Improving Gut Flora = Huge Benefits In Autism

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I’ve already written extensively about the power of the gut-mind axis and how probiotics have been able to dramatically support brain function, treating everything from mood disorders to cognition.

 

  • One study showed depression improved when participants received probiotic supplements for 30 days, and another study reported clinically significant improvement in mood when participants ate probiotic-containing yogurt for 3 weeks.

 

  •  Yet another study showed that participants with chronic fatigue syndrome who consumed probiotics three times a day reported significantly less anxiety compared to those who did not.

 

  • Another study assessed cognitive performance, mood, memory, acute stress (both subjectively and by measuring cortisol output) and neurological activity (using an EEG and other tests) before and after probiotic treatment.  Within one month, B. Longum statistically and significantly reduced the cumulative output of the stress hormone cortisol, decreased subjective reports of anxiety in response to acute stress, improved memory and improved EEG output.

 

 

With all that we now understand about the importance of the gut microbiome on supporting mental function, today’s medical study is even more exciting… this time, showing a lasting, significant improvement in autism.

 

Because the gut microbiome of autistic patients has lower diversity than non-autistic peers, researchers were hoping that by improving the gut flora of autistic patients they would see an improvement in both GI and autism related symptoms…

…and they were shocked to find such robust, pronounced results!

An 80% improvement in symptoms that showed no decline after the therapy was stopped!

 

The Study (published in Microbiome on Jan 23, 2017):

  • 18 patients with autism (ages 7 to 17) and moderate to severe GI issues underwent a microbiota transfer therapy
  • The protocol involved prepping the bowels, fasting, then repopulating the gut microbiota with human gut microbiota (orally or rectally) for two days with low dose maintenance oral doses and a stomach acid suppressant for 8 weeks (to increase survival of transplanted flora)
  • The participants were followed clinically for another two months after the microbiota treatment was completed.

 

The Results:

  • GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation all dramatically improved or resolved (an average of 82% improvement in symptoms) and that improvement was maintained two months after treatment was stopped.
  • Autism spectrum related symptoms also improved with the flora transfer — resulting in significant improvement in 17 different ASD related symptoms such as social skill deficits, irritability, hyperactivity,  lethargy, aberrant speech and more (as measured by PGI-III assessment) and those improvements were robustly maintained with no reversion two months after treatment ended.
  • Interestingly, researchers found complete correlation between improvements in GI symptoms and improvements in ASD symptoms… the worse the GI symptoms were, the worse the ASD behaviors were, and the more the GI symptoms improved, the more the ASD behaviors improved.  This suggests there is a huge correlation between gut microbiome health and ASD severity, and that by supporting gut flora we can modify and support ASD behaviors.
  • The improvements showed no signs of lessening even two months after therapy was stopped, with 80% improvements still being maintained over 8 weeks after therapy ended.
  • There was no significant difference in outcomes between those who had the therapy administered orally vs. rectally.
  • Over all gut flora diversity improved in all patients, and the increase in diversity was sustained several months past the end of treatment.

 

 

The Bottom Line:

The critical importance of the gut-brain axis can not be overemphasized.

Any therapeutic approach to treating neurological or developmental issues must also include support to the digestive system and bowel function.

 

Probiotics are crucial to supporting mood, brain function and even memory.

 

 

It’s exciting to focus on treating stress, anxiety, depression, memory disturbances and now even autism through enhancing the gut biome, because this is a low cost, easily accessible, all natural, non-prescription, healthy and fabulous intervention than we can ALL be doing to become resilient to daily stress and function optimally.

 

 

We can’t change genetic conditions we are predisposed to, or prevent certain life events that may cause trauma or stress, but one thing we do have the power to modify is that we can support our gut microbiome better so that we can boost mood and support brain function.

 

What probiotic do I recommend most?

Prescript Assist — find out more about it here.

I would love to send you a bottle so you can be optimally supported inside and out…

…gut & mind, body & spirit!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

 

 

P.S.  What other holistic therapies can impact Autism?  I’ve got you covered.

Check out these other articles I’ve written:

 

 

Lithium Decreases Cancer Risk

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A new study links lithium — the gold standard treatment for bipolar disorder — with a significant reduction in cancer risk.

Not only that, but the reduced risk of cancer was found to be dose dependent…

…meaning patients who took higher doses of lithium had even greater reduction in cancer rates than those who took lower doses.

