Category Archives: For Your Health

We Now Offer Stem Cell Banking with Forever Labs!

Why should you store your stem cells now?

Your young stem cells are uniquely valuable to you. They can be used to fight disease and have the potential to be used in anti-aging therapies in development. However, as we age, the number and quality of these stem cells diminish. Storing your stem cells now for future reintroduction may help you live a healthier, longer life.

What Is the Best Age to Have It Done?

When is the best time to plant a tree? The answer is 20 years ago, or at least in the past. The same is true with your stem cells. Unlike wine, your cells do not get better with time. Cellular senescence continues throughout one’s lifetime. Our youngest patient was 21 years old and our oldest was 68. It would be more advantageous to have access to your own 21-year-old stem cells. That said, your 68-year-old cells could be a boon to your 80-year-old self. In short, the sooner, the better.

Fighting Disease

The clinical use of bone marrow stem cells is fast expanding. In fact, there are over 500 clinical trials using the cells we collect to fight age-related disease, including heart disease, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, kidney failure, stroke, autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and many more. You can think of stem cell banking as a way to ensure you have access to the treatments of tomorrow.

Living a Healthier Life

We have all witnessed the people we love getting older. Often, they’re more prone to disease due to a weakened immune system and they’re more prone to injury due to declining bone density and vasculature. Bone marrow is a wellspring for stem cells that replenish your blood, bone, immune system, and other vital tissues. Research suggests the decline in the number and viability of these stems cells plays a role in the physical decline associated with aging. If you could have access to your younger stem cells later in life and could expand and reintroduce them, it’s possible that you would then have younger bones, younger blood, and a younger immune system. You could have a biologically younger body.

Having More Quality Time

What if you could expand your healthspan, not just your lifespan? Due to medical advancements, humans are living longer than we have ever lived. However, though we are living longer, we are not necessarily living better. Not many people would opt for more years if it meant chronic illness and dementia. What if you could live longer and maintain your health?

Young bone marrow stem cell transplantation has been used to extend lifespan in mice while increasing their bone density. This technology may translate to humans. However, to have access to young, genetically-matched stem cells for the future, you need to store yours today.

What is the Procedure Like?

It is a 15-minute, painless, out-patient procedure. Most clients return to work the same day. If you have any questions about the procedure or would like to be put in touch with someone that has banked their stem cells, reach out to founders@foreverlabs.com, and they’ll be happy to answer your questions and put you in touch with someone that’s had the stem cell collection.

Remember, your stem cells will never be as young as they are right now! Learn more by checking out this video.

When Stress Takes Over

Everybody experiences stress, no matter their age, job, financial situation, or any other range of factors. Stress is a part of life. When you think about it, stress in itself is actually a good thing. It’s a sign. That sign is designed to alert you to action, so we need it to some extent. Stress motivates us, propels us to overcome challenges, and helps us reach new levels of understanding and capability. But, stress is meant to only go so far and no further. If it goes further, as in the case of someone who experiences too much stress or stress that is prolonged, then it becomes an inhibitor and even dangerous. Today, stress has taken on a new meaning. For our ancestors, stress was a necessary signal from the body, and it subsided after the stressor was removed. In our society now, stress has become the norm. It’s ever-present, and it feels to many like there’s no end in sight thanks to how often in our lives today we feel we’re on a wheel we can’t get off of.

When stress begins to become a problem, many people begin to experience health alerts like insomnia, fatigue, illness, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and more. However, we often don’t stop to readjust when these issues arise because they’ve become so common in our culture, we don’t see them as the red flags that they are. Left untreated, these issues will develop into more serious health problems over time, like heart conditions, serious diseases, adrenal and thyroid complications, etc., so the motivation to get to the bottom of them and change our lifestyles is definitely there, yet we’re not doing much to help ourselves.

If stress is showing you it’s getting out of control, take control and do something about it now, starting with these tips.

  • Starting making a list on Sunday nights of all the things you’re supposed to accomplish for the week. Then, ask yourself if all those things really need to be done. Maybe start by taking just one thing off the list and increase week by week. It’s likely nothing terrible will happen if you lighten your load a little. With more time to relax, your body and mind will have time to repair.
  • Carve out some alone time. Even just 10 minutes a day of time spent by yourself can do wonders. Slow down, get quiet, and refresh.
  • Spend time outdoors and with friends. When we get caught up in all the have-to’s, we forget about the joys of life. Get outside and connect with nature. Take a walk. Look at the sky. Remember that you yourself are a part of  nature. Also set aside time to enjoy your loved ones. Set obligations aside and have a real conversation or just relish quality time together.
  • Remember your hobbies and interests. Though life can sometimes feel like a never-ending to-do list, it’s up to you to make yourself and your own pleasure a priority. It’s important to stop and do the things you love to do here and there. What lit you up as a kid? Painting? Music? Hiking? Let yourself enjoy these things, even when you’re busy.
  • Learn to meditate. Meditation has become so trendy lately that it can seem like a passing fad, but it’s actually an ancient form of quieting the mind and connecting with ourselves. There really isn’t one right way to do it either. Just go somewhere quiet, close your eyes, and try not to concentrate on any one thing. Let your thoughts flow by. Focus on your breath. You’d be surprised how much healing happens when  you do this.
  • Exercise and eat a healthy diet. The foods you eat your drinks you consume play a big role in how your body responds to stress, as does exercise. Get your body moving, burn off negative energy, and nourish your body and mind with healthy, whole foods that give you energy and stabilize your mood.
  • Sleep more. Yes, this can be problematic if you’re stressed, but changing your routine can go a long way. Try to go to bed at the same time every night. Put the phone away. Turn off the TV. Have some warm tea and put on your coziest pajamas. Having a soothing routine before bed will help train your mind that this is a time for relaxation and not running through to-do’s.

Your Thyroid & Your Health

While the thyroid does get some mention in the health world, it doesn’t get nearly enough attention for all the work that it does and how widely it impacts your health. The thyroid is a small gland located in your neck. It’s primary function is to regulate your metabolism. However, your thyroid affects many other aspects of your health when it gets out of balance. If it becomes to low or too high, you can expect to see it show up in your health in a variety of ways that you or your doctor may not trace to your thyroid right away. Proper thyroid function is significantly affected by your stress load, as well as your diet. You may be surprised to find out what this little gland can do to your body and your mind if it goes off the track, so it’s an important component of your health to be knowledgeable about and to work to improve if you and your doctor detect an imbalance in its functioning.

Low Thyroid Symptoms

  • Depression
  • Weight Gain
  • Constipation
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Brittle, Ridged Nails
  • Rough, Dry Skin
  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Fluid Retention
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Decreased Memory
  • Muscle and Joint Pain
  • Cold Hands or Feet
  • Decreased Sexual Interest
  • Insomnia Fatigue

Overactive Thyroid Symptoms

  • Heart Palpitations
  • Feeling Hot and Sweaty
  • Fine Tremors
  • Rapid Weight Loss
  • Nervousness
  • Clammy Skin

You may be thinking that many of these issues are common reactions to a number of health problems, and you’re right. That’s why it’s important to get to the bottom of your imbalance if you’re experiencing these signs and symptoms. At Essential Health and Wellness, we carefully analyze the thyroid when patients are experiencing these issues, using state-of-the-art lab testing to determine if your thyroid is not functioning optimally. If an imbalance is found, we work with you to optimize your hormone levels and partner with you to change your lifestyle and habits in health ways to sustain your thyroid health. With your thyroid controlling so much of your overall well-being, contact us today if you suspect an issue so we can get you and your health back on track.

Manage Your Stress With a Daily Stress Formula

Finding a moment in your day to de-stress can be difficult at times. Having dedicated exercise time or just 15 minutes of meditation is relatively non-existent for some. Your body is still being effected by daily stress, so what can you do if you don’t have time to close your eyes and say, “ohm.” Daily Stress Formula is a well-rounded blend of herbals, amino acids and vitamins to help counteract the daily effects of occasional stress. Unfortunately, in this fast-paced society, we don’t always have the time to stop and relax or take care of ourselves how we’d like. Physical and emotional stressors wear on our bodies. Over time, stress causes an imbalance in our cortisol/adrenal function. If this continues without the appropriate measures to help balance this, it can effect optimal functioning of your entire body, especially sexual hormones.

Daily Stress Formula contains research proven nutraceuticals to help deal with the emotional and physical stressors we come into contact with on a daily basis. It contains herbals, like rhodiola, which has been shown in studies to help fatigue under stressful conditions and support short-term memory/concentration. It also has adaptogenic herbs, such as eleuthro and ashwagandha. Adaptogenic herbs help promote optimal adrenal function, decrease stress, increase energy and help support immune system function. The amino acid, l-tyrosine has been shown to help cognitive function during stressful situations. Chamomile and lemon balm help provide support for calmness and relaxation. So, if you find it difficult to find some time to relax during your busy schedule, consider Daily Stress Formula.

From the Desk of Dr. Stevens: It’s Time to Assess Your Stress

It seems a lot of attention is being given to the role of stress in our lives. When we hear the word stress we tend to simplify if to a concept of mental tension. Although this is certainly a significant component of what is entailed it is important to realize it is much more. Stress is the sum total of all the daily requirements of living and can be positive, neutral or negative in many facets. What I am hoping to help my patients understand is what are the key elements of stress and what are some steps to take to balance the effects of stress.

The list of things that stress impacts negatively is long but one worth reviewing daily. If anyone is looking for a bit of an eye opener or inspiration they can post these on their refrigerator. Stress is inextricably involved in:

  • Heart attack
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Stroke
  • Cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Premature aging

That’s an intimidating list and there are many people that will have many of these at one time. So the focus of today’s letter is entertaining how can one reduce stress to avoid these consequences or to improve ones that are present. The answer can be broken down into several pathways. Putting as much together in each of them will lead to the most significant improvements. Here is a list to post on your refrigerator right beside the list of diseases:

  • Eat a low-carbohydrate high fat diet
  • Exercise daily – mix moderate activity days with more intense activity days
  • Exercise outdoors in nature when possible and exercise 150 minutes per week minimum
  • Avoid excess caffeine
  • Hydrate with purified water – 80 ounces a day or more
  • Sleep effectively – 7 hours per night minimum
  • Learn breathing exercises
  • Learn meditation, prayer, guided imagery
  • Practice appreciation throughout the day
  • Practice effective communication and conflict resolution
  • Engage in loving and supportive social relationships
  • Change your perception – remember the axiom “perception is reality”

So this is the beginning of a new year for all of us. I encourage you to assess your stress and make the changes that you can. Cheers to your success this year!

Travel & Wellness Tips To Keep You Healthy

From The Desk of Dr. Stevens

Traveling abroad is usually filled with great anticipation and excitement. Many rewarding experiences abound all around the globe, and nothing is worse than falling ill somewhere very far from home. World travel has become commonplace in recent years and so are the spread of highly infectious diseases. Airports, planes, and fatigue are risk factors for many respiratory diseases and protecting yourself from these may make the difference between a miserable vacation and a pleasant and memorable one. Not all diseases are present uniformly around the world. Traveler’s diarrhea is typical in certain countries such as Mexico, Central America, and South America. Japanese Encephalitis is found in the Far East and Pacific Rim. Malaria, a mosquito-borne infection, is a risk in most of the equatorial countries. Certain diseases have vaccines and certain require medications. Protecting or diminishing the impact of one of these diseases is the focus of our travel medicine clinic – to offer the proper advice for immunizations and medications tailored to your destination. We wish you safe travels and hope you will travel smartly with the right precautions and medications. Bon voyage!

Featured Service: Travel Immunizations
Summer is almost coming to an end and with that vacation as well. For those of you who planned your getaways last minute, or to even plan for next year, there are a few services we offer here that you may be unaware of. If travelling abroad, at times there are certain vaccinations that are needed prior to entering the country. Essential Health & Wellness offers all required travel immunizations, as well as routine immunizations. Travel vaccinations include Japanese Encephalitis, Typhoid, and Yellow Fever. You do not have to be a current patient to receive these vaccinations. If interested, please call our front desk for current pricing. We recommend you refer to the CDC website in order to find your vaccination recommendations.

Featured Supplement: Viracid

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When going on vacation you certainly do not want an illness slowing you down. There is always one supplement you should have on hand in case the sniffles creep up on you: Viracid. Viracid helps boost your immune system with a blend of nutrients and botanical herbs. These herbs, such as black elderberry and Echinacea, have been used traditionally for years due to their immune-modulating properties. Results are best seen when taken at the first sign of illness, so keeping it ready in your travel bag is a must. In addition to boosting immune function, it may also help soothe throat irritations and nasal secretions. For illness, it is recommended to take 1-2 capsules per hour. For maintenance, 2 capsules daily. Viracid is available for purchase at our office, so don’t forget to stock up on your way to the airport.

Jennie’s Corner: Protecting Your Immune System
If you are jet-setting soon, whether it’s for work or on our way to a relaxing getaway, being stuck on an airplane can wreak havoc on your immune system. Due to the recycled air flow in the cabin, if a single person on the plane is sick, it could potentially leave you more susceptible to acquiring the illness as well. As mentioned before, Viracid is a wonderful supplement to have on hand, but you may want to consider something a little more intensive to boost your immune system. IV nutrient therapy, but more specifically, a Myer’s Cocktail contains most essential nutrients to help strengthen your defenses against any illness. It is packed with a high dose of Vitamin C to help strengthen your immune system and help fight viruses, as well as other nutrients to help drive your energy. Intravenous nutrients act differently than taking a simple multivitamin by mouth. Since the nutrients are going straight into the bloodstream it packs a more powerful punch against illnesses and keeps you at peak health. Typically infusions take only 30-45 minutes and are recommended right before your trip and possibly consider adding another infusion when you return. With this added to your pre-travel plans, you’re ensuring a productive work trip or a successful getaway.

Have questions? Ready to make your next appointment? Don’t hesitate to contact us! Give us a call, or conveniently send us a message through the Contact page of our website. We’re always here to help you with all of your wellness needs!

