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The case for alternative approaches in fighting the opioid epidemic

10876661 - pharmacy vial and cap with pharmacy backgroundHave you heard? Due to soaring opioid overdose deaths (deaths in the U.S. from opioid-related overdoses jumped another 21% last year), American life expectancy dropped for the second year in a row in 2017.

It’s no great secret that powerful pain killers have become a major problem, both in dense urban areas and in rural cities and towns. From the deep south to the Pacific Northwest, this is an epidemic that touches every corner of the country.

As a result, there has been a big spike in interest surrounding alternative pain treatments and medicines. Whether it be yoga, massage, or better nutrition, people from coast-to-coast are ditching pills in favor of a natural pain-free life.

Even more, researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that something as simple as regular yoga can go a long way in relieving the symptoms of chronic pain. They also studied acupuncture, relaxation techniques, massage therapy, and nutritional supplements.

While many of the studies in question did not specifically comment on the effects of alternative treatments in reference to opioid use, it does suggest that people could greatly benefit from alternative treatments where treating chronic pain is concerned.

Further studies are ongoing, but the initial findings are promising. In the search for safer options than the powerful pain killers we’ve become accustomed to, alternative medicine is a welcome sight.

This spice can add flavor and health benefits to your dish

Fresh and ground ginger root spice on wooden tableHave you ever reached for a ginger ale when your stomach felt sick? If so, it may be no surprise to you that ginger can have some satisfying health benefits. The root of the plant is actually what you ingest. It’s used to not only flavor beverages like ginger ale, but also to spice up dishes, and even to clean your palette after eating sushi. But ginger is so much more than this! It has some awesome properties that make it a great addition to your “first aid kit.”

Ginger can help relieve various types of pains. It’s been shown not only to help stomachaches and motion sickness, but also to ail other issues. You may find it helps with diarrhea, gas, and menstrual cramps. Ginger has some amazing anti-inflammatory properties, making it helpful for pain from rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. It eases general joint and muscle pain. It may even help with a migraine or headache.

Ginger is such a big deal that it’s been said to possibly “improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease.” There’s a substance in fresh ginger, called Gingerole, that may even help reduce your chance of infections. Raw ginger has even been shown to have possible anti-cancer properties.

Ginger is easy to add into to a diet plan. It can be found in various forms, including pickled, powder, supplements, and hot teas. Grated ginger can also be added to soups and stir fries.

But, as with anything, you want to be careful. It’s always a good idea to talk about supplements with your doctor. Ginger can interfere with some medication, can raise insulin, and can act as a blood thinner. Check with your doctor regarding the safety of using it during pregnancy and if you have certain health issues. Keep in mind, a lower dose is usually recommended. In a day, the typical amount is 4 grams or less.

Once you’re approved to add this supplement to your diet, consider giving it a try. Add flavor and health benefits to your palette.

Functional medicine is a complement rather than a replacement

83184611_MWhile functional medicine has been slowly becoming part of the mainstream medical scene, many people are still quite unaware of what it actually is. Unfortunately, many people still consider functional medicine to be a “new age” or “hippie-style” method that flies in the face of modern medical science.

Yet, this view couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding what functional medicine does and stands for, which is why we wanted to take a moment to address them.

Functional Medicine Is Only An Alternative

The term “alternative medicine” is generally burdened by ingrained preconceived notions of yogi poses and strange herbal concoctions, which, while they may fall under the genre of alternative medicine, do not comprise alternative medicine.

In fact, these days, many functional medicine providers are also credentialed, trained, and experienced medical doctors. Functional medicine is designed to look at the body and illness as a whole, and not relying only on treating the symptoms. In this way, it is a positive complement to traditional Western medicine.

Science Does Not Back Functional Medicine

Our bodies have a remarkable ability to heal themselves, which has been proven time and time again in countless research papers and scholarly articles. This is something you can see with your own eyes.

Functional medicine works in harmony with your body’s natural disease-fighting abilities and is both rooted in scientific principles and utilizes some of the same advanced diagnostic tests that conventional doctors use. One of the general themes that have become popular in mainstream awareness includes diet and gut-health. Encouraging good gut-health is becoming an idea that all holistic and traditional approaches are identifying as an important element in overall health for any individual and chronic health issue.

