Preventing Truth Decay: Volume II

“Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will believe it.” 
                                                                                          ~ Adolph Hitler
 
For those of you who missed Volume I of my Preventing Truth Decay series you can read that here.
 
In this volume we are going to examine the following misconceptions
·         Fluoride is safe and is akin to “vitamins for your teeth”
·         Adrenal fatigue is the reason that you  are tired all the time
·         Sugar is bad for you
·         Salt is bad for you, particularly if you have hypertension (high blood pressure) issues
 
The truth decay listed above definitely warrants very close scrutiny and investigation.  Like the ideas in Volume I, these ideas also have nothing whatsoever to do with truth and facts, yet they are all socially accepted. A change in consciousness is warranted if we are going to actually lead humanity in the right direction in the future.  The personal and the planetary are connected, and it is only through a change in human consciousness that our world will ultimately be transformed.
 
                              “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
–                                                                       – Jiddu Krishnamurti
 
I feel it is my responsibility to do my part to dispel ignorance so that something better can ultimately be created.  To do so, I will attempt to set the record straight on the four truth decaying ideas mentioned above.   Here we go…..again……
 
Misconception:  Fluoride is safe and is akin to “vitamins for your teeth”
 
 Nothing could be further from the truth.  In fact, Robert Carton, PhD, former EPA scientist, warned us 20 years ago that, “Fluoridation is the greatest case of scientific fraud of this century.”  Around the exact same time, William Marcus, PhD, Senior EPA Toxicologist, also made this statement, “Regarding fluoridation, the EPA should act immediately to protect the public.  Not just on the cancer data, but on the evidence of bone fractures, arthritis, mutagenicity, and other effects.”
 
Let us examine some facts, shall we.  Fluoride is a compound composed of the highly reactive element fluorine plus another element or elements.  When fluorine is combined with other elemental metals, such as calcium and sodium, the new compound has metallic properties.  These compounds, because of their ability and potential to accumulate in human tissues, are very real threats to your health.
 
From what I have read and seen, the entire history of fluoride and cavity prevention is completely fabricated in the name of profits and population control.  You can read more about how this public deception unfolded in Dr. Russell L. Blaylock’s wonderful book Health and Nutrition Secrets that Can Save Your Life (pgs. 94-105).  If you prefer an even more detailed explanation, I would highly recommend the book The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson.  Bryson compiles a very large and impressive amount of research to demonstrate fluoride’s effects on human health.  As well, he does a great job of demonstrating the ties between the leading fluoride researchers and the corporations who funded and stood to benefit from a profit standpoint from that research – this is called conflict of interest and is certainly not limited to fluoride “research.”   What Bryson demonstrates in this book is an overwhelming challenge to dental orthodoxy, and should be read by everyone who is concerned about their health at any practical level.  You can also watch an abbreviated version of a documentary of Bryson’s research here.    
 
Consider for a moment that there are research studies that show a direct correlation between cavity incidence and fluoridation levels.  As an example, Dr. Steelink looked at the dental records of some 26,000 children living in Tucson, Arizona.  What did his research reveal? He found higher cavity occurrence in children living in fluoridated areas.  The greater the fluoride intake, the higher the number of cavities he found.  And this is not isolated research, similar findings can be found in research coming out of Australia, India, Britain, Canada, Sri Lanka, Greece, Malta, Spain, and Hungary.  Of course, many “authorities” in the U.S. are taught to ignore research that does not come from an American source as it is not “credible” research.  Another 30 year study out of India of over 400,000 children overseen by Dr. Teito and his team, found the exact same thing – as fluoride levels in the water increased, so too did tooth decay. 
 
The bottom line here is that fluoride is not safe in any concentration, and its accumulation in the human body has been strongly linked to cancer (mainly of the bones, but others as well), bone fractures, genetic damage, thyroid damage, sexual maturity issues, infertility, and many damaging effects on the brain.   We must learn to question what we are told and sold as being healthy in all aspects of our lives, and dental health is no exception to that rule.  
 
For a good source of water filters that will do a great job of eliminating fluoride from your drinking water, I invite all of you to visitwww.friendsofwater.com.
 
 
Moving on…..
 
Misconception:  Adrenal fatigue is the reason you are tired all the time
 
 [Preface: This is not an attack on the work of James L. Wilson, N.D., PhD.  I love his book and it contains lots of valuable information.  Rather, adrenal fatigue as the “cause” of things must be scrutinized in my opinion.] 
 
I cannot tell you how many times I am contacted each week by people claiming that all of their health problems are related to “adrenal fatigue.” Most of them are self diagnosed and some of them are diagnosed by Naturopaths or Natural Medicine Doctors, etc.  All of that is cool, but we need to understand a little physiology here before we start blaming the adrenals for all of our health issues.
 
