Top 8 Health Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids are some of the most important nutrients you can put in your body. Not only are they extremely anti-inflammatory, but they actually make up some of the most important structures of your body like your brain and nervous system. Not getting enough in your diet increases your risk of many chronic illnesses so it is important that you understand the benefits of omega 3 fats.

This is something that if someone asks me, “Hey what are the MOST important supplements to take on a daily basis?” I absolutely recommend. Along with things like magnesium, Vitamin D, clean water, and an anti-inflammatory diet; omega 3 absolutely cannot be overlooked.

Types of Omega 3

Omega 3 fatty acids are what is characterized as long-chain fatty acids.  The 4 main types of these are ALA, DPA, EPA, and DHA. We are going to primarily focus on EPA and DHA as they are most commonly deficient while being the most important for overall health.

EPA and DHA are derived from mother’s milk, algae, fish, and grass -fed meat products. EPA and DHA can be synthesized in the body from ALA, however it is a very inefficient process and can put excess stress on the liver. ALA is derived from plant sources of omega 3 such as green plants, flax, chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds & walnuts.

Omega 3 & Omega 6

As with many things in the body, fats are the most beneficial when consumed in proper ratios. When talking about omega 3, the most important balance to consider is omega 3 fats in relation to omega 6 fats. Omega 6 fats are important for inflammatory processes in the body, however consuming too much in relation to omega 3 can become excessively inflammatory.

This inflammatory imbalance between omega 3 to omega 6 is extremely common in today’s society. For many other reasons, chronic inflammatory diseases are at an all-time high. This makes it imperative that you start employing anti-inflammatory nutrition and lifestyle principles. Increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids is an important step in this process.

Cellular Health

One of the most important roles of omega 3 fat intake is that our cells actually need these fats in order to function properly. Every cell in the body is made up of a combination of cholesterol, saturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats.

The saturated fats and cholesterol help to maintain the structural integrity of the cell membrane while polyunsaturated fats allow fluidity. This fluidity is important for the transportation of materials, cellular communication, and other processes that occur across the cell membrane.

You may not have known this but the polyunsaturated fats that make up part of our cell membranes are actually the omega 3 fats EPA and DHA (1).

Fights Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety have been associated with something called neuroinflammation. This just means inflammation in the brain. Because increasing omega 3 intake can be highly anti-inflammatory, this could make it an important consideration in anxiety and depression.

Additionally, there have been several studies demonstrating the effectiveness of EPA and DHA in mitigating depressive symptoms (2).

Finally, there is some evidence showing that lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids are correlated with higher levels of corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) which is normally released in response to stress. Chronically elevated CRH due to inadequate omega 3 intake could contribute to depressive or anxious feelings (3, 4).

Improves Sleep

Some preliminary evidence from a study published by Oxford in 2014 suggests that higher levels of dietary omega 3 intake are associated with lower instances of insomnia and less interruptions in sleep (5).

Considering the anti-depressive and anxiolytic effects mentioned above, it is realistic that omega 3 fatty acids may help one get a better night of sleep.

Another factor to consider is that chronic inflammation can have a detrimental impact on sleep quality due to increased levels of circulating stress hormones. Omega 3 intake can help to mitigate inflammation and improve sleep by lowering associated stress hormones.

Improves Eye Health

DHA is particularly important for development and maintenance of eye health. DHA is found in high amounts in the retina where it plays important roles in maintaining photoreceptor membrane integrity and ensuring optimal production of vision through light transmission (6).

Inadequate omega 3 intake has also been associated with conditions of dry eyes and poor eye structure development in children.

Finally, low intake of omega 3 is associated with increased rates of macular degeneration and retinopathy. Dietary carotenoids are also incredibly important for protecting your eyes from degeneration as illustrated below.

Strengthens Immunity

Poor immune function is often a result of chronic inflammation. Especially in cases of autoimmunity (overactive immune system), targeting underlying inflammation is extremely important for improving immune function. Increasing your intake of omega 3 fats is critical for this process.

In fact, a study performed on children up to the age of 3 showed that adequate DHA early in life is important for lowering instances of allergies and upper respiratory infections (7).

Promotes Brain Health During Pregnancy

Omega 3 fatty acids, particularly DHA, are incredibly important for the development of healthy brain tissue. Adequate omega 3 intake has been shown to provide benefits such as improved cognition, lowered stroke risk, improved cerebral blood flow, improved ADD/ADHD symptoms, reduced migraines, and decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

As you can see, DHA intake is always important for ongoing brain health. It is critical that DHA needs are met during the developmental stages of a child’s life, particularly in the womb. As the brain undergoes rapid development, the mother will actually shed excess DHA stores in the body in order to support her child. If there is not enough, the child’s development may be significantly inhibited.

Improves Bone & Joint Health

Adequate omega 3 intake is important for optimal bone health. Like several of the conditions listed so far, poor bone health is associated with chronic inflammatory conditions in the body. This is the first and most foundational benefit of increasing omega 3 intake for bone health.

Additionally, omega 3 intake may improve bone health by helping to regulate calcium balance and osteoblast activity. Mostly animal-based studies point towards the importance of DHA for bone health (8).

Supports Heart Health

Once again, fish oil’s ability to mitigate inflammation has a powerful impact on the development and progression of cardiovascular diseases. One of the primary heart conditions, calcification of the arteries, is heavily influenced by inflammation and improper calcium metabolism.

As has been mentioned briefly, adequate omega 3 intake helps to promote healthy calcium metabolism. The anti-inflammatory benefits of omega 3 fats further promote heart health by helping to prevent the oxidation of the artery lining and cholesterol.

