Blogs

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) - What it is, how to deal, and how to prevent it


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - December 9, 2019

The technical term for post-exercise soreness is DOMS, or delayed-onset muscle soreness.

Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) usually peaks 48 to 72 hours after a workout, as your body really goes to work on the process to repair muscle fibers that were torn during exercise. It is a familiar experience for the elite or novice athlete. Although DOMS is considered a mild type of injury, it is one of the most common reasons for compromised sport performance. Symptoms can range from muscle tenderness to severe debilitating pain. The mechanisms, treatment strategies, and impact on athletic performance remain uncertain, despite the high incidence of DOMS.

It is typically caused by eccentric types of exercise (activation of a muscle while it is lengthening under a load) or when you're doing an activity that your body isn't used to. This is compared to concentric exercises that the muscle shortens when it tries to move a load. During eccentric exercise, you're creating tears in the muscle. Although the exact pathophysiological pathway remains unknown, the primary mechanism is considered to be due to structural damage of muscle cells that occurs after excessive eccentric exercise. This leads to protein degradation, apoptosis (cell death) and local inflammatory response. The development of clinical symptoms is typically delayed (peak soreness at 48 - 72 h post-exercise) as a result of complex sequences of local and systemic physiological responses.
There are varying degrees of pain depending on how much damage has been done (and other factors like genetics and how hydrated you are), but regularly experiencing an extreme level of soreness isn't something you should make a habit of.

The research shows that the muscles can actually atrophy [or break down too much] when they get that sore—it's almost like the muscle was overworked, and it can't repair itself adequately. So just because you are more sore, doesn't mean you're getting better results. Also, since you need more time off to recover, it can throw a wrench in your workout plan and make you miss out on additional days of training.

Extreme soreness can happen occasionally, usually after you've done something your muscles aren't used to

DOMS is most prevalent at the beginning of the sporting season when athletes are returning to training following a period of reduced activity. DOMS is also common when athletes are first introduced to certain types of activities regardless of the time of year. Eccentric activities induce micro-injury at a greater frequency and severity than other types of muscle actions. The intensity and duration of exercise are also important factors in DOMS onset. In the past few decades, many hypotheses have been developed to explain the etiology of DOMS.  Up to six hypothesized theories have been proposed for the mechanism of DOMS, namely: lactic acid, muscle spasm, connective tissue damage, muscle damage, inflammation and the enzyme efflux theories.

DOMS can affect athletic performance by causing a reduction in range of motion, decreased muscle force, and the ability of the body part to absorb shock. Alterations in muscle sequencing and recruitment patterns may also occur, causing unaccustomed stress to be placed on muscle ligaments and tendons. These compensatory mechanisms may increase the risk of further injury if a premature return to sport is attempted.

The best remedy for soreness is time—but there are a few things you can try that might help ease the pain a bit

Unfortunately, if you're already in the throes of monumental soreness, the only sure-fire remedy is time (generally, DOMS lasts about two to three days after the soreness peaks). There are a few things you can do to hopefully help ease the pain while you wait, and in some cases, maybe even speed the process along.

1. Get in some light movement.

Exercise is the most effective means of alleviating pain during DOMS, however the analgesic (pain reduction) effect is also temporary. Athletes who must train on a daily basis should be encouraged to reduce the intensity and duration of exercise for 1-2 days following intense DOMS-inducing exercise. Alternatively, exercises targeting less affected body parts should be encouraged in order to allow the most affected muscle groups to recover.

Yea, it may suck to move when you are already in pain. The activity increases circulation, improving blood flow throughout the body.
It’s thought that increased blood flow and nutrients to the muscles does, in fact, speed up the repair process, which should reduce DOMS. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to muscle tissue. In particular, amino acids are brought to the area, which are the “building blocks” of muscle repair. The idea is that the faster these nutrients get to their destination (via blood flow), the faster they can get to work, and the faster you’ll feel better.

Now, this doesn't mean you should go back to your regularly scheduled workout programming. We're talking gentle activity, like going for a walk or hopping on a recumbent bike at the gym. If you can manage it, you can try some very light strength training. But seriously, light means super light, since you don't want to do more damage to the muscle fibers. Perhaps start at 25% of the weight you would normally lift.

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Drink water. There is research that shows a correlation between dehydration and increased muscle soreness and DOMS. While more research needs to be done, if dehydration increases soreness, than hydration can minimize it. Your tissues will have more fluid to fill the cells, which means blood flow will be better able to remove damaged products and cells and bring nutrients in. The main theory here is that water helps flush out waste products. When muscles break down, they release waste products and toxins that need to be filtered out of the body. These waste products are associated with increased soreness. While your kidneys and liver are ultimately responsible for filtering out toxins, (after all, it’s our organs, not anything we eat or drink, that detox our bodies) staying hydrated may help move along this process.

3. Do some light stretching.

Again, the keyword is light. Stretching can be a great way to release tightness and increase your range of motion when you're sore, which can make you feel better, even though it’s not actually healing the tears in your muscles or making them repair any faster. Be careful not to overstretch a muscle that feels really tight. If it's too painful, you may want to skip this step.

4. Make sure you're getting enough protein.

Protein is a critical nutrient for building and maintaining muscle, so it plays a huge role in helping your muscles recover from a tough workout.
While you should be consuming enough protein all the time to prevent recurring or long-lasting soreness from your workouts, it can still be helpful to double check that you're eating enough protein after the damage is done. This doesn't mean excessively high amounts of protein, necessarily. People's needs may vary.

5. Try heat to ease the pain. (and ice if you have to)

Heat can minimize tension and pain signals. It also helps open blood flow to the area which will help remove toxins. You can try a warm bath. The debate between heat therapy and cold therapy is ongoing, but when it comes down to it, it's really just about what feels good to you—for the most part, the effects are temporary. But when you’re super sore, any fleeting relief (as long as it’s safe) is worth it. Ice can help reduce the swelling that sometimes comes along with extreme soreness,

6. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) Medication

NSAIDs have demonstrated dosage-dependent effects that may also be influenced by the time of administration. I'm not crazy about this option, but if you're that uncomfortable, go for it.

7. Massage and Other Therapies

Similarly, massage has shown varying results that may be attributed to the time of massage application and the type of massage technique used. Cryotherapy, stretching, homeopathy, ultrasound and electrical current modalities have demonstrated no effect on the alleviation of muscle soreness or other DOMS symptoms.

