Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Joe climbed my stairs as if he were climbing the last 100 feet of Mt. Everest. His steps and breath were deliberate and labored. He greeted me with the hello of a man much older than his body presented. Years of hard work and hard play had created a body that was old before its time. Hearing about my success in restoring youth in his friends’ bodies, Joe thought he would give me a try. After all, as he said he had nothing to lose.

Joe was so tight and bent, it was as if the connective tissue (CT) encasing Joe’s muscles, bones, and organs had shrunk, leaving a shorter, tighter body than his natural one. From having his body do things it wasn’t primarily designed to do, the subtle strain caused contraction and adhesions in his CT. His fascia (which surrounds all elements of the body), tendons and ligaments became tough gristle, and the cartilage in his joints was deteriorating.

Not only are we not taught about this important tissue, we aren’t taught how we can preserve or regain our health. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies; it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together. It’s believed that the body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age. We can thank this process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains due to deteriorating cartilage. Deficient animal protein, sugar consumption, and smoking also hinder production of strong CT.

Connective tissue, fascia and collagen were once considered unnecessary tissue. Bones and muscles are where things happen. Well, science and medicine are catching up to reality. The tissue that turns into scar tissue and gristle is what holds everything together. Stress, injuries and poor nutrition will cause the most abundant protein of the body to lose its elasticity and hydration.

Solutions
Simple. Remove what is creating the strain, release the old adhesions, and give the body what it needs to produce healthy collagen. Then when the stress is removed and the body has what it needs to rebuild—good nutrition and sleep–it’s possible to reverse the effects of what we are told is aging.

Being a rancher and an avid outdoorsman caused Joe’s soft tissue to become tight hard tissue. He didn’t have any major accidents, he just pushed his body. One day he woke up and realized it wasn’t working like it used to. He wasn’t old, but he felt and moved like an old man.

When the body repeatedly does even simple movements that it’s not designed to do, it’s a strain. Strain builds up into tightness. As long as the strain is in the soft tissue, it can be released. Particular forms of bodywork will release the chronic strain of decades. Teaching the body to move in a more balanced way will prevent the strain from returning. Teaching the body’s physiology how to handle stress can be huge. Joe realized when he learned to breathe a relaxed breath, he no longer had shoulder and neck problems.

I had plastic surgeons as clients in Arizona who would not operate on smokers. I have to turn smokers away because their CT is depleted of the necessary nutrients from smoking. Much like old vegetarians, there wasn’t the needed nutrients in the CT to sustain the change we were creating.

Collagen supplements and bone broth are popular superfoods for the body’s CT. People report hair and nails transforming to wrinkles reducing from taking these foods. Other report less post-exercise discomfort and more energy. What can you do to strengthen your connective tissue?

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer & author, www.align.org, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

Photo: skeeze / Pixabay

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Using prescription medicines and over-the-counter drugs can deplete some of the vital nutrients our body needs. This can happen either through interfering with absorption of a particular vitamin, or by reducing the body’s ability to synthesize some essential nutrients. Storage, metabolism, and excretion may also be at hand.

As a pharmacist, I recognize the importance of the medicines we take. I also consider our nutritional health fundamental. I have a 75 page reference chart in my office that lists hundreds of drug induced nutrient depletions. Yet, this is emerging as a largely ignored epidemic.

This can be a big challenge, especially as many of us take multiple prescriptions or non-Rx medications. We take blood pressure lowering drugs like beta-blockers and diuretics, drugs that regulate blood sugar like metformin, and statins to lower cholesterol. There are oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies, as well as drugs that protect us from osteoporosis.

Some drugs have been well documented at increasing the risk of further disease. For example, proton pump inhibitors give rise to a concern for developing osteoporosis. Drug induced nutrient depletion generally becomes problematic slowly overtime, leading to potentially serious health complications, rather than an abrupt acute reaction.

I see a lot of ibuprofen use and other non-prescription pain medications, as well as anti-ulcer drugs. There are many benefits we can receive from these. Yet, the reality is that many of these drugs also have the potential to reduce available nutrients that are key to our overall health.

Nutrient depletion, rather than the actual drug, is often responsible for many of the side effects associated with both over-the-counter and prescription drugs.

Potential side effects of depletion vary, but can include low energy, headache, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, tinnitus, itching, swelling, muscle spasms, weight gain, low libido, and constipation. More severe complications could include memory loss, seizures and dementia, and congestive heart failure.

Not everyone will have the same experience. We all vary in regards to genetics, diet, movement and stress. These factors affect not only our overall health, but our nutritional status while we are taking drug therapies.

The most commonly depleted vitamins and minerals include calcium and magnesium, folic acid, B12, vitamin C, and coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is one well known nutrient that our body can be deprived of when taking a statin or tricyclic antidepressant. Decreases in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids can leave our body without nutrients needed for the numerous chemical reactions that influence every aspect of our metabolism.

Given, drug therapy is essential and necessary part of medicine. I think it is equally important to be aware of the nutrients that can be depleted. I like to assess depletion risks that relate to side effects, future symptoms and conditions and then take action to avoid the losses that can potentially threaten our overall health and well-being, especially with large and prolonged dosages.

Taking a high quality multivitamin enriched with antioxidants, B complex, calcium and magnesium is an important consideration to counter drug-induced nutrient depletion. You are welcome to come in and talk with us anytime about all this.

Scott Porter is a Functional Medicine Pharmacist at Sandpoint Super Drug. He is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.

Photo: katicaj / Pixabay

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My approach to addressing health concerns is sequential and progressive. This means that I always start by optimizing foundations to well-being like eating whole, real, fresh and low glycemic local foods.

