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Category: Boulder Holistic Blog

Reversing Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance is a hot topic in the health and functional medicine world. Our fast passed, high stress and inactive lifestyles put many people at risk for this undesirable condition. Luckily, insulin resistance is not only preventable, but may be reversible by making healthy diet and lifestyle changes now!
What is insulin resistance?

Insulin is a hormone released by your endocrine system that helps shuttle sugar consumed in the diet into your cells to be used as fuel. Insulin is also the main fat storage hormone in the body. It tells fat cells to store all calories as fat and elevated insulin levels also prevent fat from being used as fuel.

Insulin resistance really means insulin excess and it is just one step on the path to developing long-term issues with your metabolism. So when your insulin levels are high, your body goes into fat storage mode… making weight loss nearly impossible.

How did you get here? Standard American Diet, Genetics, and Lifestyle
 
Many things can contribute to having issues with glucose metabolism and insulin resistance. When someone with the right genetic make up and lifestyle also eats the standard American diet (heavy on processed foods, low in fiber and quality protein, high in bad fats and simple carbohydrates), their body will start to produce more and more insulin in order to try to manage all the sugar that is being consumed with every meal.
 
Our lifestyle can also contribute to developing insulin resistance. The amount of stress in our lives as well as the coping skills we use for managing our stress (stress eating, and consuming an excess of caffeine and alcohol) can also make insulin resistance worse. Likewise, the amount of exercise (too much or too little) and types of exercise can similarly impact the insulin resistance and glucose metabolism.
How do I know if this is a problem for me?
 
Signs that you may have impaired glucose metabolism may include fatigue, feeling hungry all the time, having issues with sleep (poor sleep quality or feeling tired all the time), difficulty losing weight or yo-yo diet weight loss, and the presence of stubborn belly fat no matter how well you eat and exercise.
 
A functional medicine doctor can order routine lab work that may show evidence of this process years before you would actually get the diagnosis of diabetes from a traditional doctor.
 
Some of these labs include measuring leptin hormone, insulin levels, hemoglobin A1c and blood glucose levels in your blood. Elevations in any of these markers can indicate that you have impaired glucose metabolism and could be on your way to developing a metabolic syndrome like diabetes.
 
How do I fix this?
 
None of this happened overnight, and it won’t change overnight either. No one wants to hear this, but coming back from insulin resistance and impaired glucose metabolism takes time. Insulin resistance develops over years and years and is actually your body’s intelligent way of adapting to eating too much sugar from a carbohydrate heavy diet for a lifetime. In fact, by the time your blood work shows insulin resistance, this processes has been happening for at least 10-20 years!

If you want to work on reversing insulin resistance, it requires a dedication to eating a whole foods diet and modifying your lifestyle and exercise behaviors—for life.

  1. Exercise. In order to change your metabolism, you have to exercise. The best exercise for changing metabolism is brisk walking 30+ minutes at least 5 out of 7 days.
  2. Stress control. Cortisol is our stress hormone, and elevated cortisol levels also contribute to greater fat storage, especially abdominal fat. You can read about cortisol here. Read about how mindfulness, meditation, tapping and breath work can all help to rewire our stress response here.
  3. Low carb and high fat diet. A whole foods diet that eliminates processed foods and simple carbs and sugar and includes healthy fats is recommended for reversing insulin resistance. Check out the Mito-Food plan from IFM.
  4. Ketosis. Ketosis simply means that your body has adapted to burning fat for fuel rather than glucose. The Mito-Keto food plan can help you figure out what to eat to start exploring ketosis.
  5. Fasting. Intermittent or prolonged fasting. Fasting is an advanced way to profoundly change your metabolism. Fasting can be explored under medical supervision, as long as you have made all the above changes to your diet and lifestyle.
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The Latest COVID-19 Updates from Boulder Holistic

On Friday November 20th 2020, Boulder and Denver counties entered the “new red” COVID restriction levels. So what does that mean for us at Boulder Holistic?
 
Due to the current risk of COVID-19 infection, we are trying to do our part in slowing the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the number of face-to-face appointments per state order. We are booking appointments with our doctors via telemedicine through zoom or over the phone over the next few weeks in order to best comply with the new restrictions.
 
We are allowing in-person visits for those patients who want or need to be seen in-person for medical reasons. Please discuss your concerns with the front desk when booking your appointment.  
 
Our goal is to continue to provide the best care possible to all our patients during these uncertain times. More than ever, it is important to stay connected with your doctor in order to maintain optimum immune health, sleep, nutrition and stay as healthy as possible. We are all in this together!
 
