Friday, June 26, 2009

Are you dehydrated?

Water is something that doesn't get much media attention. Most people do not drink enough water to support their body functions on a daily basis, and in the heat, it's even more important to get an adequate intake of fluids. Your body is constantly losing fluids through normal body functions like breathing, sweating etc. If you drink caffeine or take medicine that causes you to urinate frequently you are even more susceptible to heat related illness.

One way to know if you are starting to get dehydrated is to pay attention to your lips. If you find yourself licking your lips frequently, or if they start to get chapped you could be dehydrated. Normally by the time your body tells you to drink water, it is already feeling the effects of being low on fluids. You should keep a water supply available all the time, but when its hot out you need to be drinking frequently. The recommended daily amount of water is generally 8-9 glasses of water a day for adults during normal activity. Excessive sweating, public speaking, frequent urination and health concerns can change this amount depending on your situation.

If you are doing out door activities you need to make sure you are hydrated before you begin. During the time you are outside you should drink a glass of water about every 20 minutes. Even if you are not thirsty. Children need to be sure to consume water frequently while playing sports, of course they don't need as much as an adult. Children should have about a half a glass every 20 minutes. Sports drinks are popular choices for hydration because they have electrolytes in them, but remember they also may contain high amounts of sugar, sodium or caffiene. Be sure to choose your drinks carefully.

Signs of dehydration are...

  • Dry lips and tongue, sticky feeling
  • Headache
  • Weakness, dizziness, or extreme fatigue
  • Urine that appears darker than normal
  • Nausea
  • Cramps

If you experience these symptoms you should drink water, and be sure to keep drinking plenty of water until all symptoms go away. Don't flood your system with water, because too much water can make you feel nauseated and it can deplete your electrolyte balance. You should have a light snack, including some complex carbohydrates and protein, if you consume large amounts of water.

If you notice someone has stopped sweating, is dizzy or seems disoriented please seek medical attention immediately.

More information is available at these websites.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Should I Take a Multi-Vitamin?

Vitamins and minerals are, of course, best absorbed when they come from our food. The digestive enzymes in our saliva and stomach start breaking down the food we eat as-soon-as it hits our mouth. The digestive process breaks down bites of food into small chemical parts that are picked up by the blood stream and delivered to the correct locations. A healthy individual who eats a balanced diet, with a variety of foods, typically can absorb everything they need from their food. What happens, though, when someone doesn't eat a variety, or their body isn't processing something exactly the way it should?

Food sensitivities
Occasionally, a specific food becomes unrecognizable by your bodies digestive system as a food substance. After your partially digested food enters your small intestines, tiny bacteria and other chemicals go to work breaking down the components and determine what each tiny piece is. If a broken down food is not recognized as food, the body deems it as an invader and attacks it. Gluten is a good example of a food substance that many people are not able to digest. When gluten is introduced to the intestinal tract and it is recognized as a foreign substance instead of a food, it causes an inflammatory response in the body. This can over time cause a plethora of symptoms, including auto-immune disease, and eventually mal-nutrition. To simplify this process, your body is spending so much time fighting off "the gluten*", that it has a harder time processing other foods too. This chain reaction can cause "leaky-gut" syndrome, allergic responses such-as eczema or migraines, and many other problems. To complicate the process even further, if this food sensitivity is causing an inability to absorb foods, guess what? Your body cannot absorb the nutrients in that food!

If someone has an illness that causes the body to use more of a specific vitamin or mineral than a healthy person, that person may need to supplement vitamins and minerals to make up for the deficiency. The other side of the coin is, if someone has an illness like Wilsons Disease which is a condition where the body can not properly handle copper, they may need other nutrients to help the body deal with the excess copper in the liver and other organs. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can cause toxicity which, if left untreated, can cause organ damage and even death in some cases.

Poor diet
Do you eat the proper amounts of fruits and vegetables? Have you looked at the Food Pyramid lately? You can visit the webpage here . Eating a balanced diet, for example: the proper amounts of food in the correct quantities & a variety of foods from all of the food groups, is the best way to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. If a person eats a large amount of one food, and not eating other foods, they are not providing the body with enough variety to extract the vitamins & minerals they need. For example: Joe loves cheeseburgers. Of his three meals a day at least one or maybe 2 of them are cheeseburgers and fries. He is getting protein from the meat, but probably more fat and cholesterol than he needs. He may be getting some vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, lettuce etc. French fries technically do not count as a vegetable. Potatoes are more starch than vegetable based, and they are high on the glycemic index. They are also deep-fat fried which adds more fat to his diet. Even if he eats a healthy breakfast, he is coming in very short on his dietary needs. He is not receiving enough calcium, vitamin's A, B complex, C, E, K or many other required vitamins and minerals. Not to mention his dietary fiber is very low. If he continues to eat this way for an extended period he can become mal-nourished due to a lack of variety in his diet. Another example is someone who chooses to eat only vegetables. Vegetarians often do not receive the proper amount of vitamins from the vegetables and fruits they eat, and they must make sure to get protein and fat from non-animal sources, they too, can suffer from shortages in vitamins and minerals.

Many people choose to supplement with one or more nutrients rather than taking a multi-vitamin. This can be beneficial if you are careful to make sure that you are using the proper dosages, and getting support from the other vitamins and minerals that are required for proper break down of these nutrients. For example: Calcium requires magnesium, in a specific ratio, in order to be absorbed. If you do not have enough magnesium the calcium is not broken down and therefore, is not used as calcium. Specific B vitamins and folic acid must be taken with a complete B vitamin source to be effective. There are many other vitamins and minerals that work together to provide the body with proper nutrition. If you are supplementing with one vitamin or mineral, you may want to check with your health professional to see if you have enough of the other required vitamins and minerals to ensure it will have the desired effect.

