Archive for the ‘diet and nutrition’ Category

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid

https://www.holtorfmed.com/fibromyalgia-the-diet-connection/?

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid

Fibromyalgia Diet: What to Eat, What to Avoid
Fibromyalgia is a complex pain disorder characterized by muscle pain, joint stiffness, and fatigue. It affects over ten million Americans, (4% of the population), primarily women. Although there is no known treatment that works for everyone, following a healthy diet by eliminating processed foods, caffeine, aspartame (artificial sweetener), food additives and nightshades may reduce the symptoms.

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a very real condition that affects millions of Americans and its symptoms include chronic widespread pain, fatigue, sleep disorders, joint pain, problems with cognitive functioning, migraines, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), anxiety, depression, and environmental sensitivity – learn more about fibromyalgia symptoms here.

Unfortunately, FM is a condition rather than a specific illness and presents itself as an array of complex symptoms; believed to be caused by biological, psychological, and environmental factors and there is no specific universal treatment for the condition.

Sufferers of FM may be able to find some relief by following a healthy diet, which includes eliminating some foods while adding or increasing others. Kent Holtorf, M.D., Medical Director of the Holtorf Medical Group says,

“We’re at the point now where we know diet plays a role in this disease – it’s just the same diet for everybody. And not everybody is helped in the same way.”

However, there are a number of secondary health conditions such as gluten intolerance, gout (a form of arthritis), and restless leg syndrome that coexist with fibromyalgia causing an overlapping of symptoms or exacerbating the FM symptoms. Treating secondary conditions through dietary control may also bring some relief to the pain and fatigue brought on by fibromyalgia.

Foods to Avoid When You Have Fibromyalgia

Due to the nature of fibromyalgia that it is non-specific condition, these dietary guidelines may not be right for all FM sufferers but appear to make a difference for a significant number of those suffering.

1. Aspartame (NutraSweet)

Aspartame is classified as an excitotoxin, which stimulates NMDA pain receptors, which are already overly active with fibromyalgia.

2. Food additives including MSG (monosodium glutamine) and nitrates

MSG is an additive or flavor enhancer and nitrates are preservatives. Both are found in many processed foods and are also classified as an excitotoxin. Nitrates and MSG can often difficult to tolerate in people without fibromyalgia and are extremely difficult to tolerate in those who do.

3. Sugar, fructose, and simple carbohydrates

There is not clear evidence that cutting out simple carbohydrates will have an impact on fibromyalgia but it will reduce symptoms of chronic yeast infection, which may be a secondary condition contributing to the pain of fibromyalgia.

High fructose corn syrup, which is found in carbonated beverages, is prone to cause a metabolic reaction resulting in much more sugar pouring into the blood at a quicker rate. The quick rise is followed by a fast fall with can exacerbate the fatigue element of fibromyalgia.

4. Caffeine – including coffee, tea, colas, and chocolate

Caffeine does create a boost in energy; however, it is followed by a longer and deeper sedative effect. People with fibromyalgia already suffer from fatigue therefore amplifying the downside.

5. Yeast and gluten

Yeast and gluten are frequently found together, particularly in baked goods. Cutting both out can have equal benefit. Cutting yeast out of a diet may yield yeast fungus overgrowth, which may cause or exacerbate joint and muscle pain. Cutting gluten can improve digestive problems, stomach ailments, and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia.

6. Dairy

Dairy has been known to aggravate symptoms in some fibromyalgia sufferers but not all. If avoiding diary does not seem to relieve symptoms, then drinking skim milk provides calcium to build bones and protein to build muscle.

7. Nightshade Plants

Common nightshade plants include tomatoes, chili, bell peppers, potatoes, and eggplant. However, there are over 2,000 other varieties of “nightshades.” Edible nightshades can trigger flares on various types of arthritis and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. If by eliminating nightshades there is no noticeable relief from symptoms of FM, then bring them back into your diet because these are some of the most nutritious vegetables.

Important Dietary Changes for Fibromyalgia Patients

Nutritionist, Samantha Heller, MS, RD, says, “When you body is healthier overall, you may be better able to cope with any disease, and better able to respond to even small changes you make.” A vegetarian diet consisting mostly of raw whole foods has shown to reduce symptoms caused by fibromyalgia. It also produces improvement of mitochondria dysfunction, which according to Holtorf, “This is the area of the cell where energy is made. Consequently, it’s necessary to have high levels of nutrients to get the mitochondria to work and for energy to by produced.”

Included in a healthy diet should be a high-quality vitamin supplement as well as supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids – we recommend HoltraCeuticals’ Ultra Omega – and eating “good fat” foods such as foods rich in fish oil, flax seed, walnuts, some fortified cereals and eggs. All of which have been show to have an impact on inflammation.

At Holtorf Medical Group, our physicians are trained to utilize cutting-edge testing and innovative treatments to uncover and address the underlying cause of fibromyalgia. Additionally, our Health and Nutrition Coach can work with you and your Holtorf physician to create a diet specifically for you! If you are experiencing symptoms of fibromyalgia, but aren’t getting the treatment you need, call us at 877-508-1177 to see how we can help you!

Resources

1. Kent Holtorf, MD. “A Confounding Condition.” https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/A_Confounding_Condition.pdf
2. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia; Now Treatable Diseases.”https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/Chronic_Fatigue_syndrome_and_Fibromyalgia_now_treatable_diseases.pdf
3. Kent Holtorf, MD. “Fibromyalgia: The Diet Connection.” https://www.holtorfmed.com/download/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-and-fibromyalgia/Fibromyalgia__The_Diet_Connection.pdf

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/08/wahls-protocol-impact-of-diet-nutrition-in-ms-other-neurological-diseases/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/whats-the-best-diet-for-lyme-disease-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/05/15/overview-of-anti-inflammatory-diets/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/04/18/comparative-diets-to-address-chronic-inflammation/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/02/03/do-these-popular-diets-make-you-nutrient-deficient/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/

 

What To Do When You Hit a Plateau In Treatment

https://globallymealliance.org/hit-plateau-treatment/?

