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Why You Can’t Lose Weight and Keep It Off

As a Functional Medicine Health Coach, I frequently hear these weight loss concerns:

  • I’m really trying to lose weight and just can’t seem to get the scale to budge.
  • I feel like all I do is eat vegetables and exercise to no avail. 
  • My metabolism has changed. I used to be able to lose weight just by reducing my food. Now it’s impossible. 
  • Ever since I started perimenopause my weight has been creeping up.
  • My body just seems to be working against me. 
  • There are so many diets, and I’m just so confused about what’s right for me. 

Do you relate?

If so, don’t despair. It does not have to be this way. There is usually an underlying reason behind stubborn weight loss.

Food-Related Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

  1. Food Triggers – You have an argument with a friend or family member; you get a promotion at work; you go to a friend’s birthday party; you’re home alone for a weekend. What do all of these have in common? They can bring up feelings or emotions that are tied to eating. Easy example: a child is given chocolate every time they fall down and cry. Soon enough every time they feel badly, chocolate is their go-to soothing strategy. The stimulus (feeling bad) and the response (eating chocolate) become associated. You can’t have one without the other. Fortunately, these can be “re-wired” so to speak.
  2. Portion Distortion — You might find it hard to believe but portion size alone is often a culprit, particularly in the United States where portion sizes have grown over the years. Researchers have found, for instance, that meal sizes at restaurants have tripled in size since the 1970s¹ and the plates we serve our meals on have also increased in size.2 At every turn, we are encouraged to eat more than we need.
  3. Overdoing It With Healthy Foods – Here’s a prime example: Nuts are a healthy addition to your diet — they are a healthy fat, a good source of protein, fiber and have anti-inflammatory properties. But, one serving of Brazil nuts, for example, is two nuts. Yes, one serving is only 2 nuts! One serving of almonds is six nuts. If you’re eating nuts like popcorn, you’re not going to lose weight.
  4. The Right Mix of Nutrients — Beyond the amount you are eating, is what you are eating. Are you living on rice cakes and cottage cheese, thinking that low-calorie diet foods are going to help you reach your goal? That strategy is likely undermining your weight loss objective. Weight loss is often about moving away from processed foods and into a whole foods, anti-inflammatory food plan that includes increased fats, ample protein and unlearning the reliance on empty carbs, even the so-called “healthy” ones like gluten-free bread and “nutrition” bars. This will ramp up your metabolism, jumpstart weight loss and teach you to eat for life, rather than going on and off diets continually.
  5. Inflammation — Do you unknowingly fill your body with foods that create systemic inflammation, a slow, quiet disturbance that never seems to shut off? Systemic inflammation is our body’s immune response to substances it sees as a foreign invader. For those struggling to lose weight, inflammation makes you, well … inflamed. You see, there is a very important hormone, called Leptin, that regulates your body’s level of fat by controlling your appetite and metabolism. In healthy people, the production of leptin signals the brain to suppress appetite and speed up metabolism—leading these people to feel less hunger, burn more calories and lose the excess fat. Chronic inflammation, however, impairs the brain’s ability to receive leptin’s appetite-suppressing message.
  6. And inflammation Can Lead to Leaky Gut – Leaky gut syndrome refers to a condition where the digestive tract lining becomes permeable, allowing toxins and undigested food particles to leak into the bloodstream. This disruption impairs insulin sensitivity, promotes fat storage, and makes it more challenging to shed those extra pounds.

 

Lifestyle Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

 

  1. Chronic Stress — Stress is a major player in stubborn weight loss. We live stressful, fast-paced lives. Stress elevates cortisol and adrenaline, hormones responsible for “fight or flight” in what your body perceives as an emergency — something as serious as jumping out the way of a careening car, or something as nerve-wracking as public speaking. Once the event is over, our cortisol and adrenaline levels return to normal. This is a healthy stress response.Chronic stress, however, creates havoc in the body. Cortisol levels, which spike during a stress-inducing event, remain elevated. Think … a stressful job, a stressful relationship or even the everyday stress of “getting everything done.”This rise in cortisol puts a damper on weight loss. In fact, chronically elevated cortisol can cause weight gain!3
  2. Lack of Consistent Quality Sleep — Research4 demonstrates that even slight sleep loss boosts cortisol levels and can accelerate the development of insulin resistance. In fact, one study found that getting just 30 fewer minutes sleep than you should per weekday can increase your risk of obesity and diabetes.5 Not getting enough sleep is related to a host of other issues including heart disease, high blood pressure, accidents, mood disorders, depression and decreased productivity.

