Posts Tagged ‘symptoms’

Pain is one of the most common reasons that people visit my office for treatment. That said, I thought I’d write a little bit on the topic.

Interestingly, pain doesn’t occur where you “feel” it or believe it to exist. In fact, pain really isn’t a “thing”. Pain is a perception triggered by the activation of certain areas in the brain. These “pain centers” (the neurology can get quite complex, so I’ll keep it simple) in the brain receive signals from specific nerves that have pain receptors (nociceptors) on them. So in the case of low back pain, for instance, the nociceptors harbored in the spinal joints, muscles, etc. get stimulated which then send nerve transmissions to be interpreted by the brain as pain. It’s because of this reason that “nerve blocks” work; basically blocking the signal to the brain. Now, what do we do about pain (other than a nerve block)?

Well, that of course depends on the type of pain you’re talking about. You see, nociceptors can get stimulated in different ways. Specifically, they respond to mechanical forces, inflammatory chemicals, and temperature changes.

As far as mechanical forces go; compression or stretching of a nerve(s) causes the stimulation of nociceptors, and results in the perception of pain. This can be caused by any number of structural imbalances, whether acute or chronic. The treatment for this type of “pain” stimulation is to balance muscle and joint function in order to eliminate the compression or stretching of the nociceptor. Furthermore, balancing muscle and joint function results in the stimulation of nerves that harbor mechanoreceptors (sensitive to light touch, vibration, position-sense, etc.) which actually act to: a) directly block the transmission of nociceptor signals to the brain, and b) travel faster to the brain in order to allow for the perception of something other than pain. By the way, “a” and “b” are the reason we rub an area of pain in order to relieve it.

Chemical pain, on the other hand, results from the stimulation of nociceptors via various inflammatory mediators/chemicals. So why do inflammatory mediators get released? Simple, because of tissue damage. This can certainly result from a structural abnormality that causes damage; in addition to a “chemical assault” that results in inflammation such as a food allergen or sensitivity, infection, toxin, or nutritional deficiency. All of the above can (and usually do) cause an inflammatory reaction. The chemicals involved include the likes of histamine, prostaglandins, thromboxanes, leukotrienes, etc.. As a result, these chemicals need to be kept at bay in order to prevent pain from being perceived. This is the reason why you may still sometimes feel pain after a chiropractic treatment. The treatment is designed to balance the structural components of dysfunction, however if there are still inflammatory chemicals circulating in response to tissue damage, the pain will persist. Once the healing begins, the pain should diminish and ultimately resolve. Chemical mediators of pain can be controlled by balancing muscle and joint function in order to prevent further damage, in addition to being controlled by nutritional substances that assist in healing and reducing inflammation.

Thermal or temperature-related pain… To relieve this…take your hand off the stove and don’t play with matches!

This idea of mechanical and chemical-mediated pain can be of extreme importance in diagnosis. Let me explain. If the pain experienced can be fully relieved by holding your body in a certain position, then your pain is solely caused by mechanical insults. However, if there is no position you can get into that relieves the pain, your problem most definitely has an inflammatory chemical component to it. And of course, if a certain position relieves some of the pain but not all of it, then there is both a mechanical and chemical component involved (this is most often the case). Whenever there is a chemical component to the pain, your doctor needs to have methods that can easily determine why you are inflamed. Remember, this can be the result of the normal repair process from structural damage, a chemical toxin, a food allergen or sensitivity, and/or a nutritional deficiency.

Several decades ago, it was found out that the mind cannot be separated from the body (through the field of psychoneuroimmunology). Now, if we were to dismiss the chemical component of pain, we’d basically be trying to separate the body from the body. Hopefully this helps to explain why your doctor may ask you to avoid certain foods, change your diet altogether, and take supplements even though your primary complaint is “physical” pain.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

some information in this article was sourced from: Chris Astill-Smith, DO, DIBAK – metabolics.com

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Gallbladder dysfunction is a fairly common clinical condition. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cholecystectomy (or gallbadder removal) was the seventh most common ambulatory (or out-patient) surgery in the U.S. in 2003. This is rather unfortunate considering how important the gallbladder is in overall body function; in addition to the fact that there are many successful, non-invasive natural methods in order to help it function properly.

