carbohydrates vitamins water

How Nutrients Communicate: How Your Body Talks

How Your Body Talks:

How Nutrients Communicate

Stan Gardner, MD, CNS

With all of the conversation online and everywhere about nutrients, we might find our heads spinning, or find ourselves getting bored. So many options! So little definitive information!

Perhaps we might think there can be nothing more boring, yet there is nothing more important for our health, than to talk about and understand nutrients.

What this article is NOT:

  • This article is not about dieting, but it is about understanding what the various components of food ultimately do in our body.
  • This is not a treatise on the benefits of each individual vitamin, mineral, and essential fatty acid (which would take up volumes), but rather it is a simplified overview of major nutrients and their importance.

What is a Nutrient?

A nutrient is a biochemical substance the body needs for the normal functions of growth, reproduction and to maintain health. These are substances the body cannot make, so they must be ingested. Food is the best source of all nutrients. Supplements supplement our food; they supplement critical nutrients that have been identified.

The six traditional categories of nutrients include:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • proteins
  • fats
  • carbohydrates
  • water

I am also going to include fiber’s important role in the body.

Vitamins and Minerals

In my office in Cleveland, Ohio, we had 3 biochemistry charts on the wall that were 2 1/2 feet tall and 2 feet wide. The small print had all the known biochemical pathways with known enzymes and co-factors responsible for the reactions to take place. Those biochemical reactions are extremely slow unless there is an enzyme. An enzyme is a protein that accelerates (acts as a catalyst) the reaction, near the reaction site. Co-factors are needed so the enzyme works efficiently, or works at all. And guess what the majority of the co-factors are called? Vitamins and minerals!

There are over 300 reactions on the chart that require magnesium. It is fascinating to see where each of the B vitamins participates and is needed for optimal functioning. You can see where vitamin K fits into the clotting mechanism, vitamin A helps with night vision, and molybdenum and copper fit in with iron metabolism.

Proteins

Proteins are made up of amino acids, some of which cannot be made in the body (essential) and others that are made in the body. Amino acids are the building blocks of enzymes, hormones, all of the proteins in the body and most tissues in the body. All organ tissue repair requires amino acids as building blocks.

Fats

The proper role of fats has been muddied by 30 years of anti-fat marketing, cholesterol fears and heart disease. A short review of how the body uses fat includes:

  • transports fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K
  • healthy skin
  • eyesight
  • nerve and brain develop and maintenance, including the myelin sheath
  • source of energy
  • regulates production of sex hormones
  • forms protective cushion for internal organs (although some of us have too much)
  • muscle movement
  • forms prostaglandins (hormone-like), which regulate inflammation

Each of our 75 trillion cells has a cell membrane with thousands of phospholipids composing the cell membrane. Each phospholipid has 3 strands coming out of a base (glycerol) that connects them. I call it a “threek.” For years our family has called three-pronged forks “threeks” (instead of a four-pronged “fourk”). Typically, two of the three strands of the phospholipid are made up of saturated fats, while the third strand has an omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid) or omega-6 (linoleic acid) fatty acid. These are the parent compounds and not the downstream products of DHA and EPA found in fish oils. The proper ratio of saturated fats to omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is important to maintain the proper fluidity and functioning of each cell.

Trans fatty acids, partially and fully hydrogenated oils are seen by the body as omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids and are placed into the ‘threek’ (phospholipid) in the cell’s membrane. Unfortunately, they do not function the same. The cell membrane becomes stiff and no longer functions optimally. The hormones don’t work as well, energy is not produced well, glucose does not enter the cell properly, cell-to-cell communication does not take place, and the list goes on.

Carbohydrates

There is no daily minimum requirement of carbohydrates as there is for fats and proteins. We get plenty of carbohydrates in the normal eating of grains, fruits and vegetables, so we do not need to worry about the amount we eat. Carbohydrates are a good source of glucose for production of energy, especially needed in the brain.

Whole grains not only have carbohydrates, but the hull also contains the vitamins and minerals necessary for their metabolism, in addition to fiber that slows down absorption. “Refined” grains means that those critical nutrients in the hull have been polished off, and the breakdown of the carbohydrate into glucose necessitates depleting vitamins that are in storage. This is what happened in Japan when white rice was introduced and beri-beri, a deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B1), occurred. Because of the immediate and long-term effects of refined sugar in our body, sugar should be treated as a toxin and avoided.

