5 Tips for Pow-Wow Happiness

5 TIPS FOR POW WOW HAPPINESS | Functional Endocrinology of Ohio

Get busy being happy, or get out of the way.

I recently attended an Indian Pow Wow and while browsing through the arts and crafts I came across a burden basket, which is a combination of a dream catcher and a basket intertwined with decorations of different colored beads and a variety of feathers.   The Cherokee people believe you should not bring your burdens into their homes and while you are a guest you are at ease and carefree.  The basket hangs on the front door and your guest would symbolically place their burdens aside and enjoy the warm spirit that their host had to offer while visiting with them.   It is small reminders that help set the tone for me sometimes and I hope by sharing this short story it will do the same for you.

People study the science of happiness and share it in a variety of blogs and studies published on the Internet.  Trained professionals like psychologists and life coaches dedicate their lives to making people achieve a greater state of happiness.  The brain is an amazing organ that can bring us great joy and laughter into our lives or also create great sorrow and tears.  The universal hope is that we can all achieve a greater state of inner peace and we all have our own quirky little ways of doing so.  I have outlined 5 basic reminders of things to help with putting your mind and body at ease as another constant reminder that we were designed to be happy.

Continue reading 5 Tips for Pow-Wow Happiness

Are You In Muddy Water About How to Drink Water?

Water

12 Tips to Make Sure You Are Drinking Water the Right Way.

We all know that water is critical to good health and we’ve been barraged with the rules and warnings about water consumption.  We are definitely wading in muddy water when it comes to how to drink water.   This article aims to clear a few things up so that you can drink water the right way.

I have used the tips in this article myself.  Recently my co-workers and I decided to do a water challenge. We all agreed to drink a gallon of water each day for 7 days straight. We all knew the benefits of drinking water but the challenge provided both support and accountability. Before I started my water challenge I put together a plan. I calculated the amount I needed in an ordinary day and made a few quick guidelines to keep me on track.  After choosing the perfect 16 ounce (BPA free) water bottle, I calculated how much water an hour I needed to drink. By breaking down my intake, and giving myself achievable goals I was able to successfully reach my goal!   I was more energized, my skin felt great, and my stamina was amazing during my workouts.   Even better was that the challenge helped me create a healthy habit that I still embrace.

The amount of water you consume everyday plays an important role in maintaining good health.  Drinking water regularly in an adequate amount has many health benefits.  To maintain good health, experts have recommending eight to ten glasses of water a day.  However, recommendations have been open for debate.  Some experts say that the amount is different for each person depending on their size and activity level.  Simply put, the larger and more active you are the more fluid you will need. According to Dr. Keith Ungar, of Functional Endocrinology of Ohio, “A good rule of thumb is to consume half of your body weight in ounces of water.“ [Click to Tweet]

Regardless of the differing advice, there are plenty of good reasons to drink more water.  Water makes up about 2/3 of who we are.  Every system in our body depends on it.  Drinking water can improve your immune function, digestive system, mood, memory and complexion.   Drinking more water can also help control your calorie intake, fight fatigue, boost energy, prevent dehydration and headaches.  The health benefits of drinking water are vast and simple to achieve if you put your mind to it.

While there are plenty of benefits to drinking water it is also possible to overdo it.  Assess your body’s needs, your activity level and the climate to decide the right amount for you.  Below are some basic guidelines for drinking water the right way along with some great tips to help you add more water into your daily routine.

How we drink water is just as important as how much we drink.  Drinking water the right way will help your physical body thrive.  Dr. Keith Ungar encourages sipping water as oppose to chugging.  Sipping water throughout the day will give your body the chance to absorb it.  When you chug water, it is likely to run right through you robbing you of the benefits.

The temperature of your drinking water is also important.  Sipping on cold water during your workouts will hydrate the body of lost fluids and help to cool down the core body temperature.  Studies have shown that drinking cold water can actually boost your metabolism and burn up to an extra 70 calories per day.  Sipping on cold water when you have a fever is also a method of cooling down the core body temperature. It is extremely important to sip water during a fever to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Ayurvedic medicine states that drinking warm water in the morning helps to stimulate digestion.  Drinking water either warm or at room temperature can also help with headaches and inflammation because it helps to stimulate blood flow to the tissues.

With this in mind I have added some tips that have helped me to meet my goals.

12 tips to incorporate water into your daily routine

  1. Calculate the proper amount of water for you. Again, a good rule of thumb is to divide your total body weight in half and drink that amount in ounces.
  1. Track your daily water intake by adding an app to your phone. I recommend the free app  Waterlogged. The app offers charts and reminders to keep you going. It is available for IOS and Android phones.  Visit your app store to see what is available to you.
  1. Drink a glass of water when you wake up in the morning while your morning java brews.
  1. Designate your own BPA free drinking container for the day. Know the measurement so that you can keep track of your intake.
  1. Drink a glass of water with each meal. Add a slice of lemon to help your body gently detoxify.
  1. Drink a glass of water in between meals to curb your appetite.
  1. Make it a point to get up, take a short walk and get some water throughout the day. Set an alert on your phone to get you moving throughout the work day.
  1. Drink water before, during and after exercising to replenish your fluids.
  1. Challenge your co-workers, family and friends to drink more water throughout their day.
  1. Keep your water bottle in plain view so that you remember to drink.
  1. Trade that soda for a refreshing soda water. A great healthy alternative!
  1. Spice up your water with cinnamon sticks, mint leaves, cucumbers, sliced/frozen fruit, etc. [Click to Tweet]

Water is simply Mother Nature’s perfect beverage!  I urge you to drink more water.  Your mind, body and skin will thank you for it!