 

Medical Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight

  1. Thyroid Dysfunction — The American Thyroid Association7 estimates that 20 million Americans have a thyroid problem, and that up to 60% are unaware of their condition.  Whoa, that’s jaw-dropping! Hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, is characterized by unexplained weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight. To find out if your thyroid gland is functioning properly, you will need a blood test ordered by your doctor. I highly recommend working with a functional or integrative physician who will look beyond whether or not your numbers are “in range,” including lifestyle and mind-body medicine.
  2. Insulin Imbalance — If your blood sugar levels and insulin are off, you can experience carb cravings, difficulty losing weight and excess belly fat. Insulin resistance means your cells can’t absorb the extra blood glucose your body keeps generating from the food you eat, and your liver converts the glucose into fat. Processed foods, including beloved foods like pasta and bread, sugary drinks, and even foods marketed as “healthy,” like granola bars, play a role in insulin resistance. Insulin imbalance can give rise to Type 2 diabetes so it is important to get those numbers under control. Again, I recommend working with a functional or integrative physician who will also address lifestyle factors that contribute to insulin issues.

 

Losing weight can feel difficult but it does not have to be impossible. Your hard work can pay off. It’s a matter of figuring out the underlying challenges. 

Not sure where to start? Consider checking out our new Weight Loss Program. Our director of weight loss, Macaulay Kerr, and I have banded together to create a program that incorporates Semaglutide therapy (you’ve probably heard of Ozempic) with an allied coaching that focuses on helping you get on track and stay on track. No more losing weight and then gaining it all back. 

Want to learn more? 

 

Already a Patient at Blum Center?

To learn more about the program and whether it would be right for you, simply message your provider or call the office to make an appointment with the director of the weight loss program, Macaulay Kerr, PA, who will review the program with you and help determine your next steps. 

New to Blum Center?

Inquire about our Weight Loss Program by calling 914.652.7800 or request a phone or Zoom appointment with our New Patient Coordinator, to learn more. Once you are ready to move forward, the first step is to schedule your 60-minute consultation with our Weight Loss Director to ensure this is the best fit for you. 

 

About Melissa Rapoport: A skilled listener, Melissa empowers her clients to achieve their goals by working together to create tools and strategies that are unique to each person that walks through her door. Her passion is to look at the whole person and, like a detective, find their keys to success, incorporating health goals with topics as diverse as dealing with stress, eating healthy while managing a busy life, increasing joy and creating powerful self-care practices.

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Weight During the Holidays

Halloween is the official start of the holiday season. Yep, that’s right … Halloween!  This is often the trigger where someone thinks, consciously or unconsciously, “Well, I’ve never been able to stay on track before, so why even try. I’m just going to eat whatever I want and deal with it in January.”

Enter guilt, shame, weight gain … 

Listen up! You can enjoy the holidays, AND curtail weight gain with strategies that eliminate the all-or-nothing approach to food and self-care. After all, when the holidays kick in, you have less to take care of yourself, right? When you put more time into one thing (preparing for the holidays), that time has to be taken from somewhere. The most common places? Your own self care – sleep, eating nutritiously and relaxing your boundaries. 

And you know where that’s headed: Burn out!

  • Stick to your routine and schedule your priorities first – Do you usually workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Go to your book club on Thursday evenings? Do something special on Friday nights? Go! Put these on your calendar in pen!
  • Define your “bare minimum” – While you might typically go for a 4-mile walk several times a week, what is the smallest amount you can do, no matter what during this busy time? 10 minutes? Great! You can apply this to exercise, meditation, your morning routine … anything that needs a holiday revision. 
  • Take a daily time-out with no phone, no agenda – Unplug from the world. Ten minutes every morning makes a huge difference in how you face the day. Could be a walk, meditation, drawing, a crossword puzzle. 
  • Cut down on emotional eating – Identify exactly what you’re feeling before you take the first bite. Are you hungry? thirsty? tired? stressed? sad? happy? Give it a name, and then choose to eat it. Choose each bite. It takes the “power” away from the food.
  • Eat more often – Yep, more often! If you find yourself skipping meals, craving carbs and overindulging in goodies, your blood sugar likely needs to be balanced. Every few hours have something with healthy fat, protein and complex carbs, such a nutrient-dense smoothie, avocado with a sprinkle of olive oil and sea salt, or hummus with your favorite raw vegetables. You could even eat leftovers as a mini meal.
  • Don’t skip your grocery shopping – have food in the house. An empty fridge leads to unhealthy grab and go foods. Don’t have time to cook? Take shortcuts – buy veggies already cleaned and trimmed, make easy soups that will last for several days (lentil soup is my go-to), batch cook to intentionally create leftovers.
  • Eat your veggies! — Rather than thinking about all the foods you’re trying to avoid, focus on adding as many vegetables as possible to your day! That will naturally “crowd out” the foods you’re trying to minimize.
  • Create a nightly tranquil self-care routine rather than plopping in front of the television. Consider taking a hot bath, and surround yourself with fragrant candles and your favorite music. You might even “unplug” from all electronics. Gasp, I know!