My opinion is that “adrenal fatigue” is way over-hyped and once again, allows people to label themselves and buy yet another excuse to be unhealthy.  Let us look at some basic physiology.  The fact is that anyone who has sub-optimal thyroid function (which according to Broda O. Barnes, M.D. is around 40% of the population – others postulate that to be as high as 50%-60% for a number of reasons), you are very likely to have blood sugar regulation issues (aka – dysglycemia).  When you are on a dysglycemic roller coaster all day every day, this is very taxing to the adrenal glands.  As soon as you end up in a hypoglycemic state, the adrenals must respond by releasing cortisol (and other hormones) to bring blood sugar levels back up.  The elevated cortisol triggers the catabolism of muscle tissue including the release of FFA (free fatty acids).  This increase in FFA levels actually increases the uptake of tryptophan in the brain.  This in turn leads to an increase in serotonin levels.  Serotonin stimulates the production of ACTH, which initiates the stress response all over again by increasing cortisol output from the adrenals.   This is a cycle that will continue to perpetuate on itself unless something is done to break the cycle. 
 
 
 
So the question is, is adrenal fatigue really the reason you are tired and have an endless list of daily symptoms, or could it be that poorly regulated blood sugar and less-than-optimal thyroid function drive the adrenals into the ground over the course of time?  Is “adrenal fatigue” really the “problem” or merely a response to a deeper lying metabolic/physiological dysfunction?  My experience tells me it is the latter.
 
Before you label yourself as someone in “adrenal fatigue”, have a look at why you might have issues with the adrenals in the first place.  Before someone recommends that you do an elaborate array of adrenal supplementation (I have seen these cost clients in excess of $400 per month), learn to effectively up-regulate your thyroid function and improve blood sugar levels throughout the day.  This can be done very easily by learning what foods you should eat, in what combination you should eat them, and at what frequency.  That will take you much further, and cost you far less money, in the long run.         
 
Misconception:  Sugar is bad for you
 
 
 
In all honesty, I used to tell people this all the time.  I have even done 2+ hour presentations on the detrimental aspects of sugar on human physiology.  However, when it comes to sugar, we have a problem of context. 
 
The bottom line is not all sugar is created equal and different types of sugar have differing roles in human physiology.  We must first define what we mean when we say “sugar.”  Sugar has definitely received a bad rap over the last 30 years or so since the high fructose corn syrup production came about around 1981.  This synthetic sugar has been linked to all sorts of health issues that have been pretty well chronicled throughout its lifetime.  However, that is not REAL sugar.  There are many types of sugar: sucrose (which is 50% glucose and 50% fructose), fructose, lactose, maltose, galactose, etc. 
 
Your body actually prefers to use glucose as primary source for energy production.  In fact, your red blood cells and you brain rely on glucose very heavily for optimal function.  Sugar takes a beating in the media and things get very “spun around.”  For example, statistics show that the average American consumes at least 150 pounds of sugar per year.  Cool….what kinds of sugar are they talking about?  These kinds of statements must be placed into context.  Let us examine some facts about REAL sugar shall we.  Here are a few excerpts from Ray Peat, PhD’s article, Sugar Issueshttp://raypeat.com/articles/articles/sugar-issues.shtml    
 
 
 
 
“Fructose can actually by-pass the fatty acids’ inhibition of glucose metabolism, to be oxidized when glucose cannot, leading to greater energy production at the cellular level.” “Besides being one of the forms of sugar involved in ordinary energy production, interchangeable with glucose, fructose has some special functions, that aren’t as well performed by glucose.  It is the main sugar involved in reproduction, in the seminal fluid and intrauterine fluid, and in the developing fetus. After these crucial stages of life are past, glucose becomes the primary molecular source of energy, except when the system is under stress.  The placenta turns glucose from the mother’s blood into fructose, and the fructose in the mother’s blood can pass through into the fetus, and although glucose can move back from the fetus into the mother’s blood, fructose is unable to move in that direction, so a high concentration is maintained in the fluids around the fetus.”
 
“Sucrose consumption lowers ACTH, the main pituitary stress hormone (Klement, et al., 2009; Ulrich-Lai, et al., 2007), and stress promotes increased sugar and fat consumption (Pecoraro, et al., 2004). If animals’ adrenal glands are removed, so that they lack the adrenal steroids, they choose to consume more sucrose (Laugero, et al., 2001). Stress seems to be perceived as a need for sugar. In the absence of sucrose, satisfying this need with starch and fat is more likely to lead to obesity.
Sugar is essential for brain development and maintenance.”
 
“Experimental evidence shows that polyunsaturated (omega-3) fats retard fetal brain development, and that sugar promotes it. These facts argue against some of the currently popular ideas of the evolution of the human brain based on ancestral diets of fish or meat, which only matters as far as those anthropological theories are used to argue against fruits and other sugars in the present diet.”
 
“Honey has been used therapeutically for thousands of years, and recently there has been some research documenting a variety of uses, including treatment of ulcers and colitis, and other inflammatory conditions. Obesity increases mediators of inflammation, including the C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine. Honey, which contains free fructose and free glucose, lowers CRP and homocysteine, as well as triglycerides, glucose, and cholesterol, while it increased insulin more than sucrose did (Al-Waili, 2004). Hypoglycemia intensifies inflammatory reactions, and insulin can reduce inflammation if sugar is available. Obesity, like diabetes, seems to involve a cellular energy deficiency, resulting from the inability to metabolize sugar.”
 
“Sucrose (and sometimes honey) is increasingly being used to reduce pain in newborns, for minor things such as injections (Guala, et al., 2001; Okan, et al., 2007; Anand, et al., 2005; Schoen and Fischell, 1991). It’s also effective in adults. It acts by influencing a variety of nerve systems, and also reduces stress. Insulin is probably involved in sugar analgesia, as it is in inflammation, since it promotes entry of endorphins into the brain (Witt, et al., 2000).”
 
