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Is chronic inflammation making you feel depressed?

Is there a correlation between chronic inflammation and feeling depressed? Is inflammation good or bad? Can inflammation be reversed?

In my article  which was published in MDedge I discussed the connection between inflammation, depression and myriad other chronic diseases. 

Inflammation is a lifesaving reaction of your body’s immune system when it tries to fight off infection, heal injury or protect you from foreign invaders. Inflammation can be acute and chronic. Acute inflammation typically lasts only a few days. This response usually promotes healing, but if left uncontrolled may become harmful.

When your body’s immune system is trying to fight off life’s daily exposure to unhealthy food, environmental toxins, stressors, overgrowth of bad bacteria, parasites, low-grade infections, it puts your immune system in overdrive producing chronic low-grade inflammation. It becomes a chronic fire inside of your body which can destroy your body’s cells, including your mitochondria. When the mitochondria are not functioning properly, energy production and your metabolism decrease. Chronic inflammation interferes with the mitochondria’s ability to burn fat and makes fat loss very difficult.

Chronic inflammation was labeled a “Silent Killer” because it was linked to depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes, dementia, autoimmune conditions, cancer and virtually all chronic degenerative diseases.

Some other symptoms and signs of inflammation that is chronic include:

–   Fatigue
–   Joint pain
–   Rash
–   Acne
–   Brain fog
–   Poor memory
–   Flat mood 
–   Slowed thinking 

Chronic inflammation and Depression. 

Chronic inflammation interferes with the production of neurotransmitters including those that regulate how you feel. For example, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter for feeling happy and optimistic.  Ninety-five percent of your body’s serotonin is produced in the gut. It’s produced from 5-HTP, which is derived from tryptophan. However, in the presence of chronic inflammation in your body, tryptophan is converted into other markers (kynurenate and quinolate) both of which cause fatigue and are toxic to the brain. The subsequent depletion of serotonin produces symptoms of depression.

Below is an image of the organic acids test of a patient who presented with depression, peripheral and brain fatigue. As you can see the level of Kynurenate is high. The higher the level of kynurenate the lower the level of serotonin and the worse you might feel.

It seems like low serotonin is causing depressive symptoms but by  digging  deeper we can find the underlying root cause(s) which is often the manifestation of  downstream effects of many neurotransmitters and hormones. When the body is inflamed, it releases inflammatory messengers called cytokines. These inflammatory agents transfer information to the nervous system, typically through stimulation of the vagus nerve, which connects the gut and the brain. 

Brain cells called microglia are activated in response to these inflammatory messengers. Once activated, a brain chemical called quinolinic acid is produced. It is believed to be responsible for anxiety and agitation. 

Depression is a nonspecific fever. When your body is chronically inflamed it’s on fire and it’s up to us to figure out why. 

 If you desire to reclaim  your health, increase energy, decrease inflammation and feel joy on a regular basis learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.

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Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Could it be the reason for your low energy?

Many people struggle with low energy. This is the number one complaint I hear from my patients. More than often conventional labs testing comes back normal, failing to address the root cause of the problem, mitochondrial dysfunction. Patients are left on their own or in some cases even misdiagnosed as depressed and given an option to manage their symptoms with antidepressants.  Sounds familiar?

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are tiny engines inside your cells that produce energy that gets burned by cells in your muscles, heart, brain, kidney, liver and more. Some cells are working harder than others. For example, red blood cells have no mitochondria. Your heart, liver and kidney, on the other hand, work hard and have the highest mitochondrial density. Your muscles and brain consume a lot of energy but have the lowest levels of mitochondrial density. As you can imagine your muscles and brain mitochondria have to work really hard, in fact five times harder than the heart mitochondria. So, energy production in your muscles and brain is going to be affected to a greater degree even with low levels of mitochondrial dysfunction producing symptoms of peripheral and brain fatigue.

What is Mitochondria dysfunction?

Mitochondrial dysfunction is a term for “I’m feeling tired all the time”

Energy cannot be destroyed or created; it can only change forms. The energy comes from the food you eat. The food must be digested and absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. Fats, proteins and carbohydrates enter into your tiny little engines inside your cells (mitochondria) where energy is converted and produced in the form of ATP.  

Think of the food you eat like filling up your gas tank. In order for the engine (mitochondria) to work it needs both gasoline (food) and spark plugs (nutrients) that work. Each depends on the other for normal function. In the absence of adequate nutrients, the mitochondria (engine) begins to fail.  

Mitochondria also are quite sensitive, and they are very easily damaged by high levels of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress could be coming from the gut, food you eat, water you drink, environmental toxins including heavy metals. A new pattern that was observed recently and described by Dr. Richard Lord is called hypometabolic state or mitochondrial retraction. It’s a lack of having sufficient mitochondria in numbers to even produce energy or ATP.

Mitochondrial dysfunction is caused by a failure at a cellular level and affects virtually every cell and system in your body, leading to widespread symptoms of peripheral fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, depression, cognitive decline, memory issues, headaches.

7 simple Steps to improve mitochondrial function

1) Eat whole organic plant-based food rich in antioxidants and healthy fat, such as broccoli, blueberries, coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, salmon, nuts and seeds.

2) Optimize your digestion and practice healthy eating habits for proper assimilation of nutrients

3) Establish a healthy sleeping pattern. 

4) Make breathing exercise a ritual to make sure you’re heavily oxygenating yourself. ( I’m still working on it myself). Mitochondria consume about 90% of the oxygen produced in the body for energy production.

5) Implement intermittent fasting. Eat three times a day instead of snacking all day.

6) High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) has been shown to increase mitochondria density.

7) Drink plenty of clean water during the day

 If you desire to reclaim  your health, increase energy, release extra weight and feel joy on a regular basis learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.

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Lab testing for low energy: conventional vs functional medicine

Have you ever had the experience of feeling exhausted, going to see your doctor, and being told that all your bloodwork was “normal”? Maybe your doctor even said that being exhausted was part of aging. Or, maybe you were told you were depressed and left his office with the antidepressant prescription. Well, at some point in my life it was me. I’m here to tell you that being exhausted is not normal.

I want to go over the differences between conventional medicine and functional medicine lab testing so we can uncover the blind spots and see what additional information functional medicine labs provide.


1) Complete Blood Count, Ferritin, Vitamin B12/Folate

·  The first condition your doctor is most likely to rule out if you present with low energy is anemia. Complete Blood Count will show if you have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin (protein that carries oxygen). The top three reasons for anemia among many others are:

1) Low iron

2) Low vitamin B12

3) Low folate (vitamin B9).

·  Iron. Most of the iron in the body is found in hemoglobin. The function of iron is to carry oxygen so your cells can breathe and produce energy!

·  Ferritin. Because iron fluctuates daily your doctor might want to order ferritin. Ferritin reflects iron storage level and is a much more accurate indicator of how much iron is in your body. It should not be low or too high. Low levels strongly suggest iron deficiency. Ferritin levels > 200 ng/ml are abnormal and toxic to the cells. Ferritin increases with inflammation and insulin resistance.

·  Vitamin B12. Like iron, Vitamin B12 is required to make red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency usually takes years to develop since your body can store large amounts in the liver. People who are eating vegan or vegetarian diets are more likely to develop Vitamin B12 deficiency because Vit B12 is only found in animal derived foods.

·  Folate (Vitamin B9).  Folate is another key vitamin that is needed to make red blood cells. Folate deficiency is rare. It happens to people who don’t eat enough fruits and leafy green vegetables. It also can happen in people who consume large amounts of alcohol.

2) Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP)

·  CMP will give your doctor the information about your kidney function, liver function, electrolyte and hydration status.

·  Liver is responsible for detoxifying your body and plays a crucial role in maintaining your energy levels.

3) Vitamin D deficiency.

·  Vitamin D is called a “sunshine “vitamin for a reason. It is produced in your skin under sun exposure. Many people spend very little time in the sun and therefore are deficient in Vitamin D.  It’s a key factor for regulating dozens of reactions in your body including upregulation of serotonin, insulin receptors and assimilation of nutrients. Correcting Vitamin D deficiency improves fatigue in both healthy people and people with chronic diseases.

·  The 25 – hydroxyvitamin D test is the best measure of your vitamin D stores. Optimal level is between 60-80 ng/ml.

4) Magnesium.

·  Magnesium is a mineral that is also called “the miracle cure”. It impacts nearly all of your body systems. It’s key in energy production.

·  Magnesium deficiency is extremely common due to the lack of green leafy vegetables in most diets!

·  Serum Magnesium is most often used but is rarely helpful. Red blood cell magnesium is more accurate.

·  Even if your lab tests show your levels are normal, taking supplemental magnesium will exert many positive effects. I prescribe Magnesium for all of my patients as part of a multivitamin that includes minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

5) THYROID PANEL: TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, Antibodies: thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin Ab.

·  Poor thyroid function will slow down your metabolism and decrease energy production. This is why thyroid testing is another value most likely run by your conventional doctor.

·  Most doctors diagnose thyroid problems by testing your TSH levels and sometimes your free T4 level.

·  If you receive only TSH level without other six markers you could be missing out on some valuable information about your thyroid health.

·  To get a complete picture it’s worth looking at free T4 and free T3 which are the inactive and active hormones; T3 is a gasoline that fuels your cellular energy.

·  Many people have autoimmunity against their thyroid with increased thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies. Most conventional doctors do not test this UNLESS the TSH is high.

·  With every lab test, I’m looking for “optimal ranges” versus “normal ranges”.  When it comes to thyroid function it becomes even more important. Normal TSH ranges according to conventional reference are from 0.11-4.5 mIU/L. However, the optimal level is considered to be from 1 to 2.5 mIU/L. When TSH rises over 2.5, your health can start to change.

6) Metabolic markers: HbA1c, fasting glucose & Insulin

·  Unstable blood sugar, high fasting glucose and high insulin levels all contribute to low energy.

·  When your blood sugar is riding a roller coaster, the excess sugar is very oxidizing to your mitochondria (the engine in your cells that produces energy) and thus diminishes production of energy.

·  Hemoglobin A1C measures the average of blood sugar levels over the last 90day period of time. Abnormal level is > 5.5% of total hemoglobin.

·  Fasting blood sugar should be less than 80mg/dl

·  Fasting insulin should be between 2IU/dl and 5

7) Inflammation markers: Homocysteine, Hs- CRP

·  It’s no surprise that inflammation can create chaos in your body, damage mitochondria and reduce energy production.

·  Homocysteine is a marker of vascular inflammation. It’s an amino acid that is created during your body’s methylation cycle. Adding or subtracting a methyl group to your vitamins, hormones, neurotransmitters is how your body turns them on and off. This process is called methylation and is tightly related to your MTHFR gene.

·  High Homocysteine level can indicate folate, Vitamin B12 and B6 deficiency.

·  Ideally the homocysteine level should be around 7 micromoles/liter that reflects a good balance of your B vitamins which are the cornerstone for your energy and stamina.

·  High sensitivity C reactive protein is a marker of inflammation. It could be influenced by many factors like toxicity, injuries, autoimmune conditions or irritable bowel syndrome. It’s abnormal > 1.0g/liter

These are all tests that you might’ve had from your conventional doctor and you might’ve also been told that all your tests were “normal”. But falling into the category of normal range does not necessarily translate into feeling your best.

In Functional medicine it’s important to look at the optimal levels instead of numbers that fall into normal conventional reference. A great example could be Vitamin D and TSH hormone which we discussed above.

This is one of the big ways functional medicine is different is that we are looking at the optimal range in order to keep you in your best health.

Now let’s look at the Functional Medicine labs testing.


1) Adrenal stress test

2) GI test

3) Organic acid test

4) ION panel

1) Adrenal stress test  

·  Functional Adrenal tests are very different from conventional medical testing.

·  Blood test and is used in conventional medicine to diagnose adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease) or Cushing’s syndrome.

·  Saliva adrenal stress test is utilized by functional medicine to map out how much stress you’ve been under and how stress is impacting you. It reveals adrenal burnout/ exhaustion/ fatigue.

·  Some common symptoms of adrenal burnout are fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, weight gain or inability to lose weight, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, decrease sex drive.

·  Because of a long term period of stress, your cortisol level becomes depleted. Consider cortisol as units of energy.  When cortisol is depleted, energy is depleted too.

·  Cortisol regulates immune cells that line your digestive tract. If cortisol is out of balance you become prone to develop digestive symptoms like bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea.

·  Cortisol is made from progesterone, so every molecule of cortisol you produce when you are under stress depletes your progesterone level.

·  Prolonged stress not only causes adrenal exhaustion and deplete progesterone but also with time can result in deficiency of other key hormones such as thyroid, estrogen and testosterone.

2) Stool testing for Optimal gastrointestinal Health

·  All health begins in the gut – the famous saying attributed to Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine. It has a lot of truth to it. Now we know that many chronic and autoimmune conditions start in the gut.

·  The test looks at:

1. microbiome (opportunistic organisms, normal flora, overgrowth of bacteria)

2. GI organ function

3. GI pathogens:  parasites, fungi and viruses.

·  Your intestinal tract has a specific number of “good” bacteria and potential pathogenic and bad bacteria. It’s all about balance. For healthy balance about 85% of a human’s microbiome should be beneficial and 15% potential pathogenic.

·  When bacteria become unbalanced it can lead to a condition called dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis also affects your body’s ability to absorb and digest food and nutrients. You could be taking all the right foods and taking the right supplements but if your body is not utilizing these nutrients it will lead to fatigue and overtime to nutrient deficiency with various chronic diseases.

·  Good bacteria help you digest the food, produce vitamins, help excrete toxins, regulate hormones and metabolism. Bad microbes like parasites, yeast, and bad bacteria produce nasty toxins that damage your gut lining and create “leaky gut”. Partially digested foods and bug toxins leak across the gut lining which triggers immune response to these foreign” substances that drive chronic low-level cellular inflammation, fatigue, insulin resistance, weight gain and other serious health problems.

·  There is a profound gut/brain connection, meaning much brain fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration, anxiety, depression stems from chronic GI issues. 

·  Pathogens are often present with no digestive symptoms and instead will manifest as fatigue, weight gain, depression, joint pain. This is why I consider this test a key part of the work up even if you don’t experience any digestive symptoms.

3)   Organic Acid Test

·  Urinary Organic acid testing looks at your metabolism in depth to analyze function in four main areas:

1. Energy production:

–   Mitochondrial energy production. It looks at your fat burning capacity in your mitochondria. Poor fat burning leads to poor energy production leaving you tired and exhausted.

–   It examines carbohydrate metabolism. By testing carbohydrate markers, we can determine how stable your blood sugar is and if you’re at risk of developing problems with hormone insulin. Poor insulin handling leads to classic deep drop in energy in the afternoon and sleeping poorly.

–   It looks at protein metabolism and levels of B vitamins. Low B vitamins can trigger sugar craving, poor oxygen utilization, meaning you get tired and overweight. Low B vitamins also lead to poor quality skin, hair and nails.

–   Vitamin B6, B12 and folate are very accurately measured on organic acids to give you understanding of your methylation capacity and overall functioning of the genes related to MTHFR.

–   It can reveal a condition recently described by Dr. Richard Lord as hypometabolic state or mitochondrial retraction. A condition where your body doesn’t even have enough mitochondria to produce all the markers and therefore enough energy.

2. Detoxification capacity

–   The test accurately measures all major detox pathways so a highly personalized program can be created for you based on your test results so your body can be cleaned quickly.

–   Detoxification is critical for the removal of environmental toxins we all are exposed to on a daily basis. If toxins are not metabolized by your liver and excreted by your kidneys, then they build up and damage your tissues including mitochondria which ultimately leads to poor energy production.

–   It looks at the level of oxidative stress. Poor antioxidant protection leads to fatigue, heart disease, diabetes and cancer down the road.

3. Neurotransmitters 

–   It looks at the production of the key brain chemicals that determine how you feel from dopamine to serotonin.

–   It includes analysis of inflammation in the brain that can be the cause of brain fatigue, brain fog, memory issues, sleep problems.

–   Neurotransmitter imbalance can stem from three major areas: nutrient deficits, brain injury either physical or chemical and genetic factors.

4. Digestive Health

–   It analyzes bacterial growth patterns that represent the health of your microbiome.

–   It can reveal presence of yeast or fungal overgrowth

–   It can show if you’re eating enough vegetables and fruits

4)   ION Panel

·  ION panel includes two main parts: Urinary and Blood.

                            1) Urinary Organic Acids that we discussed above.  

                            2) Blood portion that looks at the following markers.

–   Amino Acids. It shows if your body breaks down and utilizes amino acids. If amino acids are just floating around and your body and your body can’t use them, it will lead to all sorts of inflammatory reactions, detoxification and energy production problems.

–   Fatty Acids. It can reveal if your body has enough of the right fats which are crucial for brain health, inflammatory response, immune regulation, hormone and energy production.

–   Mineral levels and Toxic metals.

–   Antioxidants in the serum

–   Vitamin D marker

Using Functional Medicine tests, we strive to uncover the root cause of a cellular or organ dysfunction prior to the development of a full-blown critical situation or onset of a serious disease.

Conventional medical labs are designed for other purposes. They are mostly focused on uncovering a disease once it progresses fully from a “dysfunction” of a body system to a “pathology” or a life-threatening problem.

Of course, we need both systems in place to handle the range of health challenges. One doesn’t replace the other.

Functional Medicine offers so many leading solutions for health concerns you might have including low energy.

Consider the following:

·  Fatigue and fatigue related symptoms are almost never from a single cause

·  Don’t accept low energy/ fatigue as a normal part of aging.

·  Go to the root cause of your low energy. It could be an early sign of a bigger issue.

·  Avoid guessing and spend money on the supplements you may not need.

·  Consult an expert.

If you desire to reclaim  your health, increase energy and are ready for a different approach to your health learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.

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7 Simple ways to reduce chronic inflammation and chronic pain

Chronic inflammation has been linked to almost every health condition. It’s an underlying physiological damage that leads to many different health challenges including chronic pain, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, fatigue, brain fog, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, cancer and many more. 

What causes chronic inflammation? 

Chronic inflammation can come from many different sources. Some of the them are: 

  • Chronic Stress
  • Toxins
  • Inflammatory foods such as sugar, unhealthy fats, white flour, gluten
  • Poor digestions: pathogens create cytokines
  • Toxic thoughts and emotions
  • Lack of sleep
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Sedentary lifestyle or overexercising
  • Social isolation
  • Toxic relationships
  • Lack of meaning in life

 Some people have no obvious source of chronic inflammation till we do functional medicine lab testing which in many cases uncovers the hidden origin of inflammation. 

What’s great about this physiological imbalance is that once you lower the overall level of inflammation in your body it will not just improve one symptom but all of them simultaneously.

This is empowering because there are certain lifestyle and behavioral changes you can start implementing today to reduce your overall inflammation and become one step closer to reducing chronic pain and living a more energetic, vibrant life.

 So, before you reach for anti-inflammatory medications, I encourage you to make an effort to implement these tips!

7. Simple ways to reduce inflammation.

1. Add in anti-inflammatory foods

Say hello to vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, high-quality protein, herbs and spices. Eat different color foods – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, leafy green (kale, spinach), blueberries, raspberries, apples. These foods are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients which help reduce damage caused by inflammation. 

  • Have fun incorporating healthy anti-inflammatory foods. It’s a sign of self- care and self- love.
  • Examine your mindset around the food. Instead of saying “ I can’t eat salad every day” say “ How many different colors can add to my salad today”
  • Spice things up. Look for ways to add a little garlic or other spices when you cook. Spices like turmeric, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, rosemary, ginger, fenugreek, cinnamon, and cloves have been praised for their anti-inflammatory properties and many other benefits to health.

 2. Eliminate Inflammatory foods.

Significant amount of inflammation comes from the food you eat. Most common foods that trigger the immune system and promote chronic fire inside of your body are sugar, gluten, refined flour, dairy, vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, artificial additives. 

  • Take a food journal and record everything you eat for the next three days to become aware of what you’re putting in your body and how many inflammatory foods you’re eating.
  • Focus on one inflammatory food that you’re eating the most. Observe your emotions around that food. Is there an emotional connection? Dig deeper and ask yourself a question of why you are eating this food.
  • Consider eliminating as many inflammatory foods from your diet as possible. If this step is way too difficult, commit to eliminating one inflammatory food for the next 6 weeks. Notice the difference in how you feel.

 3. Intermittent Fasting. 

If you’re not struggling with low blood sugar consider intermittent fasting. Give your body a break for some period of time by not eating anything except drinking clean water or organic herbal teas. Process of digestion requires a lot of energy and can be inflammatory by itself. 

  • Find a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. For example, eat between the hours of 11 am and 7pm and fast between 7pm and 11am.
  • Go between 12-16 hours without eating several times a week. You might see even better results if you can restrict further to a 6-hour window access to food.
  • Consider Intermittent fasting as a change in lifestyle and not change in a diet.

 4. Sleep. 

Make your sleep a priority and aim to have good quality sleep between hours of 6am and 10pm. Most of your body’s physical repair and regeneration occurs between these hours. 

  • Avoid watching TV or using your computer/ smart phone at least an hour or so before going to bed. TV and computer screen radiate blue light that prevents production of melatonin.
  • Consider reading a good neutral book an hour before going to bed
  • Keep your phone and all electronic devices away from you at night (or at least put them in airplane mode)

5. Reduce stress. 

Chronic Stress is one of the biggest contributors to chronic low level of inflammation in your body. Stress is meant to last for a short period of time and not to be constant. Your perception of the events is going to affect the level of stress you’re experiencing. Changing your perception and developing resilience is going to take some time. Start implementing small steps every day starting today! 

  • Stay connected with Nature. Your body is a part of Nature so it will help your mind relax, re- charge and think more clearly. Be present when you’re in nature noticing its beauty and wisdom. Observe trees, branches of the trees, leaves, grass. Watch small birds! Ask yourself a question: “What kind of skills do they have to survive?” Find a tree and hug it! Notice how you feel.
  • Move your body. Find any type of movement that brings you joy – running, hiking, dancing, biking, swimming, weightlifting or any other activity. If nothing feels joyful, start simple walking. Walking is the most therapeutic exercise for your body, mind and soul.
  • Meditate for at least 5 min a day. It will make a difference.

 6. Release toxic relationships.

Chronic emotional toxicity is very inflammatory, draining and destructive. There is an intimate connection between your emotions, mind and physical body. Toxic relationships destroy not only the emotional part of you but mental and physical too. Constant emotional pain creates imbalances and disease down the road. 

  • Look at people in your life and notice what kind of energy they are bringing to you. Is it supportive and nourishing or toxic and draining? Release all toxic relationships if possible.
  • If you still have to stay in touch with an unhealthy person, limit contact with that person and have strong boundaries around it.
  • Spend time with people you like and spend even more time with people you like yourself the most.

 7. Release excess weight.

This step will take some time but when achieved it will significantly lower overall inflammation in your body. Start taking small steps and commit to losing 5lbs. 

  • Examine your mindset around weight loss. What’s holding you back? Is it fear? Is there a part of you that is afraid of losing weight? Find that part and talk to it.
  • Become aware of your eating habits. Every time you notice a part of you that has the urge of making an unhealthy choice, pause and say “Thank you so much for offering me this comforting food. I know you do it out of love and I love you too. But I chose not to have it. I will pick something healthier for myself”
  • Repeat steps 1-6 and watch your weight melt away.

If you desire to reclaim  your health, increase energy, reduce chronic inflammation and pain learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.

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Unlock ‌energy ‌stored ‌as ‌fat

Fat is a stored energy and it seems at first that a person who carries a lot of  excess fat in his body would have a lot of energy. 

It seems logical, you carry a lot of fat and your body can convert this fat into energy at any point you choose to. 

But in reality, most patients who are overweight also complain of low energy. They have a lot of energy in a body stored as fat but are unable to access it. It’s like having a million dollars in your bank account but forgetting the pin. So, how can you unlock the energy stored as fat?

1. Focus on health instead of losing weight.

Weight is just a symptom. It’s a message from your body and sometimes even a cry  for help indicating the presence of greater underlying imbalances. Like any symptom, it has a root cause. The same applies to excess fat. It’s a protective mechanism your body uses in order to compensate for underlying imbalances. When your focus is on creating health, correcting imbalances and eliminating the root cause, the body will naturally unlock that door for you and allow you to use the excess fat as energy.

2. Connect with the emotional part of you and have the right mindset.

Realize that there are two parts of your mindset: logical and emotional. Setting a goal and using willpower is not enough to achieve a long-lasting result. For a positive transformation to take place, the emotional part of you has to be congruent with the logical part. In fact, the emotional part is going to do most of the work. Only then can the transformation happen. If the emotional part chooses not to participate, it will sabotage, and you will not be able to unlock that energy stored as fat.

3. Increase your resilience to stress and choose to be in the  parasympathetic “rest and digest mode”.

Heart Rate Variability is a measure of your resilience to stress. When your HRV is high, your body is able to tolerate more stress and recover from it much faster. When your body is in a parasympathetic state it is in a healing, repairing and regenerating mode. The body can correct imbalances, heal, and unlock energy only in a parasympathetic state.

4. Improve digestion.

For the body to use stored fat as energy it requires macronutrients, micronutrients and phytonutrients to correct the underlying imbalances first. For these nutrients to be delivered into cells and to be used as energy sources and building blocks, proper digestion has to happen. You can eat the healthiest foods possible but if your body has no ability to digest these foods, it will have challenges absorbing and delivering the necessary nutrients to cells thus leaving the body in a state of nutrient deficiency.

5. Eat low glycemic foods and keep your insulin low.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas. Its job is to keep your blood sugar under control. When your blood sugar increases, insulin helps carry glucose inside the cells. Naturally, insulin should increase slowly during eating, peak, then taper and diminish 2 hours after a meal. However, if you are consuming a high sugar diet, you’re overworking your pancreas to produce more and more insulin to drive the sugar into the cells. Insulin spikes but your cells have limited capacity to store sugar. As your blood sugar levels climb higher and higher, your liver takes over and starts converting sugar into fat which in turn causes you to gain weight. 

Paradoxically, when your insulin level is elevated, your metabolism gets slower and slower while you store more and more fat. Insulin has an effect that increases the fat you store and decreases the fat you burn. As long as your insulin remains high you will fight a losing battle to release that energy from fat. It is only when your blood sugar decreases, and insulin drops along with it, will fat be released from the fat tissue and burned as energy. Many people who choose to increase energy and lose weight try high-fat keto diets and find that those diets are not sustainable because they end up eating too much animal protein and not enough plant-based foods. They feel tired because it takes a lot of energy to digest these types of foods. 

6. Implement intermittent fasting.

When your body digests food, it uses energy to do so. Depending on the food you consume, the process of digestion requires more or less work and energy. The power of intermittent fasting is that it shifts your body from being a sugar burner onto being a fat burner. It takes around six to eight hours after you eat for your body to burn through the glycogen stores (sugar stores) in your body before you start burning fat for energy. Every time you eat, you replenish “sugar stores”, so to start using fat as a fuel for energy you have to wait six hours. Intermittent fasting frees up energy and time for your body to be able to repair, regenerate, and heal.

7. Reduce toxins.

One of the protective mechanisms your body uses to deal with the tremendous amount of toxins it’s exposed to is to wrap toxins into fat tissue. Most of the toxins are fat-soluble so they are going to be stored in organs with high-fat content including fat tissue itself. By decreasing toxic burden, you allow your body to release fat as it no longer needs to store toxins.

8. Reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is a part of your body’s natural defense system. When the body is exposed to toxins, pathogens, stress, allergens, or even inflammatory foods it mounts an immune response in the form of inflammation. Some inflammation is good and it is how your body heals. But when chronic inflammation continues 24/7, it is not good. Chronic inflammation is an underlying cause for many chronic inflammatory conditions including obesity and chronic fatigue. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods in your diet and eliminating foods that promote inflammation is extremely effective in reducing inflammation, losing weight, and decreasing pain.

9. Make sleep a priority.

Sleep is one of the most crucial factors for your body to be able to unlock energy from fat. Sleep deprivation leads to increased stress, inflammation, and secretion of hormones that promote weight gain. Under stress your body shuts down normal maintenance, activates fat storage and triggers cravings for sugar and simple carbohydrates. As a general rule, adults need 7.5- 9hr of sleep. Most regeneration and repair happen between 10pm and 6am.

10.  Incorporate joyful movement.

Exercise is great for you, but still a stressor on the body. If your body struggles to produce energy and still you push through and over-exercise it creates the same “ fight or flight” physiological response. Your body has to be in a calm and relaxed state (rest and digest) in order to unlock the energy stored as fat. 

11.  Reach for support.

When it comes to unlocking the energy, releasing weight and decreasing inflammation, having an accountability coach and a community of people who have the same goal is crucial for success. A coach will encourage you along the way, give constructive feedback and help identify the blind spots that you may not be aware of.

If you desire  to  reclaim your health, unlock energy stored as fat, have better fitting clothes and feel comfortable in your body you can learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.