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

Does Eating Fish Reduce Cancer Risk?

Most of us are aware by now of the cardiovascular benefits of having fish in the diet.  Eating omega-3-rich fish, like salmon, reduces blood pressure and fat accumulation in the arteries.  The recommendation from Heart associations is to consume at least two portions of oily fish per week.  Is there anything else that is healthy about eating fish?  Apparently there is.

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City conducted a review in 2014 of

red fish isolated on white background

Italian studies that strongly suggests that eating oily fish twice-per-week can also help to prevent the development of cancers of the breast, colon, intestine and esophagus.  The authors also emphasized the importance of how you prepare the fish for eating.  The low risk of developing the afore-mentioned cancers was only apparent when prepared using olive oil and wasn’t fried or preserved with salt.

This makes you wonder, of course, whether there were other factors involved besides the omega 3 in the fish itself creating the lower cancer risk.  This being said, the benefits of consuming fish are undeniable on the heart and circulation, and lowering the risk of cancer would certainly be a welcome perk.

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,

glass of water with inscription half full, half empty

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

Diagnosing Parkinson’s With The Voice

When doctors ask you to say “ahhhh”, it is usually to look at the condition of your throat. Doctor examining throat Dr. Max Little, Chairman of the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative, has developed Speech Recognition software which compares a patient’s voice to a database of vocal recordings of Parkinson’s patients and those who do not have the disease.  Early testing of the technology have demonstrated it to be 99% accurate, and the project is currently amassing 10,000 further recordings to further assess the software’s ability to detect Parkinson’s.  Apparently, those individuals with Parkinson’s show specific vocal patterns e.g., tremors.

Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease behind Alzheimer’s disease and affects one million people in the USA.  There is no lab test specific for the disease.   Parkinson’s has the best outcomes when identified early – as the disease has no cure – but the progression of the disease can be slowed by pharmaceutical therapy. The diagnosis, up until now, has relied on clinical assessments of stress, muscle reflexes, gait, brain scans and so on.  The use of this voice recognition technology is showing great promise.  Calling your doctor may soon take on a whole new meaning.

Until next time…

Dr. Gatis

Force of Illness #3: Inflammation & Disease

The “Third Force of Illness” is Inflammation.  The inflammatory process is a natural body reaction to injury, infections, allergens, toxins, pollution, pesticides, food additives, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, free radicals and oxidative stress.  The five associated signs that the process of inflammation is occurring are redness, swelling, heat, pain and loss of function.  The first three signs are the ones most often associated with inflammation – and we have all experienced it.  It is usually local and self-limited.  The body runs into trouble, however, when inflammation is excessive, chronic or systemic.

As strange as it sounds, the most common externally-generated cause of inflammation isBlue cold gel pack to kill the pain what happens in the digestive tract.  Even though we consider the “gut” is inside, it is actually “outside” us.  If we turned ourselves inside-out, the gut would be on the outside (like the skin).  The gastrointestinal tract is one of our primary defenses against invaders.   In many ways, it is an extension of the skin and similarly protective.  When the gut is inflamed, the inflammation process occurs in other areas of the body – like the covering of the bones and the walls of the arteries.  Any arthritis or arteriosclerosis has at its roots this inflammatory process.  As an interesting side-note, researchers are finding  that certain micro-organisms exist in the wall of diseased arteries.  We may find that cardiovascular disease may be linked to the presence of one or more of these organisms triggering the inflammatory response – just like Helicobacter pylori has been linked to the development of stomach ulcers.

In other words, gut function – especially an “inflamed” gut – affects other systems directly.  The digestive tract is a major regulator of the immune system.  Even though the source of the inflammation may be different, the end result is the same i.e., inflammation activates the immune system systemically.  Whether it starts in your pinky finger or your molar, inflammation puts your immune system on alert.  Reducing inflammation in the gut can, and does, have a modulating effect on the majority of disease processes that have an immune system component.

By far, the most common internally-triggered factors for chronic inflammation are free High resolution 3D human for anatomy,medicine and healthradicals and oxidative stress – which can be caused by anything that depletes the body of “antioxidants” e.g., overeating, obesity, chronic infections, toxins, and so on.  Please understand that free radicals are one of the naturally-occurring by-products of cellular metabolism.  Free radicals are kept from damaging tissue by “antioxidants” which neutralize them.   The problem results from an imbalance between free radical production and free radical neutralization.  Unadulterated colourful vegetables and fruits are perhaps the best way to get your daily dose of antioxidants e.g., vitamins A,D,E, K, C.  There are also certain supplements, like N.A.C., that increase other important antioxidants like glutathione.

Virtually all of us are antioxidant deficient, with inflamed digestive tracts and low-grade chronic inflammation.   This not only puts a heavy burden on the body, but it is my contention that it takes its toll on the Brain/Mind as well.  Much of the anxiety and depression experienced by our young people (which I consider epidemic) is directly related to poor diet and digestion.  An inflamed gut, most definitely can lead to an inflamed mind – and drugs are not the solution.  Mind what you eat, and eat for your mind.  Say “no” to your latte and say “hello” to you morning antioxidant smoothie!

Until next time……

Dr. Gatis

Are You Suffering From Sludge?

In a previous blog, I mentioned the book “Ultraprevention” by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D.   According to Dr. Hyman, there are Five Forces of Illness.  The First of these Forces is what he calls the “sludge” factor.  Sludge (from a process I like to call “sludging”) is a term that means the result of abnormal or incomplete digestion and absorption of food.  Many of us are deluded into thinking that eating “right” i.e., eating lean meats, fruits, vegetables and cereals while avoiding fatty foods,  means that we don’t have to consider the possibility that we are malnourished.  This is unfortunately untrue.   Diet is important, of course, but how your body processes food is as important as the food itself.

Digestion, the breakdown of food into its components is complicated and involves severalHuman internal organs key players – the most important being hydrochloric acid from the stomach, pancreatic enzymes and bile from the liver/gallbladder.  If all of these digestive factors are working well, then there should be no fats, carbohydrates or proteins in the fecal material.  If there is, then either the digestion or absorption process has gone wrong.  Many individuals, for example, say that they eat well – but have digestive problems like chronic diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain that is unrelated to an overt pathology.

It is now known that there is a process, called endothelial dysfunction, which occurs in the lining of the stomach and digestive tract, the lining of the arteries, the lining of the bones, the skin and the blood-brain barrier .  The same factors that cause inflammation in the gut can also cause inflammation in these other areas.   When a patient presents with symptoms on the skin (like psoriasis or eczema), autoimmune reactions or demonstrated arterial disease, the first thing that an ND suspects is a problem with digestion or absorption leading to a state of malnutrition.  Malnutrition in this sense is the chronic lack of certain essential nutrients that are either not being supplied in the diet or less-then-optimally absorbed that are necessary for the optimum functioning of the system in question.

70% of our immune system is located in the gut because swallowing “germs” is one of their major entrance routes into the body.   Any protein that is not recognized as yours is considered a potential invader and attacked.  The last thing that you want is your body to react against a food component.

Incomplete digestion is the major contributor for the digestion of food sensitivities.  Food How Do You Feel Question 3d Wordssensitivities occur when a food (especially protein) is not digested fully.   These incomplete breakdown particles can enter the circulation and create an antibody response because they are seen by the body as a foreign protein.

One of the reasons food sensitivities develop is a lack of hydrochloric acid (or HCL) production by the stomach or enzymes by the pancreas.    HCL is necessary for the breakdown of proteins into single amino acids.  Single amino acids don’t trigger an immune response where tripeptides (three amino acids bound together) can.   HCL is also necessary for mineral absorption.  This is why individuals that are taking a drug like Tecta for overacid conditions on a daily basis will eventually suffer from osteopenia or soft bones – due to the reduction in mineral absorption.   It has also been related, I believe, to creating low thyroid conditions – probably for the same reason.

In summary, chronic health conditions are usually related to problems with “sludging” or abnormal digestion and absorption of foods.  This “sludge” interferes with the cell’s ability to optimally function and is one of the first signs of the beginning of illness.

In the next blog, we will talk about Force 2:  Impaired Metabolism or Burnout.

Until then……

Dr. Gatis

How Does A Naturopath Think?

I have enjoyed relatively good health over my life – with a few minor/major blips along the way.  As an aging male Naturopathic Doctor, I am acutely aware of the fact that – although I have taken care of my body and mind reasonably well over the years – my level of health has not yet achieved optimization.  In short, like the rest of you, life gets in the way.  I have decided, therefore, to use this blog as an instructional tool (how a naturopath thinks) over the next few months by using my own situation as a reference point rather than case studies.  In other words, I will assess myself as if I was one of my clients – including any naturopathypossible blood work and/or functional tests that are available – and, based on the findings, will put myself on a treatment regimen and monitor the results.

I am currently reading a book (one of many) by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D. called “Ultraprevention”.   He is a brilliant man and far more Naturopathic Doctor than Medical Doctor, in my opinion.  I say this because he has come to the conclusion that the human body is complicated and health is a process.  There is no “magic bullet to shoot down all your health issues”.  There are “forces” that lead us down the path to illness.  When we are aware of these forces and make them personal i.e., understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to our own health, we can truly be more in control of our own well being rather than at the whim of “illness”.  These (naturopathic) factors as summarized by Dr. Hyman are:  1) Malnutrition/Mal-digestion (sludge),  2) Impaired metabolism (burnout),  3)  Inflammation (heat),  (4) Impaired detoxification (waste);  Oxidative stress (rust).  Over the next few months, we will explore these topics in more depth.

Until then, there is one crucial test (according to Dr. Hyman) that will provide you with personally with the inside track on the possibility of preventing diseases like heart attack stroke, dementia, and some forms of cancer.  This test is:

  1. Cholesterol
  2. Blood sugar
  3. Vitamin E
  4. Homocysteine

See the answer in the next blog.

Dr. Gatis

The Mystery of Aging

All of us age.  Why we age remains somewhat of a mystery.  How we age – and the manifestations of aging that go with it can be modified.  To age in good health we must be aware of the factors affecting the gut, arteries and bone metabolism.  Many people don’t know, for example, that at least 70% of our immune system is regulated by the GI tract or that 90% of our brain neurotransmitters (including serotonin) is produced there as well.  In a practical sense, our brains only work as well as our digestion does.  Inflammation that remains unchecked tend to accelerate the aging process.  More on this later.