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August 11, 2010


Inflammation is a protective mechanism; an attempt by the body to remove harmful stimuli and to initiate the healing process. However, as our bodies create repeated inflammation due to daily exposure to a variety of toxins, this chronic inflammation creates a variety of problems in itself. Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, hay fever, and atherosclerosis are some of the conditions brought on by unrelenting inflammation.

Because inflammation can be a significant problem for many of us, we are continuously in search of solutions. Generally I might recommend treatments such as fish oil, enzymes, Boswellia, licorice root, Echinacea, dietary changes, coffee enemas, exercise, and rest. However, recently while enjoying a sailing excursion on Madison's Lake Mendota with a friend of mine who is an RN in a cardiac intensive care unit, I learned of a new solution to dangerous inflammation which is being embraced by the medical community.

In a medical emergency, when one's heart stops and is restarted, there is an inflammatory response in the brain caused by the unmediated restoration of blood flow after 6 to 10 minutes of inactivity. This inflammation is generally fatal.

The new solution to acute inflammation in the brain is called therapeutic hypothermia, in which the patient's body is iced to lower his or her temperature by about 6 degrees and a coma is induced for up to 24 hours. This process limits inflammation and can allow a person to return to a healthy life after the heart has been inactive for up to 20 minutes.

In my ongoing search for solutions to chronic inflammation, I am interested in learning how I might be able to translate this technique that addresses acute inflammation into a more broadly applicable solution.

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August 1, 2010

Can Diet and Lifestyle Trump Genetics?

by Stephanie Carnes
OHN Contributor

There is a history of cancer in my family along with diabetes and high blood pressure. But how does this hereditary backdrop affect my life? Up until a few years ago I had a mild doom and gloom mentality about the fate of my health. That was, until I started to uncover how the body is actually designed to heal itself and function optimally under the correct environmental conditions.

"Genetic influences account for about 30% of aging problems. The other 70% comes from lifestyle," says Dr. Moira Fodyce, a gerontologist at Stanford University of Medicine. (Los Angeles Times, 2007) Our choices, more than anything, have the potential to make or break our health!

As referenced by Dr. Mercola, a study out of New Zealand challenged the myth that obesity is caused by "bad genes." Scientists confirmed that genetic pre-disposition to obesity is entirely preventable with good nutrition during early childhood. I would contend that the cause of most of our health problems is not a result of our genetic code primarily, but rather lifestyle and environmental influences such as toxic overload due to smoking, excessive drinking, pollutants in the air and drinking water, and processed food diets high in refined sugars and low in healthy fats.

The Optimal Health Center specializes in diet, nutrition, and detoxification means that aid the body's natural healing mechanisms. Health consultations are available at our Madison, Wisconsin based health clinic or by phone.

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