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Ask Dr. Scott: I just need a rest from insomnia

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Q: I have suffered from insomnia for many years and I heard that you have some answers for this problem. Is there anything you can suggest that might finally help me?

A: As you probably know, deep restful sleep is a critical biological experience that influences a wide variety of physiological processes. Your insomnia may be affecting your mood and your ability to learn and make memories; it also affects your metabolism, appetite, blood pressure, and the levels of inflammation in your body and perhaps even your immune response. Insomnia is also closely associated with depression. The National Sleep Foundation says that adults need 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night while kids may need 10 or more!

Within the course of a year, up to 30% of the population suffers from insomnia (50 to 70 million adults). (Smith, 2013) Many people use over-the-counter medications to combat the problem, while others seek stronger sedatives. Each year roughly ten million people in the U.S. receive prescriptions for sedative hypnotics.

The two primary classes of drugs used in the treatment of insomnia are anti-histamines and benzodiazepines. Antihistamines, like Benadryl and Nytol, are available over the counter, while benzodiazepines, like Valium, Lunesta, Ambien and Halcion, are available by prescription. While both antihistamines and benzodiazepines are effective in the short term, they cause significant problems in the long term. (Kaplan & Sadock, 2009) Benzodiazepines, in particular, are not designed to be used for the long term, as they are addictive, have numerous side-effects, and cause abnormal sleep patterns. Antihistamines also interfere with normal sleep patterns. As a result, people who take sleeping pills enter a vicious cycle. They take the drug to induce sleep, but the drug causes further disruption of normal sleep. In the morning, in an attempt to “get going,” they will typically drink large quantities of coffee, which further worsens insomnia. Additionally, sleeping pills do not treat the causes of your insomnia!

Many years ago it was observed that when the lights in the treatment room were turned off, several key muscles associated with the endocrine system would immediately test weak in patients with insomnia. A specific type of cranial and mandibular (TMJ) disturbance has been associated with this finding, and correction of this problem frequently results in patients sleeping better once again.

Dr. Shaun Craig, an excellent chiropractor in our office, recently published a research article about an 18-year-old male with major cranial and nutritional deficiencies complaining of life-long insomnia who recovered completely after 4 applied kinesiology treatments. (Craig, 2013) This patient found he no longer stayed awake all night, and he began to get the healing benefits of sleep. He awoke with energy and no longer had many of the health problems associated with insomnia.

Occasionally, nutritional supplementation for the pineal gland (melatonin producing gland) needs to be employed. We have the patient chew the pineal gland nutrition and observe the appropriate muscle to determine either the beneficial effect on muscle strength with the lights out in the treatment room. These two corrections have been very effective on literally hundreds of patients over the years. (Cuthbert, 2013)

Coffee, as well as less obvious caffeine sources such as soft drinks, chocolate, coffee-flavored ice cream, hot cocoa, and tea, should all be restricted. Alcohol also produces sleep-impairing effects. In addition to causing the release of adrenaline, alcohol impairs the transport of tryptophan into the brain and, because the brain is dependent upon tryptophan as a source for serotonin (an important neurotransmitter that initiates sleep), alcohol disrupts serotonin levels.

Our experience in clinical practice is that nocturnal hypoglycemia (low night-time blood glucose level) is an important cause of insomnia. A common American breakfast is oatmeal, cereal, or pancakes, all high carbohydrate starts to the day that will send blood sugar and insulin levels skyrocketing. Typical lunches include plenty of bread, pasta, or rice, triggering another major spike in blood sugar. Dinner is not only equally as starchy, but also usually followed by dessert. Daytime snacks include sweetened coffee drinks and sweets. Many people in Colorado suffer from faulty glucose metabolism, either hypoglycemia or pre-diabetes, because they over-eat refined carbohydrates. Good bedtime snacks to keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the night should be proteins, particularly strips of turkey as this contains abundant tryptophan. The addition of chromium, vanadium and alpha-lipoic acid (often combined in one pill) to your daily supplement-regimen can relieve hypoglycemic stress in pre-diabetic patients.

Do the easy things first in order to sleep better. Establish consistent times to sleep and wake; use your bedroom only for sleep and sex; remove the TV; finish eating, drinking, coffee or alcohol at least 3 hours before sleep; do yoga or meditation before bed; a late night walk and relaxation can unwind the mind and body; turn the clock away from your view; and make sure your sleep position is comfortable and ergonomic. If these do not work for you, see a functional medical physician who can employ the techniques described here.

Effective treatment that corrects insomnia involves identifying and addressing the causes. Needless to say, an overloaded nervous system due to mechanical and chemical disturbances should be found and fixed.

  • 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.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

Ask Dr Scott

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.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
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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.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

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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.

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads or putting up restrictive paywalls and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

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