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

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

Marriage Does Have Its Advantages

Marriage can be a tax break – and most of us have made a joke about marriage “breaking” us.  Research shows, however, that healthy, unmarried people who rated their health as “excellent” were, on average, 75 percent more likely to die during the 20 year period studied than married people.  The benefits declined, however, as people’s health or marriage declined.  Unmarried people in “fair” health were only 40 percent more likely to Dollarphotoclub_70805976die than married people.

The American Psychological Association found that couples who later divorced had 34 percent higher levels of norepinephrine in their blood.  Norepinephrine is a stress hormone – and the implication is, of course, that being married is less stressful, or not being married is more stressful.  Professor Janet Kiecolt-Glaser, from the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University states that “marital quality is a good predictor of subsequent health” and how personal relationships, especially marriage, can translate into positive health outcomes.  When a new Star Trek movie comes out, Mr. Spock will have to change his greeting to ….”Get married, live long and prosper”!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Is Your Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full?

Does a positive outlook improve your health?  How you perceive your life does matter to your body.  A University of Wisconsin study found that of 30,000 individuals with perceived high stress had a 43 percent increased risk of an early demise – but only if they viewed their stress as negative.

Dr. Jeremy Jamieson, assistant professor of psychology at the University of Rochester,

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New York, divided subjects into two groups.  One group was instructed to “reinterpret bodily signals as beneficial” while the other group was not given this information.  Group One, the group prepped beforehand with the instruction, performed better and had less social anxiety.  According to Dr. Jamieson, rethinking how we perceive stress dramatically alters how effectively we cope with “stressful situations and major life transitions”.  Positive thinking skills means that you are better able to handle the everyday stresses of life in a more constructive way.

What are the physical benefits of a positive outlook on life?  Experts at the Mayo Clinic have found that the benefits of maintaining this “life-positive” view translates into lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold and a reduced risk of death from heart disease.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

The Key to Health Is in the Mind

Psychoneuroimmunology is the study of the relationship between the mind or psyche, the nervous system and the immune system.  Another way to state this is the relationship between stress the immune system and our health.   When we are “stressed” the body produces “stress-induced” chemicals like cortisol and epinephrine – which are part of our survival mechanism and absolutely necessary.  These chemicals rise in the blood in order to protect us from immediate harm.  The problem arises when these chemicals are chronically elevated due to ongoing stress triggers i.e., modern life.

How can we turn down this stress response, you say?  By increasing its opposite, the

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relaxation response.  It is no mistake that women, in particular, are flocking to the yoga studio.  A review of the literature studying the benefits of yoga found that, compared to no exercise, yoga was linked to a lower rate of obesity, reduced high blood pressure and even tended to reduce high cholesterol.  The Cochrane Collaboration found that yoga can reduce diastolic blood pressure and triglycerides in the blood and increase the HDL (good) cholesterol.

Another easy way to induce the relaxation response is to practice “deep breathing” techniques – which have long been part of meditation.  The researchers at Harvard Medical School found that practicing deep breathing 20 minutes a day for eight weeks increased the expression of genes involved in energy release and increased the protein NF-B – which is part of the body’s response to inflammation, stress and trauma.  The end result is that deep breathing helps to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and improves oxygenation of tissues.

The practice of meditation continues to attract the attention of scientists for its potential stress-relieving effects on the mind and body.  Thailand researchers studied the effects of transcendental meditation (which creates a state of profound relaxation while remaining awake).  Over the course of 18 weeks, study participants felt less anxiety, felt better in social situations at work as well as with their private relationships with family and friends.

Break your stress pattern and take the time to breathe deeply and “smell the roses” – preferably daily.

Take the time to still your mind and body.  Your health depends on it.

Until next time….

Dr. Gatis

Why Should You Work Out In The Morning?

Testosterone burns fat, builds muscle and increases sex drive in men and women.  Testosterone, like most steroid hormones, has a daily rhythm – highest in the morning and decreasing over the day.  It has been suggested that our ability to perform follows the same trend i.e., testosterone levels can predict our physical performance over the day.  A team at Swansea University, lead by Professor Kilduff,  evaluated the effect of training in the morning on testosterone response throughout the day.

Using testosterone levels derived from saliva sampling, 18 semi-professional rugby Morning  exercise and black clockplayers were divided into three groups:  the control or resting group; the sprint group (5 x 40 meters) and weight-training (bench press and squat) group.  A follow-up saliva sample was taken before the players completed a performance test (back squat and bench press, 40m sprint and jump test).

The results showed the circadian decline in testosterone levels was negated by morning training.  In other words, working out (especially with weight training) in the morning  keeps the testosterone levels from dropping during the day and increases performance in power sports at least six hours after the initial workout.

If you recall in a previous blogs (2 and 3), I mentioned the reasons why maintaining testosterone levels is extremely important for men and women.  Here is a short list:  Increases bone density, decreases cholesterol, helps to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, prevents and treats depression, protects against cardiovascular disease, hypertension, excess body fat and arthritis, enhances memory and cognition, and protects against Diabetes, Insulin Resistance and Metabolic Syndrome.   Perhaps changing how and when we exercise may reduce our tendency to certain health conditions by maintaining optimal steroid hormone levels.

Until next time……

Dr. Gatis

Jealousy Can Increase Your Risk of Alzheimer’s

Negative emotions can and do have an effect on our physiology.  The Chinese have known for centuries  that anger can affect the liver, grief can affect the lungs, the kidneys can be affected by fear and so on.  Now mainstream medical science has confirming data – at least when it comes to emotions like jealousy, fear and anger.  Having jealous or insecure thoughts has weird effects on the brain – in particular, the amygdala – the part of the brain that is involved in our perception of fear, anger and disgust.  The amygdala releases the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline as part of your stress response.  The stress response is useful and necessary when it is short-lived but chronic stress andHuman Emotion the long-term release of these hormones affects the immune system and the cardiovascular system in deleterious ways.

Having chronic or obsessive thoughts of your partner being unfaithful or with another lover, or competition (real or imagined) with another in the workplace, for example, activates the amygdala and the release of stress hormones that can raise blood pressure – and blood pressure spikes when under stress have been linked to some forms of dementia.  A study out of Kyoto University in Japan, of 800 women over 38 years-of-age who felt most stressed or anxious, were at increased risk of Alzheimer’s and long-term distress.  The bottom line is that if you are feeling “out or your mind” with jealousy or insecurity, the result,  on a physical level, may just be literally “losing your mind”. Could it be that a high self-esteem and self-concept can protect us in some way from these mind-related diseases? Food for thought.

Until next time,

Dr. Gatis

The Great Outdoors: The Natural Anti-Depressant

Exercise, as we all know, has many benefits – and it is recognized to have a positive effect on our mind and our moods.  It is now a recognized way to improve the symptoms Multi-Generation Family Enjoying Walk In Beautiful Countrysideof depression.  The best evidence comes from a review by a team of UK researchers, published in the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” that looked at 37 studies that compared exercise with a placebo, medication or psychological counselling.

Across this research, more than 2,000 people with depression found exercise to be as effective as antidepressants and psychological therapies for reducing the symptoms of depression.  Researchers noted, however, that there needs to be more detailed research looking at what types of exercise are most helpful for depression, as well as the number and duration of sessions that would help the most.

No matter which way you look at it, exercise is beneficial for the mind as well as the body – as it boosts hormones like endorphins and serotonin….so take a break and take a walk.  Your body and your brain will thank you.  It may turn out that exercise in the fresh air will be better than taking tablets!

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

The Fifth and Last Force of Illness: Oxidative Stress (or “Rusting”)

We are all rusting.  In this sense, we are all like apples – going brown with age (think “age Oxidative Stressspots”).   The process of oxidizing is a necessary component of burning fuel to make energy, but the by-products of this process are highly reactive oxygen molecules known as “free radicals” – which can damage the tissues unless there is enough “anti-oxidation” happening to counteract free radical production.   This state of imbalance is called Oxidative Stress, or the unchecked effects of oxygen on the body.

Research has shown that virtually all illnesses have an increased level of oxidative stress in common.

Heart disease, cancer, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and neurological problems like alzheimers’s, parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis are some common diseases that appear to be triggered by oxidative stress.  The related symptoms include fatigue, weakness, muscle and joint pain, headaches, itchiness, digestion problems, anxiety and depression – to mention only a few.

VitaminsThe source of oxidative stress can be both internal and external.  Internally, we may have nutritional deficiencies of the “antioxidants” – like Zinc, C, Selenium, and E.  How we live our lives also contributes to this imbalance as smoking, alcohol, excessive exercise, pharmacologic drugs and overeating contribute to oxidative stress.  Blood sugar imbalance leads to oxidative stress, and so does being overweight.  External sources include exposure to pollution, pesticides, petrochemicals and heavy metals.

Tests for Oxidative Stress include measuring lipid peroxides, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, catalase and/or glutathione in the blood.  Certain free radical markers like catechol and 2,3 – dihydroxybenzoate can be measured in the urine.  Blood levels of the antioxidant nutrients A, D, E, CoEnzyme Q10 and beta-carotene can be measured in the blood as well.

We are all at risk for Oxidative Stress – since the majority of us do not get enough antioxidant-containing through our food.  I believe that supplementation of these nutrients is often a necessary first step – if the individual already has signs of oxidative stress.  This being said, there are no supplements that can take the place of optimizing your diet.  Choose to eat high nutrient-to-calorie ratio foods rather than eating meals or snacks which are high in calories but low in antioxidants.  Eliminate anything “white” or processed from your diet i.e. white sugar, white flour, white bread, white rice and white pasta.  Dramatically increase the colourful vegetables and fruits in your diet which contain antioxidants like lycopene, lutein and proanthocyandins.  “You are what you eat” is an appropriate phrase.  As Mr. Spock might say….”Eat Right, Live Long and Prosper”!

Until next time…..

Testing For Malnutrition and Impaired Metabolism (“Sludge” and “Burnout”)

There are many ways to test for the first and second force of Illness (called malnutrition, orMale thyroid anatomy what we have called the “sludge” factor and impaired metabolism or “burnout”).  When we take in food, and digest and assimilate it, only the waste or unusable portion should be eliminated in the stool.   If meat fibers or fats are showing up in the feces, then you are not fully breaking down and absorbing the protein and fats in your food. Your Naturopathic or Medical Doctor may order a comprehensive digestive stool analysis to determine if this is the case.  Levels of the essential fatty acids and amino acids can also be measured in the blood also.  Individual vitamins like B12 and vitamin D can be individually measured as can homocysteine – a major methylation and cardiovascular health marker.

Mitochondrial function can be indirectly tested by a urine organic acid profile – a relatively new and non-invasive way to indirectly measure certain factors related to metabolic function i.e.,  fatty acid and carbohydrate metabolism markers (B1, B2, B3, Carnitine, Lipoic Acid, CoQ10), Energy production markers (B complex, Amino Acids, Mg), B-complex vitamin markers (B1, B2,B3, B5, B6, Biotin), Methylation Cofactor markers (B12, Folate), Neurotransmitter Metabolism markers (Tyrosine, Tryptophan, B6, antioxidants) and Detoxification markers (Arg, NAC, Met, Mg, antioxidants).

Mitochondrial function can also be affected by pollutants, heavy metals, and so on.  Many of the environmental contaminants can now be tested for in blood or urine.

One of the most important factors to test for is insulin resistance (IR).  As I mnaturopathy 3entioned in the previous blog, IR is linked to obesity, arteriosclerosis, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes Make sure that your M.D. or N.D. orders HbA1c and serum insulin in addition to fasting serum glucose.  Optimum levels of HbA1c and Insulin are below 5.5% and less than 40 (fasting) respectively in addition to a fasting blood sugar less than 6.0.  In routine blood work, a lipid panel is done (total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides).  If the triglyceride-to-HDL ratio is greater than 4.3, this suggests a high probability of insulin resistance.  The waist-to-hip ratio is an easy way to determine you tendency to IR.  Divide your waist measurement at the belly button level by the hip measurement.  For women, any value over 0.8 is associated with IR and, in men, any value over 0.9.

Thyroid dysfunction is becoming somewhat of an epidemic.  In my opinion, everyone should have a full thyroid panel done early in their life to provide an individual’s “normal” levels.  Optimal levels of TSH, or thyroid stimulating hormone, should be between 1 and 2.  Please be aware that the “normal” range is up to 4 – but the normal and “optimum” functional ranges are different.  Free T3 should be measured as well as free T4 – because T3 is the more active thyroid hormone form.  T3 is formed from T4.  There are many factors that affect this conversion – including stress and female/male hormones.

In the next blog, we will consider the Third Force of Illness called “Inflammation” or “Heat”.

Until then…..

Dr. Gatis

The Second Force of Illness: Impaired Metabolism or Burnout

The First Force of Illness is inadequate digestion and absorption of foods (or “sludging” – as we mentioned in the previous blog) and endothelial dysfunction.  The Second Force of Illness is “burnout” due to impaired metabolic/cellular processes creating an overall lack of energy.  How many of you suffer from being “tired”.    Metabolism is the term used to describe the creation of usable energy from food – and fatigue is an indicator that you may have an impaired metabolic ability to generate this “food energy”. The main factors in impaired metabolism are:  insulin resistance, mitochondrial dysfunction and thyroid dysfunction.

A major player in “burnout” is glucose regulation and control.  There is a saying that you chargercan have “too much of a good thing” – and this applies to carbohydrates – especially glucose and sugars.  Insulin, secreted by the pancreas in response to carbohydrates in the blood, regulates the uptake of glucose into the cells.  In the current North American diet, insulin secretion is virtually constant due to the almost continual intake of sugar and carbohydrates.  The only thing the body can do is to continue to secrete insulin in the attempt to lower the blood sugar level.  The cells can only take in a certain amount of glucose at a time, so the cells, under the stress of too much insulin, will do the logical thing – change the receptors for insulin making them inactive.  The scientific term for this is Insulin Resistance.

When a cell is unresponsive to insulin, our cells become unable to get energy from the food we eat – despite the fact that we have eaten enough – and our insulin blood levels become chronically elevated.   We become tired and hungry.   The cells are crying out for energy and we crave the quickest energy source (sugar) – which only compounds the problem when we eat them.   For our ancestors, food availability was always in question, so the body adapted by being able to store away the energy that we didn’t immediately need in the moment for use later – as fat tissue.  In today’s society, however, food (especially carbohydrates) is plentiful for most of us, so the “rainy day” never comes – but we still eat as if it could.  This is the crux of our obesity epidemic.  .  High insulin levels in the blood and Insulin Resistance have not only been linked to obesity, but also to arteriosclerosis and heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Mitochondrial Dysfunction is the second major part of burnout. Mitochondria are the energy producers of the cell.  They do this by taking sugar, fatty acids or amino acids from your food and, in the presence of oxygen, burn them to create energy.  Mitochondrial dysfunction is caused by a number of factors.  Overproduction of free radicals (also known as “reactive oxygen species” or RburnoutOS) can cause mitochondrial damage.  This is why you take antioxidants like vitamin A and E.  Poisoning from heavy metals, petroleum products, pesticides and trans fats also contribute.  At the cellular level, we find mitochondrial damage or dysfunction occurring in almost every type of major illness e.g., heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

The third major factor in impaired metabolism is thyroid dysfunction.  The thyroid is like the gas pedal in your car and determines your rate of speed.  Too little thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows.  Too much and your metabolism “red-lines”.  A low-functioning thyroid – especially in women – is becoming the norm.  Symptoms of hypothyroid include:  being cold all the time, weight gain, constipation, oily skin, coarse hair, increased cholesterol and depression.  There are many possible causes which include allergic reactions (wheat allergy/celiac disease has a well-known association with autoimmune thyroid disease), toxins, infections, hormonal disturbances and low selenium or iodine levels.

In the next blog, we will explore the ways you can test for “sludge” and “burnout”.  Until then……

Dr. Gatis

Testosterone Is Important To Heart Health: How to Raise It Naturally

In the last blog, I mentioned that my “patient” (myself) was experiencing uncharacteristic fatigue and lack of motivation.  The regular blood tests showed a normally-functioning thyroid, no anemia and blood sugar regulation within normal parameters.  The cholesterol level was slightly high but not significantly changed over the last few years.  The total testosterone was within the “normal” range, but the free or “active” testosterone was in the very low part of the range. Remember what I said about testosterone and heart disease?  The free or “active” form of Testosterone helps to protect a man’s heart and arteries.  Dr. Edward Lichten, M.D. in his “Textbook of Bio-Identical Hormones” states that “scientifically, vitamin D, human growth hormone, thyroxine (T4), and triiodothyronine (T3), DHEA, and testosterone in men and estradiol in women have strong cardio-protective or therapeutic applications”.

Man running in a gym on a treadmill concept for exercising, fitnWhat can a 58-year-old male do to increase his testosterone? Exercise – especially resistance training – tends to increase the testosterone level and the HDL.  Reducing fat mass increasing lean muscle mass also reduces the tendency of the body to convert testosterone to estrogen and decreases insulin resistance.  It is important for a man’s reproductive health that his body have the correct levels of Zinc, Vitamin E, and certain amino acids (like L-Citrulline and L-Arginine) vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium.  Certain herbs are reputed to raise the free testosterone level – in particular, Tribulus terrestris and Eurycoma longifolia.  Taking the natural precursors to testosterone production may increase levels e.g., DHEA, if it is available.  Reducing stress is very important because high levels of cortisol (produced when stressed) suppresses DHEA.   In general, I prefer patients to raise their testosterone levels through natural stimulation – rather than immediate testosterone replacement – if at all possible.  Read on as I make testosterone stimulation very personal….

In my case, Blood Spot testing (done by finger prick and is a combination of arterial and venous blood) had previously been done in 2012 and was repeated on the same day as the regular blood tests last month.  In 2012, the only parameter that was slightly below normal was the Testosterone level.  The current test showed a further 30% drop in testosterone and a 56.5% reduction in DHEAS values.  The current results show that there are four cardiovascular parameters that are now abnormal:  the triglycerides are elevated (20% more than 2012); the HDL or good cholesterol has decreased by 40%; the VLDL (the very bad LDL cholesterol) is elevated as is the insulin level.  In addition, the Vitamin D level is also severely low – which is surprising because I routinely take 2000 IU per day.

In a nutshell, it is my contention that most, if not all, of these cardiovascular-related changes are due to a less-than-optimal testosterone and vitamin D level .  Unless I take appropriate action, I will become insulin-resistant (Type 2 diabetic) and the mechanisms of arteriosclerosis will continue to increase.  Rather than immediately going for Bio-identical testosterone replacement, I will attempt to raise the testosterone level through exercise, stress reduction, weight reduction, nutrient supplementation and so on over the next few months and will report back to you when the tests are repeated in January 2015.

Until next time…..

Dr. Gatis

HOT & Aging Go Together

Hardly anyone would say that I need to “optimize my hormones” for good health and longevity.  In fact, many of the signs of aging can be directly related to declining amounts of major hormones.  Testosterone, DHEA, Progesterone, Estrogen, Growth Hormone all decline with age, for example.  Why are many people almost obsessed with the idea of anti-aging?  We all are going to die, right?  Well let me tell you a simple fact.  When I reach the age of sixty and beyond, when asked “How are you?”, I want to be able to look them in the eye, give them the thumbs-up sign and say “Golden” (and mean it).

That is why I am a proponent of “H.O.T.” or Hormone Optimization Therapy.  To this end, for myself and my Naturopathic patients, I have taken the training and become a Fellow and Board-Certified in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine from the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine – and I have decided to “blog” about relevant

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issues that we all should know about when it comes to healthy aging.

H.O.T. is not just bio-identical hormone replacement therapy– as important as this can be.  Excessive hormonal levels – like insulin and cortisol – also adversely affect health.  Hormone Optimization Therapy takes into account that hormone levels and organ systems are all interactive.  Reducing stress and restoring adrenal function is absolutely necessary for individuals with low thyroid activity, for example.  Optimizing both adrenal and thyroid function is necessary to have balanced female and male hormones. A Naturopathic Doctor by virtue of his or her training is a specialist in supporting and optimizing the body’s functions.

It was a surprise to me that a high percentage of men have symptoms of and suffer from hypothyroidism and low testosterone as they get older.  The “grumpy old man” syndrome is actually the result of low T!  Maybe it is just the male in me, but there is a distinct difference between being sensitive to your female partner’s needs and being an emotionally “sensitive” male as a man ages.  One of my patient’s just today mentioned that as her father has gotten older, he cries much more often – and “that isn’t my dad”.  In my opinion, his Testosterone to Estrogen ratio has changed and he has become more hormonally like a female.   Please understand that I am not saying that there is anything wrong with a man or a woman crying.  In a man, however, inappropriate or increasing crying (or anger) may indicate a testosterone deficiency.  Optimal testosterone levels are absolutely essential to a man’s health – his mind, heart and “bone” in particular.  More on this in the next blog.

Please leave your comments below, and feel free to follow me on Twitter & Facebook.

Until next time,

Dr. Gatis