The Final Word

The fact is, you can absolutely trust a credible practitioner of functional medicine to work with you and your current medical doctor rather than against you and your doctor.

By addressing your body’s needs from a holistic approach, assessing your bodies systems as interconnected and not independent, functional medicine acts as an effective complement to traditional Western approaches.

How Stress is Killing Your Thyroid

sleep-2

Too much stress in your life doesn’t just affect your mental well being, it wreaks havoc on your body and could lead to symptoms mirroring those of hypothyroidism.

Types of Stress

Stress comes in a number of ways, some impacting us more than others and at different times in our lives. At some point in time, most of us will experience stress in some (or all) of these forms:

  • Financial stress
  • Relationships
  • Schedules
  • Commutes
  • Raising children
  • The stock market
  • Skipping meals
  • Living a “western” lifestyle

There are other factors not commonly considered when people think of “stress” which also burden the adrenal glands. Fluctuating blood sugar is the most common way that adrenal dysfunction and high or low cortisol can wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism by causing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Other common factors that stress the adrenals are dysbiosis, food intolerances (especially gluten), chronic infections and autoimmune issues, environmental toxin and inflammation.

Stress and Your Body

The adrenals are two glands that are about the size of your thumbnail that sit atop the kidneys. They secrete hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones are responsible for our body’s response to stress. Adrenal fatigue is the name given to a poorly working adrenal gland in response to mental, emotional or physical stress.

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent illness and susceptibility to colds and flues
  • Irritability or lightheadedness between meals
  • Sugar and caffeine cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting or lying to standing
  • Gastric ulcers

Poor functioning adrenals can cause hypothyroid symptoms without any problem in the thyroid gland itself. In such cases, treating the thyroid is both unnecessary and ineffective and addressing the adrenals themselves is the key to improving thyroid function. Many times, people, especially women, have been treated with thyroid hormones only to have no relief of their symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, etc.

Adrenal stress can also impact thyroid function more direct ways, including the following five mechanisms:

Promotes Autoimmunity by Weakening Immune Barriers The digestive tract, lungs and the blood-brain barrier are the primary immune barriers in the body. They prevent foreign substances from entering the bloodstream and the brain. Adrenal stress weakens these barriers and promotes poor immune system regulation. When these immune barriers are porous large proteins and other antigens like lipopolysaccharides are able to pass into the bloodstream or brain where they don’t belong. The immune system gets keyed up and we become more prone to autoimmune diseases.

Disrupts the HPA Axis Studies have shown that the inflammatory cytokines (messengers) IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, which are released during the stress response, down-regulate the HPA-axis and reduce levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). So your body doesn’t make as much thyroid hormones.

Reduces Conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone) 93% of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4, in inactive thyroid hormone that must be converted into T3 before it can be used by the cells. The inflammatory cytokines from adrenal stressors disrupt the hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA ) axis, they also interfere with the conversion of T4 to T3 in peripheral tissues such as the liver and the gut. Inflammatory cytokines have been shown to suppress the conversion of T4 to T3. In fact, inflammatory cytokines have been shown to suppress thyroid receptors on the cells making the thyroid hormones ineffective at increasing cellular activity. While there’s no practical way to measure receptor site sensitivity in a clinical setting, the research suggests thyroid receptor messaging is decreased in autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions.

Causes Other Hormonal Imbalances Cortisol is released by the adrenals during the stress response. Prolonged cortisol elevations, caused by chronic stress, decrease the liver’s ability to detox excess estrogens from the blood. Excess estrogen increases thyroid binding globulin (TBG), the proteins that thyroid hormone is attached to as it’s transported through the body, making the hormone inactive. TBG is like a cab that drives the hormone around. When it is not functional, the thyroid hormone cannot get out of the cab. Other drugs can also increase elevated TBG including birth control pills and estrogen replacement.

What Do You Do If You Have Poor Adrenal Function?

Adrenal stress is caused by many factors from diet, lifestyle and psychological stress to immune issues, dybiosis and inflammation. When these conditions exist, they must be addressed or any attempt to support the adrenals directly will either fail or be only partially successful.

