10 Secrets To A Healthy Mind

Here are a few tips on how to generally have a healthier and more positive mind:

  1. Healthy gut = Healthy mind. Having a healthy gut increases the likelihood of having a healthy mind. This becomes clearer when we see that about 90 percent of the serotonin in the body is created in the intestines. Recent research has focused on the gut flora, and how this can affect the mind, but we are just at the brink of understanding how this works.
  2. Breathe! In our day and age we tend to surround ourselves with a lot of stimuli and keep ourselves very busy.. Too much of these stimuli can make us feel wary and overstressed. I therefore believe that it is important to balance this activity with stimulating the calming part of our nervous system. In technical terms this is to balance the sympathetic (activating) and the parasympathetic (calming) nervous system. Even though it’s good to have some stimulation to the activating nervous system, too much and chronic stimuli may cause significant stress. This can lead to a range of both mental and physical ailments, including anxiety, depression, fatigue and so on. A good preventative measure is to focus on the parasympathetic nervous system and keep this calming part of the nervous system in good shape. To achieve a better stimuli to the parasympathetic nervous system you should consider breathing exercises, meditation, or the practices of qi gong, tai chi, and yoga. Even getting a good nights sleep is very good to give a proper boost to the calming nervous system.Man nature
  3. Exercise consistently. Researchers at Duke University discovered that regular exercise is better that anti-depressants in treating anxiety and depression, and in fact, people who worked out encountered fewer relapses. It is speculated that one reason for this is that during exercise we see a controlled increase in the stress hormone cortisol, and enable the body to release locked up stress in the body. This will leave the body and mind more relaxed after a good workout.
  4. Be more social. A study at Harvard University showed that being more isolated increased the risk of depression, and consequently shrinkage of parts of the brain, primarily the hippocampus. Being more social further showed an increase in neuronal enrichment, and therefore increased the capacity for learning new things.play
  5. Eat less junk. Even though eating simple sugars have shown to increase insulin, and consequently serotonin, ingestion of refined sugar have shown an addictive behavior in the consumer (rodent study showed that they preferred sucrose water to cocaine), leading to higher intake of sugar and sweeteners. Bear in mind, alcohol is also considered a sugar, and can also have a detrimental effect on ones mind, if used excessively. An increase in the intake of simple sugars and refined starches leads to a range of negative effects on the body, primarily by leading to higher amount of inflammation. In the brain there may be an increased neurological inflammation, due to a buildup of free radicals (waste particles). There is now evidence that this can be linked with neurological conditions such as Alzheimers Disease, a debilitating disease where Amyloid plaques build up in the brain, leading to the number one reason for dementiafood clean
  6. Be positive. According to the Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto, being and thinking positive will have positive effects on ones surroundings. He discovered this though extensive research on how our water reacts to various words, by creating specific crystals for that particular word/emotion. I find the most interesting of his studies is the discovery that if you place two identical bowls of rice next to each other, and on one bowl have the word “Love” on it, and the other have “Hate” written on it, you will see something interesting after a few days. The bowl of rice with the word “Love” stays the same, but the bowl of rice with the word “Hate” will start to rot. I think this just sighifies how important it is to keep a positive attitude, as it affects both yourself and the ones you surround yourself with.
  7. Be kinder to yourself. By being kinder to yourself and allowing room for error you will generally be happier. We have a tendency to judge ourselves with negative criticism. By giving yourself a slack, and not be so hard on yourself, this will have a can good effect on your own happiness.girls-1487825_1920
  8. The healing sounds. Listening to music can have a profound and direct effect on your mind. Listening to that tune you just love, can make your endorphins going through the roof. Even just listening to nature sounds have a soothing effect on your mind.
  9. Get rid of the excess clutter. I believe that to have less clutter surrounding you will have a lightening effect on your mind. Marie Kondo has written a very good book on how to clear your environment of clutter, called “The Life-changing magic of tidying up”.
  10. Happiness. Even seeing images of happy people is in it self enough to lift your spirit. Also, to regularly laugh and smile is very good for your mental health.