In Conclusion
As you can see, it takes some knowledge and care to ensure that you are receiving the proper nutrients from your diet. For many people a multi-vitamin from a good source, which is proven to provide the correct amounts of vitamins and minerals in a form that can be used by the body, is a great way to make sure their body is functioning at its optimum level. Many nutrients do require the assistance of other vitamins and minerals to do their jobs properly, if you are unsure of how to balance supplementation, a multi-vitamin may be the best way to supplement. In the case of specific deficiency states for example; subclinical/clinical scurvy, subclinical/clinical rickets, diabetes mellitus etc., specific individual supplements of vitamins and minerals may be required.

If you want to know more about how your body uses the vitamins and minerals in your food or supplements, speak to a health care professional that practices functional, naturopathic or holistic medicine. They will be happy to explain how it works, and can recommend proper supplements for you on an individual basis. We as humans are all different, we have different eating and exercise habits, and we each have different nutrition requirements depending on our level of health. If you take responsibility for your own health, you will find that you live a longer, healthier, life.

*Gluten is just one of many common food sensitivities that are commonly experienced. Many people have difficulty digesting cows milk, wheat, yeast and other common foods. Any time the body senses something does not belong, it treats it as an enemy and attacks it. This attack is what causes an immune response. Continued ingestion of a food that your body sees as a non-food will eventually cause undesirable symptoms and health concerns.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Are you taking a break?

Did you know that many people skip their breaks at work? Most employers encourage their employees to take a 10 minute break in the morning and afternoon as-well-as a 1/2 hour to an hour lunch-break. Many workers claim that they do not need a break, or they work better if they just keep going. Some claim that they are too busy to take a break.

Breaks are good for you for a few different reasons.
  1. They allow your brain to clear and reset.
  2. They get your blood flowing, if you get up from your desk.
  3. If you go outdoors you are absorbing sunlight, which increases your vitamin D production.
  4. They allow your muscles to relax and for you to use different muscles for a short time.

Did you know that sitting for long periods of time is not only bad for your circulation, but your blood consistency? Your liver produces a chemical that keeps your blood the correct viscosity. If you sit for extended periods, such-as a long car ride or plane trip, you add to your risk of forming a blood clot, because this chemical is not getting to the blood in your lower extremities.

So if you are one of those people that sits at your desk, or takes your break while working or balancing your checkbook, think about the benefits of that 10 minute break. Absorb some vitamin D(you need 10-15 minutes every other day), walk for 10 minutes (get part of your 200 minutes a week of exercise), climb the stairs a few times, chat with a co-worker, relax and think about what you will do on your vacation. Those 10 little minutes are yours, you should use them for yourself.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

Have you been to the doctor lately and asked them to help you find out what is constantly plaguing you? Why are you so tired, or bloated, or can't stop gaining weight? Maybe you have packed on a few pounds and just can't seem to lose it no matter what you do? Have trouble going or staying asleep? Feel tired even with a good nights sleep? Feel great most of the day, but find that you have a dip in your energy level in the middle of the afternoon?

Some people say that they know there is something wrong, but their doctor or doctors just can't seem to run enough tests to find exactly what it is that is making them feel so off. If your doctor has told you that there isn't anything wrong with you, or "come back in 3 months", maybe there is a hidden cause for your concerns. Click on the link within this email or go to our website and take the self-evaluation. You could be one of many Americans that suffer from adrenal fatigue.

What is adrenal fatigue? In a nut shell, it means your adrenal system is wearing itself out.

We are all born with a fight or flight response that kicks in the cortisol in your blood to fuel your body in times of emergency and excess stress, and to fight inflammation. This worked great for cave men because the only stresses in their lives were running from a predator and finding food and shelter. Welcome to the 21st century, where everything is stressful. We run to the store, we run the kids to school, we race to work, speed down the highways dodging vehicles full of overly stressed drivers and sometimes barely make it home to our busy families alive. We eat refined sugars, and processed foods, drink too much caffeine and sugar which causes inflammation in our bodies. We rarely get the necessary nutrients for our bodies to digest our food properly let alone enough to ensure that all of our body systems are running at their optimum levels. We are overworking our bodys' ability to deal with all of these daily stresses. No wonder many adults suffer from adrenal fatigue.

How do you know if you are one of these people? See the list below of 10 persons who should have their adrenals tested. This adrenal test is not a blood test. It is a simple saliva test that is examined in a laboratory to determine your levels of specific hormones and other markers.
  1. chronic pain

  2. fatigue

  3. depression

  4. insomnia or trouble falling or staying asleep, or being wide awake when you should be sleeping

  5. hormone therapy (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, DHEA etc.)

  6. perimenopause, or before starting HRT

  7. Endometriosis, PMS, or menstral complaints like migraines

  8. infertility, or miscarriage

  9. weight loss problems... those pounds you just can't lose!

  10. thyroid issues - medicated or non-medicated

If you or someone you know has one or more of these symptoms please call our clinic for a screening. You can also visit our website for a self-evaluation .

Optimal health can be attained with proper nutrition, exercise and the right supplementation. Our bodies require specific nutrients to rebuild bone & tissue and to ward off infections & disease. Over time, if we are lacking in certain nutrients our bodies defenses and rebulding abilities are weakened. This imbalance can be defined and corrected with diagnostic testing along with proper dietary and supplemental changes. Don't settle for just being tired, stressed out or just feeling old. Gain control of your health and get your life back! Getting old is natural, but being sick is not.