“An extracellular phosphorylated fructose metabolite, diphosphoglycerate, has an essential regulatory effect in the blood; another fructose metabolite, fructose diphosphate, can reduce mast cell histamine release and protect against oxidative and hypoxic injury and endotoxic shock, and it reduces the expression of the inflammation mediators TNF-alpha, IL-6, nitric oxide synthase, and the activation of NF-kappaB, among other protective effects, and its therapeutic value is known, but its relation to dietary sugars hasn’t been investigated.”
 
“Refined granulated sugar is extremely pure, but it lacks all of the essential nutrients, so it should be considered as a temporary therapeutic material, or as an occasional substitute when good fruit isn’t available, or when available honey is allergenic.”
 
“Endotoxin absorbed from the intestine is one of the ubiquitous stresses that tends to cause free radical damage. Fructose, probably more than glucose, is protective against damage from endotoxin.”
 
“Many stressors cause capillary leakage, allowing albumin and other blood components to enter extracellular spaces or to be lost in the urine, and this is a feature of diabetes, obesity, and a variety of inflammatory and degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (Szekanecz and Koch, 2008; Ujiie, et al., 2003). Although the mechanism isn’t understood, fructose supports capillary integrity; fructose feeding for 4 and 8 weeks caused a 56% and 51% reduction in capillary leakage, respectively (Chakir, et al., 1998; Plante, et al., 2003).”
 
Now that is a hell of a lot of bad-ass information on sugar metabolism and physiology, which Ray is known for, but the take away from all of this can be summed up this way –
Contrary to what Bobby Bouchez’s momma might tell you, sugar is not “the Devil.”  
 
Misconception:  Salt is bad for you if you have hypertension issues
 
 
 It is common practice within the medical community to instruct someone who has been diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure) to “watch” or “reduce” his/her salt/sodium intake.  The question must be asked – does this actually equate to better overall health?  My opinion, and there is plenty of research to support this – is that salt restriction is actually detrimental to one’s overall health.  The hell I say!  Again, let us examine some facts about salt/sodium and its restriction:
·         Salt restriction, according to a review of about 100 studies (Alderman, 2004), lowers the blood pressure only by a few points.
·         Research shows an increase in mortality in individuals who eat less salt
·         An extra few grams of salt per day was associated with a 36% reduction in “coronary events” (Alderman, et al., 1995).
·         Sodium and albumin are essential for maintaining adequate blood volume and delivery of nutrients to all tissues of the body.  When blood volume is low it is not uncommon to experience edema secondary to water moving into tissue.
·         Deceasing sodium intake is known to stimulate something called the RAAS – rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.  This system will stimulate a sympathetic (fight or flight) response from the body and is a known factor in creating hypertension, kidney disease, heart failure, fibrosis of the heart, and other problems
·         Sodium restriction also increases serotonin levels in the body, which leads to a whole host of inflammatory and other physiological problems
·          Increasing salt intake can actually prevent water retention
 
Of course, with all that said, one still has to consider context.  Namely, the quality of the salt they are using and the overall physiology of the individual in question.  Traditional table salt, which is two minerals only – sodium and chloride – is not likely to produce the benefits of salt mentioned above.  Organic, white, Celtic Sea Salts are great for salt usage and have as many as 87 to 93 (depending on who you read) trace minerals included in the salt.  These minerals and trace minerals have a synergistic effect and benefit human physiology on a number of different levels. 
 
The take home here is that the usage of such salts can be applied within the context of customized nutritional and lifestyle modification of an individual to improve energy production and metabolism at the cellular level, increases carbon dioxide production, and protects against inflammation and other stress reactions in the body.  This, within such a context, will serve to improve the overall health of the individual.  
 
I hope you have enjoyed this volume of Preventing Truth Decay.  I thank you for reading this far and look forward to sending out more information like this in the very near future.  Please feel free to leave your comments for all to see – “good” or “bad” – ALL comments are welcomed!
 
Thanks for Reading,
Brandon J. Alleman
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Preventing Truth Decay

“Tell a lie loud enough and long enough and people will believe it.” 

                     – Adolph Hitler
 
I have heard it said that, “Ignorance is bliss.”  I disagree.  Ignorance is ignorance; nothing more and nothing less.  While it can certainly be argued from a quantum and theoretical physics perspective that some things can simultaneously be two things at the same time (i.e. particles and not particles), I feel that for practicality purposes we should just say that things cannot be more than one thing at a time.  Therefore, ignorance is certainly not bliss – it is only ignorance.  To make better decisions, one must ask the right questions.  For then, you are more likely to “get” the right answers.  I bring this up because often an attempt to dispel ignorance is misconstrued as being negative.  Perhaps this has to do with the fact that in order to dispel ignorance, one must make it known that there is a “problem” or “issue” with the current status quo.  While it may seem like this is dwelling on the “negative” in fact, quite the opposite is happening.  A good dose of “realism” gives one the opportunity to recognize that there is a problem and puts them in a much better position to create something better with future thoughts, words, and deeds.  This is not negative at all – in fact, it is the very essence of all that is positive!  To some, this post may seem negative.  However, looked at from a slightly different perspective – it is in fact, very positive.  Having said that, I can deliver my message…..
 
