Archives for September 2018 | Integrative functional medicine blog

"Any fool can Know. The point is to understand" - Albert Einstein

Cleaning Products are destroying your lungs

Most of us have grown up knowing a few certain truths.

A couple of those are, smoking is bad for you, and being clean is good.

In fact, many have taken the entire clean thing to an entirely new level. Seems that just about everything is anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti —viral, anti - something or another. And its killing out guts, and other things!

Anyway, moving on. Did you know that cleaning might be just as bad for you as smoking.
In fact, recent studies suggest that if you use certain cleaning products you might as well smoke. Don't, just in case that wasn't obvious.

A new
study shows the lung decline over 20 years caused by using conventional cleaning products (which have NO federal regulations for health or safety) equals that of smoking 20 cigarettes a day. For those of you that dont know, In Canada 1 pack generally has 25 cigarettes, in other countries they often have 20. So lets just make it easy and say 1 pack a day.

The only reason I know is that I looked it up. I generally hear patients and people say they have a "pack a day" habit so I was curious how it compared. Now you know!

So there you have it. It's about 1 pack per day.

The toxic chemicals used in cleaning products damage the lungs little by little, adding up to a significant impact that rivals a pack-a-day smoking habit. That is not an insubstantial amount.

The Norwegian study tracked 6,000 women over two decades. That's a long time to track someone. Can you say "stalker"?

There were 3 different groups.
1. Women responsible for keeping the home clean (the stay at home mom)
2. Women who cleaned as a job (Maids, housekeepers, hotel cleaners, etc.)
3. Women NOT regularly engaged in cleaning(those that have a cleaning person or those who work).

Compared to the women who didn’t clean house, the regular home cleaners (group 1/aka house mom) and occupational cleaners (group 2 / the business mom) who used cleaning sprays and other products showed an accelerated decline in lung function.

Think of all those fumes and chemicals getting sprayed into a fine mist all over the place. The finer and wider the spray of mist the more area it covers, but also the smaller the particles it creates and generally the more we inhale and the deeper into our lungs it gets. This may be part of the reason why vaping may not be as good as some people think.

This study was the first of its kind to look at the long-term effects of cleaning products on the respiratory tract and the results are not really all the surprising. We don't use these cleaning products in our house or in my practice. But on the rare occasion that we do use it, it always the hold your breath, spray and run type "cleaning".

There have already been studies demonstrating the short term effects. The studies have already established a link between the cleaning products — bleach, glass cleaner, detergents, and air fresheners — and an increase in

In fact, the women who cleaned regularly in the Norwegian study also showed an increased rate of asthma. Which is not a surprise. If the cleaning products created short term asthma why wouldn't it create long term asthma. DUH! Sometimes things are so obvious yet no really puts it together or thinks about it if there hasn't been some sort of study to confirm something.

Breaking news! Getting punched in the face twice hurts as just as much
or more than a single punch.

Household cleaners are toxic and damaging to multiple systems
in the body, not just the lungs.

The lungs aren’t the only part of the body conventional cleaning products damage. They also impact the brain, immune system, hormonal system, and liver. Which are pretty important areas.

For instance,
phthalates are used in the perfumed scents many cleaning products have. Phthalates lower sperm counts, cause early puberty in girls, and raise the risk of cancer and lung problems.

Perchloroethylene (PERC), a solvent used in spot removers, carpet and upholstery cleaners, and dry cleaning, raises the risk of Parkinson’s disease and cancer. And I've seen many clients develop MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) after living above a dry cleaners for a period of time.

Here's a couple little hints.
1 - Don't live above or next to a dry cleaners
2 - Look at the types of businesses that are around you house and work
3 - If you start to notice you can't smell or taste things, that is not a good sign!!

Although hundreds, if not thousands, of studies have repeatedly demonstrated the toxicity of chemicals in common household ingredients, their use in manufacturing is largely unregulated. Big money!

People see that certain products work well for what they are supposed to but they don't think of the possible side effects. Ignorance is bliss I suppose. It's also not an excuse!

Our over exposure to toxic chemicals has been linked to skyrocketing rates of autoimmunity and even
autism (check out our page on Autism) which is a neurological presentation of autoimmunity in many people.

