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Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress

In the normal course of metabolism, your body produces small, high-energy particles that have a single electron in their outer shell (such molecules are unstable because electrons prefer to be paired).  These are called free radicals, and they can be very damaging in their search for another electron.  If too many of them are produced, their extremely high energy can also be damaging to normal tissues.  Free radicals disrupt the normal production of DNA, the genetic material, and alter the lipids (fats) in cell membranes.  We are also exposed to free radicals that are found in the environment or generated by exposure to environmental chemicals.  One way to protect yourself from free-radical damage is to take dietary supplements.  Specifically, vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene; the trace minerals selenium and zinc; and accessory food factors, such as bioflavonoids and coenzyme Q10.

The Vitamin Revolution in Health Care

Michael Janson, MD

Dr. Gardner’s comments:  The name given to the process of free radical damage in the body is called oxidative stress.  Oxidative stress is at the root of most degenerative disease and is part of all inflammatory and pain conditions.  Proper diet and antioxidant supplements can help reduce oxidative damage in your cells and body.  A new supplement on the market, ASEA, improves antioxidant efficiency by 5 to 8 times.  You may contact me for further science and explanation of this amazing discovery at  Please put ASEA in the subject line, and our team with get back with you immediately.

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I am 39 yrs old and female. For about a week I have been having pain in my stomach directly below my sternum and sometimes I have pain in my chest. It feels like it would be an ulcer, even though Ive never had one before, but it doesnt really seem to help if I take any OTC meds for it. Milk helps slightly, but not for long. When it gets really going it doesnt seem to help if I eat or not. My 13 yr old daughter then came to me with the same symptoms last night. The only thing I can think of is we both have bad case of stomach flu couple weeks ago.. could that have caused injury to our stomachs? I HATE it! Help

Some ideas on dealing with stress:

1) If you can’t reduce the stress you are now under in the short term, you must start the ball rolling to reduce the stress long term. It will eventually kill you.

2) Recognize all events in life can be categorized into 2 categories: a. things you can’t control b. things you can control. On the things you can control, you have to decide which ones are worth the battle, and let the others go. Sometimes you need a confidant to help with these tough decisions.

3) Release the stressors you can release.

4) Learn stress-reduction techniques–prayer, meditation, massage therapy, Jin Shin Jyutsu, biofeedback.

5) If the stress has been going on for a long time, and adrenal and other hormone exhaustion may have taken place, you may need to see an Integrative Medicine Practitioner to do lab work and prescribe natural products to support you.

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Stress and Hives

What can I use to cure severe hives that can last up to 3 mos, and are related to stress and not allergies to products or dust, etc.?

Stress is such a powerful trigger of disease, it is difficult to override it with any supplement or herb.  All of those things will help the body so the stress is not so damaging, or reduce the symptoms, but ultimately stress must be dealt with to resolve symptoms.

Some ideas on dealing with stress:

1) If you can’t reduce the stress you are now under in the short term, you must start the ball rolling to reduce the stress long term.  It will eventually kill you.

2) Recognize all events in life can be categorized into 2 categories: a. things you can’t control  b. things you can control.  On the things you can control, you have to decide which ones are worth the battle, and let the others go.  Sometimes you need a confidant to help with these tough decisions.

3) Release the stressors you can release.

4) Learn stress-reduction techniques–prayer, meditation, massage therapy, Jin Shin Jyutsu, biofeedback.

5) If the stress has been going on for a long time, and adrenal and other hormone exhaustion may have taken place, you may need to see an Integrative Medicine Practitioner to do lab work and prescribe natural products to support you.

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Adult ADD

Adult ADD – Can’t get anything accomplished even though I am not working now! I am a 53 yr. old female. Please help!

All neurologic challenges, including ADD, have certain core elements that must be attended to in order to support the neurologic system.  These include the B vitamins (almost all of them) and the omega-3 and omega-6 oils.  Take a B complex-50 or -100, along with flax seed oil 1 to 3 teaspoons and borage oil 5 gm per day.

Your diet needs to be good–real natural whole food, and no sugar and processed food.  If that is insufficient, you need to see a practitioner like myself that can look at toxic metals in the brain, and use other supplements and look at neurotransmitters in the brain that cannot be done on your own.

Additionally, stress can play a big part in causing symptoms that are akin to ADD.  This can be temporary or ongoing.  Either way, it is wise to see a professional practitioner who can help you with perspective on the causes of your symptoms and a way towards more dynamic health.

