Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Reversed?

Healthy fats can be found in avocado, lean proteins from eggs.

With Type 2 Diabetes, your body becomes inefficient at burning sugar for energy. The hormone insulin, that shuttles sugar from your blood into your cells to be used as energy, stops working. Either your body resists the effects of insulin, or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough. It all starts at the pancreas, in the beta cells that produce insulin, something causes damage here, and insulin dysregulation begins. While many see this as a roadblock in life, we at Wild Women Wellness know you can reverse your insulin resistance.

The First Step is to Uncover the Underlying Cause:

What caused the damage to the pancreas and insulin producing cells to start with? What else contributed to blood sugar dysregulation? There are a number of causes that can trigger the onset of insulin dysregulation such as:

  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Dysbiosis, leaky gut and gut microbiota
  • Food additives – like aspartame or high fructose corn syrup
  • Oxidative stress – from inflammation
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction – dysfunction in the energy centres of the cells
  • Toxins- like pesticides on your veggies or plastics in from your water bottle, heavy metal in your teeth and seafood.
  • Obesity
  • Stress or adrenal fatigue
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Infections – such as residual viral infections
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Rx Drugs (Statins and DM)
  • Genetic predispositions/SNP defects
  • High sugar/carbohydrate diet

Insulin resistance and diabetes are also linked to a host of other health conditions such as PCOS, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, hypothyroidism, elevated liver enzymes (ALT/AST), and obesity. The insulin resistance often starts before the weight gain and lab results indicate HbA1C above 6.0. If your fasting blood sugar is above 90 or HbA1C is above 5.5, you will want to dig deeper to investigate if you are having early blood sugar dysregulation. Other clues are weight gain, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, weight around the midsection. You should know however, 60% of people at risk of diabetes are not overweight! If you feel sleepy after meals or irritable between meals this can be an indicator of blood sugar dysregulation. If you believe that you may be suffering from insulin resistance, you need to consult a functional medical or naturopathic doctor and work towards a diagnosis.

Diagnose Appropriately

In order to be diagnosed appropriately, I suggest an initial laboratory evaluation, which can include:

  • Adiponectin
  • Pro-insulin, C-Peptide
  • Glucose tolerance test
  • HbA1C
  • NMR lipoprotein profile
  • Fasting Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
  • GGTP
  • Uric acid
  • Methane breath test
  • Comprehensive stool test looking at the microbiome/flora

Choose Individualized Treatment Plan

Where we see the most success in treatment plans are changing dietary habits. The Westernized Standard American Diet is high in saturated and trans fats, salt, refined grains, and sugars, which can cause imbalances in our bodies and more specifically our gut microbiota. Implementing whole food, which is fresh, unprocessed, organic, colorful, and high in fiber will help work towards decreasing insulin release, modifying the gut microbiota, and increasing your cellular responsiveness to insulin. If it doesn’t look like a plant or piece of meat, then don’t eat it!

Foods to Avoid:

  • Fruit juice and dried fruit
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Gluten
  • Refined foods – pasta, bread, cereal, baked goods, pastries, packaged food
  • White foods – white rice, white bread, white potatoes, white sugar

Foods to Enjoy:

  • All vegetables (except white potatoes)
  • Free range chicken, fish- salmon, grass fed lean meats 1-3x week, eggs.
  • Fresh or frozen Berries, bananas, apples.
  • Good fats: olives, olive oil, avocados, coconut, nuts and seeds, nut butters like almond butter.
  • Fermented foods- like Kimchi

Meal Structure:

  • Make breakfast and lunch your largest meal
  • Keep dinner light
  • Intermittent fasting: 12-16hrs of fasting in 5 days per week, this can be done by not eating after dinner, and keeping dinner 12hrs before breakfast.
  • Avoid snacking
  • Eat protein and good fat with every meal

A structured sleep schedule is very beneficial in your treatment plan. Get your sleep, with a regular bedtime and wake time. Ideally to bed before midnight and getting 8hrs/night. Your body repairs itself in your sleep, so it’s important to make sleep a priority to help maintain your health.