Studies have shown that fish oil can lower the risk of dying from a coronary heart disease event. Omega 3 fats also improve cholesterol, triglyceride values, and may help to lower blood pressure in some cases.

Fights Inflammation

If you have not noticed by now, one of the most fundamental benefits of increasing your intake of omega 3 fats is that profound anti-inflammatory effect. Because inflammation is at the root of almost all chronic diseases of modern times, this benefit is highly sought after.

For any of my patients who are suffering from a chronic disease and struggling to get well, increasing omega 3 intake is always a core strategy.

Studies have shown that a higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids can prevent or at least slow the progression of many chronic inflammatory disorders such as autoimmunity or neurological disorders. My experience working with people is that this strategy can be very beneficial.

Best Food Sources

Now that you understand the many benefits of increasing your intake of omega 3 fats, it’s time to learn the best sources. First and foremost, getting plenty of EPA and DHA from food-based sources such as wild-caught fish and algae grown in a clean-controlled environment, is the absolute best.

Some of the top sources include sockeye salmon, sardines, mackerel, and algae. There can be some conversion of ALA into DHA from foods like walnuts, flax, and chia. Conversion of ALA into DHA is typically not enough to reach optimal levels however.

Best Supplements

In addition to consuming fish or high DHA algae on a regular basis, it can be helpful to take an omega 3 supplement concentrated from fish or algae if you are a vegetarian/vegan. For therapeutic applications, taking in about 2-4 grams of omega 3 from EPA and DHA can be very beneficial.

It is in this range that I have noticed my clients get significant improvements in inflammatory markers and they notice other improvements in their overall wellbeing.

Nordic Naturals is my number one brand as they are concentrated and are held to extremely high-quality standards. For everyday use, Pro Omega or Pro EFA are my go-to choices. For people dealing with significant inflammatory conditions, Pro Omega CRP is one of the most effective supplements I have discovered.

Summary

Omega 3 fatty acids are vital to your health and wellbeing. Every single cell in your body and especially the tissues of your brain require omega 3 fatty acids in order to function properly. The two most important that are often deficient in people today are EPA and DHA which can be derived from fish and certain types of algae.

Daily intake of omega 3 fats should range from 1 gram daily (daily maintenance) up to 3-4 grams per day for significant health challenges rooted in chronic inflammation.  It is important to be sure you get a high quality purified fish oil that has removed any possible contaminants and is in the triglyceride form for optimal absorption.  This is why I really like the Nordic Naturals brand.

Sources For This Article Include

1. Valentine, R. C., & Valentine, D. L. (2004). Omega-3 fatty acids in cellular membranes: A unified concept. Progress in Lipid Research. PMID: 15458813
2. Grosso, G., Pajak, A., Marventano, S., Castellano, S., Galvano, F., Bucolo, C., … Caraci, F. (2014). Role of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of depressive disorders: A comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. PLoS ONE, 9(5). PMID: 24805797
3. Nieminen, L. R. G., Makino, K. K., Mehta, N., Virkkunen, M., Kim, H. Y., & Hibbeln, J. R. (2006). Relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and plasma neuroactive steroids in alcoholism, depression and controls. Prostaglandins Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids, 75(4–5), 309–314. PMID: 16959481
4. Lang, U. E., & Borgwardt, S. (2013). Molecular mechanisms of depression: perspectives on new treatment strategies. Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry : International Journal of Experimental Cellular Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology, 31(6), 761–77. PMID: 23735822
5. Montgomery, P., Burton, J. R., Sewell, R. P., Spreckelsen, T. F., & Richardson, A. J. (2014). Fatty acids and sleep in UK children: Subjective and pilot objective sleep results from the DOLAB study – a randomized controlled trial. Journal of Sleep Research, 23(4), 364–388. PMID: 24605819
6. Querques, G., Forte, R., & Souied, E. H. (2011). Retina and omega-3. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. PMID: 22175009
7. Birch, E. E., Khoury, J. C., Berseth, C. L., Castañeda, Y. S., Couch, J. M., Bean, J., … Scalabrin, D. M. (2010). The Impact of Early Nutrition on Incidence of Allergic Manifestations and Common Respiratory Illnesses in Children. Journal of Pediatrics, 156(6). PMID: 20227721
8. Maggio, M., Artoni, A., Lauretani, F., Borghi, L., Nouvenne, A., Valenti, G., & Ceda, G. P. (2009). The impact of omega-3 fatty acids on osteoporosis. Current Pharmaceutical Design, 15(36), 4157–64. PMID: 20041817

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What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement?

What Is The Best Magnesium Supplement? 

Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for human health. I have covered this extensively on my website for years. After reading my articles, many people reach the conclusion that they would like to add a magnesium supplement to their daily regimen. If you go to a local supplement, health food, or online store you will notice there are A TON of different forms of magnesium. These are not all created equal. So, what is the best magnesium supplement for the most health benefits?

The different forms of magnesium are metabolized and have different effects in the body. Some provide negligible effects, some stronger, and some I would consider superior. This is something I observed early on when considering adding a magnesium supplement to my personal line.

The Fundamental Role Of Magnesium

I say magnesium is one of the most important nutrients in the human body all the time and there is a HUGE reason for this. One of the biggest predictors of your overall well-being is your body’s ability to create and utilize energy. From a cellular level, this energy comes in the form of a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

Your body is constantly operating within a balance of breaking down and rebuilding itself, a principal called homeostasis. On a very basic level, when you are breaking down faster than you are rebuilding, you have disease. When you are rebuilding as quickly as you are breaking down, you are thriving, adapting, and becoming stronger.

