Blue blocking sleep

Sleep Improved by Reducing Blue Light

There are a myriad of reasons why people don’t get enough sleep. However; there are steps you can take to improve sleep, like reducing nightly water intake and turning down your thermometer. Another step to consider is wearing blue light blocking glasses.

Blue Light and Sleep Cycle

 

Your circadian rhythm is a 24 hour cycle that is affected by sunlight and temperature. Normally you get sleepy at night because your body naturally drops in temperature and blue light exposure is reduced. Reduced light exposure means increased levels of naturally occurring melatonin. Melatonin makes you sleepy.
Blue blocking sunglasses
If blue light from the sun reduces melatonin levels, you don’t want any blue light exposure after sunset. Since the invention of Netflix and Chill, internet access to iPhones and iPads, and Game of Thrones, blue light exposure from electronics is ample. When using electronics at night, you disrupt many physiological processes including decreasing melatonin levels.

Blue Light Blocking and Sleep

 

In a recent study, participants wore blue blocking glasses 3 hours before bedtime for two weeks. Results showed a 58% increase in night time melatonin levels. Also per sleep questionnaire, participants slept better, fell asleep faster, and increased sleep time for 24 minutes. How many times have you hit the 5 min. snooze button?
You should be thinking to yourself, “Where do I find these special glasses?” Well the color of the lenses are the most important. The lenses should have a amber tint to them. Amber does the best job of blocking blue light. Links to glasses here and here. Now you’ll be able to enjoy Jon Snow heroics without feeling groggy the next day.
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Saunas

Saunas and Avoiding Fatal Cardiac Death

Saunas aren’t commonplace for people in warmer regions of the world. That’s because, in places like Birmingham, Alabama, you can walk outside and feel sauna like effects. Colder regions of the world, especially in Europe, use saunas more often. Fortunately for those users, sauna bathing may have remarkable health effects.

saunas

Saunas by the Numbers

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, sauna bathing reduces fatal cardiac events and all cause mortality. The study was quite large using 2,315 men ages 42-60 from eastern Finland. The study shows a 23% and 48% reduction of fatal cardiac heart disease (CHD) by using the sauna 2-3 times and 4-7 times per week respectively. Compared to men going 1 time per week, there is a 27% and 24% decrease risk for fatal cardiovascular death (FCD) and all cause mortality (ACM) respectively for 2-3 sauna sessions. Furthermore, 4 sauna sessions or more decreased the risk of FCD and ACM by a 2 fold average. Those are impressive numbers considering you sit in a room for 20 minutes.

Why Do Saunas Help?

Scientists aren’t sure why sauna sessions reduce the risk of cardiac and all cause mortality. Most believe that sauna sessions increase blood vessel function. Previous studies show positive effects with many vascular and heart functions.

Finnish saunas use dry heat to make you sweat. It’s like using a heater. Wet saunas use water and heat to create humidity to heat your body. Thus, you may not get the same beneficial effects using a wet sauna.

In conclusion, more investigation is needed involving sauna bathing and vascular function.

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Tuna

Tuna That Could Cause Harm to Health

Researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography studied the amounts of toxic material in yellowfin (YF) tuna. The findings from the Gulf of Mexico and Northeast Atlantic ocean YF tuna were not good. YF tuna from those regions contained 36 times the normal amount of contaminants! Contaminants include pesticides, flame retardants, and chemicals (banned in 1979) from coolants and electronics.

Who Are at Risk from Contaminated Tuna?

Health advisories are being sent due to the increased amount of toxic materials. Health advisories are present for regular consumers, the pregnant, and women who breast feed. Consequently, there is a link between high toxic load and many health issues like immune deficiencies.

Tuna

How Can You Avoid Toxic Contaminants?