In the past few decades we have seen autism increase tenfold (10 times), leukemia go up more than 60 percent, male birth defects double, and childhood brain cancer go up 40 percent (which may partially be due to all those EMF waves that kids get exposed to at such an early age). Check out my upcoming series on EMF's and subscribe to my youtube channel. Those are some Sobering statistics.

Helping protect your body from toxins

Unfortunately, it is not possible to be toxin-free in today’s world. Toxins have gotten into our air, water, food (even organic), and our bodies. Everyone carries hundreds of toxins in their bodies, even newborn babies. I should say specially newborn babies. I often tell my clients that it's not about living a perfect life and avoiding all toxins. It's about limiting the toxins that we can so that when we do get exposed to toxins we can't avoid they have less of an effect on our bodies.

When a person has a highly reactive immune system, various toxins and heavy metals can trigger inflammation in the same way a gluten sensitivity can, causing a flare up of autoimmune and inflammatory symptoms. By using functional medicine principles to keep inflammation as low as possible, we can help prevent toxins from becoming immune reactive.

Much like my previous post on
chronic viral infections causing or triggering autoimmunity, chronic toxin exposure can do the same thing.

To accomplish this, first avoid toxins as much as possible and use non-toxic products in your home and on your body. The Norwegian researchers suggested cleaning with a microfiber cloth and water. I have some other recommendations too.

Also, eat an anti-inflammatory whole foods diet consisting primarily of produce, nurture healthy gut bacteria, exercise regularly, spend time in nature - grounding, have healthy social interactions, and supplement with compounds such as vitamin D and glutathione precursors (the body’s master antioxidant). These are a few ways to support the body and make it more resilient to the many toxins it must battle.

I have included a few links to some of the products we use in our house and practice. But also consider some simple natural products as well such as:

1. Baking soda - Great for grease and grime
2. Castile Soap - This is a type of soap that is 100% Plant oils
3. Vinegar - This has so many uses, almost too many. There are entire books on how to use vinegar
4. Lemon Juice - Great for mold and mildew. Works for grease and can put a nice shine on some hard surfaces.
5. Olive oil - Can work as a polisher
6. Borax - This is often an ingredient in many natural cleaning products and recipes. We use it in our homemade laundry detergent.

Natural cleaning products:
Honest Cleaning products
Method Natural Cleaners
Seventh Generation

We will also be adding some blog posts on some recipes for natural cleaning agents that work great. Including toothpaste, laundry detergent, a great all around cleaner. And last but certainly not least is my all natural weed killer.

If you have any questions, comments or recipes of your own you would like to share post it in the comments and consider subscribing to our youtube channel.

Keep it clean, but a little dirt never hurt anyone either.
I'm Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be Healthy, be happy!

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Antacids and antibiotics raise allergy and autoimmune rates

Being a parent is hard work. And being a parent of a child in pain can be a very scary thing. I get it, we have all been there. But before you go run out and get that prescription filled there are some things to consider.

A large study shows antacid and antibiotic use in early childhood significantly raises the risk of developing allergies.

Researchers looked at the records of almost 800,000 children born during a 13-year period to families in the military.

Surprisingly, almost 10 percent of the babies were treated with antacids such as Zantac or Pepcid for acid reflux; spitting up is common in infants and does not typically need to be medicated. But it can be scary when you are not aware. After all, adults don't spit up.

Also surprising was that more than half of the children in the study went on to develop allergies, rashes, asthma, or hay fever.

However, the children who received antacids in infancy were twice as likely to develop allergic diseases compared to the rest.

What’s worse is that their risk of developing anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can be deadly, was 50 percent higher compared to the non-medicated children.

Children who received antibiotics as babies were twice as likely to have asthma and had a 50 percent higher likelihood of hay fever and anaphylactic allergies. Those are some pretty significant increases in incidence rates.

Why you must take care of the gut to avoid allergies and immune-based diseases

The researchers suggested the negative impact antacids and antibiotics have on gut bacteria, also called the gut microbiome, play a role in the development of allergies and other immune disorders.

Additionally, by neutralizing the acidity of the stomach, which is necessary to break down foods, antacids may be allowing undigested foods into the small intestine. This negatively impacts the gut microbiome and inflames the digestive tract., ultimately leading to a leaky gut type condition. Which if its "like" leaky gut, it's going to become leaky gut. Ever heard the term fake it till you make it?

The health of the digestive tract and gut microbiome profoundly influences immune health. When the gut is inflamed and damaged and gut bacteria is unhealthy and full of bad bacteria, this predisposes a person to bunch of immune-based disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Food sensitivities
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Eczema and other skin-based disorders
  • Asthma and other respiratory disorders
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Brain-based disorders

Look for the root cause of childhood illness

Although spitting IS up normal for babies, if a baby is spitting up excessively you have to ask why.

Also, if a child has reoccurring infections that require antibiotics over and over, again you have to ask why.

With any health issue or condition asking why is one of the most important questions you can ask, and one of the things we try to answer in my practice.

These are signs that the health of the digestive tract, the gut microbiome, and the immune system are already in distress.

For instance, the child could be eating a food to which they are intolerant, such as gluten or dairy — two primary triggers of immune disorders.

The child may have been born with food intolerances or autoimmunity (when the immune system attacks the body) passed on from the mother.

A child born via c-section and fed formula is likely to have a less healthy gut microbiome than a child born vaginally and breastfed. This may predispose a child to excess acid reflux or reoccurring infections. Look up Vaginal swab or sweeping for those moms that need to do C-sections. It may significantly help the health of your baby.

However, medicating a child with
antacids and antibiotics only further destroys the gut microbiome and dysregulates the immune system. This makes the child significantly more prone to immune disorders, such as allergies, anaphylaxis, autoimmunity, asthma, eczema, obesity, and other chronic issues.

The key is to address the underlying causes of an inflamed gut, an unhealthy gut microbiome, and inflammation. Some things you should look at are regular blood testing for nutrient deficiencies and excesses, stool analysis, allergy and food sensitivity testing just to name a few.

Thanks for watching. Make a comment and subscribe to my youtube channel.
I'm Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!

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The best shaker bottle I've used

The best Protein Shaker Bottle?

Shaker bottle link. CLICK HERE

Here is a new little product that my wife recently purchase after our old shaker bottles got too worn out and leaking all over the place.

Ive Got to say, I really like this bottle.

At first I wansn't too sold on the idea of having a glass shaker bottle. It just kind of seems a little dangerous. Shattered glass and everything.

My first reaction was why didn’t you get stainless steel. Its more durable. You can drop it, pick it up and keep on trucking.

So why glass?

Apparently its all my fault. And its true, it is.

Her reasoning was that Ive been known to do my morning workout routine at 5 every morning, come home, chug down a mix of greens, protein, flax and a little coconut oil, throw the shaker in the sink, and accidentally forget about it.

Then…Out of sight, out of mind type thing and 1-2 days later I have a petri dish, or petri cup in the sink I need to clean out.

So her reasoning is that with the glass she can see whats in the bottle. And more importantly can show me whats in the bottle so I can clean it.

Cant really argue with her there!

So lets talk about what I do like about this shaker bottle.

It's very sturdy. This glass feels like its about 1/8 of an inch thick (or more), it has some serious heft to it. Almost as though I could drop it and it would be ok.

I have to admit, I do like that I can see whats in the bottle.

I like the rubber sleeve that goes over it, its pretty thick as well and you can remove it if you want to completely clean everything.

The seal is good on the top and it hasn’t leaky yet.

And last but not least I like that this little handle think that holds the cap flips down and stays there, and I can even nicely put my finger over it and it holds it in place pretty good.

Over all great design.

So what don't I like about this shaker bottle?

Well, it is glass. But after much deliberation and thought. It does seem to be the better alternative, unless you are doing lots of travel or throwing this thing in a gym bag or something.

It does have a plastic lid, but even with a stainless steal shaker bottle it will have a plastic lid. Its the only reliable way to really get a good enough seal so that when you shake these things they wont leak.

That's it. Im super happy with this shaker, Its a great design, good build quality and for 23 bucks not too bad on the price too.

Ive included the link below. Share this video, like it,
and consider subscribing to our channel.

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!

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Viral infections linked to inflammatory diseases and Autoimmunity

Viral infections linked to inflammatory diseases and Autoimmunity

The EBV (Epstein-Barr virus) infects more than 90 percent of people in the United States by the age of 20. At least one in four of those infected will develop the commonly-known disease mononucleosis, or "mono," experiencing a rash, enlarged liver or spleen, head- and body aches, and extreme fatigue.

Did you know?! Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is not only related to mono. It is in the same family of virus’s as Herpes, Chicken pox and Shingles.

Recent studies indicate it may be a catalyst for at least
six more diseases, most of which are autoimmune in nature. These include multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, Type 1 diabetes, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

EBV isn't the only virus associated with autoimmunity. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been linked to Sjögren's syndrome, upper respiratory viral infections and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) have been linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), and EBV has previously been linked to

Chronic viral infections can contribute to chronic inflammatory diseases

It has long been thought that viruses play a part in the development of chronic inflammatory diseases, especially autoimmunity. Check out our page on Autoimmunity.

Many healthcare practitioners report there is frequently a hidden infection that either precedes or seems to trigger an initial autoimmune attack, or subsequently appears when the immune system is weakened once autoimmunity is activated.

This creates a vicious cycle of infection and illness.
 Infections are opportunistic and often travel together — many autoimmune patients find they host multiple infections that are bacterial, viral, parasitic and/or fungal, driving the inflammation that leads to symptoms.

Thus the need for testing to find out which ones you may be dealing with. Check out our functional medicine testing page.

The relationship between viral infection and autoimmune disease is multifaceted, involving numerous complex processes in the body. Scientists believe that a variety of factors must usually be present for an infection to result in an autoimmune condition. This includes not only a genetic predisposition but also lifestyle and environmental factors such as:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Poor sleep habits
  • Leaky gut
  • Environmental toxins
  • Dietary inflammatory triggers

It is often said in the functional medicine world - And I realize this may be a terrible saying, but I didn’t make it up.
“Genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger”.

In a nutshell, chronic disease develops as a result of an improper immune response to a viral infection due to other predisposing factors. The virus acts as the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Chronic viruses can prevent autoimmune remission

Remission from autoimmune symptoms is possible with proper diet and lifestyle management. Notice I said remission, not sure. However, if you already have an autoimmune condition, a chronic viral infection can prevent you from alleviating your symptoms and halting progression of the autoimmunity. In fact, a chronic virus is a deal-breaker in recovery for many patients.

Viral infections can occur years before developing autoimmunity

Viral infections usually occur well before any symptoms associated with autoimmunity develop (sometimes years), so it can be difficult to make a definitive link between a particular infection and a yet-to-be autoimmune disorder. However, if you have not been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition but have had any of these viruses in the past and have unexplained symptoms now, it's worth getting tested for autoimmunity and a chronic virus. You probable also want to check out my previous blog on Autoimmunity and leaky gut.

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!

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The downside of NSAID use. Liver disease, leaky gut and more. Oh my!

The downside(s) of NSAID use.

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 50 million American adults have chronic pain or severe pain.

The conventional medical model teaches us to reach first for medication to relieve pain, with ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) at the top of the list. It is after all a pretty realistic expectation.

Have Pain. Get rid of Pain. Done.

However, with research mounting to show NSAIDs have a notable list of dangers, it makes sense instead to look for the root causes of pain and not just cover up the end result of whatever imbalance is causing your pain.

Many people turn to NSAIDs for relief from pain and inflammation. Common NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). Celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren) are prescription NSAIDs.

Aspirin is an NSAID, but it does not pose the same risks for stroke and heart attack.

Ibuprofen is metabolized by the liver, and can cause lesions, liver failure, or jaundice over time. The FDA has even
warned against NSAIDs because they increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

NSAIDs promote leaky gut

Another reason to avoid NSAIDs is their tendency to promote leaky gut, as I’ve mentioned before in some of my other blogs.

In leaky gut, the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged and overly porous, allowing undigested food, bacteria, yeast, and other pathogens into the bloodstream. This triggers inflammation and pain throughout the body — the same thing people use NSAIDs to relieve, creating a vicious cycle that can be very difficult to get off.

So, if the typical go-to medications for pain aren't an option any more, where do we turn?

Functional medicine offers solutions.

Address inflammation to root out pain

When pain is treated with NSAIDs, it typically comes back when the medication runs out. However, in functional medicine the goal is to identify and address the cause of the inflammation and pain instead of simply putting a temporary Band-Aid on it.

It’s understandable to want relief so you can feel and function better. The good news is many people find their chronic pain diminishes substantially or disappears completely when they adopt functional medicine strategies.

