Follow Your Gut – the probiotic-health connection

Dr. Derrick DeSilva is a smart, witty, kind, educated, savvy internist. He is a nationally recognized television and radio host and he is an eloquent, articulate, captivating speaker. His expertise is in the broad area of nutraceuticals. He is a medical rockstar of sorts, but he has an evidence-based practice so he’s a legit rockstar. And, I take his advice seriously.

Recently, DeSilva spoke to a group of medical practitioners. Before he finished, he made sure that everyone knew and understood his #1 recommendation for better health: Probiotics. He is so convinced of the power of probiotics that he says, If you are breathing – that includes babies, kids, and adults – you need to be taking a daily probiotic.”

Why? Well, in short, it’s the good bacteria. It helps heal your gut and cuts inflammation – the root of so many medical conditions. Dr. DeSilva explained that probiotics do four big things:

  1. Probiotics keep the Immune system healthy. Between 60-70% of the immune system resides in the gut and probiotics keep the immune system loaded with the good bacteria to function properly.
  2. Probiotics aid in digestion. Dr. DeSilva helped develop BioTE® Medical’s probiotic. The capsule technology is different. The acid-stable capsule opens in the small intestine before it dissolves. This means that the viability of the probiotic organisms is between 60-70% vs. the 2-5% of other brands.
  3. Probiotics encourage elimination, Dr. DeSilva says straightforwardly and unapologetically, “After you eat, you gotta poop. If you don’t poop, you have a problem. You have to get rid of the bad nutrients that are left after the gut takes what it needs from food.” Probiotics help us poop with the regularity our bodies need to make sure we are getting rid of the leftovers.
  4. Probiotics make almost all of the B vitamins. B vitamins help convert food into fuel to keep our energy levels high and our bodies running.

As if that weren’t enough, probiotics also help a slew of other conditions like diaper rash, athlete’s foot, yeast Infections, diabetic rashes under the breast, acid reflux, and even acne. In fact, one dermatologist in the audience said he had taken Dr. DeSilva’s advice and started having his patients make a paste with probiotics to use on their acne. It was so successful that now he regularly prescribes it for his acne patients. How’s that for street cred? Bam!

Still, some skeptics retort with, “Probiotics don’t work for me. They either constipate me or give me gas.” DeSilva unequivocally says that means you are either dehydrated, eating the wrong food, and/or taking the wrong probiotic. So, drink more water, eat properly, and take the right nutraceuticals.

Before he ended his talk, DeSilva looked around the room and asked if there were any questions. One brave soul challenged him and asked, “Dr. DeSilva, are you really sure that we ALL need to be taking a probiotic?

No,” DeSilva say to the momentarily stunned amazement of everyone in the room. Then he added with conviction, “I’m positive.”

My gut instinct told me that he knew what he was talking about. So, yeah, I’m a fan now, a Dr. D. groupie. And, you probably already guessed that I am taking my BioTE® probiotic every day. After all, I’m breathing, aren’t I?

Just for the health of it,

Kelly

BioTE® medical providers are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com

 


Just Breathe (Easy for you to say!) – An asthmatic’s journey to fitness

I had slight asthma as a youngster but with an afternoon of rest, I was back outside playing. Throughout the next 30+ years, I had minor reactions to foods and air-born stuff that made me wheeze. It didn’t stop me (I was a gymnast) and it was so infrequent that I never worried about it.

Both of my children had asthma growing up. They had a few of attacks that landed them in the hospital and we had a nebulizer at home. My daughter’s asthma stopped when she was around five, but my son had severe asthma for years. It was bad in the morning and in the middle of the night – the times when his tiny lungs had compressed from sleeping.

During his attacks, I would cradle him my arms, reading a book in one hand and holding the nebulizer in the other while he inhaled albuterol. When he was able to breathe enough to sleep, I would cry. I kissed his forehead and held him close. I prayed fervently for years, begging God to give me my son’s asthma. As he grew and got stronger, my son played soccer and basketball. In high school, he was ranked as one of the top point guards in Texas and earned scholarships all over the country, just like his sister had done. He still carries a rescue inhaler but you would never know now what he suffered then.

A month before I turned 40, I broke out in hives. I laughed, thinking it was a reaction to “ratcheting up the rhetoric” during the 2000 presidential election with hanging chads and polling-place misconduct. My doctor treated me with Allegra D and Fluticasone. My hives were deemed to be “Idiopathic Chronic Uticaria” (ICU) – no known cause – but the meds kept them at bay so I didn’t care.