The gallbladder is located on the right side of your body, behind the lower edge of the ribcage underneath the liver; in line with the center of the clavicle (or collarbone). Its purpose is to store bile that is manufactured by the liver, and then release the bile into the small intestine. From a digestive standpoint, bile’s purpose is to emulsify (or break down) fats in the small intestine, which allows them to be absorbed efficiently. Additionally, this allows for the proper absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Another role bile plays is to carry cholesterol and toxins into the intestines in order to rid them from the body. The toxins include anything ranging from pesticides, estrogens, toxic metals, and any other fat-soluble toxins. As you can see, a sluggish gallbladder (or worse, cholecystectomy) can cause a wide variety of complications.

The most common symptoms of gallbladder dysfunction include nausea, constipation, indigestion (especially after eating fatty meals), bloating (especially about half-an-hour to an hour after eating), gas, pain in the area where the gallbladder is located, pain in the right shoulder, a bitter taste in the mouth, clay or light-colored stools, and stools that float (except if you’ve consumed large amounts of fiber).

The gallbladder constricts and releases its bile via the action of a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK). Cholecystokinin secretion is stimulated by the presence of fat- and protein-rich food that enters into the small intestine. As a result, avoiding fat completely may not be the best way to avoid gallbladder complications; because the mere presence of fat is helpful in releasing the bile that resides in the gallbladder in the first place.

The most common problem you’ve probably heard of related to the gallbladder is gallstone formation. And the most common type of stone is known as a cholesterol stone. It is not fully understood why cholesterol gallstones form, but it is generally accepted that they stem from any of the following: too much cholesterol, too much bilirubin (a breakdown product of old red blood cells), insufficient bile salts, a lack of emptying of the gallbladder, or the gallbladder not emptying enough. Cholesterol and bilirubin are normal components of bile. It is when they increase in concentration that they may become a problem. The other less common stone is known as a pigment stone.

I spoke about what causes the gallbladder to constrict (i.e.:CCK). In addition to a possible inhibition of the constriction of the gallbladder, the bile can also become thick and lose its ability to flow freely; regardless of the amount of CCK release. When this occurs, it is called cholestasis, or a suppression of the flow of bile. There are several possibilities as to why this may occur. First, realize that the largest component of bile is water. Therefore, being sufficiently hydrated is of prime importance to keep the viscosity down. Next, you must have an adequate supply of essential fatty acids, particularly omega 3’s. These fatty acids help to thin the bile to keep it flowing freely. Additionally, certain nutrients can be helpful in aiding fat metabolism and bile flow. In particular, inositol, choline, taurine, and betaine (not betaine-HCl, though it is possible that betaine-HCl may be helpful through improving overall digestion and stimulating the release of CCK). The gallbladder (and liver) can also be helped by botanicals such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and ginger. By the way, beet leaves are high in betaine, and juicing them would be best.

Other factors that can affect bile flow need to be considered as well. In particular, estrogen dominance can be a problem. Estrogen dominance refers to either: 1) too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, 2) too little progesterone, or 3) too much estrogen with normal progesterone levels. The reasons for estrogen dominance are beyond the scope of this article. Essentially, excessive estrogen can result in lithogenic (or calculi/stone forming) bile according to this article from the Annals of Surgery. Additionally, eMedicine cites a study which “postulated that estrogens cause increased cholesterol secretion and progesterone promotes biliary stasis”, thus possibly leading to gallstones or bile stasis. Low thyroid function (which can result from estrogen dominance, but certainly not always) can also cause the gallbladder to become sluggish and congested.

Women tend to be more likely to suffer from gallstones and gallbladder complications, which may further point to excess estrogen levels as being a major problem. There is a profile of a person likely to get gallbladder problems coined the “4F’s”: 1) female; 2) (let’s just say overweight); 3) forties (age); and 4) fertile (implying high levels of hormones).