By Kerry Heckman

My numbers won’t budge. Every month I go in for a blood test and every month I get an email from my doctor stating that my inflammatory markers are the same. The numbers are not so high to cause a panic, but they’re not low enough to signal any real improvement either. I’ve tried everything from meditation to medication, but nothing seems to work. Each month I pray the numbers will drop and I’m devastated when month after month they stay the same.

I’ve put in all the work; there’s been no stinting. I’ve been in treatment for three years. I’ve changed my lifestyle, my diet, and most difficult of all, my mindset. But I keep coming up short. There’s no doubt I’m better. My bedridden days are mostly in the past, and the pain that keeps me up at night (painsomnia, I call it) happens once or twice week instead of every day. Another marker of my improvement is after treatment my herxheimer reactions are greatly diminished. These are positive trends, but still I am not where I want to be. I want clinical proof that my recovery is real. I want to know unequivocally that I’m heading toward remission. I’ve  been at this dreaded plateau for months waiting to break free. I anxiously await the day when my inflammatory markers take a dramatic drop.

Your plateau may be different than mine. Maybe you, too, made big improvements in the beginning and now it’s tapering off, or maybe you’re stuck waiting for any minuscule improvement at all. Either way the lack of progress may be the hardest thing to bear.

All this was weighing heavily on me. Then one day I started thinking about actual plateaus in nature. Consider for a moment you are climbing up a mountain and reach a plateau. You’ve done the grueling work of going up the mountain and now you are walking on level ground. You are still moving forward, that hasn’t changed, but you’re not increasing your elevation. Maybe that’s what plateaus are in treatment—a leveling off that doesn’t feel like progress, because you aren’t climbing anymore. But you have achieved an incremental improvement in your recovery.

This bit of visualization changed the way I thought about my lack of headway, though  there were still some questions I needed to ask myself— questions you may need to  ask yourself as well:

Q: Have I really plateaued or is my progress just going slowly?

A: With Lyme disease the improvement can be slow . . . very slow. As they say, any progress is good progress. If you feel comfortable with your treatment protocol, you may need to practice patience and remember you are getting better. However, sometimes the progress is too slow and even if there is incremental improvement you may want talk to your doctor about exploring ways to speed up your treatment plan.

Q: Have you hit a plateau before? What helped jumpstart my healing?

A: If this has happened before, what was it that made the difference? Maybe it’s a new supplement or an increased dose of medication. Maybe your thyroid or adrenals are out of balance and need attention. Try to remember back to what helped you before and try it again. It may help to keep a journal about what you think is and isn’t working for you.

Q: Do I need to change my treatment or ride it out?

A: As I said, with Lyme getting better takes time. Ask yourself if you think your current treatment plan is sufficient to to get you better. This is a good place to use your intuition. If you feel skeptical every time you meet with your doctor that might be your body telling you something.

Q: If I plan to stay the course when will I know it’s time to adjust?

A: Give yourself a timeline—six months, nine months—for when you want to reevaluate. Verbalize your timeline to your doctor, so she or he knows what you’re thinking. Ask if there is a test that can be run at that time to compare where you were before to where you are now.

Q: Am I testing too often?

A: If you’re like me and your numbers aren’t budging, maybe it’s time to put more space between tests. This depends naturally on what is medically advisable. But I I did realize that the constant testing was causing me frequent disappointments, which weren’t good for my healing. I have since decided to go from once a month to once every other month for my bloodwork and focus on other things in the meantime.

Q: Is there something else I could do to move forward?

A: A plateau is the perfect time to reevaluate your habits. Perhaps it’s time to add more nutrients to your diet or increase detox. Have you always wanted to try a complementary therapy? Now may be the time. Or are there other options?

Q: Is this a good time for a healing pause?

A: Have no doubts, recovery from Lyme treatment is a full-time job. It seems like there’s always something else you can try, but is that the best thing for your body? This could be an indication that it’s time to take a break from all the intensity and let your body rest at the top of the mountain.

Take some time and ask yourself these questions. Get quiet and let your intuition speak. There are few doctors, medications, or therapies that can give us as much insight as our own common sense. Remember the image of the mountain and keep walking forward on the level ground of the plateau—the uphill slope may be only a few steps ahead.


kerry heckman

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.

Kerry J. Heckman is a licensed therapist and author of the healing and wellness blog Words Heal. She was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2016.

 

 

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**Comment**

Great article to begin meaningful dialogue.