In case you have been too busy keeping up with the cast of Jersey Shoreto notice, we are living in a society that grows progressively dumber by the minute.  The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America demonstrates how and why this is happening.   This is a very short video of a very, very vast topic and it can be found on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZJoCfgAEuE).  Greed, corruption, fraud, not-truth, illness, and disease are all very well funded in our country (and most other countries as well).   To a large degree, the public is blind to the shenanigans that are going on right under their very noses, particularly as it relates to the health of every man, woman, and child.
 
There simply is no BIG money to be made in keeping the general public well informed, healthy, and vital.  The money is in people who are alive – sort of.  These are the people that are suffering from what Dr. Jeffrey Bland calls “Vertical Disease.”  They are walking around but they are merely surviving; they are not actually alive in any real sense of the word.  You see these people all around you at shopping malls, church (which I personally find very ironic), grocery stores, coffee houses, and places of the like.  Their faces are virtually lifeless and they have to pop handfuls of designer drugs every day just to be able to drag themselves out of bed in the morning.  That, in my opinion, is not living – in fact, “Vertical Disease” may even be worse than actually being dead.
 
Unfortunately, media outlets are used to manipulate the public and essentially “hijack” the minds of millions of people and program them into the exact type of mind set that lead to behaviors that foster illness and disease.   For a very comprehensive explanation of exactly how this is done, I invite all of you to read Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme by Richard Brodie.   
 
While there are a great deal of polluted industries in the world, none are more polluted than the health and wellness fields – be that nutrition, exercise, rehabilitation, or otherwise.  These fields are chocked full of completely ridiculous nonsense that detracts from the health of the very people who are trying to be as healthy as they can.  Finding really insightful nutrition advice for example, is damn near impossible for the average person who surfs the Internet, reads trendy magazines, and watches most of the mind pollution on television.   
 
Socially constructed ideas of beauty and perfection infect the minds of the “health conscious” individual and perpetuate numerous misconceptions.  While these misconceptions are far too numerous to cover in one article (or even in 100 articles), here are a few of my favorites:
·         I have to be skinny in order to be healthy
·         I have to do lots of cardiovascular exercise to lose weight so I can be skinny
·         Medications and supplements will keep me healthy
·         I have to cut calories or skip meals if I want to lose weight
·         Saturated fat is bad for me and will make me fat and damage my heart
 
While this list would be rather endless, including other ridiculousness such as water fluoridation, estrogen and fertility misconceptions, birth control pills, the dangers of sugar, the safety of high fructose corn syrup, cosmetics and toxicity, and on and on – the truth decay listed above are amongst my personal favorites.   These ideas have nothing whatsoever to do with truth, yet they are all socially accepted.  A change in consciousness is warranted if we are going to actually lead humanity in the right direction in the future.  The personal and the planetary are connected, and it is only through a change in human consciousness that our world will ultimately be transformed.
 
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
–                   Jiddu Krishnamurti
 
I feel it is my responsibility to do my part to dispel ignorance so that something better can ultimately be created.  To do so, I will attempt to set the record straight on the five truth decaying ideas mentioned above.   Here we go…..
 
Misconception:  I have to be skinny in order to be healthy
While the history of terrible ideas is long and sad, this misconception has reached epidemic proportions and is perhaps the most destructive “health” idea (meme) that has come out of the last 25 years or so.  While I could write several pages alone on this topic, all that I would like to say has already been said by my colleague Antonio Valladares in his brilliantly written Blog post entitled Why Skinny Sucks.  You can read his comprehensive article on this topic by clicking this link:
 
The fact of the matter is you can be skinny and still be fat!  How? Easy, you are simply a skinny person with a high percentage of body fat.  This happens all the time – just take a look at most marathon runners.  Very skinny, but most of them look like one of those things walking around in the Michael Jackson music video for Thriller.  This is not a criticism, rather it is an observation.
This preoccupation with being skinny has now been taking to new ridiculous heights.  Brides, in preparation for their wedding are now walking around with feeding tubes running from their nose to their stomachs while they are fed a slow drip of pseudo-nutrition supplying a grand total of 800 measly calories per day (with ZERO carbohydrates by the way).  That is not even close to being enough nutrition to sufficiently allow a human being to effectively run around the inside of a Cheerio.  Read Antonio’s post to get the full effect of how stupid this really is.
Moving on…..
 
Misconception:  I have to do lots of cardiovascular exercise to lose weight so I can be skinny
Having clearly covered the utter stupidity of the “skinny” meme, it seems very natural to follow that up by speaking about the obsession with cardiovascular activity.  Personally, I am not a fan of traditional cardiovascular exercise for many reasons.  First, it is a completely catabolic activity that does not favor improvements in body composition.  In other words, if you would like to be what is referred to as Skinny-Fat, keep doing your early morning cardio on an empty stomach.  I have written about the inadequacies of cardiovascular training in more detail in a previous Blog post entitled Why Cardio Sucks.  It can be read in its entirety by clicking this linkhttp://brandonjalleman.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-cardio-sucks.html       
 
If you examine the idea of cardiovascular training from the perspective of natural history, you will find that the concept of cardiovascular exercise was pretty much non-existent even 100 years ago – which happens to be but a flash in the pan in the course of human evolution. 
 
