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I first learned about Testosterone replacement when I visited an anti-aging doctor in Beverly Hills two years ago. Blood tests revealed that my “T” levels were on the low side of normal for my age. I hadn’t even thought about hormones before visiting his office and suddenly I was introduced to a whole new world of possibilities. For years, despite living a very healthy lifestyle, I felt lethargic, experienced moderate depression and was less vital than years earlier. The changes were something I figured I’d have to deal with. After all, I remember having depression as a kid so maybe it was a chemical thing.

If you’re like most people in North America over the age of 30, you are probably experiencing some signs of aging related to hormonal imbalance. For men, the changes are more gradual while for women, they can be more sudden and dramatic.

Many of my clients have just accepted that their aches, pains, foggy memory, and low libido are an inevitable part of aging. What they don’t realize is that many of these challenges can be due to lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and environmental toxins. The other missing piece of the puzzle for many is imbalanced hormones. Something CAN be done about it and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) may be the answer for you.

Once I began Testosterone replacement, I immediately felt better! It was as if somebody had given my slightly wilted body some water. Suddenly I perked up. My workouts improved, I felt more rested in the mornings and the depression seemed to reside. I was already quite lean but whatever body fat I had around my tummy also dissipated and my muscles looked and felt stronger and leaner. Numerous people were telling me how great I looked.

If you are confused about the use of hormone replacement, you are certainly not alone! There are numerous conflicting views out there and it is so difficult to know which ones to believe. Some studies tout hormone replacement as the key to feeling and looking great for as long as possible while others suggest that adding hormones can lead to cancer and other diseases. Who do we believe?

SIDE EFFECTS?
Studies dating back to 1940 revealed that Testosterone replacement had a direct connection to increased prostate cancer. Unfortunately, those beliefs have held strong in the medical community, even today. In his book “Testosterone for Life” by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, he reveals how those early studies were inaccurate and discusses hundreds of newer, more up to date research that in fact, show there is NO connection between healthy testosterone levels and cancer. In fact, it is low “T” that is the perpetrator. Testosterone replacement in moderate doses, evaluated by your doctor also has no effect on heart disease, liver damage or high blood pressure.

In her book “Ageless”, Suzanne Somers speaks in great depth about her positive experience as a cancer survivor using BHRT and interviews numerous leading anti-aging doctors about the benefits of all hormones.

Hormones are like the spark plugs for your body and in order to experience vitality, it is imperative to fine tune and balance the KEY hormones. The goal of most hormone specialists is to bring our levels back to where they were in our mid 20s-early 30s, a time when most of us felt our absolute best. Here are the main hormones and a little bit about their role in your body.

Testosterone
Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man male. It works to create muscle, body hair, lower body fat, and all other male characteristics. Testosterone is at its peak during our 20s and begins to decrease in most men at the age of 30. Testosterone is released from the testes and is also responsible for sperm production.

Normal levels of Testosterone in men range from approximately 348ng/dL to 1197ng/dL. A blood or saliva test will reveal what your levels are. I was surprised to find out that my levels were sitting at 440ng/dL. This is definitely considered the lower side of normal. Since doing Bioidentical Hormone Replacement I have managed to get my levels between 800-1000ng/dL

Estrogen
Estrogen is the hormone that makes a woman female. It creates feminine characteristics. Like Testosterone, Bioidentical Estrogen replacement has also brought up some controversy.

Suzanne Somers has written numerous books on the topic and has become an advocate for both male and female Bioidentical Hormone Replacement. She believes whole-heartedly in estrogen replacement for those who struggle with imbalances. Having been a cancer survivor, she talks openly about why she feels Estrogen replacement decreases cancer and other disease.

HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
HGH or Human Growth Hormone is getting a lot of press these days. It is a natural hormone in our bodies that we often overlook. As children, these hormones help our bodies and our internal organs to grow and become strong. As we age, the amount of HGH in our body decreases dramatically. Our HGH levels can drop as much as 85% from the age of 25 to 60. When HGH decreases, our bodies begin to age more rapidly.

Numerous anti-aging experts are recommending that people with low levels of Human Growth Hormone begin HGH replacement as a tool to reverse the aging process. 

Like testosterone, HGH can aid the body in building lean muscle, burning fat and increasing overall energy. It also works on reversing aging on a cellular level. 

Human Growth Hormone should only be considered if there is a deficiency. It should never be used as a bodybuilding or fitness tool. Find out your levels and get a skilled professional to weigh your pros and cons. Keep in mind that HGH is expensive; anywhere from $500 to $1000 US per month.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my HGH levels were quite good for somebody my age. I attribute this to the interval cardio training that I do called Sprint 8 and a healthy diet and lifestyle. I would certainly consider HGH replacement should my levels decrease in the future. It’s just one more tool that we can use to turn back the clock and live our life to the fullest!

Progesterone
Progesterone is produced in both the ovaries and the adrenal glands and works to normalize blood sugar levels and facilitate proper thyroid function especially during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can also assist in countering depression and anxiety, cognitive function, regulating thyroid, and increasing libido. A healthy pregnancy and embryo depends on this vital hormone as well. It is important for men to have adequate amounts of Progesterone too. Bioidentical, oral supplementation and cream is available and is relatively safe as long as a doctor regularly monitors you.

Pregnenolone
Pregnenolone is naturally produced in the adrenal glands, liver, skin, brain, testicles, ovaries, and retina of the eyes. It has been shown to improve cognitive function, increase energy, reduce the effects of stress, improve mood, and immunity. It is most commonly available as a supplement or cream.

Thyroid
The Thyroid gland is located in the neck and it produces the hormone Thyroid. Our pituitary gland can also affect the production of Thyroid. Our thyroid levels can be affected or even halted by stress, illness, anxiety, and even dieting.

Hypothyroidism or low Thyroid can cause hair loss, weight gain, constipation, cold hands and feet, and foggy thinking. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite which means that the Thyroid is overactive possibly leading to hyperactivity, muscle weakness, sudden weight loss or gain, increased appetite, and sensitivity to heat.

Finding the right treatment can be tricky which is why it’s important to find a knowledgeable doctor who will offer suggestions on how best to treat you for under or over-active Thyroid.

Insulin
The pancreas secretes insulin which works to regulate our blood sugar and assist our body in burning carbohydrates rather than storing them as fat. Some people have become Insulin resistant which means that the body no longer accepts sugar and fat for energy but rather stores them which can produce even more Insulin. Long-term high Insulin levels can lead to weight gain especially in the mid-section. Increased Insulin can also lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, plaque in the arteries, and cancer.

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle along with exercise is very important in balancing your Insulin. Ask your doctor how balancing all of your hormones will positively affect your Insulin levels too.

Cortisol
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Our adrenal glands send adrenalin into our system which can cause an energizing effect. But because of our modern day stresses, our Cortisol is pumping way too much and far too often. Over time, too much Cortisol can wreak havoc on our system causing insulin resistance, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.

Reducing stress levels through meditation and lifestyle changes will help a lot in conjunction with balancing all of your other hormones.  

Melatonin
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. It is secreted from the pineal gland that is located in the brain. It is also a very powerful antioxidant which assists the body in squelching free radicals in our system. Like other hormones, as we age, our body slows the production of Melatonin. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential if we want to live longer, look younger, and feel better. Quality sleep is restorative to our entire system and with high levels of Melatonin our body has a better ability to fight off infection and remain strong.

Have you experienced sleeping through the night and still waking up tired? This could be a sign that your Melatonin levels are low.

Often supplementing with Melatonin helps people to get a better night’s sleep. It is gentle and effective and even at high doses it has not been shown to be toxic.

In the United States, you can purchase Melatonin supplements at a health food store. If you are having sleep issues, consider supplementing for a few weeks and see if your sleep improves. Sometimes even a tiny dose will make all the difference.

Melatonin is also great for those who travel often and deal with jet lag due to time zone changes.

DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is secreted by our adrenal glands and is considered by many doctors to be an anti-aging hormone. It has positive effects on almost every part of our body including the brain, muscles, immune system, organs, and tissues. DHEA also helps the body’s production of collagen which promotes younger skin.

DHEA levels start to decline in most people after the age of thirty which is why it is vital to get tested regularly.

DHEA is available as a supplement and like Melatonin is relatively safe at moderate doses. Always consult your physician to find out what dose is best for you.

The key is to ensure that you find a qualified doctor who specializes in hormones. Initially, it may take a few appointments to get your levels balanced but once they are, only yearly blood work is advised as maintenance. The results will be well worth it!

 

Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles.

www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes deciding what to eat can be downright confusing. Especially if you pay close attention to health trends like I do. Each and every day there are more and more wholesome eating styles than ever before. Diets like vegan, vegetarian, paleo, pescetarian, macro-biotic, eating for your blood type, high protein, low carb and gluten free are just a few. The more information out there, the tougher it can be to make the right decisions. One particular diet may benefit a friend or family member but not work for you. We are all unique which means we must figure out what’s best for us as individuals. There is however, one exception; going raw. Eating more raw foods will have immense health benefits for the majority of people who try it.

What does going raw mean exactly? When I first heard about this trend years ago it didn’t sound very appealing. After all, I was brought up on meat, potatoes and well-cooked vegetables from our garden. Eating only uncooked foods seemed rather limiting and boring. I was so wrong.

I have since learned that eating more raw foods doesn’t mean we have to suffer a lifetime of monotony. In fact, there are a plethora of wonderful, tasty options which we can easily incorporate into our daily routine. And instead of going totally raw, why not do what I’ve done…be a part-time raw enthusiast!

Raw refers to foods in their natural state such as uncooked fruits and vegetables, unroasted nuts and seeds, whole grains and unprocessed oils. Anything that has NOT been heated above 115 F or 46 C also counts. The closer we eat a food in its natural state, the better for our bodies. Fresh, unprocessed foods contain life-preserving phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and beneficial oils that literally feed our system live energy. The farther we get away from raw foods, the harder our bodies work to process and eliminate what we eat.

Many people who follow a raw diet report more energy, weight loss and improved skin as well as better sleep. Studies show positive links between eating raw and reducing the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

My advice is to begin slowly. Consider a diet that consists of at least 30% raw foods. Learn about the benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables, and unroasted nuts. Visit health food stores that sell a myriad of raw alternatives, including protein and green powders; meal replacement bars, and raw, healthy snacks.

One of the simplest ways to ensure that you get live nutrients is by incorporating at least one raw, green and alkaline-friendly drink into your day. I have included my favorite recipe below that is simple, delicious and uses mainly raw ingredients.

GREEN GODDESS

Use only organic ingredients whenever possible.

3 cups of rice, hemp, or almond milk

½ peeled avocado

1 freshly-squeezed grapefruit (juice only)

1 tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds

1 peeled lime

3 teaspoons of coconut sugar

2 cups of fresh spinach

½ English cucumber with peel

¼ cup of coconut milk or baby coconut meat

½ cup of ice

*1 scoop of superfood greens

Blend together in a blender or Vitamix and serve with a cucumber wedge

*Look for a raw superfood green powder at your local health food store. My favorite is Perfect Food Raw by Garden of Life.

Eating raw may produce some unpleasant side effects in the beginning such as gas and bloating. These are normal and will wear off as your body acclimates. In the beginning, try combining raw fruits, nuts and vegetables along with moderately cooked foods. Don’t go all uncooked at once. Give your body time to adjust.

If you have food allergies or sensitivities, eating raw can be frustrating in the beginning. You may have reactions to certain raw items. Note what food seems to cause these reactions and then choose to eat those items in moderation or slightly cooked. Or avoid them altogether.  

Here are the top 10 foods to eat raw. They contain some of the most potent phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes on the planet. Again, buy organic whenever possible:

1) Berries
Fresh or frozen berries are low in sugar and rich in antioxidants not to mention delicious and easy to digest. I always do my best to start the day with fresh blueberries.

2) Avocado
High in fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and healthy unsaturated fats, avocados also provide protein and live enzymes. Enjoy in a salad, shake or sandwich.

3) Coconut
Coconut water is high in electrolytes and rich in potassium. The meat contains protein and healthy fats with four times more fiber than oat bran. Try coconut ice cream. It is rich and delicious.

4) Raw green juice
Fresh, raw juice of celery, parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach, cucumber, and other greens nourishes our body with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The juice acts as a wonderful detoxifier. Try using a blender to keep all of the healthy fiber intact.

5) Wheat grass
Very high in chlorophyll, minerals, and other nutrients, wheat grass or any type of sprouted juice gently detoxifies our bodies. You also can choose raw superfood powders that contain wheatgrass and other essential raw greens.

6) Raw honey
Raw honey is the ONLY 100% predigested food on the planet. It works to promote healing, healthy digestion, and immune strength.

7) Chia seeds
Chia contains high levels of phytonutrients, fiber, and essential fats and acts to lubricate our joints and bowels and remove toxins. Add chia to your cereal, salad or a blended drink.

8) Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Olives and olive oil are very high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E. They assist the body and skin with inflammation and work to reduce cholesterol in the blood. I love olive oil and lemon dressing.

9) Raw dairy products
*Raw dairy is not easy to find for legal reasons especially in certain provinces and some states.  Raw dairy products such as kefir, yogurt, milk, and cheese from cows, sheep and goats are rich in vitamins, live enzymes, probiotics, healthy fats, and protein.

10) Marinated raw fish
Sushi, sashimi and ceviche (marinated fish) are loaded with live enzymes, probiotics, healthy fats, and fat-soluble vitamins.

*It may not be advisable for people with compromised immune systems to consume raw, unpasteurized dairy products. Always consult your physician before starting a new diet.

As I’ve mentioned, start slow. Begin by incorporating a greens drink into your daily routine. Choose raw vegetables, salad or fruit along with your lunch or snack. Select a few of the 10 items listed above and begin introducing them immediately. Small steps along the way WILL have a positive, long-term impact on the way your body looks and feels. Raw, fresh foods are the key to keeping your system healthy. Your skin, immunity, digestion, brain, and literally every cell in your body will say THANK YOU!  You will experience more physical energy to do the things that you love and increase your odds of living a longer life. As an added bonus, you will look younger too!

 

Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.

www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com

 

WELLNESS--We’ve all felt down from time to time. Emotions are an integral part of what makes us human. Sometimes the low times can magnify the ups, so they’re not always that bad.

I have struggled with bouts of depression throughout my life. It began from a young age and has carried into my adult years. However, I have learned how to cope by taking great care of my physical health, doing the inner spiritual work and by being innately aware of what is going on with my thought process. But depression is a disease and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when we are truly and chemically depressed versus feeling down because of outside circumstances or events.

This happens a lot during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays, while supposedly fun and social, can also bring out deep-rooted sadness. There are a multitude of reasons we get down with too much spending, family dynamics, and overall fatigue from lack of sleep or overeating topping the list.

Of course, always seek professional help if your depression lasts for extended periods or if you are unable to cope with day-to-day activities.

If you suspect your low mood is due to an external source such as the holidays, here are some useful tips to get you through it while minimizing possible depression and feelings of being overwhelmed:

1)    Reduce Sugar

This is a tough one, especially during the holidays, but sugar is a known depressant. Desserts and alcohol, while initially causing a high, will lead to an ultimate crash in blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall energy. Allow yourself to binge a little bit during the holidays but know when to say enough is enough. Don’t feel the pressure to eat everything on your plate and drink one glass of water or soda between every alcoholic beverage to offset its effects. If something doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, don’t finish it. 

2)    Find a Friend

Being around family for extended periods can bring out a lot of stuff from our past. Emotions can run high and toxic memories that we hold deep seem to surface quickly during the holidays. If you’re feeling emotional or drained, find a good friend to talk to. Decompress with somebody who knows you well and can remind you that you are in fact, sane, wonderful, and balanced and that family can bring out our worst. Friends can act as a therapists when we need them the most. 

3)    Take a Time Out
Creating a morning practice is something that I recommend to all of my clients and friends. Journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading uplifting material every day, WILL change your life and your mood. It’s more important than ever to continue carving out this time during the holidays. Even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, it’s worth the commitment. This solo time will create a haven for you where you can get centered before the craziness begins. 

4)    Watch Your Wallet
If you’re a giver, then this definitely applies to you. Many of us feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts during the holidays especially if others have done the same for us. Take the time to write down how much money you have for gifts (if any at all) and then create a budget for yourself. Carry it with you while you’re shopping and take notes in order to stay on track.

 Remember, the size or price of our gift in NO WAY reflects our love for somebody. A beautiful     card with sincere words goes a long way, often meaning much more to others then a present.   Don’t feel the pressure to give back. If you don’t have the money for gifts, learn to receive without the stress of having to return the favor. Those who truly matter will understand. 

5)    Keep Up with Exercise
It’s totally fine to take a short break from your exercise routine during the holidays but don’t go too long. The longer you’re away, the more difficult it is to return. Also, exercise creates endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormone. They are more important than ever for those who are prone to depression. Push yourself to do short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which takes less time but with better results. HIIT also acts as a wonderful detox from sugar and alcohol. 

6)    Learn to say NO
So many parties, so little time! It’s easy to get caught up wanting to be social and to visit with all of your favorite people. You must learn that it is okay to say no. If you’re not a “hell yes” to an event, party, or get together, consider turning it down with a polite response. People who love you will not take it personally. It is always best to put yourself first because if we are drained and feeling down, we have nothing left to offer others.


(CityWatch contributor Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

-cw

 

 

CityWatch

Vol 13 Issue 98

Pub: Dec 4, 2015

It happens to us all. Some days we feel energized and exuberant while others we are left drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Life provides numerous obstacles and it’s only normal to feel tired from time to time. 

I know I’ve often been left wondering is it my diet, too much work, or not enough quality sleep that leaves me lethargic at times? You may be wondering what happened to your sharp mind and vigorous sex drive? The answer isn’t always cut and dry and there are many variables when it comes to our health and overall level of energy. 

While diet and sleep largely affect how we feel, stress also plays a huge factor in feeling fatigued. Stress pumps cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) into our systems directly from the adrenal glands. The “fight or flight” response we get from cortisol being released is normal but if too much is released too often, this can exhaust our adrenal glands making them less efficient and effective. In turn, we have a tough time feeling calm which may lead to less physical energy and a lowered sex drive. 

The good news is that there are natural herbs which offer support to the adrenal glands and are known to boost the libido and energy levels too! 

Here is a list of the top 3 choices which are all part of the ginseng family. I have noticed amazing results using these herbs with no adverse side effects. It’s best to try one for 3 months and then change it up periodically. 

MACA is also known as Peruvian ginseng and comes from the radish family. It is most commonly found in supplement or powder form and can easily be added to your daily smoothie or cookie recipe.

ASHWAGANDA is a part of the tomato family and is also called Indian ginseng. Often used in the Ayurvedic tradition, this orange berry-like fruit with a leaf around it offers great adrenal and libido-supporting properties and many people notice a wonderful, steady energy soon after taking it.

TONGKAT ALI is also called Malaysian ginseng and has been referred to as Asian Viagra for obvious reasons. It is known to provide steady energy and a libido boost by supporting proper testosterone production in men. Tongkat Ali also works for women. 

Listen to your body at all times. Just because something is natural doesn’t always mean that they are good for your individual health situation. It’s best to supplement with these herbs earlier in the day to avoid insomnia and lastly, look for top quality, organic products and always check with your doctor before beginning a new supplement regimen.

 

-cw

In Chinese Medicine we learn that the environment has a direct impact on our health and often can be the culprit in making us sick.  If it is cold and damp and windy outside, it is very important to dress properly and especially to cover up the neck with a scarf.  The neck is where many of the "wind points" in acupuncture are located, and because of this, the neck is an especially sensitive area of the body that can be attacked by the elements making us vulnerable to colds and flu.

In the winter we need to be sure to take advantage of the early sunsets and get extra rest.  Curl up with a blanket and movie more often and keep warm.  Enjoy the longer nights and the chance to spend more time indoors with loved ones.  It's nice to follow the lead of mother nature and slow down.  Stay warm and stay well this winter season!

Christian Cristiano covers Wellness for CityWatch. He received his Masters of Science in Traditional Chinese Medicine from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and his B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing.  He is a licensed acupuncturist and wellness expert who personally works with patients to help them achieve their healing objectives.  acupuncturebychristian@gmail.com
 

There is so much information out there today about Ebola, and most news outlets seem to be choosing to hype it up and instill fear.  

On the other hand, there are people saying that there are many other things to worry about more and that Ebola is a minor problem. The truth falls somewhere in the middle.  

It would be unfair and inhumane to minimize the Ebola Epidemic especially considering how many people have lost loved ones to this awful disease.  

At the same time, focusing too much attention on this problem and obsessively watching the news for updates doesn't do anyone any good at all and can arguably be bad for your health.  

For me, I decided to find a way to donate money to the cause and refocus my attention right here at home where I can make a bigger difference in the day to day lives of my patients and the people around me. There is a way to stay informed without allowing the news to dominate our thoughts.  

What we put our attention on grows, so let's choose to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.  

If you are interested in donating money, I used Unicef as it is a tried and trusted charity. 

Recently, I have made many big changes in my life including moving to a new city, buying a new car, and moving my Acupuncture practice to a new location. All of these changes gave me a good reason to put certain projects in my life on hold. The challenge began when the dust finally settled and I still wasn’t engaging in accomplishing my goals. At that point, the “break” turned into good old fashioned procrastination.

In doing some research on the subject I have discovered that procrastination is not only inconvenient, its also damaging to our health and well being causing elevated levels of stress and anxiety. Needless to say, that was all I needed to read to get off my heinie and implement a plan!

In at article from the Association for Psychological Science, http://bit.ly/1stefbl one of the most effective ways to move past procrastination is to begin with forgiving yourself for whatever it is that you have been putting off. Nine times out of ten, stress and fear are the underlying emotions of procrastination with the fear of “maybe I won’t do it right” usually the leading reason people procrastinate.

I invite all of you to implement a simple reward system for yourselves. In order to get things done, I am now using desktop calendars to help me accomplish goals in different areas of my life. I have a list of things I get a star for, and when I accomplish a goal, I write it on the calendar and put a star sticker next to that accomplishment. I aim for a certain number of stars a week, and if I get them I allow myself a healthy reward of my choosing. If I don’t reach my goal, I forgive myself and move on.

Let me know if you have any questions about this system or if you have a system you use that may help other people, please share!

Stay Healthy!

Christian

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