Water

With all the trillions of dollars of research money spent, there is no solid science behind the recommendation of how much water to drink on a daily basis. The critical nature of proper hydration and the devastating effects of dehydration on the body are well known. Every organ of the body and every cell needs water to function properly. Perhaps the best guide to determine if we are getting enough is to note the color of the urine (darker yellow means dehydration) and perhaps the frequency and volume of urine output. However, these are also dependent on other factors.

The quality of the water we consume is important, because water can carry toxins that are brought into the body and interfere with function. All tap water for drinking should at least have a filter. Distillation and reverse osmosis are much more effective at eliminating toxins from the water supply.

Supplements

We live in a society where many in the farming and marketing industries are more interested in color and visual appeal of their products and less with nutrient value. Herbicides and pesticides are heavily used and remain on the surface (and deeper) in the food. Crop rotation is not practiced like it was 100 years ago. Fruits and vegetables are often picked before the ripening season so they can be transported thousands of miles. Sometimes they use ripening retardants to preserve food products until they reach market. We are being exposed to a greater number of toxins in the environment, so our need for nutrients for detoxification purposes is greater.

In view of the above concerns, and the fact that we do not have good inexpensive laboratory measures that are clinically significant of the vitamins and minerals we need, and because each of us has different needs of each nutrient (biochemical individuality), I recommend that we all need basic supplements to help ensure we get the nutrients we need.

Recommendations

  • Potent multivitamin (4 to 6 per day), vitamin D, essential fatty acids
  • 60 grams of protein per day (about deck of card size of meat, legumes, eggs). Emphasis should be on legumes for our protein sources.
  • Omega-3 oils—2 to 4 grams per day, both flaxseed and fish oil, omega-6 oils—2 to 4 grams per day
  • No sugar, no processed food
  • Whole grains (if not allergic)
  • At least 6 to 8 cups of water per day; more if indicated

If you would like to order high quality, custom-formulated supplements, or learn more information about Dr. Gardner and his practice in Sandy, Utah, call Keys to Healing Medical Center at (801) 302-5397

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Want to Learn More About Your Body’s System of Communication?

 

Announcing a New Series:

How Your Body Talks:

Estrogen and Progesterone

Stan Gardner, M.D., CNS

Women are different than men (believe it or not!). Some of that difference is related to different levels of messengers called hormones. Two of the hormones–estrogen and progesterone–communicate different things to the same organ. To make matters more complicated, their levels change, depending on the time of month or stage of life.

The Reproductive Years (About age 11 to 45 to 50)

During the reproductive years, most women have regular periods. Part of the purpose of menstruation is to prepare the uterus and body for pregnancy. Of the two hormones I mentioned in the previous paragraph, estrogen levels only change a little during the month. Your body’s hormones are always talking to various tissues. Progesterone levels are quite low from the start of the period until the egg is released from the ovary (ovulation). The scar tissue (corpus luteum) generated where the egg leaves the ovary produces high levels of progesterone until a day or two before the next period starts.

In the uterus, estrogen tells the inside of the uterus (the lining) to produce more cells. When progesterone is produced, it tells the newly produced cells to develop or mature to get ready for a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg loves the newly developed cells, burrows in and starts to divide and divide, becoming a new human being 9 months later.

If the egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum stops producing progesterone. It tells the uterine cells to remove themselves from the uterus (through the menstrual cycle) and starts the whole process over again.

Estrogen and progesterone talk to nine other organs, and for the most part they confuse the organs by giving them opposing directions.

In the ovary, estrogen stimulates the maturation of the egg. Estrogen tells the egg to move toward the outside of the ovary as it matures. Meanwhile, progesterone suppresses further egg release. If these two hormones were not giving conflicting information, twins and triplets would be much more common.

Balance and Counterbalance

Here are some other fascinating ways that estrogen and progesterone balance and counterbalance in the body:

  • In the breasts, estrogen stimulates tissue growth, occasionally so much that it causes discomfort. Progesterone provides protection from cancer. Because of high progesterone levels during pregnancy, women with multiple pregnancies have a reduced rate of breast cancer.
  • In the bones, estrogen slows bone loss. When estrogen levels drop at menopause, bone loss (osteoporosis) accelerates as the FSH level (follicular stimulating hormone, another hormone messenger that talks to the ovary) rises. Progesterone stimulates new bone growth.
  • In the thyroid, estrogen interferes with the thyroid hormones, while progesterone talks to the thyroid gland and improves its function.
  • In the brain, estrogen stimulates function and improves mental sharpness. Progesterone helps to calm the brain and acts almost like an anti-depressant.
  • Estrogen increases deposition of fat, especially on the hips and thighs. (Testosterone tends to put fat in the abdomen.) Progesterone tells the fat to break down.
  • Estrogen tells the cells to make more progesterone receptors, while progesterone up-regulates estrogen receptors.
  • Estrogen increases retention of water, including helping to hydrate the skin. Progesterone acts as a natural diuretic.
  • Estrogen decreases libido, while progesterone increases it.