Every cell in your body relies on ATP in order to carry out its function. A fundamental principal of human physiology is that cells cannot effectively utilize ATP unless it is in its activated form, Mg-ATP. Magnesium actually binds to ATP and this important step allows our cells to use it more effectively.

Additionally, magnesium is intricately involved in the biological process of manufacturing ATP, so it could not be more crucial in this regard that you have enough magnesium to provide for the energy making process of almost every cell in your body. This is key in helping to optimize your body’s ability to heal and adapt.

Symptoms Of Deficiency 

Magnesium deficiency is often misdiagnosed because it is not easily detected in routine bloodwork. This is because almost all of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones and organ tissues, particularly in the heart (1). It is estimated that only 1% of our total magnesium can actually be found floating around in the blood.

The organs in your body that require the most ATP include the brain, muscles (heart, digestive tract, skeletal muscle), and the ovaries if you are a woman.

Consequently, some of the most prominent symptoms of magnesium deficiency are brain fog, poor memory, trouble concentrating, muscle cramps/weakness, fibromyalgia, migraines/headaches, anxiety, depression, and PMS.

These are some of the common symptoms, however magnesium is also involved in over 300 different enzymatic processes in the body so symptoms of deficiency may vary widely. Some experts even claim that magnesium deficiency may contribute to over 20 different diagnosable medical conditions (2).

Why We Need More Than We Used To 

Although some magnesium can be obtained from the diet, there are a couple important reasons why I often recommend supplementation.

First, modern industrial farming practices have drastically depleted soil of its nutrient content, this means we are likely receiving much less than we used to.

Next, our environment is filled with new chemicals and biological stressors that increase our need for magnesium. These include things like EMF, pesticides, heavy metals, and general chronic stress involved with our chosen lifestyles. All of these things increase stress on our bodies, increase the need for ATP, and rapidly deplete magnesium stores as a consequence.

Supplementing with magnesium will help restore optimal levels to ensure effective energy production. Another cool thing I like about magnesium is that it can also improve your ability to adapt to a stressful lifestyle, similar to common herbal adaptogens.

Top Forms

There are A TON of different types of magnesium that are sold in stores. Many of these simply are not effective and will not do anything beneficial for your health. In fact, some forms of magnesium are not even absorbable by your digestive tract.

Below are some of my favorite forms of magnesium and the ones that are the most likely to benefit your health.

Malate 

Magnesium malate is magnesium bonded to malic acid. Malic acid is naturally occuring in many foods, especially fruits. This form of magnesium is theorized to be best suited for improving energy-related disorders.

This is thought because malic acid is a key component of the Krebs Cycle. The Krebs Cycle is the biological process that is responsible for manufacturing ATP, AKA energy. This is where magnesium malate may be helpful in conditions such as chronic fatigue or depression.

Animal studies have observed that magnesium malate may provide benefits for blood sugar regulation and magnesium/calcium balance, making it a solid option for supplementation (3).

Glycinate 

Magnesium Glycinate (or chelated magnesium) is a compound made up of magnesium and the amino acid glycine. This is thought to be one of the most bioavailable forms of magnesium for supplementation as well as one of the most gut friendly. Many people experience diarrhea with magnesium supplementation so this can be an important consideration.

For clinically diagnosable magnesium deficiency (hypomagnesia), the glycinate or bisglycinate form of magnesium are typically the most recommended for correcting this.

L-Threonate 

Magnesium L-threonate (MgT) is a newer form of magnesium with significant implications for mental health. Some preliminary research has highlighted the cognitive boosting ability and potentially even neuroprotective effects against Alzheimer’s disease (4).

What is so novel about this form of magnesium is that it is the only form shown in animal studies to cross the blood brain barrier. This is important because having this capability allows it to exert its beneficial effects on the brain specifically.

Consequently, this form of magnesium has been shown to improve measures of cognitive abilities such as short and long term memory and learning (5, 6). Additionally, this form of magnesium may be superior for conditions such as depression, anxiety, and brain fog.

In this article, I go over this 2010 study where a MgT supplemented group was able to retain their memory of where a submerged platform was hidden after 24 hours.  Both young and old rats in the control group forgot and began randomly searching through the maze and took more than twice as long as the MgT supplemented group.  The results of the study showed that old rats saw a 100% improvement in spatial long-term memory and even out performed younger rats who had not used MgT (5).    

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Citrate 

Magnesium Citrate is one of the most commonly used forms of magnesium because it is relatively low cost while also being reasonably bioavailable when consumed orally.

This form of magnesium is unique because it is one of the only ones that is naturally acidic. This is due to it being bound to citric acid, a common food additive that also occurs in citrus fruits.

Two noteable properties of this form of magnesium are its ability to aid in bowel movements as well as potentially help with oxalate metabolism. I often encounter patients who have kidney stones due high levels of dietary oxalates (more on this here) so this may be helpful for them.

While it may be beneficial for someone with kidney stones to supplement with magnesium citrate, I have actually found potassium citrate to be powerful for this. In combination, they may both provide benefits.

Chloride

Adding a chloride to magnesium brings another broad-range support compound to the mix. When these two are broken down in the body, you get the benefits of both magnesium and chloride.  Magnesium chloride is the most stable form of magnesium and is especially good for detoxification and for kidney function.

Chloride ions are abundant in the human body. First of all, as an electrolyte, chloride ions help to assure the proper conduction of impulses within the nervous system. They work along with potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphate, and magnesium to assure proper muscle contraction, control blood pressure, and allow for healthy brain function.