The Study

(published in the British Journal of Psychiatry July, 2016):

 

  • Researchers followed over 4,700 patients with bipolar disorder, categorizing them as using lithium only, a different medication only (the anticonvulsant valproate) or both medications together.
  • Researchers followed these patients for over 7 years and compared cancer diagnosis rates in each group.

 

The Results:

  • Patients who used lithium had a statistically significant reduction in over all cancer rates in comparison to patients who used only anticonvulsants.
  • Patients on higher cumulative doses of lithium had even lower cancer rates than those on low dose lithium… going from a 24% reduction in cancer rates for lower doses up lithium up to a 45% reduction in cancer rates in patients using the highest lithium doses.

 

The Bottom Line:

Lithium slashed cancer risk almost in half!

 

These studies echo a surprising result found in an earlier study (published in Bipolar Disorders International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences February 16, 2016) where researchers were originally actually looking to see if lithium use increased cancer rates in bipolar patients.  Not only did they find no increase in cancer rates in bipolar patient compared to the general population, the found that there was no increased risk of cancer in patients who used lithium.

In fact, they were quite astonished to find that *not* using lithium was what increased cancer risk…

…they specifically found that patients who did not take lithium had increased cancer rates in respiratory cancers, gastrointestinal cancers and endocrine cancers.

This surprise finding lead to investigators into looking at lithium as being cancer preventive…

…and what they found out was up to a 45% decrease in cancer diagnosis for patients on lithium.

 

In other words, there is actually an increased risk of cancer in patients that don’t use lithium… something that is definitely worth looking into further.

 

For a good overview on why lithium is so essential to the health of our body, I highly recommend reading this two-part series written by Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D., medical director of the Tahoma Clinic in Washington:

 

Lithium, The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1

Lithium, The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2

 

Our body needs a very small, trace amount of lithium daily in order to function optimally.

Not only are many of us lithium deficient, most of us are deficient in multiple minerals — most notably, magnesium.

 

 

Magnesium deficiency is so rampant I find that most of my patients benefit from a trace mineral supplement.

Most of us just don’t get the rich minerals that our body needs through diet alone.

Magnesium deficiency can cause everything from anxiety to muscle pain to increased risk of heart arrhythmia and sudden death.

In fact, some physicians believe that Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia from Star Wars) actually died from low total body magnesium.

Magnesium is required for over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, for proper nerve and muscle function.

Increasing magnesium intake reduces the risk of heart failure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and all-cause mortality (published online in BMC Medicine on Dec 7, 2016.)

 

So it peaked my interest to have another trace mineral — this time, lithium — looked at as cancer preventive.

I put most of my patients on Concentrace Mineral Drops, which has trace amounts of magnesium, potassium, boron, and yes… even a little tiny bit of lithuim, 1.5 mg in the daily recommendation of 40 drops (taken in divided doses throughout the day.)

 

Want a supplement specifically for lithium?

Pure Encapsulations is a pharmacy grade high quality supplement line that offers a 5 mg daily supplement of Lithium Orotate daily, but talk to your physician first before starting a lithium supplement to make sure this is right for you.

 

Meanwhile, if you are concerned about your mineral intake, try Concentrace Mineral Drops to be sure you are getting all the rich minerals your body needs every single day to function it’s best!

To your vibrant health!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Emotional Stress Directly Predicts Heart Attack… 10 Ways To Prevent It

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Finally, a medical study explains why there is a direct correlation between stress and heart attack.

It turns out, increased brain activity in the area of emotional processing (the amygdala) directly increases the risk of cardiovascular events.

 

This study is the first to show that increased amygdala activity in humans strongly predicts cardiovascular events such as stroke, heart attack and angina.

The amygdala is responsible for processing emotions, survival instincts and memory.

That about sums up how stress feels: it’s an increased emotional load, a feeling of being overwhelmed when trying to navigate the situation, and traumatic memories from the past get linked up with traumatic present experiences — which all serve to increase the metabolic activity in your amygdala.

 

The Study (published Jan 11, 2017 in Lancet):

  • 293 patients underwent full body PET/CT scans at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA
  • Resting metabolic activity in the amygdala, bone marrow and arterial walls were measured
  • Increased resting metabolic activity in the amygdala was strongly correlated with increased bone marrow activity, increased arterial inflammation, and increased risk of cardiovascular events (stroke, MT, or angina) during an average follow up period of 3 1/2 years.

 

In a follow up study, researchers examined 13 patients with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) who underwent PET scans and filled out a Stress Scale Questionnaire (PSS-10)

They found that high levels of self rated stress correlated with increase in amygdala activity, higher levels of arterial inflammation, and higher levels of the blood inflammatory marker: C-reactive protein.