General guidelines for adrenal health:

  • Stabilize blood sugar via a balanced paleo or ketogenic diet
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Avoid dietary causes of inflammation – food intolerances, Omega 6 fats, processed foods
  • Have fun, laugh and make pleasure a regular part of your life
  • Take adequate intake of Omega 3 fats DHA & EPA
  • Additional nutritional supplementation of phosphatidylserine and adaptogenic herbs like Siberian ginseng, Ashwagandha, Rholdiola and Holy basil leaf extract are also helpful in supporting the adrenal glands

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

 

The post How Stress is Killing Your Thyroid appeared first on Betty Murray.

How Stress is Killing Your Thyroid

sleep-2

Too much stress in your life doesn’t just affect your mental well being, it wreaks havoc on your body and could lead to symptoms mirroring those of hypothyroidism.

Types of Stress

Stress comes in a number of ways, some impacting us more than others and at different times in our lives. At some point in time, most of us will experience stress in some (or all) of these forms:

  • Financial stress
  • Relationships
  • Schedules
  • Commutes
  • Raising children
  • The stock market
  • Skipping meals
  • Living a “western” lifestyle

There are other factors not commonly considered when people think of “stress” which also burden the adrenal glands. Fluctuating blood sugar is the most common way that adrenal dysfunction and high or low cortisol can wreak havoc on the body’s metabolism by causing hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. Other common factors that stress the adrenals are dysbiosis, food intolerances (especially gluten), chronic infections and autoimmune issues, environmental toxin and inflammation.

Stress and Your Body

The adrenals are two glands that are about the size of your thumbnail that sit atop the kidneys. They secrete hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones are responsible for our body’s response to stress. Adrenal fatigue is the name given to a poorly working adrenal gland in response to mental, emotional or physical stress.

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up
  • Mood swings
  • Frequent illness and susceptibility to colds and flues
  • Irritability or lightheadedness between meals
  • Sugar and caffeine cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eating to relieve fatigue
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting or lying to standing
  • Gastric ulcers

Poor functioning adrenals can cause hypothyroid symptoms without any problem in the thyroid gland itself. In such cases, treating the thyroid is both unnecessary and ineffective and addressing the adrenals themselves is the key to improving thyroid function. Many times, people, especially women, have been treated with thyroid hormones only to have no relief of their symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, insomnia, etc.

Adrenal stress can also impact thyroid function more direct ways, including the following five mechanisms:

Promotes Autoimmunity by Weakening Immune Barriers The digestive tract, lungs and the blood-brain barrier are the primary immune barriers in the body. They prevent foreign substances from entering the bloodstream and the brain. Adrenal stress weakens these barriers and promotes poor immune system regulation. When these immune barriers are porous large proteins and other antigens like lipopolysaccharides are able to pass into the bloodstream or brain where they don’t belong. The immune system gets keyed up and we become more prone to autoimmune diseases.

Disrupts the HPA Axis Studies have shown that the inflammatory cytokines (messengers) IL-1 beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha, which are released during the stress response, down-regulate the HPA-axis and reduce levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). So your body doesn’t make as much thyroid hormones.

Reduces Conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone) 93% of the hormone produced by the thyroid gland is T4, in inactive thyroid hormone that must be converted into T3 before it can be used by the cells. The inflammatory cytokines from adrenal stressors disrupt the hypothalmus-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA ) axis, they also interfere with the conversion of T4 to T3 in peripheral tissues such as the liver and the gut. Inflammatory cytokines have been shown to suppress the conversion of T4 to T3. In fact, inflammatory cytokines have been shown to suppress thyroid receptors on the cells making the thyroid hormones ineffective at increasing cellular activity. While there’s no practical way to measure receptor site sensitivity in a clinical setting, the research suggests thyroid receptor messaging is decreased in autoimmune and other inflammatory conditions.

Causes Other Hormonal Imbalances Cortisol is released by the adrenals during the stress response. Prolonged cortisol elevations, caused by chronic stress, decrease the liver’s ability to detox excess estrogens from the blood. Excess estrogen increases thyroid binding globulin (TBG), the proteins that thyroid hormone is attached to as it’s transported through the body, making the hormone inactive. TBG is like a cab that drives the hormone around. When it is not functional, the thyroid hormone cannot get out of the cab. Other drugs can also increase elevated TBG including birth control pills and estrogen replacement.

What Do You Do If You Have Poor Adrenal Function?

