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Chris Kresser Archives (2013-2014)

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9 Ways To Add Plantains To Your Diet. RHR: How to Recover from Long-Term Use of Birth Control Pills. RHR: Which Lab Tests are Essential? 7 Tips for Preventing (and Shortening) Colds and Flus. RHR: Vegetables—How Many to Eat and What Kinds (18:23 to 30:45) Is Depression a Disease—or a Symptom of Inflammation? How (and Why) To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the most important risk factor for premature death, accounting for half of all deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and 13.5 percent of all deaths each year. It affects 26 percent of the population worldwide, and one-third of the population in the U.S.

Nine in ten Americans are expected to develop high blood pressure by the age of sixty-five. With this in mind, it’s no exaggeration to suggest that keeping your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to extend your lifespan. Mild hypertension can nearly double your risk of heart disease—but drugs don’t work. What can you do? This has become even more apparent in light of recent research which suggests that even “high normal” blood pressure (120–129 / 80–84 mmHg) increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 46% on average.

How To Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do. Diet Sugar. What about salt? CoQ10. What Everyone (Especially Vegetarians) Should Know About B12 Deficiency. In May of 2011, I wrote an article called B12 Deficiency: A Silent Epidemic With Serious Consequences. I argued that B12 deficiency is much more common than statistics indicate, with potentially devastating consequences.

B12 deficiency can cause or is associated with: Premature agingNeurological disorders similar in presentation to multiple sclerosisBrain fog, memory problems and cognitive declineStroke, heart disease and other vascular problems (due to elevated homocysteine)Developmental or learning disabilities in childrenImpaired immune function, autoimmune disease and cancerMale and female infertilityNumerous other symptoms… One of the biggest problems with diagnosing B12 deficiency is that the conventional serum B12 test that most doctors run only picks up a small fraction of people who are actually B12 deficient.

The effects of B12 deficiency can be irreversible—but most who are deficient don’t know it. The importance of early diagnosis If you suspect you have B12 deficiency. Are supplements really necessary? In a perfect world, the answer to this question would be “no”. In the world most of us inhabit, I believe the answer is often “yes”. This might seem inconsistent with the Paleo approach. After all, our ancestors weren’t popping pills to stay healthy, so why should we? Our modern environment is profoundly different than that of our ancestors. In fact, a fundamental tenet of the ancestral health movement is the recognition that we are “mismatched” with our current environment in numerous ways, and it is that mismatch that is responsible for the modern disease epidemic.

Maintenance vs. therapeutic supplementation Since I started writing this blog, I have argued for obtaining as many nutrients from food as possible. As a clinician that specializes in treating people with complex conditions that haven’t been able to find help anywhere else, and as someone that suffered from such a condition myself, I’m also acutely aware of the value of therapeutic supplementation. Calcium Supplements: Why You Should Think Twice. I’ve made the argument before that some supplements may be necessary even within the context of a nutrient-dense, whole-foods diet.

Some nutrients are challenging to get through food alone, especially if you’re not digesting food optimally or you’re struggling with a disease that increases your need for particular nutrients. I routinely recommend supplements to many of my patients, and have seen the benefits of proper supplementation in my own life as well. That said, there are several supplements that are commonly recommended by conventional doctors and healthcare practitioners that are unnecessary at best, and potentially harmful at worst.

Perhaps the best example of this is calcium. Are you taking a common supplement that may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and death? Calcium has become extremely popular to supplement with, especially amongst older women, in the hope that it will prevent osteoporosis. How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Naturally. This is the final article in the Diet-Heart Myth series I’ve been writing over the past several weeks. If you missed the previous articles, you can find them on the special report page for heart disease. Ben Franklin said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Heart disease is no exception. According to the INTERHEART study, which examined cardiovascular risk factors in 51 countries, 9 out of the 10 strongest risk factors for heart disease are modifiable by changes in diet and lifestyle. (1) While taking action now does not guarantee that you’ll never get heart disease (as age is perhaps the strongest risk factor), it does vastly improve your chances of avoiding it or at least delaying it significantly. 3 simple steps to living a heart healthy lifestyle that your doctor has never told you about.

Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet When most people hear the phrase “heart-healthy diet”, they think of egg-white omelettes, a salad with no dressing or similar low-fat, low-cholesterol fare. Statins Don't Save Lives in People Without Heart Disease. To read more about heart disease and cholesterol, check out the special report page. Cardiovascular disease is one of the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions in medicine.

In the first article in this series, I explained the evidence suggesting that eating cholesterol and saturated fat does not increase the risk of heart disease. In the second article, I explained it’s not the amount of cholesterol in your blood that drives heart disease risk, but the number of LDL particles. In the third article, I discussed the five primary causes of elevated LDL particle number. In this article, I will debunk the myth that statin drugs save lives in healthy people without heart disease, and discuss some of the little known side effects and risks associated with these drugs. Myth #3: Statins save lives in healthy people without heart disease Are statins really the wonder drugs they’ve been made out to be?