Additionally, chloride combines with hydrogen in the gut to produce HCl (stomach acid). Adequate stomach acid is needed to properly digest our foods and to activate intrinsic factor for absorbing Vitamin B12.

Inferior Magnesium Forms

Forms of magnesium that are often cheap yet offer relatively low bioavailability include the oxide, dihydroxide (milk of magnesia), sulfate, aspartate, and carbonate forms.  These forms of magnesium do not absorb well and tend to offer little benefit beyond laxative or antacid properties.

Magnesium Sulfate (also known as epsom salt) may, however, be suitable for absorption through the skin. For a step above, in my opinion, I would recommend these Magnesium Chloride salts for soaking. They are more expensive but likely to be much more beneficial.

Before You Buy 

While there are many forms and many brands of magnesium available on the market that will likely provide you with benefit. There is one consideration that I find critically important however.

As with all supplements, it is important to ensure you are getting yours from a source that tests every batch to ensure you are getting what is on the label and nothing else. This includes things like unwanted toxins, allergens, and heavy metals.

All of my personal line products are pharmaceutical grade, GMP compliant. This means they are produced in strictly monitored facilities who also send batches of their product to third parties for analysis before selling to consumers.

Brain Calm Magnesium 

There are many different forms of magnesium and they seem to have slightly different effects in the body. When I decided to add a magnesium supplement to my personal line I wanted it to contain the best forms of magnesium to provide a well-rounded benefit.

Brain Calm Magnesium was the result of this. It contains patented malate, glycinate, and threonate forms of magnesium for maximum neurological and systemic benefits for the body.

I often recommend this supplement for most people as a cost-effective way to boost magnesium levels, increase the body’s resilience to stress, and promote a tranquil and relaxed mental state. 

Topical Magnesium Chloride 

If you are someone with a lot of digestive issues, you may want to consider a topical magnesium. This type of magnesium can be applied directly to the skin and absorbed into your blood stream for increased bioavailability.

This type of magnesium is also great for applying to tense muscles, aches, and pains. For this purpose, I have found that the Ancient Minerals brand works the best.

The topical magnesium with MSM is the best for applying to problem areas or as a general magnesium supplement. The combination of magnesium and MSM is powerful for controlling inflammation and strengthening damaged tissues. This form is also very suitable for athletes!

For those who have trouble sleeping at night, Ancient Minerals also carries a topical magnesium with melatonin. For this one I will typically recommend applying one pump to the bottoms of the feet or abdomen 30 minutes to 1 hour before going to bed.

Top Magnesium Foods 

While magnesium supplementation is often a great idea, eating the right foods is just as important.

In the video below I go into detail on my favorite dietary sources. For convenience, I have listed my top 12 below.

  1. Swiss Chard
  2. Spinach
  3. Grass-fed Dairy
  4. Avocados
  5. Pumpkin Seeds
  6. Pink Salts
  7. Nuts
  8. Dark Chcolate
  9. Wild-Caught Fish
  10. Sprouts
  11. Sea Vegetables
  12. Organic Coffee

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Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

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And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include: 

1. The AFIB Report: Magnesium
2. Magnesium: An Invisible Deficiency That Could Be Harming Your Health (LINK)
3. Virag, V., May, Z., Kocsis, I., Blazovics, A., & Szentmihalyi, K. (2011). [Effects of magnesium supplementation on calcium and magnesium levels, and redox homeostasis in normolipidemic and food-induced hyperlipidemic rats]. Orv Hetil, 152, 1075–1081. PMID: 21676674
4. Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, et al. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer’s disease mouse model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7(1):65. PMID:25213836
5. Slutsky I, Abumaria N, Wu LJ, et al. Enhancement of learning and memory by elevating brain magnesium. Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):165-77. PMID:20152124
6. Abumaria N, Yin B, Zhang L, et al. Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala. J Neurosci. 2011 Oct 19;31(42):14871-81. PMID:22016520

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5 Reasons You May Have an Amino Acid Deficiency

5 Reasons For Amino Acid Deficiency

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, many of us learn that in biology growing up. To paint a more in depth picture, amino acids are actually involved in many critical body processes from building muscle to synthesizing important neurotransmitters like GABA and dopamine.

When you digest any food with protein in it, you are breaking it down into these important amino acid compounds. Amino acid deficiency is something that too often gets overlooked, so in this article I’m going to cover the top 5 reasons that someone could become deficient.

The amino acids have been specifically studied for important roles they play in the body. For example, the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are important for muscle synthesis (1). The amino acid glutamine plays important roles in maintaining gut lining health while also promoting a relaxed mental state.

There are 20 standard amino acids derived through the diet that all serve their own important roles in the body. 11 of these amino acids are considered “non-essential” meaning they are synthesized within the body. The other 9, however, are considered “essential” and must be acquired through the diet.

Poor Diet

One of the more obvious reasons for amino acid deficiency is the simple lack of proper nutrition. If your diet lacks the right foods with all essential amino acids, then you will not have them in your physiological arsenal.

One such diet that I often see amino acid deficiencies is a vegetarian or vegan diet. Because most foods on these diets are not complete proteins (not containing all essential amino acids), they require a little more planning to ensure adequate amounts of amino acids are absorbed into the body.

Also, a diet that relies on the chronic consumption of sugary and starchy foods and damaged fats (such as the standard American diet) can inhibit the ability of the pancreas to release proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are responsible for separating proteins into their individual amino acids.

Leaky Gut & Malnourishment

The lining of the gut is one layer of cells thin. This makes it very delicate but also very good at performing its function of regulating the absorption of nutrients from food. The spaces between these cells are tightly regulated to only allow certain things to pass while keeping the rest out.

When we damage these cells by consuming GMOs, foods with pesticides, chlorinated water, processed foods, taking antibiotics, or even from low-grade food sensitivities, the spaces between these cells are loosened. This is problem because larger food molecules get through into the bloodstream and the body mistakes them for foreign pathogens. This ultimately manifests in the body as sudden food allergies, autoimmunity, systemic inflammation, and malnourishment.

With a damaged gut comes poor digestion. At this point, even someone eating a clean healthy diet may not be extracting all of the important nutrients from their food.

Low Stomach Acid

A huge misinterpreted symptom in the body that I often encounter is heart burn. The traditional approach to correcting heart burn is to take something that neutralizes your elevated stomach acids levels. But what we know now is that heart burn is actually a sign of low stomach acid.

Stomach acid is what signals the esophageal sphincter (connecting the esophagus to the stomach) to close and prevent heart burn. So, the best way to mitigate heart burn is actually to support stomach acid.

Adequate stomach acid production is also critical for proper protein breakdown and amino acid absorption. Along with proteolytic enzymes from the pancreas, stomach acid must be present for proper digestion. Unfortunately, amino acids are also involved in enzyme synthesis so low stomach acid will typically also deplete digestive enzymes.

If you have acid reflux then this should be a huge indication that you need to start supporting your stomach acid production. If you do not have acid reflux but want to test your stomach acid levels, an easy at home test can help with this. Try the baking soda test outlined below and take necessary action steps depending on the outcome.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Blood sugar imbalances lead to massive fluctuations in insulin and cortisol. When blood sugar spikes too quickly, insulin also spikes to shuttle sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar and a spike in cortisol.

When your body is exposed to a stressor, cortisol will typically increase for a short period. Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it is responsible for breaking things down. After the stress has subsided, a healthy person would have a decrease in cortisol and the body would adapt and grow stronger during this rest period by repairing the damage that was done.

When cortisol is constantly spiking due to blood sugar fluctuations you get continued breakdown of tissues, chronic inflammation, and lowered ability to make important protein digesting enzymes.

The low blood sugar that occurs shortly after a high-sugar meal stimulates the body to shift into a state of gluconeogenesis (the body makes sugar from proteins). When in this state, the body rapidly degrades stored amino acids in the body, resulting in a potential deficiency much quicker (2).

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue manifests in several stages but ultimately disrupts many key processes in the body. First of all, adrenal fatigue leads to cortisol dysregulation which further exaggerates detrimental effects of blood sugar imbalance. As mentioned above blood sugar imbalance can often lead to gluconeogenesis which depletes amino acids.

Furthermore, adrenal fatigue often throws off key sex hormones that regulate anabolic processes in the body. Because cortisol shares a production pathway with the sex hormones, when adrenal function is hampered and the body’s stress response is dysregulated, the body favors cortisol production.

As mentioned above, chronically elevated cortisol leads to catabolism (breakdown) of body tissues and rapid degradation of amino acids. When sex hormones are compromised, the problem is only made worse.

Solution: Supplemental EAA’s

Essential Amino acids are those which must be consumed through the diet. Whenever I have a patient who has any of the conditions outlined above or I suspect an amino acid deficiency, I recommend taking these in supplemental form.

As I mentioned, amino acids are involved in several key processes in the body. Just as one example, because of their involvement in neurotransmitter production, amino acid deficiency can really throw off your mood. This is one case where supplementing with additional EAA’s can provide powerful relief.

Although not a long-term solution, supplemental EAAs can provide very effective relief while working on the underlying issues.

Additional Benefits of EAA’s

In addition, to their therapeutic benefits, essential amino acids can actually be supplemented for additional health benefits.

Muscle Development

Proper development of muscle tissue relies on amino acids. The branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine have been specifically studied in depth for their role in muscle formation (3).

Not only does this apply to normal growth of the body throughout life, but in other muscle development special cases. One such case is when muscle breakdown occurs due to resistance exercise. Amino acid supplementation can speed recovery and support muscle growth.

Additionally, amino acid supplementation may be helpful in cases of muscle wasting such as severe adrenal fatigue or during cancer treatment.

Bone Strength

The amino acid arginine plays an important role in bone formation and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Arginine supplementation increases growth hormone and IGF-1 which both play a role in bone formation. Supplementation also increases nitric oxide in the body which is important for slowing the breakdown of bone (4). The action of these two mechanisms together act to increase bone density.

In addition to all the essential amino acids, you want to ensure you also get plenty of minerals and the vitamins D and K to ensure proper bone health.

Fat Burning

Essential amino acids can aid weight loss in a few different ways.  The amino acids arginine and lysine have been shown to support the production of growth hormone in some cases. Growth hormone has been known for some time to improve fat burning.

Additionally, lysine and methionine interact in the liver to form carnitine, an important transport molecule that moves fat into cells to be used for energy (5). This action literally improves your ability to burn fat.

Immune Health

Glutamine, arginine, and cysteine work to coordinate and support the immune system.

Glutamine interplays with lymphocytes and macrophages to coordinate necessary inflammatory reactions related to adaptive immunity. Arginine and cysteine both play roles in proper T-cell function (also important for adaptive immunity).

Adaptive immunity is the branch of your immune system that helps you build long-lasting defenses to pathogens like viruses and foreign bacteria. This is why most people only get the chicken pox once, their adaptive immune system has built defenses against it after the first exposure.

Deficiencies in these critical amino acids can contribute to significant immune suppression.

Cardiovascular Health

Circulation problems can lead to many health issues. Particularly organs that contain lots of tiny blood vessels, such as the brain, can be heavily impacted. Distal structures of the body such as the hands and feet will also be negatively impacted by poor circulation. Finally, sex organs will typically be impacted.

The amino acids arginine and citrulline may be able to boost circulation by supporting the production of nitric oxide (6). Nitric oxide is responsible for dilating blood vessels and allowing a greater amount of blood to flow through. This effect also helps to lower blood pressure.

Best Sources of EAAS

As I mentioned, amino acids come from foods with protein in them. In my opinion, the best sources of protein are sources that are low in toxins and contain a full array of amino acids.

Pasture-Raised Meats

Pasture raised meats are one of my top choices for getting a full range of amino acids while avoiding toxins that occur in conventionally raised meats. For example, beef from pasture raised cows is not only a great protein source, but also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.

Whenever buying the meat from an animal, always look for pasture-raised and organic. For beef particularly, look out for the 100% grass-fed signification. The pasture-raised certification also goes for poultry.

Whey Protein

Whey protein from grass-fed dairy is a great source of important amino acids. This source is particularly great for building and maintaining muscle because of its high amounts of the branched chain amino acids.

In addition to coming from grass-fed dairy, you also want a cold-processed, non-denatured whey protein. The heating and processing that a lot of whey proteins go through makes it harder for our bodies to digest and absorb.

Bone Broth

Bone broth has hit the mainstream hard the last few years and for many great reasons. Bone broth is a great source of amino acids along with gut healing nutrients like collagen and glutamine that are naturally occurring. Another huge benefit of bone broth is that most people tolerate it quite well with very little potential for allergies.

I think anyone could benefit from adding bone broth to their diet. It just has so many benefits.

You can buy already made bone broth at many grocery stores now, but there is question about quality variance between brands. You can also make your own using bones from pasture-raised animals. This method obviously requires a quality source of bones and the time needed to slow-simmer your bones.

The greatest bone broth solution to hit the market so far is bone broth protein powder. This bone broth has been dehydrated into a powdered form that contains 20 grams of protein per serving. Also, it tastes amazing. This is a great and economical way to include benefits of bone broth into our fast-paced lifestyles.

Vegan Proteins

There are a few complete sources of protein for vegans such as hemp and quinoa. As someone who doesn’t recommend a lot of grains in the diet, this can be tricky. Additionally, some of my patients have dairy sensitivities that make meeting dietary protein needs difficult.

For these cases I usually recommend a high-quality pea/rice protein. I made my own formula containing pea and rice protein along with several anti-inflammatory nutrients like ginger and l-glutamine. On top of the gut healing nutrients, this protein also serves as a powerful multivitamin source.  Check out the Gut Healing Protein here

In a lot of the cases that protein absorption is compromised, such as in the case of leaky gut, this combination of pea protein and gut healing nutrients can’t be beat. I use this one for many of my tough cases where digestive issues are present. After digestive issues have been resolved, I usually recommend my SuperDigest Protein for my vegan and vegetarian patients.

Amino Strong

When it comes down to it, one of the best ways to get amino acids into the body is to ingest them in their purest form. This way, there is very little energy that goes into breaking down the protein and your body absorbs them quite readily.

I formulated Amino Strong to provide a powerful source of all essential amino acids in specific ratios for therapeutic benefits.  Over 20 human trials have been conducted to arrive at this specific, patent-pending combination of amino acids in the most effective, anabolic ratios. The high absorbability of these amino acids also means greater support for the benefits mentioned above.

This is one of the primary supplements I used in my 20s when I was suffering from debilitating digestive issues and adrenal fatigue. It truly made a difference in my energy and performance and that’s why I have chosen to formulate this powerful blend.

I continue to use it today as a pre-workout powder and notice a huge difference in my strength, energy and muscle tissue development.

Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Zhang, S., Zeng, X., Ren, M., Mao, X., & Qiao, S. (2017). Novel metabolic and physiological functions of branched chain amino acids: a review. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 8(1), 10. PMID: 28127425
2. Schutz, Y. (2011). Protein turnover, ureagenesis and gluconeogenesis. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 81(2–3), 101–107. PMID: 22419202
3. Tamanna, N., & Mahmood, N. (2014). Emerging Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation in Human Diseases. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2014, 1–8. PMID: 27351005
4. Visser, J. J., & Hoekman, K. (1994). Arginine supplementation in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Med Hypotheses, 43(5), 339–342. PMID: 7877530
5. Stephens, F. B., & Galloway, S. D. R. (2013). Carnitine and fat oxidation. In Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series (Vol. 76, pp. 13–23). PMID: 23899751
6. Stone, A. V, Vanderman, K. S., Willey, J. S., David, L., Register, T. C., Shively, C. A., … Ferguson, C. M. (2016). Impaired nitric oxide production in children with MELAS syndrome and the effect of arginine and citrulline supplementation, 23(10), 1780–1789. PMID: 26780180

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5 Fast Pain Relief Strategies

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5 Fast Pain Relief Strategies

Greater than 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain in today’s stressed out society. Rather than learning the root cause of their pain and treating it long term most individuals reach for temporary relief from medicine. Today the misuse of prescription drugs continues to lead to increased hospitalizations, admission to addiction clinics and fatalities (3).

Even children are taking too many pain medications like ibuprofen and aspirin which wreak havoc on the body’s detoxification organs like the liver and kidneys. Pain medications can lead to damage in the gut which increases inflammation and weakens the immune response by contributing to the likelihood of developing food allergies and stomach ulcers (4).

If you seek to get out of pain naturally using simple techniques with no adverse side effects, use these 5 strategies to find long term pain relief.

1)  Super Hydration

Optimal water intake is necessary to eliminate toxins from the body. Water hydrates the lymphatic and circulatory system so that they can flush out waste. The lymphatic system alone is composed of 95% water and is a critical part of detoxification (2).

Dehydration can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes, fatigue, increased inflammation and symptoms such as headache and even hunger pains. One study showed that people who drank the most water had the greatest improvement in managing headache symptoms (1).

We are often told to drink half of our body weight in ounces daily. Instead, consider drinking this recommended about of water before noon each day. Throughout the remainder of the day you should aim to hydrate your body with a total of 1 gallon purified water. Super hydration will help you eliminate the chronic pain you are experiencing by feeding your cells and tissue the most vital resource it requires.

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2)  Motion and Massage

Adding motion to your various joints boost your body’s total healing powers by promoting lymphatic drainage, increasing oxygenation to cells and reducing muscle tension and spasms. Here is a list of ways you can add motion and massage into your lifestyle to inhibit pain from disturbing your daily routine:

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See a Chiropractor:

Remove stressors that are inhibiting the optimal function of your nervous system by receiving chiropractic care. Many jobs today have us tense and hunched over at computers during the day and too fatigued in the evening to be mindful of the consequences of slouching on the couch.

Seeing a chiropractor can help you remove physical stressors and spinal imbalances that may be inhibiting the ability of your nervous system to function optimally. Chiropractic care is shown to provide pain relief to patients healing from cancer, reduce pain associated with pregnancy and labor, and help approximately 96% of sufferers of chronic low back pain without surgical interventions (18, 19, 20).

Receiving regular adjustments helps restore health to the spine and balance to the body to relieve chronic pain.

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Enjoy a Massage

Whether you visit a massage therapist or you use an at home massaging device, massage helps move fluid through your body to promote toxic waste removal. Massage therapists are specialized in finding pressure points that help reduce the stress response associated with pain such as headaches. Shiatsu massage has been shown to reduce pain and improve the quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia (12).

You alone can add motion to your body by using a foam roller to apply pressure to your muscles. For instance, if you are experiencing lower back pain, your chiropractor or physical therapist can show you how to gently use the roller to massage your back while lying down. Using a tennis ball is another cheap and easy technique to apply pressure to your soft muscle tissue to increase fluidity and relieve pain in the back and leg muscles around the knee.

Stretch

Stretching a joint such as adding traction to the neck or wrist is an excellent way to reduce inflammation in that joint. Gentle stretching can reduce stiffness in the body, relieve tension and provide stress relief that may be contributing to your pain.

When self-stretching techniques were employed in one study of 81 individuals, a significant reduction of pain associated with the neck, shoulders, lower back and lower extremities after a short 4 week period (21).

Exercise

Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health and manage pain. Exercise boosts lymphatic system drainage removing toxic waste and improves the oxygenation of blood to cells and tissue (11). Both high intensity aerobic exercises as well as low impact yoga and Pilates are beneficial to reducing stress and pain.

3)  Advanced Supplementation

Certain supplements can have a powerful impact on down regulation the inflammation that is associated with pain.  I use 2 major supplement for individuals with pain, a purified fish oil that is high in EPA, DHA and GLA as well as a liposomal curcumin which crosses the lipid barrier and gets right into the cells for immediate use.

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Fish Oil:

A purified fish oil supplement is high in essential omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the most bioavailable forms of long chain EPA and DHA (15). High doses of fish oil significantly help lower inflammation in the body by improving cellular communication and repair, enhancing the immune response, improving joint motion, treating symptoms of gut dysbiosis and stimulating overall health and wellbeing (16, 17).

Consider taking 3-6g of a high quality EPA and DHA fish oil supplement daily for proactive support against pain.

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Curcumin:

The active antioxidant compound in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is so effective at suppressing inflammation that it is a top nutrient used to fight numerous cancers (13).

Take 2g of curcumin 2 to 3 times daily with food to relieve pain fast.  The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin improve the immune system response by healing tissue damage and controlling inflammatory pathways associated with histamine release and digestive problems such as leaky gut and bowel diseases (14).

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4)  Deep Breathing

Stop adding to the stress response in your body that comes with frequent shallow breaths. The average person takes 12 to 18 breaths every minute which deprives the body of oxygen and contributes to a fight or flight stress response. Inadequate respiration cycles leads to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the blood which is known to induce the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase inflammation in the lungs (22).

Take time throughout the day to focus on your breathing to reduce inflammatory stress and help you get out of pain. You can complete this breathing technique sitting at a computer at work, along your daily commute, before you eat a meal and at bedtime to reduce the stress your body is burdened to carry.

  • Inhale for 4 a second count.
  • Pause for 2 seconds.
  • Exhale for another 4 second count.

Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes 2 to 3 times daily and you will see a noticeable improvement in your pain management.

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5)  Intermittent Fasting:

The restriction of food from the body is one of the most effective ways to down regulate inflammation. The average American diet consist of toxic foods high in sugar, processed meats and trans-fats which cause gut dysbiosis. Even healthy foods stimulate stress because inflammatory pathways must be used to degrade calories and the mechanical act of digestion requires energy and immune surveillance.

While fasting supplement vitamins and minerals into your body by drinking organic broth, herbal teas  and lemon water while increasing your overall water intake. Fasting has been shown to improve the immune system and fight inflammation in the following ways:

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Increases Human Growth Hormone (HGH)

When insulin is secreted from the intake of carbohydrates, it inhibits the secretion of HGH. Naturally, fasting boosts the release of HGH so that it can regulate inflammatory pathways (8).

HGH repairs collagen in tissue to aid in the healing of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons. It supports efficient energy metabolism by better distributing proteins for use, regulates endocrine hormones and improves the health of detoxification organs like the liver for an improved immune response (9).

Decreases Inflammation and Free Radicals

The two major cytokines related to inflammation, Interleukin-6 and Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha, have been found in research to significantly decrease with fasting (6). Fasting for no less than 12 hours and total caloric restriction both resulted in this benefit in study. (7)

Promotes Cellular Regenerative Processes 

Animals intrinsically know that when they are battling an infection that is best to starve themselves of food. Unfortunately, humans have lost this wisdom and consume food when sick which interferes with the immune system’s demands to heal the body.

Fasting not only suppresses insulin secretion and upregulates human growth hormone for regulating cellular processes, but it also stimulates autophagy (“cellular eating”). Autophagy is a cellular process that removes damaged debris from the body reducing its toxic burden on tissue and suppressing inflammation.

Fasting increases antioxidant powerhouses like SOD (superoxide dismutase), improves mitochondrial function and limits oxidative stressors that damage tissue. (10)  This process promotes cellular regenerative processes and overall tissue repair.

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Summary:

If you want to get out of pain, apply these 5 strategies to your everyday life. When you do sit down to a meal, adjust your diet to eat clean, anti-inflammatory whole foods that upregulate detoxification processes (5).

Increase the amount of foods containing sulfur like broccoli, kale, sprouts, onions and garlic. Eat foods rich in healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, olive oil and wild-caught salmon. Limit your toxic intake by buying organic produce and 100% grass-fed meats and eggs locally when available.

Sources for this Article Include:

  1. Blau JN, Kell CA, and Sperling JM. Water-deprivation headache: a new headache with two variants. Headache. 2004 Jan; 44(1): 79-83. PMID: 14979888
  2. Vairo, GL, et al. Systematic Review of Efficacy for Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation: An Evidence-Based Practice Approach. J Man Manip Ther. 2009; 17(3): e80-e89. PMCID: 2755111
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables Link Here
  4. RxList: NSAIDs (Nonssteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs) Link Here
  5. Ahn H, et al. Methylsulfonylmethane inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation. Cytokine. 2015 Feb; 71(2): 223-31. PMID: 25461402
  6. Faris MA, et al. Intermittent fasting during Ramadan attenuates proinflammatory cytokines and immune cells in healthy subjects. Nutr Res. 2012 Dec; 32 (12): 947-55. PMID: 23244540
  7. Aksungar FB, Topkaya AE, and Akyildiz M. Interluekin-6, C-reactive protein and biochemical parameters during prolonged intermittent fasting. Ann Nutr Metab. 2007; 51(1): 88-95. PMID: 17374948
  8. Ho KY, Veldhuis JD, Johnson ML, et al. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man.Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1988; 81(4):968-975. PMCID: 329619
  9. Yamamoto M, Iguchi G, Fukuoka H, et al. SIRT1 regulates adaptive response of the growth hormone–insulin-like growth factor-I axis under fasting conditions in liver.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2013; 110(37):14948-14953. doi:10.1073/pnas.1220606110. PMCID: 3773795
  10. Dirks-Naylor AJ, Kouzi SA, Yang S, et al. Can short-term fasting protect against doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity?World Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2014; 5(3):269-274. PMCID: 4160520
  11. Hsiao P-C, Liu J-T, Lin C-L, Chou W, Lu S-R. Risk of breast cancer recurrence in patients receiving manual lymphatic drainage: a hospital-based cohort study.Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. 2015; 11:349-358. PMCID: 4354455
  12. Yuan SL, Matsutani LA, and Marques AP. Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Man Ther. 2015 Apr; 20 (2): 257-64. PMID: 25457196
  13. He Y, et al. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? Molecules. 2015 May 20; 20(5):9183-213. PMID:26007179
  14. He Y, et al. Curcumin, inflammation, and chronic diseases: how are they linked? Molecules. 2015 May 20; 20(5):9183-213. PMID: 26007179
  15. Dyerberg J, Madsen P, Moller JM, Aardestrup I, Schmidt EB. Bioavailability of marine n-3 fatty acid formulations. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2010 Sep; 83(3):137-41. PMID:20638827
  16. Tomasello G, et al. Nutrition, oxidative stress and intestinal dysbiosis: Influence of idet on gut microbiota in inflammatory bowel diseases. Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2016 Oct. PMID: 27812084
  17. González-Périz A, Horrillo R, Ferré N, et al. Obesity-induced insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis are alleviated by ω-3 fatty acids: a role for resolvins and protectins.The FASEB Journal. 2009; 23(6):1946-1957. PMICID: 2698663
  18. Kang D-H, McArdle T, Suh Y. Changes in Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Across Cancer Treatment and Relationship to Stress, Mood, and Quality of Life.Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2014; 20(11):853-859. PMCID: 4238248
  19. Borggren CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature.Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007; 6(2):70-74. PMCID: 2647084
  20. Whedon JM, Goertz CM, Lurie JD, Stason WB. Beyond spinal manipulation: should Medicare expand coverage for chiropractic services? A review and commentary on the challenges for policy makers.Journal of Chiropractic Humanities. 2013; 20(1):9-18. PMCID: 4111075
  21. Lee J-H, Gak HB. Effects of Self Stretching on Pain and Musculoskeletal Symptom of Bus Drivers.Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2014; 26(12):1911-1914. PMCID: 4273056
  22. Norozian FM, et al. Therapeutic hypercapnia enhances the inflammatory response to endotoxin in the lung of spontaneously breathing rats. Crit Care Med. 2011 Jun; 39(6): 1400-6. PMID: 21610610

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