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Archive for the ‘Eric Nissen ND Naturopath’ Category

By Dr. Eric Nissen ND

Proper diet and exercise are mainstays of weight loss. It stands to reason: if take in fewer calories than you expend, you will lose weight. Unfortunately, this does not work for many people, at least sustainably.

Enter the Set Weight Point Theory. This theory states that the body gets used to a particular body weight, or more specifically, a body fat percentage. If that body fat percentage drops below what it is normally, the brain perceives that the body is experiencing a famine, and a cascade of hormones and chemical messengers are released to reduce metabolism. Evolutionarily, this makes sense: shutting down metabolism in a time of famine will help prevent a person from burning through their vital reserves, thus helping that person live longer.

However, in modern society, not having access to enough calories is not an issue (at least for most of us). Our biggest challenge is not eating too many calories. This is made more challenging by eating foods that are nutrient-poor, so our bodies tell us to eat more and more food to get the nutrients they need. Additionally, modern-day foods have more intense flavors than what our ancestors were used to. Sugar and salt are in much more abundance, as well as artificial flavorings and flavor enhancers. So, we may very well eat more calories than we need because we’ve become addicted to those flavors and have lost the innate sense of eating just what the body needs.

So, it is possible to gradually ratchet up the set weight point. Most of us have experienced this. It is much more challenging to reduce it.

hCG, or human Chorionic Gonadotropin, combined with a low-calorie diet, is the best thing that I have come across that actually helps to establish a new lower set weight point. hCG is what a woman produces when she is pregnant. In times of famine, or a low-calorie diet, hCG will tell the hypothalamus in the brain to tell the body to mobilize fat stores. This ensures that the developing fetus receives the needed calories and nutrients to remain viable.

We can mimic these conditions by supplying a very low dose of hCG to a person who is eating a specific, low-calorie diet. This completely bypasses the body’s set weight point and, in fact, helps to establish a new one at the end of the program.

Weight loss is rapid, typically ½ pound to 1 pound per day. In any other circumstance, I would consider that to be too much. But with hCG, people don’t experience hunger or fatigue, and the results are sustainable after stopping the hCG. This is true for both men and women, young or older.

If you are curious about hCG and weight loss or have further questions, I am offering a round-table discussion at Glow on July 14th, from 6-7 p.m. I also offer free 15-minute consults during office hours to discuss your health further and decide if naturopathic medicine and/or hCG is right of for you.

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Many people who are energetic and outgoing in the long sunny days of spring and summer find themselves to be melancholic, depressed, and perhaps even fatigued in the long dark nights of winter. This is termed “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD). Although this common disorder can be quite debilitating, there are good options to help.

Exercise: Over 100 studies have shown that people who exercise are effected by SAD and other forms of depression much less than people who don’t exercise. Although exercising outside may be difficult in the winter time, especially if you are limited to the early morning or evening hours, most people have health clubs close by or can set up an exercise room in their own homes.

Diet: Maintaining adequate blood sugar throughout the day is one important key to help with depression. Eat small frequent meals low in processed foods and simple carbohydrates (“sugary” foods) and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and other sources of protein. Protein is also necessary to help provide amino acids, precursors to neurotransmitters in the brain. Adequate protein intake is 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kg. of body weight. The formula is: (Your weight in pounds) x (0.8 to 1.2)  2.2. Sedentary individuals should use 0.8, average activity use 1.0, very athletic use 1.2.

Light therapy: Full spectrum lighting has been shown to be an excellent treatment for SAD and other forms of clinical depression. The antidepressant effect of light therapy is probably due to restoring proper melatonin synthesis and secretion by the pineal gland leading to re-establishment of the proper circadian rhythm. Light boxes use very intense full spectrum lighting, the equivalent of 25 100-watt bulbs. It is recommended that a person look into the light for 15 – 30 minutes each morning while sitting 2 to 3 feet away. Regular full spectrum light bulbs are also available. Use these to replace regular light bulbs around your home and office for a more bright and realistic light.