The bottom line:

 

Based on these studies, researchers now believe that it is actually the brain activity of the amygdala (and emotional stress in particular) that links stressful events with cardiovascular disease — causing increased hemopoietic tissue activity (in the bone marrow, where blood is made) and increased vascular inflammation, both which directly increase cardiovascular disease and up the risk of stroke, heart attack and angina.  They believe that it is this increased activation of the amgydala area of the brain that raises the risk for heart disease and stroke.

Chronic emotional stress raises the baseline metabolic rate of this particular area of the brain, and strongly and directly raises the risk factor for cardiovascular events.

 

The link between stress and heart attack, stroke, and angina is so pronounced that researchers are advocating stress levels to be considered an independent risk factor for heart disease, along with other cardiac risk factors such as age, smoking history, and family history of heart disease.

Further proof:

 

A study published just last year (April 5, 2016 in Circulation) shows that this idea has real world applications.
Researchers followed over 150 patients who were assigned to have cardiac rehab care following a cardiac event, and found that by adding stress management skills into their cardiac rehab program they were able to slash the rate of future cardiac events in a 5 year follow up period IN HALF!

So if addressing stress reduces the risk of subsequent heart attack by 50%, now we know why: stressful brain activity is directly correlated with cardiovascular events.

Reduce the stress response in the brain, reduce heart disease in the body.

 

So today, here are 10 actions can you take today to decrease stress even on the most stressful day of your life:

 

1. Reconnect with nature.

 

All you have to do here is walk out your front door, step out of your office, or stop driving and step out of your car.

To reconnect with nature is to reconnect with wonder.

 

Whether it’s just a few deep breaths as you sit on a patch of grass, simply taking a walk through a local park, or full on spending a night under the stars… reconnecting with the wonder of being a human being standing on a rock that spirals through space and seeing the earth for the vast support network it is can’t help but lift your spirits for the better.

The health benefits of grounded — simply touching the earth — are immediate.  Brain activity on EEG immediately responds and becomes less stressful, C-reactive protein levels drop over time, and sleep becomes deeper and more restorative.

 

The power of nature can hold even your worst of days

and remain an immovable source of strength.

 

 

Don’t believe me?

The next time you are having a panic attack, or a pounding headache, or a knot of worry grow in your stomach, just go outside.  Get out there.  Don’t force anything, just start walking and let nature work its magic.

And consider sleeping grounded all night long to help you recover from the stress of the day.

If you have a high stress job and are interested in protecting yourself from stress in the work place you absolutely can ground your body there too.

Resting your hands on a grounding mat while you use your computer, wearing grounding socks under your shoes, or putting a grounding patch anywhere on your body will help decrease inflammation and offset the effects of prolonged stress on your health.

 

Hop over here to see more options to be grounded both indoors and out!

 

Want to find out more about why grounding to the earth heals your body?

Watch this award winning film short “Down To Earth” (featuring Dr. Sinatra, Dr. Mercola, and Dr. Laura Koniver — that’s me!) right here.

It’s only 15 minutes long and has already won IndieFest awards, the California International Shorts Festival and more!

 

2. Focus on Spirit.

 

This is something shown over and over again in the medical literature — the power of prayer to affect clinical outcome is a beautiful fact.

The surest way I know to alleviate stress and suffering is to find meaning in it.

 

Whether it’s through mediation, personal prayer, asking friends and family to pray for you, cultivating your own sense of spirit surrounding and supporting you — these are all such important ways to alleviate stress.

 

The divine support system is around you, surrounding you, whether you are able to feel it or not.

Never fear that. Nothing is required of you.

 

But calling on the power of prayer and connecting with that reservoir of love is an instant boost that strengthens you and changes outcome, no doubt about it.

Need some more inspiration?

Man's Search For MeaningRead Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl.

He is a concentration camp survivor who writes beautifully about how the people who survived these horrific conditions were not the strongest, or youngest, or even the healthiest… they were the ones who found meaning in what they were going through.

Finding a deeper, spiritual meaning in what you are going through is — in and of itself — enough to decrease the stress of the experience you are going through.

 

 

3. Music.

 

My kids will tell you that if I am really grumpy, all we have to do is hop in the car and turn on the radio and within a few songs, all of a sudden I don’t feel so stressed out.

In fact, I feel optimistic and grateful and filled with the same sense of wonder and possibility that I feel when I spend time in nature.