We would not run alongside the animal for extended periods of time waiting for it to tire out and die so that we could have a meal.  We were meant to throw a rock (or some object) at a rabbit – hopefully generating enough force and velocity on the throw to actually kill the animal – and walk to pick it up.  Our ancestors likely did very little cardiovascular exercise. 
 
Further, most of the sports that people “train” for actually require very little aerobic capacity if we examine the energy system breakdown of the actual sport.  I grew up loving and playing the sport of basketball competitively for 13 years.  As a young child and even into high school we were always taught that you needed to be “in shape” (whatever the hell that means) to play the sport.  As such, our coaches would have us do ridiculous s#@t like run 3 miles per day during the pre-season so we would be “conditioned” to play basketball.  Looking back, few things could have been more counterproductive to our performance.
For a more comprehensive overview of how and why the cardio craze came about, I would invite all of you to read this article by Paul Chek, founder of the C.H.E.K. Institute: 
 
 
Misconception:  Medications and Supplements will keep me Healthy
I don’t care what you take in pill form – medicine, herbs, vitamins, minerals, etc.; it can only be as effective as your physiology allows it to.  I say this to my clients every single day.  I have people coming to me constantly taking bags of designer drugs and 42 supplements for “this” and “that” and they still look and feel terrible (by their own admission).  Now don’t get it twisted, I am not saying that no one needs medication or that no one should be taking supplements.  What I am saying is that it is pointless to do that unless you have certain foundation principles in place to help regulate your physiology. 
 
“Give me an example” you might be saying.  Here are a few: if you are not adequately hydrated – which, by the way, may have nothing to do with the amount of water that you drink; if you do not eat the proper digestible foods for your body; if you eat foods in the wrong macro-nutrient combinations; if you do not receive adequate rest and recovery (sleep); if you eat processed/dead foods; if you do not have a meal frequency that supports optimal blood sugar levels throughout the day; if you do not exercise enough or if you are overtraining; etc., etc., etc., it will not matter what medication you take or how many supplements you pop –  you will ultimately be wasting your money!  
 
 
Misconception:  I have to cut calories or skip meals if I want to lose weight
Consider the following:  Research shows that within 24 hours of going on a low calorie diet, which is defined as eating less than 2000 calories per day (according to the World Health Organization), you immediately deplete your brain chemistry and increase fat storing (lipogenic) enzymes in the body.  Anyone excited about that?  This is particularly important for females who already have 3 times the amount of fat storing (lipolytic) enzymes as fat burning ones.  Any changes in brain chemistry will lead to cravings. Low calorie dieting is especially damaging for anyone with a history of depression, anxiety, eating disorders or alcoholism.  Remember, all of this occurs after one measly day. 
 
Misconception: Saturated fat is bad for me and will make me fat and damage my heart
This one has been around for a long time and has had lots of help from the medical establishment, multiple governments, Big Pharma, and many others who have a vested interest in rapid truth decay.  This whole concept began with the Lipid Hypothesis back in the 1950’s. For a very thorough education on how this all came about, I invite you to read The Oiling of America by Mary G. Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon.   The article can be found in its entirety here: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/the-oiling-of-america
You may also want to check out, by the same authors The Skinny on Fatshere: http://www.westonaprice.org/know-your-fats/skinny-on-fats
And Guts and Grease: The Diet of Native Americans here:
 
In addition, I would recommend reading Uffe Ravnskov, M.D.’s book The Cholesterol Myths and of course the epic work of Weston A. Price, DDS,Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.
 
If after reading all of that, you still choose to perpetuate the truth decay that saturated fat is “bad” for you, I recommend being fitted for one of these…
 
 
I hope you have enjoyed this issue of Preventing Truth Decay.  I thank you for reading this far and look forward to sending out more information like this in the very near future.  Please feel free to leave your comments for all to see – “good” or “bad” ALL comments are welcomed.
 
In Health and Happiness,
Brandon J. Alleman

Random Blatherings on Sleep Issues

Some questions to consider if you are suffering from insomnia include, but are not limited to the following: What is your current job? What job did you really want to do when you were younger?? Are you truly happy at work? Are you living with unhappy relationships? And most importantly, how is your relationship with your Self? For many of the clients that I have had the opportunity to work with, sleep is disrupted due to how they perceive their life and its purpose. 

In addition to that, imbalanced cerebral hemispheres are an issue with many of those suffering from insomnia. The majority of individuals are either Left Brain (logical/methodical/ego) or Right Brain (feeling/emotional/intuition) dominant. Strong Left Brainers (like yours truly) are often disconnected from their emotions and they tend to base everything on logic and reason, which works, until it doesn’t. Right brainers can tend to use their emotions as a way to hide from life. In an ideal situation, the Left and Right hemispheres of the brain are balanced – obviously. What is interesting here is that when under chronic stress, the non-dominant hemisphere shuts down almost completely. This obviously perpetuates the imbalance in the brain which can alter just about anything you can think of in the human body. If the cerebral hemispheres are not balanced, the pineal gland will be negatively affected and that can lead to depression and OCD- type behavior. There are repatterning exercises and infant development work that can be implemented into a properly designed corrective exercise program that can help “rebalance” the cerebral hemispheres and, in turn, help improve sleep quality.