Nutritional supplements:
Numerous studies have shown St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) to be effective in helping to relieve symptoms associated with SAD and other forms of depression, including apathy, feelings of worthlessness, insomnia, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.
5-HTP a precursor to serotonin and has been shown to be effectively converted to serotonin in the body and help relieve depression and insomnia. Studies have shown significant clinical response in two to four weeks at a dosage of 50 to 300 mg 3 times a day.
NOTE: do not combine St. John’s Wort or 5-HTP with any antidepressant medications without the consent of your naturopathic doctor or other physician knowledgeable in herbs, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals.
L-tyrosine has also been shown to be effective in relieving depression, both on its own and in combination with other therapies. In a study, about 1 out of 5 people who initially responded well to 5-HTP had a relapse of depression after a month. These people responded particularly well to the addition of L-tyrosine.
B-vitamins, particularly B-6, B-12, and folic acid also have an excellent track record in helping to relieve depression. Vitamin D has also been linked to an “overall greater sense of well being.” You should have your Vitamin D levels tested by your doctor to help monitor therapy.
Homeopathy can also be effective in helping to relieve the symptoms of depression, also. Homeopathics can be taken individually, usually prescribed by a homeopathic doctor, or in combination products.
A deficiency of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) has been shown in recent studies to be a contributor to depression. A diet high in saturated fats and low in essential fatty acids results in decreased fluidity of cell membranes, which directly influences neurotransmitter synthesis, signal transmission, uptake of serotonin and other neurotransmitters, and neurotransmitter binding. Most studies used fish oil as the source of the EFA’s. A person must regularly consume fish oils for two to three months to allow the EFA’s to be effectively incorporated into cell membranes.

The treatment of SAD is usually multifactorial. A combination of exercise, proper diet, light therapy, and nutritional supplements can greatly enhance your energy, outlook, and overall happiness in the face of the long dark nights of winter.

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 Vitamin D deficiency is quickly emerging as one of the greatest risk factors for a wide variety of diseases. It is also one of the most common deficiencies, especially here in the Northwest. It is however, easily remedied.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to at least 17 forms of cancer, neurologic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, skin issues, calcium and bone metabolism issues, muscle pain and weakness, macular degeneration, mental illness, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, periodontal disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, colds and flues, and the list goes on. It seems to play no small part in many of these diseases.

For instance, people with adequate levels of Vitamin D have a 30 – 50 percent less likelihood of developing many types of cancer. For those people who did develop cancer, one study even showed that in most types of lung cancer, people with the highest Vitamin D intake had double the 5-year survival rate than those with the lowest!

Musculoskeletal pain, especially low back pain, is also common in people with Vitamin D deficiency. One study found that chronic pain was three times more common among those people with the lowest Vitamin D levels. Additionally, many geriatric units across the country are now supplementing Vitamin D to their patients because they’ve found that it helps to prevent muscle weakness, thereby significantly reducing the amount of falls in their facilities.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with depression. People with the highest levels of Vitamin D had a “higher overall sense of well-being,” according to one study. Who couldn’t use that?

One fairly recent discovery is Vitamin D’s role in maintaining a healthy immune system. It is believed that one reason people get sick more often in the wintertime is secondary to a seasonal deficiency in Vitamin D. One study found that supplementation with 2000 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day “virtually eliminated self-reported incidences of colds and influenza.”

How We Get Vitamin D

Our bodies obtain Vitamin D from sunlight exposure, diet, and supplementation. When fair-skinned people sunbathe in the summer, they produce approximately 20,000 IU of Vitamin D in less than 30 minutes. Obviously, sun exposure is a very efficient way to obtain Vitamin D. However, sun exposure does increase skin aging and burning increases rates of melanoma.

Diet provides about 250 – 300 IU per day. Fish oil, liver, and milk are some of the richest sources. However, you would need to drink about 30 glasses of milk per day for three months or more to raise the average person’s levels up to healthy, disease-preventing levels.

Supplementation with Vitamin D is another way that we can obtain adequate levels, of course. Most adults need 2000–4000 IUs per day to raise and maintain Vitamin D at healthy levels. This is more than most conventional doctors recommend or are comfortable with, but this is what the research is showing. There have been no credible incidences reported in the literature showing toxicity with up to 10,000 IU per day of Vitamin D. What few incidences have been reported were from faulty industrial production, labeling errors, dosing errors, and in patients treated medically with high doses of synthetic Vitamin D, called ergocalciferol. (Most Vitamin D and the kind you should take is called cholecalciferol.)