The power of music to wash through you and lift you is amazing.

 

If you are feeling stressed or depressed, especially if you can not leave your current surroundings (perhaps you are in the hospital or your office or your car…) slip on some music and allow it to sweep through your soul and lift you higher.

Music is universal and can meet you wherever you are.

 

 

4. Reach out to your support system.

 

There IS a support system around you, even if you don’t think you have a friend in the world.

I know I didn’t fully realize how many people I had, providing back up support in my life, until I went through a personal crisis.

Some of my most meaningful sources of support were from people I had never ever met before — like the manager at my local bank and the complete stranger who came to pick up some furniture I got rid of as we downsized our belongings.

Both of these people forever changed my life.

Both of these people are angels living on earth.

And don’t even get me started on the unbelievably generous neighbors, friends and family that I actively leaned on for support.

I hold so many people in my heart and I am so full of gratitude to them all that I know I’ll never be able to properly return the favor… instead I yearn to pay it forward in service and in gratitude for them for the rest of my days.

If you are having a stressful crisis, ask for help.

 

Ask your neighbor, ask your family, ask your friends.

 

If you have none of the above, go out into the world asking for help to show up — go to the park, go to your bank, go to the grocery store, go to the thrift shop.

Angels are out there waiting to embrace and help you.

 

5. Move.

 

A symbolic fresh start during times of stress can help you move on towards healing and help usher in new, positive and hopeful energy instead of feeling stuck.

 

This might mean it feels right to literally move, relocate, and start a fresh chapter of your life.  A new living space, a new job, a new healthier environment, new resources to surround you, a move to a more walkable community, a living arrangement that takes financial stress off of you… lots of options when redesigning a fresh start.

But even if it is impossible to move, you can go through your current living space with the idea of bringing in fresh energy — freshening up the plants in each room, rearranging whatever furniture you can, adding a mirror or two and burning candles of light in the evenings to help create a new flow of light through old, dark and depressing spaces.

Even if you can’t do anything to change your physical surroundings, creating a symbolic gesture in order to usher in a new start is so very important.

From going outside to take a deep breath of air, to lighting a smudge stick, to ringing a bell and setting a new intention for the space you are in, do something to break the illusion that you are stuck.

You are not stuck.

You are a new person every single day and every moment within that day.

 

When our physical surroundings don’t change, especially in the midst of great stress, you can get caught up in the illusion that your situation is permanent and hopeless.

 

This is not so… there is always an ebb and a flow of energy through every situation no matter how unchanging it appears on the surface.

 

candle1

 

The illusion that things never change can mentally hold you in a place of worry.

Release this by making small changes to your living space

changing the energy of the room you are in

physically leaving the space you are in for a breath or two

lighting candles/incense/sage smudging

ringing  bells and chimes

bring in new lighting

adding a mirror

bringing in a new plant…

…whatever it takes to feel the energy shift in your space and remind you that nothing…

…NOTHING…

…stays the same forever.

 

 

6. Gratitude and compassion

.
This is a no-brainer — one of the gifts of going through suffering is that you can witness and hold other people’s suffering so much more fully.

 

Compassion and gratitude for the journey and knowing that others have made it through ordeals much much MUCH worse can really help instill hope to your own journey.

 

Knowing the darker side, leaning into it, persevering through it, witnessing with compassion what others have gone through… all of these things make traveling your own dark night feel less lonely and more optimistic in the sense that you KNOW you will reach the other side.

You WILL reach the other side.

Focus on witnessing suffering in others around you and holding compassion for the entire yin and yang of it all, the darkness and light of the world… the richness here is a different twist on helping to find meaning in suffering and the gift here is being able to open your heart even wider then you thought possible before.

 

 

7. Sleep.

 

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is even harder to bear on folks with anxiety or stress.  If you are going through a time of great stress, it is more important than ever before in your entire life that you sleep well.

 

You MUST SLEEP in order to recover from the stress of the day and the stress of the situation.

 

It is possible to treat anxiety solely through increasing the quality of your sleep.

Read this blog post for more ideas on increasing sleep quality!

 

8. Body work.

 

The feeling of worry and stress and anxiety is often the stress of energy that is accumulating in the body without release.

I know I personally feel this as a ball of pressure right in my solar plexus, but it’s different for everyone.

Irritability, crying, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, tension, muscle stiffness, decreased or increased appetite, weight loss or gain, insomnia… often these all represent energy that just needs to be released to make room for the natural healing process and health/hope to return.