In order to avoid DOMS in the future, eccentric exercises or novel activities should be introduced progressively over a period of 1 or 2 weeks at the beginning of, or during, the sporting season in order to reduce the level of physical impairment and/or training disruption.

Overall, time will heal all soreness—as long as it's not something more serious.

While you're recovering, it's also important to watch for signs of something more serious. If your pain persists longer than a few days or you notice any other abnormalities with your body, you should seek medical attention. This could be a sign that you are actually injured.

If you need help recovering from an injury or would like to find out more information about how to optimize your exercise plan, contact us at 720-370-9559 or check us out at form-medical.com.
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The Daily Grind - So Long, Farewell


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - October 8, 2019

Are you aware that you grind or clench your teeth at night? Maybe you are already using a mouth guard? Is ringing in your ears or a sore jaw an issue for you?

If you grind or clench your teeth, you may experience pain with chewing or hear a cracking noise when opening or closing your mouth. It's possible that you may experience headaches, neck, and shoulder pain along with this.

22-30% of adults experience this. Most people that grind their teeth (aka have bruxism) are unaware that they are even doing it.

What is this all about? When the teeth in the mouth are not met with balanced opposition, the body's reaction is to clench down with the jaw. We can consciously prevent this from happening while we are awake, but unfortunately, while we are asleep, our brain has a mind of its own. There are other factors that may contribute to grinding or clenching such as psychiatric, neurologic, or movement disorders. Clenching and grinding can be exacerbated by stress as well.

Teeth grinding can lead to wear and tear on the enamel and even lead to fractures of the teeth!

More and more dentists are realizing that Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation can be a missing piece to a successful dental treatment.

Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation can be effective for treating hypertonicity (continual tight muscles) in the muscles and soft tissue which directly impacts the position of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) or malocclusion (misalignment of teeth when jaws are closed).
Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation helps reduce the sympathetic response in the body and helps bring it back to balance with the parasympathetic nervous system. It is also able to assist in releasing muscles that may be holding the jaw in a place that is out of balance.

Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation follows the osteopathic premise that structure and function are interrelated. If the structure is normalized, proper function will follow. The gentle manipulation of the cranial bones help balance the body’s system.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ Disorder) may be secondary to orthodontic work, improper positioning of the TMJ disc, ligamentous injury around the joint, arthritis, and other causes. A person may experience similar symptoms to what I mentioned earlier with bruxism and teeth clenching or they may have a greater difficulty chewing and/or be in more pain. TMJ Disorder can be present alone, or along with bruxism and teeth clenching. The discomfort may be the starting point to other medical and emotional issues someone is experiencing. There is a lot more to say about TMJ Disorder, which I will save for a future blog.

Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation is a very effective hands on treatment that supports the body’s own healing resources to release physical imbalances and restrictions, as well as residual emotional trauma that has been stored in the body’s membranes and connective tissue. By releasing the restrictions, the central nervous system is able to perform optimally, allowing patients to experience pain relief, improved immune function and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.

If your experiencing teeth clenching or grinding or you would like to learn more about Cranial Osteopathic Manipulation, you can check out form-medical.com or give us a call today 720-370-9559.
 
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Do You Want to Take Your Workout to the Next Level? These Tips May Help!


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - September 17, 2019

 

Are you thinking about upgrading your workout program or starting a new one? A successful fitness regimen requires thoughtful pre-workout planning so you can get the most out of your workouts and ultimately reach your goals. 

Here are some tips from a functional medicine perspective on how to achieve those goals and insight on other health factors that may hinder your progress.

Energy and motivation are fundamental to achieving exercise goals and maintaining endurance.

If fatigue and a lack of motivation is preventing you from starting a new fitness program or increasing the goals of your present one, that may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance, nutritional deficiency or other health issue brimming beneath the surface.

Thyroid balance, respiratory health, heart health, adrenal balance, hormone balance, and being free of allergies and inflammation affect your motivation and energy levels. If there is an imbalance of any of these, exercising can be very challenging or leave you feeling even more depleted so perhaps you don't want to work out again.

For example:
  • Low testosterone for both men and women may lead to low motivation, poor focus, lack of endurance, and poor workout recovery. Testosterone is an anabolic hormone that affects mental clarity, drive, and tissue regeneration/growth.
  • Adrenal Dysfunction/Imbalance leads to unbalanced stress hormones (like cortisol) that may make you feel too tired to work out and leave you exhausted afterward.
  • Heart health is vital to exercising safely and having enough blood flow to vital organs and muscles during it. Your heart is essentially the motor that pushes blood around your body (carrying nutrients and oxygen). If your heart is not healthy, symptoms could be exacerbated with a new work out if not diagnosed and dealt with by your physician.
  • Optimal Respiratory health is necessary for being able to get oxygen into your body during exercise. When you exercise, the body demands more oxygen and more efficient exchanging of oxygen in the lungs. If you happen to have an underlying lung disease, this may make your workouts difficult to get through. This can be affected by inflammation in the body (often in the gut).
  • Abnormal thyroid function may make you feel too fatigued to get to the gym.

What is Functional Medicine anyway?

Functional medicine involves evaluating the core systems in the body, then applying targeted interventions to correct and optimize areas that are indicating a dysfunction. Once those areas are addressed, your body will have restored function with the energy and drive needed to achieve your fitness goals.

Are you too inflamed to work out?

There are some people that have inflammation in the joints, ligaments, sinuses, and other areas of the body. They may feel physically incapable of working out. These types of inflammation can be diagnosed and then decreased or eliminated to better support a healthy exercise regimen. 

There are many different approaches to decreasing inflammation in the body depending on the source or cause of it, like dietary modification (removing foods that create inflammation in the gut), acupuncture, decreasing stress with meditation, IV therapy, low dose immunotherapy, removing other toxic environmental triggers, and/or other nutritional supplementation.

Is your diet energizing and supporting you or depleting and inflaming you?

"Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food" - Hippocrates


Food should nourish and energize you. With the pre-packaged food, mass production of food, and over farmed lands, so much of the "food" that is available to us may be inflaming us rather than supporting our bodies. Most people are unaware that this is even happening. If the food we eat is inflaming our bodies, this leaves us feeling potentially bloated, more fatigued and often less motivated to work out.

Food sensitivities or allergies can create more inflammation than providing nourishment. For example, if you're eating chicken every day, but your immune system is constantly reacting to the chicken, your body may not be able to break this down properly (due to inflammation), absorb the nutrients from this as well as from other foods. Sometimes even the "healthy foods" people are eating are inflaming their bodies causing joint pain, digestive tract inflammation, sinus inflammation and more.