What Is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

It is estimated that about 20% of the population have symptoms associated with irritable blowel syndrome (IBS). Irritable bowel syndrome is not accounted to be a disease, but rather a disturbance in the normal intestinal function.

Patients with irritable bowel syndrome usually suffer from a range of stomach related ailments. Even so, conventional investigations can’t find a specific reason for their suffering. That means that even though they have real symptoms, extensive investigations will not find any abnormalities. In colonoscopy there may be seen an irritated mucosal lining, but no real damage that can explain the patients suffering.

Because conventional investigations can’t find any abnormalities, patients are often told that there is nothing they can do about their suffering. They may be told that the reason for their ailments are psychological, which can often be very frustrating.

Symptoms that are often associated with irritable bowel syndrome include stomach pain, gas/flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, slimy feces. The gastrointestinal discomfort often come after intake of food, or in accordance with stress. It is also very common for irritable bowel syndrome patients to have psychological problems such as anxiety and depression (often as a bi-effect of longterm ailments), as well as other problems such as tiredness and joint pains. The symptoms can vary from mild to so severe that they influence the patients’ quality of life.

Irritable bowel syndrome is different from diagnoses such as Ulcerous Colitis, Chrons, Coeliac Disease, Cholecystitis and other gastrointestinal problems where one can see real physical abnormalities by standard investigations.

Through extensive research and experience in functional medicine we see that complicated and chronic intestinal problems often have a multitude of underlying causes and triggers. Only through an extensive investigation through the functional medicine scope will it be possible to unravel the real reasons why patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome have developed their ailments, and consequently what to do about it. The reasons for irritable bowel syndrome can be about gut flora imbalances, food intolerance, irritation on the gut/mucosal lining due to an irritant, and psychological issues. Irritants such as heavy metal exposure or ingestion of other chemical irritants can be a reason for irritation to the gut lining.

Treatments in functional medicine follows the “5R” Method, not necessarily in this order:

  • Remove:
  • Replace:
  • Reinoculate:
  • Repair:
  • Remain:

This means to remove the irritants (from food or chemicals), allergens and/or dysbiotic flora. Then replace and make sure that there is enough beneficial stomach acid, digestive enzymes, gall and so forth. Then reinoculate with beneficial flora, and repair the mucosal lining and gastric functioning. Here the diet plays a major role, and also correct other imbalances such as a lack of essential vitamins and minerals. Less stress and focus on physical activity also play a major role in repairing and treating the gut. The last step is by far the most important, and that is to maintain a good digestive functioning once it has healed.

 

 

The Health Benefits Of Garlic

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food”

These are the famous words of the ancient Greek physician called Hippocrates Asclepiades, living in the Classic Greek time. He is considered the founder of modern western medicine, where physicians nowadays recite the Hippocratic oath. Interestingly enough, Hippocrates Asclepiades used garlic for a range of medical disorders.

I want to dedicate this article to this marvellous and diverse herb. Already in 1858 the well renowned French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur recognized the antiseptic properties of garlic. The many uses of garlic stems from the fact that it contains a range of medicinal properties. Sulphur compounds called Allicin are formed when the garlic is chopped, cut or grated, and occurs due to exposure to oxygen. Heated or cooked garlic does not have the same health benefit, but tastes great in dishes anyway! Here are some of the most widely known health benefits of garlic:

  • Reduce elevated cholesterol, both the total amount of cholesterol and the LDL cholesterol, that will be harmful in excess amounts in the blood stream. Using garlic on a regular basis will therefore have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, and reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis and plaque. Dr. Budoff, MD, FACC, FAHA, is an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. After having done numerous studies on aged garlic Dr. Budoff is a strong believer in aged garlic in treatment of calcification of arteries. Calcification of arteries are directly proportional to the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Aged garlic is aged up to 20 months witch changes the harsh chemicals in garlic to safe, stable and odourless compound. Kyolic garlic has been the subject of over 650 studies. “Supplementing with Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract can halt, and even reverse the accumulation of deadly low-attenuation plaque in arteries”, according to new research in The Journal of Nutrition.
  • Reduce elevated blood pressure. Studies have shown that supplementation of aged garlic extract of 600 – 1500 mg shows a significant reduction of blood pressure
  • Reduce risk of Alzheimers and Dementia due to its range of sulphur and antioxidant compounds
  • Reduce the risk of heavy metal and radiation toxicity, due to its high sulphur content
  • Treat the common cold. Studies have shown that using garlic upon getting sick will reduce the length and severity of the common cold.
  • Balance the gut flora. In my clinic I have used garlic for a range of gastrointestinal disorders. Garlic haw powerful anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties. The fresher the garlic is the more effective it will be. For people with chronic anal itch, chronic fatigue (may be accompanied with a skin rash) this may indicate a parasitic/intestinal worm infection. Using grated garlic as a poultice directly on the skin may be beneficial. With intestinal worms, consuming garlic at least four times daily is a good way to rid yourself of these worms. Please consult your doctor if these symptoms persist.

Scientists by Kyungpook-university in South Korea have figured out that the amounts of antioxidants in garlic increase tremendously when it starts to sprout. The sprouts will stay fresh for about 5 days. Also, freezing the garlic is also a good way to enhance the antioxidant capacity of garlic. Garlic could stay fresh for half a year in the fridge and 3-4 days in room temperature.

Bear in mind, garlic is not for everyone. A few have developed allergies to garlic, and those who are following a FOODMAP diet should avoid garlic while they react adversely to it. Even so, I am a huge fan of garlic, and believe most people will benefit by ingesting this herb. Besides, it tastes great, both in salads, sauces/soups, and a range of other cuisines. Enjoy!

The Art Of Peace – Clear The Shackles Constricting Us From Our True Potential

I am currently sitting in my cabin contemplating life. Wow, such a heavy topic, you may be thinking. Well, as a doctor I am confronted with this reality every day.

Why are we here? What is the purpose of all of this? Is this just a playground where one can do as they please, or should one follow certain rules, and follow the norms of society?

Across the globe we are separated by our ethnicity, race and religion, even though we are truly almost similar when looking strictly at our physiology and genetics. We are being influenced and taught how to coexist in the society we grow up through norms and rules, and our justice system make sure that we follow these. But how do we know how to live and coexist in harmony with our surroundings, when so much despair and injustice is going on in the world?

In my clinic I aim to unleash each patients’ true potential. Some individuals are confronted with a grim reality where they feel stuck, and virtually unable to come out of this situation. The reasons may be that they feel weighed down by financial, marital or work issues. If then someone from the outside, such as a physician, who truly take time to listen to their story, may be able to come up with alternate solutions to their problems. Interestingly enough, I often find that when figuring out how to boost the patients’ energy, such as by correcting their nutritional status or general physiology, they often are more capable of dealing with, and resolving their inner conflicts. I think the main aspects here is to truly listen when speaking with someone, so that they feel heard. To speak out to someone else and try to formulate what’s in their heart can be very liberating for many. It often touches my heart, when I hear them say “Thank you for truly listening to me”

I think we can learn a lot from the Chinese traditional medicine, and the role the doctors played in their community. Commonly, the doctors were payed, not when the people got sick, but when he managed to keep them healthy. This meant that he had to make sure that the people in the community stayed healthy and thriving. Therefore, one important aspect in doing so, was that the doctor would make home visits to the inhabitants. Aspects such as hygiene, cleanliness, nutrition and general wellbeing was usually addressed. The people were also taught how to take care of their own health, and how to use herbal remedies for their benefit.

In the early 20th Century a Zen Buddhist called Morihei Ueshiba created what he called Aikido. This directly translates as “The Art of Peace”. Morihei is one of my heroes, as he truly shows how to divert someone’s attack, and using that force on themselves.

I think we can all strive to be the best version of ourselves. One good approach to start off with is to have an “inner smile”. Instead of just smiling with your lips and eyes, truly feel that you are smiling with your whole being. This is a good way to become happier and more content. Remember that we always have to start with ourselves, before being able to affect others in a positive way. When we are in a good state with ourselves, influencing others will be easier.

