An autoimmune disease is when your immune system begins to attack healthy cells in your body by mistake. Autoimmune disease can affect many parts of the body. Symptoms related to autoimmune disease may include but are not limited to the following: fatigue, muscle aches, low grade fever and inflammation. The most common diseases associated with autoimmune dysfunction are: Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Celiac, Sjogren’s syndrome, Polymyalgia rheumatica, Multiple Sclerosis, Ankylosing spondylitis and Type 1 diabetes. Although pharmaceutical management is important, lifestyle management along with proper nutrition and personalized supplementation may play a vital role in the management of autoimmune dysfunction.
Millions of people struggle with the inability to lose weight and have struggled for a long time. We are bombarded with diet information on a daily basis. Years ago there was little information regarding a proper diet and now we have the opposite problem. We have too much information, misinformation and disinformation. We hear about the Paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet, the Ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting or timed eating, the cabbage soup diet, the potato diet, the low carb/high fat diet and the list continues. It is so overwhelming that one doesn’t even know where to begin. This is further compromised by the media, whether it is magazines or social media. In fact, instead of pursuing a healthy life, and healthy weight, often patients pursue a certain look and therefore lose sight of the true goal, which is to live healthier and longer with little to no medications or pain so they can enjoy life. Losing weight is not as easy as curbing your calories and moving more. Exercising to burn calories so you can eat more will not produce a positive outcome. It’s important to determine why an individual cannot lose weight. Possible causes of weight gain can be attributed to the following: thyroid dysfunction, gastrointestinal imbalances, hormone imbalances, inability to properly metabolize carbohydrates and/or fat, use of medications and the inability to exercise due to injury or poor instruction.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck which regulates numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. If your thyroid is underactive you may be suffering with hypothyroidism and one of the more common reasons for this is Hashimoto’s disease. Some symptoms of an underactive thyroid are fatigue, brain fog, weight gain, dry skin, constipation, feeling cold, depression, and muscle and joint aches. If the thyroid is overactive, you may have hyperthyroidism and may be experiencing tremors, nervousness, elevated heart rate, fatigue, intolerance for heat, increased bowel movements, increased sweating and difficulty concentrating. Hyperthyroidism is often associated with Grave’s disease. Lifestyle and nutrition changes will support thyroid health.
Gastrointestinal (GI) complaints can include but are not limited to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C or IBS-D), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, colitis, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) and intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome) – With many of these GI complaints there is usually an underlying inflammatory dysfunction. Lifestyle modifications along with advanced lab testing (Complete Stool Diagnostics, Organic Acid Tests, etc.) may play a role in determining underlying factors contributing to the dysfunction and will also help to establish a personalized nutrition and micronutrient supplementation program to support these types of diagnoses. Symptoms related to ongoing GI complaints may include but are not limited to the following: fatigue, brain fog, achy joints, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, pain during eating, pain after eating, gas, bloating, belching, pain behind the sternum etc. Instituting a dietary lifestyle based upon the individual needs and proper nutrition and supplement support will better manage your GI symptoms.
Needless to say the mindset of a man is surely interesting and I know as I am one. We don’t like to go to doctors and we think we can “muscle” through everything, i.e. pain, stress, life, etc. However, we can “muscle through” for only so long until a breakdown in our body begins and we start to experience symptoms. And, what do we do when we begin to experience symptoms? We attempt to “push” even harder. Maybe we go back to the gym and attempt training, however, most men apply the same rules to lifting weights and exercise when they were 25 years old to a body that is now over 40 years old and has not been in the gym for quite some time. This is when injury occurs and causes further frustration. For a man over 40 years of age, it is difficult to come to the understanding that we are no longer Superman, that we won’t be called onto the field when the younger guy gets injured, that we probably won’t throw punches in a bar, (hopefully, we are smart enough to walk away) and that we may be losing our “mojo”. So, how does a man get his “mojo” back and feel strong again? I wish I could tell you it is as easy as taking some magic pill but it isn’t and taking a supplementation that has been marketed to boost your testosterone can be very dangerous. First and foremost, we have to “belly up to the bar” and face the facts. We have gotten older. Not sure when it happened but it’s here. It’s time to get your “ducks in a row”. It’s important to establish a baseline involving your weight, waist measurement, body fat, hormone levels such as cortisol and epinephrine (stress), leptin, ghrelin, cholecystokinin and insulin (hormones related to your weight), testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FH) (sex hormones), thyroid panel (energy and metabolic processes), and melatonin (sleep cycles). Other important baseline studies include a stress test, PSA test (prostate blood marker), digital prostate exam and a complete cardiometabolic panel including glucose and hemoglobin A1c which evaluates for diabetes. It is also recommended to get advanced lab testing to assess energy cycles, carbohydrate metabolism and fat metabolism. Understanding your micro-nutrient needs (vitamins and supplements) along with nutritional and lifestyle changes (especially the reduction of stress) may allow you to live longer, stronger and pain-free so you can share your wisdom with your grandchildren and continue to being a leader in your family and community.