 

If you are feeling stuck and in need of physical release, do any or ALL of the following to help assist your body in letting go of old traumas:

  • deep stretches

  • yoga

  • long walks

  • massage

  • heat (hot water bottles are the best!)

  • water (in the form of showers or baths, as well as increasing hydration by drinking lots of water!)

  • acupuncture

  • qigong

  • tai chi

  • reiki

9.  Add supplements to reduce stress and protect heart health:

1.  fish oil — omega 3 fatty acids offer a calming effect on the brain

2.  probiotics — the link between the body and mind starts in our gut

3.  resveratrol for long term heart health

4.  and trace mineral drops to support heart function (including the very important mineral magnesium!)

 

 

10.  Learn more about how to support the health of your heart from an energetic perspective.

 

What can you do to protect the longevity of your heart medically, spiritually, emotionally, energetically?  If you can only do one thing to reduce stress on your heart, it’s simply to understand your heart better.

In this blog post I tell you everything you you need to know about how your heart functions both medically and emotionally, and give you a wonderful list of everything you can do protect the strength of your heart and deeply support its function on all levels.

 

I hope this list of 10 things you can do to decrease stress and improve your state of health… even in the middle of great personal turmoil… is helpful to you and a blessing of some ideas to consider.

Offered with much love…

xoxox, Laura

 

P.S. — want more ideas?

 

Watch this video I created right in the middle of the hardest year of my life (i.e. I look like crap but that is OKAY with me because I survived!  Then thrived!!)

I filled it with the very techniques I used to make it through….

I found 5 things really helped to center me again and again and again, whenever I needed the strength…

And I share them with you right here.

 

 

Fat Shaming Causes Disease… But It Doesn’t Have To

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weight

Fat shaming (not obesity itself!) directly increases a person’s risk for metabolic syndrome and subsequent health issues, a new study finds.

 

And why is there fat shaming in the first place?

As I will go over below, there is an incredible wealth of medical research showing that having a higher BMI is actually advantageous to longevity, so there really is no need for our society to have an obesity bias to start with!

Certainly dropping this attitude and reducing the internalized stress associated with weight will decrease diabetes risk, heart disease risk and the rate of metabolic disease in general, as shown in this study published Jan 26, 2017 in Obesity.

 

The Study:

  • 159 patients with an average BMI of 41.1 kg/m2 were clinically assessed through blood pressure, waist circumference, fasting glucose, trigycerides, HDL cholesterol at baseline, and treatment for hypertension, dyslipdemia and prediabetes.
  • 32% of study participants were found to have metabolic syndrome
  • Patients were assessed using the Weight Bias Internalization Scale and Patient Health Quesstionnaires to determine how much each patient internalized weight related stigma.

 

The Results:

  • Researchers found that participants who internalized stress from weight-related stigma were over 40% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than participants who did not internalize stigma.
  • These results were independent of the actual degree of obesity and other confounding issues such as depression.
  • Weight stigma was found to cause a direct physiological stress response in the body, elevating blood pressure and increasing the body’s inflammation.
  • Researchers conclude that weight stigma alone is a form of chronic stress that creates physical disease when internalized.

 

These results show it is not the weight itself, but rather the stress that our society places on larger sized individuals and their internalization of that stress, that increases the risk of metabolic syndrome and puts them at higher cardiovascular risk than they would otherwise have.

This is totally unnecessary.

If the stress of being overweight was reduced, so would the disease burden.  

 

And not only that, but having a larger Body Mass Index (BMI) has been shown to actually be advantageous to longevity, allowing folks to survive everything from life threatening infections to some forms of cancer better than counterparts with a lower BMI.

And now an even more recent study reveals that older people in excellent physical health — called the “well-derly” — actually have higher smoking rates and higher BMI’s than expected.

 

That’s right — a study (presented March 3, 2017 at the 10th Future of Genomic Medicine Conference) focusing specifically on people 80 years old and older who are free of all common chronic diseases and in excellent health…

…found that they smoked more than the general public and that many had higher BMIs as well!

 

 

Hallelujah — finally a medical study trying to figure out what people do *right* to preserve excellent health for a lifetime, instead of looking at what they are doing wrong.

When you turn it around to look at survival and why some folks are disease free well into their ninth decade of life and beyond, you get some very interesting and important answers.

Part of an ongoing study called the Healthspan Project (which I will absolutely keep you updated on because I am all about positive, uplifting health guidance!) researchers looked at healthy elders and analyzed them for genetic markers of disease.