Joy Vale
May 20, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. Andrew Kender, and Dr. Jessica Eckman, Chiropractic Physicians

Sources:

“12 Unexpected Reasons To Drink More Water in 2015.” Greatist. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <http://greatist.com/health/reasons-to-drink-water>

“Water: How Much To Drink, Water Content of Foods, Too Much Water, and More.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 13 May 2015.

“When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Water.” – SiOWfa13: Science in Our World: Certainty and Controversy. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/2013/09/when-life-gives-you-lemons-make-lemon-water.html>

“The Art of Drinking Water: 10 Ayurvedic Tips for a Happily Hydrated Body. ~ Julie Bernier.” Elephant Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015.

“Waterlogged – Drink More Water, Track Daily Water Intake, Get Hydration Remiders.” App Store. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 May 2015.

“Which Is Better: Drinking Cold Or Warm Water?” Healthy and Natural World RSS. N.p., 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 14 May 2015.

 

Brain-Building: The Key to Longevity?

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4 Essential Facts You Need to Know About Neuroplasticity

In the last decade, it has become clear that our brain’s ability to function at its highest level is, at least partly, within our control.  Genetics and head trauma play a role but so does our environment, the foods we eat, and the quality of our daily brain workout. 

In 2014, on Father’s Day weekend, I was in a boating accident.  I was a passenger in a 4-seater SeaDoo jet boat driving in a no-wake zone.  A young inexperienced driver in a 27 foot speed boat struck us at full speed.  I had broken ribs and a concussion.  There is so much I could write about the effect of that accident on my life – about how it gave me a new perspective on things, about how I look at each day differently, and about how blessed I am to have the people in my life that supported me after the accident.  But, the scope of this article is to share with you the importance of neuroplasticity in a brain that is damaged by trauma, age, environmental factors and the failure to give the brain the attention it deserves and requires.

The word, “neuroplasticity” comes from the root words, “neuron” and “plastic.”  “Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs.”[1]  The old school of thought was that the brain is static, except “during some critical developmental periods.”[2]  We now know that is not true.  Our brains are remarkable.  They can reorganize pathways, create new connections and even create new neurons throughout your lifetime if treated well. (Click Link to Tweet)

Here are the bare-bone facts about neuroplasticity.

  1. Neuroplasticity Occurs Under 2 Conditions:  “(1) during normal brain development when the immature brain first begins to process sensory information through adulthood (developmental plasticity and plasticity of learning and memory), and (2) as an adaptive mechanism to compensate for lost function and/or to maximize remaining functions in the event of brain injury.”[3]

2.  Cells that Fire Together, Wire Together.   “When people repeatedly practice an activity or access a memory, their neural networks — groups of neurons that fire together, creating electrochemical pathways — shape themselves according to that activity or memory.”[4]  Over time, “these connections become thick, hardy road maps that link various parts of the brain. When people stop practicing new things, the brain will eventually eliminate, or prune,” the connecting cells that formed the pathways.[5]  Thus, you must always continue to practice new things to create new pathways and to make sure the “map” in your brain will take you where you want to go.

3.  Our Senses are Closely Connected to Memory and Cognition.  Thus, a weakness in one of the brain’s pathways can effect one of more of your senses.

 For example, we all know that Alzheimer’s patients slowly lose their memories. One way this manifests is that they eat less food. Why? As it turns out, visual deficits are also a part of Alzheimer’s. People eat less because they can’t see the food as well. Another example is in normal age-related cognitive changes. As we grow older, we get more forgetful and distracted in large part because our brain does not process what we hear, see, and feel as well as it once did. The result is that we can’t store images of our experiences as clearly, and so have trouble using them and recalling them later.[6]

4.  Neuroplasticity is directly related to age.  The brain changes at all ages, “but different kinds of change are relevant at different ages.”[7]   The brain will change and rewire itself through its life in responds to stimulation of learning and experience. “As we age, the rate of change in the brain, or neu­ro­plas­tic­ity, declines but [it] does not come to a halt. In addi­tion, we now know that new neu­rons can appear in cer­tain parts of the brain up until the day we die.”[8]   We may increase our brain’s plasticity to try to slow down the aging process.

So what can you do to improve your brain’s function?

  1. Get evaluated by a good functional neurologist so that you can discover any brain weaknesses and any metabolic issues affecting your brain function. Click here to read our blog post about functional neurology and click on any of our doctors’ names below to read about their training.
  2. Engage in neurological therapies. Click here for a list of some of the therapies we use in our office.
  3. Have your brain-mapped and trained using neurofeedback. Click here to read our blog post about neurofeedback or here to visit our neurofeedback website.
  4. Meditate.  Click here to visit Dr. Joe Dispenza’s website to learn about how meditation changes the brain.
  5. Try one of the many brain-training “games” on-line like, Lumosity, Peak, Elevate, or Fit Brains. You can also get these on your phone as mobile apps.

The good news is that for most people, you can improve the brain’s neuroplasticity if you are capable of learning anything new, no matter how small.  Obviously, the level of improvement will depend on many factors. You will notice even greater improvement when you combine one or more of the action steps above.

As for me, I’ve done “all of the above” and will continue to work out both my body and my brain in hopes of living a long and healthy life.  I may also avoid boating for a while  🙂

Dr. Keith S. Ungar
May 17, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Email: info@feohio.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
Click here to make an appointment.