Adrenal stress is caused by many factors from diet, lifestyle and psychological stress to immune issues, dybiosis and inflammation. When these conditions exist, they must be addressed or any attempt to support the adrenals directly will either fail or be only partially successful.

General guidelines for adrenal health:

  • Stabilize blood sugar via a balanced paleo or ketogenic diet
  • Practice stress management and relaxation techniques
  • Avoid dietary causes of inflammation – food intolerances, Omega 6 fats, processed foods
  • Have fun, laugh and make pleasure a regular part of your life
  • Take adequate intake of Omega 3 fats DHA & EPA
  • Additional nutritional supplementation of phosphatidylserine and adaptogenic herbs like Siberian ginseng, Ashwagandha, Rholdiola and Holy basil leaf extract are also helpful in supporting the adrenal glands

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

 

The post How Stress is Killing Your Thyroid appeared first on Betty Murray.

What Role Does Nutrition Play in Skin Cancer?

39465171 - dermatologist looking at woman's mole with magnifier

Here are five key reasons today’s food contains fewer nutrients than the food of past generations:

1. Monoculture farming (the practice of growing a single crop on a very large scale) over crop rotation has depleted the soil of key nutrients.

2. The Agri-business companies harvest early before the produce has ripened and really assimilated all the nutrients from the soil.

3. Selecting limited food crops for ideal flavor but not variety and nutritional content.

4. More toxins in our food (pesticides, preservatives and even BPA).

5. Environmental chemicals in our air (pesticides, herbicides), skin care, hair products and toothpaste.

Adequate nutrition — including: vitamins, minerals, amino acids, phytonutrients and essential fats like omega 3s — is essential to the body’s detoxifying process. Increased toxin load in our environment and diet means more need for more nutrients. Lack of nutrition means lack of ability to detoxify. Our bodies simply cannot keep up.

When the body cannot keep up with the detox process, toxins bioaccumulate, leading to illness and disease, such as cancer. When we have less nutrition from our food, we have less capacity to detox. According to a study published in Scientific American, “Workers who apply certain pesticides to farm fields are twice as likely to contract melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer…The findings add to evidence suggesting that frequent use of pesticides could raise the risk of melanoma. Rates of the disease have tripled in the United States in the last 30 years, with sun exposure identified as the major cause.” These chemicals are used in the United States on a variety of crops, including nuts, vegetables and fruits.

So could it be that skin cancer is from toxin exposure and the sun is actually helpful. Vitamin D is cancer protective. So therefore, sun exposure without getting burned would be cancer protective.

When you eat food that is low in nutritional value and high in inflammatory Omega-6s and your body is forced to manage toxins we were not designed to detoxify, then your body becomes toxic, and full of free radicals. It becomes inflamed, and acidic which is the prime environment for cancer.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

The post What Role Does Nutrition Play in Skin Cancer? appeared first on Betty Murray.

Types of Skin Cancer

What is Skin Cancer?

Healthy cells in our body grow and then at a prescribed time, the cell replicates and then dies in a process called apoptosis. Cancer occurs when cells abnormally grow and no longer get the “die” message. Skin cancer occurs when the skin cells begin to abnormally grow. Any abnormal growth of skin cells is considered skin cancer, but only two are considered malignant.

30028564 - an image of a skin cancer detection chart.

What are the Types of Skin Cancer?

There are three primary types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and is relatively harmless. This type of skin cancer often appears as red patches, shiny bumps or scars. It is estimated that up to 3.0 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed each year. Basal cell carcinoma is usually benign because it rarely metastasizes (spreads) past the original tumor site.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a malignant type of cancer and occurs when upper layers of the skin become mutated and abnormal cells start to grow uncontrollably. Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include open sores or scaly red patches that can also bleed or crust. Squamous cell carcinoma has a raised boarder pattern and a small hole in the middle. It’s been reported that 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year resulting in 2,500 deaths.

Melanoma is the most dangerous type of malignant and potentially fatal skin cancer. Melanomas skin cancer symptoms are bumps or patches that resemble moles and are usually black or brown with irregular borders. However, they can be blue, pink, red, white or even skin-colored. If detected early, melanomas are generally curable. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanomas “develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells…triggers mutations (genetic defects) that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.”