I was managing until 46. During an evening jog around Town Lake in Austin, Texas in October, a time when the weather transitions quickly from summer to fall, I had an attack. I hurried home. I sat alone in the kitchen gasping for breath. All I could think of was what my son used to go through. I cried. I didn’t go to the emergency room. I just forced myself to calm down. I closed my eyes. I lay down on the cold tiled floor. I took slow breaths. I put a wet rag on my forehead. It took two hours before I could catch my breath. It was scary but I thanked God for answering my prayer.

From that point on, my breathing was different, harder. At 49, I moved to Dallas and married my husband (after dating on and off for 9+ years). I was allergic to one of our dog’s dander. My breathing go so bad, the dog went to live with relatives; I got on more meds. In addition to the Allegra D and Fluticasone, I was given a nebulizer treatment and put on Singulaire, Symbacort, steroids, and antibiotics to clear up my lung infection. Then, I was prescribed a “rescue inhaler,” in case I needed it. I did. Often.

By this time, I had been lifting weights for three years and still jogging but my breathing got worse. It would take two hours in the morning to get my breathing under control. During the middle of the night, I had coughing fits that landed me in front of the bathroom sink spewing phlegm. Not real sexy hocking up loogies, just ask my husband.

As an important aside, at 51, I got my hormone levels checked and went on BioTE® Medical bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) and pharmaceutical grade supplements (nutraceuticals). To say that it changed my life is an understatement. It has helped me improve in every area of my life. I still have difficulty breathing but without BHRT, I have no doubt, my body and my emotions would never be able to withstand the stronghold asthma has had on me.

I am now 54. It has taken me years to admit that I have chronic asthma. I can’t breathe sometimes. It’s a rough condition, a disease according to the medical bible. Recently, I did the full blood panel and scratch testing for allergies. I am allergic to plenty of things, most of which I had already figured out on my own. I’m on immunotherapy (allergy shots) that will hopefully bring relief. I still jog but do more walking and for much longer distances (7-10 miles a day, sometimes more). I am lifting with a trainer who has decided I need to get “competition ready” over the next 12-20 weeks. I’ve never done anything like that but I have accepted the challenge. (I am chronicling that journey an may write about it soon…)

I still have asthma and it still sucks. It is daily and nightly. I can even trigger an attack from laughing too hard – no joke. Asthma doesn’t prevent me from exercising though. It never has and I don’t expect it ever will. Exercise is my revenge. Asthma be damned.

I consider my chronic asthma an inconvenience, a small roadblock about which I’ve decided I will just jog around and power-lift through. So far, I’m winning – and I’m still breathing.

Just for the health of it,

Kelly

BioTE® medical providers are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com


Working Against the Clock – Getting enough sleep on a shift work schedule

In my 20s, I’d brag about not needing much sleep. I’d hit the gym at 4:30 am. Then, I’d work until 6:00 pm then head to my job as a bouncer until 4:00 am. I kept that schedule for years. It was brutal but I thought it was proof of my fortitude. Truthfully, it was nuts because sleep is the most important thing you can do for your overall health every day.

Over 60 million people have insomnia. Some have difficulty falling asleep. Others experience regularly interrupted sleep. Then, there are the almost 9 million people in the United States along who work the “graveyard shift” – those middle-of-the night hours when most people sleep (hospital and emergency personnel, truck drivers, police officers, factory workers, security guards, casino workers, cab drivers, and others).

Shift work disrupts the body’s “circadian rhythm,” (the “biological clock”). It’s the internal mechanism that tells our bodies when to sleep, wake up, eat, and more. It relies on environmental cues like natural daylight and nighttime and temperature changes. Shift work messes with this biology and wreaks havoc on our bodies. Frank Sheer, PhD and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Neuroscientist, Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders has studied what lack of sleep does. He says, “There is strong evidence that shift work is related to a number of serious health conditions, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity.”

The average person requires eight hours of sleep, yet most people get less than six. And, no, you can’t “make up” sleep. Luckily, there are simple things night owls (everyone for that matter) can do to get the shuteye they need*.

  1. Unplug. Turn off electronic devices. Those little lights tell your brain it’s daylight and inhibit the release of the sleep hormone, melatonin.
  2. Make some noise. There are many apps that play consistent, soothing sounds meant to relax the mind. Constant changes in pitch, tone, and modulation of noises in our surroundings puts the brain on high alert. Sound machines create a constant, steady noise that helps mask those noises that can keep us awake.
  3. Go natural. Believe it or not, carbohydrate-rich foods can help induce sleep by helping the brain produce tryptophan (the drowsy hormone). Bedtime snacks (not meals, folks) that have a carbohydrate and protein in them, like cheese or peanut butter and crackers, a small bowl of cereal and milk, are good sleepy foods. Caution: This is not permission to go nuts.
  4. Exercise has too many health benefits to list here, but it’s important for good sleep. And, it doesn’t necessarily need to be ”four hours before you go to bed.” Shawn Youngstedt, a researcher at the University of South Carolina, did a study that showed 30 minutes of exercise before bedtime didn’t keep participants awake. Finding time to exercise that works with your schedule may be more important than when you exercise.
  5. Limit your lattes. Caffeine increases adrenaline production (cortisol) and prevents sleep hormones from kicking in.
  6. Calm Down. Breathe deeply. Take a warm shower or bath. Breathe. It’s difficult to sleep when you’re thinking about a to-do list. A friend of mine uses this meditative mantra, “I lovingly release the day and fall peacefully into sleep, knowing tomorrow will take care of itself.”
  7. Feed me. Eating healthy food is critical. Advance planning can help save you from hitting the drive-thru. (Two sample meals are below.)
  8. Mimic the real deal. Our bodies are designed to be alert during the day and to sleep during the night. Keep your room dark and cool (between 60-67°) when you hit the sack. Get blackout shades, turn off the lights, and cover and turn off electronic devices.
  9. Stick to the schedule. The body needs some consistency. Decide when you’ll go to sleep and when you’ll get up. Stick to it.
  10. Optimize your hormones. This is secret weapon of good health. Hormones are in each cell of our bodies and they need to be functioning at optimal levels for you to be alert and get the sleep your body needs. (BioTE® Medical changed my life by optimizing my hormones.)

So, while all schedules have challenges, shift work poses particularly difficult ones for getting the rest you need. The good news is that with a few healthy habits, they don’t have to keep you up at all night…or day.

Here’s to a Better You,

Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at www.radio.com

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

*Always check with your doctor to uncover any underlying health concerns that are preventing restorative sleep.

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.co

What’s in my night shift lunch box?

  • Grilled chicken sandwich on a whole grain bun
  • Apple
  • Protein bars Read labels. You want low sugar and high protein.
  • Bottled water

How about my night shift dinner box?

  • 3-8 ounces of lean protein (grilled chicken breast, fish, or extra lean beef)
  • Good carbohydrate like a baked sweet potato or brown rice
  • Healthy fat like avocado
  • Bottled water

Easing the Burden – How BioTE® Medical is helping veterans Carry the Load

Easing the Burden – How BioTE® Medical is helping Veterans Carry the Load

I have done a lot of runs for causes over the years but the Carry the Load organization touches me deeply. The organization and its Memorial Day event pay tribute to our service men and women. As I do my eight miles, I realize that these men and women have the courage to do what I have never done. As a result, they carry a load I have never had to bear.

These individuals gave willingly to a cause much greater than themselves; but somehow, that was not enough. The cause wanted more from them and it took it. Their service to our nation as military personnel, police officers, firefighters, chaplains, and paramedics exacts a heavy toll in many different ways, some invisible and haunting. They carry a heavy load.

Recently, I learned about a breakthrough treatment that is showing promising results for veterans who are experiencing symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). BioTE® Medical has been doing a study using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) to help treat symptoms of PTSD and TBI. Tiny pellets, about the size of a grain of rice, are inserted just below the surface of the skin. They are cardio-activated to release hormones the same way our bodies release them naturally. This keeps hormone levels steady for up to five or six months. This kind of hormone regulation can help improve sleep, reduce mood swings, anxiety, night sweats, hot flashes, and a host of other challenging symptoms experienced by PTSD and TBI sufferers.

Early study results are encouraging and this specific treatment for veterans is often covered through insurance. In this blog, I would ask you to please share this information with everyone you know because someone knows someone who might be looking for this kind of relief. For information, please, please go to www.bioTEMedical.com

In the meantime, please take a moment to say a prayer of gratitude and another one of healing for all of our veterans and active-duty service men and women. It doesn’t matter if you know someone personally or not because we are all connected in this world and what happens to one person touches everyone.

Just for the health of it,

Kelly

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com

 


Let’s Get This Body Started – Easing into a fitness program that works for you

thumbnailExercise1

Let’s Get This Body Started – Easing into a fitness program that works for you

Getting started on a fitness routine can be a daunting task, especially if you believe that it requires an hour every day at a gym. It’s time to rethink that and ease your way into an exercise program that works for you. In fact, the gym is not necessarily the right place for everyone – and you’re hearing that from a lifelong fitness club owner.

Statistics don’t even support the idea that the gym is the ultimate workout venue. In the 1980s, less than 8% of the population belonged to a health club and less than 10% of those members went to the gym regularly. In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, yoga, Pilates, Barré, and Crossfit studios exploded onto the scene. Gym memberships included access to spa facilities, cafes, group classes, and pools. Clubs went from small, sweaty, cement closets to resort-style facilities at which you could spend an entire day exercising, eating, and getting pampered from head to toe. Still, that did not increase club patronage significantly. Why? Well, the answer begs the question: Do I need to belong to a gym or health club to reach optimal fitness levels? The answer is an encouraging “No, you don’t.”*

In the mid-90s, I wanted to create a way for parents to ease workouts into their hectic days. I didn’t want their fitness routines to hinge on access to a gym. I came up with my 60-second workout program. Yes, you heard me: 60-second workout. It went like this, if you were a stay-at-home parent and the baby finally went down for a nap, you could do one minute of lunges or weightless squats, stretches, or pushups. If you were at the office and were about to take a break, you could do the same exercises in your office, cubicle, or in the parking garage. The focus was on movements that could be done anywhere in a short amount of time.

At the time I introduced it, my idea had more critics than believers because people doubted that 60 seconds could make a difference in anything. We fitness experts were taught that people needed to exercise for 50 minutes or longer, three times a week to reap any benefit. But, that’s not true. All exercise is beneficial and daily exercise doesn’t need to be done all at once. You can do a 10-minute walk in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes after dinner. And, walking with a friend or loved one can make it not feel like exercise at all. Play catch, sit on the floor and stretch, or flex your muscles and release them just sitting in place. There are thousands of home exercise programs you can follow online. Simple apps will open up a world of exercises that you can you in the privacy of your own home. It’s all good but, don’t take my word for it.

A New York Times article published April 27, 2016 summarized the results of a study done by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. The study compared short, interval training to standard workouts. It concluded “…One minute of arduous exercise was comparable in its physiological effects to 45 minutes of gentler sweating.” (Their full results have been published at PLOS One.) Less can be more in this instance and that seems to resonate with a lot of people.

So, now that we know how long you need to exercise, just how often do you need to exercise? Not every day, that’s for sure. Your body needs a break between exercising its muscles. Activity tears down your muscles and your body repairs itself during your “off” days. The secret to a healthy body is consistency and regularity. Consistency means 3 – 4 times per week and regularity is doing it the same time of day.

The nugget of truth is all this is that you just need to move. Move your body whenever possible. And, don’t brush off all the little things you do during the day that you may not consider exercise like doing the dishes, making the bed, cleaning the counters, doing the laundry, vacuuming the house, or doing yard work. I call these things “passive exercise” and they all count. In fact, the new wrist gadgets have made companies a fortune helping people track this kind of exercise. The thing about exercise is that all kinds of activities can improve our health and one size does not fit all. You have to find something you enjoy. Most people have to like something to stick with it, me included.

As an important aside, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of getting your hormone levels checked before you start a fitness program. Hormones touch all the cells in our bodies and to receive the maximum benefit from nutrition, fitness, and overall health, it is important to keep them at optimized levels. (BioTE® Medical is my choice.)

The simplest way to ease into a fitness program is to find something you like and get moving right where you are! Once you take the first “getting-started” step, it is amazing how much easier and more enjoyable the next ones can be.

Here’s to a Better You,

Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at www.radio.com

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

*It is always a good idea to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program. And, getting your hormone levels optimized with BioTE® can be an important factor in your overall health.

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com

 


Lessons from Irv – Unlearning the life my father Lived

My journey for optimal health came from an incredibly unhealthy place: my upbringing.