What they found is that the elderly who were healthy had the exact same rates of genetic markers that would predict disease as the rest of the population.

 

In other words, it’s not that the “well-derly” didn’t have BRCA mutations and other genetic markers of disease, but in fact, they have the same genetic mutations at the same rate as the general population are just are not actually manifesting disease expression.

 

Studies like these are so important, because it’s not just longevity but actually healthspan — how long someone lives in optimal health — that give us the most important clues on how to support our innate health potential.

This study showed that healthy elderly participants had the same rates of genetic risk factors for diabetes, cancers and stroke as the general population, yet remained disease free.

And when looking at why, the results were just as surprising, because when compared with the general population, the smoking rates were actually higher for men (61% smokers as opposed to 54% in general population) and equivalent for women (42% vs 43%.)

 

 

The well-derly did exercise more (67% exercised compared to 44% of the general population) but their BMI was not uniformly lower — there were many wellderly with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher.

Why?

 

I’ve blogged in the past about several important studies that show that having a larger Body Mass Index (BMI) can actually be advantageous to longevity…

…allowing folks to survive everything from life threatening infections to some forms of cancer… better than counterparts with a lower BMI.

Researchers looked at two very large databases, examining body mass (Body Mass Index — BMI) and metastatic renal (kidney) cancer survival rates. (published Oct 2016 in the Journal Of Clinical Oncology)

They found that obesity actually predicted improved survival in metastatic cancer… improving both the progression free survival rate and the over all survival rate!

Researchers looked at over 1,900 patients from the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium and another 4,600 + patients from kidney cancer clinical trials over a ten year period… from 2003 to 2013 (over 6,500 patients total!) Patients in the higher BMI category survived approximately 38% longer and had longer remissions than those with lower BMIs.  Surviving almost 40% longer, especially with metastatic cancer, is a very big deal.  Stage 4 (metastatic) renal cancer carries a 5 year survival rate of only 8%.  Extending survival by up to 40% is more than any single chemotheraputic agent has ever been able to do with this disease.

 

The Bottom Line:

Higher BMI patients have markedly better survival rates for metastatic renal cancer than lower BMI patients.

 

 

The fact that obese patients have better outcomes in metastatic cancer is a real thing — these studies have large patient numbers, are reproducible in different cohorts, and are statistically significant.

Of course, anything that shows there is a WIDE diversity to what is considered a “healthy weight” is totally hidden by the media.

That makes sense, as the weight loss industry is a 20 BILLION dollar industry IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE!!!  So, of course the media wouldn’t want you to actually feel good about your current weight or feel there was any advantage in the slightest to having a higher BMI.

But the truth is, this isn’t the only medical study to show survival advantages in having a higher body mass index.

 

Published in August 2014 in Critical Care Medicine, an important medical study proves mildly obese patients have yet another survival advantage:  surviving lift threatening infections.

 

The researchers looked at the date of over 1,400 elderly people hospitalized with severe sepsis (requiring ICU care) and compared their body mass index (BMI) with clinical outcome 1 year after discharge.

The results revealed a 25% improved mortality rate in severely obese, obese and overweight patients compared to normal weight patients… proving that heavier weight allows the body to survive overwhelming bacterial infections, even at advanced age.

 

The bottom line:

Obesity seems to have a survival advantage in advanced age, trauma, and serious illness…

…and even in metastatic cancer.

 

Researchers further acknowledge that “small excess amounts of adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic illnesses, have beneficial mechanical effects with some types of traumatic injuries, and convey other salutary effects that need to be investigated.”

Effects like surviving cancer, surviving infections… and surviving in general.

Because here is another medical study you are unlikely to have heard about, but it is true.

 

Published January 2, 2013 in JAMA:  

After looking at data on almost 3 MILLION people, researchers found that if you are overweight you actually have LESS over all risk for dying then someone in the “normal” weight category.

 

And even if you are mildly obese, up to BMI of 35%, you have a death rate that is exactly the same as people in the “ideal weight” category (check out the chart below to figure out where you fall.)  Only severe obesity was associated with an increased risk for death.

This study was a meta-analysis of 97 different published studies that included more than 2.88 million participants. 

Compared to ideal weight individuals, overweight individuals had LOWER mortality rates than ideal weight participants, and those with Grade 1 obesity had no increased risk (having roughly identical death rates as the ideal weight participants.)