[1] http://www.whatisneuroplasticity.com
[2] http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/01/15/neuroplasticity-brain-health.aspx
[3] http://www.efpta.org/docs/NeuroplasticityMM-474891-29-04-2012.pdf
[4] http://www.edutopia.org/neuroscience-brain-based-learning-neuroplasticity
[5] Id.
[6] http://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/brain-plasticity/what-is-brain-plasticity
[7] http://www.efpta.org/docs/NeuroplasticityMM-474891-29-04-2012.pdf
[8] http://sharpbrains.com/resources/1-brain-fitness-fundamentals/neuroplasticity-the-potential-for-lifelong-brain-development

3 Ways To Make Meditation Part of Your Morning Routine

Meditation   Meditation Can Actually Create More Time in Your Day 

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have just a few more hours in your day?  Time to spend with your family and friends?   Time to get to the gym (like you’ve been wanting to do for months)?  Time to do that remodeling project that’s been hanging over your head.  Time to read that book that’s been on your nightstand long enough to collect dust?  Or, just time to catch a few more zzzzz’s or watch the latest episode of House of Cards?  Can you really create time?

Recently, I attended a seminar hosted by Dr. Joe Dispenza, the author of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, and several other books.  Friends who had read all of his books and been to his seminars recommended Dr. Dispenza.  Have you ever known someone who is so full of joy and positive energy that you want to just be in the same room with them in hopes of absorbing even a fraction of it?  My friends who recommended Dr. Dispenza are those kind of people. So, of course, I logged on to Amazon.com immediately, ordered Dr. Dispenza’s book and read it in 2 days.[1]   Dr. Dispenza’s story is remarkable but this is not an article about him or his book – just the power of what he (and others) teach.  Mindfulness and being present was not a foreign concept to me but the science behind meditation and quantum thinking as taught by Dr. Dispenza really appealed to my analytical mind.  It also fit well with what I know from a scientific standpoint from working in a doctor’s office.  I had meditated for about 2 months before attending the seminar and at the end of the seminar weekend, I knew I had found something that could change my life.

First, I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions about meditation – that it’s only done by artsy types whose wardrobe consists of lots of flowy clothing and who are flexible enough to sit Indian-style on the floor for hours.  People from every walk of life meditate.  From famous actors[2] to business executives like Oprah Winfrey, Rupert Murdoch (Chairman and CEO of Newscorp), and Bill Ford (Chairman of Ford Motor).[3]  Even “regular” people experience the benefits of meditation, like fireman, police officers and soccer moms.[4]  Recently, the benefits of and science behind meditation hit the news and social media when Dan Harris of ABC News made public how meditation changed his life. [5]  Moreover, you can meditate sitting upright in any type of clothing!  I admit though that my PJs are my favorite meditation “outfit.”  There are lots of other myths about meditation you can read about here.[6]

One of the biggest objections people have about starting a meditation routine is the same objection that pops up about lots of things that will improve our lives, like exercising, eating right, reading more, etc.  I don’t have time!  I get it and I’m guilty of making that exclamation about meditation and lots of other things.  But what I found out is that meditation creates more time than it takes.   How?

  • Meditation reduces pain, accelerates cognition, and sharpens your concentration.[7] (Click to Tweet) How much more time would you have if you had improved productivity because you had less pain, understood more and were super focused and able to concentrate? Meditation actually changes your brain structure!  In fact, every time you redirect your thoughts from where they may have strayed back to the where they should be (your breath or wherever a directed meditation might suggest), you are improving your brain’s plasticity.[8]
  • Meditation reduces stress. (Click to Tweet)  How much more time would you have with a sufficient reduction in stress levels to make every minute more efficient?[9]
  • Meditation enhances your creativity.[10]  Click to Tweet) How much more time would you have if you could quickly and creatively solve life’s little (or big) problems?Meditation increases energy. How much time would you have if you could buzz between tasks with limitless energy?

It makes sense, then, that if you meditate in the morning, you can draw on all of that “power” throughout the day!  So, how do you fit this into your routine?

  1. It’s been established that you now have more time because you are more efficient, productive and energetic. Voila!
  1. Buy yourself a good set of headphones, find a good guided meditation[11] and start with 15 minutes before anyone gets up. It’s your “you” time.  Believe me, your family will be more than happy to leave you alone when they meet the new focused, energetic and joyful you!  As Dr. Joe Dispenza says in his book, Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, “if you want to make changes you need to change what you are doing.” (Click to Tweet)

3. Prepare your mediation site the night before. Put your headphones and media player by your favorite chair. Wear your pajamas, don’t brush your teeth or wash your face. Just get up, make your way to your chair, put in the headphones, press play and get ready for an awesome start to your day.

I hope this article will help you to understand the benefits of meditation and how to fit it into your morning schedule.  I will be attending Dr. Dispenza’s Advanced Seminar in the end of this month. I am so excited to see how I can take my meditation to the next level and create the life I want.   I’ll be back to share what I learned.

So, besides meditating, what are you going to do with all the time you have created?