 As a Structural chiropractor, it’s my professional obligation to recommend a plan to create optimal spinal alignment and overall good health. They go hand in hand. Therefore, I recommend my patients take Core Chiropractic’s Omega-3 fatty acids. Why? Our Omega-3’s are moleculary distilled. As a result, our fish oil supplement is absent of toxic contaminants. It’s similar to reverse osmosis water filters. Distillation removes unwanted materials.

Size Matters

Our product doesn’t stop at molecular distillation. The fish processed in our Omega-3’s is Alaskan Cod which is a much smaller than your average tuna species. Why is this important? Small fish feed on smaller plants and fish, while tuna feed on larger fish. Therefore larger the fish, the more contaminants. It’s like a trash can vs a dumpster. The larger the receptacle the more trash there is.
In conclusion, I recommend you eat the smallest fish in the coldest waters possible. These fish include sardines or salmon. Colder water results in fatty fish which contains beneficial omega 3’s. Eating fish has numerous health benefits like increased heart health.
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Fasting Breast Cancer Re-occurrence

Fast? A Simple Way to Reduce Cancer Re-occurrance

We fast every day. Hence the word, breakfast.  Whether you break your fast at 7 or 11 AM, it may be good to track the amount of time between dinner and breakfast. The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) published a study involving 2413 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Data shows the mean fasting time (time between dinner and breakfast) averaged 12.5 hours.

Fast Breast Cancer Re-occurrence

 

How Long Should You Fast?

Fasting less than 13 hours increases chances of cancer re-occurrence by 36%. 36%!  A simple change like eating one day’s ration of food within a 10-11 hour period could reduce chances of cancer by 36%. That’s eye opening. Not to mention, 13 hour fasting reduced HbA1c (diabetic marker) and increased nighttime sleep. What does this mean for those who haven’t been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Fasting With Other Studies

Studies involving mice and humans have also shown positive effects. Patients with relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS) followed prolonged fasting and ketogenic diets. The article cited “clinically meaningful improvement” on MS Quality of Life- 54 scores.
Mice showed improvement of MS symptoms by undergoing a fasting mimicking diet. The diet lowered the number of damaging immune cells and regrow the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath is the protective covering for nerve communication. The sheath is similar to the plastic covering of a power cord.
These studies have sparked larger clinical trials looking into an array of health issues that can be improved by fasting. I believe these studies are fascinating given the ease of application and the potential health benefits. Can you eat all of your calories within a 10 hour time frame? Definitely.

How Does Fasting Work?

Why do these trials show so much promise? Scientist hypothesize that cells under a fasting state will undergo cellular protection or death. Cells that are abnormal/damaged are more apt for death in a fasting state. Therefore a cellular reduction from apoptosis (cellular death), will stimulate stem cells (parent cells) to make new healthy cells.
With modern day food science, calories are plentiful. Maybe we need to take a longer break for our body to metabolize calories. It’s seems reasonable because a constant or excessive feeding of our cells is unhealthy. In conclusion if you plan to change your diet, please consult your physician especially if you have a preexisting condition.
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growth

An Egg a Day Could Change Infant Growth Rates

I’m at the age where a lot of my friends have kids. Lots of adorable pictures pop on social media of babies and toddlers. All different sizes. Tall, chunky (my favorite), and tiny. Baby checks always include growth rate metrics like height-age, weight-age, and weight-height to name a few. That data is collected and compared to the national average. Luckily for them stunted growth isn’t a problem.

Eggs

Growth Rates for Infants

Unfortunately stunted growth is more prevalent in developing countries due to lack of quality nutrition. A research study gave babies 6 to 9 months old, eggs to eat and compared them to a control group (no eggs). Children given eggs were 47% less likely to have stunted growth.  Researchers use eggs due to there abundance and low cost. This study may not have much relevance to people reading this because nutritional resources and support are ample in this country, but I believe this speaks more to the nutritional value of an egg.