  1.  Not sure what tests she keeps having done but I’ve heard mixed opinions about the CD-57 test which some docs swear by and others like my own say it’s a general, very basic indicator of immunity and unless you have the number before you were sick and then taken at regular intervals throughout treatment, it’s just a number. https://www.tiredoflyme.com/cd57.html
  2. Inflammation is a definite bad-boy.  One thing I discovered to eventually help me was MSM; however, I didn’t notice the help taking it while in treatment, only after treatment did it seem to really crush pain and inflammation:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/02/dmso-msm-for-lyme-msids/.  This article also shows it’s good for the gut:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/03/the-invisible-universe-of-the-human-microbiome-msm/
  3. Another thing that helped this inflammation/pain for me was systemic enzymes: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/04/22/systemic-enzymes/  There are many brands out there.  You might have to try a few to find one that works. I’ve tried different variations of Wobenzym as well as a brand my doctor sells. (I’m not affiliated with any companies)
  4. LDN was also a game changer:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2016/12/18/ldn/ I use a compounded form with only olive oil as an additive.
  5. For many, Lyme/MSIDS causes imbalances and deficiencies in the body. Finding out what those are and supplementing can make all the difference.  For instance, most patients struggle with thyroid dysfunction (as well as other hormones) and magnesium deficiency (magnesium can help depression and 1,000 other things):  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/01/16/magnesium-an-invisible-deficiency/ (In the comment section I give the kind my LLMD sells in his office and it’s been particularly successful. Again – no monies are exchanging hands)  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/03/12/the-importance-of-vitamin-d-k-and-magnesium-for-lyme-msids-patients/ Most of us Northerners are deficient in vitamin D.
  6. I’ll never forget the ranger in the documentary, “Under Our Skin,” state that he never could have imagined that his greatest improvement would come AFTER three years of treatment.  This has been my experience and my husband’s as well.  I must add that after 4.5 years of treatment for us, and two relapses requiring 2-3 month stints of treatment, we got better EACH TIME we treated. This very well could be the “cycling” approached discussed by Dr. Burrascano here:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/12/28/the-history-of-lyme-disease-dr-burrascano/  In brief:  he found that cycling 3-4 times typically worked for most patients. Ironically, the 3rd cycle yielded the worst herx.  Pam Weintraub wrote about this in, “Cure Unknown:  Inside the Lyme Disease Epidemic,” way back in the 90’s, yet few doctors do this. Cycling just means that after you are symptom-free for 2-3 months you quit ALL treatment.  If and when symptoms return, you hit hard with antibiotics until symptoms leave again. You do this 3-4 times.  Burrascano states his symptoms never returned and many of his patients had the same experience.
  7. Sometimes diet has made all the difference for some patients – like cutting out gluten or dairy or both. For some, herbs or treatments for inflammation made all the difference or help with sleep.  I’ve also known patients who got better only after they treated for worms/parasites: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2017/10/03/removing-parasites-to-fix-lyme-chronic-illnesses-dr-jay-davidson/
  8. When I hit a plateau after years of treatment yet still had symptoms, I called another LLMD I knew and asked if he’d be willing to do a phone consultation with me, not as a treating physician, but as a second ear to hear what I’ve done to give me ideas for any omissions he saw. That phone call was worth every penny as he carefully listened to what I’d done and gave me ideas for things to try.  Very helpful. I then took that knowledge to my LLMD and he was smart enough to implement them at my request based on another experienced practitioner’s wisdom.
  9. Lastly, I’ve found surrounding myself with experienced patients and doctors to be extremely helpful. You learn a lot by sharing your experiences and always come away with something you haven’t tried before.  Don’t let this information bog you down. Only try 1 thing at a time so you can track any changes. Support Group is a great place to do this.  Always run things by your practitioner as there might be drug interactions or things you need to consider or can’t try at all based on your specific issues/drug interactions.
I’ve learned the most from patients who are on the same journey. Don’t isolate yourself.

FREE Showing of ‘Secret Ingredients’ May 15-22

https://freeshowing.secretingredientsmovie.com/?  Go here to see Trailer and sign up

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The extraordinary FREE worldwide showing of Secret Ingredients — a powerful film by Jeffrey Smith and Amy Hart — shares remarkable stories of people who regain their health after discovering the “secret ingredients” in their food and making a bold commitment to avoid them.

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This is the Difference Between Probiotics and Prebiotics

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/difference-between-probiotic-prebiotic_

This Is The Difference Between Probiotics And Prebiotics

Plus, how to make sure you’re getting enough of each so you’re healthy.
There’s a good chance you’re familiar with probiotics (at least familiar enough where you make sure to stock up on Greek yogurt at the grocery store or pick up pills from your pharmacy).
But when it comes to your gut health, it’s actually the balance of two types of bacteria ― probiotics and prebiotics ― that helps keep everything operating as it should.
“There is a balance between [bacteria] in the gut called homeostasis,” said Ashkan Farhadi, a gastroenterologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center and director of MemorialCare Medical Group’s Digestive Disease Project in Fountain Valley, California.
When this homeostasis becomes imbalanced, it’s important to restore it by providing the body with good bacteria that then help gut health, Farhadi said.
Enter probiotics and prebiotics, which you can get through diet and supplements.

But downing a cup of Chobani alone isn’t going to solve the issue. There are specific ways to balance your gut health with probiotics and prebiotics, and multiple ways to get them from what you consume.

Differentiating between probiotics and prebiotics

Here’s an easy way to keep probiotics and prebiotics straight when it comes to their function in the body: “Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that are introduced to the gut to grow and thrive,” said Erin Palinski-Wade, a registered dietitian and author of the “2-Day Diabetes Diet.” “Prebiotics are essentially ‘food’ for these good bacteria.” This means they help stimulate and fuel the growth of probiotic bacteria already present in the body, acting like a fertilizer.

“It is essential to have both prebiotics and probiotics to promote gut health,” Palinksi-Wade added.

Probiotics help keep gut bacteria balanced by limiting the growth of bad bacteria, explained Alan Schwartzstein, a family physician practicing in Oregon, Wisconsin.

“Probiotics compete with these ‘bad’ bacteria for prebiotic food and do not allow them to multiply and cause harm to us.”

When there is a balanced amount of probiotics and prebiotics in the body, your digestive health is able to hum along.

This bacteria balance is also beneficial to your overall health, Palinski-Wade said. A good amount of probiotics in the body helps with vaginal health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, as well as good heart and brain health. What’s more, research published in Medicina has linked healthy bacteria in the gut with healthy body weight, lowering inflammation and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

How to know if your gut is OK ― and how to get it there if it isn’t

There’s a pretty simple sign that indicates if your gut has enough prebiotics and probiotics.

“Those who have a gut imbalance will have symptoms like increased gut sensitivity or changes in bowel habits,” Farhadi said. This means issues like diarrhea, constipation and excess gas.

You don’t have to wait for these unpleasant symptoms to pop up to start taking a probiotic. Whether you do it through diet or supplement, prebiotics and probiotics can be used by anyone to proactively maintain gut health, Farhadi said.

For example, in his own practice Farhadi recommends a patient eat a tablespoon of Greek yogurt (which has probiotics) sprinkled with Metamucil (which contains prebiotics) on top to restore balance in the gut.

Schwartzstein added that most people can get enough probiotics through their daily diet without a supplement. This includes eating foods like yogurt (make sure the label says “live active cultures” or the full name of the bacteria), soy drinks, soft cheeses like Gouda, and miso. There’s one main exception where heavier amounts of the bacteria might be needed.

