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Dr. Emily Chan ND has been awarded as a top Naturopathy practice with some of San Diego's best Naturopaths. Verified by Opencare.com
Monday
Oct122015

Worried Sick?

Is my Stress Normal?Photo Credit Bernard Goldbach

Or has our society collectively acquired a new norm of a stressful behavior? The underlying omnipresent knowledge of our “to do list” can vampire the enjoyment out of the very moments we are working on that “to do list” or trying to relax. Our bodies get tired and we just want to relax, but feel guilty to when there is so much unfinished. What will people think of me? Am I irresponsible? Am I a bad person? Maybe as long as I stay busy and “Do” I actually momentarily get some relief from self judgment. 

Deeper than Anxiety

Energetically Anxiety is fear of making an incorrect decision or mistake. This causes the person not to move in any direction, which in turn makes them feel stuck and trapped in their circumstances (which they may have created themselves from fear of making decisions). This may also manifest in the tendency to over research to find answers, feeling confused with conflicting information, and not making a quick decision to action. This keeps you longer in your unfavorable circumstance. 

Anxiety is also related to fear of abandonment, which can manifest in feeling a need to “Do” something, in order to keep other people happy and therefore “like you” and not abandon you. There’s a sense anxious people feel, that their world is not safe, so worrying is somehow a twisted way to make them feel temporary relief. Why is that? 

How does the Brain Interpret Reward?

Feel a low level of guilt or shame over small things in life? For some, it’s the guilt or shame that you feel, that gets interpreted as stress. We have a reward center in the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This part of the brain regulates how we feel pleasure associated with reward for a behavior. If you got rewarded with food when you finished your homework as a kid, you may link food to reward as an adult, perhaps over eating to emotionally feel good. If you got punished when you did not do homework, that punishment also registers in the nucleus accumbens, the reward center. This is why people oddly get addicted to guilt, shame, or punishing themselves. This may be why it’s so hard to break the cycle of worrying and just let go. 

How does Stress Make you Sick?

In a journal published by the Immunology Allergy Clinic of North America Titled “Stress and Allergics Diseases”, it is estimated that over 75% physician visits in America are stress related. Stress increases susceptibility to infections, autoimmune disease, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease, and negatively affects the outcome to cancer and aging. Studies show that maternal stress while pregnant increases the child’s risk to developing asthma and allergies.

Stress impacts the immune system by increasing the secretion of cortisol and catecholamines. The stress hormones increase stimulation of TH2 type T cells, increasing the production of IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13, which favors an allergic inflammatory response. Cortisol unfortunately suppresses TH1 type T cells and thus IL-12 which is important for natural killer cell function, which decreases susceptibility to viral infections and cancer. 

Stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, which increases the release of Substance P (SP) which is related to pain and inflammation. Stress also increases the release of Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide (VIP). VIP increases vasodilation, secretion of water (which may increase edema, bloating, or diarrhea), and smooth muscle relaxation (may increase GERD symptoms). According to the British Journal of Medicine, increased VIP and VIP nerve receptors are associated with some inflammatory bowel disease. 

Stress definitely can make you sick, and takes away your enjoyment of life. Stay tuned and I will share some strategies to help you overcome stress in the next newsletter. In the mean time, remember the good things in life and laugh a little. 

Tuesday
Sep082015

Problems Focusing and Lack of Motivation

Do you have a huge, to do list in front of you and feel no motivation when you think, or look at that list? It would certainly feel so good to get things done, but yet, you feel tired, unfocused and not sure where to start. Then the guilt builds up, and you feel bad you are so behind. You think, “What is wrong with me?” Is this a motivation issue, or a health issue? It can be both, but we will discuss how balancing the physical body can improve concentration, clarity of mind and mood today, which will make it easier for you to feel motivated. Photo Credit Maxime Mc Duff Flickr

I’ll talk about 3 common causes of brain fog and difficulty focusing that I have seen in my practice. I’ve helped patients with ADHD, who did not do well with medication, use natural methods and heal. Many of my patients then function normally after I work with them, with no more traces of ADHD behavior. Some patients do not have ADHD but feel that they have difficulty with their memory, slower mental performance, or even difficulty making decisions. These patients were happy to find out that Candida, Food Allergies, or Heavy Metal Toxicity was causing these symptoms. 

Heavy Metal Toxicity:

Lead can be found in old paints, old water pipes, children’s toys from China, and contaminated soil. Inorganic mercury from dental amalgam fillings, vaccine preservatives, and organic mercury in fish such as tuna and swordfish are sources of mercury toxicity. Aluminum can be found in foil wrap, aluminum cookware including many non-stick pans, some medications (used as fillers), deodorants, certain water bottles and canned foods. Many of these heavy metals are neurotoxins and some have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and some mood disorders. Because most people have slow, small dose exposures to these heavy metals, most blood tests from your doctor will not show that you have elevated levels of these toxins. Heavy metals are attracted to fatty tissue, so they tend to get stored deep in your cells, in the brain or nervous system tissue where fat content is high, therefore being especially toxic to the brain and difficult to test for. I use some other testing methods that can detect smaller amounts that are hidden in the body. 

Candida:

Candida is a type of yeast, which is present in the intestinal tract as normal flora, but often overgrows and causes health problems such as brain fog, difficulty making decisions, anxiety, depression, problems focusing, and moodiness. Other tell tail signs that you may have an overgrowth of yeast include bloating, gas, genital itching, toe nail fungus, itching under the breasts or in the groin area, vaginal yeast infections, oily skin or scalp, dandruff, and poor digestion. Often when patients use anti-fungal medication over and over again, they yeast just grows back because the body is in a state of imbalance, which serves as a great environment for the yeast to propagate. In Chinese medicine, a state of damp heat often is associated with candida problems. Some homeopathic remedies are very effective at breaking the cycle to Candida overgrowth. If candida is the cause to your difficulty focusing and moodiness, it is definitely worth to address it now. I use the probiotic, Ultra Flora Acute Care by Metagenics, because it has a few strains of probiotics such as S. boulardii that is specific against candida. 

Food Allergies:

Most people associate food allergies to anaphylactic reactions such as swelling of the throat, lips, or face. However many people have much more subtle reactions to foods, including brain fog, fatigue, sleepiness, irritability, anxiety, gastrointestinal symptoms, or heart palpitations. If your pulse rate increases by 8-10 points per minute after eating, it is likely you ate something you had a food sensitivity to. 

Have you experienced eating and then feeling very sleepy right after? Besides a blood sugar crash, you may actually have a food allergy or sensitivity. The problem with continuously eating foods that your body is reacting to is that it triggers the body to be in a low grade state of inflammation which slowly damages your organs and can be related to allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases where your body attacks itself when it is mistakenly trying to attack the epitopes of the foods. Some children with ADHD have been completely cured by avoiding their food allergens, which is a huge relief to parents. 

Again, there are many causes to each disease or symptom, so it is very important for a qualified doctor who understands how the body works holistically in order to identify what the problem is. Below is a video I’ve filmed discussing the various types of food allergy and sensitivity tests, and why most of the tests you get at the doctors office may not be accurate for food sensitivities. Click below to watch.

Thursday
Jul092015

Are you Dehydrated and Don’t Even Know It?

Do you have fine lines on your face? Do you feel tired and foggy brained? Well that can be a sign that your cells are dehydrated.

Are your eyes or face puffy? Well that means there is a bit of edema where the fluids in your body are not INSIDE your cells where it should be, but outside the cell where it should NOT be. This is another sign that your cells are dehydrated. 

I filmed this video for you while hiking in the desert. Watch it to see what you can do besides drinking water to keep your cells more healthy and hydrated. By doing this, you also slow down the aging of your skin. 

Hydration Video

Did you know that if you drink a lot of water but find that it “goes right through you”, you may not be absorbing water and dehydrated? This occurs very frequently with people who have adrenal fatigue, because cortisol steals away from aldosterone, which helps regulate water balance. Your cells are vital for keeping your body functioning well, so if your cells are not hydrated, you may experience fatigue, muscle aches, dry mouth, decreased immune system function, slower wound healing, and aging faster.

I explain what you can do in my video to keep water inside your cells. This is very important in order to stay hydrated, because many people make the mistake of drinking enough water, but if their body does not have the ability to hold the water inside the cells, they are still dehydrated. Click Here to Watch.

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Wednesday
Jun032015

How to Add More Hours to Your Day

I Don't Have Enough Time! 

Secret to Less Overwhelm and Getting More Done.

 

How do you get more things done in the same amount of time without multitasking or stressing? How doyou make more money in the same amount of time? How do you heal faster than the time it takes most people?

I was sitting in the movie theater watching the movie Interstellar, which got me thinking about why the length of time is not the same on different planets. So one hour on one planet can equal 1 year on a different one. How can that be? 

I was very curious and wondered if we can use the science on time dilation to our advantage, so that we can basically have more time, or do more in less time. I'd love to share this article I've written which just got published in a naturopathic medical journal explaining this. 
Read more to find out practical ways you can warp time so that you seem to have more of it. Some people need some intellectual scientific reasoning for them to feel convinced and I have it all here for you. 
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING...

Tuesday
Apr142015

How Does Stress Affect Your Stomach?

Does Relationship Stress Relate To Digestive Problems?

Have you noticed that when you are in a healthy relationship that your physical health is generally better? Have you seen a friend who is going through a rough patch in their relationship and you see their physical health declining? Relationship stress does affect physical health and here’s the medical reasoning for this. According to Guyton’s Textbook of Medical Physiology, stress affect over 12 different body systems. Today we talk about how stress affects your digestive system. Photo Credit Filip Bunkens

“To be or not to be, that is the question”. Should I call him or not? Is it too soon? What does she think about me? I like them a lot, and sometimes I get a really nice text and sometimes I’m not sure how important I am to them. Did I do something wrong? These are some very common internal fears and conversations that go on in the head of our single folk. 

Now if you are married or in a steady relationship there are different issues that go on in a relationship that can be stressful, such as seeing blind spots in your partner that you really want them to change. But if they don’t change, it bothers you more than them! 

Perhaps one partner is too overbearing and nagging. Perhaps one partner does not feel they are a priority in the relationship and feels neglected. Perhaps there are disagreements in how to raise children. Over 50% of marriages in America end in divorce. I believe a key to being and staying in a happy and fulfilled relationship is getting the tools that we may not have had growing up. Then taking small consistent action to love and honor your partner, so that you have a thriving relationship.

Let's talk about how stress affects your digestive system. 

How does stress affect your Stomach?

When you are stressed, your nervous system shifts to the fight and flight response known as the sympathetic nervous system. In the sympathetic state, you do not feel safe and the body shifts to survival mode. In survival mode your blood flow goes away from the digestive system. Imagine in the olden days if a bear chased you, the last thing you should do is start snacking. This is pure physiological adaptation. 

If less blood supply goes to your digestive system, digestion is not as effective, and nutrient absorption is compromised. If improperly digested food sits too long in your gut, it rots, producing more bloating and gas. Stress also induces more inflammation in the body, so there will be a higher chance of IBS and ulcers. 

Stress also increases the production of a hormone cortisol that can affect the nervous system control to the immune system. Since 70% of your immune system is in the GI tract, stress can make you more susceptible to dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria or yeast in your gut), as well as susceptibility to infections from bacteria, parasites, or the bacteria H. pylori associated with GERD.

I’ve seen so many patients who are incredibly hard on themselves. When they don’t feel loved the way they want in relationships, they may sometimes change themselves based on what they assume will make themselves more attractive to their partner. They may tend to have thoughts revolving around themselves not being enough. I’ve seen thriving people quickly spiral down this path within a few weeks of emotional stress, and perhaps develop digestive problems. 

Ayurvedic Help for the Stomach

In Ayurveda, the Solar Plexus or 3rd Chakra is associated with our will power, healthy sense of who-we-are, self-worth, and confidence. There are 7 Chakras in our body; they are concentrated energy centers in our body that relate to different aspects of us. The Solar Plexus is located just above your navel in your abdomen and this energy center is connected to a healthy digestive system. Repressing your emotions, losing a sense of identity, or feeling not good enough is linked to a weak solar plexus. 

To strengthen the solar plexus so that you increase energy and healing to your digestive tract it is first very important to see, believe and love the beautiful person you are. Value who you are. 

Second, breathe energy into your abdominal area. You may feel that the breath is blocked and does not reach that far down into your belly. That is OK, keep imagining moving your breath down your belly and it will come with some practice. While you breath into your abdomen, imagine a light that is re-igniting and reconnecting you with who you are, and start to feel the strength and confidence that comes with that. Do this for 5 minutes twice daily. Third, you can use lavender or lemon balm essential oils to rub on your solar plexus to help release the knot in your stomach.

Chinese Medicine Help for the Stomach

If you tend to feel angry or frustrated often in your relationship, these emotions are often related to a liver and gallbladder imbalance according to Chinese Medicine. This means that the energy flow to these organ meridian paths is blocked and does not mean that you have liver or gallbladder disease. The beauty about herbal medicine is that not only does it have specific biochemical scientific mechanisms whereby it can correct certain disease states in our body, but the herbs also have an energetic personality, which when matched correctly with a patient’s constitution can be very specific and effective in balancing any physical problem that is also connected to emotional stress patterns. Photo Credit Jacki-Dee

The herb Bupleurum is very good for helping with sluggish digestion, supporting the liver, and decreasing the “yucky” feeling in your stomach as well as helping with decreasing stress associated with anger and frustration. You can find Bupleurum in this wonderful stress formula called, Tran Q by Metagenics. Please seek medical advise from your doctor before using any information contained in this article.

 

If you tend to have a lot of racing thoughts and unable to quiet your mind, constantly dwelling on the “what ifs”, it is very likely you are Yin Deficient according to Chinese medicine. Yin is important to help you stay grounded, calm, peaceful, and positive. Yin also is important to help one fall asleep as well as bringing energy to the digestive tract. If you are Yin deficient, the herb Rehmannia is very helpful to bring more grounding and nurturing to the body. The herb Polygala Root is helpful to give strength and willpower to withstand difficult or stressful times gracefully. I like the formula Serenagen by Metagenics, which contains both these herbs. 

You can get Tran Q and Serenagen here:

http://modernintegrativemedicine.com/supplement-store/

I have been blessed to change many patients lives, often turning around debilitating stomach, intestinal problems in one to two months by giving the body natural treatments based on their specific individual case and the latest cutting edge scientific research. Remember if you are stressed in your relationship, that the answer is right in front of you. Work with your relationship coach. Start seeing outside of your box and expand your perspective. Start experimenting with letting go of any thought that does not give you life, freedom and joy. You can have a life with a joyful and fulfilling relationship. There is hope you can heal if you have a physical illness. Remember consistent action gives results.