Determining if you have any nutrient deficiencies can be very helpful to achieve optimal wellness, vitality, energy, and support your exercise efforts.

Leveraging the benefits of exercise: Knowing which type of exercises best suit your body, goals, and individual healthy.

There are many different types of workouts and exercises. Picking the right one or combination of exercise types for your unique health, body and goals is critical to keep your brain motivated and see the results you desire.

For example, if you have adrenal fatigue, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) will likely leave you feeling worse after than did before. If you run long distances often, this may not help you lean-out based on your particular wellness picture. A functional medicine evaluation will shed some light on these issues, so a personalized exercise plan can be created for you.

Make sure your workout routine is actually helping energize and motivate you and not leaving you feeling depleted. 

If you are ready to challenge your present exercise program or start a new exercise regimen, a comprehensive Functional Medicine evaluation is a great place to start. During the evaluation, areas that can be optimized to best support your workout efforts will be assessed to determine the type activity that may be most supportive of you and your goals, and an individualized treatment plan will help you optimize your overall health and wellness.

FORM Medical can help you with your Functional Medicine evaluation. If you'd like to learn more, check out FORM-medical.com or call 720-370-9559. 
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The Perfect Triad of Fitness - Are you fit?


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - August 12, 2019

People will often tell me that they feel they are in shape because they exercise a few times a week.  Is this true?  Does just the simple fact that you make an attempt to exercise qualify as being "in shape"? 

It really depends on what kind of exercising the person is doing.  If all the person does is lift weights, they may have a rockin' 6 pack, but they are most likely not "in shape".   When this person is asked to bend over to touch their toes or to run a 5k, they may not be able to do that.  

To be truly "fit" or "in shape", one must have a balance of strength, flexibility, and endurance.  Imagine an equilateral triangle with each one of these components sitting at each pointed end of the triangle.  One needs to have as much endurance as they do strength as well as be just as flexible as they are strong.  This is what I would call the perfect triad of fitness. 

Daily life is busy.  It is hard to manage the adult responsibilities that we have to do every day.  People get busy with work, kids, other life stressors and they may not make time for exercising at all (which is no excuse).  Those that do exercise, may exercise in a more habitual way (I am guilty of this), where they may gravitate toward one type of exercise or activity because that is easy for them to do, easy to access, or they really like the feeling of it. 

Let's use the weight lifting guy again as an example (I just made the person a guy for ease of discussion); He may really dislike endurance training because he has trained his muscles for so long to perform at weight lifting activities. He probably is a heavier guy with larger muscles, which makes cardio activity a bit more challenging. Subsequently, this person may shy away from endurance training for that very reason. He may also believe that if he does endurance training, he will lose his muscles and become "too skinny". This is not exactly true.  We aren't talking about completely shifting his exercise to only endurance training.   Then, there is the flexibility component. The weight lifter will be less able to bend and move in certain directions due to his sheer muscle size alone. Without proper stretching and flexibility training the large muscles can become a limitation to the movement of the body, which doesn't lead to being "fit". 

How does one achieve "fitness" or be "in shape"? 

Cross Training! 
Cross training is when you utilize multiple different sports or exercises to train.  I wrote more about cross training in this blog called " Active Recovery vs Rest Days".  You want to maintain balance between your strength training, endurance training, and flexibility. There are many ways to achieve this and for each person, their training schedule may be different based on their interest, body type, health, and goals.  One way to achieve this is to choose different exercise activities like yoga, rock climbing, swimming, and basketball. You will get your endurance from basketball and swimming, strength training from rock climbing, and flexibility from rock climbing and yoga. 

What is endurance training? 
Endurance training is a type of training that utilizes the aerobic system to make energy.  This means  your body is utilizing  oxygen to make energy for your muscles. This is what people like to think of as "cardio". 

Anaerobic Exercise 
Cardiovascular or endurance training is different, in contrast to anaerobic exercise which  is a form of exercise that is intense, short (<2 min) and causes lactate to form in the muscle.  Cardiovascular exercise works on steady state, long term activity, while anaerobic exercise is focused on short term strength/energy bursts. Lactate is an acid that forms in an energy demanding environment in the body that doesn't have enough oxygen. An example of this is weight lifting. 

It is important to train utilizing both aerobic and anaerobic training.

Why does any of this being "in shape" or being "fit" matter when it comes to my health? 
1. Cardiovascular activity is actually protective for your heart. 1 day of cardio activity protects you from having a heart attack for 9 days after!
2. Having balanced muscle tone and strength in your body will prevent injuries and pain.   For example, having core strength will balance out your back muscles and prevent you from lower back injury and back pain. Another good example is the shoulder. If the shoulder is balanced, you're less likely to have shoulders that are rolled forward and less likely to tear a rotator cuff muscle when you try to lift that dog food out of the car. 
3. Being flexible and maintaining that flexibility will also prevent you from injuring or tearing things.  Imagine if you have a really tight tissue that you then go to use, it is more likely to tear, like a frozen rubber band will snap. 
4. Flexibility will also allow you to perform at activities that you may not otherwise be able to do.  For example, with rock climbing, while you have to be strong, you also have to be flexible enough to flex your hips and legs to climb higher. 
5. Flexibility allows for the rest of your body to have the ability to utilize proper biomechanics.  Your body is a machine that has to be allowed to freely move.  If parts of the machine are tight and restricted, it can cause a kink or a blockage in the machine.  You may develop abnormal or compensatory movements, which can cause further injuries. 
6. Endurance allows you to do physical things, like hike a mountain (or hill), clean your house (or pool), walk for long periods of time. Imagine going on a trip to NYC and not being able to walk around all day long to do sight seeing because you physically can't do it. 

At FORM Medical, we can perform a biomechanics analysis, guide you in correcting your imbalances, treat any injuries you may have developed and help you achieve your goals of getting in shape. 
 
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IV Vitamin Therapy - Medical Treatment, Health Fad or Both?


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - June 21, 2019

What is IV Vitamin Therapy? Why has it become so popular? 

IV Therapy Treatments aren't a new medical therapy. 

These IV treatments aren’t exactly new — they’ve traditionally been used in hospitals to help patients rehydrate or restore nutritional deficiencies. They have become increasingly popular now because they’re more of "a quick fix" that’s been made more accessible to the public. There are functional medicine doctors using IV Therapy as a medical treatment:  to replace depleated nutrients and treat heavy metal toxicity in their patients.  On the other hand, there are companies that have set up brick-and-mortar clinics in many cities all over the country and others  that offer concierge-style services where they bring needles and infusions straight to a client’s home or office. The difference being the brick-and-mortar clinics/concierge services for the most part are not intending on treating a specific medical condition.

IV therapy is a medical treatment in which fluids, nutrients, and medications can be administered directly into a patient's blood stream without having to go through the stomach or the skin.  While some people may be squeamish with needles, others prefer this method of delivery. 

IV Fluids in their most basic form are either salt water, salt water + electrolytes, salt water + sugar, or sugar water.  These fluids are used to maintain the body's homeostasis when the patient may be dehydrated from vomiting for example, or when they are not allowed to eat due to a medical condition or upcoming surgery. Maintaining the body's homeostasis is very important because without the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes in the body, fluid can leak out of the blood stream into places where it isn't supposed to be, tissues may have pressure in them (that shouldn't have) and then the blood stream will have less fluid to circulate oxygen in. You can see why this may be an issue.  In a hospital setting, doctors are very careful to make sure their patients have adequate fluid intake and when necessary, doctors will give patients IV fluids. 

IV fluids have grown to become super fancy. We now have the ability to deliver vital nutrients right into the blood stream that are custom tailored for specific medical conditions. With American's nutritional deficiencies growing over the years, this has become more and more vital as a  treatment option. 

Intravenous Vitamin Therapy (IVT) is the most efficient way to deliver the nutrients your cells need directly into your bloodstream. The vitamin-rich fluid cocktails contain a myriad of required nutrients to encourage improvement in health, reduce fatigue, and super charge the immune system to help fight against chronic illnesses. IV Vitamin Therapy is among the most effective and quickest ways to penetrate the cells in the body for revitalization in higher quantities than oral doses can provide.

 IV Vitamin Therapy has a long history of providing relief for a variety of illnesses.  IV Vitamin Therapy was founded back in the 1930s and after experiments, a physician named Dr. Klenner developed a megadose of intravenous Vitamin C treatment in the 1940s.  This was followed by William Kaufman who published articles that verified the idea of IV Vitamin Therapy with his treatment of arthritis using frequent megadoses of niacinamide (also known as Vitamin B3/niacin, which is shown to improve cholesterol and lower cardiovascular risks as well).  The research and publication of studies continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s with individualized vitamins and nutrients being studied. Results of studies of niacin (aka B3/niacinamide) improving cholesterol was confirmed in 1986.

Not only has IV Vitamin Therapy existed since the 1930s, but it has gained traction and popularity as a component of the functional and integrative medical practice. Following the work of Dr. Klenner, Dr. John Myers, MD, a Baltimore physician, further developed and popularized the use of IV Vitamin Therapy as a medical treatment for various medical conditions. Since the 1980s, IV Vitamin Therapy has helped people with chronic medical conditions, such as fatigue, depression, fibromyalgia, asthma and more. 
 

Fun Fact:
Although you may see only nurses administering IVs today, only doctors were allowed to administer IVs until the 1940s. Delegating this task to nurses occurred during WW1 and WW2 to expedite care to soldiers. 

Dr. Myers developed a special formulation of nutrients that is now called the “Myers’ Cocktail”. This is a cocktail designed with specific selected vitamins necessary to improve health and vitality. 

What Medical Conditions Can IV Vitamin Therapy BENEFIT?
Some of the many common problems that IV Vitamin Therapy can address include:
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Resistant Infections
  • Immune Deficiency
  • Stress
  • Brain Fog
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Sports Proficiency and Exercise Stamina
  • Atherosclerosis (plaques in arteries)
  • Anti-Aging

Benefits of the Vitamins in the Myers' Cocktail?

Each of the vitamins in the Myers' Cocktail were chosen for their known benefits of improving specific acute and chronic illnesses (ie. short and long term). These nutrients are given in a much higher dose via the blood stream than can be absorbed by mouth and the gastrointestinal tract. 

Magnesium:  Magnesium is a crucial nutrient the body needs that is involved in energy production, muscle contraction, and DNA synthesis. It also contributes to the structural development of bone.

Calcium:  Our body uses calcium to make our teeth and bones, while adequate quantities are
required to maintain the strength of bone and teeth. 

Vitamin B12:  Vitamin B12 is necessary for neurotransmitter formation, cholesterol synthesis, energy production and much more.  Optimal levels of B12 assist in reducing depression, anxiety, fatigue, stress, and mental clarity. 

Vitamin B6:  Vitamin B6 assists with neurotransmitter formation, helps maintain adrenal function, and functions in metabolic processes. 

Vitamin B5:  Vitamin B5, also called Pantothenic Acid, is a highly effective treatment for various medical conditions.  It has a role in energy production, nervous system function, has anti-inflammatory role in treating allergies, asthma, wound healing and acne. 

B-Complex:  B-Complex Vitamins such as Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin benefit cholesterol, cardiovascular health, neurotransmitter production, energy production, and many other cellular processes.  

Vitamin C: We all know vitamin C is available in great quantities in oranges, but our food sources of Vitamin C are unable to provide us with the amount of Vitamin C orally with what an IV can provide. Megadoses of Vitamin C have been shown in lab studies to have anti-inflammatory abilities.  These Megadoses of Vitamin C can have the oxidative ability to help the body attack viruses and bacteria.  In cancer patients, it has been shown to reduce side effects and improve overall quality of life.   

The Meyers' Cocktail is only one formulation of vitamins that can be given IV, there are many other custom tailored nutrient "cocktails" that can be given to help with medical conditions such as asthma, muscle fatigue, chronic fatigue, heavy metal toxicity, and many more. 

All of these vitamins mentioned are essential to the body's normal daily function,  however many people are not getting adequate nutrition through their food intake alone. 

Why is this the case? 
The food of the American diet is more processed than ever before; specifically, the packaged products: bars, cereals, breads, frozen food, esentially everything in the middle isles of the grocery store. Additionally, the fruits and vegetables we grow in America do not have the nutrients in them they used to 100 years ago due to our present farming methods.  So, a multivitamin should just fix this right? With daily consumption of your typical over the counter oral multi-vitamin, the digestive system may still not be able to absorb all of the necessary nutrients and the multivitamin may not have everything that your body needs in it.  Getting IV Vitamin Therapy every week or every few weeks can benefit the entire body with improved vitality and health.

Are there any risks with receiving IV Nutrient Therapy? 
You want to make sure you go to a reputable IV Therapy Center. 
What makes a center reputable you ask? Here are some questions you may want to consider asking:
Do they have well trained staff? Is the facility clean? Are they particular about where they obtain their supplies and nutrients? Do they have a health care professional such as a Physician, Nurse Practioner or Physicians Assistant available for an emergency? If there is an emergency, do they maintain records, know your emergency contact, have a protocal they follow? Do they obtain adequate information about your health and history prior to giving the IV? Was thought put into the formulations of their IVs?  Are they claiming to treat specific medical conditions? If they are, there should be a qualified health care professional there to guide you through the process. 

If a person is looking for IV Nutrient Therapy as a treatment for a medical condition, it would be best to see a physician first to be evaluated for the specific treatment that will work best for the condition.   These are just some questions and things to consider prior to starting IV Vitamin Therapy. 

Other things to consider: Make sure to tell the staff if you have any allergies. People with allergies may have reactions to some of the nutrients in the IV.  Certain people may also have difficulty processing some of the nutrients and it is important that proper blood tests be performed before receiving high doses of nutrients, particularly Vitamin C.  It's always a good idea to discuss starting an IV Vitamin Program with your physician before starting.

There is always a small risk of infection anytime a needle passes through the skin, but with proper technique in administration, these risks are small. 

Most people tolerate IV Nutrient Therapy well and enjoy the benefits of it. 

Last Tips on IV Vitamin Therapy
One IV Nutrient treatment may make you feel great, but again if you have any medical conditions or nutrient deficiencies you are trying to address, you most likely will need more than one treatment and may benefit from an IV Therapy Treatment program. 

Some people have a defective enzyme called MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) that methylates (puts a carbon atom bonded to 3 hydrogen atoms) onto folate and B-12. If a patient has a defect in the MTHFR enzyme, then that patient may need different formulations of vitamins for their body. If you aren't sure if you have this, you may want to get screened for this first.  It is a simple DNA test that can be done though a cheek swab or blood test.  People that may have this defective MTHFR enzyme may be suffering from chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, mental fogginess, paresthesias, and other non specific symptoms.  

If you are interested in IV Vitamin Therapy and would like to learn more information on it, you can check out form-medical.com/IV-Therapy.  If you would like to discuss the details of IV Vitamin Therapy and how it can help improve your health, you're welcome to come into FORM Medical for a consultation. Call us today at 720-370-9559. 
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Headache, Migraine, Sinus Headache: Everything You Wanted to Know About What Is Causing Your Head Pain


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - May 21, 2019

What is a Headache?
headache is pain in the head or upper neck (or a pain in the butt, kidding).  It may feel like a dull ache, a sharp pain, or a throbbing sensation. Headaches can be located in one specific area of the head or be present on both sides of the head.  Experiencing a headache is a very common thing for most people. However, "most" people do not experience headaches often.  

Is Sinus Pressure a Headache?
A headache is different from sinus pressure or discomfort in the face.  People often will call this sensation a "sinus headache", but this is not a true headache as it has a different cause.  Specifically, the paranasal sinuses are hollow air cavities in our face that allow for voice resonance, moisturizing the air we breathe as well as filtering the air we breathe.   The tissue lining the sinus cavities can become inflamed as well as the air flow tract may get blocked flowing in or out of the sinus cavities.  When this happens, pressure and discomfort may result.  This is different than a headache.  You may have a headache and sinus pressure at the same time.

Types of Headaches
The two major types of headaches are:

1. Primary Headaches, which are not associated with a medical condition or disease.
2. Secondary Headaches, which are caused by an injury or underlying illness, such as a concussion, bleeding in the brain, an infection or a brain tumor.

Primary Headaches include tension headaches, migraine headaches and cluster headaches.

Tension Headaches: Symptoms of a tension headache include pressure and a band-like tightness that begins in the back of the head and upper neck, and gradually encircles the head. These occur due to tight muscles, stress, dehydration, poor posture, bio-mechanical imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, glasses that are too tight, vision that is not properly corrected by glasses, or a mixture of these. 

Cluster Headaches: are headaches that occur in groups, or clusters, over a period of several weeks or months separated by headache-free periods of months or years. During the headache period, the cluster headache sufferer experiences several episodes of pain during the day, each of which lasts 30 to 90 minutes. These attacks, which often occur at the same time of day, include sharp, penetrating pain around or behind one eye, watering of the eye and a stuffy nose.

A Migraine isn't just a Headaches and a Headaches isn't necessarily a Migraine
Migraines are a specific type of episodic headache that is severe in nature. Migraines progress through a cascade of events that may last for hours or days.   It is generally associated with nausea, light and/or sound sensitivity.  Migraines affect only 12% of the population. They are more common between the ages of 30-39 and 3 times as more common in women than men. 

Migraines have a classic course consisting of 4 phases:  Prodrome, Aura, Migraine Headache, and Postdrome. 

4 Phases of Migraine Headaches
1. Prodrome: May occur up to 24 to 48 hours before the onset of the headache. It consists of  increased yawning, euphoria (happy feeling), depression, feeling irritable, food cravings, and neck discomfort. 

2. Aura:  This phase may overlap with the headache phase.  Auras develop gradually, over longer than 5 minutes, but no longer than over one hour, and have a mix of positive and negative symptoms.  Positive symptoms are symptoms that are added to what is "normal". They can be visual (bright lines, shapes, wavy lines, ect), auditory (tinnitus, ringing in the ears), paraesthesia (or burning pain), or motor (jerky movements) symptoms.  Negative symptoms are the loss of function, such as vision (blind spots), hearing, body movement (decreased).  Some patients actually experience an aura without a headache.

3. Migraine Headache: Often unilateral and tends to feel like a throbbing or pulsating sensation.  This feeling can increase over 1 to a few hours.  Patients report sensitivity to light and sound.  Patients also often feel nausea and sometimes experience vomiting during this phase. 

4. Postdrome: After the throbbing subsides, the person may have pain in the location where the headache was with sudden head movement.  They may feel drained or exhausted. 

Migraine Triggers
Migraine suffers may have triggers associated with specific foods or environmental changes such as:  hormonal changes/fluctuations, wine, aspartame, nitrates (found in deli meat), visual stimuli, stress, not eating, alcohol, smoke, and sleep disturbances.

Headaches Can Be A Warning Sign

If you experience a headache that falls into any of these categories, you should seek immediate medical attention.
  • The headache is severe. If you believe it is your "worst headache ever," seek emergency medical care.
  • The headache is different from your usual headaches in terms of its location, severity or accompanying symptoms, such as numbness or vision loss.
  • The headache starts suddenly, or is aggravated by exertion.
  • The headache causes pain significant enough to wake you from sleep.
  • The headache does not respond to treatment and instead worsens over time.
  • The headache reoccurs frequently.
  • The headache is accompanied by any of the following:
  • A head injury that involves a loss of consciousness, even for a few seconds
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Recurrent vomiting
  • Dizziness and impaired balance
  • Fever or stiff neck
  • Changes in speech, vision or behavior.

Most headaches are benign in nature and can be resolved by figuring out the cause of the headaches. Traditional headaches should not re-occur on a regular basis. If they do, you should seek medical care.  Migraine Headaches are a special kind of headache that has 4 phases. Only 12% of the population experiences migraines and they are more common in women than men. Migraines can be treated with medication or through natural treatments.  Even migraines have a root cause. 

At FORM Medical, we try to get to the root cause of the issue, to get rid of the pain or injury naturally, without medications.  If you would like to learn more about the types of treatments that we offer at FORM Medical, you can check out form-medical.com. If you would like to schedule an appointment to find out how we can help get rid of your headaches, call 720-370-9559. 
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Low Dose Naltrexone: An Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain and Fatigue


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - May 8, 2019

Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) is often confused with naltrexone, which is a pharmaceutical medication that is typically used in higher doses of 50 mg or more to treat conditions such as alcohol and narcotic medication addiction as well as other opiate abuse. Naltrexone is an opiod antagonist. This means it is meant to bind to opioid receptors in the body and traditionally would block medications or drugs that bind to the receptor. 

Low-dose
 naltrexone (LDN) is a much lower dose than the traditional naltrexone dose.  LDN is  compounded by a reliable pharmacist specifically for each patient to make the doses very low. The dose of LDN starts between 1.0 to 4.5 mg of naltrexone/dose.  The lower dose of naltrexone helps the body combat chronic illness states.

LDN works by reducing inflammation in the brain caused by over-active microglia. Microglia are a type of glial cell of the Central Nervous System (CNS) (brain and spinal cord) and an important line of defense. When there is an assault on the CNS, the microglia are activated and release inflammatory substances (called cytokines) to destroy the foreign invaders. When the assault is over, the microglia go back to their normal resting state. However, when they react too often from repeated injury, infection, toxins, traumas, or emotional blows, they can  remain hyperactive, keeping the brain in a chronic state of inflammation.  

LDN also causes an adaptive increase in endorphin and enkephalin production (chemicals in the body that make you feel less pain). Endorphin and Enkephalin molecules work on opioid receptors to produce analgesia (pain relief).  The increase in endorphins also helps to normalizes immune response.  Additionally, it increases Met (5) aka Opioid Growth Factor which regulates cell division in normal and abnormal cells.  This may be why LDN is helpful in cancer. 

The inflammatory cytokines created by an assault to the CNS can increase pain sensitivity and fatigue and trigger other inflammation cascades in the body. Although doctors and scientists can't say what specifically causes fibromyalgia, it’s suspected that chronic glial cell activation is involved. This may explain why a 2010 study of LDN treatment in women with fibromyalgia found a 30% reduction in symptom severity. An even stronger response in symptom reduction has been found in studies on patients with Crohn’s Disease; Up to 80% saw significant improvement.

The effect that LDN has on chronic pain caused by autoimmune conditions like psoriatic arthritis works similarly, suppressing glial cells and therefore reducing inflammation. In addition, as mentioned before, there’s some evidence that LDN retains some of its regular dosing activity and blocks opioid receptors, which causes the body to release more endorphins, thus reducing pain.

Research on LDN suggests that it’s able to suppress the inflammatory response of the microglia.  Some of the inflammatory conditions that have shown to benefit from LDN include fibromyalgiamultiple sclerosisCrohn’s diseasecomplex regional pain syndrome and cancer.
Other conditions LDN may treat are: Autoimmune conditions such as: Multiple Sclerosis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Celiac, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's,  as well as IBS/IBD, Eczema, Psoriasis, and Chronic Fatigue. 

Because low-dose naltrexone blocks opioid receptors,  you cannot continue taking narcotic pain medication with LDN.  Otherwise, LDN has virtually no side effects and is well tolerated by most patients. Most people notice an increase in dreaming and some people notice a bit of sleep disruption during the initial few days of treatment but this improves over time.

You can read more about low-dose naltrexone for auto-immune disorders, and other illnesses at www.lowdosenaltrexone.org.

If you have questions about Low Dose Naltrexone or would like to know if this is the right treatment for you, please contact FORM Medical today 720-370-9559. 
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Steroid Joint Injections - Friend or Foe?


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - April 24, 2019

What are "steroids"? 

When you are talking about joint pain or an upper respiratory infection and you hear someone say they were treated with "steroids", this means they were given a drug that stoped the body's immune system from reacting to their injury or illness.  

"Steroid" or cortisone injections have been used by the traditional medicine world for a long time to help relieve pain that people have from "arthritis".  These steroid shots are not solving the problem, but simply just putting a bandaid on the issue.  The steroids may help temporarily, but a few weeks later, the pain will be back.  There are many patients that end up with a multitude of steroid injections for the same issue and subsequently, end up with pain that seems to get worse over time.  Even their injury can get worse.  They may loose more cartilage and be in worse shape.  What many don't realize is their joint is actually deteriorating at a faster pace because of these injections. 
 

What Steroid Injections Really Do:

Most  people have heard about steroid injections, but have never heard about Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or prolotherapy as an alternative to treat many of the same issues.  It has been known for a long time that steroids are damaging on the body, but patients often agree to these injections with hopes that the steroid injection will benefit them more than it will harm them.  Maybe people aren't aware  of how bad these injections really are for you?  If patients were only told about the long term side effects and the alternative options out there, would they still choose to have the steroid injection?

Cartilage and Bone Loss
Traditionally, in medicine doctors may continue to use a drug or perform a surgery that doesn't have great odds at resolving an issue until there is enough evidence to say that it is not helping, but may be even harming the patient.  When it comes to steroids for joint injections, there have been countless studies  reporting that steroids cause cartilage loss and do not provide a significant difference in pain relief when compared to saline (salt water). 

Doctors are injecting steroids into tendons for their "anti- inflammatory" properties.  However, research has shown us that  steroids can actually impair tendon healing and lead to tendon rupture.   It is also well known that long term steroid use, either by mouth or injection causes bone loss and bone necrosis, therefore putting the patient at a higher risk for bone fractures.   