Caroline Boardman
February 22, 2016

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
www.balancingyourchemistry.com

[1] The book also has some exercises that take about 4 weeks to do.  I highly recommend doing them exactly as suggested.
[2] http://www.ranker.com/list/celebrities-who-meditate/celebrity-lists?format=SLIDESHOW&page=3
[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/05/business-meditation-executives-meditate_n_3528731.html
[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sharon-salzberg/meditation-practice-paradigm-shift_b_820138.html
[5] http://abcnews.go.com/WNN/video/dan-harris-meditation-path-happiness-22871879
[6] http://www.chopra.com/ccl/7-myths-of-meditation
[7] http://www.spring.org.uk/2013/11/10-remarkable-ways-meditation-helps-your-mind.php
[8] http://meditation-research.org.uk/2014/03/meditation-and-neuroplasticity-five-key-articles/
[9] http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/jobcenter/workplace/bruzzese/story/2012-07-08/meditation-helps-your-work/56071024/1
[10] http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/how-meditation-can-help-improve-your-productivity.html
[11] http://www.the-guided-meditation-site.com or http://www.topguidedmeditations.com or www.drjoedispenza.com

Treats To Satisfy the Sweet Tooth of Every Paleo Diabetic

COconut-ICe-Cream  Chocolate banana bitesNo-Bake-Key-Lime-Pie-RE--1--

7 Sweet Treats That Won’t Leave You Feeling Deprived.

The summer is time for ice cream, popsicles, pudding and pies but eating these things while following a paleo diet is difficult and possibly deadly to a diabetic!    It is possible though to satisfy these summer cravings while following your dietary restrictions.  I have first-hand experience.

I have eaten according to the paleo principle for almost two years.  My boyfriend is gluten-free and I have several family members who are diabetics.   Because I am usually the host of many summer cookouts, I have spent a significant amount of time finding recipes that I am proud to serve and that meet all the dietary requirements of my guests as well as myself.

As a refresher, people who “eat paleo,” avoid grains and dairy.  A full description of the paleo lifestyle is beyond the scope of this article but to find out more, check out Robb Wolf’s website by clicking here.   Persons who are diabetic should limit sugar as well as limit their carbohydrate intake that turns into sugar.[i]

1.  Frozen banana slices dipped in organic chocolateWhile bananas are somewhat high on the glycemic index, by cutting them into slices, you can divide one banana into 3 servings (about 4 grams of sugar).  By dipping just half of each slice in chocolate, you only add 1 gram of sugar to the mix.  Here are lots of great recipes and techniques courtesy of Pinterest (of course).  You will find if you click on the link that many of the frozen banana recipes are not diabetic-friendly but there some great technical tips for how to produce a really beautiful frozen banana.   https://www.pinterest.com/explore/frozen-banana-bites

2.  Strawberries “sundaes.”  This is my niece and nephews’ favorite treat in the summer because they taste great and they just love the mess (whipped cream mustaches) that they make when they eat them.  Hint:  have your kids eat them outside!  Wash and de-stem fresh organic strawberries.  Fill them with a squirt of non-dairy whipped cream and drizzle with just a little bit of organic chocolate sauce.  [Click to Tweet]

3.  Warm Apple Strudel.   If you are dying for that piece of apple pie, this might do the trick.  Peel, core and slice a small apple into chunks.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of unsweetened granola on top.  There are many unsweetened, paleo-friendly granolas on the market!  Sprinkle Stevia on top (to taste) and ¼ tsp of cinnamon.   Remember that Stevia is more than twice as sweet as sugar so go light on it! Cover with foil and put in the oven at 325 and bake for about 30 minutes.  You can also microwave it for 1 to 1.5 minutes but I am not a fan of the microwave. It actually changes the molecular structure of food!

 4.  Sugar-Free Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream.   This is a great ice cream treat.   Although made from coconut milk, it does not have a strong coconut flavor.  I found this recipe last summer on Insonnetskitchen.com.  Here is a link.  Good stuff!  http://www.insonnetskitchen.com/sugar-free-coconut-vanilla-ice-cream

5.  Peanut Butter Pudding.  Who doesn’t love the combo of peanut butter and chocolate!  This recipe was actually for a pie and the “pudding” was the filling.  Mix 1.5 cups of almond or coconut milk with 1 small box of sugar-free dairy free instant vanilla pudding mix and mix with a wire whisk.  Add 1/3 cup of peanut butter, ½ tsp of gluten-free vanilla extract and 1 cup of frozen, fat-free, dairy free whipped topping.  Pour into bowl and refrigerate for 4 hours.  Makes 10 servings.  Sugar: 5 grams and delicious!

6.  No Bake Key Lime Pie.  I love key lime pie.  Yes, I know that “real” key lime pie is not green but I had to make some modifications to make this perfect summer treat fit my requirements.

Ingredients: 1 small box of sugar-free lime Jell-O, ½ cup of boiling water, 1 8-oz package of low-fat or fat-free, dairy free cream cheese (Trader Joe’s makes a good one!), 1 Tb of fresh lime juice, 1 tsp grated lime peel, 2 cups frozen light dairy free whipped topping, thawed.

Directions: Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.  Beat cream cheese in large bowl and slowly add Jell-O until well combined.  Stir in lime juice and lime peel.  Fold in whipped topping until well blended.  Pour all into a pie pan lightly sprayed with coconut oil cooking spray.  Chill for about 3 hours.  Yum!

7.  Yogurt Popsicles: Last but not least, you must have a popsicle in the summer!  Sure, you can buy sugar-free popsicles in any grocery store but I guarantee that they won’t taste as good as these!  Why?  They are made with paleo-friendly and diabetic friendly coconut milk yogurt!  Combine 3 cups of plain, non-fat coconut milk yogurt (or strawberry flavored) with 2/3 of a cup of no-sugar-added strawberry syrup (slightly less if you use strawberry yogurt).  Mash ½ cup of sliced strawberries with a potato masher.  Put cupcake papers in a muffin tin and divide the yogurt mixture evenly between them.  Divide the mashed strawberries equally and put on top of the yogurt mixture.  Freeze for about 30 minutes until slushy.  Put popsicle sticks into the center of each cup and put back in the freezer until firm. Peel off paper before eating. Makes 6 popsicles.