Otherwise, I’ve quoted the following characteristics that put people at risk for gallbladder complications from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse:

  • women—especially women who are pregnant, use hormone replacement therapy, or take birth control pills
  • people over age 60
  • Native Americans
  • Mexican Americans
  • overweight or obese men and women
  • people who fast or lose a lot of weight quickly
  • people with a family history of gallstones
  • people with diabetes
  • people who take cholesterol-lowering drugs

However, don’t rule out a gallbladder problem if you don’t fit into any of the categories above. I commonly see gallbladder problems in all types of individuals. The most common related complaints I see are sharp, piercing pain at the right fourth rib (where it connects to the fourth thoracic vertebrae) sometimes extending upward into the neck and resulting in neck pain as well; knee pain; and digestive disturbances. If you suspect a gallbladder problem, please seek a licensed, qualified healthcare practitioner that can help you before the worst case scenario (cholecystectomy). It can be a very simple problem to manage through diet and lifestyle changes.

One last thing! For those who have had their gallbladders removed, it may be a good idea to take bile salts (in supplement form) with every meal, as there is a good chance that fat digestion will be impaired without them.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Candida albicans is a yeast that is normally present in our gastrointestinal tract, skin, and vaginal tract in women. Under normal circumstances it remains in those places causing no harm whatsoever. However, it is quite common for candida to grow out of control and cause many debilitating symptoms. An overgrowth of candida is probably one of the most common conditions that I see in patients with digestive disturbances. But it doesn’t stop there. Candida can cause (directly or indirectly) any of the following symptoms or conditions: irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut syndrome, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, GERD, sinusitis and chronic sinus problems, inability to lose weight, thyroid imbalances, headaches, vaginitis, chronic fatigue, “foggy-headedness” or inability to concentrate, food allergies or sensitivities, pre-menstrual syndrome or dysmenorrhea, skin rashes, depression, pain, yeast infections, and more. The question now is: why does it grow out of control?

There can be any number of reasons that someone has an overgrowth of yeast. The main thing to think of however, is a person’s diet. And the main culprit in the diet is definitely sugar. This obviously includes foods like pies, cakes, cookies, candy, ice cream, soda, donuts, brownies, and the like. However, even so-called natural sugars like honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar, corn syrup, brown sugar, fruit and fruit juices are problematic as well. One more “food group” needs to be added to the list. I’m referring to refined grains and flour products. This would include bread (even whole grain), cereals (even sugar-free), muffins, croissants, pancakes, waffles, etc.. Although these foods are not sugar per se, they quickly get metabolized into sugar (or glucose). Additionally, any foods that actually contain yeast or fungus will certainly be a problem. And don’t forget alcohol, as that is certainly a very refined “sugar”.

The problem with these foods and sugar is that they actually “feed” the yeast or candida. It is synonymous with adding gasoline to a fire. So in order to quell a yeast or candida problem, one MUST avoid these foods temporarily. Other factors leading to an overgrowth of yeast or candida include a weakened immune system, nutrient deficiencies (particularly certain minerals), and use of antibiotics. All of the above can lead to an imbalance between the amount of “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestines. This imbalance in intestinal or vaginal bacteria can be both a cause and effect depending on how the problem began. The length of time it takes for this condition (and it’s related symptoms) to resolve will depend on many factors including: the amount of candida in the system, the strength of the immune system, intestinal and digestive integrity, and nutrient status.

In addition to dietary changes, supplements are usually necessary to fully eradicate the problem. Think of dietary changes (i.e.: avoiding sugars and refined grains) as a way of starving the yeast. Specific supplements on the other hand can actually “kill-off” candida as some can act as natural anti-yeast or anti-fungals. Additionally, certain supplements that address mineral deficiencies and help strengthen the immune system can often be necessary. And lastly, probiotics (or “good” bacteria) as well as digestive enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid may be necessary.

In general, this can be an easy condition to eliminate, IF you avoid sugar and yeast-containing foods. Besides the obvious sugary foods and flour products, it’s often also necessary to avoid eating fermented, fungus/mold-containing, and aged foods such as: vinegar, mushrooms, aged cheeses, soy sauce, and also peanuts and corn (they often contain a fungus or mold known as aflatoxin). High starch vegetables like potatoes, carrots and beets can be an issue in very stubborn cases. The extent that these dietary changes need to be in place will certainly vary individually. Although, I would say a minimum of three weeks is necessary, and it would be wise to avoid pure sugar-containing foods afterward in order to prevent a recurrence.

