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Ask Dr. Scott About Stress

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Q: Dr. Scott, chronic stress is my family’s biggest problem. Constant financial worries and emotional upsets have worn us out. What can natural medicine do about stress?

A: Stress-induced illness now causes far more deaths and diseases than do infections, which used to be the predominant killer in industrialized societies. Today most of us will live long enough and well enough to get seriously ill with a stress-related disease. And given that most of us would rather have this happen later than sooner, it’s really important to learn about the links between stress and disease.

Though most people can cope with a great deal of stress (emotional and physical trauma) in early life, this ability tends to diminish as your life progresses. There are also inherited characteristics which influence our capacity for coping. Importantly, there are environmental factors which also determine to what extent stress can influence our physical and mental health. Important among these are nutritional considerations, structural and lifestyle factors, exercise patterns, general fatigue, and the sum total of your stress.

Stress is the spur which moves us into action and if our responses are not appropriate, it can also become the mountain that buries us. There is a point where our body’s capacity for adaptation and adjustment in the face of stress becomes inadequate. When this occurs, health begins to break down in obvious ways.

Anxiety in the face of changes in health and the onset of pain quickens the downward spiral. If you wait for this stage before taking corrective action, you may have waited too long. However it is possible to regain health from this point, but only with great effort.

If you can begin to see that a repetitive cycle occurs in which life stresses are poorly coped with, and that the end result of this is depression and mental and physical ill-health, then your need to gain control of the underlying causes becomes clear. Control of the emotions comes through understanding and awareness so that negative feelings can be replaced with positive ones.

The importance of reviewing and altering your diet, exercise and rest patterns, lifestyle and personal attitude, as well as your behavior patterns (many of which are within our conscious control) are all features of a comprehensive protection plan which can deflect many of the potentially harmful effects of stress in your modern, hectic daily life. The key to such a change is awareness of where the key to improving things in your daily life lies, to a realization that there are other ways of seeing things, that these may be more health-enhancing than your current approaches, and that we need to challenge our present attitudes and beliefs.

As you alter your attitudes, so will your feelings change, and this is because it is your thoughts which govern your emotions. If you can learn to see your emotions as a mirror of your thoughts, and if you are aware that your emotions are in turmoil, or that they lead you to inappropriate responses, you then can see that it is the way you think which needs to be addressed before changes will come in your emotions and stress-coping skills.

Q: Why does stress tire me out so fast?

A: Let’s look at what happens when psychological stress impacts our physical bodies. First, chemical changes take place in the brain where substances such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and many other neurotransmitters are produced which dramatically alters the excitability of nerve cells. Along with these changes in hormonal substances come muscular changes, with consequent postural alterations, hunched shoulders for example.

If these muscular stresses are held for more than a short period of time, there occurs a reduction in blood flow through the affected tissues, leading to a diminished flow of freshly oxygenated blood, as well as a poor drainage effort, leaving waste products in your tissues that remain relatively stationary. Excessive levels of calcium, lactic acid, and various other acids then build up which further increase the tendency towards muscle pain and weakness.

Eventually these changes – less oxygen and more toxic waste products – produce discomfort or pain, and reduce your energy output (the musculoskeletal system is the body’s primary user of energy) leading to even further muscle fatigue and chronic dysfunction.

Stress is cumulative and a relatively minor event, when added to a large existing load, can prove to be more than the body’s adaptation process can successfully cope with.

Some or all of the following are necessary to bring stress disorders under control: 1) Thorough functional examination in order to determine which system is suffering the most, 2) Dietary changes, 3) Stress reduction, 4) Withdrawal from stimulants, and 5) Determine the type of nutritional supplements that may be needed.

Dr. Scott Cuthbert is the chief clinician at the Chiropractic Health Center in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as the author of two new textbooks and over 50 peer-reviewed research articles. PuebloChiropracticCenter.com.

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Ask Dr. Scott: Breakfast is still the best meal

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Dr. Scott, I often skip breakfast. Is this a bad idea?

A: Don’t have time for breakfast, you say? You do. How much time does it really take to make breakfast? I’ll tell you. Here’s an example of a time-tested breakfast. Scrambled eggs, whole-grain toast, sliced tomato with extra-virgin olive oil and vinegar. Total time to make from the moment you enter the kitchen if you’re not quite awake: 3 minutes, 51 seconds. Eating time while watching the sunrise: 5 minutes, 49 seconds. Cleanup time: 1 minute, 57 seconds (less if you just throw things into the dishwasher).