“There are circumstances that can cause fewer probiotics in our digestive system; the most common is when we take antibiotics,” Schwartzstein said. “These antibiotics kill the healthy bacteria in our gut that serve as probiotics at the same time they kill the harmful bacteria that is causing the infection.” (This is also why most doctors only prescribe antibiotics if they are positive a patient has an infection caused by bacteria as opposed to a virus, like a cold.)

In these instances, you may need to take a probiotic supplement until you finish taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor to make sure you take the correct strain and be aware that taking a probiotic supplement can come with side effects like gas and bloating, Schwartzstein said.

For prebiotics, Palinski-Wade said that a diet high in plant-based foods and fiber is a good way to make sure you’re consuming enough. Sources of prebiotics include garlic, vegetables, fruits and legumes.

If you don’t think you’re getting enough probiotics or prebiotics through your diet you may be leaning toward taking a supplement. In the case of prebiotics, any psyllium-based product (like Metamucil) can be used, as fiber acts as a prebiotic in the body.

Probiotics are a little trickier, as there are many different strains of probiotic bacteria that may be beneficial for certain conditions.

“Our research is so limited in this field,” Farhadi said. “Currently, the recommendation is based on individual experiences.”

Many times, Farhadi said a doctor may ask a patient to start a probiotic and see if it’s helpful. If not, they can switch between different brands and bacteria strains until they find the right fit. Talk with your physician before trying anything ― they’ll make sure you’re set up on the right path.

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**Comment**

I would caution against using yogurt, kefir, and Metamucil unless they are without sugar.  A good substitute for Metamucil is just plain psyllium husk fiber.  https://fiberfacts.org/consumer_psyllium/  I found two opposing opinions on psyllium being a prebiotic, so discuss this with your practitioner. Both, however, are soluble sources of fiber. If you try this, go slowly so your body can acclimate to it.

If you detest the taste of plain yogurt products, you can always add fruit or liquid Stevia which comes in a myriad of flavors, but avoid processed sugar like the plague.

Some examples of food-sources of Prebiotics:

  • bananas
  • cold potatoes
  • milk
  • dandelion greens
  • legumes (beans)
  • chickory root
  • artichokes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • barley
  • oats
  • apples
  • cocoa
  • burdock root
  • seaweed

All of these contain inulin which is an oligosaccharide or type of sugar molecule that is hard to break down so it can travel into your colon. Once there it becomes food for bacteria (probiotics). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/probiotics-and-prebiotics#section5

Some examples of food-sources for Probiotics:

  • yogurt
  • kefir (daily & non-dairy)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha tea
  • Some types of pickles (non-pasteurized).
  • Other pickled vegetables (non-pasteurized).

Regarding pro and prebiotic supplements, there are many varieties and types. Get probiotics that are refrigerated as they have live cultures in them. 

Also, look for probiotic supplements that are designed to carry the bacteria all the way to your large intestine for better effects, while others probably won’t survive stomach acid.

And, the Health line article cautions that some should not take a probiotic, or who may feel worse after taking them, such as people with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or people sensitive to ingredients in the supplement. For these issues, work with a practitioner to find the right strains.

My LLMD has been utilizing both in his treatment for Lyme/MSIDS patients and he reports that he has far fewer patients suffering with gut issues now – even while using antibiotics.

The Importance of Gut Health to Healing From Chronic Illnesses Podcast- Dr. Jill Carnahan

https://livingwithlyme.us/episode-63-the-importance-of-gut-health-to-healing-from-chronic-illnesses/

Episode 63: The Importance of Gut Health to Healing from Chronic Illnesses

Cindy Kennedy, FNP, is joined by Dr. Jill Carnahan, who discusses the importance of gut health in order to heal from chronic illnesses. She offers an insight into candida and its role in “Gut Dysbiosis.”Dr. Carnahan completed her residency at the University of Illinois Program in Family Medicine at Methodist Medical Center. In 2006 she was voted by faculty to receive the Resident Teacher of the Year award and elected to Central Illinois 40 Leaders Under 40. She received her medical degree from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and her Bachelor of Science degree in Bio-Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. She is dually board-certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. In 2008, Dr. Carnahan’s vision for health and healing resulted in the creation of Methodist Center for Integrative Medicine in Peoria, Illinois, where she served as the Medical Director for two years. In 2010, she founded Flatiron Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, where she practices functional medicine with medical partner, Dr. Robert Rountree, author and expert speaker.

Dr. Carnahan is also 10-year survivor of breast cancer and Crohn’s disease and passionate about teaching patients how to “live well” and thrive in the midst of complex and chronic illness. She is also committed to teaching other physicians how to address underlying cause of illness rather than just treating symptoms through the principles of functional medicine. She is a prolific writer, speaker, and loves to infuse others with her passion for health & healing!

If you would like to read more about Dr. Carnahan, visit www.drcarnahan.com.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/10/24/herbs-habits-to-revive-your-gut/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/08/15/whats-the-best-diet-for-lyme-disease-dr-rawls/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/12/sibo-clinical-implications-natural-therapeutic-options/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/02/19/germs-in-your-gut-are-talking-to-your-brain-scientists-want-to-know-what-theyre-saying/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/03/29/cochrane-review-probiotics-reduce-c-diff-by-70-in-high-risk-patients-taking-antibiotics/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2018/09/15/prebiotics-probiotics-do-they-really-work-for-gut-health/

 

How to Detox Naturally For Healthy Aging

https://vitalplan.com/blog/how-to-detox-naturally-for-healthy-aging?

how-to-detox-naturally-healthy-aging

How to Detox Naturally for Healthy Aging

By Beth Janes Posted 03-15-2019

Environmental toxins have always posed a risk to humans, even thousands of years ago. Back then, it was things like molds and other dangerous bacteria and viruses, poisonous berries and other plants, snake venom, or the sting of a jellyfish that had the biggest potential to make people ill or even kill them.