We need peace to calm our mental chattering, commonly called “Monkey Mind”. This is of greater importance in our age, where we are surrounded by endless distractions. To turn on “flight mode” on certain occasions, only check your e-mail and messages at given times and turn of the constant notifications from your mobile I think is a good way to start. Finding a place of peace and calm I think is essential for our mental, and consequently physical health. Also, have the bedroom as our sacred place where we rejuvenate. Important here for a good nights’ rest is that the room gets dark, cold and quiet enough for us to sleep soundly.

Great thinkers and writers of our time such as Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce were wanderers. They used to walk for long stretches, mostly because they felt their mind clear, and therefore easier to get inspiration. As is often being illustrated in ancient Chinese texts, a cup that is full can not be filled anymore. You must empty the cup to be able to fill it more. The same applies with your mind. To more easily be inspired and learn new things you have to clear your erratic mind first.

Being out in nature and listening to sounds like a trickling stream or birds chirping/singing calms the mind. Somehow this is ingrained in our biology, and is subconsciously being interpreted as “being out of danger”.

Meditation, directly translated as “Being Still”. This does not mean that one has to sit still. Being mindful of all one’s actions, and being more present in the moment is also a form of meditation. The image of being in the center of a tornado, where the storm is whooshing around you, but still being still, that is true meditation.

Prayers are a good way to aid someone in difficult times. For example, many doctors in the university hospital in Tromsø used to pray with their patients, to ease their pain and suffering. The power of prayers is something not truly understood, but nonetheless, have a great healing effect.

I feel that one topic is often overlooked when addressing someone’s wellbeing, and that is sexual freedom. Sex is so bound to a lot of taboo, and we are supposed not to even talk about it. Even in my clinic my patients would struggle to talk about their issues concerning this. What is important to understand is that sex is some of the most natural things in our existence. We wouldn’t have been here if it hadn’t been for sex. Therefore, rejoice and enjoy this part of human life.

Now, why are we here? I believe we are here to reinvent ourselves over and over, until we gradually become the better person. By this I mean free of the shackles of how we are supposed to be, and rather strive to reach our true potential. We have so much potential, which is just waiting for us to seize.

Then why are so many people suffering in the world, starving from famine, or scared for their life due to wars? It is now easy to follow life across the globe through media coverage. Quite often the focus is how bad things are going. People may indeed be wired up due to all the devastating occurrences in the world. This is not a healthy way to approach this. Remember, first be in a good state with yourself, before you can influence others in a positive way. There are no easy ways to heal the world of destruction. I think sending silent prayers to people who are suffering and envisioning ways to make their life better is a good way to start. Instead of focusing on the destructive powers, rather focus on the opportunities and potentials. Even small acts in your own community can cause ripple effects down the line.

 

 

 

 

How To Lose Those Extra Kilos

After having had a merry Christmas holiday I am sure there are plenty of us who ponder how we can lose those extra kilos we gained after stuffing ourselves with lots of delicious savoury foods. Here is a list of the most important points in this regard:

  • Eat less sugar. Excess refined sugar is probably the main reason why people struggle to lose weight. Also, know that alcohol is considered a refined sugar and should be moderated. Eating more wholesome sugars from fruits and berries is much better. A small amount of wholesome sugars such as honey, raw cane sugar is much better than the refined beet sugar. Remember, less is more.
  • Fat is not the enemy: There is a crisp new study from the University of Bergen that show the beneficial effect of consuming more saturated fats, and how this may indeed lower one’s weight. Mind you, this is a small study, but still contradicts the theory that eating less fat makes one loose fat. Eating saturated fats such as butter in moderation may be better than eating those hydrogenated oils in margarine. Here I would advise to focus on the quality of fats. I also believe eating good quality oils such as extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil is generally good for one’s health.
  • Eat less refined starches such as that bowl of potato chips or floury foods that is so easy to eat too much of. Remember, the more wholesome the food is, the better it is for you.
  • Also, avoid refined starches such as Pepsi max or the equivalent. Many studies have shown how these artificial sugars will ”fool” the body into believing that sugar will arrive, and thereby increasing insulin production. The surge in insulin without being saturated by glucose cause the body to store more fat due to the insulin effect.
  • Regular workout: Physical exercise have a range of benefits, from boosting blood circulation (and hence oxygen transport and excretion of waste particles), improving mood and energy from an elevation of endorphins, balancing the lipoproteins in the blood circulation. Regular physical exercise, both endurance and strength workouts, will be beneficial to balance ones weight.
  • Stress down: Too much stress leaves excess cortisol levels in the body.and may consequently cause one to gain more weight. One of the best ways to stress down is to sleep better. Also, deep belly breathing and intervals of calming activities are very beneficial.
  • Lower inflammation: An increase in certain inflammatory markers called cytokines have been linked especially to abdominal adiposity.
  • Treat your gut flora: There are now coming out various studies on how the gut flora influence one’s weight. The balance between the two gut flora families Bacteroidetes and Fibricutes are of huge importance as to how one digests starches. Fibricutes bacteria’s cleave carbohydrates at a much greater extent than Bacterioidetes. We tend to see more of an overweight of Fibricutes to Bacteroidetes in the west in contrast to more ”primitive” cultures. Most probably this relates to the diet. An excess of Fibricutes in relation to Bacterioidetes is linked to overweight. Consuming more fibrous foods from vegetables and fermented foods may, as well as eating less refined starches, be a good way to balance these bacteria’s.
  • Check your thyroid: Oftentimes, when people see an abnormal increase in weight (For example, beyond eating several Christmas-style feasts for days), then it may be necessary to check your thyroid status with your doctor, as a thyroid imbalance may be the culprit!
  • There are some supplements that may have a good effect at lowering one’s weight. An Indian study show great improvement by consuming an Ajurvedic herb called Ashwaghanda.

Have a Happy New Year!

The Benefits Of Fasting

Fasting is an ancient way to restore one’s health, from the Ezekiel’s 40 days’ fasts, to the Muslims 30 days Ramadan. Aristotle used to demand that his potential students embark on a fasting period before commencing his teachings.

If we go back in time several thousands of years (a speck in time for the history of the world), humans naturally fasted in times when there were scarce amounts of food. Hence, when we consider evolution, most of the human existence we were forced to have intermittent fasting. It is only in the modern time that we have a surplus amount of food available at all times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative thing in its self. It is great that we are able to have a more varied and rich diet than our forefathers. The only problem is that in this time and age, where we tend to think more on efficiency and how to get food fast, food also tend to lack a lot of the essential nutrients that we have available, virtually at all times.  The diet tend to be too rich in fast sugars and starches, and nutrients lacking in enzymes that will leave a more sluggish digestive system. Studies have shown that in the west we typically carry many kilograms of partially undigested food in the colon. Fasting is therefore a way to restore health in the body by sweeping clean the gastrointestinal system of the excess food particles.

The concept of fasting is also a time where you focus not on what you ingest. This has the potential to relieve addictive behaviors.  It is also a good way to clear ones mind, as less energy goes to the digestive system. This is the reason why Aristotle demanded that his students fast before studying, as this increased the efficiency of their learning capacity.

There are many ways to fast. I do not suggest you start with a long fast if you are not used to fasting, as this may be too big of a shock to the body. Therefore, it is better to start with intermittent fasting’s, lasting a day or two. If you look at Anthony Weils recommendations to a healthier lifestyle, fasting one day a week is a good way to go.

Now, how does one fast. There are many ways to do this:

  • Water fast. This is the most common way to fast, where one only consume water for the entire fasting period.
  • Juice fasting. Drinking solely vegetable juice, alternatively with some fruits such as lemon and apple.
  • Absolute fast. This is where you ingest nothing for a period of time. An example of this is the days of Ramadan.
  • Fasting could also be just being conscious of eating/drinking more simply. Whole grain rice fast is a good fast, and could be particularly beneficial with parasitic infestations.

Once one gets more in the habbit of fasting one can try the 7 days fast. This commonly is a water fast, done once a year, preferably in the spring or autumn. Here it is advisable to do this in a time of less stress, as it turns out to be a contemplative period. Here it is advisable to consult a physician before the fast to make sure the liver and kidney values are up for the task. It is also advisable to consume lots of leafy green vegetables and herbal teas a few days prior and after the fast, to ease in and out of the fast.