Damage Stem Cells 
The body has an incredibly ability to repair itself.  When you're in pain from an injury, that is your body's way of telling you not to use the area and allow it to heal itself.  If you go to a traditional doctor with shoulder pain for example, they may offer you a steroid injection, while this may help you in the short term, studies have shown that not only do steroids damage the cartilage that protects the bones, but steroids also  impair your natural stem cells that are trying to heal your body.  Stem cells are pre-cursor cells that are able to help you regrow new tissue. Even as adults, we do have some stem cells that can help re-build and repair. 

Adrenal Insufficiency 
Steroids are esentially artificial cortisol. Cortisol is the body's natural stress hormone made in the adrenal glands that your body needs to function. Cortisol is produced in high amounts with stress and it naturally suppresses your immune system to get through the challenging time. If you give the body artificial cortisol, this will suppress the body's own natural cortisol production and have long term consequences.  A study looked at patients that had either received steroid knee injections or hyaluronic acid knee injections.  60% of the steroid knee injection participants end up with secondary adrenal insufficiency vs 15% of the hyaluronic acid group. 

 

What Regenerative Medicine Injections Do:

Regenerative Medicine injections like Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or Prolotherapy are essentially the polar opposite of steroids. They harness your body's natural immune system and repair mechanisms by recruiting them to come heal the area.  When you cut yourself, do you notice how you stop bleeding in a minute or so and eventually the cut will heal and be sealed up? It is your body's platelets that start that repair process. They are the first to the scene when you have a new injury. They bring with them a patch for the repair and an army of signaling molecules to tell your body what is needed to get the job done.  Platelet Rich Plasma is a type of prolotherapy ("prolo" means to proliferate or regrow) treatment where  platelets are isolated from your blood and then injected back into the injured area. PRP and prolotherapy can be used to treat many conditions like muscle, ligament,  tendon injuries, arthritis, and much more.  

There have been many studies published more recently showing that PRP has long lasting healing benefits, while steroids may help in the short term, they do not provide a long term benefit to the patient.  So, the next time you have an issue and are offered a steroid injection, consider regenerative medicine instead.  While steroids may be covered by insurance and Regenerative Medicine may not be, the damage from steroids may be detrimental and cause you more pain in the long run.  The short term out of pocket cost will give you a long term benefit and pain relief. 
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Active Recovery vs Rest Days


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - March 29, 2019

Is exercise your escape, your happy place, or maybe even a borderline obsession? You may exercise every day thinking your helping yourself and your body. 

Is working out every day good for you?  
It depends on what kind of work outs you are doing and the demands you are placing on your body. The body does need a break from stress put on it so it can heal and recover. 

Yes, exercise is good for you.  Exercise increases neurotransmitters in the brain that make you feel happy, it detoxifies your body, AND it can prevent you from having a heart attack for 9 days after just one day of cardiovascular exercise.  On the other hand, the body does need a break from a heavy exercise training schedule.  

What is a heavy exercise training schedule? 

A heavy exercise training schedule is one where you push your self hard, doing the same type of activity on a daily basis. For example, if you are a runner and you run daily, your joints and tissues will never have a chance to fully recover.  You're more likely to end up with an injury later on or may not perform your best without built in rest days.  If you stress your body constantly without any rest and recover, you will get to a point of diminishing returns, where you are not seeing any more progress from your efforts.

What does a rest day look like you ask? A rest day doesn't have to equal you sitting in front of the TV on your couch not moving at all.  A rest day could be an "active recovery" day; Maybe instead of running, you do some yoga or go swimming.  Check out these ideas:

"Active Recovery" Ideas
1. Yoga - Helps with core strength, breathing, flexibility, body control, balance, and promotes blood flow.
2. Tai Chi - Low impact martial arts. Helps with body awareness and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system.
3. Light resistance training. 
4. Core training activities 
5. Swimming 
6. Low intensity steady state walking or running.  - Get your heart rate up without going full force. 
7. Low intensity cycling. - It is low impact and easy on your joints. Hop on your bike (indoors or outside) and pedal away.

This leads me to another thought about how to train:  One great method of training is to cross train (of course this depends on your work out goals).  For most people that are not olympic athletes, doing different sports or activities that complement your present goal is a great way to optimize your performance goals without injuring yourself. 

We will use running as an example again to explain "cross training".  So, if you are a runner, you wouldn't want to have strong legs with a weak core and scrawny arms, right?  Your body would be unbalanced.  To "cross train", you could do strength training for your upper body 1-2 days a week. One of those days you could use cables or weights and the other day, let's say you rock climb.  Rock climbing will help your core strength as well.  One day of the week you can focus on doing a core work out, perhaps you could do yoga that day. This would also help with your flexibility which is very important for maintaining overall "fitness" and preventing you from injuring yourself.  You get the idea.  So, you may run longer distances 4 days a week, 1 day you would just do core strength or yoga, one day you would rock climb and one day you would do upper body strength training (you could do a very short run on this day).  In this example, your legs have a chance to recover from the intense pounding on the ground on yoga and upper body days.  

As I keep mentioning preventing injury, I realize there are other things aside from "rest" that can help you prevent future injury. 

Here are a list of ways to stay in shape and avoid injury:


1. Have at lease one active recovery/rest day per week. 
2. Cross train  
3. Work on your core strength 
4. Maintain good posture. It is essential to having proper function and achieving your goals. 
5. Include daily stretching in your work outs before and after you exercise.
6. Hydration: Make sure to drink plenty of water. 
7. Consume healthy calories. Your body will have increased demands of specific nutrients with intense physical activity.  Talk to a doctor or a nutritionist for assistance with this. 
8.  Supplement your diet with oral or IV nutrients to meet the demands of your body.
9.  Optimize your body's FORM, so you can optimize your body's function.  If you are struggling with this or are unsure what FORM is, you can ask a conditioning coach to observe you exercise, have someone help train you, or ask your sports medicine physician for help with this. 

Hope this helped to inspire creative ways to switch up your work out schedule to include a fun active recovery day!
 
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Intermittent fasting: Something for You to "Chew On"


By Jessica Kelner, D.O. - March 11, 2019


Throughout human history, there have been periods of time where people have not eaten. This wasn't a diet, a fad, or even a choice at times.   Not eating for a period of time may seem like a punishment of sort.  However, historically, humans experienced periods of fasting that  may have been over  hours, a day, or sometimes days. Fasting is normal part of human survival and written into our genetic code for periods of time that we didn't have access to food or sustenance.  Our bodies are built to deal with this type of "intermittent fasting". Intermittent fasting referring to periods of time in which we would not consume useful calories.  

There are also known voluntary abstinence from food and drink (intermittent fasting) that has been practiced around the world for thousands of years.  Books on anthropology and religious practices describe a vast variety of fasting forms and practices. People may have not known the scietific effects of what they were doing to their bodies, but for some it allowed them to achieve other goals.  

In today’s modern world, we are fortunate enough to  have constant access to food.  You just go to your local grocery store and there is the food waiting for you to purchase it.  You know,  those perfectly ripe bananas and pre-packaged meats.  You can buy these items 365 days a year, even when things are out of season! Amazing!   We are incredibly fortunate not to have to go and hunt and gather our meals every day.  Although doing so would give us plenty of exercise that most American's aren't getting.  That would lead down another tangent on the lack of physical activity in our country and the constant calorie consumption. Especially high carbohydrate and sugar calorie consumption. Doesn't that sound like a health crisis just waiting to happen? 

Back to intermittent fasting... 

There has been a recent renewed interest in types of fasting regimens as scientist and physicians search for “cures” to the major health issues facing the  United States and other developing countries.   

You may be asking yourself, "what does a "fast" look like?"

Here are some Different Types of Fasting Regimens: 
  1. Complete Alternating Day Fasting: Involves alternating fasting days (no energy containing foods or beverages with eating days (food and beverages consumed ad-libitum)
  1. Modified Fasting Regimens: Consumption of 20-25% of the energy needs on scheduled fasting days.  
  1. Time Restricted Feeding: Protocols allow individuals to consume ad-libitum energy intake within specific windows of time, which induces fasting periods on a routine basis.
  1. Religious Fasting: A variety of fasting regimens for religious or spiritual purposes

Alternate Day Fasting
Involves fasting days, in which no calories or beverages are consumed, alternating with days of ad libitum food and beverage consumption. This was found to be as effective as caloric restriction in decreasing fasting insulin and glucose concentrations. It also had beneficial effects for cancer risks.  The studies the have been done aon this show weight loss, decrease of regulatory glucose markers like insulin, potential for improvement in lipid profiles, and improvement in inflammatory markers. 

Modified Fasting Regimens
These type of fasts allow for consumption of 20-25% of the caloric energy requirements of the individual on regularly scheduled “fast” days.  The term “fast” here is referring to “severely limited energy intake” and not “no energy intake”.  This is the popular 5:2 diet, which involves severe energy restriction for 2 non-consecutive days/week and ad-libitum eating the other 5 days/week.  Studies of this fasting regimen have showed decreased visceral fat, decreases in insulin like growth factor, and adipocyte size (fat cells).  Previous research on this diet has shown weight loss, improvement of inflammatory markers, improvement of lipid profiles, improvement of fatigue, increases of self confidence and improvement of mood. 

Time Restricted Feedings
This seems to be one of the more popular methods of intermittent fasting.  There are many different protocols that allow the individual to eat and drink ad-libitum for a certain period of time during the day, and “fast” for a certain period of the day on a regular basis.  Daily fasting intervals range from 12-20 hours. With this method of intermittent fasting, it is important to synchronize intermittent fasting regimens with daily circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles). Studies show even just an 11 hour fasting interval produced 1.3% of weight loss.  They also found that eating one meal per day reduced fasting glucose levels (sugar). However, there were no changes in mood that they could find.

Religious Fasts
In the Islamic religion,  there is a fast that occurs from dawn to sunset during the entire month of Ramadan. They are also forbidden from consuming fluids and medications. Depending on the location the person is in, their fast can carry from 11-22 hours.  Research on this type of fasting has found  weight loss during this period of time of 2.7 pounds during the month of Ramadan, with an average weight regain of 1.5 lbs 2 weeks after Ramadan. They also found that fasting blood glucose levels and LDL levels decreased during this period.  This fasting pattern is opposite of normal human circadian rhythm patterns and is not ideal for a weight loss intervention.

In the Jewish religion, there are 6 fast days, with the most well known fast day being Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Two of the fast days are “major fast days” which are a period of 25 hours (sunset to nightfall the next day). On the major fast days, they are not allowed to eat or drink, work, bathe, or experience other life pleasures.  During the minor fast days, the fast lasts from before sunrise to nightfall on the same day. Only food and water is restricted during this time.  The length of time of the minor fasts can vary depending on the season of the year.

How does intermittent fasting improve health? 
By limiting food consumption to the daytime, we are able to harness the natural circadian rhythm to improve metabolism.  Animals that are restricted to activity during a certain period of time develop an internal clock (circadian rhythm) that allows for physiological processes to be optimized during the time the animal is awake.  Wake/sleep cycles (circadian rhythm) affect the integration of the body's metabolism, hormone production, physical coordination, and sleep.  

The circadian rhythm has an impact on the GI (gastrointestinal) tract as well.  For example, gastric emptying and blood flow are greatest during the day time and slower during the evening time. This is also when humans are most active.  Intermittent fasting may also directly effect the microbiome in the GI tract. The microbes in our GI tract help us to process and break down our food.  The gut microbiome (bacteria in our GI tract) influence energy absorption and storage. They actually help us break down food.   Certain microbes that are increased with obesity can directly alter the permeability (holes in the membranes) of the GI tract membrane, leading to increase gut permeability and promoting systemic inflammation. 

Lastly, there have been many studies showing that night eating is associated with reduced sleep and poor quality sleep. This can lead to increased risks of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.    Eating at night time can de-synchronize the natural circadian rhythm and disrupt normal sleep cycles. 

One additonal thing that none of the studies I referenced is exercise.  With any dietary plan, I would highly encourage an exercise program to be used along with it to achieve optimal health benefits and results.  If you are going to try an intermittent fasting diet, make sure to drink plenty of water on your fast days. 

Is intermittent fasting for everyone?  Certainly not.  Can it be utilized for certain people to help with medical conditions, weight loss, or mood? Yes, it can.  Please consult your personal physician before starting any specialized diet. 

If you have questions about intermittent fasting or would like to learn more about how your diet is influencing your health, you can visit FORM-medical.com for more information.  If you would like to schedule an appointment to come in to discuss these things in person, please call 720-370-9559. 

Reference:
R. Patterson, G. Laughlin, D. Sears, A. LaCroix, C. Marinac, L. Gallow, S. Hartman, L. Natarajan, C. Senger, M. Martinez, A. Villasenor. "Intermittent Fasting and Human Metabolic Health." J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015 Aug; 115(8): 1203–1212. 

 
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