Now, however, those naturally-occurring toxins are the least of our problems. Instead, our modern world is overrun with toxins and toxicants — the proper term for man-made toxins — which are harder to avoid and much more insidious than natural ones ever were.

Some estimates suggest that more than 200,000 man-made chemicals now exist, most of which have only been developed in the past 100 years or so, says Dr. Bill Rawls, M.D., Medical Director of Vital Plan. And we’re exposed to many of them every day in the air we breathe, the food and drinks we consume, and what has contact with our skin. Here’s just a taste of what’s on that list:

  • Pollution from cars and industrial processes include particulate matter, ozone gas, and benzene.
  • Indoors, chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are commonly released from household items like carpet, paint, and cleaning solutions.
  • In the average American diet, you’ll find pesticide and herbicide residue, BPA or other chemicals from plastics that can leach into food, plus heavy metals and arsenic in water.
  • The many personal care products we use, often with the intention of making skin and hair more healthy, can contain endocrine disruptors that have been linked to a variety of cancers.
  • Traffic jams, work deadlines, and other pressures easily trigger toxic chronic stress.
  • Refined carbohydrates, highly processed sugars and manipulated fats can also be toxic to humans’ otherwise relatively primitive systems, which were designed to run on simple plants, barks, herbs and fresh, clean water.

All of these toxins and toxicants negatively impact health on many different fronts, but one of the most serious is how they accelerate or interfere with aging. In fact, research now shows that environmental toxins play a significant role in what’s called external aging, according to a recent review in the journal Trends in Molecular Medicine. That’s the type of aging that’s driven by external factors, as opposed to the genetic and internal ones we can’t control.

As tempting as it is to want to isolate and target the worst culprits on the toxic list, there’s not necessarily one or even a few that you can vilify over others, says Dr. Rawls. “It’s all of them together — it’s this high level of insidious toxins that has never been here before on earth,” he explains. “Because our ancestors didn’t deal with them, our bodies don’t have the genetic memory or ability to properly tolerate or process all of the toxins that we’re now bombarded with daily.”

But all is not lost: It is possible to minimize toxins’ impact and significantly decelerate aging — and naturally, to boot. Here’s how.

How Cells Age — and How Toxins Interfere

How Cells Age — and How Toxins Interfere

To understand how modern toxins interfere with the aging process, it helps to first know how the body ages normally. “We are a collection of cells, and each cell is specialized to take care of other cells,” Dr. Rawls explains. “When a critical number of cells, or cells from a key organ like our lungs or heart, get sick or old or die — that’s what aging and illness is in a nutshell.”

That happens naturally over time when mitochondria, cells’ power generators, burn out, which causes cells to die or produce less healthy cells that don’t function properly. It also happens when cells are no longer able to properly communicate and coordinate with their 10 trillion peers, which all come from 200 different groups.

“That cellular coordination is remarkably important,” says Dr. Rawls. “When it doesn’t happen, the body starts breaking down and functions stop working — that’s also illness and aging.”

In many ways, our bodies aren’t that different than a machine, and just like components of a machine, our cells and systems eventually stop working as well. Toxins, however, can cause the aging of cells and breakdown of cellular communication to happen sooner than it would otherwise. “Environmental toxins strangle or suffocate or damage cells, or they disrupt chemical messengers so cells aren’t communicating, and so the body breaks down,” Dr. Rawls says.

For example, just as herbicides and pesticides mess with the chemical messenger channels in weeds and insects, they can also disrupt those in humans (which are surprisingly similar), says Dr. Rawls. Chemicals in plastics and in pesticides, meanwhile, may mimic hormones in the body. Not only does that affect signaling, it can throw your body’s hormonal balance out of whack and potentially contribute to hormonally-active cancers.

Other toxins may act as free radicals, causing inflammation and damage to cell membranes or blood vessels, Dr. Rawls says. That’s the case with many air pollutants from cars and industrial processes. When you breathe them in, they flood your respiratory and cardiovascular systems and can pass into your bloodstream.

These free radical-like toxins can interact with nerve endings, too, which then allow them to disrupt your nervous system. In fact, studies have found a clear link between high levels of airborne toxins in the environment and early death from all causes, but particularly heart disease. Decreased lung function and increased hospital admissions were also shown to be more common among those who live and work in the polluted areas.

Toxins may also directly damage DNA, the blueprint that cells use to make new cells. When that happens, the new, abnormal cells may die off — or they may continue reproducing damaged, diseased, or dysfunctional cells. For example, DNA in skin cells directly absorbs photons from UV light, which then leads to skin wrinkling and increased risk for skin cancer. Research even suggests exposure to certain toxins in pesticides and elsewhere may change DNA in a way that contributes to disease not only for those exposed, but also to their offspring and subsequent generations.

That’s all pretty scary stuff, but the good news is that you aren’t powerless. “The great thing about where we are now, is that we know more about the effects of these toxins than ever before, and we have more choices that let us better avoid or deal with them,” Dr. Rawls says.

How to Detox Naturally

Along with reducing your exposure to the more obvious and well-known toxins — such as steering clear of cigarette and cigar smoke, avoiding household chemicals, and reducing your use of plastic containers — here’s how to best protect yourself against invisible, insidious toxin exposure and equip your body to naturally filter them out and reduce the potential damage.

1. Fill Half Your Plate with Vegetables and/or Fruit

“No matter what the issue is, when it comes to improving health, the answer will almost always include eating more plants,” Dr. Rawls says. But as far as detox goes, there are specific ways veggies can help.

For one, many modern toxins are fat soluble, and, unlike meat, plants generally don’t have a lot of fat in which to store toxins. Many fruits and some veggies also have protective peels that help limit their load, plus you can find many affordable organicoptions.

People who eat a lot of produce also tend to not have excessive amounts of body fat that can store toxins. Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cabbage in particular also help ensure proper functioning of your liver, which is one of your body’s main detox centers, Dr. Rawls says. Vegetables’ fiber plays a key role, too.

“After your liver processes a toxin to make it water soluble, it’s secreted into bile, where the molecules then need something to bind to in order to exit your body,” Dr. Rawls says. “Vegetable fiber does that better than any other type.”

Indeed, fiber intake was closely tied to what researchers called “successful aging,” according to a study in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences. The researchers found that people who ate a lot of fiber were 80% less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and a functional disability.

Vegetables also ensure cell membranes are their healthiest, and these membranes are what let nutrients in and help keep toxins out. “All the fat you eat ends up in cell membranes,” Dr. Rawls explains. “If you’re eating mostly saturated fat from meat and fried foods, membranes become stiff like lard.”

Plus, fried food can actually be a toxin all on its own; cooking fat or oil over extremely high heat turns it into free radicals. “So what you’re doing then is lacing cell membranes with damaging free radicals,” he says. One study in the journal British Medical Journal found that post-menopausal women who ate one or more servings of fried food a day had an 8% higher risk of dying during the study period. The risk rose to 13% for those who ordered up fried chicken daily.

A healthy plant-based diet also contributes to a healthy vascular system and good blood flow, which also helps move toxins out of your body, Dr. Rawls adds. Bottom line: “What we eat influences aging down to the cellular level, as well as our ability to flush out toxins.”

2. Try Detoxifying Herbs and Natural Ingredients

“Everyone wants one simple detox product, but most of what’s available cause only a laxative effect,” Dr. Rawls says. “When people get constipated, they build up loads of bad bacteria in their gut, and when they get rid of it, they feel better. But those products are not actually helping remove toxins.”

One that is at the top of his list: Chlorella. A nutrient-rich freshwater green algae, chlorella is rich in chlorophyll, a pigment with antioxidant properties that binds to toxins and helps usher them out of your system.

He also points to herbs that support healthy liver function, which is highly involved in processing toxins so your body can remove them. “Herbs like milk thistle and burdock root, as well as andrographis are at the top of the list because they help protect liver cells,” Dr. Rawls says. Milk thistle, for example, contains a potent antioxidant compound that has been shown beneficial in liver disease, as well as for protecting against liver toxins and reducing liver inflammation, according to a review in Lancet Oncology.

Another herb to consider: Glutathione, an essential antioxidant found in many plants and our own bodies. Glutathione plays a key role in liver function, especially during the first stage of toxin removal — when the liver transforms the toxin from fat soluble to water soluble so it can be excreted, Dr. Rawls says.

Studies suggest glutathione can be beneficial for the liver, with a recent study in BMC Gastroenterology even showing it may help those with non-fatty liver disease. What’s notable here, though, is that along with supporting liver function, glutathione also helps protect cell mitochondria from free radical damage that contributes to aging.

Berberine and other bitter herbs that support healthy digestion also help your body detox and support healthy aging. They work by ensuring proper removal of toxins through stools, plus promote healthy, balanced gut flora. And a healthy balance of gut bugs means a strong immune system — upwards of 70% of our immune system lives in our gut — which helps strengthen your defenses against disease.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Not only does sleep help diffuse stress and its toxic effects, it is essential for your body to rid itself of toxic materials and waste. “Deep, stage-3 sleep is when your body is able to detox most effectively, and when it works the hardest to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says.

One recent study in the journal Science Advances showed how this works when it comes to the brain and toxic proteins that can build up and that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that deep sleep sets up the ideal environment for your body’s glymphatic system to work optimally. The glymphatic system is your brain’s specialized waste removal system, which uses the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to “cleanse” away toxic junk.

If you struggle with occasional sleeplessness, herbs and other natural ingredients can help here, too. A few to consider:

  • Montmorency tart cherries: They’re a natural source of melatonin, a sleep-signalling hormone. Levels are low, but you don’t need much to initiate sleep, says Dr. Rawls, and in fact the high levels (>3mg) found in many supplements may actually disrupt your normal sleep-wake cycle.
  • Magnesium: More than half of Americans don’t get enough of this essential mineral, a shortfall that’s been linked with poor sleep quality. Plus, magnesium helps promote calm and relaxation, which naturally lends to better sleep. Look for it in magnesium glycinate form, which is more easily absorbed by the body.
  • Ashwagandha and l-theanine: If stress is what’s keeping you up, consider these herbs. They can help balance the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, which regulates stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline so you’re better able to manage stress in the face of it.
  • Bacopa, passionflower, and motherwort: Especially when taken together, these three herbs help promote a calm mind and support normal, healthy sleep.

4. Drink Plenty of (Filtered) Water

Filtering your tap H2O is a no-brainer for limiting exposure to all sorts of metals and toxic substances. For example, as many as 56 million Americans in 25 states may be drinking tap water with unsafe arsenic levels, according to the U.S. Natural Resources Defense Council.

But along with arsenic, a known carcinogen, tap water can contain trace amounts of medications, heavy metals, and other toxins that can mess with natural hormones. Bottled water, however, isn’t the answer since it may not be filtered, plus has the added risk of potentially containing BPA, a hormone-disrupting toxin in many plastics, according to a paper in the The British Medical Journal.

Just as important as filtering your water is to be sure you’re drinking enough. Adequate hydration helps flush toxins out of your system through urine, but also by keeping your GI function regular, which is another exit point for toxins, Dr. Rawls says. Check out your urine for clues as to whether you’re sipping sufficiently — it should be light yellow, like lemonade.

5. Cut Way Back on Sugar

“Excess sugar is toxic in a variety of ways,” Dr. Rawls says. First, excessive sugar promotes the growth of abnormal or pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Those gut microbes can actually create toxins that stimulate and agitate the brain, which then affects sleep and hormone levels and sets off a domino effect that impacts health and longevity at every stage, Dr. Rawls says.

Excess glucose in particular accelerates aging since it sticks to proteins in the body, which “gums up the works,” Dr. Rawls says. “Proteins make all functions in cells possible, and when you load the body with glucose, it sticks to the proteins and causes them to collapse.” One of the most visible signs of too much sugar, for example, is skin wrinkling. That’s because collagen — skin’s main support structure — is primarily made of protein.