Fasting is a way to reset the body and mind, where one can spend more time on doing other hearty things, such as being more out in nature, and bring the nature in to your home by buying plants or flowers. Fasting could also include fasting from media and news for a day, so as to relieve more of ones collective stress. Remember, fasting is about enjoying more of what life has to offer, while regaining more energy and clarity by doing so.

Happy fasting!

How To Boost Vitality

Do you feel the occational lack of energy, or is every day a drag, where you have to force your way through it? There are ways to leave you feel more envigorated, energized and vital. Do you want to know what that is? Ok, great! Let’s go:

  • Get proper amount of good sleep. The key here is sleeping enough.
  • Stress down. Get adequate amounts relax during the day. Deep breathing, feeling your stomach moves with the breathing is a good way to lower ones stress level, aka taking a breather. Also, don’t set your mind to doing more than you are capable of, as this will only stress you more. Learning to say no is something many could be better at.
  • Tend to your thyroid. This is related to the point above.
  • Take care of you gastro-intestinal tract, as this really influences your energy level.
  • Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, in the right amounts is both healthy and a good way to boost vitality. Interval workout, with high intensity bursts of exercise alternated with intermittent resting periods is a good way to improve circulation in the body. I can recommend a book called Spark, by  John Ratley on this subject.
  • Regularly stretch out your body. It is particularly important to have a flexible back, as it influences the circulation of your body.
  • Eat regular meals. By eating regularly you maintain a more balanced blood sugar, and consecuently leaving you with more energy.
  • Eat your veggies. Eating enough vegetables is a very important measure to making sure that the energy level is maintained at optimal levels. Drinking juice of clean, organic vegetalbes on an empty stomach, is a good way to get a lot of these phyto-nutrients in your system (use the fibers for something else, like in a smoothie). Eating a salad of vegetables prior, during or after a heavy meal will make you digest the food much better due to the enzymes, fibers and other nutrients in vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of clean water. First of all, make sure your tap water is clean. If not, there are many ways to make the water cleaner. I would advise to install an activated charcoal filter on the tap, or use a mug for the same purpose. Then make sure you drink enough water regularly, 2-3 liters of water depending on your daily activity.
  • Make sure you have enough vitamin B12 and iron, as a lack of these will influence your energy. The nutritional status also depend on how your digestion and absorption of nutrients are. I could also recommend eating pumpkin seeds, as they are rich in iron. If you want the nutrients from seeds, nuts, beans and lentils to be more easily assimilated, you could sprout them. This also has a very positive effect on energy and vitality.
  • You could also try to take supplements to boost vitality, which include maca, mucuna, licorize (not if high blood pressure). Choose a well renowned brand, as the quality tend to be better.
  • There are also ways to boost energy and vitality through what I call energy workout. This includes qi gong, tai chi, yoga and many more. This is a very good way of gradually building up ones vitality.

Remember, take it slow. Gradual progress is much better, than aiming too high too soon.

 

Ways To Improve Digestion

I consider the gastro-intestinal tract to be one of our most important organs. We could definitely not live without it, as it is here that digestion and assimilation of nutrients takes place. Therefore, to maintain a healthy gastro-intestinal tract is essential for proper digestion. Here are some general advice, that I consider sound:

  • Drink plenty of clean water throughout the day. The gastrointestinal tract is important in balancing hydration of the body, and excretion of waste particles. Consuming enough water will enable the gut to function optimally.
  • Start the day by drinking a lukewarm (tepid…under 42 degrees) glass of water, with juice from ½ a lemon. Alternatively you could use cold pressed apple cider vinegar in stead. This practice will hydrate the body (which is particularly useful after a good nights sleep) and get help prepare the gastrointestinal system for the day,
  • Cut back on coffee. Coffee contain caffeine, which overtly stimulates gastric emptying, and irritates the gut lining. Coffee works as a laxative, so people with obstipation might feel an improvement after consuming this. Even so, using coffee as a therapy for obstipation will just make issues worse over time. The key word here is moderation. Someone with very irritable intestines, with burning sensations, should probably evade drinking coffee alltoghether for a while. Mind you, caffeine is addictive, and cutting down on caffeine might lead to abstinence symptoms such as (forbigående) headache or fatigue. Some should also stay away from other caffeinated beverages for a while to alleviate symptoms.
  • Bitter herbs, including milk thistle, dandelion,  shisandra, burdock root are all herbs that are useful at helping the liver and gall bladder to function optimally. In my practice I often use tinctures of Bitterstern, as this will help cleanse the liver/gall bladder, and consequently allow for better digestion. Patients suffering from acid reflux may also benefit greatly upon taking this supplement.
  • Ingest lots of healthy, fresh vegetables, either in its raw form or as freshly squeezed juices. This contains lots of phytonutrients, nourishment that will leave cells more energized. The fibers and enzymes in vegetables are also very beneficial.
  • Stress down. This is particularly important for gastric acid secretion, and gut motility Calming down by deep breathing is a good way to increase the parasympathetic system, aka the relaxing part of the nervous system.
  • Active charcoal will mop up some of the toxins being unleashed in the gut. Toxins may come from excretion of waste particles from the liver, ingested pollutants, gut flora toxins and more. Better to take a small amount of this, over a longer period of time, to have the most benefit.
  • A good fiber mixed with water, taken on an empty stomach between meals is a good way to balance the motility in the intestines.
  • There is also the issue of possible gut flora imbalance. For more information  on this see my other post Our Little Helpers

 

 

Ways To Treat The Common Cold

We are in winter season, which also is the season for frequent colds. Here is a list of suggestions of how to treat the common cold:

  • Stay warm. This is key to recovering quickly.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. This is also as important. When the body has been attacked by a viral pathogen one important factor to get better is to adequate rest.
  • Nasal irrigation with lukewarm saline water. Often cold start with pathogens clogging up the nasal passages, which may then spread to the rest of the airways. Cleansing the nasal passages is a great way to heal yourself of infection, and is commonly adviced by ear-nose-throat specialists.
  • Vitamin D. This is what we call the sun vitamin. Unfortunately, when not being exposed to enough sunlight, this essential vitamin becomes depleted. Vitamin D is important for the immune system, and a lack of the vitamin increases the likelihood of getting sick. Hence, taking a vitamin D supplement in the darker periods of the year is a good preventative measure.
  • Vitamin C. Humans are one of the few animals (yes, we are animals 😉 ) that doesn’t produce vitamin C, and need a diet rich in this essential vitamin. When the diet is lacking in vitamin C it is also advisable to supplement with it. Foods particularly rich in vitamin C are herbs such as parsley and ginger, fresh vegetables, fruits and berries such as pomegranate, blueberries and acai-berries.
  • Zinc. Zinc is a mineral important for thousands of enzyme reactions in the body. It aids in detoxification processes and the immune system. It is particularly useful for treating viral infections.
  • Foods rich in glycoproteins. There is exciting research that has been done on the role of glycoproteins for the immune system. Foods rich in glycoproteins are mushrooms, and possibly a main reason for why many mushrooms are considered such great immune modulators. Mushrooms that contain large amounts of glycoproteins are reishi, shiitake, chaga and many more.Wild plants and berries also contain a rich amount of glycoproteins.
  • You could also try herbal supplements, including echinacea, sage, elderberries and many more.  In my practice i am fond of using the echinacea and sage throat spray by Vogel works wonders.
  • A good drink to boost the immune system is ginger tea: Drink ginger, lemon and honey. Take a piece of ginger, the size of your thumb, and juice it. Alternatively steep the ginger in hot water for 5-10 minutes, and then cool down. Add juice from ½ lemon and a teaspoon of raw honey. This drink gives you a boost of essential nutrients including antioxidants and vitamin C.Tropical smoothiepexels-photo-302810

 

Keep Your Thyroid Healthy

What is the thyroid, and why is it important to keep this little gland healthy, you may ask?First a bit about the thyroid to put you up to speed. The thyroid is a  gland that lies below your Adam’s apple and above the notch of your breastbone. This little gland controls the metabolism in every cell of our body, through hormones called T4 and T3 Thyroid hormones.  The secretion is being controlled by the brain, where the hypothalamus send signals (TRH) down to the pituitary gland in the brain, and further signaling down to the thyroid (TSH). In healthy individuals this signaling pathway maintain a perfect harmony between the signaling hormones and the thyroid hormones. In disease, this is when we start observing irregularities in the bloodworks.