Type II Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Dysfunction
The rate of Type II diabetes and cardiometabolic disease (insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, elevated lipid panels, hypertension and intra-abdominal fat (fat around the organs)) has been exponentially increasing each year. Traditionally, medications are offered and prescribed to decrease the elevated numbers of cardiometabolic blood markers and often the discussion of finding the root cause of the dysfunction is overlooked. Traditional blood work and advanced lab testing will provide a roadmap back to health especially when combined with bio-individual diet, supplementation and and lifestyle changes (proper exercise, movement and sleep). Avoiding these two diagnoses will add years to your life.
Headaches exist in multiple forms and often in a combination of more than one form. There are multiple classifications of headaches such as stress headaches (tension type headaches), migraines (multiple forms with and without auras), cervicogenic headaches (headaches stemming from the cervical spine), occipital headaches (headaches at the back of the head), hypertensive headaches (elevated blood pressure), and ocular headaches or ocular migraines (headache behind the eyes). Headaches can also be caused by injury such as concussions, falls and whiplash. Some headaches are caused by poor nutrition such as those sensitive to gluten, soy, wheat, lectins, nightshades, etc. Headaches can also occur in the setting of vascular compromise in the brain. Headaches may also be caused by certain medications. It’s important to determine the root cause of the headache and treatment is often a combination of therapies from proper supplementation to manual therapy, trigger point injections and when clinically indicated, pharmaceutical management.
Neck and Lower Back Pain
Millions of people suffer with neck and back pain. As with headache presentation it is important to determine the underlying cause of pain and dysfunction. There are many causes to musculoskeletal pain from injuries to deconditioning. Neck and back pain can arise from dysfunction in the disc, ligaments, tendons, nerve impingement and spine (facet joint, stenosis, arthritis). One of the major causes of neck and back pain is poor posture and sitting too long. Treatment of these musculoskeletal conditions may require a team approach involving a biomechanical assessment, chiropractic manipulation, manual therapy/mobilization, trigger point injections and depending upon the severity and dysfunction facet injections and epidural steroid injections. Additionally, the use of natural anti-inflammatory supplements such as turmeric, curcumin, rosemary, ginger, and fish oil may play (and possibly others depending upon lab testing) an active role in the management of musculoskeletal pain.
The diagnosis of fibromyalgia is a diagnosis made of exclusion. In other words, the patient presents with a multitude of widespread pain, however, the traditional tests are negative. Fibromyalgia complaints may include but are not limited to the following: widespread muscle and joint pain, brain fog, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, fatigue, tender points, morning stiffness, mood disorder, swelling of feet and hands, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome or other GI complaints. Given the fact traditional tests are usually negative, it’s important to delve deeper into possible root causes of fibromyalgia symptoms. Utilizing advanced lab testing to assess hormonal patterns, sleep cycles and energy cycles may help to establish a proper nutrition and supplementation lifestyle to support the fibromyalgia patient and manage their symptoms.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes CFS as a true diagnosis. The criteria for CFS as defined by the CDC is severe chronic fatigue of at least 6 months with other known medical conditions excluded by clinical diagnosis, and concurrently have 4 or more of the following symptoms: substantial impairment in short-term memory and concentration, sore throat, tender lymph nodes, muscle pain, multi-joint pain without swelling or redness, headaches of a new type, pattern or sensitivity, unrefreshing sleep and post exertional malaise lasting 24 hours or more. With CFS it is important to assess the energy and hormone production as well as sleep cycles, and support such with proper nutrition, the right exercise at the right time and lifestyle modifications with an introduction to meditation, Tai-Chi and yoga.