I think good quality water, especially spring or filtered water, is essential – though I feel I don’t drink enough at times especially when I get busy at work. I do well on a high fiber, phytonutrient rich diet with plenty of slightly cooked vegetables, some fruits, and a moderate amount of clean meats, fish and good fats.

But the reality is that diets are so personalized and I think best seen as dynamic. What works for one person may not work for another. As our bodies and the seasons change, so too should the food we eat.

I even allow myself latitude to eat on the edges of what I would normally consider healthy. Especially over the holidays, where I find my taste buds like to take the drivers seat. I don’t mind the short ride and know that my body is pretty resilient at finding its way back home.

So I always come back to the diet I feel my body does best on. This means I have to pay attention and respond accordingly. For example; I’m going to be doing a multi-day fast as a reset for the new year. This has the advantage of reducing cravings, shifting hormones that control my weight and gives my liver a break from processing the everyday toxins I ingest (like too much red wine).

It has taken me years to individualize my own diet and I’m still making adjustments. Overall nutrition is important to so many functions in the body that the next thing I look at (after food, water and exercise) are the core nutrients I take on a daily basis.

There are a few things I consider foundational, what most of us don’t get from food alone. My top four supplements include clinical effective probiotics, Vitamin D with K, a great multivitamin, and omega 3’s with no detectable toxins. The best multivitamins start at 4 capsules a day.

For some of us, there are a few other nutrients I would put in the essential category. I think extra magnesium & calcium sometimes is important, as well as the very critical B vitamins. I also take curcumin and system enzymes for inflammation management.

B vitamins play an important role in keeping our bodies running like finely tuned machines, these nutrients covert our food into fuel, the energy that we need throughout the day. Either we can become deficient or our bodies genetic structure won’t allow for proper utilization of the nutrients.

There is a process in our body called methylation that depends upon these B. Methylation plays a role in making and breaking down the neurotransmitters that produce energy and control sleep, turning on and off genes, and fighting infections. Another role is to help the enzymes in our bodies work efficiently, initiating very important processes in every cell and tissue.

The methylation of proteins helps the body detoxify. If your body cannot methylate properly, toxins build up in your bloodstream and may eventually cause disease. Defects in methylation are tied to a wide variety of conditions such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, hypothyroidism, dementia, allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities, chronic viral infections and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Some nutrients affect the process of methylation quite dramatically, like folate and vitamin B12. How well your body can methylate can also be affected by specific enzymes. Impaired activity of these enzymes adversely affects other methylation reactions.

We can sometimes compensate by adding in the correct forms and dosages of Vitamin B6 (pyridoxal 5′-phosphate), Folate (5-methyltetrahydofolate) and B12 (methylcobalamin). That’s why I consider them foundational. Next time you come in, ask me about how MTHFR genes affect optimal health.

Scott Porter is a Functional Medicine Pharmacist at Sandpoint Super Drug. He is a member of the Sandpoint Wellness Council.

Photo: Devanath / Pixabay

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There are few things in life that can deliver more than they promise. Breck Parker, a roommate of mine back in the mid 1970s in Boulder, CO, used his legal training to persuade me to experience Rolfing, a modality he was studying. Initially, I said no. He was a good litigator, thorough, and persistent. The fact that my body was very tense made his case for me being Rolfed. He hooked me with how my tibialis anterior (shin muscle) was not bone, but actually a muscle, so I was convinced to try one session.

Ten sessions and nine months later, I not only had a different body, I had a different mind.

If he told me that anything close to that was possible, I wouldn’t have believed him. He tricked me.

Rolfing gave me what I never had: a loose body. I lost 20 pounds of tense muscle and fascia and grew ¾” from the ten sessions. I went from not being able to sit in a chair and cross my legs to sitting on the floor with my legs fully crossed. In high school, my friends teased me about my duck walk. That walk was gone. It was like I was in someone else’s body.

The bigger miracle was what Rolfing did for my mind. During integrating my ten sessions, I learned how to relax. I never knew how tense I was until I began to relax. Having fun was a stressful experience for me.

Holding that level of tension in my body, you can imagine what my relationships with women were like. I was a nice guy, but so uptight, I could not make an emotional connection. Emotions were something that got in the way.

With my body relaxing, my emotions had room to be felt and expressed. It was as if someone just gave me a driver’s license and a sports car. It took a little practice to get up to speed, but what I thought would be scary became fun.

I could never have imagined that the most emotionally handicapped man in the room would, decades later, be teaching the other men in the room how to be emotional as a man. I have Rolfing to blame for starting this. It transformed parts of me that I didn’t know existed. It infected me with the bug to have the same happen for others.

For more than three decades, clients continue to accuse me of opening up parts of them that they never knew could change. These clients started describing their experiences as “transformational Rolfing.” I’ve had clients who changed professions, saved marriages, and found their passion – and they credit Rolfing.

There is no greater joy for any human, I believe, than to be a part of someone’s transformation. I’m selfish; I relish seeing a client come in to get his back fixed and a year later escaped from the life that had him bent under it. Sure, a person must work to get this level of change. This is a way to get us started.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, www.align.org, 37 yrs experience – call if you have questions: 265.8440. Ask questions or add your comments on this article.

Photo: thatsphotography / Pixabay

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The Sunshine Vitamin

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Not all vitamins come just from food that we eat; some our body manufactures. Vitamin D is one of those, while there are dietary sources for this essential nutrient, like cod and portobello mushrooms. You’ll also find milk and cereals fortified with Vitamin D. Our bodies use the sun to make it. Through a process […]

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