If you don’t avoid eating the above mentioned foods, the situation usually becomes a vicious cycle. Eating sugar and refined carbohydrates feeds the yeast, and disrupts the balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in the intestinal and/or vaginal tract. This will result in a weakened immune system and altered gastrointestinal integrity which causes the yeast to continue to grow out of control. This will ultimately result in more immune compromise, allowing the yeast to continue to grow; and so on. As you can see, without changing your food intake, it can be very difficult to clear up this problem.

Please keep in mind that vaginal yeast infections almost always indicate a gastrointestinal overgrowth of yeast. And candida and yeast infections do not discriminate…men are just as susceptible as women to succumbing to the deleterious effects of candida in any part of the body. The worst two cases of yeast infections I’ve “seen” in my patients were among a male and a female.

Because this is such a rampant problem with potential “far-reaching” effects, it would be wise to rule this in or out in many different symptoms and conditions.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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You’ve all probably heard the idea that stress causes health problems. Your doctor may have even told you that your health concern(s) exist solely because of stress. In my opinion — that’s pretty close to nonsense. It’s a great excuse though. Why? Stress doesn’t cause poor health. OK, I’ll be flexible with you. Severe, unrelenting physical (major accident, etc.), chemical (acute exposure to a massive dose of a toxin, etc.) or emotional ((un)expected death, etc.) stressors can actually “cause” health problems. I’m also willing to say that long-term unresolved stressors can also cause health problems. But then again, it’s not necessarily the stress that’s causing the problem if it’s that long-term (referring to behavioral patterns). There could be an emotional component to why the long-term stressor has not been resolved. Either way, those instances are fortunately not the norm. With that in mind, I find most of the time it’s not the stressor that is the problem, it’s how the body handles the stressor that makes all the difference. From a physiological perspective, stress is handled by the adrenal glands. Yes of course, many systems will be involved directly and indirectly, but a main area consider is really adrenal gland function. I’ll talk about the interactions in more focused articles.

Recently, I’ve written articles about how the adrenal glands can become “stressed” or “exhausted” and possibly malfunction. This will ultimately lead to a lack of vitality, to put it simply. Additionally, it will help make all of your existing problems (known or unknown) worse. Again, I do not feel that stress is the cause of health issues (expect where noted above). So in my opinion, stress is simply adding gas to the fire, it’s not the spark that started the fire. When we are stressed, our symptoms get worse and therefore it can easily seem like it is the cause of the problem.

Now let’s talk about responding to the stressors. As mentioned above, the stressor is usually not the problem, it’s how we act or react to the stressor that will determine its effect. So you see, when you have properly functioning, adaptive adrenal glands, you will be able to handle just about any (short-term) stressor. With strong adrenal glands, you’ll also be less bothered by things, and hence less stressed overall. The same stressors may exist, it’s just that you’ll wind up reacting (or acting) to them differently.

For example, if you are on your way to work and stuck in traffic, or on the train that’s stopped between stations; you can “choose” how to react. You can: a) get irritated and frustrated, or b) relax and realize there is nothing to do (except maybe decide how to avoid that situation in the future). I say “choose” because at some point, the adrenals can get so depleted that a person may often wind up simply reacting, without choosing or thinking. It becomes a reflexive reaction, as opposed to a thought out action. There is quite a difference between acting and reacting. The former being the most constructive. So as the stressors build up, you might have less of an ability to even “choose” another response.

One possible explanation for stress to exacerbate symptoms is that stress causes inflammation and immune system dysfunction (among many other problems). However, the adrenals (should) produce cortisol – a potent anti-inflammatory hormone. Think cortisone shots if cortisol sounds foreign. Now, if your adrenals are producing insufficient amounts of cortisol, for any number of reasons, you might not be able to quell that inflammation. The result, an exacerbation or your symptoms – not necessarily the cause.

You probably know what a lot of your stressors are already. However, I want to give you a detailed list of stressors, referenced from Janet Lang, DC, you may have not considered before. There is some overlap in the list.