Come work with us at Wild Women Wellness and we will help you establish a healthy foundation through your diet, address the underlying cause, set you up with a targeted supplement program and rebalance your microbiota so you can rely less on medications, feel better, and prevent serious complications down the road.

Take charge of your health, book your free 15 minute phone consultation here or give us a call at (650)-271-9453

How To Eat Healthy On a Road Trip

The end of the summer is a perfect time to take a road trip. Whether it’s a few cities or states away, road trips can create lasting memories and show you a different side of life you’ve never seen. Proper planning is essential, and your diet is no exception. It can be difficult to eat healthy when you’re traveling, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to stay on track and still enjoy your time sightseeing!

Places To Stop

If you’re making a pit stop at a gas station to fill up the tank, you can easily fill up your tummy as well! While the healthy options are few and far between, there are still a few healthy foods that you can eat. Beef jerky is a great source of protein, and trail mix or nut mixtures can be a great snack to tide you over until you find something more filling. Plain potato chips can also be an option.

If you’re looking to stop at a restaurant or pick up some groceries, the best way to pick places to go is by trusting your handy-dandy smartphone. Whole Foods is a great store that can give you healthy and tasty options, or you can search for the closest “Health Food Store” which can bring up some great options. If you’re lucky, you can catch some farmer markets and get some fresh, organic cooking ingredients! When looking for restaurants, I’ve had the best luck searching “Vegan Restaurants,” which bring up organic restaurants that have great options for food- even if you’re not a vegan.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Another way to eat healthy on road trips is to pack lots of healthy options before you hit the road. Food prep will be your best friend, whether that means getting recipes ready or prepping some fun snacks. Nut mixtures are my favorite to bring along, since there’s a variety to choose from and I usually feel pretty full after. Packing bars like Quest bars, Kind bars, and GoMacro bars is also a good idea. Bringing lots of water is a necessity, along with herbal teas to mix it up and add some oomph to your drink.

Snack Ideas

Looking for some new, healthy, and delicious snacks to bring along? We’ve got you covered! I have a plethora of healthy recipes on my website, with a section dedicated to healthy snack options (my favorites are the kale chips and the apple/almond butter combo!) There are also several recipes that can be found on ThatCleanLife.com, which specifically focuses on healthy recipes and helps you create a plan just for you and your dietary needs. One of my favorite recipes, that works especially on the road, is the Campfire Baked Apples.

Here at Wild Women Wellness, we’re all about giving you the tools to live a happier, healthier life. Eating on the road doesn’t have to be hard when you follow these tips. If you’re interested in learning more about health and wellness, you can visit my
website or give us a call at (650)-271-9453.

Causes & Treatments For Tension Headaches

Tension Headaches

Everyone can agree that headaches are awful. There are a number of different types of headaches, and tension-type headaches are some of the most common. They feel like a gradual onset of steady pressure or a dull ache in your head, where the pain is usually bilateral, and can be debilitating. It can feel as though your head’s in a vice. Western medicine has taught us that our first line of therapy should be over the counter pain medication, like ibuprofen, and they do work! However, we should be asking ourselves, why am I experiencing these tension headaches, and what can I do to fix the underlying issue? Know there are safe, effective, natural treatments for tension headaches.

Causes

Before you can effectively treat your headache, you must uncover the triggers. Contributing factors include stress, depression, poor posture (slumped at your desk? Riding your motorcycle to work everyday at 60+mph?). Your face, neck and erector muscle that run all the way up your back and attach to your head start to tighten, in which they lock down and create a tension headache. While these are the most common causes of tension headaches, reactions to drugs or foods, magnesium deficiency, and low neurotransmitters are also common causes for tension headaches. Luckily, tension headaches can be improved with a number of natural therapies.

Physical Medicine

One of the most common and beneficial treatments is to invest in physical medicine to help relieve tension or postural problems that are causing the headaches. We suggest massages, physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and yoga as ways to improve body tension and posture. Finding a good physiotherapist that can retrain your body movements and postures to reduce postural triggers is a great place to start. The right registered massage therapist (RMT) can help loosen up and relieve tension in muscles. Foam rolling at home can also significantly loosen up fascia and muscles, relieving pain and tension. Everything is connected in your body: it’s important to consider a holistic approach.