My father, Irv, was unhealthy. He started out in life with some real psychological disadvantages that, no doubt, contributed to his physical ailments. His father was murdered and Irv only stuck with his education only through the 6th grade.

Irv smoked so much that he talked as if he always had a cigarette in his mouth and most of the time, he did. He had chronic migraines that he treated with daily doses of Valium and painkillers. That blue plastic bottle of Mylanta was always within reach as if it were a cold beer on a hot day. He drank it constantly to sooth the bleeding ulcers that plagued his stomach for years. His diet mimicked that of a nine-year-old with no parental supervision and without a lick of nutritional good sense. Oh, and he gambled. Impulsively.

His vice was the horse races and the racetrack was his refuge. The gym became mine. We each got the “high” we needed to counter the daily grind of our dysfunctional lives. We just got our endorphin rushes from different places and by the luck of the draw, my sanctuary was a healthy place; his was not.

Coming from such an “ill” home made me self-conscious. I was extremely insecure about all aspects of myself and puberty was really tough for me. Weight training was a way for me to combat my psychological deficiencies. I felt great in the gym. As my biceps got bigger, my confidence grew. I worked out incessantly. I stand 6’4” and my I became known for my 19” biceps and my 49” chest. I felt pretty good for a long time but when I was around 30, I hit a wall and I didn’t understand why.

Unable to weight-lift myself out of it, I sought the help of a renowned nutritionist and progressive endocrinologist. The nutritionist fine-tuned my diet but I still wasn’t getting the results I had been working so hard to achieve. The endocrinologist discovered the real reason: low testosterone. No way. Me? “Big Larry?” I couldn’t believe it but it was true.

Back then (1991), “normal” testosterone levels were between 300 and 800 for 30 – 40 year old men. At 32, mine was 150. To help normalize my levels, I was put on a synthetic, oil-based injectable testosterone. I started off with one weekly shot using a very large needle, about one and a half inches long, to get deep into the muscle. By age 42, I required one shot every four days. (In case you were wondering, that adds up to thousands of shots.) I became a human pincushion. I felt “better” which was apparently normal but “normal” wasn’t great. Yet, coming from 150 and making it to 600 made me feel like I didn’t have any right to complain.

Because my own body no longer produced testosterone, I was completely dependent on my shots. The problem with the synthetic injections (although I didn’t realize it at the time) was that I would feel great then hit rock bottom within a matter of days.

By now, I thought I knew as much as some medical professionals about testosterone and hormone therapy. In fact, I have had many practitioners on my radio show to discuss the subject. I had heard about all kinds of testosterone therapy, including bioidentical pellets. The average male required pellets every five – six months but I was told that I was not a good candidate for them. I was informed that my body would “swallow up the testosterone” and would require pellet insertion every other month. I never challenged that assumption and went another decade tethered to that myth.

With another stroke of luck, I again sidestepped the unhealthy life into which I had been born. I was introduced to Dr. Gary Donovitz, founder and CEO of BioTE® Medical. He is a leading expert on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and he changed the trajectory of my life in one hour. I had Gary on my radio show and while he was talking, several things jumped out at me:

  1. Testosterone levels between 300 and 800 are archaic.
  2. “Normal” hormone levels are not “optimal” hormone levels.
  3. Optimal hormone levels are between 900 and 1100.
  4. And, I was actually a perfect candidate for BioTE® Medical’s bioidentical hormone replacement pellet therapy.

After listening to him, I made an appointment and traded in my synthetic hormone shots for BioTE®’s bioidentical pellets.

It’s been four months since I have been on BioTE®’s pellets. Six weeks out, my testosterone level was 968; now, it is 1058. I have more energy. I have more mental clarity. I react more calmly to things that used to get me riled up. I have accomplished more in the last four months than I have in the past 10 years. My workouts are better. I am leaner – yes, Mr. Fitness is leaner. People have noticed the difference and like being around me more. I look better and feel better. And, I am happier.

Bigger than all of this is something even deeper. I realized that none of us is condemned to the life into which we are born. My father died at age 63. He let his addictions and unhealthy habits take him down and rob him of a full life. I was lucky but it wasn’t just luck that brought me to where I am today. I refused to accept “normal” and chose to go after more, better, awesome, “optimized.” I never gave up. At 55, my new “normal” life is an “optimized” life. And, it was some tiny pellets that helped me finally do that. Who knew?

Here’s to a Better You,

Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at www.radio.com

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com