If the individual in question is a regular exerciser, you must be careful that s/he does not have an exercise that is saggital plane dominant. Many of these exercises utilize what is known as Homologuous movements and overexposure to those types of exercises (bilateral rowing, cycling, and movements that are same arm –same leg, etc.) can actually create and perpetuate cerebral hemisphere imbalance and dysfunction and can “lock” people into Left or Right brain dominance. 

When looking at someone’s overall sleeping pattern disorder, it is important to know when the sleep patterns are disrupted. What time someone’s sleep is disturbed can give you a real indication as to the etiology of their insomnia. For example, if you frequently wake between 1 and 3 a.m., this is the peak qi cycle for the liver in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The individual in question may have an overloaded liver and detoxification system for any number of reasons (poor quality food, drugs, food intolerances, gut/digestive issues, etc.) which is waking him or her up. If s/he is waking after 3 a.m., I would suspect unresolved emotional issues somewhere in life. 3-5 a.m. is the peak qi cycle for the lungs in TCM and the lungs typically store grief. Every organ “holds” an emotion. The liver “holds” anger. So if sleep is disrupted between certain times you can ask relevant questions that provide insight into the individual’s emotional health and well-being.

Overexposure to EMF’s, and blue light – such as television, computer/phone screens, iPads, bright fluorescent lights, etc. anytime past 8:30 – 9 p.m. will disrupt the pineal gland’s melatonin production and drain your body systems of energy. Anything with an electromagnetic field can create this type of circadian stress (alarm clocks, televisions, poor wiring in the house or room that you sleep in, etc.).  I would recommend removing anything that plugs into the wall or at the very least place these items far away from your head when you are sleeping. There are EMF detectors that you can buy that are pretty inexpensive which can help you identify EMF overload in any given room. 

Some people travel quite a bit crossing time zones which disrupts circadian rhythm and pineal gland function. The pineal gland produces melatonin which is a sleep hormone that helps prepare our body for sleep. Melatonin is made from serotonin, most of which is actually produced in the gut. Hence, if someone has gut and/or digestive issues, it will affect neurotransmitter balance in the brain, and this can easily lead to sleep issues – among many other things. Heal the brain through the gut. 

Just about everyone with sleep issues has a blood sugar regulation problem. When blood sugar is fluctuating throughout the day (secondary to poor food choices and/or poor nutrient timing, etc.), cortisol levels are also fluctuating. Elevated levels of cortisol during the day often prevent you from entering the restorative phase of sleep, or R.E.M. If blood sugar drops in the middle of the night – sometimes referred to as reactive/nocturnal hypoglycemia, cortisol will rise and wake you up. 

Fungal and parasite infections can also be implicated in sleep disruption. Worms love to keep people mentally agitated and most parasites are nocturnal so their high noon is our midnight. An interesting clue about parasites and sleep is teeth grinding – check for TMJ problems. Due to the fact that parasites are nocturnal, their increased metabolic activity at this time winds up the system and one of the easiest ways to alleviate the energy is to activate mastication. Many people grind their teeth at night and have no realization of this fact.  Assessing for parasites can get a little complicated as there are many types of worms that prefer the upper end of the intestinal tract and may not show up in traditional stool cultures. A lab assessment that assesses for DNA of parasitic species is useful here. Metametrix Labs has a great assessment for this. It also helps to keep in mind that there are over 1,000 parasites that can infect a human being, but most labs can only assess for a couple of dozen of them. 

If you suffer from disturbed sleep or any degree of insomnia, there is a good chance that you may be zinc deficient. To connect the dots here, the pineal gland produces melatonin which prepares the body for sleep. The pineal requires zinc for optimal production of melatonin. 

Dehydration can also be an issue for obvious reasons. Be sure you are drinking at least 2-3 liters of clean water each day. Chronic dehydration can be at the core of many sleep maladies.

Adrenal stress can be a part of a sleeping problem as well. Having said that, if you have gut issues, blood sugar handling problems, detoxification overload, pancreatic insufficiency, thyroid dysfunction, structural issues, etc. – these things can all drive adrenal issues so in many cases you must identify the primary forms of stress (keeping in mind that it may be mental and/or emotional) and focus your efforts there in order to truly resolve adrenal issues. 

Tips to Improve Sleep

1. Rehydrate yourself

If you are dehydrated, one of the first areas that the body will “steal” water from is the Central Nervous System (CNS). This can lead to an “irritation” in the system and be a potential cause of a fragmented sleeping pattern due to muscle spasms, restless legs and arms, altered neurotransmitter imbalances, a hyper-excited mind, and on and on.

2. Regulate your blood sugar

If your blood sugar is on a proverbial roller coaster ride, then so too will your hormones be. This is particularly true of your cortisol levels.  Fluctuating cortisol levels have been shown to make it extremely difficult to enter the restorative phase of sleep. Dysglycemia (blood sugar handling issues) can lead to decreased SIgA in the gut, inhibit T4 to T3 conversion, decrease the liver’s ability to detoxify estrogen, etc., in addition to disrupting sleep.  It is easy to end up on the insulin-cortisol see-saw and have compromised sleep due to dysglycemia.

3. Restore magnesium levels

Being deficient in magnesium, which according to C. Norm Shealy, M.D. estimates that 83% of the population is deficient, it will make it difficult typically to fall asleep. Incidentally, staying asleep may be related to issues with imbalances within the calcium-magnesium wheel in physiology.

