Cholesterol: Myths & Truths

Cholesterol: Myths & Truths

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. If you have too much cholesterol in your blood, it can combine with other substances in the blood to form plaque which sticks to the walls of your arteries.

In our bodies, cholesterol serves three main purposes:

  • It aids in the production of sex hormones.
  • It’s a building block for human tissues.
  • It assists in bile production in the liver.

 

 

Myth: Cholesterol is BAD

Truth: Cholesterol is Necessary

There are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol to and from cells—low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

  • HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein. It is called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body. Your liver then removes the excess cholesterol from your body.
  • LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein. It is called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. There are two types of LDL cholesterol; fluffy and dense. Dense LDL is actually the one that is more harmful.

 

What causes high cholesterol?

The most common causes of high cholesterol are your genetics and living an unhealthy lifestyle. This can include:

  • Unhealthy eating habits, such as eating lots of bad fats and sugar. Trans fat is in some fried and processed foods. Eating these fats can raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Lack of physical activity, with lots of sitting and little exercise. This lowers your HDL (good) cholesterol.
  • Smoking lowers HDL cholesterol, especially in women. It also raises your LDL cholesterol.
  • Genetics play a bigger role in your cholesterol than your diet does, as your genetics impact how effectively your liver regulates cholesterol to a healthy level.

 

 

Myth: You Should Eat as Little Cholesterol as Possible

Truth: You Should Eat Good Quality Saturated Fats

Healthy, cholesterol-rich foods are actually good for your body. Good quality saturated fat is healthful, it can be found in some meats, fish, eggs & dairy products. Most of your cholesterol is produced from within the body, so foods with cholesterol aren’t likely to transform your body’s cholesterol levels. Therefore, eating cholesterol-rich foods may not affect the cholesterol that’s already in your bloodstream.

 

Focus on eating foods with good fats, and avoid foods with high levels of trans fats, which raise your LDL cholesterol and lower your HDL cholesterol. Foods with high levels of trans fats include:

  • Sweet pastries, such as cake, donuts and cookies
  • Sugar
  • Fried food
  • Margarine
  • Processed & packaged foods
  • Fast foods

These foods may contribute to obesity, which can increase your risk of heart disease and other health conditions.

Foods with healthy fats that can lower LDL and raise your HDL cholesterol include:

  • Olive oil
  • Legumes and beans
  • Nuts
  • Fatty fish
  • Whole grains
  • Avocado
  • Grass fed meats
  • Eggs

 

Myth: High Cholesterol Causes Heart Disease & Heart Attacks

Truth: Inflammation Causes Heart Disease & Heart Attacks

Multiple studies show that people with heart disease or those who experience heart attacks often have normal cholesterol levels. Rather, your triglycerides to HDL cholesterol ratio may play a role in increasing or decreasing your risk for heart disease.

More so than cholesterol, inflammation plays a bigger role in causing heart disease. When the lining of your arteries is injured, it becomes inflamed. With repeated injury, LDL cholesterol can get trapped, creating a dangerous buildup that can turn into plaque. Inflammation is caused by sugar, poor diets, lack of exercise, lack of nutrients, & a stressful lifestyle.

 

Digestive Dysfunction

Digestive Dysfunction

More than 100 million Americans have digestive problems including issues like irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, reflux, gas etc. Most of us (including most traditional doctors) do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, playing a part in allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.

The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out. It is directly linked to the health of your whole body. Intestinal health could be defined as the optimal digestion, absorption, and assimilation of food.

Acid Reflux & GERD

Acid reflux is the backward flow of stomach acid into the esophagus — the tube that connects the throat and stomach. During an episode of acid reflux, you may taste regurgitated food or sour liquid at the back of your mouth or feel a burning sensation in your chest (heartburn). Sometimes acid reflux progresses to GERD, a more severe form of reflux. The most common symptom of GERD is frequent heartburn.