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday, 
Dr. Fox and Dr. Reidhead
What to do if you have been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus?
We recommend the following for patients who have been in close contact/exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. According to the CDC, close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for longer than 15 minutes.
 
1. The CDC, Colorado.gov and Boulder County websites recommend that all people who have had exposure to a known positive COVID-19 infected person quarantine for a full 14 days. We are finding that it may take up to 14 days for enough of the virus to grow in the body to know whether you will become symptomatic.
 
2. You should quarantine, even if you do not have symptoms. During your 14-day quarantine, you are to monitor for the development of signs and symptoms of coronavirus infection.
  • These symptoms include fever, shortness of breath, chills, loss of smell/taste, fatigue, headache and gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea or nausea. 
  • If mild to moderate symptoms develop, please contact your doctor and we can help you to get tested for COVID-19 and assist you with supporting your body during initial infection phase.
  • If severe symptoms develop, like difficulty breathing, blue lips or skin, or changes in mental status, please call ahead to the emergency room and let them know you or your loved one has been exposed to the virus and is experiencing severe symptoms and needs to be seen immediately.
3. People may wish to be tested for COVID-19 during their quarantine, even if they do not develop symptoms. In this case, it is recommended that you wait a full 5-7 days after being exposed to the coronavirus before you get tested so that we get accurate results. Testing too early may lead to a false negative result.
 
There is a list of testing facilities on Boulder County’s website. https://www.bouldercounty.org/families/disease/covid-19/testing/
 
For a list of Denver county testing sites, please visit:
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Using Your Supplements Wisely: How to Best Protect and Heal from COVID-19

As fall turns to winter, the number of coronavirus cases in our state and the country continues to grow. Thankfully, over the past months doctors and researchers have learned more about the virus and how to best approach prevention and treatment.
 
Functional medicine thrives when it comes to understanding root causes of illness and how to support proper immune function. The research has shown that a step-wise approach to the coronavirus may be the best medicine.
 
First step: Prevention

Basic prevention measures should focus first on maintaining a healthy lifestyle by consuming a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise; reducing stress and getting adequate sleep. And of course, don’t forget to keep your distance, wear a mask and wash your hands!

Supplementing during the prevention stage includes the basics:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Probiotics
  • Zinc
  • Melatonin
  • N-Acetyl Cysteine

Using herbs and supplements to boost the immune system is also nice at this stage. Herbs make good choices because one herb can have many different actions in the body. The following herbs can support all three phases of illness.

  • Helpful herbs may include: Andrographis, Licorice, Berberine, Dan Shen, Scutalaria/Chinese skullcap and Japanese knotweed
  • Allicin, from garlic, can also help support immune function
  • Olive leaf helps against viruses
  • Mega IgG and SBI Protect
  • Quercitin
Next step: What to do if you get sick!

Ok, so here is what to do if you happen to get sick. Quarantine and rest are important at this stage as they limit the spread of the virus and allow your body to focus its energy on killing the virus.

During the initial 7 days of infection, we also recommend that you keep taking all your basic prevention supplements. Just at higher dosing or frequency. If you were taking your prevention supplements once a day, maybe increase to twice or three times daily dosing. It’s important to also increase the amount of vitamin C you are taking if possible: every couple of hours until “bowel tolerance”. Infections consume a LOT of antioxidants, so replacing them helps your body keep fighting.

It is also recommended during this initial illness stage that you increase your attention on antiviral strategies. If you were taking herbs once or twice day, you can increase to 3 times daily dosing at this phase.

  • The same herbs apply here: Andrographis, Scutillaria/Chinese Skullcap, licorice, Berberine, Goldenseal and Japanese Knotweed.
  • Echinacea and Reshi mushrooms are also great at this stage.
Step three: Late stage Infection Support

If by 7 days you have not recovered from COVID, it is important to change strategies and be watchful of worsening of symptoms or your condition.

Late infection with COVID-19 requires a different approach. During this time, we encourage people to switch focus from an immune support plan and begin to support a more anti-inflammatory approach.

  • Fish oils
  • Resveratrol
  • Sulforaphane
  • Curcumin
  • Glutathione
  • High Dose Melatonin

Many of these nutrients are important during this phase as they address escalating inflammation and demand for antioxidant support so critical at this stage.

Be alert for and seek emergency help if you or a loved one begins to experience symptoms of worsening illness like difficulty breathing, blue lips or face and changes in consciousness.

At Boulder Holistic, we have made an antiviral tincture that can be used to help support your body at every step.
 
Our Antiviral Tincture combines 4 herbs that have both antiviral and anti-inflammatory actions and can be used in all stages to support your immune system.
  • Glycyrrhizin/licorice
  • Dan Shen
  • Scutilaria/Chinese Scullcap
  • Japanese Knotweed

Dosing instructions:

  • In prevention stage, we recommend taking 2 droppers full daily
  • During active and late infection, our tincture can be taken 2-3 droppers full every few hours or 8 droppers full 3 times daily diluted in a little water.
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Fall and COVID-19

Autumn is my favorite season…it must be the Midwesterner in me. I absolutely love watching the leaves change, feeling the crispness in the air and diving headfirst into my fuzzy sweaters.

As the nights get colder, my family and I are enjoying our back yard, social distanced dinner gatherings seated near our propane fire pit, wrapped in cozy blankets. One thing quarantine has gifted me is a deep appreciation for the connections I share with close friends and family.

For me, another unexpected gift of coronavirus and quarantine has been the unique opportunity to attend two medical conferences since September without the added expense of travel and hotel cost!!

It should come as no surprise that COVID was a dominating topic in both.

One of the things I learned that I wanted to share was some insight into the strange behavior of this virus and what it could mean to this community.

Although COVID is primarily seen as a respiratory illness, it shares many unexpected similarities to other chronic diseases including Lyme disease and mold illness/chronic inflammatory response syndrome. One of these startling similarities is how it can lead to what is called “long-hauler’s” syndrome. Long-haulers syndrome is when someone experiences significant lingering symptoms long after the virus has resolved. Sound familiar?

Keep reading to find out what I learned about the connection between Lyme, mold and COVID-19!

Also, check out the frequently asked questions section and get connected with the latest, up to date answers to some of the questions we get from our patients, friends and family.

Best,
Dr. Amy

Pets in the Time of COVID-19

It’s no secret that pets can be highly beneficial in times of stress. During COVID-19 this is especially true. From unconditional love and companionship, to helping us stick to our daily routines, pets can play a vital role in our mental wellness. But are they safe? In a word, yes.

According to the American Red Cross, there is no evidence of COVID-19 transmittal from pets to humans. There is, however, a remote potential that the virus may be spread from humans to certain animals, including domestic cats and dogs. For this reason it’s important to keep your pets safe, especially should you become infected. Both the American Red Cross and the CDC have detailed information on this topic.
American Red Cross
CDC

Chronic Lyme disease, CIRS illness and COVID-19: What’s the connection?

1. What do these diseases have in common?

  • Both Lyme and COVID came from an animal reservoir, called zoonotic disease.
  • Both Lyme and COVID create complex immune responses in their hosts and are associated with cytokine storm
  • CIRS and mycotoxin related disease similarly affects the immune system, and is associated with elevated cytokine levels
  • All show a spectrum of presentation in different patients
  • All are multi system diseases, affecting different organs, not just the lungs
  • All present with common symptoms of fatigue, body aches, brain fog, as well as other mental and neurologic manifestations
  • We are now seeing that some COVID infected people, referred to as long-haulers, can go on to suffer chronic symptoms after disease resolution. Like in Lyme, there is confusion as to whether this represents reinfection with the virus, or a reactivation syndrome

2. COVID, chronic Lyme disease, and CIRS all interact with the immune system by turning down one part of the immune system called the adaptive immune system, while turning up the innate immune system flooding the body with inflammation
3. The chronic inflammatory state created by these disease taxes the immune system, exhausting the body of anti-oxidant nutrients needed to protect against infection
4. Finally you are left with a immune system that is less prepared to fight off other infections, like viruses

One advantage that chronic Lyme and mold sufferers have in common is a deep understanding of their bodies and its wisdom. We also understand the importance of supporting our bodies through good nutrition, supplementation and reducing stress.

Many of the same supplements that people take to treat Lyme and mold are the very same supplements we recommend for supporting and treating the symptoms of coronavirus.

Click here to see our doctors’ recommendations for supporting the immune system.

Even in the uncertainty that this virus evokes, it is possible to support your immune system, engage in healthy lifestyle habits and fostering joy and opportunities to connect to others and ourselves and build resilience.

Don’t forget, during the fall and winter month’s cold viruses, influenza as well as COVID may be spread. Protect yourself and your family by:

  • Wearing masks
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash up!

One advantage that chronic Lyme and mold sufferers have in common is a deep understanding of their bodies and its wisdom. We also understand the importance of supporting our bodies through good nutrition, supplementation and reducing stress.

Many of the same supplements that people take to treat Lyme and mold are the very same supplements we recommend for supporting and treating the symptoms of coronavirus.

Click here to see our doctors’ recommendations for supporting the immune system.

Even in the uncertainty that this virus evokes, it is possible to support your immune system, engage in healthy lifestyle habits and fostering joy and opportunities to connect to others and ourselves and build resilience.

Don’t forget, during the fall and winter month’s cold viruses, influenza as well as COVID may be spread. Protect yourself and your family by:

  • Wearing masks
  • Practice social distancing
  • Wash up!
Frequently Asked Questions — COVID-19
What do you recommend as far as travel and celebrating the upcoming holiday season?
Do I need to get a flu shot?
How do you tell the difference between a cold, the flu and COVID?
What activities put me most at risk for contracting the virus?
How is Colorado doing with the virus?

What to do after you’ve been sick.

How soon after getting COVID can I see other people?
  • CDC recommends quarantining for 10 days after first signs of COVID-19 or after testing positive for the virus.
  • See the CDC’s full recommendations here.
  • We think the best recommendation is to check with your doctor before leaving quarantine.
Do I need to get retested before I can see other people?
Can you be infected more than once?
References
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Heal The Vagus Nerve and Improve Your Health

Optimum Vagus nerve function or vagal tone is a hot topic in current research, especially as it relates to the treatment and management of chronic illness.
 
As practitioners, we are just now beginning to understand how important supporting this nerve is to maintaining health.
 
So what exactly is the Vagus nerve?
Spanning from brain stem to gut, the Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the human body. Its branches extend from the brain to the heart and most major organs above and below the diaphragm and its function is vital to all of these organs and much, much more. 
 
The Vagus nerve controls the switch between the “zen-calm, rest and digest” parasympathetic nervous system and the activation of the “fight flight or freeze” response of the sympathetic nervous system. 
 
Although we need the quick action of the sympathetic nervous system to protect us from danger, we are finding that the Vagus nerve can get stuck in “fight or flight”, essentially blocking our bodies ability to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, lowering our ability to restore a feeling of calm and relaxation, and blocking the natural healing response. 
 
Our brains and bodies depend on our Vagus nerve to regulate things like:
  • Digestion
  • Inflammation
  • Anxiety and the fight or flight response
  • The immune response
 
While a poorly functioning Vagus nerve is linked to poor health outcomes and chronic disease, research is showing a well functioning Vagus nerve is essential for achieving optimal health and recovering from chronic illness.
 
Dysfunctions of the Vagus nerve also contribute to chronic inflammation, which is implicated in many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and dementia as well as mental health conditions like PTSD trauma, anxiety, and depression. Chronic viral, bacterial and parasitic infections and toxic exposures to mold and other environmental toxins are also linked to Vagus nerve dysfunction.
 
Finding ways to address Vagus nerve dysfunction may help to improve resilience, recovering our innate ability to bounce back after stress.
 
Many of the symptoms experienced by people suffering from chronic illness, infections and toxic exposure stem from too much inflammation in the body. A well functioning Vagus nerve is important because it helps to regulate inflammation in the body and restores our ability to shift back into homeostasis and healing.
 
So how can you help restore the function of your Vagus nerve naturally?
  • First step is always removing triggers, like inflammatory foods, infections and toxins
  • Supplements available on Fullscript: OrthoMega 820, SomnoPro with melatonin, 5-HTP and L-theanine and Quicksilver Melatonin help to heal nerve tissue and promote sleep and calm
  • Available exclusively from Boulder Holistic: Probiotics, specifically those containing Lactobacillis Rhamnosus strain, have proven helpful in supporting Vagus nerve function. This includes: Xymogen ProbioMax Compete DF and ProbioMax 350 DF
 
Other supportive measures for optimumVagus nerve function
  • Coffee enemas support detoxification in the liver by boosting glutathione as well as stimulating Vagus tone. Click here for our recipe.
  • Get a Chiropractic adjustment, specifically upper cervical adjustments greatly benefit the Vagus nerve function
  • Acupuncture, especial in the ear, supports parasympathetic tone and Vagus nerve function
  • Cranial Sacral Therapy can help to support parasympathetic tone and release the Vagus nerve
Vagus nerve stimulation practices you can do yourself at home
  • Stimulate the Vagus nerve: Gargling, singing, humming, coughing, laughing, chanting, chewing gum and “OM-ing” all stimulate Vagus nerve function.
  • Breath work: Slow, deep breathing, or alternate nostril breathing, can help reset the Vagus nerve.
  • Cold water: A cold shower or bath, or even splashing cold water on your face, can stimulate the Vagus nerve.
  • Get direct sunlight: Sunlight boosts MSH, another hormone that supports the Vagus nerve.
  • Mindfulness: Practice Yoga, meditation or Tai Chi.
  • Be social: Research shows that feeling closer to others builds resilience and improves Vagus nerve function.
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2355 Canyon Blvd.   |   Suite 102   |   Boulder, CO 80302

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