4. Sleep in complete darkness

The body is equipped with certain types of cells that carry sunlight (or any other form of light for that matter) to centers of the brain that activate the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is the system that wakes you up. Being exposed to light of any kind, will tend to stimulate that system and keep you awake.  As the sun goes down, begin dimming your lights and stay off of laptops, iPhones, iPads, etc. for at least 2 hours prior to bed.

5. Participate in bedtime journaling

This is something that works to help calm “monkey mind.” If you are the type of person that has a difficult time calming the mind, particularly at night, journaling may help. I recommend journaling specifically about all of the things that you are thankful/grateful for.  Make an effort to write about 10 things for which you are grateful. This will likely have a strong benefit on your quality of sleep and overall outlook on life.

6. Eat some fat before bedtime

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) fat is very grounding (because it is “heavy”). As such, it can have the effect of “sedating” the nervous system and allowing you to calm down and fall asleep with greater ease.

7. Establish regular sleep-wake rhythm

The human body is especially responsive to rhythms. Setting regular sleep and wake times are best for optimizing sleep. Try your best to be asleep by 10:30 p.m. and do not wake up before 6 a.m. if at all possible.

8. Decrease EMF exposure

Remove all EMF stressors (cell phones, alarm clocks, TV’s, radios, computers) from the room that you sleep in. EMF’s can also stimulate the pineal plexus and activate the RAS.

9. Optimize detoxification function

In TCM the peak qi hours for the liver is between 1-3 a.m. If the liver, and other detoxification organs, are overloaded for any reason (medical drugs, petrochemicals, OTC meds, Rx meds, chemical residues on crappy food, and on and on), you may find yourself waking between 1 and 3 a.m. very frequently. This can also happen if you are dealing with excessive oxidative stress.

10. Balance the Acupuncture Meridian System

Get some great Acupuncture done.  This will help decrease Sympathetic Nervous System tone and may allow you to actually RELAX.

11. Adhere to the 15% rule

This rule states that 15% of the time that you are awake needs to be solely dedicated to doing things that make YOU happy. As an example, if you are awake for a typical 16 hour day, roughly 2.4 hours in that day need to be set aside to do what makes YOU happy. This will have a profound impact, not only on your sleep quality, but on your overall quality of and outlook on life.

12. Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m.

Depending on the rate at which your liver can detoxify caffeine, consuming caffeine after 2 p.m. can significantly disrupt your anabolic repair cycles as well as your sleep. The detoxification capacity can vary greatly from person to person.Consider that Roger J. Williams, PhD, demonstrated as much as a 1000% variance in the liver’s ability to detoxify alcohol amongst members of the same family.

This is by far not a comprehensive list of things that can disrupt optimal sleep patterns, but it will help point some of you in the right direction for additional research and investigation. You can also review a previous post I have entitled Get Some Sleep for additional information on sleep. I hope some of you found this useful. Use what resonates with you and throw the rest to the curb.

 

Recommended Reading:

  1. 1.      Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival by T.S. Wiley
  2. 2.      The Body Clock Guide to Better Health by Michael Smolensky, PhD and Lynne Lamberg
  3. 3.      The Promise of Sleep by William C. Dement

Blood Sugar, Inflammation, and Dis-ease

It is universally accepted throughout the scientific and medical communities that just about every chronic degenerative condition we know of today (heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, etc.) has an inflammatory component to it (a causative relationship is still questioned by many, however).  Increased levels of oxidative stress and free radical damage are concomitant with the inflammation.  It has also been stated that elevated levels of blood sugar (glucose) and insulin have a strong association with increased inflammatory processes in the body.  Statistics suggest that over 25% of the population is now either diabetic or sitting on the doorstep of becoming diabetic (“pre-diabetic).   This develops over time as one does not regulate his/her blood sugar throughout the day and night.  The higher your glucose levels, the more insulin has to be produced by the pancreas to bring blood sugar down to a more homeostatic level.  The higher the insulin levels, the more de-sensitized cells become to insulin (please note that elevated insulin levels are not the only contributing factor to decreased cell sensitivity, but it does play an important role in the process). Consequently, the less efficient an individual’s metabolism becomes at regulating blood sugar effectively.

 
Elevated insulin is correlative with elevated markers for inflammation, particularly with C-Reactive Protein (CRP).   A similar situation presents itself when blood sugar drops below normal, what we call hypoglycemia.  When in this state, the body calls on adrenaline to release stored glycogen (sugar) from the liver to bring blood glucose levels back up to an acceptable level.  If the individual in question has had blood sugar handling issues for a while – many people have this issue for years and have no idea it is happening – they are not likely to be storing glycogen effectively in the liver.  The next hormone called upon is cortisol.  Cortisol’s role is to break down musculoskleletal tissue so that the amino acids can be converted into glucose (gluconeogenesis) to bring blood sugar back up.  The trouble with this is that when breaking down musculoskeletal tissue, free fatty acids are also released into the blood stream.  These free fatty acids can actually prevent glucose from entering cells to be used for fuel.  As well, cortisol synergizes with estrogen, prolactin, and a number of other inflammatory hormones to perpetuate the stress/inflammatory cycle, perpetuate cellular damage, tissue destruction and catabolic, degenerative processes.  This is one simple physiological cascade that creates an environment that is favorable for the body’s regenerative process to become degenerative.
 