Relaxation Techniques

Stress is one of the leading causes for tension headaches, and a great practice to help alleviate the pain is learning how to relax tight muscles. The first step is breathing into tension when you feel it coming up, and then focusing on relaxing those muscles. Getting up and moving around to get some fresh air or exercise can also help. Learning some relaxation techniques are effective, and can save you from the side effects of drugs.  It validates the mantra behind natural therapies: that rather seeking relief from a drug, there are ways to control the headache naturally. This is not to say that using over-the-counter medications are not effective – we simply urge those who suffer from headaches and other ailments to not become dependent on a drug to relieve their symptoms.

Nutritional Supplements

Another piece to consider is your diet and nutritional status. Some headaches can be caused by food sensitivities or allergies, low magnesium levels, low vitamin D and other vitamins. A study conducted on Italian students showed that “supplementation with 180 mg magnesium twice per day produced a symptom reduction of 87.5%, with 100% of the patients experiencing at least a 50% reduction in symptoms,” (Murray and Pizzorno 641). Supplements to consider include:

  1. Vitamin D 5000IUs daily
  2. Magnesium 300-400mg/daily
  3. Fish oil, 3gms daily of combined DHA/EPA
  4. Grape seed extract or pine bark extract

For more information on how to treat tension headaches or other ailments naturally, you can visit our website or give Wild Women Wellness a call at (650)-271-9453.  

 

Sources:

Murray, Michael T, and Joseph E Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: Atria Books, 2012. Print.

Hair Loss in Women: Top Causes and Treatments

Hair Loss

Did you know on average women lose between 50-100 hairs per day?  For women, hair loss, or alopecia, can occur and become a concern for those who don’t understand why it’s happening. There are two different types of hair loss, focal (small patches) or diffuse (all over). It’s extremely important for women, and men, to understand what their body is telling them, and what they can do to help restore their body balances.

  • Hormone Imbalances

Hormone imbalances in both women and men can cause hair loss. If you suffer from female-pattern hair loss, it’s more diffuse than characteristic male-pattern baldness. Factors that can contribute to hair loss are testosterone excess, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and low antioxidant status. There are ways to put your body back in its natural orbit, such as improving blood sugar regulations with diet and lifestyle changes, increasing antioxidant intake, and considering a saw palmetto extract (Murray and Pizzorno 361).

  • Hypothyroidism

One of the most common signs of hypothyroidism is hair loss, this can include the outer edges of the eyebrows, and can be worsened by stress. Getting your thyroid back into balance is easy with the right help, and can restore your hair back to a healthy place.

  • Nutritional Deficiencies

A wide variety of nutritional deficiencies can be linked to hair loss. The most common ones are zinc, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, and iron. Low iron can cause anemia, fatigue, especially worse with your cycle, and hair loss. A simple blood test for ferritin and a CBC can tell you if you are anemic, and iron pills can help restore healthy levels.  “There is a very strong association between low body iron stores and diffuse hair loss in women,” (Murray and Pizzorno 632).  

  • Drugs and Medications

Certain types of drugs and medications can cause hair loss, be sure to check the list of side effects of all your medications if you suspect this may be the a factor.  Medications that have chemotherapy agents, such as fluorouracil, are a prime example of medications that are easily identifiable as the cause of hair loss. It’s extremely important to know the side effects, and how some of your medication may deplete other nutrients. If you are unsure, ask your doctor, and for a good online resource check out Mytavin.com. If you are on medications you can minimize side effects with proper supplementation, or even find safe effective alternative treatments. For more information find a Naturopathic

  • Celiac Disease

Celiac is a commonly missed and very problematic dis-ease in the body. It’s when the body can not absorb or tolerate gluten, an intolerance to gluten. The side effects can range from joint pain to fatigue, to hair loss to long standing digestive discomfort. Because individuals react differently to their gluten intolerance, they may not have apparent gastrointestinal symptoms. Hair loss is a common, less obvious symptom of Celiac disease. It is recommended that the test for human anti tissue transglutaminase antibodies (IgA anti-tTG) is done and in some cases a tissue biopsy of the small intestine is done.