The most popular medical solution for acid reflux is taking antacids, which disrupt the natural stomach acid needed to digest properly, absorb vitamins and minerals, and keep harmful overgrowth of bacteria in check.

What causes acid reflux:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee
  • Eating too late at night
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Fiber
  • Smoking
  • Lack of exercise
  • Food sensitivities

Natural solutions:

  • Add 1tsp raw apple cider vinegar (with “the mother”) to water, tea or smoothie in the morning. This will help boost the immune system, aid digestion, and decrease the number of bad gut bacteria that cause acid reflux.
  • Fennel seeds can help relax the stomach. Try steeping some crushed fennel seeds in boiling water to make a tea and sip it after a meal.
  • Aloe vera is a natural anti-inflammatory that can soothe an inflamed esophagus and stomach lining. Mix & drink 2oz aloe with 8oz of coconut water 15 minutes before eating.
  • Ginger is great for digestion and nausea. Try drinking some ginger tea whenever acid reflux strikes.
  • Peppermint is great for an upset stomach and all digestive disorders.
  • Sleeping in a more upright position and not eating 2 hours before bed.
  • Eat smaller meals.

 

Autoimmune Issues

The rise of autoimmune-related diseases can be attributed to a lot of factors, including the use of pesticides, toxins in our air and water, overuse of medications, chronic viral infections, mold exposure, chronic stress, and genetics, but the most important factor in the standard American diet (SAD). High in fast foods, carbohydrates, and genetically modified ingredients and low in fiber, vegetables, and antioxidants, the SAD isn’t doing us any favors when it comes to our weight, inflammation levels, or the health of our gut.

The gut is known as our second brain, and when the permeability of the gut lining has been altered, this allows toxins, bacteria, and foreign substances like food and antigens to enter the blood stream, causing something called “leaky gut.”

Leaky gut symptoms:

  • Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Poor immune system
  • Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Skin rashes and problems like acne, eczema or rosacea
  • Cravings for sugar and carbs
  • Arthritis or joint pain
  • Depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD
  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Chron’s

How to heal:

  • Healthy diet & eliminate foods that cause inflammation or trigger allergies/sensitives.
  • Avoid over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Aleve, Motrin etc.
  • Avoid OTC acid reflux products like Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids etc.
  • Avoid excessive & unnecessary antibiotic use.
  • Getting enough probiotic foods like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, kombucha & yogurt.
  • Bone broth: the lysine, glycine, and collagen in bone broth all help repair the gut lining, which will improve the immune system over time.

 

Candida & Yeast Overgrowth

Candida is a yeast, a very small amount of which lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption, but when it is overproduced it can lead to many different health problems. The healthy or “good” bacteria in your gut typically keeps your candida levels in check, however these following factors can cause candida to get out of hand:

  • High carb diets
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Fermented foods
  • Medications
  • Chronic stress
  • Autoimmune diseases treated with immunosuppressants

Once candida has penetrated your intestinal lining and caused “leaky gut”, undigested food particles, toxins, viruses and bacteria can pass through your intestinal wall into your bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response from your immune system to try to fight off the “invaders”. Your immune system will continue to send out “invaders”, soon becoming stressed, weakened, confused, and less accurate.

Common candida symptoms:

  • Skin and nail fungal infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm and toenail fungus
  • Chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Digestive issues like bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  • Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, brain fog
  • Skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, hives and rashes
  • Irritability, mood swings, anxiety or depression
  • Vaginal infections, urinary tract infections, rectal or vaginal itching
  • Severe seasonal allergies
  • Strong sugar and carb cravings

How to stop the overgrowth:

  • Remove all foods that feed the candida including sugar, alcohol, and limiting carbs like fruit, starchy vegetables, grains and legumes
  • Taking whole food supplements
  • Repopulate your gut with good bacteria

 

Do you or someone you know suffer from digestive problems? Give us a call at 410-717-6610 to set up a free 15 minute phone consultation!