Secondary prevention (those with pre-existing heart disease) An analysis by Dr. To summarize: 5 Uncommon Uses For Probiotics. Soon after the advent of the ‘germ theory of disease’ in the nineteenth century, the idea of voluntarily swallowing a pill full of bacteria would’ve sounded a little crazy. But as we learned more about the importance of the community of bacteria and other microorganisms occupying our intestines, eating probiotics has become the acceptable way to help re-populate our guts after courses of antibiotics or other stressors. As we’ve continued to learn, it appears that our gut bugs influence far more than our digestive function and our ability to stay ‘regular.’ In fact, probiotics often aren’t that effective at re-populating the gut flora anyway. (Prebiotics tend to work better.) Our understanding of how probiotics work is evolving, and this is broadening the scope of health issues that probiotics can help treat.

We’re learning that the mechanisms behind the effect of probiotics are far more complicated than simply ‘topping off’ our supply of intestinal flora. Depression Nasal Congestion Acne. How to Prevent Kidney Stones Naturally. This is a guest post by Laura Schoenfeld, a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Public Health, and staff nutritionist and content manager for You can learn more about Laura by checking out her blog or visiting her on Facebook. Anyone who’s had a kidney stone will tell you that they’re one of the worst medical problems you can ever experience.

Kidney stones are a common and painful chronic condition seen in otherwise “healthy” patients, and one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. About a million people in the United States are treated for kidney stones each year, and the prevalence in adult men is almost 12% and around 6% in adult women. (1) Stones are most common in caucasian adults between the ages of 20 and 50, and once someone develops a stone, they are far more likely to develop another stone in the future. What are Kidney Stones? Still getting kidney stones on Paleo? Balance Your Fat Soluble Vitamins Add Lemon To Your Water Get your Magnesium. 3 Reasons Why You Should Be Skeptical of the New Cholesterol Guidelines.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the leading heart organizations in the U.S. have released updated treatment guidelines for cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins). The changes include discarding the specific numerical targets that have been used to monitor treatment for decades and recommending a statin for everyone with a 10-year risk of heart attack or stroke of 7.5% or higher, as determined by a new risk calculator. The new guidelines have received a lot of media attention of the past several days, including criticism from no less than the former president of the American College of Cardiology. I’m happy to see this, because as I will argue in this article, the new guidelines are problematic and would put millions at risk due to unnecessary and prolonged treatment with statin drugs.

Here are 3 reasons why you should be skeptical of the new cholesterol and statin guidelines. Should you be taking a statin under new cholesterol treatment guidelines? Read this first. Dr. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Stress - A New Frontier for Treatment? This is a guest post written by staff nutritionist Kelsey Marksteiner, RD. Click here to read her blog or join her newsletter! If you or someone you know suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), you know how devastating this condition can be. While some may function well, others can have their lives practically ripped out from under them – unable to work, go to school, or engage in many of their favorite activities. CFS is a somewhat controversial disease due to its lack of objective findings in patients. Through the course of its history as a known syndrome, its definition has changed dramatically, but it is currently diagnosed when a person has (1): Chronic fatigue syndrome is most commonly found in young to middle aged adults, and it is about twice as common in women than men.

The most common conventional treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Hypothalamic-Adrenal-Pituitary Axis Adrenal Testing Diet. If You Need To Take Antibiotics. I wrote this a while back when I had more time, thinking it might come in handy during the book tour. I was right! A few years ago, I wrote an article about the often devastating effects that antibiotics can have on the gut flora. While it’s extremely important to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use, what about those who have carefully considered their options and decided that antibiotics are necessary in their situation?

Is there no hope for recovering a healthy microbiome? Need to take antibiotics? You need to read this article. While having to take antibiotics is never ideal, there are many cases where it is absolutely necessary, and don’t worry – the situation is far from hopeless. Probiotics To some, taking probiotics during a course of antibiotics might seem contraindicated.

Most of these trials used different strains of Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, or Saccharomyces boulardii. Another option for probiotics is a blend of soil-based organisms, such as Prescript Assist. Prebiotics. Are Legumes “Paleo”? And Does It Really Matter? 5 Thyroid Patterns That Won't Show Up On Standard Lab Tests. This article is part of a special report on Thyroid Disorders. To see the other articles in this series, click here. In medicine, the key to choosing the best treatment is an accurate diagnosis. If the diagnosis isn’t correct, the treatment will be ineffective – or even cause harm. Unfortunately misdiagnosis is common in the management of hypothyroidism. If you go to a doctor with hypothyroid symptoms, you’ll simply be given replacement hormones without any further inquiry into the cause of your condition. Even worse, if you have hypothyroid symptoms but your lab tests are normal, you’ll be told you’re “fine”.

If you insist you’re not, you might be sent home with an antidepressant, but no further clue about the cause of your symptoms. The problem with this approach is that thyroid physiology is complex. In this article I’ll present five patterns of thyroid dysfunction that won’t show up on standard lab tests. A standard thyroid panel usually includes TSH and T4 only. Thyroid resistance.