Now what may happen to the thyroid? One increasingly more common abnormality is the underproduction of thyroid hormones. The thyroid start to struggle to produce enough hormones to sustain a normal metabolism in the body. This causes the brain to send increasing signaling hormones, as if saying, keep up guys! This may push the thyroid into producing enough. Even so, if this situation lasts, there may be hard for the thyroid to produce enough thyroid hormones, no matter how much (big brother) is pushing it along. Here symptoms of what we call hypothyroidism may appear, which include lethargy/fatigue, brain fog, brittle hair and nails, hair loss, weight gain, poor memory and concentration and so on. This we treat with supplementing with thyroid hormones T4 and T3.

The thyroid gland may also start producing too many thyroid hormones, usually due to an inflammation in the gland (or parts of the gland). The feedback effect on the brain is opposite, where there is a reduction of the signaling hormones TSH, trying to slow the thyroid activity, as if saying Woooo there! This may also work for a while, but may lead to sudden og gradual onset of what we call hyperthyroidism, where symptoms include anxiety, sensation of a fast beating heart, insomnia, weight loss, dizziness and many more. Here treatment is not so straight forward, and include medications to decrease the thyroid activity, and maybe radio iodine and/or surgical resection of the gland.

So why does this concern you, dear reader? Well, I believe in taking care of this gland, before abnormalities occur is a great preventative measure. And now finally we are getting to the good stuff. How to take care of your thyroid. There are three nutrients which are essential for the thyroid to function optimally, and these are

  • Iodine
  • Selenium
  • Zinc

Also, Vitamin D, which is now considered to function more like a hormone, will potentially influence the thyroid hormones. So, how can one ensure to maintain good levels of these nutrients? Iodine used to be sufficient before when ingesting dairy. This is unfortunately not true anymore. The simple reason for this is the cows diet lack this mineral. To get good amounts of iodine it is important to ingest foods from the sea (and I am not talking about omega 3 capsules). Seafood (non-harvested) and shellfish contain decent amounts of iodine. Even so, seaweed is far superior. Seaweed such as kelp contain good amounts of iodine. In my practice, I use iodine supplements frequently when I see this lacking, as this has many health benefits, including aiding the thyroid and gastrointestinal tract. Frequently there is a boost in energy upon taking the kelp supplement. A note of caution though – When there is an inflammation in the thyroid, leading to hyperthyroidism, then it is not advisable to take iodine supplements, as it may worsen the condition.

Selenium is easier to come across. I frequently advice my patients to ingest basil nuts on a regular basis, as these nuts contain good amounts of selenium. Zinc is in many different foods, including seeds and nuts, particularly pumpkin seeds, meat and seafood, such as oysters. Vitamin D we boost by being exposed to the sun. While this may be easier during the summer months, during the winter this may not be so. Therefore, taking a vitamin D supplement in the dark months of the year is a good way to maintain a healthy level of this essential vitamin.

There are also other underlying mechanisms to thyroid abnormalities that functional medical practitioners are aware of. These include possible food intolerance, gut flora imbalance (particularly fungal), and of course genetic predispositions. There is also increasing evidence that chronically elevated stress-levels may influence the thyroid. When considering food intolerance, I have countless examples of thyroid abnormalities being normalized after a period of gluten free diet. A dairy free diet may also do the trick. One of the most effective ways to limit stress is to sleep well. As I covered in the article on sleep, there are also many other ways to calm down the body-mind.When the gut flora is in an imbalance the first step is decreasing the amount of refined sugar ingested, and also boosting the beneficial flora with probiotics. This may gradually lead to a better flora, and consequently a better immune and hormone balance. Here we will go more in depth in later articles.