So that’s it!  Hopefully, one of these options will bring back memories from the summers of your childhood.  If only we had summers without work again too!

Do you have a desert recipe that you would like to share that both diabetic and paleo friendly?

Caroline Boardman
June 3, 2015
Email: info@feohio.com

www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

Click here to make an appointment with one of our doctors.

[i] Note: if you are a diabetic or have any other doctor-ordered dietary restrictions, please check with your doctor about what you should and should not be eating.  This article is not intended as medical advice.

Do You Have This Genetic Defect? Up to 50% of People Do!

MTHFR - DNA #mthfr #genetic defect (2)

 What is MTHFR and What is So Important About Methylation?
6 Facts About This Genetic Defect You Need to Know.

I have it.  I have a genetic defect.  To be exact, it’s a MTHFR genetic mutation.  No, MTHFR is not a swear word but I will admit that I was a bit dramatic when I found out I had it.  Alzheimer’s, dementia and other mental illnesses run in my family!  I’ve done my internet research.  I’m doomed now, I thought.  I’m lucky though. I happen to work with two of the very few MTHFR-certified doctors in Ohio.  This is what I’ve learned.

First, here is a little bit of background.   The official name of the gene is methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase.[1]  “MTHFR is the gene’s official symbol.”[2]  The MTHFR genetic mutation was first discovered as a result of the human genome project. The gene produces the MTHFR enzyme and people who have this mutation have a reduced ability to process folic acid/folate (which are not the same by the way) into something their body can use.  There are more than fifty known MTHFR variants; the two primary ones are C677T and A1298c.

The three symptom areas affected by the mutation are:

  1. Central Nervous System disorders due to improper production of neurotransmitters causing things like depression, aggression, post-partum depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.[3]
  2. Cardiovascular problems due to high homocysteine levels causing heart attack, stroke blood clots, peripheral neuropathy, anemia, miscarriages and congenital birth defects.[4]
  3. Environmental poisoning due to low levels of glutathione (the body’s natural detoxifier) causing, among other things, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, liver and kidney dysfunction, hypertension, tachycardia, pulmonary fibrosis, asthma, immune problems, hair loss, and rashes. [5]

Now, here is what I have learned:

1.  First, even if you have the MTHFR defect, it may not be expressing itself and may never express itself. In other words, you could have absolutely no problems due this defect ever!  A gene expresses itself when it produces a protein.  In the case of a genetic defect the protein being produced is causing harm.  Your doctor, after a thorough case history, exam and testing, can tell you whether any symptoms are due to the gene’s expression and what to do if the gene is expressing itself or if it is not.

2.  Your doctor can order a blood test to find if you have these genetic variants. Or, you can do a full genetic profile at 23andme.com. 23andme does a great job, but if you have the defect, you must find a doctor with the proper training to help you find out what exactly it means to you.  Again, it might not be expressing itself at all.

3.  If you have the mutation, there is a problem with your methylation pathway. Methylation affects more than 224[6] different processes in our bodies.   When the methylation process is interrupted, it disrupts essential bodily functions.  Some of these processes are cellular repair, detoxification and neurotransmitter production and healthy immune system function. So, if the gene is expressing itself, it is critical to have the issues with your methylation pathway addressed by a properly trained doctor.

4.  Treatment protocols are complex and depend on which MTHFR gene is mutated, what pathways, and the affected areas.  Protocols also depend on how many and what combination of mutations you have.  More on this in a future blog post.

5.  Treatment will include supplementation and dietary and lifestyle changes. Depending on the gene affected, combination and quantity of defects, your treatment recommendation may include the following instructions[7]:

* Avoid folic acid or any vitamins that contain it. It can block the methylation pathway. If you pregnant, this will need, address this with your doctor.
* Avoid antacids as they block absorption of vitamin B12 and other nutrients.
* Measure homocysteine levels properly. There are a lot of companies out there that claim to test for and treat MTHFR.  Be wary. Look for a doctor with proper training.
* Inform your family members so that they can test for the MTHFR mutation.
* Eliminate gluten (especially wheat)
* Eliminate or reduce dairy from your diet (use goat or a nut milk milk).
* Sauna or sweat somehow 1-3 times per week.
* Limit processed foods
* Eat food the colors of the rainbow.
* Filter chlorine from your drinking water and drink 2 liters per day.
* Eat small frequent meals with some form of protein limited to .7 grams per kilogram of body weight.
* Address all current and future dental corrections with a biological dentist.
* Do not eat, drink or store anything in plastic.
* Eat grass-fed, free range, hormone and antibiotic free meats and eggs.
*Supplementation may include one or more of the following: methylfolate, methylcobalamin, betaine in the form of TMG, NAC, glutathione, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, riboflavin, curcumin, mixed tocopherals (vitamin E), silymarin (milk thistle), EPA/DHA, phosphatidylcholine, nattokinase, vitamin C, vitamin D3, comprehensive multivitamin/multimineral, probiotics. Do not take any of these vitamins without consulting a doctor.

6.  Finally, other than the few sources here that I’ve listed, avoid doing your own research on the internet. It will just confuse you and turn you into a crazy person.  I know. I did it.  Find a doctor you trust.  Make sure you understand what he is telling you and follow his/her instructions.