Estrogen speaks exclusively to two organs, without counter-talk from progesterone:

First, it talks to support the lining in the blood vessels.

Second, estrogen increases collagen production. Collagen is the connective tissue in the body. Faster healing and softer, more elastic skin take place when estrogen speaks to the connective tissue.

What happens when Estrogen levels are too high, compared to Progesterone levels?

When estrogen talks too loudly, and progesterone influence is minimized, it is called estrogen dominance. This condition causes some classic symptoms:

  • Water retention
  • Breast tenderness, lumps, cysts
  • Moodiness, emotionally labile, anxiety, depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Heavy bleeding, clotting, and/or cramping
  • Fibroids, endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

What Happens When Estrogen (and Progesterone) Levels Drop?

When neither estrogen nor progesterone talks to the body, some women have no problems, while others are incapacitated. This time of life is called menopause, and may happen naturally or after surgical removal of the ovaries.

The following difficulties may arise with onset of menopause:

  • Mental fog, forgetfulness
  • Anxious, depressed, mood change
  • Hot flashes, night sweats
  • Dry eyes, skin, vagina
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Palpitations, (racing heart)
  • Headaches
  • Feeling bloated

Is There Any Help?

Yes, there is help, if it is needed.

First, however, let me state that I am opposed to synthetic, chemically changed forms of estrogen. These forms of treatment include a chemical group(s) that has been added to the chemical structure of estrogen the body makes, so it can be patented and sold as a pharmaceutical.

Unfortunately, that extra chemical has caused unwanted side effects. This causes a number of problems, which come from communicating to the wrong organ in the wrong way:

  • Blood vessel clots, causing heart attack, stroke
  • Endometrial and breast cancer
  • Double the risk of dementia
  • Double the chance of surgery to remove the gall bladder

If there is a reason to treat hormonal issues, my first choice is to choose herbs and natural products that function as phytoestrogens and support, or speak to the ovaries.

Some of these include:

  • Angelica sinensis
  • Blessed thistle
  • Licorice root
  • Wild yam
  • Motherwort herb
  • Black cohosh
  • Cramp bark
  • Dong quai

Although these natural products may not be as strong as bio-identical estrogen and progesterone, they may talk to your organs well enough to solve the problem.

Bone Density

Bone loss around the time of menopause is a reason to be aggressive with reducing the FSH level. In treating patients with bone loss, I typically start with progesterone, to see if stimulating the estrogen receptors is enough to solve the problem. If not, then bio-identical estrogen is usually needed.

If, on the other hand, estrogen is talking too loudly in your body (dominating), then bio-identical progesterone is usually needed. I generally prefer that a local compounding pharmacist formulate the progesterone, rather than a pharmaceutical firm, which tends to use unnecessary fillers. Unfortunately, insurance companies tend to pay for pharmaceuticals, rather than healthier, more natural products.

When neither estrogen nor progesterone is communicating with your body, and you need help (sometimes desperately!), I always start with a natural product. If that is insufficient, the next step is progesterone. Everyone likes progesterone—just look at what it does to the body. If more is still needed, I pay attention to symptoms and response to what has been added, and then add bio-identical estrogen until the symptoms resolve.

To your dynamic health and energy,

Dr. Stan Gardner

If you would like more information about Dr. Gardner and his philosophies, please feel free to explore this site. Dr. Gardner’s office is in Sandy, UT. Phone number 801-302-5397. 

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What Do the Labels Mean?

You May be Surprised at the Definitions of The Words on Labels!

In order to be healthy, we must learn to read labels (if you don’t grow and make all your food from scratch). Since it is important to know what certain terms mean, here we go:

 Natural: means very little. Although it can’t include synthetic ingredients (colors, flavors), it can be heavily processed. This includes animals raised with antibiotics and growth hormones, and high fructose corn syrup (corn is natural, isn’t it?).

Fresh: means they are using ‘approved’ waxes or coatings, post harvest approved pesticides, applying mild chlorine or mild acid wash or ionizing radiation.