1- lack of relaxation
2- devitalized food
3- unfulfilling employment (dead-end jobs)
4- dead-end relationships (romantic or not)
5- surgery
6- junk food
7- trans fats and rancid fats
8- financial stress
9- sedentary lifestyle
10- excessive exercise
11- death of a loved one
12- alcoholism
13- smoking
14- illicit drug use
15- prescription drug use
16- toxins
17- poor eating habits
18- marital stress
19- repeated traumas
20- workaholism
21- nutritional deficiencies
22- hormonal imbalances
23- oral contraceptives
24- stimulants
25- counterproductive attitudes and beliefs
26- conventional hormone replacement therapy
27- non-prescription drugs
28- psychological stress
29- persistent fears
30- emotional stress
31- lack of sleep
32- being in denial about feelings
33- acute or chronic infection
34- repeated stresses
35- persistent negative stressors
36- fun or enjoyment deprivation
37- allergies
38- caffeine
39- white sugar and white flour products
40- antacids
41- artificial sweeteners and colors
42- major life events – even if perceived consciously as “good” (e.g.: graduating high school, moving, etc.)

Remember, you can’t “fix” the adrenals if you don’t “fix” the blood sugar; and you can’t “fix” the blood sugar if you don’t “fix” the diet. With stronger adrenals you’ll be able to adapt better, and thus handle all types of stressors in a much better fashion.

Lastly, if you have a condition that continually acts up “from stress”; you should obviously do your best to avoid or adapt to the stressor – but don’t stop there! There’s probably a health problem in the making that will manifest as you age, unless you change your lifestyle appropriately. Stress management may be necessary, but not always sufficient.

[PS: But then again, it must be “stress” because: “all the tests came back normal”. Functional medicine and applied kinesiology practitioners have multiple ways of measuring stress (out- and in-office procedures) that can be very sensitive in finding a stress imbalance.]

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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Everyone experiences stress to some degree. The amount of stress and ability of your body to adapt to it will determine how it affects your health and well-being.

We have 2 adrenal glands that sit atop each of our kidneys and are sometimes referred to as the “stress glands”, because they secrete stress hormones (cortisol) and neurotransmitters (adrenaline and noradrenaline). They also produce sex hormones (estrogen testosterone, etc.), electrolyte-balancing (aldosterone) hormones, and the “anti-aging” hormone DHEA.

All of these biochemicals contribute significantly to blood sugar and pressure regulation, electrolyte and fluid levels, inflammation levels, immune system response, sleeping patterns, mood changes, bone turnover rate, and more.

There are 5 main categories of stressors that the adrenals (and the rest of the body) must respond to. These include:

1) structural: any injury, compromising musculoskeletal condition, etc.
2) chemical: nutrient deficiencies or excesses, exposure to exogenous (external) or endogenous (internally produced) toxins, etc.
3) mental/emotional: fear, worry, panic, anxiety, etc.
4) thermal: extreme temperatures
5) electromagnetic radiation: cell phones and towers, computers, our environment
environmental factors like noise, etc. may also be considered stressors.

Fortunately, we can put ionizing radiation (nuclear reactor and weapon-type) aside; as it is rarely confronted.

Hans Selye, a doctor who studied the stress response extensively, reported 3 phases in which the body reacts to stress. This is known as the General Adaptation Syndrome.

Phase 1 – The Alarm Phase: this refers to the  body responding via a “fight-or-flight” response.  This is generally considered a normal adaptation to stress and causes the major hormones (cortisol and DHEA) to increase at normal levels. Additionally, adrenaline and noradrenaline output is increased. These hormones and neurotransmitters are designed to help the body by increasing heart rate and blood pressure; increasing the respiration rate; shunting blood away from the digestive tract to the brain and muscles instead – thus allowing the individual to “flee” from the stressful event. Think of running away from a saber-toothed tiger. That is what this system is designed to respond to. Everyday “tigers” in the “developed” world equate to every day stress responses as described above. Typically, this is a short-lived stressor and normally functioning response.

Phase 2 – The Resistance Phase: this phase is incorporated during and after  prolonged bouts of stress. Cortisol tends to rise and DHEA tends to be suppressed. This stage may begin after one bout of stress that is never resolved or after the accumulation of many small day-to-day stressors. If, or when this stage begins depends on a number of individual factors.

