By Kate Thomsen, MD, MPH
Assistant Clinical Professor UMDNJ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Women’s Health and Wellness, Pennington, NJ
Transitions in Healthcare: The new model is looking at different systems: lifestyle interventions versus “name the disease and name the drug.” This is critical since we are a product of our genes and our lifestyle.
How we live our lives greatly affects our health. Now we know why: Every cell our body is the factory that does the work of keeping us healthy and well. What we put into our bodies turns our genes on and turns them off. That’s why the wellness model is so important. We can impact what our cells are doing, and thereby impact our genes and longevity. What follows are some of the key things we need to know so we can take responsibility for our health and wellbeing.
Things That Most Negatively Affect Our Transitions In Life:
- Stresses of being a caretaker
- Not attending to our nutritional needs
- Becoming sedentary
- Becoming too busy to take care of oneself
- Not getting enough sleep
Preventing Heart Disease:
Coronary artery disease can be caused both by things we have control over and things we don’t. Chronic infection like gum disease, a diet high in trans-fats, high blood sugar, and autoimmune diseases can cause micro-tears in our arteries. Inflammation does great damage.
Kate highly recommends this test: High sensitivity CRP (C Reactive Protein). It shows how much inflammation we have in our veins.
We also need to know our LDL levels. (The other numbers on our cholesterol test don’t matter as much.) LDLs cause plaque. Both large LDLs and small need to be measured as they each can damage our arteries and lead to heart attacks.
HDLs are our “back hoe.” They pick up the LDLs and take them back to the liver to be filtered. HDLs are supported by estrogen which we have less of after menopause.
Other risk factors for heart disease are:
- Blood pressure
- Thrombotic tendency
- Cardiac rhythm
- Endothelial function
- Systemic inflammation
- Insulin sensitivity
- Oxidative stress
Kate says sugar is the # 1 cause of health problems. It’s a toxin to the body. Best to eliminate it for general health including heart.
Other ways to prevent heart disease:
- Stop smoking
- Know about environmental toxins
- Be aware of allergens
- Eat a healthy diet
- Control stress
We start losing bone after age 25. After menopause we have an increased loss every year. Bone density tests are critical.
It’s very important to watch diet – acid versus alkaline. Too much acid depletes bone. And too much protein isn’t good either. Kate says, “Vegetables should be the center of your plate.” They neutralize acidity. Vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium and other good minerals are critical. More than 50 % of Americans are deficient in magnesium. Manganese is very important too. Inflammation can also cause low bone density.
Kate believes that Actonel, etc. don’t give long-term protection to the bones.
“Can’t remember sh __” happens after menopause. The brain cannot process all the exposure assaulting it from the outside world.
We need to make the decision to encode the things we want remember. Often we don’t do this because we’re so busy; therefore many things get by us. Kate says, “What you exercise is what you get.”
Things that affect memory:
- HSV1; it lives in the brain stem and can cause damage to the brain.
- heavy metals
- lack of circulation
- the standard American diet
- lack of social engagement
- lack of mentally stimulating pursuits
- lack of sleep
- cell phone radiation. Keep your cell phone a couple feet away. Use an ear piece. Blue tooth is no help as it has the same electromagnetic force. (Environmental Working Group, http://www.ewg.org/, has wonderful information on this.)
Your GI tract is where the outside world meets the inside world. The largest percent of your immune system is in the GI tract. If you have a systemic inflammatory condition think about treating your gut. We hold 3 pounds of bacteria in our bowels. This bacterial aggregate is known as the microbiome, and it’s critical to our health. The microbiome makes enzymes, synthesizes vitamins, and assists in the regulation of immune responses. Therefore it’s very important to keep things moving. Kate says, “You want to have so much fiber in your diet that your poop floats”
The microbiome is adversely affected by:
(for more on the Microbiome, go here: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/bacteria-health-microbiome-disease-research.html
It is now believed that cancer is a metabolic disease that starts with mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria make ATP. (Adenosine-5-triphosphate transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism) If the mitochondria get toxic, cancer can result.
Inflammation is a major contributor to cancer. Kate says, “Increase protection, decrease exposure.” Here’s how:
- Avoid soft plastics as much as possible.
- Watch what we put on our lawns and take into our bodies.
- Fortify with greens, fiber,
- Get good sleep.
- Avoid sugar.
- Reduce inflammation.
Consider Salvestrol –a component of certain berries. For more information, go to: http://commonground.ca/2012/06/fight-cancer-with-salvestrols/)
Bio-identical hormones are good. Synthetic hormones are not. Leftover estrogen should go through liver and be transformed by it. Fish oil, flax seeds, and exercise help your liver metabolize estrogen.
Soy is a fantastic nutrient. It sits on the estrogen receptor but is so weak it shouldn’t influence breast cancer. Even though Sloan Kettering says no soy, Kate believes soy is good. GMO soy is not good. Don’t take soy in pill form. In Asia women eat a lot of natural soy and have lower incidences of breast cancer.
For greater longevity keep in mind the following:
- Plant power –more veggies, less protein and processed food
- Red wine in moderation
- Stop eating when your 80% full
- Have a“Plan de Vida” – know your purpose in life.
- Maintain sense of belonging
- Foster spiritual beliefs
- Work less, move more.
- Make family a priority
Things to know about aging:
- All aging in metabolic
- Exposure to toxins affects our longevity
- We have inefficient protection from the toxins will live with
- The standard American diet is unhealthy for us.
- Lack of antioxidants and beneficial fats hurts us.
- We can promote healthier cells by what we take in and what we keep out.
- Make sure to have plenty of good cholesterol and beneficial oils:
- Omega 3 and 6 keeps things fluid
- Evening Primrose oil is very important.
- Olive oil is an Omega 9. Don’t overdo.
Kate’s morning smoothie includes:
- Goat kefir
- Organic sunflower flax
- Evening primrose oil
- Unsweetened cacao
- Phosphatidylcholine (for more info: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-501PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE.aspx?activeIngredientId=501&activeIngredientName=PHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE). To order go to: http://www.bodybio.com/storeproduct426.aspx
– Seed cream: In a bowl add 2 T sesame, 2T pumpkin seeds, 2 T flax or poppy seeds. Soak overnight. Put in Blender. You can freeze in ice cube trays and use as needed.
You can also add berries, kale, or other greens.
More Tips from Kate:
- Stevia is the most acceptable sweetener. Bottled Stevia is best.
- Don’t eat fish more that 2x a week because of all the mercury.
- Read The Blue Zones,– places in the world where people live the longest (http://www.amazon.com/The-Blue-Zones-Lessons-Longest/dp/1426207557)
- Read/listen to Bruce Lipton (http://www.brucelipton.com/)
- Know that the interface of what you believe and what you do is how your life will be.
- Make your lifestyle be your medicine.
- Learn to accept death.
- Check with your doctor before making any big changes.
For Kate’s columns, go to Mercer County Woman: http://www.mercercountywoman.com/wordpress/
For her latest, go here:
Great news!! Kate will be doing one or two small groups for the Potluck Society in the fall.