Eggs Are Great Source of Nutrition, Period

You’ve read the many differing opinions on eggs. It’ll raise your cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease etc. As you’ve probably guessed, my opinion is different. Eggs should be a part of your daily routine. They are a cheap source of a nutritionally dense food. One egg contains approximately 75 calories, and is packed with 13 essential vitamins and minerals. Also add  6 grams of protein to boot. Stop using the egg whites only. The yolk has all the important nutrients.
Let’s say after reading this article, You’re going to start eating eggs and giving them to your children. First, check to see if your toddler has an egg allergy by mixing the egg and placing a dab on the forearm. After 24 hours check to see if there is a rash. If there is no rash, it’s safe to consume hard boiled eggs . Second, solids should be introduced to babies starting at month 6 of age and beyond. No solids including eggs should be consumed before then.
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Why Are You Sleepy After Lunch

Need A Nap? Why Are You So Sleepy After Lunch?

After lunch, do you have this insatiable feeling of needing to nap? If you do, you will probably nod off staring at your computer while trying to look like you are doing work. You may even try to crawl into the dark cavernous depths under your work desk. Among the thoughts of counting sheep, you should be thinking about what you had for lunch.

Foods Causing You to Nap?

Let’s say a typical work desk lunch is a soda, chips/pretzels, and a sandwich. That combination is a recipe for a post lunch nap. Why? Glucose. Sugar in the soda, carbohydrates (carbs) from potatoes, and carbs from sandwich bread all add up to a big helping of glucose. Do you drink diet soda?The diet soda may be harmful to your weight goals and your cardiovascular health. Diet soda has been linked to unfavorable studies causing: increased stroke and dementia and no weight loss.

Anyways, a glucose filled meal inhibits or decreases a brain signaling structure called orexin. Orexin plays a role in sleep/wake cycle as well as feeding behavior and reward system. People with chronically low levels of orexin can suffer from narcolepsy. Narcolepsy causes extreme daytime drowsiness.

Protein Can Curb Drowsiness

So, if you eat a pasta filled lunch (carbs-glucose) you’ll feel sleepy. On the other hand, protein increases orexin. So a lunch of vegetables and protein will decrease the likelihood you will “nod off” after lunch. Not only will you feel more awake; you are more likely to be active. If you are stuck at work, at least you’ll be more productive.

I’m not saying your lunch is the only reason why you are sleepy. You may have watched a creepy episode of The Walking Dead. Who knows? Your circadian rhythm, amount of nighttime and daytime light, and food quality are all factors of general drowsiness during the day. Reconsider your lunch before taking drastic measures to stay awake.

Should I Supplement Vitamin D for Immune Health?

This article is a couple months late due to flu and respiratory tract infections sweeping across the U.S. I’ve been reporting the benefits of vitamin D3 (VD3) for quite a while. Not only is it necessary for optimal skeletal bone formation, but it has protective immune effects as well. VD3 is so important that I’ve begun selling the supplement in the office. Enough chest puffing though. What about the study?

Vitamin D3 Is For Immune Health Too

The British Medical Journal published a study on February 15th citing vitamin D’s (VD) role in the protective effects against acute respiratory infections. The effects of daily to weekly VD showed better results in participants with lower levels of VD. This is not the only study that cites strengthened immune responses with VD supplementation. In fact, this study used data from 25 randomized control trails (gold standard of research) using 10,933 participants.

Should I Supplement With Vitamin D for Immune Health-

Should I Take a Vitamin D Supplement?

There is no recommended daily amount of VD. Thus it is hard to say exactly how much to take. Dosage depends on weight, skin color, season, and daily exposure to sunlight. The darker the skin the more sun you need to get optimal amounts of VD. If your job requires you to be indoors and it’s winter of fall, then you are more susceptible to a vitamin d deficiency. Also you will need more VD if you have a high percentage of body fat.

Taking A Safe Dose

Journal articles have shown safe amounts in the range of up to 10,000 IU. I recommend 2,000-3,000 IU of VD3 which is more bio-available than vitamin D2. Ultimately, it’s hard to gauge an optimal level since there is much disparity between individuals and seasons. If you want to get a good idea of your VD3 levels get a 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. A reading of 32 ng/ml or less is deficient, so 40 to 50 ng/ml is optimal.

