “fight or flight reaction.”  You may experience this as feeling “super charged” ready for muscular strength or quick thinking.  Your body, in response to this hormone, will quickly burn through any available energy stores, lowering your blood sugar.  Shortly after the adrenaline release, your body will produce cortisol to increase your blood sugar in order to help your body return to homeostasis.

Of course, if you are river rafting and fall off the raft and this reaction occurs, it sets up the perfect environment for you to quickly harness energy and respond to the emergency.  However, if you are garnering this hormonal response multiple times a day due to emotional stress from family responsibilities, emotional turmoil from family dysfunctions or break ups with a partner, work stress, traffic, death of a loved one, or prolonged health problems or social crises, your adrenal glands and entire physical body will soon become exhausted.  This fight or flight reaction was not intended by mother nature to be an all day, everyday event, but intended only for use during true survival emergencies.

Modern day life and pressures set up the perfect opportunity for many people to feel chronically fatigued and “burned out.”  In fact, they are indeed in a form of burn out we diagnose as adrenal fatigue. 

How do I get tested?

Testing for your adrenal health is fairly simple, but it is important that you get the correct tests.    There are 3 ways of collecting information about your adrenal glands:

1.  Salivary Testing

2.  24 Hour Urine Testing

3.  Blood Work

 

Salivary testing:  Salivary testing is considered “The Gold Standard” with regards to adrenal testing, and we will recommend this test to anyone whom we feel may have an adrenal issue underlying their health complaints.  During the salivary test, you will collect your spit into tubes at specific times throughout the day.  Because science knows that healthy adrenals produce a reliable pattern of hormonal output during specific times of the day, this test allows us to measure how well your adrenals are functioning against a healthy standard.

Oftentimes, we can identify the reasons for insomnia or decreased energy levels during specific time periods of the day reflecting the timing of patients’ complaints.  We can also see if you are in a severe state of adrenal fatigue where cortisol levels are bottoming out throughout the day alerting us that there may be other issues going on such as a chronic infection draining the system.

It is critical on the day of the test that you do not have any caffeine and you may not use any other sublingual medications or hormones (such as melatonin, pregnenalone etc) several days prior to and of the testing.  Caffeine and sublingual medications and hormones can disrupt your test results.  It is also important that you choose a day off where you do not have to go to work or deal with any other additional stressors.

24 Hour Urine Test:  The 24 hour urine test is another test that will give us detailed information about your adrenal health.  For this test, you will literally collect all of your urine for a 24 hour time period and send a portion of it to a lab for analysis.  Similar to the salivary test, it is best to do this test on a day where you do not have to work or deal with stressful events that may alter your test results.  Additionally, caffeine use may disrupt the test results.

The 24 hour urine test will give us 24 hour totals of your adrenal hormone derivatives, but will not tell us functional patterns of your cortisol output at specific times during the day.  For most patients, we will recommend the salivary testing first.  The 24 hour urine test is one of the best ways for assessing hormonal imbalances and we often recommend it to assess for a variety of hormonal issues.

Bloodwork:  Bloodwork is the least reliable way to check your adrenals.  Nonetheless, there are some very specific tests that can be done via serum labs that cannot be done on the salivary test.  We may add some adrenal blood tests to confirm or match with the results from your salivary test.

Please call the office for any questions regarding testing.

Treatment of Adrenal Issues, Dietary Guidelines, and Supplements

Get More Sleep and RestToo little sleep causes your adrenal glands to over produce cortisol and adrenaline just to maintain normal bodily functions and energy levels that should be rejuvenated during sleep.   By resting whenever you feel tired, your body will recharge energy levels naturally rather than relying on cortisol and adrenaline to keep you going.  This would include creating a sleep schedule.  Try getting to sleep around the same time every night.  Having erratic sleep schedules that change everyday will quickly tire out your adrenals.  It is also said that sleeping between the hours of 7-9 a.m. can be particularly healing.  Whenever you get the chance, sleep in!  Sleep and rest are a critical component of healing.  You MUST figure out a way to find more time to sleep and relax.