But that’s not the only way too much sugar can be toxic. The more you eat, the more your body will become resistant to the insulin that moves glucose out of your blood and to cells that use it for energy. That can lead to elevated levels of both insulin and blood glucose, which have been linked in studies to cellular aging, including in the brain. Meanwhile, other research has found that those who eat a lot of sugar are at higher risk of dying of cardiovascular diseases, reports a study in JAMA Internal Medicine.

6. Stay Physically Active

“One of the best ways to get rid of heavy metals in your body is through exercise,” Dr. Rawls says. “It increases blood flow and promotes sweat, which is a key way your body detoxes; I think of it as blowing out your pipes.” In fact, research suggests that people exposed to higher levels of metals may sweat out just as many toxins as they release through urine, according to a review in the Journal of Environmental Public Health.

Exercise is also the most effective way to manage stress and help encourage quality sleep. “That’s important, because stress and lack of sleep disrupt hormones, which then interferes with your ability to get rid of toxins,” Dr. Rawls says. So try to be moderately active every day, by walking frequently throughout the day or using a bike to commute. And if you can regularly work up a sweat, even better.

7. Turn to Nature’s Air Purifiers

A number of plants are known to be especially effective at scrubbing indoor air of pollutants, reports a paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. While all plants will help to some extent, try filling your home with air-purifying all-stars shown to significantly lower indoor levels of VOCs, including areca, lady and bamboo palms, English ivy, Boston ferns, peace lily and Ficus.

Likewise, when you’re outdoors, try to spend as much time as possible in naturally green areas and away from major roads and highways. Research suggests lusher landscapes help mitigate the effects of climate change, including improving air quality and reducing your exposure to airborne toxins. One review found decreased risk of mortality among those subjects who lived in the greenest areas.

What’s more, spending time amidst nature also significantly reduces stress, according to a study in Behavioral Sciences. If you can’t escape the city, at least seek out parks for a daily dose of nature. Research suggests urban parks and green spaces improve air quality and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, mortality, and diabetes, according to a review chapter in the book Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas.

8. Be Sun Safe

While most toxins do their dirty work inside your body and in ways you can’t see, ultraviolet rays from the sun age you prematurely in very visible ways: Over time, they cause skin to wrinkle, make it less elastic, and trigger hyperpigmentation (brown spots) plus rough, dry skin texture.

Researchers who studied 183 sets of twins proved just how aging sun damage can be. The twins who had had more sun exposure and a history of outdoor activities and lack of sunscreen all looked significantly older compared to their more sun-safe sibling. Ultraviolet rays are also known carcinogens that can increase your risk of skin cancer, Dr. Rawls says.

You needn’t become a vampire who ventures out only at night, however. To protect yourself, simply practice sun-safe behaviors:

  • Avoid being outdoors in the sun when rays are strongest, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing, a wide-brim hat, and sunglasses.
  • Apply a non-toxic sunscreen to exposed skin. Look for those that list zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients, which are inert minerals that block rays, providing natural SPF.

Ultimately, it’s impossible to completely avoid the influx of modern-day toxins and their aging effects. But with these tips, you can certainly lessen your exposure and mitigate their negative effects now and years down the road as you enter and enjoy your golden years.

References
1. Sorrentino, Jessica A. et al. “Defining the toxicology of aging.” Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2014 July; 20:7 P375-384
2. University of Michigan School of Public Health, Environmental Health Fact Sheet. 2013, November. “Air Pollution and Oxidative Stress.” Retrieved from http://mleead.umich.edu/files/Air-Pollution-and-Oxidative-Stress.pdf
3. Kelly, Frank J. “Oxidative stress: Its role in air pollution and adverse health effects.” Occupational & Environmental Medicine. 003;60:612-616
4. Ueda, K. “Effect of environmental chemicals on the genes and the gene expression.” Yakugaku Zasshi: Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan. 2009 Dec;129(12):1501-6.
5. Manikkam, Mohan et al. “Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline.” PLoS One. 2014 Jul 24;9(7):e102091.
6. Gopinath, B. et al. “Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 Years.” The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2016 Oct;71(10):1335-40.
7. Kmietowicz, Zosia. “Fried food linked to increased risk of death among older US women.” BMJ. 2019; 364:1362
8. MacMillan, Amanda. “What’s in your drinking water?” NRDC. 2017, May 02. Retrieved from http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/qarsenic.asp
9. Kerr, Jonathan R. “Bottled water for all, all the time?” BMJ2016;352:i1214
10. Harvard Medical School, Blavatnik Institute, Neurobiology, newsletter. “Sugar on the Brain.” Retrieved from http://neuro.hms.harvard.edu/harvard-mahoney-neuroscience-institute/brain-newsletter/and-brain-series/sugar-and-brain
11. Yang, Quanhe et al. “Added Sugar Intake and Cardiovascular Diseases Mortality Among US Adults.” JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014;174(4):516-524.
12. Sears, Margaret E. et al. “Arsenic, Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Sweat: A Systematic Review.” Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 2012; 2012: 184745.
13. Claudio, Luz. “Planting Healthier Indoor Air.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 2011 Oct; 119(10): a426–a427.
14. James, Peter et al. “Exposure to greenness and mortality in a nationwide prospective cohort study of women.” Environmental Health Perspectives. 2016: Sep
15. Ewert, Alan and Chang, Yun. “Levels of Nature and Stress Response.” Behavioral Sciences. 2018 May; 8(5): 49.
16. Braubach M., et al 2017. “Effects of Urban Green Space on Environmental Health, Equity and Resilience.” In: Kabisch N., Korn H., Stadler J., Bonn A. (eds) Nature-Based Solutions to Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas. Theory and Practice of Urban Sustainability Transitions. Springer, Chem
17. Guyuron, B. et al. “Factors contributing to the facial aging of identical twins.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 2009 Apr;123(4):1321-31.
18. Hablitz, Lauren M. et al. “Increased glymphatic influx is correlated with high EEG delta power and low heart rate in mice under anesthesia.” Science Advances. 27 Feb 2019:5, 2, eaav5447
19. Siegel, Abby B. and Stebbing, Justin. “Milk thistle: early seeds of potential.” Lancet Oncology. 2013 Sep; 14(10): 929–930.
20. Honda, Yasushi et al. “Efficacy of glutathione for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: an open-label, single-arm, multicenter, pilot study.” BMC Gastroenterology. 2017; 17: 96.
21. Wallace TC, McBurney M, Fulgoni VL, 3rd. Multivitamin/mineral supplement contribution to micronutrient intakes in the United States, 2007-2010. J Am Coll Nutr. 2014;33(2):94-102.