So let me be clear on this. I’m NOT saying that functional medicine will fix all your pain problems. BUT, what I am saying is that the entire body is connected. If you have some sort of chronic pain it often becomes a vicious cycle of pain = inflammation = pain = and on and on. By addressing where that additional or extra inflammation is coming from we can often relieve or at least significantly reduce the amount of chronic pain you are in. It eve applies to acute injuries as well. If you body is balanced and has little inflammation prior to an injury, when you do get injured you will heal much faster.

Following are a few ways functional medicine can relieve pain and inflammation:

Anti-inflammatory diet. Remove foods that trigger inflammation, such as gluten, dairy, grains, legumes, eggs, sugar, and nightshades. This is typically done as an elimination and reintroduction protocol where you follow the diet strictly for a period of time and then customize it depending on your food sensitivities. This customization is generally done with Food allergy (IGE antibodies) and food sensitivity/intolerance (IGG antibodies) testing.

Note: not all tests are created equally. Don’t just pick the cheapest or quickest test. Otherwise your results may not mean too much. Check out the Cyrex Array 10 on our Functional Medicine testing page. I will also put some links in the description below. Check em out!

Avoid nightshades. Vegetables in the nightshade family can cause pain and inflammation in the joints. These include eggplant, potatoes (but not sweet potatoes or yams), peppers, tomatoes, tomatillos, hot pepper products and pepper-based spices. Simply removing nightshades from the diet has brought relief from joint pain for many, especially those with rheumatoid arthritis. But keep in mind this doesn’t mean everyone will benefit from this. It’s on a case by case basis. Results may vary. Yada, yada yada.

Turmeric and resveratrol (Pricey but worth it) Each is a powerful anti-inflammatory alone, but research shows that taking them together is much more effective, making them potent tools for quenching the inflammation and damage associated chronic inflammatory disorders. Side note, there is some controversy on the whole with black pepper or without. I say…It depends.

Improve your posture. Chronic pain can develop due to spinal misalignment. Rarely do patients with chronic pain have even pressure on both feet or eyes that move in synchrony. Many patients experience significant or total relief of chronic pain by addressing these imbalances. Go see your Chiropractor.

Nutrients that fight inflammation and pain. These include vitamin D, vitamins A, E, and K, and plenty of omega 3 fatty acids.

White willow bark is an herb traditionally used for pain relief. The same active ingredient in Aspirin, but at much lower and safer doses.

Moderate to high intensity exercise can help reduce inflammation. It also improves insulin sensitivity, a bonus for diabetes prevention. Just make sure to choose exercises that do not exacerbate joint pain; there are lots of options.

Balance your blood sugar. Many people have blood sugar dysregulation issues that contribute to systemic inflammation and pain. In addition, imbalanced blood sugar is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. A good starting point on regulating blood sugar balance is a book by one of my instructors Dr. Mark Hyman. It is call “The blood sugar Solution” and will give you a tone of great information on why glucose regulation is so important and some things you can start dong to help yourself.

Support production of SCFA. Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced by your "good" gut bacteria are helpful in dampening inflammation. Eat abundant and varied fresh vegetables daily, eat probiotic-rich fermented foods, and take SCFA-supporting supplements such as butyrate (as in N-butyrate), Saccharomyces boulardii, Lactobacillus sporogenes, and DDS-1 Lactobacilli acidophilus.

Support glutathione. The most important antioxidant in your body, glutathione aids in detoxification, helps maximize immune system function, and shields cells from damage caused by oxidation and inflammation.

A healthy body makes enough glutathione, but faced with chronic stressors such as toxins, poor diet, sleep deprivation, smoking, and excess sugar, glutathione becomes depleted and your body and mind starts to suffer.

Glutathione supplements are not effective taken orally. Instead, boost glutathione levels through a liposomal cream, suppository, nebulizer, or IV drip. And make sure it the “S” glutathione and not the “L”.

One must also support glutathione recycling to balance the immune system, protect body tissue from damage caused by inflammation, and help repair damage.

To enhance glutathione recycling, remove stressors depleting glutathione levels such as lack of sleep, smoking, food intolerances, diets high in sugars and processed foods, and excess alcohol intake.

The following nutritional and botanical compounds have been shown to support glutathione recycling. Any I often recommend certain combinations or combined supplements to reduce your vitamin supplement load. Otherwise you may eventually suffer from “pill fatigue”.

These are just a few ways to use functional medicine to address the root causes of inflammation and pain so that you can stop taking NSAIDs.

As always, I recommend checking out my guide on how to order the best quality vitamins. Check out the link.

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy!

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