What is “Normal” & “Healthy” Insulin, Glucose, & Insulin Sensitivity?
 To put things into context, it must be pointed out that laboratory reference ranges are only statistical averages. I have written about this before in my article/post entitled My Blood Test Says What?  Glucose and insulin readings are not excluded from this fact.  Most labs’ reference range for insulin is between 0-30. In my opinion, this is completely ridiculous.  Most functional medicine experts agree that anyone with a fasting insulin level greater than 10 has very serious health issues and is already very likely to be pre-diabetic or diabetic.
 
In my experience, a more ideal range for fasting insulin is 0-5, or as close to zero as possible.  I like to see fasting glucose levels between 80-100; 80-90 if you want to be super strict about it.  In addition, the time it takes to reach maximal blood glucose levels (rate of appearance) following a true glucose challenge and the time it takes to return back to the fasted state (rate of disappearance) must also be considered.  To accurately calculate one’s Insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta cell function, one can use the following formulas, which I was first exposed to years ago when studying the work of John Berardi, PhD.  You can read more about Dr. Berardi and his work by visiting http://www.precisionnutrition.com/about/john-berardi    
 
Insulin Sensitivity =
Fasted Insulin (mU/L) / 22.5 x E to the X e-ln(Fasted Glucose (mmol/L))
 
or
Fasted Insulin (pmol/L) x (Fasted Glucose (mmol/L) / 135)
 
Pancreatic Beta Cell Function =
(20 x Fasted Insulin (mU/L)) / (Fasted Glucose (mmol/L)-3.5)
 
or
(3.33 x Fasted Insulin (pmol/L) / (Fasted Glucose (mmol/L)-3.5)

            Insulin Sensitivity 

     Lower score = more sensitive
     Normal insulin sensitivity: score should be below 2 
     Excellent insulin sensitivity: score will be around 0.5

            Pancreatic Beta Cell Function

     Higher = better pancreatic function and insulin release
     Normal pancreatic function: score should be about 100 
     Excellent pancreatic function: score will be above 200

Once you’ve collected these measures, you will have an objective indication of what your physiology is capable of when it comes to blood sugar regulation.  I typically recommend doing these tests at least once per year (perhaps once every 6 months is better) to see how your nutrition and training is impacting your insulin sensitivity over the course of time.  I have personally found these formulas to be very valuable over the years in aiding clients in fine-tuning both nutrition and exercise programs to meet their individual physiological needs.

[Note: these formulas are not the be all end all for assessing insulin sensitivity and pancreatic beta cell function]
 
Taming the Wild Beasts — Glucose and Insulin (and others)
 In order to regulate blood sugar, what is absolutely fundamental in my experience, is to know what foods will support optimal cellular energy production (i.e. – efficient use of glucose at the cell level), in what combination YOU need to eat these foods, and to identify optimal nutrient timing for YOUR physiology.   These factors are highly subjective and depend on the overall physiological state and load of the individual in question.  This means that properly regulating glucose levels is not achieved by the same nutritional strategy for everyone.   In fact, I have witnessed how two different people can overcome severe dysglycemia (blood sugar handling issues) with nutritional strategies that are quite different from one another.  I have also witnessed the SAME person’s nutritional requirements change dramatically to accomplish the same task.  
 
Free Radicals, Inflammation, & Aging – Oh My!
Free radicals are any atom or molecule with an unpaired electron in its outer most shell.  They are sort of like the sparks that fly off the top of a camp fire.  Free radicals interact with their surroundings (cells, tissues, organs) and cause damage to them.  They are a normal part of the innate immune defenses but excess levels of free radical activity will cause run-away inflammation and destruction of cells and tissues, and perpetuate degenerative processes in the body.  This is a negative cycle that perpetuates upon itself until someone is taught how to eat to effectively regulate his/her blood sugar with FOOD throughout the day and night.  Excess Insulin, and the various hormones that it synergizes with, all have very strong pro-inflammatory effects on the body and exaccerbate the stress response.
 
Of course, regulating blood sugar and decreasing inflammation is not only about FOOD.  It is also a matter of lifestyle choices.  The locomotor system was designed for movement and regular exercise is strongly associated with improved insulin levels.  When a person exercises in the right way, with the right exercises for their body and the appropriate acute exercise variables assigned to the program – sets, reps, tempo, load, and rest intervals – glucose is utilized much more efficiently at the cell level.  Effective glucose utilization at the cell level is in and of itself “anti-inflammatory” in nature (perhaps “non-inflammatory” is a better way to refer to it).  As well, lifestyle choices are imperative in decreasing inflammation in the body.  Staying up until 2 a.m. will not support optimal physical repair of the body’s tissues.  One cannot continuously disrupt circadian rhythms (day-night cycles) and think that they will regulate that with food.  That is a lifestyle choice that would also be in need of modification in order to fully decrease the inflammatory potential of the body-mind. 
 
Summary
Normalizing glucose and insulin through sound nutritional implementation, appropriate exercise, and optimal lifestyle choices creates an environment favorable for sufficient adaptation and the creation of health, and as a result decreases free radical formation and inflammation.
 
Recommended Reading & Resources: