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Dr. Robert Gatis Naturopath

The company Mind & Body Miracles is the brainchild of Dr. Robert L. Gatis, B.Sc., N.D., MCHt., FAARFM, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine,  Certified Master Hypnotherapist (Biomedical)and Fellow in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine.  Throughout his career, Dr. Gatis has come to the realization that the impact of the Mind on the Body is most often forgotten or ignored by medical professionals when, in fact, the Mind has a tremendous impact on the evolution of the disease process – and the person’s ability to heal.

 

Our mission is to provide reputable services, products and health information – focusing on the interaction of Mind and Body – to enable you, the consumer, to make appropriate decisions about your health goals and the means to achieve them.  Enjoy our site and Enjoy good health!

Why Do I Keep Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night?

I have many patients who have “trouble sleeping”.  For some this means a problem falling asleep, but, for many, they say that they keep waking up in the middle of the night.  We know that we, as humans, usually have four to five REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement)sleep cycles every night.  At the end of each cycle it is typical to briefly awaken before going into the next cycle.  Four to six of these “nocturnal awakenings” are considered normal.  This means that nobody actually sleeps through the night.   You should be able to go back to sleep.

The question should actually be….why can’t I go back to sleep after a sleep cycle?  There are many of these “sleep stealers” that can prevent us from falling back to sleep.  I will now talk about nine of these stealers of a good night’s sleep.

Sleep Stealer No. 1:  Having a Thyroid Problem.

The thyroid gland regulates metabolism.  An overactive thyroid gland can cause adrenaline surges leading to feelings of anxiety – which, in turn, can lead to insomnia.  Over the age of 50 – especially in women – hypothyroidism, or a lower-functioning thyroid, is more common.  Women are up to 8 times more prone to thyroid problems than men and 60% of insomnia is thyroid-related.

Sleep Stealer No. 2:  Mild Depression.

Interestingly, hypothyroid individuals also manifest depression tendencies.  Depression of any type (major or minor) and insomnia tend to go together.  17% of women who have insomnia also have mild depression.  Their depression symptoms (negative thoughts, excessive worry, lack of energy and body aches) are less severe than with major depression so these women are less likely to be diagnosed with sleep issues.

It is difficult to figure out which came first.  Did the depression cause the sleep issues, or did the sleep issues cause the depression symptoms?

Sleep Stealer No. 3:  Sleep Apnea

Most people think that sleep apnea is mainly an overweight male thing with snoring as the cardinal sign.  Research actually shows that 17 % of women are likely to have sleep apnea – but 85% of the cases go undiagnosed.  As women age, especially going through menopause, they are just as likely as men to have sleep apnea – even if they are at a healthy weight (Dr. Rafael Pelayo, MD of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Centre).  This may bring up the question of whether sleep apnea and sleep problems are related to changes in estrogen or progesterone levels.  Low progesterone is, in my opinion, can be just as much a factor in women as the possibility of low estrogen.

Women are also more likely to develop symptoms related to being sleep deprived – such as difficulty find the right word, clumsiness, fatigue, depression or anxiety.

Sleep Stealer No. 4:  Acid Reflux/Hiatus Hernia

Acid from the stomach can back up from the stomach into the esophagus – leading to heartburn or a muscular reflex reaction to attempt to get rid of it e.g., coughing.  Either way, it can cause you to wake up and have problems going back to sleep.  Individuals with Chronic reflux are twice-as-likely to have problems with sleeping.

Sleep Stealer No. 5:  Alcohol before bed

Alcohol before bed is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, having more alcohol than your liver can process leads to a temporary increase in the Blood Alcohol Level.  This increase can actually help you to fall asleep – due to its sedative effect on the brain.  The drawback is that the sleep produced as you metabolize that alcohol over the next few hours disrupts the REM sleep – which is the most restful sleep.  This lack of REM sleep will make the second half of the night’s sleep restless and fragmented.

Sleep Stealer No. 6:  Vitamin D Deficiency

The Harvard School of Public Health found that 12 percent of individuals with low vitamin D slept for less than 5 hours per night, and 57% of were awake for 90 minutes or more in the middle of the night.

Vitamin D acts like a hormone as well as a vitamin and appears to have an effect on the parts of the brain that have a role in sleep production.

Sleep Stealer No. 7:  Exposure to Light After Sundown (Melatonin deficiency)

“Exposing eyes to light during the evening stops the body from making melatonin, the sleep hormone” says Dr. Richard Hansler, PhD at John Carroll University.  The blue light from smart phones is the most problematic.  Electronic devices are potent sleep disrupters.

Sleep Stealer No. 8:  Stress

The stress response or the “fight-or flight” response activates the parts of the brain associated with attention and arousal i.e, it is designed to keep you awake.  Chronic stress can cause stress-related insomnia.  From a naturopathic perspective, chronic stress can also lead to adrenal fatigue or hypocortisolism (adrenal underfunctioning). In the early stages of stress, the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released which are energizing –but both of these hormones increase urine flow.   If the secretion of these hormones continues at night, the sleep architecture is often compromised and you get up more at night to urinate.

Sleep Stealer No. 9:  Nocturia due to Adrenal Fatigue/Low Aldosterone

Getting up at night to urinate – even if you have limited your fluid intake before bed and if it is unrelated to medical conditions like benign prostatic hypertrophy or  infection – may mean that your balance of water and electrolytes if off.  With adrenal fatigue, the hormone aldosterone is undersecreted which causes the body to increase urine production by eliminating sodium – including during the night.  In someone with later stage adrenal fatigue, nocturia due to the lack of salt is common (lack of aldosterone).  In other words, if you are in adrenal fatigue and if you consume water without enough salt, your body may try to maintain osmotic balance by getting rid of some of the water – which wakes you up to urinate.

So what do you do to determine the cause of why you can’t easily fall back to sleep:

  1.  Have a thyroid panel done by your N.D. or M.D.;
  2.  Talk to your healthcare provider about feelings of depression and anxiety;
  3. Have a sleep apnea screen if warranted;
  4. Have your hormonal levels or hormonal metabolites checked in saliva or urine (not blood alone after menopause) e.g. estrogen, progesterone and a  4 – point cortisol;
  5. Don’t eat past 7 p.m., stop drinking alcohol several hours before bed;
  6. Have your Vitamin D level checked;
  7. Put your electronic devices away at least one hour before bed;
  8. Potentially have your melatonin level checked and supplement, if necessary;
  9. Reduce your stress level;  practice mindfulness and meditation;
  10. Correct Adrenal Fatigue/Hypocortisolism if warranted

Until next time…Remember…Your Body is the Matter of Your Mind – so be Mindful of what matters In Your Body.

Dr. G

Trying To Lose Weight? Don’t Forget The Protein

I fell into the trap. When I started the Intermittent Fasting Regime – which is really just following what nature provided – I lost weight with very little effort.  No calorie counting as long as I kept my food – and especially my carb consumption – between 9pm and 5pm and ate mainly ‘keto’ for breakfasts and dinner. This, I assume allowed my body to enter ketosis (or fat burning) for a few hours in the morning and the resulting fat loss (as indicated by my BMI scale). But – after about a month – I was feeling tired and drained most of the time and angry.

My sleep patterns were also affected.  I was feeling down and sleeping more than normal – or was waking up more often at night. Then some personal stress happened.  I started to eat carbs outside the 9-5 window and began to feel better. I am a carb-stress eater anyway. The result is that I gained some of the weight back – but I felt better. I can hear some of you saying and pointing a  finger….see….see….carbs are good. Good for the brain, perhaps, but not the waistline. At least for me, more carbs means more insulin.  And more insulin means more visceral fat.  So what to do?

eating protein for weight loss

Looking back, I had fallen into a “mind trap”.  My mind has been programmed to accept the belief that in order to lose weight, I have to severely cut calories.  In other words, in order to lose weight you have to eat less overall – rather than just restricting carbohydrates.  I began to realize that I had not been eating enough food during the 12 hours that I could be i.e., 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To make things worse, I wasn’t eating enough protein either – and this is rather critical.  Protein is broken down into amino acids – the building blocks of life.  The two amino acids that are the most important, in my mind, are tyrosine and tryptophan.  Many of the amino acids, including these two, are converted into neurotransmitters.

Tryptophan is an essential amino acids and is the precursor to serotonin. Serotonin has many functions in the body and brain in particular. This critical neurotransmitter affects mood, desire, sexual function, appetite, sleep, memory, learning, temperature regulation, the cardiovascular system, the endocrine system and the muscles.  Symptoms of serotonin deficiency in the brain include:  depression, OCD, anxiety, panic attacks and excessive anger.

It is well-known that carbohydrates – especially sugar and starches – raise the serotonin level. This is why people with low serotonin levels often crave carbohydrate – rich foods and eat them compulsively.  Carbohydrates temporarily raise serotonin levels and make you feel better. I will attest to this. The problem is, that shortly after carbohydrate consumption, serotonin levels drop dramatically creating more drowsiness, hostility, anxiety and depression.  Another way to say this is that increasing carbohydrate intake is not advisable nor the cure. So what is?

eating protein for weight loss

I believe that the answer is protein. Due to the “mind trick” I mentioned before, my protein consumption also was restricted as was my food intake, in general. Restricted protein means less amino acids, including tryptophan. Less tryptophan means less serotonin, and less serotonin affects mood, sleep and energy.

Protein around 25 -30 percent of total daily calories has been shown to boost metabolism by up to 80 – 100 calories per day, compared to low protein diets. A higher metabolism means more fat burning. Protein keeps you feeling full much better than either fat or carbohydrates (one study in obese men showed that protein at 25% of calories increased feelings of fullness, reduced the desire for late-night snacking by half and reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%)

Another study showed that women who increased their protein intake to 30% of total calories ate 441 fewer calories per day and lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks – simply by adding more protein to their diets.

Older adults, like me, have significantly-increased protein needs – up to 50% higher than the DRI (daily recommended intake) – which is also concerning.

In Summary,

  1. Carbohydrate cravers may be tryptophan/serotonin deficient;
  2. Increasing carbohydrate consumption can temporarily make you feel better but will cause weight gain due to the insulin effect;
  3. Adding more protein to your diet (especially tryptophan-containing foods) will potentially increase your serotonin level and make you feel better without having to indulge in sweet/starch binging. Eating more protein should  keep you feeling full longer and reduce your calorie intake naturally;
  4. Increasing your protein makes it potentially easier to stick to any weight loss diet;
  5. A protein intake of around 30% of total calories may be optimal for weight loss.

Feel free to subscribe to my channel and be notified of future videos.  An apple, and a video-a-day, just may keep the doctor away!

Until next time,

Dr. G

Remember  the Body is the Matter of  Mind – So Pay Attention To What Matters To Your Body.

 

Alkalinity and Candida: Considerations When Doing the Ketogenic Diet or the Intermittent Ketosis Diet

One of the main tenets of the Naturopathic approach to healing is making the body more alkaline.  A body that is more alkaline tends to resist viral attack and tends to heal more efficiently.  In order for the Ketogenic Diet (or the Paleo Diet, or the Intermittent Ketosis Diet) to assist the body in healing, it should be “alkaline- reacting”.

Dr. Vincent Pedre, M.D. from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, for example, says alkaline eating reduces the risk of cancer.  He states that most tumors that are solid thrive on glucose.  Since an alkaline diet is relatively low in glucose, it deprives solid tumors of their fuel.

Published research in Nutrition & Metabolism suggests that tumors love an acidic environment – and,   findings in Cancer Research, indicate that a low-acid environment in the body potentially halts the spread of cancer cells. A study from Thailand indicates that the body can become acidic in just one week.   If this preliminary research is true, then we should all be eating more alkaline – regardless of what dietary regimen we adhere to.

What about the Ketogenic Diet then?  On the one hand, it severely limits sugar and carbohydrates – which would lower the acidic load and making the body more alkaline.  What I have found, however, is that most individuals, myself included, who are attempting to eat “keto” tend to concentrate on the protein and fat components of the ketogenic regime with less than optimal intake of fruits and vegetables.  Since fruits and vegetables are required to keep the body alkaline, it is estimated that you would have to eat 10 fruits and vegetables per day.  I haven’t read this book yet, but Ross Bridgeford has a new book out called “The Alkaline Reset Cleanse”-which may be a good resource for those of you who are interested.

The other problem that most of us over 40 have is a sluggish digestive system – which tends to be more acidic – from a lifetime of acidic foods.  This leads to a maladapted gut microbiome and an increased growth in organisms that thrive in an acid environment.

Meat is also an acidic-reacting food as are sugar and carbohydrates.

Researchers at Purdue University cut their subject’s total caloric intake by 30% then put them on either a high plant protein or low plant protein/animal-based diet.  Those subjects who ate more plant protein i.e., beans (which were prepared to eliminate the lectins), lentils and peas lost 325% more weight than those eating animal-based protein.  Plant-based protein is high in fiber – which promotes a healthy gut bacteria diversity and number.

Which brings us to our second point.  Candida albicans – a gut fungal commensal parasitic organism – thrives in an acid environment.  It disrupts our normal microbiome.  Even when a woman follows the ketogenic diet, for example, and does “everything right” weight loss can plateau.  This is often due to the Candida organism which may have extended beyond the gut affecting the liver and the thyroid – which stalls metabolism.

Candida organisms produce more than 75 known toxins. To protect the vital organisms, the body produces new fat cells to store the excess toxins. Tumeric and Curcumin are essential, in my mind, for anyone on low carbohydrate diet, including the ketogenic diet because it is possible that the “ketogenic flu” is just a manifestation of Candida die-off and the release of the candida toxins from the fat stores.   250 mcg of molybdenum per day as a supplement can reduce this effect.

Curcumin kills Candida, shuts off its repair cycle and reduces the candida’s ability to adhere to the body cells.  In addition, curcumin can repair candida-damaged liver tissue, and can cause fat cells to self-destruct and halt the development of new fat stores.  All it takes is to add 1 tsp of turmeric to foods per day (or 1,000 mg of Curcumin in supplemental form).  FYI, Curcumin is up to 10 times more effective when taken in tandem with Vitamin C or Vitamin-containing foods.

In Summary,

When on the Ketogenic Diet:

  1. Alkalize the diet by concentrating on increasing the alkaline-reacting foods –especially the alkaline superstars: kale, cucumber, broccoli, celery, avocado, watercress;
  2. Explore Plant-Based Protein sources and make them a priority i.e., eat more of them in the ketogenic eating plan;
  3. Add turmeric to the diet or take curcumin as a supplement to kill any candida overgrowth and prevent a weight loss plateau – especially if you are female. Remember to take vitamin C or a vitamin-containing food at the same time (bell peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower or Brussel sprouts)
  4. Take 250mcg of molybdenum per day to reduce the ketogenic “flu”.

Until next time,

Dr. G

The 12-Hour Intermittent Ketosis Eating Plan

Integrating the Ketogenic Diet with Intermittent Fasting:

I am all for losing weight/fat mass and reducing your percent body fat – especially visceral fat.  The problem is that most people – including myself – have trouble following a rigid diet of any sort.  I, also refuse to count calories – carbohydrate or otherwise – so how can I ask my patients to do it if I won’t.  The diet for life or eating plan for life for me must be effective yet simple.

Previously, we discussed the benefits of intermittent fasting – which I call Intermittent Ketosis.

When fat has already been stored in the body e.g., the belly fat, it is very difficult to shift it – unless the body is in ketosis.  Ketosis occurs when the body has used up its glucose and most of its glycogen.  When this occurs, the body shifts to fat burning for energy and produces ketones (hence the turn ketosis).

Ketones can be used for fuel instead of glucose when the body is burning fat.  This is why the Ketogenic diet can produce impressive fat loss.  The Ketogenic Diet can be great for weight loss, but staying in a chronic ketosis state is NOT optimal or realistic for anybody to follow in the long term.  I would say the same thing about the Paleo Diet and other severe carbohydrate-restrictive diets, by-the-way.

So what is the solution?  I believe that Intermittent Fasting is the way that humans have been physiologically – designed to eat.  I am uncertain whether the 8 – Hour eating window and the 16 hour fast is optimal but it does work in humans as well as animals.  The mechanism is a simple one, I think.  Eating over an 8 hour time period not only restricts the total food intake, it, more importantly, also limits carbohydrate ingestion to 8 hours.  Voluntary Fasting and fasting while we sleep will eventually burn off the glucose and glycogen to the point that the body will automatically shift into fat burning/ketone-producing mode.  If this is the case, we should be able to combine the Ketogenic Diet with Intermittent Fasting relatively easily – since the Ketogenic Diet is already carbohydrate restricted.  It also has a high intake of good fats. For the record, we could also combine it with Paleo or other carbohydrate restriction diet.

What I am proposing is carbohydrate restriction for 16 hours i.e., eating carbs over an 8 hour window and using a Ketogenic eating approach to maintain ketosis for four more hours – for a total of 12 hours.  This also follows the light-dark cycle.

For example, if my carbohydrate eating time was 9 am to 5 p.m., I could eat ketogenically between 7 and 9 a.m. and 5 and 7 p.m.  I could have a ketogenic breakfast after waking up, have my carbs during the day then have a ketogenic dinner to begin the process of entering into ketosis before sleep.  Remember that none of you should be eating anything after 7 p.m.  I think that I will call this the 12-hour Intermittent Keto Diet.

As resources, I am using “The Eight Hour Diet” by David Zinczenko and the “Bulletproof Diet” by Dave Asprey   (The latter book is really close to ideal, since it appears to be a modified ketogenic diet approach that also includes intermittent fasting to a certain extent).  He uses the bulletproof coffee to extend the night fast by about 4 hours in the morning).  Both of these authors are really into research and documentation.

In order to monitor your progress, you should take some initial physical measurements – like chest, waist and hip size, and upper arms.  It is most important to assess your percent body fat and your lean muscle mass. This is most easily accomplished by any BIA or Body Impedance Analysis device.  Many scales have this ability.  Any weight loss must not be from lean muscle.

In summary, then,

  1. For an eating plan to work, it has to be simple, effective and non-depriving. Since we all have to eat, when we eat and what we eat is of paramount primary importance.  We can augment the plan with exercise, mindfulness and stress reduction and so on.
  1. Ketosis is necessary for losing stored fat weight. Remember that weight does not reflect body composition.  You can gain overall weight and lose fat (think bodybuilder) – so don’t obsess over the scale.  Make sure that your lean muscle mass is stable or increasing as your percent body fat and fat mass goes down.
  1. With the 12-Hour Intermittent Ketosis Eating Plan, carbohydrate intake is restricted to an eight hour period. Personally, I have chosen 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. as my 8 hour peiod.  Between  7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. I will eat ketogenically – if I eat anything at all.
  1. Do not eat anything after 7 p.m.

Until next time,

Dr. G

Intermittent Fasting: Is it good for women?

Intermittent Fasting has many supposed benefits – a major one being weight loss.  Thanks to one of my patients, it was brought to my attention that Intermittent Fasting has potentially-different effects on men versus women e.g., having effects on the menstrual cycle.

As most of you know, IF doesn’t tell you what to eat as much as when to eat.  The idea is that short-term fasting is healthy – and for the most part, this appears to be the case.  As with anything else in life, however, IF is not good for everyone at all times, and women, in particular, at certain times in life e.g., pregnancy or when stressed.

The problem with the literature is two-fold:  1)  there is no standardization as to what IF regime they are studying.  For example, most of the literature that I reviewed uses “alternate-day” fasting as the benchmark.  Other IF regimes, like the Crescendo Method (fasting 12-16 hours for 2-3 days per week e.g., Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or the 5:2 Diet ( fasting for two days per week, restricting your calories to 25% of your usual intake) have not been extensively studied, and 2)  most of the studies have been done on mice/rats.

Many women have reported that certain types of intermittent fasting has caused sleeplessness, anxiety and irregular periods.  There is also a physiological state called “metabolic distress” – which involves the activation of the “hypocretin neurons” in the hypothalamus (this happens when the body perceives that it is in a “starved” state).  It is well-known that caloric restriction beyond a certain level i.e., starvation is terrible for a woman’s reproductive system and can create hypothalamic amenorrhea or the shutdown of periods, for example.

Fat stores are very important to maintain regular menstrual cycles.  This is why women have more fat under the skin than men.  It is also why women get cellulite and men, for the most part, don’t.

If we use the alternate day IF regime in female rats, the result is clear.  “For female rats, the degree of change in brain chemistry and in behaviour was directly proportional to degree of calorie intake, demonstrating the unique sensitivity of female rats to the starvation response”.  Interestingly, both female and male rats gained small amounts of weight on the alternate-day IF diet, and male rats became more fertile (while female rats became infertile).  For female rats, even a 20% caloric restriction increased the proportion of animals “displaying irregular cycling patterns” At 40% CR the major of the female rats ceased to cycle at all.  If we extrapolate to human females, CR increases the likelihood of irregular periods or the cessation of periods.

Human studies have shown that:

  1. Alternate-day fasting can create harmful metabolic effects in women;
  2. Alternate-day fasting did NOT improve insulin sensitivity in women (as it did in men);
  3. Alternate-day fasting had an unfavourable effect on glucose tolerance in non-obese as compared to obese women;
  4. Overweight and obese women appear to have some significant improvements with IF regimes, but normal weight women may not.

For those of you who have seen my previous blog on IF, I believe that we have to “follow the light”.  Our circadian rhythms are tied in to the light dark cycle on a twenty-four hour clock.  When it comes to eating we, as humans, are only meant to eat between sunrise and sundown – and to rest and restore between sundown and sunrise.  Our dependence on artificial light devices like tablets and cell phones has disrupted our internal regulation.     Intermittent Fasting should follow these cycles.

Intermittent Fasting to me is not Caloric restriction but Carbohydrate Restriction.  The IF schedule for me is to restrict carbohydrate consumption to 8 hours in the day in order to flip into fat burning mode.  Carbohydrate Restriction is NOT Calorie Restriction – unless all your calories are coming from carbohydrates.  Consuming carbohydrates is far too easy.  This is a problem, because most of us are not used to getting our calories from good proteins, non-starchy vegetables and fats.

I have found some glitches, however.  I have subconsciously accepted the notion that to lose weight you have to calorie restrict – so I found myself eating less than normal during the day which affected my energy levels dramatically (and not in a good way).  The point of IF is to enter ketosis for several hours to force the body to use fat stores for fuel not to reduce calories or “starve” yourself.

In addition, certain individuals have trouble digesting and metabolizing fats.  Not only do they have to learn to eat better sources of good fats, they may have to take digestive enzymes to help digest the fats then optimize the fatty acid metabolism by using certain supplements.  CoQ10 is one of these supplements (which is low in 50% of individuals who are overweight).

I have also found that stress kills the effect of IF.  Stress increases cortisol levels which releases glucose from the liver into the blood.  More glucose in the blood releases insulin.  More insulin takes excess carbohydrates and stores them as fat.  To allow the IF regime to work, stress levels must be controlled – and this is especially true for women.

Intermittent Fasting for women in summary

  1. Women are different than men in their reactions to IF;
  2. Obese women may benefit from IF more than non-obese women;
  3. Women should probably not use the alternate-day IF regimen, or any IF regimen that involves fasting for 24 hours;
  4. If you are female, Do NOT caloric restrict in general more than 10% of total calories. Female bodies are extremely sensitive to caloric restriction;  Make sure that you have an adequate caloric intake during the non-fasting times;
  5. If possible, substitute good fats for carbohydrates to a large extent – if you are attempting to lose weight;
  6. If you cheat, cheat ketogenically – to maintain the carbohydrate restriction of 8 hours i.e., eat proteins and good fats;
  7. If you are pregnant or planning to be, are breast-feeding or have any medical condition involving disruptions in glucose (like hypoglycemia) or in fat metabolism, or have an eating disorder, sleep problems or are chronically stressed, please discuss your situation with your health care provider before starting a fasting regimen of any type.

Dr. G

Intermittent Fasting: WHEN we eat is as important as WHAT we eat

Weight Loss is a funny thing.  Science tells us that you must either:  restrict calories to less than your basal metabolism, or expend energy over-and-above your basal metabolism to lose weight.  Caloric restriction has also been linked to a longer life.  The problem is…caloric restriction doesn`t work in the real world for an extended period of time.  Humans are humans and deprivation of calories is simply unsustainable.  First of all, you have to be aware of how many calories you take in i.e., you have to count your calories and you have to have the knowledge of how many calories you burn during daily activities.  I don`t know about you, but this sounds like a lot of work.

Studies have shown that the more rigid your diet plan is, the higher your BMI tends to be – not to mention how depressed you were likely to feel.

We all know that fat – especially visceral fat around our midsections – has the potential to create health problems.  There must be a way to lose that weight in an easier way.

In one of the previous blogs, I mentioned that our bodies have internal Biological Clocks which are involved in hormonal regulation, detoxification AND fat burning.   These Biological Clocks are synchronized to the Light-Dark cycle.  Another way to state this is that the Light-Dark cycle influences the Biological Clocks or circadian rhythms  which in turn regulate hormones, detoxification and fat burning.  It would make sense, then, to pay attention to how our bodies are synchronized to light.

During daylight hours the light enters the eyes and influences energy production  for thinking, movement and so on.  At night it goes into detoxification mode.  In a simple sense, we really shouldn`t be eating after the sun goes down.  After 8 p.m., the body wants to eliminate toxins rather than process more food.  Is it possible that our obesity epidemic is, in part, related to the fact that we have artificial light and tend to eat for too long i.e., beyond sundown?  Yes, it is.

Dr. S. Panda, PhD, from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, says that “where there are more lights there is more diabetes”.  His hypothesis is that it is the extension of the day using artificial light over the last 50 years has lead to an artificial extension of our feeding times – contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

intermittent fasting

Dr. Panda divided mice into two groups:  the first group could eat anything they wanted at any time during 24 hours;  the second group could eat as much as they wanted, but only within an 8-hour time frame.  The study length was 100 days.  The first group gained weight.  The mice who were allowed to eat whatever they wanted, but only during the set period of time (eight hours) lost weight.

When the scientists working on  this project saw the results they were keen to try it out themselves – and the results were the same.  Restricting eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 produces the same results i.e., intermittent fasting facilitates weight loss.  The reverse is apparently true…the longer we stretch out our eating cycle, the fatter we get.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 compared two subject groups:

  • The first ate all their calories in three meals spread out over the day;
  • The second practiced intermittent fasting, eating the exact same number of calories but in a restricted 8 – hour time frame.

The second group (IF) had a significant modification of body composition including reductions in fat mass.  Apparently, restricting the time-period during which you eat revs up your metabolism and causes your body to burn more calories throughout the day.

The Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center found that eating the same number of calories, just in a limited period of time, resulted in a significant modification of body composition, including reductions of fat mass”.

In addition, Scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center in Utah compared blood samples of men after 24 hours of fasting versus men after a day of normal eating.  The level of HBH (Human Growth Hormone) were 20 times higher in the fasted subjects.  This is important because HGH protects lean muscle mass and regulates metabolism.

In the journal Obesity Reviews in 2011, intermittent fasting had the same effect on weight loss and fat loss as cutting calories but was more effective in maintaining muscle mass.

Melatonin, the sleep chemical is also involved somehow. When we use artificial light sources, including our cell phones and laptops at night, there is a hormonal backlash.  Melatonin is suppressed.  When melatonin is suppressed your appetite is stimulated as more ghrelin is made and leptin output is lowered so you don`t feel full.  No melatonin means more munchies.

A 2007 Canadian study found that people who slept only 5 or 6 hours per night increase their likelihood of being overweight by 69% as compared to the 7-8 hours per night sleepers.

Intermittent fasting gives the body a break from using glucose as the major substrate for fuel in the glycolysis cycle.   Restriction of carbohydrates allows the body to switch to fat burning rather than glucose burning.  It is my impression that Intermittent fasting is really Intermittent Ketosis.  Those of us who are carrying more weight around our middle than optimal need to enter this state in order to shift stored fat – especially visceral fat.  It makes sense to me that combining the ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting makes the most sense.

In summary, then….

  • Practice Intermittent Fasting by limiting your food intake to eight hours;
  • Do not eat past 7 p.m. at night and especially no carbohydrates;
  • Do not use your laptop or phone after sundown and especially not before bed;

Perhaps take melatonin as a supplement – if tolerated and under the direction of a health professional.