August Featured Lab: Diabetes Testing

Prior to being diagnosed with diabetes, a person will first show signs of insulin resistance. During this stage, your cells need more insulin than usual to force sugar into the cells. Once insulin resistance develops, receptor sites become over-saturated and sugar can no longer get into the cells. The extra sugar is converted into triglycerides. Checking your triglyceride level is one of many markers for insulin resistance and diabetes.

There is not just one lab test, but an array of labs that can help determine your risk of insulin resistance. For instance, an elevated triglyceride level is one of the first signs of insulin resistance and can be identified prior to a diabetes diagnosis. Other important lab values include insulin and hemoglobin A1C. Insulin is secreted by your pancreas and elevated levels are another marker for insulin resistance. Hemoglobin A1C, or HgbA1C, looks at your average blood sugars over the course of the previous 3 to 4 months. Just monitoring your blood sugar or glucose in the morning is not enough. A person can be insulin resistant and still have perfectly normal blood sugar levels. Be proactive and understand your potential risk before it’s too late. If you would like these tests added on at your next follow-up lab appointment, just ask Erin for pricing.

For more information on this or any other labs we offer, please contact:

Erin

   Erin Brooks
919.926.3010
Email

August Featured Supplement: Chromium

There are many supplements out there claiming to help regulate your blood sugar or to help increase metabolism. Many come in proprietary blends that include 5 or 6 different herbs or vitamins. My advice would be to take caution and read the labels carefully. Even though it may contain the right ingredients you may not be taking the right amount in order for it to be effective.

For instance, there has been great evidence-based research showing the benefits of chromium. The function of chromium is to improve your insulin receptor sites and is needed for carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. The benefits of chromium vary widely based on dosage. With stress, some experience sugar cravings, which is okay on a rare indulgence but can be detrimental in the long term. Taking 300 mcg of chromium daily has been shown to reduce sugar cravings. For those patients with elevated fasting blood glucose or fasting insulin, a more appropriate dose would be 600 to 1200 mcg daily in divided doses. Make sure you are taking the most effective dose to achieve optimal results. If you have any questions about optimal dosing, please ask us at your next appointment.

For more information, please contact:

Jennie

Jennie Welner, RN, FNP
919.926.3010
Email 

Jennie’s Corner: Insulin and Cortisol

Every hormone in our body each has their own responsibilities but also work together like a symphony. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and its responsibility is to drive sugar into every cell in our body to make energy. Cortisol, your natural stress hormone, is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. In a time of stress, whether physical, chemical or emotional, cortisol releases stored sugar from the liver, which increases blood sugar, in response to the stress. Cortisol will also make it more difficult for insulin to attach to its corresponding receptor sites on cells. This whole process forces the pancreas to make even more insulin in order to try to lower blood sugar. This vicious cycle continues until finally diabetes ensues.

Insulin and its relationship with cortisol is just the tip of the iceberg. Stress has a massive impact on insulin and your body. It can lead to detrimental consequences such as increase inflammation, increase cellular aging, elevate cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce your liver’s natural detoxification, and so forth. The moral of the story is find ways to reduce your stress levels. What is relaxing to you? Yoga? Practicing mindfulness? Walking your dogs? Whatever it may be, make sure you give yourself dedicated time every day to enjoy those things and reduce your stress.

For more information, please contact:

Jennie

Jennie Welner, RN, FNP
919.926.3010
Email 

From the Desk of Dr. Stevens: Understanding Diabetes

This month’s focus is on one of the most common and most serious of diseases – diabetes. The USA is one of the global leaders in this condition which is directly related to the obesity epidemic. In fact, many medical experts have adopted the term “diabesity” to encompass the intimate relationship between weight gain and the loss of control of glucose metabolism. What has been elucidated is a complex series of changes in the regulation of glucose termed dysglycemia. This is a process that begins far sooner than the typical tests, fasting glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin (A1c), reveal. In fact, by the time the A1c and fasting glucose are abnormal years of dysglycemia have been present. What is the significance of this process? The list of diseases associated with this process is impressive if not daunting – cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, retinal disease, limb loss, erectile dysfunction, general cognitive decline and more seriously, Alzheimer’s dementia.

With the elucidation of this disease process has come a number of significant diagnostic tests that can establish where in the continuum of early dysglycemia to frank diabetes a patient may be. And of course the earlier one can establish this the greater the likelihood that it can be reversed – often with diet and weight loss alone. We have all heard the phrase “knowledge is power” and never has this been truer than in this disease process. My hope is that you will enjoy this month’s information and empower yourself to explore where you are in this process – it may very well be life altering.

For more information, contact:

Dr J

Dr. James Stevens, MD, CAQSM, FAAFP, ABAARM
(919) 948-1253
Email