Lastly, I recommend a supplement with VD3 with K2. Vitamin K2 directs calcium into the bone instead of other places in the body.

Sweeteners and Sugar: The Good and Bad

 Sugar and Sweeteners- The Good and Bad

During the 1960’s sugar wasn’t blamed. In 1967, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) put the blame on saturated for heart disease on fats. Consequently, heart disease research from a food science and public health perspective is flawed. Most of all, the NEJM is one of the largest and respected medical journals in the world.

What’s Wrong With Sugar?

The Sugar Research Foundation compromised this study by giving a total of $19,000 to the head researchers. $19,000 is equivalent to $50,000 today. This study combined with bad research by Dr. Ancel Keys results in the many low fat diets seen today. Improper benefits and bad research put the public at risk by blaming the wrong substance on heart disease. Fortunately, emerging science continues to minimize the connection between saturated fat and heart disease.

Reverse the Fear: Sugars and Processed Carbs

Let’s say the bad studies linked the heart disease epidemic to sugar. Government agencies would have stricter limits on sugar and carbohydrate intake. “Warning, sugar increases the likelihood for heart disease. ” Would the U.S. still be one of the unhealthiest countries in the world? Would the obesity rates of our kids and teenagers still be high and increasing? I think not. Let’s break down common sweeteners and which are the best.

Common Sweeteners

The sweeteners listed below are highly processed. Processed means to heat, freeze, ferment, or add chemicals to make a product.

  • Sucrose aka table sugar
  • Saccharin and dextrose (Sweet N Low)
  • Sucralose and dextrose (Splenda)
  • Aspartame (Equal)
  • Maltodextrin
  • Erythritol

Evidence shows a link between artificial sweeteners and oxidative stress and inflammation which cause damage to organs and the brain. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners increase risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type two diabetes, and heart disease. Also, high use of artificial sweeteners alters good gut bacteria. Since sweeteners are widespread in processed foods and drinks, high accumulation is attainable.  Studies using Splenda and mice showed evidence of reduction in beneficial gut flora and reduced fecal PH (acidic). Normal body PH is alkaline. There is enough evidence to suggest removing these harmful substances from your diet. Make sure to check your ingredient labels too!

Best Sweeteners

  • Stevia rebaudiana (Sweetleaf)
  • Honey

Stevia is a popular plant because it’s sweet and may be medicinal. The healthy compound in Stevia is steviol glycosides. Stevia is an antioxidant, natural preservative, antimicrobial, and anitfungal. Stevia is thermostable therefore cooking with it will not change the chemical structure. It’s stable at 392 degrees Fahrenheit. When comparing stevia to other artificial sweeteners, stevia is much healthier by far.

I recommend Sweet Drops by SweetLeaf. Sweet Drops uses Stevia extract with natural flavors.The natural flavors contain ingredients from herbs, fruits, and vegetables. In conclusion, avoid artificial sweeteners and use SweetLeaf or local honey.

 

 

Cranberry Juice

Cranberry Sauce or Juice?

Cranberry JuiceThanksgiving is this Thursday! Bring on the turkey, dressing, and desserts. Oh yeah, your relatives will be there too! A Thanksgiving day is not totally complete without cranberry sauce. Personally I never eat it. Something that slides out of a can and maintains its tubular shape isn’t appetizing to me, but there is a large segment of the population that obviously enjoy the taste. This article isn’t about cranberry sauce. In this article we will discuss some of the health benefits of cranberry juice.

Dental Caries and Gum Disease

Like most dark colored fruits, cranberries are loaded with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant. The polyphenols in cranberries reduce the affects of bacteria that form plaque buildup on your teeth. Also cranberry juice provides gum protection because the polyphenols inhibit the process of gum inflammation and the destructive enzymes that damage the gums.