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Santa, Sleigh Bells, and …Stress

As a gift to you, I am presenting a mini-seminar (one hour) in Riverton, Utah,  on reducing your stress and increasing your health this evening (Thursday, December 9).  It is called : Enjoying the Holiday, Free from Stress.  The address is 2332 W. 12600 S., Suite 2B, Riverton, Utah, 8406.5 There is no cost, but you need to call and reserve a spot (I have limited seating).  Please call my office, Keys to Healing Medical Center, at 801-302-5397 to let us know you are coming.

Holiday season brings with it a plethora of fun memories, loving gifts–bought or homemade, Christmas music, store specials, inspiring concerts, mouthwatering cookies and candies…and stress.  Learning how to recognize stress and de-stress our lives will benefit us healthwise and ensure a much more pleasant, relaxed Christmas.

Life is full of surprises, some planned and hoped for, and some that knock us off our feet.  How we deal with life has much to do with our general health, and specifically our cardiovascular system.

We are all familiar with stress.  Some of it is good-exhilarating, “I work better under pressure”.  Our body’s initial response to stress will help us do better, especially if we meet the saber-tooth tiger (think of who that could be in your life) in the jungle (“it’s a jungle out there”).  The immediate adrenalin and sympathetic nervous system activation gets the muscles working better, sharpens mental abilities and drive and the heart pumps harder and blood pressure goes up to keep up with the increased demands of the body.  Non-vital systems of the body slow down or shut down during this time, permitting all the resources of the body to get through the challenging experience.  What a wonderful body we have!

This scenario works great when a critical deadline comes up tomorrow, or you are playing in a ball game, or an injury or accident occurs.  In fact, it could be life saving.

However, we now live in a world where the stresses may not be of short duration.  Financial, emotional or toxic exposures may persist, and not permit the body to get its much needed rest or peace.  Nutrient deficiencies or sleep deprivation or toxin build-up that interfere with basic body processes, if not corrected, will cause chronic stress in our bodies.  Infections the body cannot clear, or hormone dysregulation in the body, will interfere with proper functioning and be a stressor on the body. The list is almost endless.

We are wise when we learn to recognize that there are both stressors over which we have control, and those over which we have no control.

In and Out of Control

So, what does the body do with chronic stresses, and specifically, how does it impact my heart and blood vessels?  There are two systems that are activated in stress.  One is the sympathetic nervous system-nerves coming from the spinal cord that go directly to organs of the body.  This system is counteracted by the parasympathetic nervous system, which, for the most part, does the opposite.  It is the parasympathetic system that functions during rest, and does much of the repair needed from the sympathetic discharge.  The other system is release of epinephrine (adrenalin) and norepinephrine from the adrenal gland.  Let’s talk about each part and its direct impact on the cardiovascular system.

In the state of emergency, accident or injury, or escaping or fighting a perilous situation, bleeding may take place.  Adrenaline from the adrenal gland increases the ability of platelets to aggregate, or come together to assist in the clot formation to stop the bleeding.  If there is long term adrenaline release, there is an increased likelihood of clots forming inside the blood vessel walls.  These clots partially block the flow of blood inside the blood vessels.  If this occurs in the heart, or coronary arteries, this may manifest as angina (chest pain) with exercise, or even a heart attack.  If this occurs in the peripheral limbs, pain (claudication) is felt in the muscle that needs more blood for energy production, but can’t get it.

Stress and the Heart

Upon stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, the nerves that go to the heart activate processes that increase the blood pressure and heart rate, thus supplying more blood to the tissue.  The muscle is a high-demand organ for energy, so this demand can be better met.  However, higher blood pressure and heart rate long term may cause more turbulence inside the blood vessels.  This turbulence will cause more vessel wall tension and possibly damage the wall.  This prompts a repair process to be started which releases inflammatory substances from the local wall and platelet aggregation with more inflammatory substances released.  The wall of the blood vessel thickens and a clot may form inside the vessel lumen.  This is called atherosclerosis.

In the stressed state, aldosterone is produced and released from the adrenal gland which tells the kidney to retain salt (sodium) and water, in case bleeding has taken place. In the absence of bleeding, this increases total fluid volume in the blood stream, thus contributing to higher blood pressure.

Stress and Weight Gain

Stressed individuals have a tendency to eat more, thus putting on more weight.  More weight means more blood vessels need to be made, which lengthens the distance of the vessels, thus requiring more blood pressure to reach the new distance.  Stressed people tend to exercise less, also contributing to weight gain.  Smoking is more common among people who are stressed.  The toxins in cigarettes are some of the most inflammatory substances the body can receive.  The greater the inflammation that is inside the blood vessels, the greater the chance of atherosclerotic plaque building up and occluding the blood vessel lumen.