Organic (can mean 3 different things):

  • 100% organic = foods that don’t contain any non-organic ingredients;
  • organic—95% organic ingredients and the other 5 % do not contain growth hormones;
  • made with organic ingredients—foods with at least 70% organically produced ingredients (up to 30% non-organic)

Good Source of/Contains/Provides: food has at least 10 % of USDA’s recommended daily allowance

 High Source Of/Rich In/Excellent Source Of: food has at least 20% of USDA’s recommended daily allowance

Now you know. Garden fresh is still best, and you know exactly what has gone into it. We enjoyed our garden tomatoes for at least 6 weeks past the first frost.  They ripened on the vine in boxes in the garage.  When you grow it, then you know it!

Energy energy medicine fibromyalgia Jin Shin Jyutsu

A Unique Treatment for Fibromyalgia: Jin Shin Jyutsu

A 71-year-old female presented three years ago with diagnosed Fibromyalgia in 1997 and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1993. She had seen three previous Integrative Medicine physicians and was much improved on B6 and B12 shots and compounded thyroid hormone.

I placed her on intravenous vitamins and minerals with high dose vitamin C. She also received FSM (Frequency Specific Microcurrent) treatments, which were designed to treat spinal cord injury, one of many causes of Fibromyalgia. Her depression improved and her pain diminished. She also wasn’t dropping things as much.

Up and Down, then Finally UP!

 Over the next three years she continued with an up and down course, partly because of other medical conditions—asthma, allergies, insomnia, migraines and adrenal fatigue. Three months ago we decided to try Jin Shin Jyutsu, an ancient energy art from Japan, similar to acupuncture but no needles. During each treatment, her husband learned where to place his hands so he could give treatments at home.

Since the three treatments in the office and 3 to 4 treatments each week at home, her energy level and vigor for life have improved to a new level.

We as human beings are both a physical and energetic body. There are 12 well designated flows that occur throughout the body over every 24 hour period, healing and cleansing our organs and body. There are hundreds of other flows that circulate in various places in the body. Injury, emotional trauma, toxins and poor nutrition can block the energy flows.

The hands act like jumper cables in this art, permitting the energy to overcome blockages and permit healing to take place. Clearing these energy flow lines can help everybody with their health issues, and offers an excellent option for all who have vague or difficult to diagnose and treat issues. Fibromyalgia is caused by many, many different possible sources. It always has “a” cause or trigger, but is often the result of multiple issues over many years. Jin Shin Juytsu is one of many treatment options.

bone fractures bones broken bones

Healing Broken Foot Bones

A reader writes: Do you have a natural means of healing a broken foot, or at least helping the process along? It’s the Sesamoid bone of the left foot.

There are 2 sesamoid bones under the farthest part of the long bone of the foot’s big toe.  When strained or fractured, the sesamoid bones can cause pain in the first joint of the big toe. 
 It is important to realize that bone is live tissue.  It requires time and remodeling to heal.  Because it is hard to protect the fracture of the sesamoid bones with walking or running, it is easy to reinjure the damaged bones every day.  They need time to heal.  
 In addition to rest, the following ideas are useful:

1.  Do not use NSAID anti-inflammatory medications. They retard healing in all joints.

2.Use safer anti-inflammatory supplements like
MSM,

  • DMSO,
  • Boswelia,
  • capsaicin,
  • and quercetin

3.  Frequencies that accelerate bone repair are found in frequency generators like the FSM machine.

4.  Redox signaling molecules are part of the communication network that facilitates healing.  They can be found in ASEA, which can be taken by mouth, and Renu28 gel, which can be placed directly on the skin around the fracture (Please contact my office at 801-302-5397 if you would like to learn more about this).

5. Try to identify the movement that caused the initial fracture and initiate change to reduce the chance of it happening again.  Changes may include using different shoes, strengthening muscle groups to add support, or releasing tight muscles that put more strain on that part of the foot.

Candida candidiasis yeast infections

Candida: Fun Song, Not So Fun Disease

A reader writes:

I am suffering from extreme diarrhea and itching due to candida. I am currently eating no sugar, taking Three Lac, eating yogurt. I am eating fruit. Is it contributing to my problem? What diet do you recommend for my current condition?

My response:

Extreme diarrhea and itching may be due to candida.  Assuming that is correct, these are my recommendations:

  1. No sugar and no fruit, as there is too much sugar in fruit.
  2. ThreeLac is an extremely potent probiotic; follow the guidelines it provides for maximum effectiveness.
  3. If the above is not yet helping, anti-fungals need to be used.
  • Herbals can be tried first, including caprylic acid, Pau D’Arco, and garlic
  • If the above doesn’t work, contact a physician who is familiar with Candida and can provide Diflucan and Nystatin by prescription
supplements

Basic Supplements for Everyone

[spoiler alert: I’m giving you a BIG discount below!]

In order to be healthy and function optimally, the cells, tissue, and organs of the body must get the nutrients they need. First and foremost, this comes from eating nutritious food. However, because of

  • unique individual needs we each have, or
  • toxins in the body, or
  • damage to our body through the years, or
  • poor farming methods that do not keep vital nutrients in the soil and our food,

it is appropriate for everyone to take additional supplements to ‘supplement’ those nutrients.

Every body should be consuming a potent multivitamin.

Because calcium and magnesium take up so much room in a capsule or tablet, it is virtually impossible to take enough to supplement these important minerals. In typical supplements, calcium and magnesium are at low levels unless you take 4 to 6 per day of a multivitamin.

I recommend a multivitamin that has 500 mg of calcium and 500 mg of magnesium, in three tablets taken twice each day. My recommended multivitamin is also strong in B vitamins and vitamin C.

Essential fatty acids are not made in the body, so they must be ingested like vitamins. In fact, they are called ‘essential’ because the body cannot make them, just like vitamins are ‘vital’ to the body because the body does not make them either. I prefer flax seed oil to supply omega 3 oils because it contains the parent compound alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is needed in cell membranes in order for cells to function properly. ALA is broken down in the body into the downstream products EPA and DHA, which are found in fish oils. Unfortunately, fish oils do not contain ALA.

‘Vitamin’ D is technically not a vitamin because the body makes it. However, it does not make enough to give us the optimal protection with the immune system and other organ support we need. I recommend that everyone take up to 5000 IU daily, in addition to the small amount in the multivitamin. A blood level is easy to obtain and can tell you for sure if your body has enough or if it needs more.

I’ll be sending you information about different supplements and how they can be used to fortify your body against the onslaught of breakdown and disease.

For your convenience these are all available on my website, keystohealing.net. Just click on the supplement button above. You can order at a 20% discount through November 30, 2014. Just place the coupon code THANKS and the discount will be in your shopping cart checkout. We’ll be eager to ship you your top quality, highly potent vitamins!

To your dynamic health and energy,

Dr. Stan

food

What Do Your Food Labels Mean?

You May be Surprised at the Definitions of These Words on Labels

 

In order to be healthy, we must learn to read labels if you don’t make food from scratch.  It is important that we know what certain terms mean, so here we go:

Natural–means very little.  Although it can’t include synthetic ingredients (colors, flavors), it can be heavily processed.  This includes animals raised with antibiotics and growth hormones, and high fructose corn syrup (corn is natural, isn’t it?).

Fresh—means they are using ‘approved’ waxes or coatings, post harvest approved pesticides, applying mild chlorine or mild acid wash or ionizing radiation.

Organic—100% organic = foods that don’t contain any non-organic ingredients;

Organic—95% organic ingredients and the other 5 % do not contain growth hormones;

Made with organic ingredients—foods with at least 70% organically produced ingredients (up to 30% non-organic)

Good Source of/Contains/Provides—food has at least 10 % of USDA’s recommended daily allowance

High Source Of/Rich In/Excellent Source Of—food that has at least 20% of USDA’s recommended daily allowance.

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The Sugar Industries campaign against research

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One way to reduce soda consumption

Sara Bleich from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provides an interesting insight into recognizing the partial impact of caloric intake and the amount of exercise needed to ‘burn’ those calories.  One can of coke equals 50 minutes of running.  When that information was placed before people where ordering of soft drinks took place, the amount of soft drinks ordered decreased.  Although she correctly points out that ‘a calorie is not a calorie,’ anything that changes the behavior of drinking soda pop is a good thing.  Just a reminder of the 5 things wrong with soda pop: 1) the sweetener, as bad as sugar is aspartame is worse 2) acid content (coke does make the best cleaner of chrome and grease spots) 3) phosphorus added so carbon dioxide (the fizz) does not become carbonic acid [unfortunately phosphorus is matched with calcium in the body, so the calcium is taken from the bones contributing to osteoporosis] 4) many sodas have caffeine, which is addictive, is a stimulant and is a diuretic 5) some people think drinking soda replaces the amount of water they need to drink (wrong).
For a more complete look at Sara Bleich’s insight and research, read the article by James Hamblin [The Atlantic].