Dr. G Signature

Cures For The Three Types of Snoring

Men snore and women snore (contrary to what they might say, as 64% of women by the age of 50 do).  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine claims that snoring reduces daytime productivity by 34%.  Snoring deprives the brain of oxygen leading to an increased risk of headaches, weight gain, HBP and injuries – in addition to daytime fatigue and brain fog.

You may have to ask your partner which of the three types of snoring you create – or identify your particular snoring type with an app like “SnorLab” on Google Play.

Here are the three types of snoring:

Snore softly & consistently

This type usually occurs when the breathing passages have been narrowed due to

what type of snoring do you do?

What type of snoring do you do?

inflammation, cold or allergies.  Breathing can vibrate the tissues in the sinus cavities and produce a “rumbling snore”.

Solution: Using a Neti Pot to wash out the sinuses, perhaps use a few drops of Golden Seal/Hydrastis tincture in the water.  You can also use a nasal dilator to increase the diameter of the nostrils or nasal strips.

Snore Loudly and in Spurts

This type is due to the relaxation of the mouth and jaw muscles allowing the jaw to shift slightly backwards.  This type of snoring may be aggravated lying on your back.

Solution: Use a mouth guard or other device to move your chin forward and stabilize the tongue.  Try sleeping on your side rather than on your back.

Snoring Loudly , Pausing and Gasping

This type is typical of individuals with sleep apnea – where breathing stops for 10 to 20 seconds and then you may gasp for a breath.  Sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and stroke.

Solution: Be assessed for sleep apnea at a specialty clinic and the possible need for a CPAP machine.  There are tongue exercises to train the tongue to keep the airways open at night Stevin Lin, DDS says that research indicates oral tongue exercises reduces severe apnea by 50%.

I have long thought that snoring as we get older may have something to do with thyroid function – which would explain the increase in snoring as women get older.

Another possibility is a drop in melatonin.   Apparently looking at your phone, ipad or laptop before bed reduces your melatonin by 30%.  It’s time to go back to reading before sleep.  According to the University of Sussex in the U.K., reading reduces the stress levels and cortisol by 68%. – which could benefit the thyroid in a good way.  The thyroid requires just the right amount of cortisol to function.  It is like the three bears not too hot, not too cold but just right.

Summary:

  1. Determine your snoring type and try out some of the cures;
  2. Be medically assessed, if necessary – especially for sleep apnea;

If the snoring continues:

  1. Have your thyroid checked;
  2. Have your blood sugar checked;
  3. Have a four point cortisol check (saliva or urine).

WATCH DR. G’S MEDICAL MUSING The Three Types of Snoring and Their Possible Cures’

We are trying to capture these FB lives and either put them on the website (drgatis.com) or have them imbedded in an email so interested people can receive them on a Saturday morning.

Until next time….

What Type of Alzheimer’s Disease Might You Develop?

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease is not easy.  The symptoms (forgetfulness, fuzzy thinking, confusion, changes in behaviour or personality) are common to other conditions – including other forms of dementia, stroke, sleep problems, hormonal changes, complications of the aging process and reactions to certain medications.

We do know that there is an association with amyloid plaques and the tau protein in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  It is an association, however, and not causation.  99% of the drugs targeting the amyloid plaques have failed i.e., are useless in managing or reversing the disease.

A 2011 review in Lancet Neurology indicated that there are many possible “drivers” that may contribute to the development of the disease – chronic stress, lack of exercise, lack of restorative sleep, insulin resistance and diabetes, low kidney function, high blood pressure, inflammations from infections and environmental toxins, poor nutrition, small strokes, CVD, concussions, genetics (having the ApoE4 gene), lack of social connection and lack of mental stimulation.   Scientist Leroy Hood says that Alzheimer’s is “a really complex disease that has been utterly intractable” and that taking a systems approach “reflects my own conviction that these complex diseases almost never respond to a single drug”

Professor of Neurology at UCLA, Dr. Dale Bredesen, believes that Alzheimer’s is Preventing Alzheimer's Disease“triggered by a broad range of factors that upset the body’s natural process of cell turnover and renewal.”  After nearly 30 years of research he has identified more than three dozen mechanisms that amplify the biological processes that drive the disease.  These factors are not enough by themselves but in combination, have a cumulative effect resulting in the destruction of neurons and a disruption in the signaling between neurons.  “Normally, synapse-forming and synapse-destroying activities are in dynamic equilibrium” says Dr. Bredesen.

Dr. Bredesen also believes that Alzheimer’s Disease has three subtypes – each driven by different biological processes with each subtype requiring a customized treatment program.

So What Type of Alzheimer’s might you get?

Subtype No. 1 is associated with systemic Inflammation.  As you probably know, chronic systemic inflammation is persistent, low-grade inflammation that is ongoing.  Chronic inflammation is considered a precursor to accelerated aging and disease and has been linked to memory loss and cognitive decline.  It stands to reason that – if you have raised systemic inflammatory markers in your blood – that you may have the tendency to this particular subtype.  Three of the markers for systemic inflammation are hsCRP, Ferritin and RDW (Red Blood Cell Width)  If any of these markers are chronically raised in the blood, there is a good chance that you have systemic inflammation and may have an increased chance of getting Alzheimer’s subtype No.1.

Alzheimer’s Subtype No. 2 appears to be related to the body’s handling of glucose.  It is characterized by Insulin Resistance and extremely low levels of certain vitamins and minerals, and hormones.  Blood values that may be important to be aware of include Fasting Blood Glucose, HbA1c and Serum Insulin (Serum Insulin is a marker for Insulin Resistance or may indicate a tendency towards chronic inflammation if the FBG and HbA1c are normal).  If combined with abdominal obesity, abnormal lipid levels and high blood pressure, the possibility of Type 2 Alzheimer’s later in life increases i.e., if you have Metabolic Syndrome.