Many other organs of the body are also affected to increase survival in the stressed state.  The pupils dilate to see clearer.  The spleen releases stored red blood cells in case bleeding has taken place.  Airways to the lungs dilate.  Liver breaks down the storage form of glucose and fat cells breakdown, all to supply the body with immediate energy in the form of glucose.

There are other organ systems that reduce their function: these are the non-critical body functions of the body.  These include: bladder relaxation and sphincter contraction increased, digestive juices and enzymes diminished, kidney flow and urine production diminished, gall bladder relaxation, salivary and eye tears decreased, skin hair stands up and increased sweating.

The body is able to maintain a heightened state of stress for months, or even years.  It is not healthy, but a maintenance level is maintained.  At some point in time,  though, after the adrenal gland has enlarged as much as it can, it starts to fail.  Hormone levels drop, life-sustaining support wanes, and the body goes into a state of exhaustion.  Low levels of cortisol and DHEA are seen, the immune system becomes compromised, and stomach or intestinal bleeding may result.  With the anti-inflammatory systems of the body reduced, inflammation increases, causing further blood vessel and organ breakdown.

Much of this can be avoided, reduced, or even eliminated by recognizing its potentially harmful effects, knowing there are things to bring about health, and taking action, step by step.

Treatment Options

Now that we recognize the effects of stress on our heart, blood vessel systems and body, let us review some treatment options.  First, we must be able to identify the cause(s) of what is putting stress on us. Sometimes these are created by our own selves.  We may have a hard time saying “no,” when we do not have time, or someone else should do it.  When we do things for others who should do it, we may be depriving them of growth that they should experience.  I am often reminded of the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Our stress will never end if we try to change things that we cannot change.  Even within what we can change, we must carefully choose where to spend our time and energy, and be sure we spend time in the ‘weightier matters.’  Stephen Covey addresses this concept in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He differentiates between tasks that are urgent and not urgent, and between important and not important.  Our most important matters usually revolve around the building of relationships, which are too often sacrificed on the altar of cell phones and computers, by interruptive calls, mail and trivia.

Getting Centered

This Christmas season, try playing a little game with yourself to focus on the truly meaningful gifts of Christmas.  One year, during med school, my wife and I brought home boxes by the dozens-of all shapes and sizes-as our only Christmas presents for our 3 small sons.  We obtained them for free, and our little boys played with them for months.  They received no other presents, and my wife and I gave each other nothing but our love and support.  But our children loved their Christmas that year.  Never did we feel that we had shortchanged them!  In fact, their creative skills were enhanced as they designed towns, trains, and toys to play in.

One of my patients remarked that she was overwhelmed with the “pressure” of getting everything done-a telling word-until she took the time to visit an art exhibit featuring paintings of the Savior.

In a few moments of gazing upon the miracle of His birth and His life, her perspective and her peace were restored.  Now, taking a deep breath, she realized that she could truly honor the Christmas spirit.

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Seminar This Thursday + Today Only: Buy any DVD, Get Stress DVD Free :)

Coming up this week, I’m giving a free short seminar on how to Enjoy the Holidays, Free from Stress.  You’re welcome to come!  It’s Thursday at 7:30 p.m., in my new (and quite bare still) office at 2332 West 12600 South in Riverton, UT 84065.  You can call and let us know you’re coming at 801-302-KEYS (5397).  We have a very limited number of chairs!  Just leave a message with your name, phone number, and how many seats you need.  I’ll have some fun specials on DVDs and other products there if you’d like to join us.

Since not all of you live in Utah, and many of you have written wishing you could come to the seminar on how to enjoy the holidays free from stress, I’ve decided to help you out with the de-stressing issue: you can get your own copy of my DVD on stress free with the purchase of any other DVD (you can even buy a Stress DVD and get another one free to give as a gift!)

Just click on the Christmas present next to this posting and you can order yours today.  Have a wonderful Monday 🙂

Dr. Stan

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Pregnenolone Steal

Do you have any information on your site about the pregnenolone steal and the corresponding hormonal cascade and health consequences?

The pregnenolone steal is a name given to the hormone production deficit of certain hormones when the stress hormones, cortisol and cortisone, are over-produced. All our hormones come from cholesterol, which converts into pregnenolone as the first step. It then goes on to produce many hormones, including the estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, aldosterone (to regulate salt and water in the body), and the stress hormones.

If the body demands more cortisol because of stress, the body will convert more of the pregnenolone to cortisol at the expense of the other hormones (except progesterone, which is on the pathway to cortisol). The lowering of the testosterone and estrogen leg is called pregnenolone steal. The lower levels of testosterone and estrogen impart the effects noticed in the body. There are two ways to treat the deficiency:

1. Add bio-identical cortisol (hydrocortisone) at low doses to supplement the adrenal gland so it does not have to work so hard to maintain high levels of cortisol, thus releasing the pregnenolone to make more of the estrogens and testosterone.

2. Use bio-identical testosterone or estrogens to relieve the deficiency. Ultimately, the stressors must be better managed so the adrenal is not overworked, hopefully before it goes into adrenal exhaustion and stops working.

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Stress and a Broken Heart

I am recovering from broken heart syndrome.  Do you have any thoughts on this?  I would be interested to know how to keep from having another one.  Stress is the biggest factor.

The emotional connections to health are too often ignored. In traditional societies, the heart is either associated with feelings (when the brain is associated with thoughts), or with thoughts, while the bowels are associated with feelings. Either way, feelings or thoughts will be manifest in a physical organ.

There are safe ways to help our organs, which I will share with you, but unless the basic issues at the stress level, especially dealing with the stress/abuse of a broken heart, are addressed, they are mere band-aids.

Find the joy you need and deserve; leave the past in the past; forgive, if possible; find a purpose bigger than the hurt.

For the heart itself, magnesium is probably the single biggest support for the heart-500 to 800 mg per day. If your broken heart is associated with fatigue, consider CoQ10, 200 mg per day, L-carnitine–1000 mg per day. If there are arrhythmias or high blood pressure, also add hawthorne berry.

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Stress, Abuse, and Weight Gain

I would like to learn how stress and abuse may have contributed to my weight gain.

Stress causes weight gain.  It also makes it difficult to lose weight.  Here’s why:

As our body reacts to the stresses placed upon it, it shifts into the ‘fight or flight’ mode called the sympathetic nervous system overload. This system is designed to protect us when we meet the saber tooth tiger in the jungle.  The system

  • increases blood supply to muscles,
  • makes the heart pump harder and faster,
  • makes us stronger,
  • releases sugar from its storage form–all in an effort to improve survival. It also
  • decreases non-survival mechanisms
  • decreases all digestive juices,
  • slows down the digestive tract (which causes constipation),
  • decreases urine production,
  • tightens sphincter control and relaxes the bladder and gall bladder.

This is the initial reaction. If the stress does not go away, the body sets up a new level of stability, but in overdrive. Chronic stress leads to chronic elevation of glucose, increased insulin release to help reduce it, and chronic interference with all digestive processes. High insulin interferes with the body’s ability to break down fat for energy, and encourages fat formation because of the elevated glucose levels.

Current trauma is just another stressor. Past trauma and abuse will act as a chronic stressor, and these may even be difficult to identify. Some of this abuse is remembered in the tissues of the body, serving as a constant reminder, often at the subconscious level.

As we ‘hang on’ to these experiences, and have difficulty forgiving others or ourselves–as we can’t ‘let go’ of the emotional stuff–we will also have difficulty ‘letting go’ of the physical stuff, like fat. So, not only do we need to address the present stresses in our life, we must also release the past abuses and move on so we can be healthy and feel good.

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Chronic Itching

My legs, especially around ankles and back of calves, arms, neck and chest have been itching relentlessly for the past couple of weeks. I have explored changes in detergent and soap, none. No rash and it feels like my legs are burning when I shower and the water hits them! I don’t seem to be dry, but I am using an oatmeal non perfumed lotion. Helps for a minute, then it is back! Help!!!!

Most of the time, itchy skin is associated with a rash, usually dry or scaly or weeping. This is usually an allergic reaction or an irritant, which it sounds like you have already tried to evaluate.  You may want to try high doses of both fish oils and omega-6 oils (borage, evening primrose, sesame seed), as they help with rashes and itchy skin. In the absence of a rash, one must consider a ‘neuropathy,’ usually interpreted as pain or numbness or tingling, but perhaps also as an itch.  Strong doses of B vitamins and essential fatty acids are important to help all nerve or neurologic problems.

A couple of other helpful solutions to consider: one is Redmond Clay, which we can obtain for you through this site.  Please let me know if you are interested and we can order some for you (and anyone else who would like some who reads about it in this post).  The clay can be mixed with water and spread over an itching area, and it seems to soothe the itching.

Another important factor to consider is your emotional or stress state.  Is someone or something irritating you?  Our emotional state often manifests in our physical state.