Phase 3 – The Exhaustion Phase: this is characterized by low levels of the stress hormone cortisol and DHEA. Essentially, this occurs when a person is so drained and exhausted that they have lost most of their ability to adapt to stressors (of any kind).

Behaviors, signs, symptoms, and conditions resulting from (or being exacerbated by) stressed adrenal glands will vary individually but generally include: high or low blood pressure, blood sugar imbalances (esp. hypoglycemia), fatigue and chronic fatigue, depression, eating disorders, panic and/or anxiety attacks, infertility and male/female hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, low back pain and neck pain, PMS and menopausal symptoms, weak/lax ligaments, irritability, osteopenia and osteoporosis, food cravings, dizziness (esp. when rising from a seated or lying position), swelling and fluid retention, dehydration, heart palpitations, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorders, fat deposition in the abdomen (or central obesity), depressed immune system, insulin resistance, sluggish digestion and/or digestive disorders, etc..  The list continues…

One major complication that results from adrenal stress syndrome of any degree is blood sugar imbalances – because of the problems that can cause. Adrenal stress can cause blood sugar imbalances through hormone fluctuations from stressors; or it can result from hormone fluctuations in response to blood sugar imbalances (caused by poor food choices and nutrient deficiencies).

So either way you look at it… You can’t “fix” the adrenals if you don’t “fix” the blood sugar, and you can’t “fix” the blood sugar if you don’t “fix” the diet (and lifestyle).

By the way, when encountered with “stressful” situations, please remember that it is not the situation that is the “problem” as much as it’s the individual’s response to the situation. I’ll have more on how to help adrenal stress syndrome in future articles.

Selye’s description of changes in body function is a good starting point to understanding adrenal stress syndrome, but many times there is a wide array of variations. And his description may be seen as rudimentary to some.

Fortunately, specific testing of these hormones and neurotransmitters is now possible through “functional medicine” laboratories. Standard laboratory evaluations usually only pick up “outright” adrenal gland diseases, such as Addison’s disease. More people most likely suffer from functional adrenal gland imbalances as opposed to pathological ones. Tests to identify adrenal hormone output should be as commonplace as a CBC (complete blood count) in my opinion.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiologist

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I talk about blood sugar metabolism being so important to health and wellness that I figured I should start writing articles about it. It’s such an enormous topic and impacts health in so many ways…. Because of this, I thought we should start with the basic physiological mechanisms of blood sugar metabolism. Really basic, it’s not rocket science.

The body has built-in mechanisms designed to keep blood sugar levels in a normal range. And I’m not speaking of the ranges reported on your blood test. They are way too wide. I’m speaking generally, and that’s all that it’s important for now. Again, blood sugar needs to be in a certain stable range because it can be quite damaging otherwise, for a number of reasons.

Let’s now assume that your blood sugar level is normal (in the moment). BUT, you have an underlying problem with regulating sugar. Then you decide to eat sugars (pies, cakes, cookies, candies, ice cream, soda, doughnuts, brownies, etc.) and starches (bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes). Here is what happens. Your blood sugar “spikes” to a level deemed too high for what the body considers safe. Then, insulin, a hormone from the pancreas, gets released in order to pull the excess sugar out of the blood and into the cells. The problem is that your blood sugar was so high (from eating those foods), that your pancreas releases an excess amount of insulin. This results in the blood sugar going too low.

Next, as the body senses low blood sugar levels, it decides it needs to raise them. This is done through the release of stress hormones; namely cortisol and adrenaline. Now the blood sugar usually spikes again because the sugar levels went so low – and the body produced too many stress hormones to raise the blood sugar.

Do you see the peaks and valleys here? Blood sugar goes too high by eating sugars and starches. Next, insulin gets released in large amounts (because of the very high sugar levels), resulting in an excessive drop of blood sugar, and ultimately resulting in sugar levels being lower than normal. Then, the stress hormones “save the day” by surging, in order to raise the blood sugar levels. Then the blood sugar is too high (because of the unnatural surge) and excessive insulin release then comes along again and the sugar levels go too low; then excessive stress hormones get released; and sugar goes back up and too high; and so on with this vicious cycle of highs and lows in blood sugar.