So, ready for some good news?  My MTHFR gene is not expressing itself!  I admit that I had to hear it a few times from my doctor before I accepted the fact that I’m as healthy as I was before I found out I had it.  I admit that I went down the “rabbit hole” when I first heard the news trying to pin every little health symptom I had on my “defect.”  I admit that I almost made myself sick trying to figure out if I was sick.  I hope this article will help you avoid all of that.  Get tested, find a trained doctor you can trust and don’t make yourself crazy on the internet!

If you’ve been diagnosed with a MTHFR mutation, are you happy with your treatment?  Are you feeling awesome and in a good place emotionally?

Caroline Boardman
April 9, 2015

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians
www.balancingyourchemistry.com

To Make An Appointment, Click Here.

[1] http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/MTHFR
[2] Id.
[3] http://www.methyl-life.com/symptoms-of-mthfr.html, see, also, www.mthfr.net
[4] Id.
[5] Id.
[6] Dr. Ben Lynch, www.mthfr.net.  This website will give you accurate information.
[7] See id.

6 Ways To Supercharge Your Memory

Memory  6 Ways to Supercharge Your Memory

­­What did I need at the grocery store?   What is his or her name?   Who was I supposed to call back?   Where do I need to be and when?   We all have suffered from time to time with memory problems.  But, we can supercharge our memories!  First, a little bit of background.

Memory loss is one of the first warning signs of cognitive decline.[1]  It can also be the result of a metabolic or other health issue.[2]  There are four 4 types of memory: Sensory, Short-Term, Working & Long-Term.[3] Sensory Memory is a very brief recall of a sensory experience, such as what we just saw or heard. Short-term memory is that brief period when you can recall information you were just exposed to from 30 seconds to a few days. Id.  The human mind’s ability to hold a limited amount of information in a very accessible state temporarily is called short-term memory states author, Nelson Cowan. (Cowan, 2009) Working memory is our brain’s ability to store a limited amount of information available just long enough to use it. (Heerema, 2014) Working memory helps you plan and carry out behavior. Long-term memory is a vast storage of knowledge and a record of earlier events. Long-term memories can range from a few days to decades. Id.

Memory is important in everyone’s day to day life. We cherish our memories and hope they will last forever. Did you know that even when it becomes harder for us to recall certain memories that they are not lost forever? Memories do not vanish; they are still being stored in your brain. However, our ability to access these memories can diminish over time. The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory.[4]  When you notice early signs such as forgetting names, directions, or simple instructions it is time to get to work! Here are a few ways to help you exercise your brain and work on improving your ability to retrieve memory.

  1. Neurofeedback

For people who do not respond well to medications, or people looking for a natural alternative to pharmaceutical treatments, neurofeedback is a great option. Especially effective in a clinical setting where the clients can also receive cognitive and emotional support, neurofeedback targets the underlying disregulations in brain activity that can increase or cause clinical symptoms. [Click to Tweet] Neurfeedback promotes health brain activity by creating positive changes at the source of the problem. Clients can begin to experience the benefits of increased cognitive function and lowered stress levels. These changes help increase the speed and fluidity of retrieving memories.

  1. Water Your Brain

Drinking water is one of the best things you can do for your brain.  Your brain works like an electrical current. Dehydration causes the currency to become weak. [Click to Tweet] Researchers from the University of East London and the University of Westminster in the UK analyzed particular areas of the participants’ brain, including reaction time, verbal recognition memory, visual memory and learning.[5]  They found that participants who drank around three cups of water just before completing tests had a 14% increased reaction time compared with those who did not drink any water. Id.

  1. Brain Games

There are plenty of fun ways to help train your brain to recall memories quicker and easier. With today’s technology, we have access to endless websites and cellphone apps that strengthen your brain. One of the most well-known websites is Luminosity, which offers a simple online tool with games that exercise core cognitive abilities. You can use Luminosity from a computer, tablet, or cellphone for iOS (iPhones) or Android operating systems.

  1. Work Out Your Hands

Memory, like muscular strength, requires you to “use it or lose it.” The more you work out your brain, the better you’ll be able to process and remember information. [Click to Tweet] The best brain exercises break your routine and challenge you to use and develop new brain pathways. Activities that require using your hands are a great way to exercise your brain. (Smith, 2015) Playing a musical instrument, juggling, enjoying a game of ping-pong (table tennis), making pottery, knitting, or needlework are activities that exercise the brain by challenging hand-eye coordination, spatial-temporal reasoning, and creativity. (Smith, 2015)

  1. Play Games
  • Picture Memory
  • Matching Pairs (Match the Pictures)
  • Matching Pairs (Match the Words)
  • Universal Crossword
  • Sudoku Daily

6.  Just Say No to Technology

When the working memory is experiencing digital overload, it’s like a glass of water overflowing. According to Tony Schwartz, author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, as explained in an interview with The Huffington Post in June:

“It’s like having water poured into a glass continuously all day long, so whatever was there at the top has to spill out as the new water comes down. We’re constantly losing the information that’s just come in — we’re constantly replacing it, and there’s no place to hold what you’ve already gotten. It makes for a very superficial experience; you’ve only got whatever’s in your mind at the moment. And it’s hard for people to metabolize and make sense of the information because there’s so much coming at them and they’re so drawn to it. You end up feeling overwhelmed because what you have is an endless amount of facts without a way of connecting them into a meaningful story.”[6]

I hope this article gives you some useful information to help you recharge your memory. Now, put this list somewhere you can find it so you don’t forget to carry out some of these ideas.

Missty Klinger
April 4, 2015

For more information, visit our website: www.balancingyourchemistry.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

To Make An Appointment, Click Here.

[1] Cowan, N. (2009). What are the differences between long-term, short-term, and working memory? Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2657600/
[2] http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000683.htm
[3] Heerema,  E. (2014). 4 Types of Memory: Sensory, Short-Term, Working & Long-Term. Retrieved from http://alzheimers.about.com/od/symptomsofalzheimers/a/4-Types-Of-Memory-Sensory-Short-Term-Working-And-Long-Term.htm
[4] Smith, M. (2015). How to Improve Your Memory. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/memory/how-to-improve-your-memory.htm
[5] Whiteman, H. (2013). Drinking water boosts your brain’s reaction time.
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/263648.php
[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/11/technology-changes-memory_n_4414778.html

Graphic courtesy of: http://multibriefs.com/briefs/exclusive/0919memory.jpg

 

Are You Thinking Above the Line? 7 Easy Steps to Start.

Lemonade  Think, Believe, Do, Adapt, Overcome and Love Your Way to a Better Life

The concept of “above the line” thinking is part of almost every personal and professional growth model.  It is an accountability model.  Below the line thinkers make excuses, blame others, cause confusion and have “an attitude of helplessness.”[1]  With above-the-line thinkers, “we find a sense of reality, ownership, commitment, [problem solving] and determined action.”[2]

Our clinic, as a team, went to a few seminars to help us focus on positive thinking. Surrounding our patients with an atmosphere that is both healing and positive is one of our missions. One of the biggest takeaways was the power of positive thinking. Positive thinking is part of the above-the-line model.  Above the line thinking involves having an optimistic outlook. The opposite would be “below the line” thinking. These types of thinkers have a limited view on the world. I am going to share some tips and tricks I have learned through my experience and attendance at these seminars.

7 ways to start thinking above the line

  1. Avoid “below the line” thinking[3] such as:
  • Everything is happening to you, feeling victimized
  • Constantly blaming others for your situation
  • Allowing yourself to become overwhelmed
  • Reacting to situation in an irrational, impulsive way

2. LOVE everyone.

3.  Lemons make tasty lemonade!

  • Make the best of every situation.
  • Maintain an optimistic outlook[4] especially through the hard times.
  • Talk about it; you are not alone. Find someone who can relate to your situation and talk it out.

4.  Take Action.

5.  Listen.

  • Always follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to listening to other, no matter with whom you are conversing.

6.  Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. (I know this is the unofficial slogan for the U.S. Marines but it is great advice).

  • Go with the flow.
  • Allow life to happen, do not limit your experiences.
  • Be flexible and understanding.

7.  Have a mission and purpose in life.

  • Don’t wander aimlessly through life.
  • Set achievable and realistic goals for yourself.
  • Congratulate or reward your success.
  • Prioritize your day, week, month, and year(s).
  • Be ambitious.
  • Trust your instincts; believe in yourself without fail!

The best investment you will ever make is investing in yourself. “Successful people don’t wait – they spend money, time, and effort on their own growth because they know without a doubt it will pay off – for themselves and everyone around them.”[5]

We are human and creatures of habit. However, we have the power to turn our habits into ones that embrace positive thinking and an optimistic attitude towards life and others.  (Click to Tweet). We can think above the line!  Click here for a great blog and chart to help remind you every day of how to think above the line.

Can you identify any below the line thinking in your life? How can you apply above the line thinking techniques to help you live happier and healthier?

Missty Klinger
April 29, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com
Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey, and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

[1] www.ozprinciple.com/self/steps-to-accountability
[2] Id.
[3] www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/06/successful-people-the-8-self-limiting-behaviors-they-avoid
[4] www.positivelypositive.com/2013/05/19/living-above-the-line
[5] Kuhn, R. DC. (2012). Return to Health: overcoming the unimaginable and beating the odds.  Visit Dr. Kuhn’s website to learn more: returntohealthbook.com

Take a Walk On The Healthy Side

Untitled design (7)  3 Reasons to Incorporate Locomotion into Your Daily Routine (or on the Dance Floor).

Stroll, saunter, amble, hike, toddle, stride, walk.  “Walking”-As defined by Wikipedia, “one of the main gaits of locomotion among legged animals, and is typically slower than running and other gaits.”[1]  We wait with eager anticipation for our children to start walking, then watch them frantically as they walk from one dangerous situation to another.  We walk to the playground, school, our best friend’s house, the corner store, as children.  We walk to classes in college.   Then, we stop.  We start driving, riding with others, or taking public transportation.  The longest walk most of us get is from our car to the store in the grocery store parking lot.

Walking is a privilege we don’t appreciate as much as we should.   As society grows more sedentary and mechanistic, we begin to lose touch with the primitive reflexes that help to keep our brains in balance.  We often neglect to stop and smell the roses.  I would like to take the time to refresh your memory about the benefits of walking.  We must all exercise in one form or another and appreciate the abilities that we all hold as people.  The best part is that, unlike many other physical activities, we can enjoy the benefits of walking from toddlerhood through the golden years {Click to Tweet} as we walk through this journey called life.