The ABCDE’s of Skin Cancer Symptoms

These five keys of skin cancer symptoms can help you recognize skin cancer early.

Asymmetry Moles are usually round in shape. Draw a line through the middle of the mole or lesion on your skin. The two halves should be even or symmetrical. If the mole is not symmetrical this is a sign that the tumor may be malignant.

Border  Non-malignant tumors will typically have a smooth, regular border. The border of an early melanoma will generally be uneven or jagged.

Color A mole has only one color. Melanomas often have color variation of shades of black, brown, and tan. They may also be blue, red and other colors.

Diameter As a rule of thumb, non-malignant skin cancers are smaller than ¼ inch in diameter. Melanomas are usually larger in diameter, so keep an eye on anything that is larger.

Evolving If the mole changes in color, elevation, size, or shape and bleeding, crusting and itching are signs that you should have the mole checked.

Not all cancers fit the ABCDE’s. Other symptoms of skin cancer include: pigmented patches or growths that grow beyond their border, redness, swelling, tenderness, pain or sensitivity in a bump or mole.

It is important to take note of any new skin spots or growths, and consult with your doctor for any moles, freckles, or spots that seem different from the others.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

The post Types of Skin Cancer appeared first on Betty Murray.

How to Avoid Skin Cancer

 

 

42711397 - sun, face, woman.

Here are the current stats on skin cancer reported in the media:

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Almost 90 percent of melanomas can be linked to sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, usually from sunburns not just from sun exposure.
  • Regular daily use of sunscreen (SPF 15+) reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour.

But are these claims completely true? Skin cancer rates are increasing despite sunscreen use and despite the fact that more people are spending time indoors rather than outdoors. So what gives?

Here are some truths you need to know about skin cancer:

  • The sun does NOT cause skin cancer.According to the British Journal of Dermatology, studies have already disproven this theory as it has been discovered that most skin cancer did not develop from areas or freckles created by sun exposure.
  • We need vitamin D to live, and regular full body sun exposure is the healthiest way to synthesize Vitamin D. Our cannot make vitamin D without sun exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group research: “Every major public health authority — the FDA, National Cancer Institute and International Agency for Research on Cancer — has concluded that the available data do not support the assertion that sunscreens alone reduce the rate of skin cancer.”
  • Many sunscreens are filled with toxic chemicals that have been linked to skin cancer. Even the best sunscreens pose certain risks.

So if sunscreen does not protect against cancer, then what does? The first question we all should be asking is this: is the rise in skin cancer caused by the sun?

Could it be that the changes in our nutrition, diet and foods or environmental factors such as bioaccumulation of toxins from body care products, sunscreen and other pollutants are the real cause of the rise in skin cancer?

The good news is there are many options available to reduce your risk of bioaccumulation of toxins and overall risk. It is first important to know what toxins contribute to skin cancer, what skin cancer is, the five skin cancer symptoms, and natural aids to your skin’s health. These topics will be covered in my next few blog posts. So stay tuned!

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

The post How to Avoid Skin Cancer appeared first on Betty Murray.

How to Avoid Skin Cancer

 

 

42711397 - sun, face, woman.

Here are the current stats on skin cancer reported in the media:

  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
  • Almost 90 percent of melanomas can be linked to sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, usually from sunburns not just from sun exposure.
  • Regular daily use of sunscreen (SPF 15+) reduces the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
  • One person dies of melanoma every hour.

But are these claims completely true? Skin cancer rates are increasing despite sunscreen use and despite the fact that more people are spending time indoors rather than outdoors. So what gives?

Here are some truths you need to know about skin cancer:

  • The sun does NOT cause skin cancer.According to the British Journal of Dermatology, studies have already disproven this theory as it has been discovered that most skin cancer did not develop from areas or freckles created by sun exposure.
  • We need vitamin D to live, and regular full body sun exposure is the healthiest way to synthesize Vitamin D. Our cannot make vitamin D without sun exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group research: “Every major public health authority — the FDA, National Cancer Institute and International Agency for Research on Cancer — has concluded that the available data do not support the assertion that sunscreens alone reduce the rate of skin cancer.”
  • Many sunscreens are filled with toxic chemicals that have been linked to skin cancer. Even the best sunscreens pose certain risks.