At some point these mechanisms get “burned out” and result in insulin resistance. This means the cells don’t respond well to insulin’s message to take the sugar out of the blood. If this condition does not get under control, the result may eventually be type 2 diabetes.

The other main result is adrenal stress syndrome. When the stress glands that produce cortisol and adrenaline to raise the blood sugar, become “burned out”.

Signs and symptoms will certainly vary between individuals. Here are the most common I see: weight gain, insomnia (trouble falling and/or staying asleep), anxiety and panic attacks, irritability, yeast infections, frequent infections (bacterial, viral, etc.), fatigue (esp. late-afternoon), mood swings, depression, headaches, inability to heal from injuries, inflammation, high cholesterol and/or triglycerides, high or low blood pressure, etc., etc., etc….

So now you realize that eating sugars and starches can cause blood sugar instability. These foods can certainly be eaten IN MODERATION if you don’t have a blood sugar metabolism disorder. But please note that you do not need to be labeled “diabetic”, “hypoglycemic”, or “hyperglycemic” in order to actually have problems with blood sugar metabolism. The reason being – blood tests will show normal blood sugar levels until you are you are “far gone”. If a problem shows up on a blood test, there is a serious problem. However, many of your symptoms may be caused by faulty sugar metabolism and go unnoticed, because the tests look normal.

Remember that the body goes to great extents to keep blood sugar in normal range. So measuring blood sugar alone often misses the problem. A better way to check would be measuring fasting insulin levels as well. Usually, they’ll be high working to keep the sugar normal (or low). The problem is doctors don’t typically order fasting insulin tests. In my experience, patients need to have obvious, debilitating, blood sugar symptoms before this is ordered by their doctors.

Why isn’t this done? I truly don’t know. One thought is that some doctors look at the body as if: insomnia is a sleeping pill deficiency; anxiety is an anti-anxiety drug deficiency; yeast infections are an anti-fungal drug deficiency; high cholesterol and blood pressure is a deficiency in drugs to lower those; etc., etc., etc….

Shoot for a (12-hour) fasting blood sugar level of 80-90. The closer to 80 the better. And put the sugars and starches aside; except when celebrating birthdays, holidays, etc..

I’ll discuss the complications mentioned in detail, in other articles.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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The previous article titled “Hypothyroidism” was written to allow for an understanding of the function of the thyroid gland; the symptoms of hypothyroidism; and the medical approach to treatment. In this article I will focus on what I see as the potential causes of hypothyroidism in the first place based on my experience. Remember, many people have the same “diagnosis” but for different reasons. That is why I focus on treating patients and not their diagnosis or blood tests. By the way, I have yet to see the cause as a deficiency of taking drugs.

OK, in the first article I mentioned 7 different possible reasons for clinical or sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Let’s begin.

1) Structural imbalances in the cranium or TMJ (possibly affecting the pituitary)
The pituitary is nestled in the brain and sits in a little “saddle” that’s part of the sphenoid bone. This bone happens to be the center of cranial bone motion. If there are muscular imbalances in the muscles of the neck and TMJ, you can be sure that undue stress will be placed on the pituitary. Remember, structure determines function, not the other way around. There is even a particular cranial fault, which is corrected via the “pituitary drive technique” in applied kinesiology. It targets sphenoid bone motion specifically. But you must correct the muscle(s) involved as well, as muscles move bones; the “heart” of applied kinesiology principles. Just like adjustments to the spine and extremities; if the muscles haven’t been balanced, you can be sure the joint problem will come right back. I unfortunately don’t have research on this topic, as I wouldn’t be surprised if the government or drug companies are NOT handing out grants to people interested in researching structural stress on the pituitary. I could be wrong though.