Breast Cancer

Eating fruits and vegetables has an inverse risk for chronic diseases and cancer. In this study cranberry extract was used on breast cancer cells. The cranberry extract significantly decreased breast cancer cell replication/ reproduction. This study used cranberry extract; thus this study is limited in benefits for actual cranberry juice.

Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

This study shows low calorie cranberry juice reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors. Risk factors included blood pressure, c reactive protein (inflammation marker), triglycerides, and glucose concentrations. Low calorie cranberry juice has shown to have similar effects of an ACE inhibitor/high blood pressure medications.

The power of the cranberry is a result of the antioxidants it possesses. That’s why it’s so important to eat dark colored fruits and vegetables. Not only are you optimizing many cellular functions through its vitamins and minerals, but you’ll also be receiving the fiber you need. Drinking cranberry or pomegranate juice is a convenient way to get these important micro nutrients. Pass on the cranberry sauce, and drink 3-4 oz daily of cranberry juice. You can eat them whole which would be more beneficial. When you buy cranberry juice (try this one) make sure it’s not from concentrate or has added sugars.

Heavy Backpacks to Blame for Chronic Low Back Pain?

Heavy Backpacks to Blame for Chronic Low Back Pain?

Heavy Backpacks to Blame for Chronic Low Back Pain?

Attention parents. I have some homework that could influence your child’s health. How much does your child’s backpack weigh? If a child who weighs 100 pounds is wearing a 10 to 15 pound backpack, then that child is at an increased risk for low back pain or back pathology. Studies show that 92% of children carry backpacks that are 10% to 22% of their body weight. I was in school once, and I remember lugging around 3 to 4 heavy books, 2-3 binders, and a lunch box. Who knows, I may have been packing some Pogs or a Yo-Yo too. Let’s examine some backpack strategies to keep your kids healthy.

What Damage Can Heavy Backpacks Cause?

When a child’s backpack is over 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, the body’s normal center of gravity is shifted backwards or posteriorly. As the normal center of gravity is shifted posteriorly, abnormal loading of the spine will cause compression of the discs and associated spinal structures like articular facets. Along with spinal compression; children will compensate the weight by rounding their shoulders and jutting their head forward. Have you heard of the analogy, “As the twig is bent so grows the tree?” There is a lot of truth to that because minor spinal shifts or deviations of the spine will progress causing secondary conditions or symptoms if not corrected.

Chronic rounded shoulders can cause abnormal shoulder mechanics leading to shoulder injury. Permanent forward head posture or Anterior Head Syndrome (AHS) can cause spinal pathology and other symptoms such as headaches. Take a look at Justin Bieber’s lateral mugshot. It saddens me to see kids and teens with AHS because without a comprehensive plan to fix the shifts of the spine; spinal degeneration will accelerate at a more rapid pace. Anterior Head Syndrome is no different than your car being out of alignment. This will cause abnormal wear and tear on your tires and may cause your car to veer to one side.

Backpack Tips that Can Prevent Injury

  • Backpacks shouldn’t be big enough to hold all of your child’s books. Purchase a backpack that is just large enough to hold a few books, a binder and a lunch box.
  • Purchase a backpack that has large, padded shoulder straps. A backpack that is too heavy with narrow straps can compress nerves and arteries. With that said, use both shoulder straps. No Zack Morris backpack wearing.
  • Limit backpack weights below 10% of your child’s body weight.
  • Place the heaviest objects closest to the child’s back. This will limit changes in center of gravity  which normally is just below your belly button.
  • When picking up your backpack use the Lumbar Saving Lift.
  • Check with the teacher or child about the books needed to bring home for homework.
  • Adjust the straps so that the backpack is positioned 4 inches above the child’s waist line. Wear your backpack like NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.

You could try roller backpacks, but apparently those can be tripping hazards and may be hard to lug up stairs. A child with back pain or neck pain is extremely worrisome. Thus, it’s important to take the steps necessary to prevent future spinal problems.

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