At Wild Women Wellness, Dr. Tanya Escobedo specializes treating hormone imbalances, including thyroid, we do testing for iron, zinc and other nutritional deficiencies, CBCs, celiac testing, and many more tests. Dr. Escobedo is knowledgeable about prescription medications and safe natural alternative to help you choose the right therapy for you. If you are interested in learning more about Wild Women Wellness, you can visit our website or give us a call today at (650)-271-9453 to set up your appointment!

 

Sources:

Murray, Michael T, and Joseph E Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia Of Natural Medicine. 3rd ed. New York: Atria Books, 2012. Print.

Treating Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Seasonal Allergies

As spring continues to move into summer, the weather change bringing the seasonal allergies we all dread. Runny nose, sore throat, red and itchy eyes – the list of symptoms can go on and on. Your first move has always been to go straight towards over-the-counter medicine to treat your symptoms, but have you ever thought of a natural approach to treating your seasonal allergies?

Understanding Allergies: What Are They?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an allergy is “when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it.” Some of the most common allergies are to mold, pollen, dust mites, animal hair, food, and the environment. Seasonal allergy symptoms typically include “sneezing, itchy eyes, nose, or roof of the mouth, runny or stuffy nose, and watery, red, or swollen eyes.” However, many find themselves experiencing seasonal allergies for longer periods of time and at a more intense rate.

Why Treat Allergies Naturopathically?

Instead of trying to suppress the symptoms with pharmaceutical medicine, our holistic approach of treating allergic symptoms goes deeper to the cause as to why a person’s immune system is overreacting. Using herbs, homeopathy, and nutrients, naturopathic doctors aim to find and treat the root of your problem, instead of prescribing our patient’s medicine that will only temporarily treat the symptom.

Holistic Approaches to Treating Allergies

  1. Improve your diet – identify and take out food sensitivities and food allergies. This lowers the burden on the immune system reducing the allergic threshold of the immune system, thus making you more resilient to the allergy season. Avoiding trans fats can help as well.
  2. Integrate nutrients to stabilize the immune system, such as magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin B5 and B1.
  3. Support the stress system- when stress is high, the immune system is taxed and allergies can get worse. Adrenal support can help make you and your immune system more resilient.
  4. Hesperidin, a nutrient from citrus fruits, has been shown to reduce symptoms of allergies.
  5. A good quality probiotic is essential to supporting healthy immune system and allergy resilience.
  6. Try correcting hypothyroidism- balancing the thyroid has shown to improve symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
  7. Quercetin in high dose has been shown to be effective at stabilizing mast cells- 100mg twice daily. 

Dr. Escobedo has had great success helping her patients improve their immune health, reduce allergy symptoms and identify and eliminate food triggers. If you are suffering from allergies, or think you may have food or environmental allergies, come in and get your blood test today. If you’re interested in learning more about the services provided at Wild Women Wellness, you can visit our website or give us a call at (650)-271-9453 today!

 

The Vibrant Future of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

psychedelic-assisted therapy

The great thing about our modern medicine in today’s world is that new discoveries are being made everyday through research and new forms of thinking. Practices that were under-researched and deemed taboo decades ago are now being re-examined with a new perspective and research, with the hopes of finding new leads and cures to diseases. One in particular that is making waves and holds a promising future in the medical world is psychedelic-assisted therapy to help treat anxiety and depression.

What is psychedelic-assisted therapy?

The official definition of psychedelic-assisted therapy is “therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, MDMA, mescaline, and 2C-B, primarily to assist psychotherapy.” Currently, medicine such as LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin are Schedule 1 after liberal use in the 60s. Recently MAPS has entered phase 3 trials using controlled doses and settings and under the care of doctors and psychiatrists. The results are impressive, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which historically has had poor treatment outcomes is showing promising results after treatment with MDMA. And terminal cancer patients are finding peace and improved quality of life after a session with psilocybin (magic mushrooms).

Why is this important?

Put aside all your preconceived notions of what you know of psychedelics, and ask yourself if there is a medicinal value to these compounds. Doctors, psychiatrists, and scientist are diligently conducting experimental trials and gathering concrete data. Properly treating mental health diseases remains a struggle for the U.S. health system, and psychedelic-assisted therapy is the next road we are traveling down for help. The conversation about mental illness has been shifting, through social media campaigns to break-out TV shows surrounding teen mental health, and the societal change in its belief that vulnerability is not weakness. The stigma around mental health has completely changed, let’s shift the stigma around psychedelic so we can be open to new potential very effective medicine

What are the benefits?

Along with data comes personal anecdotes of patients who have had positive experiences with psychedelic-assisted therapy, including a musician sharing his experience with micro-dosing LSD and the positive effect it had on his life. Micro-dosing is the practice of taking small, incremented doses of psychedelic medicine on a consistent schedule to improve mental health or access creativity. People are sleeping better, eating better, and have a more mindfulness experience of life. This practice significantly alters one’s ability to process emotions, in the hopes of decreasing anxiety and depression in patients.

So what does the future look like for psychedelic-assisted therapy? It’s bright, full of color, hope, and the ability to help change lives for the better. With the proper research and doctors committed to the practice, there will be a new and improved way to help treat and cure mental illness.

For more information on our services at Wild Women Wellness, you can visit our website or give us a call at 1-650-271-WILD. For more information on psychedelic-assisted therapy see the Trip Treatment article in the New Yorker and MAPS.org.

Kava Kava and L-theanine – Natural Anxiety Remedies

Kava Kava

With anxiety on the rise many people are looking for natural treatments to help alleviate symptoms. L-Theanine and Kava Kava are two supplements that show a lot of promise in giving sufferers relief without pharmaceutical intervention. Not only are these used for home use, they are also gaining headway in the social scene on the west coast.

L-Theanine: The Relaxation Amino Acid

Black tea is rich in L-theanine, an amino acid that helps promote the release of alpha brain waves which are linked to both physical and emotional relaxation. Research studies have associated L-theanine with a reduction in both psychologically and physiologically stress responses, easing the symptoms of anxiety.  How can you enjoy these benefits today? Enjoy brewing up your favorite green or black tea. A longer brew time of black tea can yield about 27mg of L-theanine and green tea about 7mg. A therapeutic dose is about 200mg daily and can be taken as a supplement away from food for the best result.

Kava Kava: An ancient root that promotes euphoria

Known as the “root of happiness” Kava Kava is a root used ceremonially in Pacific Ocean cultures. Traditionally it’s prepared by grinding the root and mixing with water. Kava has sedative, euphoriant, and entheogenic properties when ingested and anesthetic properties when applied topically. Typically kava is prepared as tea, and also comes as a powder, capsule or paste. Studies have shown it can provide significant relief from anxiety .

Kava usage guidelines

  • Liver toxicity – there has been some debate over the years of the safety of Kava and liver toxicity. However the root has been ingested in indigenous communities for over 1500 years with no indication of liver toxicity and recent review and research has established that ingestion of Kava is not linked to liver toxicity or long term liver damage.  I recommend consuming Kava in the traditional prepared form- as tea, powder or capsule, not as a tincture or alcohol extraction.
  • Alcohol – Kava kava should not be used with alcohol. It also should not be taken by individuals with a history of alcoholism.
  • Purity – Be sure the kava product you are taking contains only kava root.
  • Other medications – Let your healthcare provider know about all medications you are taking to ensure there are no drug interaction risks.

Kava Kava

Kava Bars: The New West Coast Craze

Kava Kava has become extremely trendy on the west coast – so much so that “kava bars” are popping up everywhere. MeloMelo in Berkeley is the bay area’s first exclusive kava kava bar and provides its patrons a place to get together and enjoy the incredible effects of the miracle root. Kava Lounge SF is a kava bar in the San Francisco area offering the same euphoric effects. Instead of hitting the club, skip the alcohol and try a Kava lounge for an amazing time.

It is important to work with a healthcare provider who can give you proper dosage and usage instructions when using any type of supplement. Contact Dr. Escobedo at Wild Women Wellness to discuss your health needs.

 

Anti-Anxiety Secrets of Natural Medicine: GABA & Phenibut

Phenibut

Suffering with anxiety can be lonely and difficult. Utilizing traditional treatments can create even more apprehension as patients are left with a host of side effects from prescription medications. Naturopathy utilizes nature to help restore balance and a sense of calm. Neurotransmitter GABA and a derivative of GABA called phenibut can have a significant effect on mood based on how high or low their levels are in the body.

GABA & Phenibut in the Body

Low levels of the neurotransmitter GABA have been associated with panic and anxiety disorders, depression, alcoholism and bipolar disorders. GABA is not directly absorbed into the brain, taking GABA is not the best way to restore levels. Phenibut combined with activated B6 can be taken orally and has been shown to provide relief within an hour. Phenibut, which can cross the blood-brain barrier, will bind to GABA B receptors and have an anxiolytic effects. Phenibut is valuable as it is able to lower stress levels without adversely affecting an individual’s performance.

Yoga: The Secret Weapon

Physical activity is a great all-natural way to help the brain produce the feel good endorphins. Even a short exercise session of 20 minutes can help create a sense of calm and improve overall mood and outlook.  While all exercise can increase GABA, yoga, in particular, can act as a powerful catalyst to increased GABA levels.

There is substantial evidence that supports the correlation between yoga practices and GABA levels in the brain. A study was performed with 8 yoga practitioners and 11 control subjects. The yoga practitioners did 60 minutes of yoga posturing and breathing while the control group read quietly for an hour. Following the experiment, MRIs showed 27% increase in GABA compared to the control group. A second study compared 19 yoga practitioners with 15 walkers. The participants did yoga or walked for an hour three times a week for 12 weeks. In the end, Yoga practitioners had improved mood and anxiety compared to those who walked, and MRI results showed increased GABA in the thalamus.

Visit Wild Woman Wellness for Guidance & Support

Dr. Tanya Escobedo of Wild Woman Wellness is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor in Redwood City, California. She uses special testing to safely evaluate neurotransmitter imbalance, and uses natural treatments to restore balance by addressing the root cause – without using drugs or causing adverse side effects.  Contact her today for your complimentary 15 minute phone consult.  

 

 

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tbralnina'>tbralnina / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Healthy, gluten free, home made pumpkin pie!

Yield: One 10-inch deep dish pie or two 8 or 9-inch shallow pies

Ingredients: 

  • 1-2 Pie Pumpkins
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tbsp of fresh chopped ginger or 1tsp of dried ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional, I don’t use any)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cans coconut milk from the can

Directions.

Cut pumpkins into quarter and steam in a pot on the stove until soft. Let cool, then separate the pumpkin meat from the skin.

Combine the cooked pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, salt, eggs and coconut milk to food processor or Vitamix. Blend on high until smooth- start at low speed then work up or it will explode into a pumpkin disaster!

Pour into a Udo’s gluten free pie crust or your favourite pie crust.

Bake at 425 F (210 C ) for the first 15 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 F  ( 175 C ) and bake another 45 to 60 minutes, until a clean knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Recipe adopted from:

http://www.pickyourown.org/pumpkinpiejackolantern.php#zC27muHeZYzVsX0s.99

Erectile Dysfunction: What you need to know!

Natural treatment for erectile dysfunction.