INSTANT POT RAFFLE!

INSTANT POT RAFFLE!

We have officially started our raffle for one lucky patient to win an INSTANT POT! There are many different & easy ways to get your name into the contest, and you can have multiple entries too! A winner will be chosen just before Thanksgiving.

All you have to do is:

  • Refer someone who becomes a new patient
  • Post a testimonial (written or video) on your Facebook and tag Dr. Lisa
  • Post a picture of you and Dr. Lisa on Facebook (tag her too!)
  • Share one of Dr. Lisa’s Facebook videos on your page
  • Bring a guest to a health talk (one entry for each guest)
  • Write us a google review

Acid Reflux, what it is and what to do about it.

How many people do you know who take acid reducing medications? You may take them yourself or have a family member who does.

 

It usually starts with discomfort after eating. Maybe it feels like heartburn, a burning feeling in your stomach that eventually becomes moderately or severely painful in your chest or back or even in your neck and head. The symptoms can be frightening and makes some people wonder if they are having a heart attack. Maybe you’ve had this, and you figured it wasn’t a heart attack so you took Tums or some other over the counter antacid. The logic is fairly linear–because the pain is burning and acidic, decreasing the acid seems to be the thing that will help the pain go away. And when it happens again, you take the antacid again, and again. You make a list of foods that cause it and do your best to avoid them. But because of its frequency you may find yourself wondering “what food could it possibly be this time?” The pain continues and eventually it starts affecting your ability to participate in aspects of your life. It makes it hard to go out to eat with your friends, and it might even be difficult to plan meals at home.  

Acid reflux is when stomach acid travels from your stomach back up into your esophagus, causing burning pain. The medical approach of symptom reduction is the prescription for even stronger acid reducers. But these prescriptions are only meant for temporary use. In some cases, when the prescriptions stop reducing the reflux,  it is likely that a doctor will recommend surgery. Many people stay on the medications year after year, which is dangerous. 

So let’s take an alternate look at this whole problem. Let’s look at how the stomach works and what goes wrong to cause acid reflux.

When digestion goes well, after you chew your food, it travels down your esophagus, a valve opens and your food goes into your stomach where it breaks down into smaller pieces with the help of strong stomach acid. It then goes through another valve into your small intestine where it gets absorbed so your body can use the nutrition you have just fed yourself. The valve that opens to allow the broken down food out of your stomach and into your small intestine only opens when the stomach contents are at a certain level of acidity.  

There are a couple of ways that this system can go wrong.

The first is that there can be a hiatal hernia, a weakness of the area around the valve at the top of the stomach. In most cases, that problem can be handled by particular chiropractic techniques.

And the second is that there is too little acid in the stomach. We tend to lose the acid in our stomachs as we get older and so the food that we eat doesn’t get digested properly (the scientific name for the condition is hypochlorhydria). This causes the food to sit in the stomach longer than it is meant to, and go back up into the esophagus when it should be going downward into the small intestine, especially when a hiatal hernia is also present It is like your sink backing up when the pipes aren’t clear. Remember, the stomach needs to be at a certain level of acidity in order for the valve at the bottom of the stomach to open and allow the food to leave the stomach and continue down the digestive tract into the small intestine.

If there isn’t enough acid in the stomach, then reflux occurs.

If food doesn’t break down in the stomach due to low stomach acid, it doesn’t make it onto the small intestine in a form that is absorbable, the nutrition in the food doesn’t get into the organs and cells, and the end result is malnourishment of the body. And since our organs need nutrients to function well, we end up with organ dysfunction and illness.

So what is the solution? Correcting the acidity of the stomach with specific supplements, or even in some cases, something as simple as using apple cider vinegar (the kind that say “with the mother” on the label), improving the diet and correcting the hiatal hernia using noninvasive techniques works in almost all the cases I have treated in my practice.

Since the side effects of the medications are serious and dangerous, and since no two bodies are exactly the same, it makes sense to find out exactly why YOU have acid reflux and do what YOUR body needs in order to get better without drugs or surgery.

