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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 6

This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– Balance is a predictor of mortality as well right?

– Absolutely.

– So one of the biggest issues as we get older is people falling. And somebody who falls that’s elderly, and they lose their balance, they break their hip. That can send them into a real downward spiral. So doing things, doing exercises to maintain your balance is really important.

– If anybody would like to work on balance or has any balance issues, they talk to their provider, maybe get a referral to a good PT who understands what balances exercises encompass. But, you know, if you’re gonna be working on balance, make sure you old onto something, all right? Especially if you come from a place of imbalance, and you’re trying to get into balance. You know, brace yourself, make sure you’re gonna be safe, and not end up, you know, falling and hurting yourself.

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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 5

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– How to walk properly. You think, well, I walk the way I walk. But there’s actually a right way to walk. And that is with your feet straight ahead. Many times I see people who, you know, their feet are out and maybe they kinda walk like a little duck, or you know. But if your feet are out like that it’s not really, it’s not good for a variety of muscles and structural issues, as well. So, when you’re walking, what you wanna do is, you wanna make sure that your feet are straight ahead. And you know what? It may take you some time to get there, but a little change each day, one percent change each day will lead to great change over time.

– Right, absolutely.

– Yeah.

– Yeah. Okay so, you know what I noticed today in somebody that’s complaining of sacroiliac pain or back pain, just kind of, you know, like general back pain, you know, they walked kind of in on the outside of their heels. So, that’s a problem, too. Look at he way you’re walking. If you wanna find out how you’re walking, look at the bottom of your shoe, that’ll tell you a lot. This thing is like a record keeper, right. It’s like a history book right here.

– It is, absolutely.

– How have I been walking in my life. So, are you wearing the inside of the sole, are you wearing the outside of the sole, or is just kind of generally worn.

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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 4

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– Herbs that I like to use for circulation are Butcher’s Broom, and Centella asiatica also known as gotu kola. And I also like Horse Chestnuts. Specifically, for bringing circulation up the legs. For people who stand for long periods of time, the blood can go down. But what might happen is the circulation might not come back up because their veins become flacid.

– Yeah, and you will see that a lot of the times with vericosities, right. So, those purple veins in the legs or you can get venous stasis. Some of you might know or have a diagnosis of venous stasis. Yeah, so, blood return, right. Blood return to the heart, circulate through the body, and not pool in the legs.

– Obviously those are some of my, maybe my top three. How about for you?

– Yes.

– So, you know what I think about. I think about nitric oxide. So, for me nitric oxide is about basal dilation and circulation. And also, that nitric oxide when it causes that basal dilation, we’re getting oxygenation of the tissues. So I think that’s my number one. And you can get nitric oxide naturally through beets. But sometimes I’ll prescribe a supplement called citrulline.

– Yep.

– And if you have problems with the herpes virus then or if you don’t have problems with the herpes virus we’ll prescribe arginine so it’s a precursor to nitric oxide.

– Is that arginine, I believe, can convert to right? I think that might be how it goes.

– Well, yeah, I think so. But you know, I wanted to say that my favorite nitric oxide supplement is actually exercise. Our body stores nitric oxide and within the first three to five minutes of exercise your body releases all of its stores of nitric oxide so it think that the benefits of exercise really come from that release. So you basal dilate meaning our blood vessels open creating highways or interstates out of one lane roads. Right, so we just, all this blood will rush in you and when you exercise, you might notice that you might get a little tingly, you might start sweating, but things definitely get flushed. Things are definitely moving so I think opening up the blood vessels is key, right? So nitric oxide is one of my favorites. Another one I really like is well, I said beets right, so beets is my favorite. But I do like gotu kola. Gotu kola is great for circulation, and I also like hawthorn. Hawthorn is all about treating the heart and so the heart circulating this blood you wanna healthy heart so I’m always thinking about when I’m talking to patients about circulation nitric oxide is number one, we talk about heart health so hawthorn is number two. Gotu kola I really like. And then bioflavonoids, so bioflavonoids or molecules that you get from berries. So blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. There’s a great product that we carry but it’s full of these bioflavonoids and it’s really great for the blood vessels. It’s high in vitamin c and so lots of collagen, blood vessel support and then of course movement.

– You know, speaking of nitric oxide, I wanna throw one other food out there.

– Okay good.

– With nitric oxide, that I think all of you will be really happy to hear and that is dark chocolate. 30 grams of dark chocolate just a little over an ounce, not a whole lot, can actually stimulate the release of nitric oxide. It has to be 70% or greater dark chocolate. Preferably higher than 70%, 70% is kinda like just crossing that threshold. So if you can get up higher, I like the 88% dark chocolate, something like that and that can help with the release of nitric oxide as well.

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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 3

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– If we sit in the same position for, I think it’s 19 to 20 minutes, what happens is our fascia which is, it’s kind of like our…

– I call it the sock.

– Go for it.

– You know what I mean?

– Tell us about it

– It’s sort of like a giant sock that we all fit into you know like a sheet. It’s that sort of white, fibrous silk that covers every muscle and keeps that muscle structure intact so you can imagine, you take off your suit and you have a sock underneath or you take off a shoe and there’s a sock

– There’s a sock

– And it kind of keeps it together so you could pull on one end of the sock and it affects the other so. And that’s true to the fascia, the fascia in your feet can affect the top of your head so I think you know…

– And as you sit, if you sit in the same position, so think driving, think at your desk at your computer, you’re all hunched over. What would happen is the fascia will begin to harden and solidify around that position because the body is saying well this is how I want to be and so it starts to get stiff and inflexible. And so every 19 to 20 minutes, let’s say every 20 to 30 minutes, you want to get up and you want to move a little bit because the fascia is, as I believe, thixotropic meaning that with movement and heat its kind of like a Jell-O, like gelatin. When it’s cold it’s hard and solid but with heat it softens, it liquefies. So movement creates this friction that allows that to soften up and you don’t get stuck in that position.

– Right. You know what that makes me think of? You know, our lives are all about here right. We’re all on the keyboard or on our devices or driving or cooking, life is in front of us right so, what I see a lot of times is people will complain about neck pain and shoulder pain. And the problem is that, they’re tightening just as you said you know you’re looking at, you look at that tightening of the fascia, we’re all coming forward, we’re all kind of wrapped in our lives like this. And it really puts a lot of strain on those muscles in the back, especially the rhomboids, the trapezius and the scalene in the neck. So if you’re experiencing neck pain, shoulder pain, you know, think about that, and then as you get up to stretch in your 20 minute, 30 minute interval stretch it back you know, pull it back and open yourself up to the back really. Open your heart up to the world.

– To the world! You know you want to come into the world like this, good posture is kind of if you were to take your shoulders and bring them to your ears and then bring them back a little bit and then drop them, that’s good posture right there. That’s like a healthy posture.

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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– The chronic low back pain, the chronic back pain that people are experiencing, which is becoming more and more prevalent, is because of all of the desk jobs that people have. People are siting at their desks, in front of their computers, for long periods of time and there’s a new movement happening with stand up desks. Having desks that can go up or down. People are actually more productive when they stand and do their work than when they sit at a desk.

– You know, I find that interesting. So our kids go to a Waldorf school, right? So they actually incorporate a lot of movement into learning. So they learn math skills, or language skills, they actually incorporate that into a rhythm, a dance, some form of movement to get the kids to incorporate that into their body, which I find incredible. I was actually speaking to a patient the other day, and they were talking about some statistic they read about kids learning better when moving. So you know, if it applies to kids, I’m sure it applies to adults. The body is made to move, right?

– Right.

– We’re all made to move. We’re not made to sit sedentary for long periods of time. We’re not made to stand in one place for long periods of time. So there’s a balance that you’ve gotta strike between movement and being sedentary.

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VIDEO: Wednesday Night Live: Movement is Key, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Movement is Key

– There is a meta analysis, and a meta analysis is a look at a variety of studies, and this meta analysis looked at 18 different studies and over 800,000 subjects, so this is a lot of people we’re talking about here, and what they found was that those who sat the most had a two-fold higher risk of diabetes, they had a two-and-a-half-fold higher risk of heart disease, and a 90% higher risk of death from heart disease. As well as, a 50% higher risk of death from all causes when compared to those that sat least. That’s a pretty staggering figure right there to think about. People who are sitting having that much greater risk of mortality. One of the things that researchers are starting to come out saying is that sitting is actually the new cigarette. It’s actually worse for you than cigarettes.

– Isn’t that incredible? That statistic blows my mind.

– Yes.

– Blows my mind.

– So as Dr. Duncan said earlier for every, was it, hour that you sit, you take two hours off your life span. For every cigarette that you smoke, you lose 11 minutes off of your life.

– Man.

– So, they’re even finding that people who take cigarette breaks, who take smoke breaks, at work are actually healthier than those who stay sitting because they get up and they walk for a few minutes. They move and then they come back and sit down again. So, not to say you should take up smoking so you canwalk.

– Never. It’d be terrible.

– Healthier. But the reality is is that sitting is worse than smoking.

– So, why do you think that is? Are there studies showing why that happens or what causes it?

– I think what we’re just starting to get into that right now. But one thing that’s really interesting is that they found that people who sit for too long, it actually contributes to insulin resistance. So it works on insulin production in the pancreas. And they’ve also found that it shuts down the circulation of an enzyme called Lipase, which is necessary for digesting and absorbing fats. So we don’t even break our fat down as well as we could if we sit for too long.

– Well that’s just incredible.

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Adrenal Support for the Holidays

Don’t Sink Your Boat This Holiday Season by Neglecting Your Adrenal Glands!

With Fall underway and the holiday season quickly approaching it is crucial that we have our adrenal function dialed in.  Optimal adrenal function provides the wherewithal we depend on to sail through our daily activities with relative ease, focus, and vitality.  For many the holiday season can be stressful, emotionally and physically, setting the stage for adrenal dysfunction and then illness, fatigue, and general depletion.

The adrenal glands are tiny glands that direct the body’s metabolic forces from atop of each kidney.   From there they govern blood sugar and mineral balance, energy production, and inflammation levels in the body.  Like the captain of a ship our adrenal glands navigate the relationship between mind and body, maneuvering to maintain balance through life’s tumultuous sea of daily stressors.  Without optimal adrenal function we commonly experience low motivation, feelings of depletion, illness, sugar cravings, fluid retention, low sex drive, lack of focus, and painful inflammation.

For optimal function our adrenal glands require that we maintain healthy relationships with ourselves, others, our food, and our environment.

The adrenal glands require proper nutrition consisting of healthy fats, salts, and b-vitamins.

They require rest from the demands of our mental pursuits and our fast paced lives.  They require for us to be kind to ourselves and to move through life with balance.

If you’re already experiencing signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue, this busy time of year may speed you further towards depletion or illness.  Take charge of your health and support your metabolic captains so they may keep you sailing through the holidays.  Here are some quick tips:

-Your thyroid can affect your adrenals too!  Simply check your thyroid function at home!  Take your body temperature 3 hours after waking for at least 4 days.  If you’re averaging below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, then you may have a sluggish thyroid and depleted adrenals.

-Eat more Fat!  Include healthier fats in your diet like avocados, butter, olive oil, organic-free-range eggs, salmon, olives, lard and tallow.

-Check your stomach acid.  If you don’t have enough stomach acid, you can’t properly absorb your minerals and vitamins.

-Take your B Vitamins especially B5 and B6.  Purchase active B Vitamins (riboflavin-5-phosphate, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, methylfolate, and methylcobalamin) and avoid the cheap brands as they may contain toxic B’s.

-Ease your stress and schedule a reflexology appointment!

-Take a nap!  Resting will help you feel refreshed and give your adrenals a needed break.

-Get recharged with herbs like Ashwagandha, Devil’s club, and Siberian ginseng.

-Last but not least if you need some help getting yourself ready for the holidays schedule an appointment with a Naturopathic Specialist at Siskiyou Vital Medicine!


McClane Duncan, ND

Siskiyou Vital Medicine

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Estrogen Dominance: A Modern Dilemma

Estrogen dominance is one of the most common hormonal imbalances that women experience in today’s day and age. It can be caused by many lifestyle factors including stress, poor diet, medications, inadequate liver function, and exposure to xenoestrogens (please see Ron Veitel’s video blog from last week). It is also the reason why women in perimenopause/postmenopause can have symptoms such as hot flashes and night sweats. In this blog I will outline the symptoms and complications of estrogen dominance, and give you helpful tips on ways to break free from the estrogen dominance cycle.

What causes Estrogen Dominance?

When a woman’s menstrual cycle is balanced, estrogen is the dominant hormone for the first two weeks leading up to ovulation. Estrogen is then balanced in the second half of the cycle by progesterone. Well, when the body is being exposed to high amounts of environmental estrogen or unable to efficiently metabolize estrogens from the body, levels remain elevated during the second phase of a menstrual cycle and dominate the luteal phase (progesterone phase).

Signs and Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Bloating and water retention
  • Breast swelling and tenderness (especially before menses)
  • Fibrocystic breasts
  • Premenstrual headaches
  • Mood swings including irritability and depression
  • Weight gain (particularly around the abdomen and hips)
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Hair loss
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Foggy thinking, memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • PMS

This list is not exhaustive, unfortunately. Estrogen dominance can also be linked to allergies, autoimmune disorders, breast cancer, uterine cancer, infertility, ovarian cysts, increased blood clotting and endometriosis.

Practical Ways to Decrease Estrogen Dominance

1.     Increase nutrients in the diet:

a.     This means eating high quality unprocessed foods including organic vegetables and fruits, pasture raised meats not given hormones or antibiotics and healthy fats.

b.     Of note, cruciferous vegetables play a special role in estrogen metabolism and should be eaten frequently. This vegetable group includes broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, arugula and cauliflower.

2.     Remember to get enough FIBER

a.     Estrogen is excreted by the bowel and can be easily reabsorbed if it remains in the bowel for too long.  Fiber helps aid the bulking and excretion of stool on a regular basis.

b.     Fiber needs water to work optimally so also remember to drink at least half your weight in ounces every day.

3.     Detoxify the Liver

a.     The liver acts as a filter, which metabolizes and excretes hormones from the body.  When excess estrogen is constantly circulating in the body, the liver can become overloaded and harmful estrogen metabolites can accumulate.

b.     Helpful herbs and plants for the liver include: milk thistle, artichoke, dandelion root and leaf and cruciferous veggies.

4.     Seed Cycling

a.     Seeds can do wonders for balancing the hormone cycle and is pretty simple once you get in the groove of it.

b.     Days 1-14 of cycle eat 2 Tbs of flax and/or pumpkin seeds daily.

c.      Days 15-28 of cycle eat 2 Tbs of sesame and/or sunflower seeds daily.

d.     Rinse and repeat.

5.     Manage Stress!

a.     We probably all need help in this department.

b.     Learn to say no to excessive demands on your time.

c.      Make self-care a daily ritual in your life and find ways that you love to manage stress in a healthy way.

d.     Take a vacation

6.     Chaste tree (Vitex agnus)

a.     Chaste tree works by increasing luteinizing hormone (the hormone responsible for increasing progesterone in the second half of the menstrual cycle). When progesterone increases it lowers the ratio of estrogen. A great herb to take days 15-28 of the cycle.

If you think you may be struggling with estrogen dominance that is not corrected with lifestyle modification, you may need extra support from your Naturopathic physician.

To health and happy hormones,

Dr. Sonja Halsey

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Beware of Xenoestrogens! They Cause Cancer and Other Health Problems

Xenoestrogens cause a host of health problems including cancer, diabetes, infertility, miscarriages and more. Men and women are bombarded with and impacted by xenoestrogens every day from the food we eat to cosmetics we use, cleaning products and more. Siskiyou Vital Medicine Nutritionist and Lifestyle Coach Ron Veitel gives tips on how you can reduce your xenoestrogen exposure.

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Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): The nuts and bolts

Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) has become a hot topic both in the media and in the treatment room. Evermore, men are investigating the fountain of youth rumors surrounding testosterone. With signs and symptoms like weight gain, fatigue, low libido, loss of muscle mass, and lack of motivation, gents by the thousands are looking for answers. Testosterone can be a great treatment option but men should understand the nuts and bolts of TRT.

Before TRT you should know whether or not your man bits (testicles) are still producing testosterone. Measuring free and total testosterone along with FSH and LH will give you this answer. If your lab values show low testosterone and elevated FSH and LH, then your testis are on vacation, so testosterone supplementation may be the best choice of therapy. If your lab values show low testosterone and low FSH and LH, then you may be suffering from secondary or tertiary hypogonadism and the cause should be determined.

In secondary or tertiary hypogonadism, testosterone supplementation is not the best option and other functional approaches should be considered. Your testes still work and preserving their function is essential. Stimulating the production of testosterone and improving its bioavailability in the body is your best treatment option. Using a naturopathic approach, we can restore and support the body’s testosterone levels through the use of nutrients, herbs, lifestyle modifications and a class of medications called SERMs. SERM stands for Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator. SERM medications can be useful because they stimulate your body’s production of testosterone.

If you’re interested in TRT, the naturopaths and nutritionists at Siskiyou Vital Medicine are happy to help you determine whether or not, it is right for you.

When considering TRT here is a checklist of labs that should be done:

  • Free Testosterone
  • Total Testosterone
  • FSH
  • LH
  • Estradiol
  • DHT (Dihydrotestosterone)
  • PSA
  • HbA1C