Incidence of Vitamin D Deficiency

Most people have blood levels of 10 – 18 ng/ml in the wintertime, or if they spend the majority of their time out of the sunlight. Major decreases in cancer and other diseases have been shown when blood levels are at least 30 ng/ml. For instance, levels of 33 ng/ml were associated with a 50% reduction in the risk of colon cancer, and levels of 52 ng/ml were associated with a 50% reduction of breast cancer. Natural levels, that is, levels found in humans who live or work in the sun, are approximately 50 – 70 ng/ml.

Many factors influence one’s levels of Vitamin D, including geographic location, skin color (darker skin people produce less Vitamin D from sunlight exposure than do lighter skinned people), use of sunscreen, weight, age, diet, digestion, etc. Blood testing is recommended to find out what your levels of Vitamin D are and to monitor therapy. The test you want your doctor to run is called 25-hydroxy-Vitamin D.

Having adequate levels of Vitamin D is one of the biggest factors in preventing a wide variety of serious diseases. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common; in fact, most people are deficient, especially in the wintertime. Blood testing is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to find out what your levels are. And supplementation with Vitamin D is a very inexpensive and easy way to help ensure optimal health.

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I’ve compiled 3 more days of what I plan eat.  I’ll shop for these ingredients tonight so I have them on hand in the coming days, but what I acutally eat might be different.  I plan on making plenty of Black Bean Soup and a couple of the other recipes, so if I get home late or don’t feel like preparing a lunch to take to work, I’ll eat left-overs.  Here’s my menu (and let me know what you think via the Comments):

 

 

Breakfast: Mediclear Smoothie

Mid-morning Snack: 1 apple

Lunch: Beet Salad (see Handout) AND Quinoa Pilaf (see HO) AND Oven Roasted Chicken (left over from last night’s dinner)

Mid-afternoon Snack: Celery sticks with Almond Butter AND Grapes AND 2 scoops Mediclear in Juice or water

Dinner: 4 oz. Baked Salmon AND ½ c. basmati brown rice AND ½ baked sweet potato with 1 tsp maple syrup AND ½ cup snow peas, sautéed with garlic and oil

Thursday

 

Breakfast: Mediclear Smoothie

Mid-morning snack: 1 banana with almond butter

Lunch: 2 scoops Mediclear in water or juice AND Mixed Green Salad with shredded carrot, cucumber slices, walnut halves, and olive oil and organic apple cider vinegar vinaigrette.

Mid-afternoon snack: raw vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.) and Bean Dip (see recipe in Handout)

Dinner: Mediclear in water or juice AND Black Bean Soup (see recipe in Handout) AND 1 cup steamed cauliflower with olive oil, salt, and pepper

Friday

 

Breakfast: Mediclear Smoothie

Mid-morning Snack: 1 pear or apple AND 1 handful almonds or cashews

Lunch: 2 scoops Mediclear in juice or water AND Chickpea Mango Salad (see recipe in Handout) AND ½ cup quinoa or basmati rice w/ drizzled olive oil and/or tamari

Mid-afternoon Snack: raw vegetables and bean dip from yesterday’s snack

Dinner: 2 scoops Mediclear in juice or water AND Quinoa Stir Fry

 


1/3 cup quinoa 4 large Kale leaves, chopped

2/3 cup plus ½ cup filtered water 2 large carrots, chopped

1/8 tsp salt 2 cups chpped broccoli (heads and stem)

1 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp sesame oil

¼ tsp mustard seeds Dash of sea salt or wheat-free tamari

½ tsp whole cumin seeds ¼ cup raisins and/or ¼ cup chopped

1 med. onion, chopped almonds (optional) for garnish

In a smaill saucepan, bring quinoa and 2/3 cup cwater, and 1/8 tsp salt to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a deep, large pan over medium heat, sauté mustard and cumin seeds in olive oil until mustard seeds pop. Add onions, and sauté on low heat until onions soften.

Immediately add kale, carrots, broccoli, and ½ cup filtered water. Saute 3 – 5 minutes on low to medium heat, till the vegetables are crips-tender. Add remaining ingredients; combine all in a large bowl with cooked quinoa.

That’s all for now.  Let me know how things are going for you.

Eric Nissen, ND

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