Call 410-717-6610 to make your appointment to start handling your digestive troubles naturally.

Tips for staying safe in the heat.

It looks beautiful outside but it is extremely hot, and it is important that you take precautions not to overheat. Here are some tips to keep you safe and avoid overheating.

1. If you can stay inside, that is best. Find some indoor activities such as reading, doing yoga, dancing in the living room, making a lovely salad, enjoying something you’ve always wanted to watch, writing about your ideal scene for a goal you have or the life you are working toward living, or playing a board game with friends or family.

2. If you do outdoor activities, be sure to stay hydrated. Some people choose high sugar sports drinks to keep their electrolytes balanced. Sugar is dehydrating as well as creating a stress on your pancreas and adrenal glands and inflaming your body. (Notice the word flame in inflame. There is heat involved with inflammation.) A better option is to prepare a big pitcher or water bottle with a small pinch of good salt like sea salt of Himalayan salt (salt that has natural minerals in it) and a big slice of lemon or lime.

MY PERSONAL RECIPE: I like to put a pinch of my favorite salt, Herbamare or a good unprocessed salt along with the juice of half a lime or lemon into my 24 oz water bottle and I might drink 3 or 4 of those bottles a day when I am out in the heat.

3. Wear loose lightweight and light colored clothing. Darker clothing absorbs heat and light colored clothing keeps you a little cooler. Natural fibers like cotton, linen and silk allow your body to breath better than synthetic fibers. A light hat with a brim is a good idea as well.

4. Sweating is normal unless it is excessive. It is your body’s way of maintaining a healthy body temperature. If you stop sweating, it means your body is much too hot, and you may be dangerously dehydrated. You need to get inside, drink more water, take a cool (not cold) shower and rest. Heavy sweating along with muscle cramps mean your body is too hot. If you feel cold and clammy, or have goosebumps with the sweating, it is time to get out of the heat and get hydrated. If someone passes out or if you are worried, call 911. Heatstroke is very dangerous and occurs when the body approaches 104 degrees. Better safe than sorry.

5. Check on each other. Make sure the people you are with are drinking water and feeling good, not lightheaded or faint.

6. Avoid heavy exercise outside when it is very hot. Plan your outdoor exercise early in the morning or later when the temperature goes down.

7. Avoid drinking alcohol, which diminishes your body’s ability to regulate heat and dehydrates you further.

8. For every cup of coffee you drink you need to add an extra glass of water. Caffeine is dehydrating.

9. Check on your family, friends and elderly neighbors. Make sure they are keeping cool and drinking water too.

10. Make sure your pets are safe as well. Their paws can burn on hot pavement, and they need to stay hydrated as well.

With much love,
Dr. Lisa

You are amazing! Is joint pain keeping you from your best active self?

Do you remember when you could do anything you wanted to do and nothing hurt? When did knees and ankles and hips and shoulders and so on start to hurt, and why can’t you recover as you used to? I don’t like it when people say they are just getting old. People say that to me at all ages. What I say is this: it isn’t necessary to become immobile as we get older, to hurt all the time or to feel that you shouldn’t take that hike, run that 5K or even that marathon, sit on the floor with your children or grandchildren, spend the day at a museum, walk around the lake, travel to that wonderful place you have dreamed of. It is so disappointing to imagine that those things are not possible, and there are things that can be done to allow you to feel much better. I do understand. I am 61 years old and I can’t believe it. I feel like I am 37, or even 27. And my body sometimes does betray me, but I am a stubborn woman, and I still want to be active. And as a chiropractor and natural health care provider, I want to help you stay active too (it might be good to have a determined stubborn doctor in your corner rooting for you). If you are less active than you want to be, with baby steps, I believe that you can become more involved in the activities you love, or even take up new activities. So come join me to talk about these things, see how to have more energy and less pain and get back to living your amazing life!