Type 3 Alzheimer’s appears to be related to chronic exposure to environmental toxins like metals and moulds.  It is generally categorized by a specific type of brain atrophy seen on MRI.  It often occurs in younger individuals with no family history of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Bredesen has created his “Bredesen Protocol” designed to reverse chronic inflammation, decrease insulin resistance and avoid brain atrophy.  The salient points are as follows:

  • Eat a mostly plant-based diet – including broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and leafy greens like kale and spinach;
  • Restrict or avoid simple carbohydrates from the diet i.e., bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, candy and sodas.  Eliminate gluten and added sugar;
  • Avoid high mercury fish like tuna, shark and swordfish;
  • Practice at least 12 hours a day of intermittent fasting i.e., eat within a twelve-hour window and fast for the other twelve;
  • Optimize your sleep patterns and get at least eight hours per night;
  • Hydrate your body with water;
  • Do Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes five times per week;
  • Meditate and do yoga to relieve stress;
  • Do brain training exercises for 30 minutes three times-per-week.

My take on this very naturopathic protocol is:

  • Reduce inflammation that begins in the gut e.g., wheat/gluten triggers inflammation;
  • Increase anti-oxidant consumption through the diet and add anti-oxidant supplements to reduce oxidative stress;
  • Control your blood sugar to reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes through diet and increasing your chromium, manganese and molybdenum intake;
  • Exercise your body and your brain;

Listen in on my recent Facebook Live:

Until next time…

Dr. G

Nicotine Addiction Fact or Fiction Part Three

Smokers are in an addiction class all by themselves.  If you have read the previous two blogs you now know that smokers, in general, are dopamine deficient and are “psychologically” addicted to the “feeling good” effects of the dopamine release stimulated by nicotine.  You are also aware that will power has very little to do with the ability to stop smoking – because addictions tend to be regulated by the Subconscious Mind and the Right Brain.  The Subconscious Mind (which is like the hard drive on your computer) and the Right Brain set up set up the automatic and associative responses in the body.  In the case of a smoker, he or she has physical associations, like associating drinking alcohol and smoking, or taking a break and smoking, in addition to the addictive compulsions.  On top of this, the smoker over time also develops a subconscious belief or program that “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”.  Everyone is entitled to feel good – including smokers, of course – but the smoker’s mind is playing a trick.  If smoking is the only way that I can feel good, all other ways that could provoke the feeling good response become secondary.

For a smoker to quit smoking permanently, the individual must become a non-smoker (no

addiction) and an ex-smoker (no habitual associations).  In order to do this, the Subconscious Mind must be involved – since it creates these associations in the first place.  Will power for the chronic smoker, in my opinion, is useful but has very little to do with quitting in the long term.  The easiest way to access this part of the mind is to use the natural mind state called hypnosis.  It is a state that we use daily, but no one teaches you how to use it to our advantage.

Most smokers need subconscious help to quit permanently – since they have often tried to quit multiple times and failed.  Reprogramming must occur around self-esteem, creating health and motivation.  If someone has a faulty program, it must be identified and updated, or deleted and replaced in the Subconscious Mind- and this is especially true with smokers.  Everything that they believe smoking “gives” them is a lie.  Smoking has never given them anything that the non-smoker doesn’t already have.  If you have the conscious desire to give up the psychological addiction to smoking, or you know someone you care about who smokes, please consider the program that I have created called “Stop Killing Yourself:  21 Days to Your Last Cigarette”. It uses self-hypnosis to access the Subconscious Mind and establish new healthier programming.  It is time for smokers to reclaim their health.  It has recently come to my attention that many medical doctors are refusing to take on a new patients who smoke.  Is this because medical doctors consider patients who smoke to be on borrowed time?  Your body is a miracle.  Give it a fighting chance. Take the steps to quit smoking now.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Nicotine Addiction Fact or Fiction Part 2

In the first installment of “Nicotine Addiction – Fact or Fiction”,  I mentioned the following information about smokers which I believe are backed up by research in the area:  1)  Smokers are psychologically-addicted to the effects of nicotine rather than physically-addicted to nicotine – due to the effect on the neurotransmitter dopamine (the “feeling good” neurotransmitter);  2)  most chronic tobacco users who have trouble quitting are deficient in dopamine and were probably dopamine-deficient before they started smoking, and 3)  attempting to quit smoking soley by reducing the amount of nicotine over time – without taking other measures to increase dopamine levels – is almost impossible as a dopamine-deficient smoker will experience withdrawal symptoms in proportion to the lack of dopamine e.g., anxiety, irritability, depression.  We have all heard the expression “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  When it comes to dopamine, however, the consumption of beets has been shown to raise increase the production of serotonin and dopamine.  Perhaps a beet-a-day would keep the psychiatrist away – and help smokers to quit.

There is another side to the smokers dilemma.  All smokers associate cigarettes with Quitting smoking - male hand crushing cigaretteother activities like eating, drinking coffee or alcohol, driving and so on.  These are habitual associations.  As a Bio-medical hypnotherapist as well as an ND, I am aware that the subconscious mind has everything to do with creating and maintaining addictions and these habitual associations.  The Subconscious Mind is very strong.  In fact, the Subconscious Mind via its Right Brain Hemisphere connections runs all the “automatic” actions in the body below your conscious control. In other words, actions that you don’t have to think about that happen automatically.  The problem with the right brain is that it is based on emotions, not logic. The right brain and subconscious mind are like the hard drive on your computer.  It has all your beliefs about yourself and life, as well as the associations between thought forms and actions, but these beliefs and associations are not often logical and get acted upon anyway.

In the case of a chronic smoker, the primary associative belief is often “smoking is the ONLY way that I can feel good”.  If this associative belief remains active, unchallenged and unchanged, the right brain/subconscious mind has no choice but to continue the internal drive to smoke.  This is why the natural mind-state we call “hypnosis” can be beneficial – because it allows access to the subconscious mind and can eliminate these unwanted associations and beliefs.  I will have more to say about this in the final installment.

Until next time….be miraculous!

Dr. Gatis

Nicotine Addiction: Fact or Fiction?

This week is National Stop Smoking Week.   I have worked with many smokers and have some views on smoking that may be useful for those of you who currently smoke and would like to quit.  To this end, I will blog several times this week in order to give you information that you will find useful.

Addiction is defined by compulsive drug-seeking and abuse, even in the face of Healthy lung shape world design logo concept idea with love heart shape symbolic sign of women human hands on blur green natural clean air greenery background: Element of this image furnished by NASAnegative health consequences.  Smokers would definitely fall under this category – but what are they actually addicted to, and how are they addicted?  Smoking addiction is in a class by itself, in my opinion.  Smokers assume that they use tobacco products on a regular basis because they are addicted to nicotine.  The truth, however, is that they are not physically addicted to the effects of nicotine. They are addicted to the psychological effects of nicotine.  I first became aware of this fact when a woman who routinely smoked at least 2 packs a day got pregnant.  She immediately stopped smoking for the entire pregnancy with no cravings and no side-effects from stopping.  How is this possible?  If she had been addicted to heroin instead, it would have been virtually impossible without severe physical withdrawal symptoms.

Research indicates that nicotine acts on the brain’s reward pathways – and those involving the neurotransmitter dopamine.  Nicotine increases dopamine in the “reward” circuits.  All the effects that smokers attribute to nicotine are actually the result of dopamine stimulation in the brain.  Nicotine is rapidly distributed to the brain with peak levels occurring within 10 seconds of inhalation.

Nicotine is also rapidly eliminated from the body, so the nicotine-stimulating effect on dopamine is short.  In order to maintain the drug’s effects, the smoker has to take another nicotine “hit”.

The problem with smokers is that they are usually dopamine deficient to begin with – and nicotine makes them feel “good”. The unfortunate thing about most current treatments for nicotine addiction is that they concentrate on the supposed physical Cigarette stub with smokeeffects of nicotine withdrawal.  Take the patch, for example.  The patch is designed to give decreasing nicotine doses over time assuming that this will allow a smoker to “wean off” nicotine.  The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t give the smoker more dopamine I.e., it doesn’t address the dopamine deficiency.  A chronic smoker will actually experience symptoms relating to “not enough” dopamine  (irritability, craving, depression, anxiety, cognitive and attention deficits, sleep disturbances) rather than nicotine “withdrawal” symptoms. In order to quit smoking, the dopamine deficiency must be addressed.  If we can get the smoker’s brain to make more dopamine or find another way to stimulate dopamine release, then

Stopping smoking can become relatively easy – and I have never met a smoker who really didn’t want to quit.

Until the next installment…

Dr. Gatis

Pesticides Are Linked to Lower Sperm Counts

Arzt untersucht Tomaten mit Stethoskop auf Gefahr fr GesundheitA recent study by Jorge Chavarro, an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, published in Human Reproduction, found that men eating fruits and vegetables high in pesticide residues had lower sperm counts and more oddly-shaped sperm than those who had lower levels of dietary pesticide exposure.  Researchers classified the produce as high or low-to-moderate levels of pesticides.  The men who ate the high-pesticide fruits and vegetables had a 49% lower total sperm count and a 32% reduction in normally-shaped sperm as compare to the men eating the least amount of high-pesticide produce.

One study isn’t definitive proof of pesticide effects on sperm – but for those men demonstrating low sperm counts, it should be concerning.  It isn’t good enough to just eat 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables per day.  We all need to find ways to thoroughly wash the pesticides off the food we eat and/or eat organically, if possible.

Here are the fruits and vegetables that were tested ranked from highest level to lowest level of pesticide contamination:

  • Green, yellow and red peppers;
  • Spinach;
  • Strawberries;
  • Celery;
  • Blueberries;
  • Potatoes;
  • Peaches and plums;
  • Apples and pears;
  • Winter squash;
  • Kale, mustard greens and swiss chard;
  • Grapes and raisins

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Feeling “Beat”?  Eat Beets!

Beet root has an unusually high level of nitrates – which has been shown to boost both blood flow and stamina.  A research team from Queen Mary’s University in London (2010) and at the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Melbourne Australia (2012) both found that a glass of beet juice lowered blood pressure “significantly” for several hours.

Sport scientists at the University of Exeter in the UK found that two 2.5 oz shots of beet

Fresh beet on wooden background

juice taken two-and-a-half hours before exercising decreased the body’s oxygen consumption by as much as 3 %, thereby increasing the athlete’s stamina.

Wake Forest Translations Science Center in North Carolina found that consuming beet juice improved blood flow to the brain – and the frontal lobe in particular.  Since this is the region of the brain most affected in dementia patients, the consuming beets for their nitrate content and concomitant increase in brain blood flow may be of benefit.

In summary, if you are in need of a boost in energy, either physically or mentally, add beets to your smoothies in the morning!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Use It Or Lose It

No.  I am not talking about sex (although this may be true).  Brain cells need stimulation in order to “stay sharp”.  Regular brain exercise is as necessary as regular general bodily exercise.  Research from Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 800 older Americans over 4.5 years.  The individuals who challenged their brains several times per week had a 33% lower risk of Alzheimer’s than people who participated in brain-stimulating activities just several times a month.  Although I didn’t see bingo on the list, other activities included reading, doing puzzles, playing cards, doing crosswords and visiting museums.  Use them (brain cells) or lose them – does apply here.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis