Category Archives for Stress

Any Idea What The Courage Hormone Is?

The hormone that makes us brave?

When I first read about the description for this hormone I thought first of testosterone, adrenaline, or even cortisol. But I was mistaken.

This hormone is the hormone that I have been speaking about as the under-appreciated giant hormone personality in our lives and health.

This hormone has the ability to destroy the negative effects and high levels of chronic stress hormones like cortisol.

The way this hormone works and why it is considered the courage hormone is that when this hormone is stimulated it down regulates our fear response and can stop the fight or flight response of freeze or flee. When activated it amps up our social awareness and lights up areas of the brain associated with meaning and value and has been shown to make people more trusting, be more trust worthy and help others.

The hormone I am talking about is oxytocin. Oxytocin drives our mental awareness to what is important to us, opens our thinking to include others and promote empathy as it stimulates trust and therefor gives us courage to act in our social world and makes us brave with less fear and more compassion.

Oxytocin has been called the "bonding" hormone or the "love" hormone and is strongly stimulated during breast feeding, intimacy, and in close familiar relationships. It is also stimulated when you get or receive a compliment, play with your kids, when you hug or shake someones hand, when you pet your dog or cat, when you talk and when you journal.

The biggest social evidence of the power of oxytocin is how it changes our physiology through laughter. We have all heard that laughter is the best medicine and we can thank oxytocin for that.

Men in particular I hope you are reading and hearing this message. Many men experience mild to moderate depression and write it off under the guise of stress, corporate living, being the provider, having an "A" personality or being a "driver." These are issues I speak about in my presentation on the "Irritable Male Syndrome," and they are very real, and at these levels very responsive to oxytocin "therapy." Keep it in mind my brothers.

My friends I extend a virtual hug and mental handshake as I tell you all that I love and appreciate you and hope you join me today in seeking out a little extra humor and together we can all build up a little bit more courage and live the life of the brave!

Dr. Don

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Is cancer genetic?

It appears......not.

When you transplant healthy genes into a cancer cell it still produces more cancer cells when it divides. AND if you take cancer genes and put them into a healthy cell that cell still produces more healthy cells when it divides.

If cancer was purely genetic, as in our DNA housed in the nucleus of each cell, when you remove the nucleus and transplant it into another cell then the new cells that get replicated from that cell with the cancer genes should have cancer as well if cancer is genetic. But, as it turns out, THEY DON'T.

In the medical research text book, "Cancer as a Metabolic Disease," the 3 plus decades of collective cancer research lead by Thomas Seyfried, the book's author, shows that cancer is not a genetic disease but rather a metabolic disease.

Now, are there genetics at play that make one more susceptible to cancer, I would say yes. Are there genetic variants that effect our metabolic pathway that plays into cancer, yes. But is cancer a purely genetic disease, it seems not.

This should be very exciting! This means no one, no matter what gene they might have, even if that gene is believed to cause cancer, is determined to get cancer.

What this means is that the environment and how we live our life and our lifestyle is what is the driving force behind the development of cancer and how our genes respond. AND this is something we can change, improve, and effect. We not only have a say in this, but we have a very high level of control.

If cancer truly is a metabolic disease, and I believe it is, and this research does too, then how we chose to fuel and care for our body becomes extremely important.

The basic, fundamental first tier step is deciding to become a fat burner rather than a sugar burner. That is the the fundamental summary concept. You influence this by what you eat, when you eat, and how you move. As you do this you need to keep a healthy balance of your body's coordination systems so it can play nice and be as strong and effective as possible. The body's communication system primarily breaks down to 2 sides:

Nervous System and the Hormonal System

So, here is the focus:

1. Become a fat burner over a sugar burner
2. Keep you Nervous system tuned up and in proper healthy repairing tone
3. Be hormone focused and stay hormonally sensitive

Everything I post here and write about is trying to drive those 3 point above. Go back check them out and keep learning, when you do, share what you have learned with me please!

Health is Freedom!

Dr. Don

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So many men are failing the test!

Low testosterone.

It is becoming rampant and our men's health is paying the price. It has been estimated that men today have one third of the testosterone that our great grandfathers had. Why?

Diet, stress and inactivity.

First, it is important to know that men have a hormonal cycle as much as women, but not the same. A man's testosterone levels cycle every 15-20 minutes.....that's right, 3-4 times an hour. They also fluctuate daily with the highest levels being in the morning around 8 am and the lowest in the afternoon about 3. Men have a monthly testosterone variance that changes from man to man, and we men have a yearly cycle that is highest in October and lowest in April.

So men, if you think you are not hormonal, your just delusional. In fact when given surveys where female identifier questions are removed men report experiencing PMS symptoms as much as women!

DIET: Insulin resistance is connected with low T. As a man becomes more insulin resistant his testosterone drops. Eating. Each time a man eats his testosterone drops sharply. So frequent (5-7) meals a day on a moderate to high carb diet really hits us men where it hurts. Oh, and soy products, alcohol, licorice, and stevia have all shown to lower a mans T levels. FYI

STRESS: Cortisol and testosterone seem to have an inverse relationship, when one is up, the other is down. So the regular stress response, hyper stress reactions, poor emotional management, sugar and caffeinated drinks, excess belly circumference and body fat will all contribute to a drop in T.

INACTIVITY: Human Growth Hormone and testosterone are tightly connected in the man's body. Weight lifting and High Intensity Interval Training have been shown to boost HGH 2,000% and raise T. Walking, or what I call stress release cardio has shown to drop cortisol levels, lower insulin resistance, and raise T.

Here is a bonus: Sleep. Sleep is when our hormones do most of their action, build us up, repair, recovery, and reset. No sleep, no hope at stable hormones or T levels.

Fasting: Fasting has been shown to raise T levels 180% in just a short term (one day) fast and keep them high and even higher after the 3rd day of a fast.

Sharp T fluctuations and overall reduced T levels in men have been connected to irritability, anger issues, moodiness, and even depression. Take this seriously.

So there you go my brethren, you have the info, now take the action!

Dr. Don

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Thoughts Are Things

Thoughts are not abstract, they are finite in their expression and come to life through our physiology. As much as many people talk about thoughts, thinking, internal dialog and mental processes as some sort of activity that occurs separate from our biology the truth is that thoughts are real and the process of thinking them is as tangible as a fever, blood pressure, and pain.

The emergence of the expression of a thought of any kind summates with in a very intricate symphony of biological processes and mechanisms. It is true that we do not have the exact process and order of the reactions and steps our cellular and systemic exchanges go through to produce a thought, like if the thought stimulates the biochemical changes that follow or the biochemical stimulate what becomes a thought. We do know that these details and progressions of sub-cellular on goings in the earliest formation of a single thought is truly dynamic and doesn’t come from one region of the brain or body but leverages an incalculable amount of information and cross reactions to bring these things we call thoughts to life.

Who cares?

Understanding that thoughts are things that express and grow through our biochemistry is a very powerful way to look at things differently in how we think, when and why. What this means is that the level of function in your body and cells, and the health of the sub-cellular mechanisms that support life, can influence the quantity, quality and tone of every thought we have.

Ever find yourself thinking more negative thoughts when tired? Or brainstorming more when energized or happy? Ever find yourself spiraling in negative thoughts and emotions after drinking alcohol? Or maybe after eating a whole lot of junk food? Ever notice that negative thoughts seem to call in their friends and build on you when you are feeling down? Ever feel happy and optimistic or social after a having a drink and the ideas just flow?

These are all examples of how our physiology can effect, and at times drive our thoughts.

Again, so what?

This means that by working on our physiology, by focusing on keeping our cells healthy, by being aware of how our lifestyle choices of diet, exercise and stress, can effect, influence and possibly even cause certain thoughts to be, grow, or linger.

I am all for working on how I think and feel. I meditate, do breathing work, affirmations, and try and stay positive, but I also work hard on my chemical, toxic exposure, the quality and timing of my food intake, how I move and physically exert my body and actively stimulate my mind.

In a time of growing anxiety, depression and mental distress, I believe we must try everything we can to stay ahead of these issues, prevent them and strive for the optimal environment and lifestyle to prevent them as we focus on developing optimal health, healing, aging and quality of life for ourselves and our children.

Keep an eye out for more on this and how I think the sub-cellular health of our body can be the driver of not only chronic diseases, but also heavily influence if not initiate negative thoughts and mental states.

In the meantime my friends, the mind and body, the mental health and physical health of our body and life are not separate and they both play off each other and contribute to every function and element of our health and life, do not underestimate either side of this coin.

Dr. Don

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Internal Friction…..The Tipping Point

Part 3 of 5

stress tipping point

I believe there is the tipping point. Our internal frictions, both mental and physical are what fills our glass as they swell and grind in our life, minds and bodies. Many people focus on and put a lot of time and effort into emptying their glass to try and keep that tipping point low. This is called traditional stress management. Many people look to stay clear of life’s conflicts where ever they can and consequently put a lot of energy into doing so. This is called stress avoidance.

What I really want to do, and where I spend a lot of time and energy is working to build a bigger cup. That is called resilience. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times and places for stress management and avoidance for sure. In today’s condensed, hectic, demanding world I will take all the advantages I can get, but it is in building our capacity to convert stress from a potentially negative impact on our lives into a potentially positive one that makes us truly resilient to stress.

As far as I can see we have four main areas that these internal frictions produce the majority of their damage:

1. Expectations

2. Brain Chemistry

3. Hormonal Chemistry

4. Cellular Oxidative Health

These four areas of our health, body, and life all start to collect the ill effects of the internal friction of our lives independently or collectively and dump them into our glasses. Let’s go through them each in reverse order.

Cellular Oxidative Health. What am I talking about here? Our body is made up of lots and lots of cells that all function in a very similar fashion as our body does as a whole, just on a very small scale. Each cell eats, eliminates, breathes, grows, reproduces, moves, and lives its little cell life. Healthy happy cells make up healthy happy tissues that make up healthy happy organs that work in healthy happy systems that make up a healthy happy body that has a healthy happy mind and enjoys a healthy happy life.

Health starts within the cell itself and anything that we do to irritate, interfere, damage, or negatively stress our cells will change how they work and ultimately how they express themselves and reproduce. In order to have any disease in our body we have to have had some significant damage occur within the cells of the body and that damage had to happen to A LOT of cells to the point that when they reproduced they produced new, yet damaged, or improperly functioning cells for many generations.

Cellular level toxicity, trauma, oxidation and maladapted behavior from our life and lifestyle are the most basic fundamental frictions that occur in our body and start our glass filling up. Many of these changes and actions that occur and produce this cellular level internal friction are not even something people can feel or see very easily, but they start the ill health and negative mental well-being ball rolling.

That leads us to our Hormonal Chemistry. When enough of the cellular level friction occurs it sets off our hormonal chemistry. Hormones are how the cells of the body all talk to each other and communicate what they need and how they feel so to speak. The cells use hormones and hormone receptors to tell their story to the rest of the body and the body in turn reports to the cells what is going on in the world through hormones so the cells can make changes accordingly. When this process is off, either from the cell to the body or the body back to the cell we see changes in our hormonal chemistry start to occur. This hormonal shift creates the next level of friction that we can now see and feel in our body. Hormones are very powerful little chemicals and they direct a whole lot of larger level action in our body like how we feel, how we look, they control how much fat we store or burn, how much muscle we build or lose, they make our skin look young, attract us to other people, help us sleep, control our energy levels, make us hungry or feel full and they can also make us impulsive, irritable, reactionary, angry, jealous, resentful and a whole lot more.

Generally speaking, we want to be as hormonally sensitive as we possibly can. That does not mean that we are just “hormonal,” as they say and being “sensitive,” to everything around us. It means that our cells, the hormones they use, the glands that make hormones and the rest of the body are all living in harmony and communicating well with ease and without any friction. We want our body to be sensitive to hormones meaning that a very little hormonal message goes a long way and does what we need it to. A hormonally sensitive body is a healthy, happy, good feeling body.

When the cells friction is building and health is being challenged we start to see signs of becoming hormonally resistant. The first place that this can be seen is with insulin, a very powerful hormone that does not play well with others and can throw our whole system out of whack when it shows up on the scene. Insulin makes our stress hormone effects worse, throws off our sex hormones and hi-jacks our metabolism. Early signs of insulin resistance are stubborn weight that won’t come off when you do the things that have worked for you in the past to lose weight, high fasting blood glucose as in over 83 for what I call the pre-pre diabetic state, 100-125 for medical pre-diabetes, and over 125 being type two diabetic. High triglycerides, high fasting blood insulin (over 5), elevated liver enzymes, fatty liver, and carb/sugar addiction symptoms are all just a few of the potential signs of insulin resistance.

To be continued…….

Read Part 1
Read Part 2

Internal Friction…..WHY?

Part 2 of 5

handling internal stress

Why is it that one stress can roll right off your back while that same stress can bring me to my knees? Why can I deal with this particular stress so well today only to be leveled by it next week? Why can I handle the huge stress at times and be tortured by the small, less significant stress other times? Why can other people get through this, why can they do this, why can they handle this, and why can they succeed at this and I stand here so challenged?

I think something sets us up. I call it our tipping point. I see this equation as a giant water glass. I see our body as a vessel, as a glass of sorts that stress and life events can be poured right into. The level of water in this glass can go up and it can go down for different reasons as we contribute to the filling or emptying process. Occasionally that glass can fill to the rim and spill over. As the water level rises and nears the top we approach the tipping point. The tipping point is different for every individual and is more easily breached as the water level rises and we don’t bring it down, and at this delicate moment when we tip, we better watch out because the fire hose is open full blast.

Have you ever been to a coffee shop and seen a customer completely lose it on the barista because they got the wrong kind of milk, or shot, or flavor in their coffee? I make my own coffee most days and I can barely get it right for myself consistently, so this was not the baristas fault or doing. This client walked into that shop with a loaded gun, they walked into the shop at the brink of a spill, they walked in there right at the crest of their tipping point. At that point all it took was a nudge, a mere suggestion, and the emotional signal was fired off and the spiraling cascade of ill behavior that followed was unleashed.

That is a safe and neatly packaged example that most people can understand and get. Now let’s make it a bit more personal. Think of the parent, a dad in this case, that is at a park with his kid watching them play. The dad starts talking to the other parents doing the same and his child comes over excitedly to share something that just happened. Up to his dad he goes and starts tugging on his sleeve saying, “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.” His dad a little irritated shrugs him off only to have the child do it again, and again, and again until the dad turns and barks at his kid that he hates when he does that, and lays into the poor kid. I have been there as the kid and as the dad and I think we can all relate to this incident. Is the dad a bad dad? Does he hate his kid? No. Of course not, just the opposite. So, did the kid do anything wrong, is he a bad kid? No, he’s not.

So what happened? The dad was at his tipping point. The dad was so ripe to tip that the loving, innocent, excited gesture of his own child that he loves dearly set him off and unfortunately both the parent and the child are going to be affected by it and pay a price.

Now if you were to freeze frame that scenario right there and then and calmly ask the dad if he truly feels that his conversation with the other parents at that moment was more important than his child’s desire to share something with him and he would say emphatically, “of course not.” If you were to ask that dad if barking and scolding his kid was an appropriate response in that situation, he would again say “no.” And if you asked him why he did that at that point, he most likely would say, “I don’t know,” and shake his head and look away in disbelief. It is almost like they were not his actions, it was like his thoughts in that moment were not his thoughts. When calmly looking at the event we think, that is just not like me. That is not what I want to be for myself or my child or anyone else. And we mean it.

So then why did he do it? Why do I do it? Why do you? Why does this happen when it is clearly not how we want to behave, it is clearly not how we usually do behave, and there is no reasonable excuse we can think of to justify the behavior? So why? How can this happen? And why does it seem to happen to so many people in so many parts of their lives and relationships?

There is a reason. There are probably many. But we can improve and even potentially eliminate this from happening.

To be continued……

Read Part 1​

Internal friction

internal friction

Part 1 of 5

I am currently pursing my PhD in Health Psychology focusing on this process specifically, but I am not a psychologist. I am just your friendly neighborhood chiropractor and a mild mannered nutritionist who has spent the last 17 years working with people one on one, and now in large groups and programs, in three out of four of these categories I am going to go into with great success. I leave the psychology to the experts who deal with this type of issues every day, but I know that if you improve the body by working on these three categories, detoxifying and healing the cells, reducing hormonal resistance, and improving the mental economy the physiology will improve and much of the mental stress, strain, and mood issues that come along with this friction improves greatly. Again, I am all for stress management and avoiding stress when appropriate, but my ultimate goal, one that I research daily and am personally committed to, one that I live by and teach my children, is how to be healthy, heal when needed, and build rock solid resilience to stress.

Internal friction. That is the best way I can sum up how I see our body and system working as it slowly builds up tension or a physical dissonance to our physical and mental tipping point that eventually spills with ill health.

Mentally when we feel anxiety, or we find ourselves drawn to negative thoughts, self doubt and we start to get irritable, critical, and start feeling like someone else is running this show, like the thoughts and emotions we feel building are someone else's completely. I can only describe how it feels to me and attempt to translate how it has been described by patients and clients over the years in practice as a literal internal FRICTION that swells, grinds, confuses, tempts, distracts and can consumes us.

It is this mental friction that makes the insanity of addictive behavior seem logical or acceptable right before we do what ever it is we do, again, and again, and again. Whether it is eating sugar and processed carbs again, or taking that drink or that hit again, turning to abusive behavior or language and saying nasty things again, or suppressing our own thoughts and feelings to "feel" loved again, all the while knowing this is in no way good for us, clearly knowing that this is doing harm, and perfectly cognizant that we are literally and figuratively feeding this problem......again.

We can feel that friction when it begins. It can start slow and mild, almost unnoticeable, and slowly builds and as it gains our attention and we hope it will pass or we try and do something, hopefully something positive, that might calm that feeling and ease that friction. It can build or just crash your good day and squeeze your life joy by coming on so strong that the next thing you know you are in a mini internal panic trying to escape and avoiding it at any cost.

Sometimes this friction can change our personality right before our eyes, or slowly push as it alters who we are to the point that when we do finally see the issue, or when it is pointed out to us, we are blind to even the thought that this could be true, that this could be us. Sometimes we are reacting through this friction before we even know it is upon us, almost like a black-out drunk, it happens and all bets are off to what we do or what comes out of our mouth. Suddenly there are tears or harsh words, sometimes there is pain, other times you just find yourself off point, eating junk foods or finishing that whole pizza and skipping that workout or pushing that work off, ignoring your kids and wasting your day. Then we are left to make excuses and feel even worse than before as we reinforce that internal friction with more power to come back and terrorize us again.

This often seems like a completely mental process making us feel crazy, defective, and alone. Because in those moments we see the lunacy of our actions and feel that no one else can relate, that no one else really thinks these things or does this and definitely not over and over like I do. But they do. We all do at some point and to some degree, whether in thought, feeling or action, in some way that is unique to us we feel that friction.

As mental as it seems I think something physical sets this up and then sets us off. I know that thoughts can drive actions and physiology but I also believe that our physiology can drive our thoughts and emotions as well.

To be continued……

Number One Contributor To Your Health

number one contributor to health

The number one contributor to our society's health is not stress, it is selfishness.

This is a rant, be forewarned.

Why do you eat this or that?

"I like it. It tastes good. It is what I have always eaten."

To this I say, “so what?” Grow up, step out of your lazy box and branch out. A lot of things taste good, that has no indication to how good it is for you, and in today's world with all the sugar, chemical sweeteners, and processed oils it probably means it is bad for you. Anything can taste good, healthy eating does not have to taste bad, but you have to learn how to prepare it and re-grow your taste buds that you killed with all the junk and processed foods and high sugar intake you have indulged in for decades.

Why don't you eat healthy?

"It is too expensive. I don't have the time. I don't know how to cook."

It does not have to be more expensive to eat healthily. You can't just buy health food and add it into the list of junk you already eat, you have to make a lateral shift and replace the junk with the real food.

Plus, you eat too often. You might eat too much, but I don't know that, but if you are eating more than 2-3 meals a day, with maybe one snack, then you eat too often. Eating is when ever you put food or any liquid in your mouth that is not water. You must count EVERY time, and if you do, you will see, that like most Americans according to research, you probably eat 12-20 times a day. TOO OFTEN! Eat just 3 meals a day and eat well when you do, no calorie cutting, and you will save money.

Budget and plan and you will save money. Cook at home and buy intelligently and you will save money. Learn what should be organic and what can be conventional and you will save money. Make the time if your health and the health of your kids are truly important to you. You spend time eating junk, buying it, waiting in lines, driving to junk pushers, take all that time and prepare, buy and prep accordingly and you might even save time as well as money. Learn to cook, yes, even you men, learn to cook, it is part of being a self supporting adult. NO excuse not to.

Do you exercise regularly?

I move all day. I don't have the time. I don't like to."

Physical activity is not the same as exercise. I am glad you get physical activity in your day, keep it up, but that is not exercise, nor should it be counted as such. Make time. Even 10 minutes 2-4 times a day is better than nothing and can be as beneficial as one 30-40 minute continuous workout. Get up early and move your body. Get up 30 minutes earlier and do it. Go to sleep earlier if you need to, but do it. Time issue solved. And I don't care if you don't like it, find something you do like, anything, there are more options than ever from dance aerobics, to drumming aerobics, lifting classes, intensity classes, yoga, spin classes, home videos, and so much more....just find something and do it, you can not have optimal health without it.

Do you work on yourself?

"I don't know what that means. I can't meditate. I am not into all that."

We know to much now and have too many studies and overwhelming research on the impact of self improvement from building awareness, to mindfulness, visualization, breathing techniques, meditation, goal setting, and much more to not be doing something. If you don't reframe your thinking about stress from the current conventional thinking, then you are destined to choose to have it consume you.

Celebrating silence and taking time for yourself is a must, not a luxury, and only something you can do for you. But you have to learn, seek it out and do it. Do it not, and you get more of what you got.

Look, life is busy, I get it, I have a few things on my plate as well, but that is why you must do these things and your excuses have to be checked at the door. The people who allow these excuses I listed above to guide their reactive lifestyle are the same people that when they get sick with a chronic issue like diabetes, heart disease, depression, anxiety, pain, digestive disorders, and much more they ask "why?" Why did this happen to me.....they say it isn't doesn't make sense.....I didn't do anything bad.....etc.....and the other people around them say, “wow, I didn't see that coming, they were fine yesterday.”...NO, they were not! And if a health scare is not enough to wake these people up they then will say, “it was in my family.” They then use the lie of their health issue being a genetic problem that they could not avoid and continue to pull the same cop-out card and waste away miserably.

We can do better.

I don't claim to be perfect or that anyone else is or should try to be. But you have to try, you have to have these things on your radar and be working to learn about them and incorporate new ideas and behaviors into your life at any level and pace that you can. We have to be sharing and teaching each other and watching out for slip ups and the gradual decline in our efforts to we can check our behavior and course-correct.

This blog will bring a lot of things up for a lot of people. Before you tell me how you are different, how your excuse is justified, how your health issue is "really" genetic and how your doctor enables that belief, how your life is unique or any other excuse to not be doing all you can in these areas, read the post again, and if you still want to defend your lack of doing all you can, write it all out in an email, every detail, your history, what you have been through, what you have been told, what you have tried, how your life and situation is different, and send it to yourself. Or better yet, send it to your spouse and family, send it to your kids or grand kids. But don't send it to me.

Look, I love you and I want the best for you and will be happy to support and help you GET BETTER. Going through all your excuses will not help you get better and only push people who want to help you away. I am very interested in planning new action steps, developing support systems, building proactive nutritional, supplemental, and exercise protocols, getting the supportive health services needed, and creating a long term strategy to change your path and create a new future for you and your family.

Strategy is key. Strategy is the process of aligning your personal goals and values in life and for your health improvement with how you want to get there and when. When you have your strategy you then can build your team and resources and list out your options as they reflect your values and goals. Then you choose. No one can tell you what to do, but they can share info, interpret information and tests, offer options, insights and experience, even propose a course of action, but at the end of the day you have to choose to follow it and do it. Even a prescription is a fancy official way of making a suggestion and you are in no way obligated to take that suggestion any more than you are obligated to take any other suggestion along the way.

At the end of the day you pay the ultimate price or reap the ultimate reward for the choices you make based on those suggestions. So, gather them well and from the best sources you can and make sure they all align with what you truly value and are wanting. Do it not, and the potential to go right back to excuses and being the victim are high.

Don't be negative. This is not meant to put you down or make you feel bad but to give you a little health tough love and help you see you can go where you want to health wise and you have more control and options than you might think. You can do this. And honestly, only you can do this for yourself and your kids. Do not take it lightly, it is an opportunity, whether you take it or not is up to you.

Live well my friends,

Dr. Don

Still Struggling With Your Health? Overwhelmed With All The "advice"

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Does the Brain Control the Body or the Body Control the Brain?

Control and coordination of our body is not always linear and definitely not reliant on just one system, and just may work differently than we thought.

It is almost like there are three separate levels of control within our body keeping it going together as one. The nervous system, hormonal system, and cellular action.

First we have the brain and nervous system that act as the great data cruncher and responder. About 10% of the central nervous system’s nerve fibers are for out going messages telling the body what to do. Things like voluntary movement, like when you want to walk, shake someone’s hand or get up out of bed. This control seems to have more of a broad stroke concept as the nerves branch out all over and innervate the tissues of our body. The other 90% of the central nervous system’s wiring is for incoming messages from the tissues, organs, and different parts of the body reporting back to the brain what is happening and where we are. Those messages tell your brain where each part is and what it is doing so that when you pick up some food to eat you can put it in your mouth and not your ear without thinking much about it. A big part of that body to brain relay is so that we can do two things very well. One is walk. Upright posture and walking take a tremendous amount of coordination in both the brain and the body. The other major focus of this communication is for chewing. The jaw and all of it’s associated structures like the tongue require more innervation from you nerves than any other single part of your body.

This neurological reporting system sets up the general tone for the body. We have two opposing neurological tones that are in force at any given time, the sympathetic stress mode and the para sympathetic healing mode. Both of these tones are vitally important but they do two very different things to keep us alive and only one mode can be dominant at any given time. The sympathetic stress tone is what stirs things up in our body and gets it ready for action. This mode is traditionally seen and talked about in relation to our fight or flight response. Most people are pretty familiar with the concept of fight or flight. When we perceive a threat, and yes we have to cognitively sense a threat, it is not a given or an automatic response, our brain and nervous system start sending the messages all around our body to defend ourselves by fighting for our life or running away. In either case the nervous system triggers a massive cascade of hormonal chemicals that shut down energy in our digestive tract and organs as well as our immune system to shift that energy to our brain and muscles for action. Blood sugar, our energetic turbo boost fuel, is liberated and sent all over the body to make sure we can do what ever we need to do to get through this threat. Once we take the needed action our body starts to shift it’s tone from the sympathetic stress mode to the parasympathetic healing mode. As this mode becomes more dominant we adjust our breathing, our energy returns to our internal organs, we start up our digestion and immune system again as our body starts to attempt to repair any damage that was done by the turbo boost chemistry and the life saving action that followed.

This example is a good model showing how our nervous system works on a higher level to coordinate movement, direct neurological tone and coordinate responses and certain functions. It also leads us into how the next tier of bodily control works, the endocrine system. The endocrine system is basically our hormonal organs, tissues, glands and the hormones themselves. This system uses very small in size and amounts of hundreds of different types of hormones to influence and direct tissue action all over our body.

Hormones are very powerful and they guide tissue action and sort of take over where the nervous system left off by keeping all the feedback loops together that create the message from the cells that the tissue they make up will report back to the brain. Hormones direct action inside the tissues from one cell to another, from tissue and organ to other tissues and organs, and then of course back to the nervous system and brain. Hormones are very powerful, so powerful that most of the free hormone that gets secreted it bound up immediately by what are called hormone binding globulins to help mediate their effect. Consequently, a little goes a long way. We like to say, hormones whisper, not scream. Just their mere presence in a tissue or the blood stream will jump start action at the tissue and cellular level, even if that particular hormone doesn’t even bind to the corresponding cell.

That brings us to the next and in my opinion the ultimate level of body control. The cell. Each of your 70,000,000,000,000 (that is trillion) cells are alive. Well, almost all of them, it is questionable if red blood cells are alive since they don’t have a nucleus and can not divide…..but anyway. Each one could live independently, for a while. Each and every cell eats, eliminates waste, repairs it’s damage, breathes (so to speak), and divides, or reproduces. The job of each cell s to take care of itself. Be the best cell it can be, because if it does it’s job and stays healthy, and his neighbors do the same, his community will then be healthy leading to healthy tissues that build healthy organs that make up healthy systems that work together to make a healthy you!

True healing, as well as disease, starts at the cellular level. Heal the cell and you get well. The cell drives the feedback to the hormonal system and to the tissues that report to the nervous system and brain and they all respond to what that little cell has to say. I know a lot of people say the brain controls the body, but when you look at the magic of how all this works it is easy to see how the body controls the brain, and the body is built by, and controlled by the cells.

So, now, to this diagram I have made. I am trying to show the relationship of the hierarchy of system and tissue control within the body, just as I have explained here above. It shows the brain and its gross motor control and interpreting what goes on in the body at the top leading down to the general balance and tone of the nervous system. That then directs action in the tissue via the hormonal response. From there and we see how there is a two way street connecting back to the cells. How the cells use fuel (among other things) can influence our cellular health and what gets reported and responded to back up the chain leading to healing or disease.

I also included some beneficial health modalities that can be used at each step to help direct us towards optimal balance, function and healing.

Top tier efforts that have been shown to help promote stronger parasympathetic healing tone and reduce the sympathetic dominance that influence all processes to follow are: Meditation, Chiropractic, Paced Breathing

Sleep. No one single effort has been shown more powerful in helping clear the mind, detox the brain, reset the hormones, clear cell receptors and promote overall healing as sleep.

Stress resilience is different from stress resistance or traditional stress management where it helps your build and condition your system and response to stress in a way that it can build you up and make you better vs. break you down and cause problems.

Diet and exercise play the single number one role in whether our cells are chronic sugar burners promoting oxidation and inflammation or effective fat burners that promote cellular structure and function integrity, healing, and growth.

So I propose that it just might be time to change our perspective from the top down model of physiology to the bottom up cellular driven feedback model. Well, anyway you look at it, it is one amazing system this beautiful body of ours, and no matter which way it works one thing is certain, it can be, and wants to be healthy, if we get out of it’s way and let it.

Be well Tribers!

Dr. Don Clum

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