Avoid Intense Exercise:  Intense exercise requires large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol.   Many people experiencing adrenal fatigue notice that after their work outs they feel a dramatic sense of fatigue instead of feeling energized.  If you are in adrenal fatigue, you must tone down your work outs to things like quiet walking, yoga, and gentle swims.   Intense exercise may be something you can go back to doing once you have healed.

Avoid Chemicals, Toxins, and Pesticides:  All of these things will drain your adrenals as your adrenals will attempt to reduce inflammation caused by these products.  Food must be organic, you must avoid chemical inhalents such as paint fumes, and body care products such as toothpaste and shampoos should be organic and made of natural products.  Start looking at labels and buying products that are created without chemicals.

Treat All Chronic Infections:  If you suspect that you have any chronic infection whether it be a virus like Epstein Barr, bacterial like chronic sinusitis, or a long term gut problem like candida or H Pylori, these infections must be correctly treated before you will ever recover.  Because your adrenal glands also function to reduce inflammation and improve immune function, hosting an infectious agent chronically will eventually weaken your adrenals and cause extreme fatigue.  You can take adrenal supplements, sleep, eat the perfect adrenal diet, and reduce all other external stress, but you will not heal until the infection is managed correctly.  Please come see us for testing if you suspect any type of infection.

Avoid Caffeine and Other Stimulants:  Caffeine and other stimulants such as nicotine will artificially spike your cortisol and adrenalin hormones adding an extra work-load for your adrenal glands.  This will contribute to fatigue.  Taper off slowly.  If you find that you truly cannot stop caffeine completely, reduce it to the lowest possible amount!  Your adrenals will thank you!

Avoid Alcohol, Refined Sugars and Grains:  When you drink alcohol or eat refined sugars and grains, your blood sugars rise quickly. This prompts your pancreas to release insulin to reduce your blood sugars.  When your blood sugar drops too low, your adrenals are forced to produce cortisol to bring blood sugar levels back up to normal.    This blood sugar merry-go-round is one of the contributing factors to adrenal fatigue.  To heal, your diet must eliminate most sugars, breads, grains, and packaged carbohydrates.  Alcohol is metabolized in the body and cells just like sugar, so alcohol is best eliminated for healing as well.

Include Small Amounts of Complex Carbohydrates:  While the Paleo diet is definitely a diet we recommend for many patients, people who are already in adrenal fatigue will feel miserable in the initial stages of treatment on a strict paleo diet that eliminates all carbohydrates.  Instead, people with weak adrenals will need to include a small amount of complex carbohydrates in each of their meals that are low glycemic.

Low glycemic carbohydrates will not spike blood sugars.  Instead, complex carbohydrates will slowly release a steady amount of sugar into the blood stream over several hours as the stomach breaks down the long chained food and chemical bonds.  These carbohydrates when eaten with meat, vegetables, and some healthy fat will help stabilize your blood sugars and eliminate surges and drops in sugar levels so your adrenals won’t have to work so hard at maintaining them.  Our favorite recommendations are small amounts of yams or quinoa with your meals both for their low glycemic index and for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Eat More Healthy Fats:  Including healthy fats in your diet will be very important for  adrenal healing.  In fact, healthy fats—not carbohydrates–should be your primary energy source.   In particular, you may want to include coconut oil in every meal.  Coconut oil is a medium chained fatty acid and has the very unusual property of being the only fat that your liver can turn into useable energy in the bloodstream instead of going straight to fat storage.  Therefore, while you eliminate your sugars and grains, coconut oil will help keep you from feeling fatigued.  Including healthy fats in your meals will help stabilize blood sugars, even out moods, and keep you feeling satiated.  Many experts are now concluding that having larger amounts of healthy fats in your diets and far less carbohydrates are a key to optimal health.  Adrenal health is included.  Pour on the olive oil, use coconut oil, add some avocado to your meals, and make sure all meats and poultry are organic and grass fed to avoid toxins and chemicals that will also weaken your adrenals.

Eat Lots of Greens and Healthy Salt:  Your adrenal glands produce a hormone called aldosterone that regulates sodium and potassium levels.   Many of the minerals found in deep leafy greens and in a healthy salt (such as Himalayan or sea salt) will help support your adrenal glands by avoiding highs and lows in these important nutrients.  Having healthy levels of salt is actually critical to adrenal recovery with some experts recommending having warm water with a teaspoon of sea salt 2-3 times per day as part of their adrenal treatment plan.  Cook up your greens and heap on the salt!