So if sunscreen does not protect against cancer, then what does? The first question we all should be asking is this: is the rise in skin cancer caused by the sun?

Could it be that the changes in our nutrition, diet and foods or environmental factors such as bioaccumulation of toxins from body care products, sunscreen and other pollutants are the real cause of the rise in skin cancer?

The good news is there are many options available to reduce your risk of bioaccumulation of toxins and overall risk. It is first important to know what toxins contribute to skin cancer, what skin cancer is, the five skin cancer symptoms, and natural aids to your skin’s health. These topics will be covered in my next few blog posts. So stay tuned!

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

Want more? Click here to get your free ‘Top 10 Secrets Why You Can’t Lose Weight’ and discover the real reasons you can’t lose weight and what to do about it.

The post How to Avoid Skin Cancer appeared first on Betty Murray.

Intermittent Fasting – What You Need to Know

16738924_mWhat is intermittent fasting?

Intermittent fasting is the practice of alternating intervals feeding and fasting. The most popular method of intermittent fasting will be discussed in a later article, but for now, it’s enough to mention that there are differences between fasting methods, length of time of the fasting window and the placement of meals. The fasting period on specific plans can range from 14 hours to 36 hours. Though there are different fasting methods, each specific plan has benefits.

The exception for most people is the time in which we are asleep. When you’re sleeping, you’re fasting. Most people maintain a regular fasting period of six to eight hours per night until their first meal in the morning. The name “breakfast” literally refers to the “break” in the overnight “fast.”

What are the benefits of fasting?

It is commonly taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A study conducted in 2008 suggests that people who eat a calorie-dense breakfast will lose more weight than those who don’t eat breakfast. Authors of the study assumed that eating more calories in the morning results in less snacking during the day, and a reduced daily caloric intake overall.

First, there’s the improved insulin sensitivity that comes with fasting, especially when paired with exercises. More study evidence seems to support the notion that eating breakfast results in a slimmer waistline. There are some epidemiological studies that show a connection skipping breakfast and higher body weight. In fact, insulin sensitivity has shown to be better in those who eat breakfast in studies. I believe this has more to do with adrenal function, stress and hormone balance than the idea of fasting.

There are also hormonal benefits that lead to improved body fat to muscle ratio or body composition. Growth hormone has been shown to increase during intermittent fasting and may offset the effects of cortisol, which can lead to belly fat storage because it increases insulin resistance and fat storage.

This brings us to an interesting question about intermittent fasting. If insulin sensitivity isn’t higher just in the morning and it is really just higher after the eight to 10 hour fasting periods, then insulin sensitivity is higher when glycogen levels are depleted after a fast regardless of the timing of that fast if the liver glycogen will be somewhat depleted.

Generally, intermittent fasting does result in eating less frequently, which tends to result in eating fewer calories overall.

There is also a fascinating anti-aging mechanism of intermittent fasting. When you force the body to use another fuel other than glucose and fat, the body will use its own damaged cellular proteins for energy. When you eat again the cell will use the new nutrients to repair and replace the damaged proteins. This process occurs in short periods of times so the net effect is that the body cleans up cellular debris during a short fast.

But there is a caveat to intermittent fasting. For women, intermittent fasting may not be the panacea that we have all dreamed about. Many women find that when they intermittent fasting leads to sleeplessness, insomnia, anxiety and irregular periods, among a number of other symptoms and disruption of hormones due to the impact of fasting on starvation hormone regulation of leptin, cortisol, ghrelin and insulin. Additionally, women are more finely tuned to respond with physiological changes in relation to perceived starvation.

Intermittent fasting can be a mechanism to assist with optimizing health but it needs to be individualized to each person based on his or her hormonal and physiological stress levels.

Stay tuned for our next article in which we will discuss the different types of intermittent fasting.

Betty Murray, CN, IFMCP, CHC is a Certified Nutritionist & Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner with the Institute for Functional Medicine, founder of the Dallas-based functional medicine clinic Living Well Dallas and Executive Director of the the Functional Medicine Association of North Texas. A master of the biochemistry of the body, Betty teaches her clients how to utilize nutrition for autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, MTHFR and weight loss.  You can find her book “Cleanse: Detox Your Body, Mind & Spirit” on Amazon here.

Connect with me on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest; I’d love to hear from you!

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