Tips for a Healthy 2017

Monday, January 02, 2017
By: Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

The start of a new year is a time that brings hopes and resolutions to improve one’s health. During this reflection time, we would like to offer some key tips to help you take charge of your health. The most critical focus that impacts health is improving body rhythms and AMPK. They are entwined with the master metabolic hormone, leptin. By making some basic changes, you can get on a healthier path and master the challenge of long-term health and vitality.

[Jump to: Nutritional Options]

I.  Sleep

No matter how many demands there are or how well you can push the limits, there is nothing that takes the place of adequate and quality sleep. Our natural circadian rhythms provide integral mechanisms to our body. Weight gain, food cravings, diabetes, neurodegenerative, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disease, etc. worsen with sleep deprivation and altered circadian rhythms. To combat daily wear and tear, the microglial cells and glymphatic system in our brain and nervous system require sleep. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts insulin, thyroid, leptin, adrenal hormones and other hormone function. It may also diminish work and athletic performance, decrease stress tolerance, increase inflammation, and compromise mood.

Make sure you have a chance to remove yourself from technology periodically. This is especially needed for all individuals exposed to blue light, LED technology and artificial light at night. EMF and light exposure disrupts the release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is not only a key sleep hormone, it is a massively powerful antioxidant for the brain, immune system, and digestive tract. Melatonin release is blocked by bright light exposure from the use of television, smart phones, computers, etc. within two hours of bedtime. Consider quiet time with your spouse or children instead. Read an actual book with soft-white light bulbs, which diminish blue light or LED exposure. Take a relaxing bath or listen to music. Try some knitting, play a board game, or get a massage. You will find that over time by practicing these principles, you get deeper, more restful sleep and it becomes easier to get out of bed in the morning. 

Several other factors affect sleep quality besides light exposure and body rhythms. Impaired methylation with inadequate folate, high cortisol levels, imbalanced estrogen/progesterone levels, and high histamine levels also contribute to poor sleep making it hard quiet down for the night.  Imbalances with GABA, the primary inhibitory/relaxation neurotransmitter and/or excitatory neurotransmitters contribute to many sleep disorders and difficulties. Nutrients for these concerns include magnesium, theanine, vitamin B6, tocotrienols (vitamin E), DHA, lemon balm, passion flower, taurine, and glycine.

II. Diet and Meals

Food timing is another critical concept in stabilizing rhythms and optimizing hormone function. Leptin, the key metabolism hormone that regulates many other hormones becomes disrupted when rhythms are out of balance. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner - three meals per day spaced 4-6 hours apart without snacks sets the body’s metabolic tone and optimally regulates leptin. Snacking even with almonds, celery sticks, an apple, or a cappuccino between meals places a road block in your metabolic process.

Breakfast containing quality, adequate protein (25-50 grams depending on activity) and good fats (coconut, olive, avocado, raw seeds and nuts, organic dairy, etc.) is fundamental to a great start to the day. This combination helps burn calories, turns on metabolic gene signals, and reduces blood sugar strain significantly better than a high carb or no breakfast at all that cause energy crashes after meals. Whey protein, omega-3 rich foods or supplements with DHA help turn on leptin signaling and support its optimal function.  Other helpful nutrients include ashwagandha, green tea extract, pine nut oil, gymnema sylvestre, acetyl l carnitine and pantethine.

The simple rules of The Leptin Diet are a lifestyle guide, not a short-term diet, which helps improve many long-term metabolic issues. These principles impact body rhythms and hormones in complex physiologically ways, yet are easy to implement. If you desire to resolve a health issue or you want to optimize your long-term health and vitality, then follow The Leptin Diet.

III. Exercise and Activity

Many who struggle with health problems or an overwhelming schedule find it very difficult to exercise. Others find the thought of exercise less than exciting. It can elicit thoughts of fatigue and joint pain. If these thoughts are familiar, it is better to focus on AMPK stimulating exercise rather than forcing yourself to sign-up for a gym membership and spending long hours on the treadmill. AMPK is the master metabolic switch that is deactivated in diabetes, obesity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and several other disorders.  AMPK activation turns on our mitochondria and metabolism to burn calories. Exercise outside of the normal daily routine even turns on methylation.

Activation of AMPK is triggered by two minutes of vigorous activity. It may be two minutes of doing knee bends, push-ups, bicycling, and stair climbing, etc. as fast as you can. For those who struggle with exercise intolerance, consider starting at 30-60 seconds of something and increase it in very small increments as tolerated.

Several nutrients help support AMPK activation. Combine two minutes of vigorous exercise with nutritional supplementation such as acetyl l carnitine, resveratrol, coenzyme Q10, grape seed extract, DHA (omega-3 fish oil), green tea extract, curcumin, and/or whey protein.

These three fundamental steps are critical elements to master health and vitality. Their simplicity should not overshadow the profound impact that each one provides to the health or distress of the human body. May this short review help empower you to take these steps and realize a healthy 2017!

Nutritional Options

DHA – This omega-3 fish oil is essential to life. If your diet does not contain omega-3 oil rich foods or supplements, then hormones and the nervous system will not function well. AMPK will not activate well. Two grams or more of fish oil per day may be needed to help leptin, inflammation, and blood sugar function. Wellness Resources omega-3 oils are in the natural triglycerides, preferred form. There are no solvents, chemicals, or damaged oils used.

Ashwagandha – This adaptogenic herb helps support healthy function of thyroid and adrenal hormones. Stressed thyroid and adrenal function interferes with healthy leptin and AMPK function. Ashwagandha helps stress tolerance and provides antioxidant protection. 

Gymnema sylvestre- The herb, Gymnema sylvestre, is well-known for its positive blood sugar effects. High levels of stress often cause sugar cravings to meet the demands of the day. Gymnema helps support healthy blood sugar function in response to dietary and metabolic strain.

Pantethine – Pantethine is the active form of vitamin B5. It helps turn on energy. This can be very helpful when fatigue levels impair exercise tolerance. Taking two capsules in the morning upon rising helps turn energy on for the day. Pantethine helps support leptin, cholesterol, thyroid, adrenal function, and stress tolerance.

Magnesium – Deficiency of this mineral is ubiquitous. Sleep, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, inflammation, mitochondria, and brain depend on magnesium. Magnesium with glycine and melatonin is a great way to help support healthy sleep and offset the effects of bluelight and LED technology.

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