Supplements and Support:  There are a wide variety of bio-identical hormones and supplements that may help you overcome adrenal fatigue—too many to fully discuss here.   After testing, we can prescribe the correct dose and combination of supplements that fit your health needs.   Please click HERE to log into your account with our office.  Once you log in you can set up an appointment to discuss which one’s might be right for you, or call the office at (415)383-9903.

Stress Management

Stress management will be a crucial piece to your healing, and it is something we cannot do for you.   While we can certainly recommend lifestyle changes, medications and supplements to support your adrenal glands, in the end, learning to handle stress effectively and arranging your life to be less stressful may be the central task for long-term wellness and healing.

Meditation and BreathingResearch has shown us that meditation and breathing exercises can greatly improve stress responses and common health problems such as anxiety, insomnia, and fatigue.   They do not have to take up huge amounts of time in your day to be effective.  For example, the simple exercise of taking 3 deep, slow belly breaths can change your day right in that moment. Learning to get in touch with some of these techniques will be very important as you learn to control your emotional and stress responses.

Dr. Andrew Weil MD, whom you may be familiar with, has been a pioneer in integrative health for decades.  He has long been a proponent of teaching patients (and their healthcare providers) breathing exercises to improve health and is emphatic that food, sleep, and supplements are not enough to stay healthy.  In fact, meditation and breath work are mandatory for the Physicians and Nurse Practitioners he trains at his integrative medical school in Arizona.   Here is a link to his introduction to breathing exercises from his website: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00520/breathing-basics.html

Dr. Deepak Chopra, also likely someone you are familiar with, stands at the forefront of bringing meditation practices to the masses.   You may have heard of his and Oprah’s “21 Day Meditation Challenges” which are short, free, and intended to bring beginning meditators “into the fold” by creating 12-15 minute daily guided meditations that anyone can do.  To register so that you will be alerted to their next 21 day challenge, click this link: www.chopracentermeditation.com and click “register” at the top right.

There are thousands of internet sites devoted to meditation and spiritual practices.  We are fortunate in the Bay Area to have multiple Buddhist and Zen centers dedicated to teaching meditation that often offer free weekly meditations and meditation trainings to the public.  Spirit Rock is one in Woodacre:  www.spiritrock.org.   For other places closer to you, enter in your google search tool “zen center” and any city, and multiple centers with calendars and events will show in your browser.

We recommend everyone start to integrate breath work or a meditation practice into your health regimen even if for just a few minutes or even seconds each day!

Reducing Stress and Anxiety:  While breathing exercises and/or meditation will be helpful, other things you may need to revise to heal are your work schedules, your living spaces and your relationships.  You will not fully heal until you manage the physical and emotional realities causing your adrenal fatigue.

For example, is your apartment full of mold?  This physical stressor demands a move.  You may never feel well regardless of supplements, food and breathing techniques if you are constantly exposed to this physical toxin.

Are you fighting with your partner?  Maybe some marriage counseling is something that is finally necessary.  Chronic emotional stress such as this will keep your adrenals weak.

Are you having problems at work?  What can you do to make it tolerable?

We literally have had patients that have had to change jobs, move to a different location, or get a divorce to get healthy.  These are extreme cases.  For most of you, there will be strategies and ways you can reduce stress in your day to day life without taking such extreme measures.

Start today by taking a pen and paper and writing down all the things impacting your adrenal glands and nervous system.  Brainstorm solutions and start implementing whichever ones you can.

Concluding Remarks

Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common health problems we see in the office.   If you are undergoing a stressful time in your life or are having some of the symptoms we have listed in this article, please do not wait for the fatigue or other related health problems to get worse.   We can help.   If you feel that you need testing, retesting, or an assessment, please do not hesitate to call us for a full analysis!  Stop suffering and waiting for your health to get worse.  Get the help that you need.  Moreover, whether you are well or feeling fatigued, implement some of these adrenal supporting strategies today and protect your vitality!

Written by Marya Grosse, FNP

Nurse Practitioner at Morgan Camp, MD & Associates