Men represent about 90% of my practice with Helix Mobile wellness and many of them report their erections are not what they used to be. We have good success improving erections with testosterone therapy, but it’s not always that simple. Erectile health is multifactorial and requires a systemic approach. The causes usually include a combination of psychological, pharmacological, vascular, neurological, and hormonal factors. The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Impotence (December 7-9,1992) defined erectile dysfunction as the inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance for at least 3 months. It’s estimated about 30 million men in the US struggle with erectile dysfunction1. Healthy erections are dependent on healthy circulation, healthy nitric oxide release, healthy hormones, healthy diet, and a sufficient amount of exercise. When evaluating why your erections are not healthy three factors must always be considered:

Medications: The Major Players

  • Antidepressants: Prozac
  • Blood pressure medications: Hydrochlorothiazides, Metoprolol
  • Anti-seizure medications: Gabapentin
  • Antihistamines: Cimitidine, Benadryl, Zantac.
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Pain medications: Oxycodone, Codeine, Gabapentin
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs): Naproxine, Ibuprofen
  • Other medications: Estrogen, Propecia
  • Drugs: nicotine, cocaine, alcohol

There are many other medications in these classes that cause ED, these are the most commonly prescribed.

Cardiovascular disease

Arteriosclerosis, damage to arteries, or narrowing of the vessels can lead to poor circulation. Poor circulation can interfere with erections becoming fully erect. Often erectile dysfunction is an early sign of cardiovascular disease. In my practice I work with two different cardiovascular labs that do extensive testing to evaluate the health of my patients cardiovascular system. We can pin point what, where and why there are imbalances in the cardiovascular system. For more information on these labs and getting yourself tested see: Boston Heart and Singulex.

Diabetes Type II

Diabetes Mellitus is a health condition where blood sugar levels are too high for too long, and is largely effected by diet. These chronically elevated blood sugar levels cause damage to arteries, vessels and tissues, leading to lack of blood flow and erectile dysfunction. Have your fasting blood sugar, insulin and HbA1C checked.

What can you do?

Improve your Diet

Cut the carbs. Avoid all simple carbs, refined carbs, and sugars such as cookies, pastries, pastas, breads, cereals, quick oats, white rice, packaged foods. Whole grains like quinoa or wild rice are fine in moderation.

Increase Anti-oxidant rich foods: berries, pomegranate, dark leafy greens, greens powder. Foods rich in color are rich in anti-oxidants!
Chose organic meats and dairy to avoid adding extra harmful hormones to your body. Keep red meat lean and no more than 3x per week, remove skin from chicken. Chose more wild fish like salmon, cod, and halibut.
Cut the caffeine. Watch out for those energy drinks, pre-workout drinks and other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine increases estrogen in men, as men age they already have a tendency to make too much estrogen. Too much estrogen is not good for your erections, your testosterone levels, your cardiovascular health or your prostate!  Keep coffee to no more then 3 cups per week.

Ask your doctor about your medications.

Be pro-active, know what you’re taking, is it working for you, and what are the safe alternatives. Be sure to consult with your doctor before discontinuing any medications, as rebound effects can be harmful if you’re not weaned off properly.

Natural Herbs & Nutrients

  • Gingko biloba: Increases circulation to body, brain and penis.
  • Tribulus terresteris:  Increases vasodilation and testosterone.
  • Lepidium peruvianum (Maca): Useful for those on SSRI anti-depressants, Lepidium increases testosterone release.
  • Garlic: Improves cholesterol, cardiovascular health and increases circulation.
  • L-Argenine + L-Citruline: increases nitric oxide causing vasodilation and better erections, like a natural viagra. Dosing is important: 1.5 grams of each daily for at least 6 weeks.
  • DHEA: can help optimize free testosterone and support healthy hormones.
  • Zinc + Copper: Helps to boost testosterone and sperm production
  • Omega 3 & 6: fish oil, flaxseed oil, olive oil all help to build testosterone, improve cardiovascular health and keeps the blood viscous thus helping circulation.

Balance your hormones

Have your sex hormones (testosterone, DHT, DHEA, estrogen) tested. If they come back low have a qualified doctor treat and monitor you on a well rounded bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT) program. Including testosterone therapy.

Evaluate your thyroid and adrenal health. Stress and thyroid play a big role in overall hormone health.

(1) Nunes KP, Labazi H, Webb RC. New insights into hypertension-associated erectile dysfunction. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension. 2012;21(2):163–170.