 The Benefits

  1.  Better Health

As Hippocrates said, “[w]alking is man’s best medicine.”    It has been well understood for many centuries that walking can help the body fight off certain disease.  “In a recent study of nearly 33,000 men and women, it was found that walking 3.5 hours per week decreased the risk of stroke in women by over 40%, though not in men. Walking has long been known to improve many health indicators associated with heart and blood vessel diseases. A lot is said about the benefits of walking to prevent blood vessel or ‘circulatory’ diseases, and now comes more proof: an extensive study examining tens of thousands of men and women revealed that walking about 3.5 hours per week significantly decreased the chances of having a stroke – by 43% – though only in women.”[2] Walking is can also help with “deflecting diabetes, . . . getting off of meds (with approval from prescribing doctor), decreasing fibromyalgia pain, [and] reduc[ing] the possibility of stroke[.]”[3]

2.  Inspire Others   If others see you out walking, it can inspire them to take action in their own lives; to maybe take that extra step literally and figuratively.  It’s like Gandhi said, “[b]e the change you want to see in the world.”  If you decide to go out walking, you could motivate a random onlooker to put on their walking shoes on and go for a hike.

3.  Save Money and Your Relationships.    Walking is also great for “souping up your sex life, saving on gym costs, . . and saving your mind.” {Click to Tweet} [4]

Multiple fitness gurus recommend that you should walk at LEAST 10,000 steps per day!!![5]  You may ask, who the heck is going to sit and add that all up?  Here’s the great part – you don’t have to!!  These days there are so many great options to track how many steps or the total distance you walk in one day.  I still prefer a good old trusty pedometer, which will count the steps you take and then convert that number into distance.  For the techies out there, there are lots of higher tech options, like the Fitbit, the Apple Watch, etc. that can track your steps, distance, calories burned, and many other things.  Click here to read about the latest and greatest fitness trackers.

So, next time you are parking at the grocery store and you are looking for the spot closest to the building, take a look towards the far horizon of the parking lot and set your compass there.   Your pedometer will be happy, which means more benefits for you!!

So, whether you Walk This Way, Walk Like an Egyptian, Walk Like a Winner, Walk on the Wild Side or decide to do some Walking in Memphis or any other city – just walk! {Click to Tweet}  And, today, invite your Mom to come along.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Dr. Andrew Kender
May 10, 2015

www.balancingyourchemistry.com
info@feohio.com

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking
[2] www.trimdownclub.com “Stroke” (Huerta JM et al. 2013;44(1):111-8).
[3] www.rodalenews.com, “8 Astonishing Benefits of Walking
[4] www.thewalkingsite.com
[5] Id.

A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Yoga Picture            A Beginner’s Guide to Yoga

Raising a family and having a fulfilling career has not come easy for me.  I’m sure I am not alone.  Trying to find balance in this fast paced world, juggling family, a career, housework, deadlines, baseball games and choir concerts, can leave one feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and completely stressed out.  This is exactly where I landed. I found myself just going through the motions – essentially showing up where needed.  As my children were growing right before my very eyes I began to realize how quickly time was passing by.  I became acutely aware of the fact that I had lost sight of the bigger picture. I was missing out on all the little things that I would soon come to realize were really the biggest things.  I no longer wanted to go through the motions I wanted to get back to living with intention and to actively participating in my own life!    If I was going to pour all of my energy into something, I wanted do things that mattered…this is where my yoga journey began.

I started by signing up for a beginner level class at the local YMCA.  The class  was 2 times per week and worked perfectly into my schedule.   The more I practiced, the more I wanted to learn. The more I learned, the more I wanted to practice.  The benefits were almost immediate.  I was able to breathe and sleep better.  I was more focused at work and overall I felt better!

The health benefits of yoga are well-established.  Practicing yoga on a regular basis cultivates cardio-vascular health, musculoskeletal strength and flexibility.  It reaches every organ system-respiratory, digestive, reproductive, endocrine, lymphatic and nervous.   Yoga cultivates the body’s natural capacity to relax and reduces the negative effects of stress.

There are many forms of yoga and an overwhelming amount of information on the internet, but, in general, yoga focuses on postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana).   Start with the basics and develop your practice.  Below are 7 quick tips to getting started:

What you will need:  A yoga mat and an open mind.

  1. Choose your location: The comfort of your own home, a local gym or a yoga studio.
  2. Choose a beginner level DVD, online video or yoga class.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the Beginner Poses and how to do them correctly.
  4. Familiarize yourself with Yoga Etiquette.
  5. Familiarize yourself with Basic Breathing Techniques.
  6. Work at your own level and always listen to your body.
  7. Just Breathe.

Yoga has taught me to once again, live with intention, to pour my energy into what truly matters, to be present…and be okay with it.  I still have to deal with everyday stresses, deadlines and problems.  However, they no longer get the best of me.  I can deal with them with confidence, clarity and ease.  In general, I have a more defined sense of purpose in my life. I’ve learned to honor my body and to let go of things that no longer serve my purpose so that I can do more than I once thought possible.  By taking time out for myself, on my mat, I am a better person for everyone in my life.   Carrying my practice with me in my daily routine, I am more mindful, focused and confident. I continue to grow in my life each day as well as in my practice.  This is my journey.

Namaste my friends,

Joy Vale
Client Care Coordinator

Functional Endocrinology of Ohio
Akron: 2800 S. Arlington Road, Akron, Ohio 44312 (330) 644-5488
Cleveland: 6200 Rockside Woods Blvd., Ste. 100, Independence, Ohio 44131 (216) 236-0060
Dr. Keith S. Ungar, Dr. David S. Starkey and Dr. Andrew Kender, Chiropractic Physicians

Visit us at www.balancingyourchemistry.com.

Cope, Stephen. Yoga and the Quest for the True Self. New York: Bantam, 2000. Print.
Kaminoff, Leslie, and Amy Matthews. Yoga Anatomy. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2012. Print.
“Three Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Career.” www.womensagenda.com.au/guilt-free-zone/health/three-ways-yoga-can-improve-your-career/201306172338#.VQ9CH47F98E>.