Only participants who had a BMI of 35 kg/m2 or HIGHER (significantly into the pink zone on the chart below) had significantly higher mortality rates:

 

BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

 

So… if losing those last 10 pounds isn’t actually going to help you live longer… what defines your “ideal weight”?

What defines your ideal weight is how you *feel* wearing the body you wear each day:

your energy level,

your flexibility,

your capacity to get around,

to get outside,

and to enjoy the things you want to enjoy each day.

 

When you are in balance energetically your body will choose the weight range that is ideal for you, so purposefully trying to gain weight into the overweight range or lose weight into the underweight range doesn’t support your energetic health best, unless this range is your natural balance.

 

The take home message here is that if you are told you are overweight, this does not mean you should be focusing on losing weight.

 

The real focus should ALWAYS BE on feeling as healthy and vibrant as possible.

 

This means focusing on muscle tone.

On heart strength.

On endurance.

On lung capacity. 

On bone mass. 

On energy levels. 

On restorative sleep at night. 

On happiness. 

On quality time with loved ones. 

On meaningful relationships. 

On spiritual strength.

 

 

This is what the Wellderly are focusing on and what we should be focusing on too.

 So my recommendation is NO ONE should be focusing exclusively on weight…

…and now you have the science to back that up.

xoxox, Laura

 

 

Sleep: An Easy Way To Prevent Asthma

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A new medical study revealed that there is a huge association between insomnia and asthma…

…which is good news, because that means there are tons of holistic, simple, supportive things you can do today to decrease your risk of asthma.

The Study:

(published Feb 1, 2017 in the European Respiratory Journal.)

 

  • Researchers followed over 17,000 patients in a long term study over the span of 11 years.
  • Patients were ages 20 – 65 years old
  • Patients had data collected to analyze sleep quality, patterns of sleep, difficulty with going to sleep or staying asleep, and asthma symptoms including severity and frequency of asthma attacks.

 

The Results:

  • Patients who had any difficulty falling asleep had an average of a 65% significantly higher risk of subsequently developing asthma as an adult.
  • Patients who experienced difficulty falling asleep routinely had an even higher risk.  The risk rose to 95% if they had difficulty falling asleep once a week.
  • The risk rose even more if the patients had difficulty falling asleep on most nights…. a 108% significantly higher risk of developing asthma as an adult.
  • The longer the insomnia, the higher the risk.  Patients that had 10 years of struggling with insomnia had a 3 TIMES the risk of developing asthma as an adult.

 

The Bottom Line:

Long term insomnia TRIPLED asthma risk.

Turns out high quality sleep is crucial to long term respiratory health.

 

 

So why is this good news?

Because on top of seeking medical care for asthma, there are tons of things you can do on your own to prevent asthma, and one way is as easy as getting a good night’s sleep.

Advice you are not likely to hear at your conventional medical office… but one that is based on sound medical literature.

And there are other ways too!  No longer do you need to approach asthma with only a Rx and nothing else to guide you.  Here are six very effective ways to approach supporting your lungs from all angles:

 

6 Holistic Ways to Decrease Your Asthma Risk:

  1.  Banish insomnia by sleeping grounded.

  2. Treat insomnia with this holistic insomnia relief kit, developed directly from the medical literature proven to help you naturally fall asleep!

  3. For other holistic ways to treat insomnia — watch this video I created for you

  4. Take this supplement, that is medically proven to decrease asthma flares.

  5. Adopt a pet.  Did you know pets actually decrease asthma risk?  Here’s a medical study that proves it.

  6. Get inspired through positive imagery.  The painting I painted to support lung health.

 

xoxoxo, Laura

 

Teens Who Eat Fruit Lower Their Breast Cancer Risk

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A new study reveals that teens who eat 3 servings of fruit a day have a 25% decreased risk of breast cancer as an adult, compared to teens who eat less than one serving of fruit a day.

 

Published in the BMJ on May 11, 2016, this study shows that fruit has a preventive effect in preventing breast cancer and that specifically consuming fruit as an adolescent is even more important than consuming them as an adult.

The Study:

 

  • Researchers examined date from over 90,000 premenopausal female patients (ages 27 – 44 years old)
  • Over 44,000 patients reported their dietary intake of fruit and vegetables as teens in 1991 as well as 1998, and over 3,200 women went on to develop invasive breast cancer, diagnosed by pathology.
  • Patients were followed for over 22 years, and invasive cancer rates were examined in relation to their reported fruit and vegetable consumption as teens.

 

The Results:

  • Patients who consumed the highest amount of fruits as a teen (roughly 3 servings a day) had a 25% drop in risk for developing breast cancer as an adult than those who consumed the lowest amount of fruit (less than one serving a day.)
  • Adult consumption of fruit did not reduce risk, indicating that the timing of fruit consumption as a teen is important.
  • 25% less cases of invasive breast cancer simply from consuming fruit in adolescence represents a HUGE amount of breast cancers that can be prevented, as it is the most common female cancer worldwide.  With approximately 1.7 million new cases reported annually, this is a potential reduction of 425,000 cancer cases prevented each year.

 

fruit

Which fruits had the highest impact in preventing breast cancer?

 

 

Apples, bananas, grapes, oranges (and the vegetable kale!) were among the most beneficial.

 

And what if your teen doesn’t like fruit?

 

Adding a handful of berries to a smoothie, over ice cream, or into yogurt is an easy way to get fresh fruit into your teen’s diet.  Or, consider adding a blueberry extract supplement to their daily diet.

 

Other nutrients that have been shown to help prevent cancer are Vitamin D (as I blog about here) so request to have your teen’s Vit D levels tested and consider a bioavailable fat emulsified Vit D supplement.

 

Or… you could drink your cancer prevention.  If you have a teen that likes tea, drinking green tea daily, as I blog about here, is effective at preventing several different types of cancer, including breast cancer.  And if your teen doesn’t like drinking green tea, consider a green tea supplement if you have a strong family history of breast cancer and are concerned about your daughter’s risk.

 

What non-dietary actions can help prevent breast cancer?

 

and

 

This study is really important to be aware of, because a ton of research has been poured into studying adult diets and cancer prevention or recovery…

…but this is one of very few studies that prove that dietary intake as a teen has a major, dramatic effect on cancer prevention and that it is specific to consumption during adolescence, not as an adult.

To your child’s long term, vibrant health!

xoxoxo, Laura

 

xoxo

 

P.S. — looking for more ways to support your teen?

Check out these other articles I have written for more inspiration!

  • Mood Support:  Medical research shows that teens moods impact their lifespan — here’s how to support a good mood for your child.

  • High Quality Sleep:  Poor sleep actually makes children gain weight abnormally — here’s what you need to know to support a good night’s sleep for your child.

  • Stop Bullying:  Bullying causes psychological harm well into adulthood — here are three ways to protect your child from trauma.

 

 

 

 

 

Increase Bone Density, Drop Body Fat With Yogurt

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Glass of milk with sliced fruit on plate sitting next to a wooden spoon on place mat and fruit salad in the background, close-up, tilt, selective focus

 

A new study, presented at the American Society of Bone and Mineral Research’s Annual Meeting (September 18, 201) showed that all it takes is consuming yogurt to make an impact on bone density and body mass index.

 

The Study:

  • Researchers looked at over 700 post-menopausal women who underwent bone density assessment at baseline and again 3 years later
  • Food intake and physical activity were also assessed
  • Yogurt consumption was categorized as never consumed, consumed less than once a day, or consumed once a day or more.

 

The Results:

  • Patients who consume yogurt had greater bone density and less cortical bone loss over time than patients who never ate yogurt.
  • On top of this, the percentage of body fat and the body mass index of patients who consumed yogurt were lower than patients who did not consume yogurt.
  • These results were completely independent of dietary calcium intake and physical activity… the bone strength and BMI differences were statistically significant just from the yogurt alone.

 

 

Man flexing bicep, skeleton visible, close-up (Digital Composite)

 

Patients consuming yogurt had 6.5% leaner bodies, 4.4% greater bone density and about at 10% less fracture rate over time.

And this boost helped protect against bone loss over time.

At the three year bone mineral density follow up, the patients who never consumed yogurt had an average bone mineral density loss of 0.1% each year, whereas the patients who consumed yogurt increased their bone strength…

…up to a 0.6% increase in bone density each year

 

So the fermented dairy product, rich with probiotics, helped increase bone strength, protect bones over time, keep body fat lower and lower BMI measurements totally independently of any other factor that could account for these differences, such as exercise or total calcium intake.

This study comes on another study which revealed that consuming dairy actually helps decrease diabetes risk!

 

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Want more tips on preventing and even reversing osteoporosis?

Hop over here to watch a quick video that I recorded moments after attending an annual symposium on osteoporosis…

…in it, I tell you how to holistically protect your bones for a lifetime.

 

To your body’s inner strength and resilience…

xoxoxox, Laura