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For more:  https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2015/12/06/tips-for-newbies/

https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/01/26/lyme-herxheimer-reactions-dr-rawls/

 

 

 

Could Prescription Vegetables Be the Future of Healthcare?

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324770.php?

Could prescription vegetables be the future of healthcare?

Published
The authors of a new study conclude that healthful food prescriptions in Medicare and Medicaid would be more cost-effective after 5 years than preventive drug treatments.
Father and daughter shopping

As the cost of healthcare rises, could prescription vegetables save money?

Medicare and Medicaid are the two largest healthcare programs in the United States.

Approximately 57 million people received coverage from Medicare plans in 2016, while Medicaid had about 66 million enrollees in 2018.

Medicare is the federal health insuranceprogram that supports certain groups of people, including those who are 65 years or older, those with permanent kidney failure, and some younger people with disabilities.

Medicaid is a federal and state program that helps people who have limited income and resources.

Medicare accounted for 15 percent of the federal budget in 2017. As the population ages and healthcare costs rise, experts estimate that healthcare spending will continue to grow. According to projections, Medicare spending will reach 18 percent by 2028.

Encouraging people to eat better

A team of researchers from Tufts University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA analyzed the effects of healthful food prescriptions in Medicare and Medicaid. The study, which the journal PLOS Medicine published, found that offsetting the cost of healthful foods by 30 percent through health insurance would improve health and reduce costs.

According to the co-first author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts:

“Medicare and Medicaid are the two largest healthcare programs in the U.S., together covering one in three Americans and accounting for 1 in every 4 dollars in the entire federal budget.”

The researchers modeled two different scenarios that would play out if Medicare and Medicaidcovered 30 percent of healthful food purchases.

In both scenarios, these programs would cover 30 percent of fruit and vegetable purchases. However, in the second scenario, they would also cover 30 percent of purchases of whole grains, nuts, seafood, and plant oils.

The findings showed that the first scenario would prevent about 1.93 million cases of heart disease, while the second one would prevent close to 3.28 million cases of heart disease as well as 120,000 cases of diabetes.

The positive effect on diabetes is due to the role that whole grains, nuts, and seeds play in diabetes prevention.

“We found that encouraging people to eat healthy foods in Medicare and Medicaid — healthy food prescriptions — could be as or more cost-effective as other common interventions, such as preventative drug treatments for hypertension or high cholesterol,” says Yujin Lee, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow at the Friedman School and co-first author of the study.

Reducing the need for healthcare

Both scenario one and scenario two significantly reduced healthcare utilization, leading to savings of about $40 billion and $100 billion respectively. The total costs for subsidizing just fruits and vegetables were $122.6 billion, while it cost $210.4 billion to cover the broader range of healthful foods.

Comparing the net costs with savings and health benefits, both scenarios were highly cost-effective.

To conduct this study, the researchers used a validated micro-simulation model called CVD Predict that generated samples representative of the Medicare, Medicaid, and dual-eligible populations. To achieve this, they used data from recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), published sources, and meta-analyses.

They then applied the two scenarios to each of the different samples and assessed their effect at 5-, 10-, and 20-year horizons and at a simulated lifetime horizon.

This research forms part of the Food Policy Review and Intervention Cost-Effectiveness (Food-PRICE) research initiative, which is a collaboration of international researchers who are working to improve the health of the U.S. population by identifying possible nutrition strategies and evaluating their cost-effectiveness.

These new findings support the concept of [the public initiative] Food is Medicine: That innovative programs to encourage and reimburse healthy eating can and should be integrated into the healthcare system.”

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian

The researchers believe that this study provides the best national assessment of the potential effects that these initiatives could have at the federal level, but they caution that these models cannot prove the health and cost effects of the incentives.

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**Comment**

My main reason for posting this article is to demonstrate how important diet is to us.  It IS literally MEDICINE and not to be taken lightly.  These links shows how sugary drinks fed tumors in mice & may be implicated in cardiovascular disease:  http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6433/1345, and https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.037401

These articles reveal that when you eat is important as well.  This article shows that time restricted eating may prevent cancer:  https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-03/tes-tem032019.php.  The take away is we should eat when we are active – within an 8-hour window. Along the same lines, this study showed that eating later into the day was associated with higher BMI & fat mass, both of which lead toward disease:  https://www.abstractsonline.com/pp8/#!/5752/presentation/20950

Regarding medical insurance:

My now deceased holistic MD told me that he remembered the original intent of health insurance was only to bridge the gap from when farmers collected money from the sale of their crops to pay their medical bills. Now, insurance is so expensive people have to seriously cut back in other areas – such as budgeting for food.

In this article, you can read about alternatives to traditional health insurance:

You should consider these as typical insurance often won’t cover Lyme/MSIDS anyway. There are also much less expensive programs that actually can cover your treatment. Sometimes the only caveat to that is that you must be a member prior to your diagnosis – i.e. it isn’t a “preexisting condition.”
After going without insurance for a number of years due to cost we finally joined a “medical cost sharing program.” While it didn’t cover Lyme/MSIDS for us because it was a preexisting condition, it does cover many adjunctive therapies regular insurance won’t cover – provided your doctor writes a brief letter explaining why he/she feels it an appropriate treatment. We’ve had colonics, massages, laser therapy, and a whole host of treatment modalities that never in a million years would be covered by regular insurance.