2) Weakened/stressed out adrenal glands
The adrenal glands are the “stress” glands. They produce the hormone cortisol (and others) and neurotransmitters adrenaline and noradrenaline. One quick mention about thyroid hormone first. T3 is a much more (perhaps 90-95%) metabolically active hormone than T4. T3 is “made” by a conversion of T4 into T3, by removing one of the iodine molecules on the T4 (hence 3 molecules instead of 4). This is enormously important for the thyroid hormone to ultimately do its job appropriately. High or low levels of cortisol can however inhibit that conversion of T4 to T3. As a result, the circulating thyroid hormone will not work very effectively, and often cause the symptoms of hypothyroidism. One more thing – high or low cortisol can cause the body to convert T4 into “reverse T3”. This is when the iodine is pulled off the wrong part of the T4 molecule. This will result in a metabolically inactive hormone, that may even get tallied into the total T3 reading on blood tests. So it may look like there is plenty, but much of it may be inactive “reverse T3”. Reverse T3 can be ordered on blood tests, but I’ve never seen it, unless I instructed the patient about it and they asked for it to be ordered. There are ranges of normal on the test results for reverse T3, but there is usually a clause saying it’s not been studied enough to determine it’s accuracy. I would still look to get it in normal ranges if this is the suspected cause (you’ll see how soon). By the way, the reasons for imbalances in cortisol levels are too plentiful to mention here; but poor blood sugar metabolism is of prime importance (this does not mean you need to be diagnosed with diabetes or hypoglycemia). Most people have faulty have blood sugar metabolism (and stressed adrenal glands) to some degree.

3) Heavy metal toxicity
By now you probably know that heavy (toxic) metals can cause a wide array of problems. Well, here’s one more. Just like high or low cortisol, heavy metals can cause an inhibition in the conversion of T4 to the more active T3. Especially consider mercury, cadmium, and lead; but I wouldn’t stop there. By the way I often say “toxic” metals because aluminum is not “heavy”, it is actually “light” in molecular weight – and I wouldn’t want to avoid including it, as it is certainly toxic. [aside: check those salt packets you get from the deli – you just may find an aluminum compound on the list of ingredients]

4) Imbalances in estrogen and progesterone (commonly thought of as female hormones) – however, males also produce these hormones
According to Janet Lang, DC, an imbalance in estrogen and progesterone can lead to thyroid hormone being inactive at the cellular level. I’m not sure of the exact mechanism she proposes, but I agree, as I’ve seen it in patients who have these imbalances (usually a condition known as “estrogen dominance”). Janet Lang has dedicated almost all of her research to (functional) hormone problems.

5) Vitamin, mineral, and amino acid deficiencies
First, the amino acid tyrosine and the mineral iodine are the raw material to make T4 and T3. The “T” stands for tyrosine and it is an essential (must be obtained from diet) amino acid we get from eating protein. The number “4” or “3” refers to the number of iodine atoms attached to the tyrosine. So these are obviously necessary. Next, the mineral selenium in necessary for the conversion of T4 into the more active T3. A deficiency in this mineral would not allow for that conversion. Additionally, there are a number of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for the thyroid hormone receptor (where it “docks” in to the cells) to function properly; and for the manufacturing of the hormone. These include, but are certainly not limited to: iron; zinc; potassium; manganese; vitamins A, B1, B2, and E. Don’t forget digestion and absorption of these nutrients.

6) Imbalances in the output of pituitary and/or hypothalamic hormones
I spoke about this above regarding cranial and TMJ imbalances. The hypothalamus, which “controls” the pituitary can also be a problem in hypothyroidism. In addition to cranial treatments, there are some specialized supplements that can help the function of these glands.

7) Liver toxicity or malfunction
The liver is one of the main sites where the conversion of T4 to T3 takes place. An imbalance in liver function, for any number of reasons (usually toxicity or a build up of fat) can impede this conversion. For these cases, detoxification through diet, lifestyle and targeted nutrition is usually necessary.

Notice how the list of 7 problems above, doesn’t even mention the thyroid! That’s because I’ve never encountered a problem with the thyroid directly that causes a problem. I suppose that makes sense because most problems that exist arise through lifestyle (nutrition, stress, etc.) complications. Even a liver, adrenal, nutrient deficiency or absorption, or structural problem isn’t THE problem – it is the result. There is usually a combination of the factors mentioned that contribute to thyroid problems; which of them is primary depends on the person.

By the way, there are many people taking thyroid hormone in the form of drugs, and they still exhibit the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism. I find that this is usually a nutrient deficiency that presumably prevents the thyroid hormone receptors from working properly. Unfortunately, the conventional approach to this is usually to simply increase the dose, which may help temporarily.

Dr. Robert D’Aquila – NYC Chiropractor – Applied Kinesiology

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