Egg breakfasts can be your staple, and with so many varieties there’s no need to be bored of them.

Fine-tune your eating habits. Eat at least two meals a day. Your smallest meal should be dinner, with most food consumed during the early part of the day when your intestine is most efficient.
Breakfast should be a good-size meal, if not your largest meal. Your liver has only enough stored fuel to get you through the night. By morning, you’ll need more fuel to get going, and to replenish what your liver used during the night.

For many people, this includes some quality protein. It will increase your levels of norepinephrine in the brain, helping you think better, concentrate and have more mental energy. Keeping your carbohydrate foods to a minimum avoids the high levels of serotonin, which can have a calming or depressing effect on the brain, potentially diminishing your mental faculties. If you need to think after breakfast, don’t eat cereals, donuts, or pancakes. This is especially true for students who work with dangerous equipment or those who commute to work by car.

The fact that General Mills can claim Cheerios is heart-healthy is false-advertising pure and simple. Check out the advertising on Raisin Bran and you’ll see this product claims to offer you “heart health,” yet it contains 20 grams of sugar per serving. Cereal companies fill the airwaves with lies to trick the American public every single day of the year.

Hopefully by now you’re over your phobia of eggs. While they’re not just for breakfast, they just could make your first meal of the day an ideal one, and a bit easier to prepare.

Patients who learn to eat a wholesome, balanced breakfast regularly have had great success in improving their energy, mental performance, weight control, endocrine and hormonal balance, and carbohydrate addiction.

Your breakfast menu should include: Eggs any style; poached or scrambled, soft boiled or fried, hard boiled or an omelet with lots of veggies, especially avocado. Fresh fruit whether of all kinds, fresh or in a smoothie. And mix in those vegetables. Cottage cheese

  • Eggs any style;
  • poached or scrambled, soft boiled or fried, hard boiled or an omelet with lots of veggies, especially avocado. Fresh fruit whether of all kinds, fresh or in a smoothie. And mix in those vegetables. Cottage cheese
  • hard boiled or an omelet with lots of veggies, especially avocado. Fresh fruit whether of all kinds, fresh or in a smoothie. And mix in those vegetables. Cottage cheese
  • Fresh fruit whether of all kinds, fresh or in a smoothie. And mix in those vegetables. Cottage cheese
  • And mix in those vegetables.
  • Cottage cheese

For the rest of your day, here’s how to balance out having a great start breakfast.

  • Drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Colas, sugary drinks and any drink that adds in sugar, even artificial sugars will cause your body to lose water.
  • Avoid sugar and sugar-containing foods as possible and read the labels closely. Sugar can be called sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, glucose, fructose, and corn syrup. Even some artificial sweeteners actually contain sugar.
  • Avoid all hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils and fats, fried foods, and fats..
  • Limit white-flour products such as most breads, rolls, pasta, etc.
  • Include at least five to six servings of cooked or steamed vegetables each day. Use a rainbow of colors of colors to guide your vegetable diet. And eat more raw, fresh salad.
  • Eat two servings of fruit per day. Choose from the less sweet fruits – grapefruit, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), melons, and plums.

Dr. Scott Cuthbert is the chief clinician at the Chiropractic Health Center in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as the author of three new textbooks and over 50 peer-reviewed research articles. PuebloChiropracticCenter.com.

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Ask Dr. Scott: My kid is bouncing off the walls

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Q: Dr. Scott, I’ve heard that you have helped children who are hyperactive? What can you tell me about this?

A: After nearly 20 years of working with these children, I am convinced that the underlying causes of the symptoms displayed by a child with ADD or ADHD, like restlessness, short attention span, difficulty with self-control, irritability, insomnia, learning problems, mood swings, and impulsivity can be found within the neuro-metabolic and nutritional arena. There are also a few easy steps to nutritional supplement success for the correction of ADHD and hyperactivity that I want to share with you.

Simply stated, low dosage, cold-processed (easily assimilated & absorbable) minerals, flax, and B vitamins are necessary for the success of this program. I have learned that hyperactivity is a real condition that improves only by making lifestyle and dietary changes. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Improper spinal and cranial nerve function, the lack of the proper fats for brain chemistry, excessive sugars, food sensitivities that create biochemical imbalances, environmental toxins, and vitamin deficiencies are all contributing to the growing epidemic of hyperactive children in our country.

Cranial and spinal nerve correction plus nutritional supplementation are the key components in the successful treatment of ADHD and hyperactivity. Clinical observation has shown that normal function of the motion of the cranial vault (craniosacral motion) up-regulates the function of the neuroendocrine axis and sympathetic-parasympathetic nervous system balance in these children. This part of the child’s skull is where the brains folds in upon itself and becomes the endocrine system. This takes place in the middle of the child’s brain and includes the pineal, pituitary, and hypothalamic endocrine glands. Cranial corrections here restore balance to the mind and chemistry of the child. (Cuthbert, 2017)

Additionally, I suggest a good nutritional program for a good three months and you will see how your child’s life – and yours will be transformed.

Try adding flax or fish oil to a child’s diet. (3 to 6 perles daily per 100 lbs.) You can take this anytime, with or without meals. It can also be added to food. Do not heat flax or fish oil. These capsules can also be taken on those days when the person on the program eats hydrogenated fats, sugar or dairy. You do not need to use this every time you deviate, but we have seen success with adding this step.

Consider what B vitamin complex, with riboflavin, niacin, and B-6 offer. I have my patients take six daily of both Cataplex B and G for the first month, two with each meal. Three daily is adequate after that until the child is operating well. Do not use high dosage mega B vitamins.

And add in minerals. Manual muscle testing can determine the best source for your child. I suggest a whole food complex with alfalfa and kelp as the primary ingredients. Signs of mineral deficiency can include salt craving, bright light irritation, bowed legs, night cramps, growing pains, migrating pains, difficulty in swallowing, menstrual cramps, “mottled teeth,” frequent fevers, nail chewing, etc. Proper mineral consumption is often overlooked, but is a key to good health. Minerals act like spark plugs. Minerals are needed for proper fat metabolism. I also encourage my patients to use a mineral “salt product” called Celtic Sea Salt. The salt usually used in homes, restaurants, etc. is sodium chloride. This is very toxic and can irritate the body. I would encourage you to use Celtic Sea Salt liberally on your food.

The final transition from hyperactivity to healthfulness involves elimination.

Eliminate hydrogenated (trans) fats from your child’s diet for a minimum of 102 days (pre-packaged foods, french fries, snack foods including chips, cookies, etc.). You need to use the three-month plus time period because it takes approximately 102 days to cleanse the toxins (“bad fats”) from your system. When you reward your child or grandchild with a bag of French fries, it takes over three months (102 days) for it to be completely processed through the body. During that time period, the body does not have adequate fat production, which jeopardizes nerve transmission. Improper nerve function is the primary reason that we have so much hyperactivity in our society.

Eliminate dairy products for a minimum of 102 days. Substitute with nut or grain milk. Breakfast with eggs, almond butter, bean burritos. Use imagination. Minimal refined carbohydrates.

Eliminate all refined sugar. Use stevia, barley malt, brown rice syrup. Use sweetened spritzers vs. soda for a substitute beverage.

The diagnosis of ADHD has increased in recent years by 400%. Coinciding with this is an increased use of prescription drugs to treat ADHD by 274%. In 2009 Cuthbert and Barras published a report showing that “a multimodal chiropractic method” (what you’ve just read in this article) reduced symptoms and balanced the cognitive performance for a group of 157 children previously diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, learning disabilities and hyperactivity. All of our children deserve to be treated with this gentle approach that corrects the underlying problems in the web of wellness.

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Ask Dr. Scott: Straight-Up education about E.D.

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Q: Dr. Scott, I’m 55 years old and my sexual life has really declined. I have something my doctor calls erectile dysfunction. What are my options from a natural health care perspective?

A: As everyone sees on TV, other than trucks, beer, and chronic arthritis/joint/muscular pain ads, the most common direct-to-consumer ads are for sex-related issues, specifically, the very suggestive ads for erectile dysfunction such as Viagra, which in 2013 had revenues of $1.88 billion, with $133 million spent on advertising this drug. We’ve all seen these TV and magazine ads with gorgeous female models wearing provocative lingerie speaking seductively about erectile dysfunction while the background announcer warns, “If you have an erection lasting more than 4 hours, call your doctor.” Jeff Foxworthy quipped about these ads that “If I had an erection for 4 hours, I’d call everyone I know.”

Among the litany of “common, infrequent, and rare side-effects” from Viagra listed on WebMD.com, these advertisements purposely cite the rare side-effect of priapism, or prolonged erection. Since sex sells, every other warning after hearing “4 hour erection” falls on deaf ears!
What the Viagra ads don’t highlight are the other serious side-effects:

  • Cardiovascular side effects like heart attacks.
  • Ophthalmic side effects like ischemic optic neuropathy and retinal hemorrhage.
  • Side effects such as decreased hearing, and sudden hearing loss.
  • Reproductive side effects such as priapism, which is that prolonged erection.
  • Dermatological side effects such as erythema, or flushing.
  • Gastrointestinal side effects such as indigestion.
  • Neurological side effects such as headache and insomnia.
  • Ophthalmic side effects such as visual disturbance.
  • Respiratory side effects such as nose-bleeds, nasal congestion and rhinitis.

For most men, replacing testosterone does improve sexual function – both desire and erections – but for others it doesn’t help. Some of those who don’t respond may be suffering from atherosclerosis of the blood vessels that supply the penis and facilitate erection. Good, healthy nutritional practices and supplementation with aged garlic can reverse atherosclerosis.

Natural Options for Erectile Dysfunction

There are natural approaches and nutritional supplements that improve blood flow to the penis and really give your erections their old stamina. A dependable clinical tool is L-Arginine (inexpensive, in the powdered form) that works by dilating the arteries through which blood flows into the penis (Institute of Metabolic Disease at Baylor Research Institute, 2016).

When I recommend 5 to 8 grams (a single tablespoon) of arginine before sex, they regularly report waking up with firm erections in the morning. Arginine is inexpensive and non-toxic. Arginine is not only useful for erectile dysfunction, but also for angina and high blood pressure. It boosts nitric oxide levels in the blood vessels of the penis, making erections stronger and longer. Nitroglycerine, the traditional medication to relieve chest pains, is simply a drug form of nitric oxide. As we age we make less nitric oxide and this deficiency permits blood vessels to constrict and lose their flexibility, contributing to vessel stiffness, inflammation and plaque buildup, producing hypertension around the body and less engorgement of the penis during sex. Viagra does the same thing as arginine, it also promotes the action of nitric oxide to help relax blood vessels and vascular smooth muscle tissue in the penis. The result: increased blood flow and a harder erection.

Treating several other conditions that impair blood flow to the penis should be done if present, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypothyroidism, and alcohol abuse. Men who smoke have an increased risk of erectile dysfunction. Asian Ginseng (900 mg of concentrated extract) two or three times a day can improve libido and the ability to maintain an erection. Psychological issues can be a cause, or an effect, of erectile dysfunction, so counseling might be appropriate in this scenario. A standardized extract of Ginkgo (250 mg/day) can also increase blood flow to the penis. Vitamin B6 and zinc deficiencies also impair penis strength and function.

Saw Palmetto and Pygeum can improve urinary flow in cases of prostate enlargement, and have been shown to improve sexual performance in men.

A recent study found that elderly men who regularly used arginine saw their erectile dysfunction significantly improve – without the complications common to testosterone hormone use. I would initially advise taking 2,000 to 3,000 mg. of arginine a day, and about 8 grams (one full tablespoon) before sex.

Although DTC ads have been profitable for Viagra, drug marketing has had a tremendously negative influence on the care of chronic health problems and pain across the United States. Aggressive drug marketing has been a major driver of the opioid overtreatment, addiction, and mortality crisis that we are experiencing all over Southern Colorado. The ceaseless drug company advertisements to treat chronic pain with opioids have tragically played a role in up to 400,000 deaths across the country. Instead of referring patients to functional medical doctors and chiropractors as well as other nondrug providers, people have grown to expect prescription painkillers as the standard of care, not realizing the long term damage, addiction and ineffectiveness of these drugs.

Erectile dysfunction is angina of the reproductive organs…lifestyle and dietary improvements that help your heart will also improve your strength and stamina in bed.

Dr. Scott Cuthbert is the chief clinician at the Chiropractic Health Center in Pueblo, Colorado, as well as the author of two new textbooks and over 50 peer-reviewed research articles. PuebloChiropracticCenter.com.

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