What we’re really talking about here is …. Slowing down. Slowing down enough to honor your needs. Slowing down enough to eat “good enough” and slowing down enough to breathe. 

And, if you really want to lose weight, the coach in me says, “Don’t wait until the New Year. Make it your best holiday season ever. Make it about you.”

Consider checking out our new Weight Loss Program. Our director of weight loss, Macaulay Kerr, and I have banded together to create a program that incorporates Semaglutide therapy (you’ve probably heard of Ozempic) with coaching that focuses on helping you get on track and stay on track. No more losing weight and then gaining it all back. 

Want to learn more? 

Already a Patient at Blum Center?

To learn more about the program and whether it would be right for you, simply message your provider or call the office to make an appointment with the director of the weight loss program, Macaulay Kerr, PA, who will review the program with you and help determine your next steps. 

New to Blum Center?

Inquire about our Weight Loss Program by calling 914.652.7800 or request a phone or Zoom appointment with our New Patient Coordinator, to learn more. Once you are ready to move forward, the first step is to schedule your 60-minute consultation with our Weight Loss Director to ensure this is the best fit for you. 

 

About Melissa Rapoport: A skilled listener, Melissa empowers her clients to achieve their goals by working together to create tools and strategies that are unique to each person that walks through her door. Her passion is to look at the whole person and, like a detective, find their keys to success, incorporating health goals with topics as diverse as dealing with stress, eating healthy while managing a busy life, increasing joy and creating powerful self-care practices.

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What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are the wellness industry’s latest buzzword – adaptogenic lattes are popping up in salad bars and blends are finding their home on the shelves of apothecaries. Some adaptogens, like ashwagandha, can be taken in a powdered form. While others, like Lion’s Mane mushroom, can be a nice dinnertime side dish. So, what are they?

Adaptogens are a category of herbs and mushrooms that help balance your body’s reaction to stress by modulating its hormonal and physiological functions. Adaptogens improve adrenal function, protect you from disease, boost immune function and improve overall well-being. Adaptogens help your body handle stress. They are meant to bring us “back to the middle.”

Top Adaptogenic Herbs and Mushrooms

Ashwagandha

What it is: Ashwagandha, also known as “Indian Ginseng,” is a powerful Ayurvedic root that can help your body manage stress.

How it’s consumed: You can add ashwagandha to smoothies and teas. You can buy ashwagandha in powder, capsule, or tincture form.

What it tastes like: In Sanskrit, ashwagandha means “smell of the horse”, which refers to its interesting smell, and supposed ability to increase strength. It tastes slightly bitter, with herbal undertones, but pairs very well with creamy, cocoa flavors.

What it does, according to science: This Ayurvedic root helps reduce long-term stress and alleviate the hormonal imbalances that result from chronic stress. All without inducing a sense of fatigue, ashwagandha helps you build up tolerances to stressful situations, and relaxes an anxious mind. Some research suggests that Ashwagandha helps combat stress-induced weight gain.

Eleuthero Root (Siberian Ginseng)

What it is: Eleuthero root, also nicknamed “Siberian Ginseng,” has been part of the herbal repertoire of Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. There are more published scientific studies on eleuthero root than any other herb – and when you dig into the research it’s easy to see why so many scientists have been fascinated by this stringy, beige root. Not only has it been shown to decrease stress, but it has immune-boosting properties to boot.

How it’s consumed: People usually take the root and stem extracts of the eleuthero plant either as a tincture or as a powder. Either way, it can be added to smoothies, lattes, or other drinks and tonics.

What it tastes like: We’ll tell it to you straight: Eleuthero root is bitter, and not exactly a pleasant taste. This is definitely not a herb you’ll be downing with water (unless you’re super hardcore).

What it does, according to science: Siberian Ginseng decreases fatigue by increasing your work and exercise capacity without the “crash” that comes with a morning cup of coffee. With this herb, you’ll also recover faster from acute stress and intense workouts. Some preliminary research also suggests that eleuthero can protect against cognitive decline and reduce DNA damage.

There is abundant scientific research confirming their adaptogenic properties such as the ability to help the body resist a stress response in a non-specific way and the ability to help the body maintain homeostasis. Primary adaptogens directly influence the hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary (HPA) axis in response to stress.

Reishi Mushroom

What it is: Reishi is an adaptogenic mushroom that has been a staple of holistic wellness and herbal medicines for decades — over 200 to be exact. As a species of the “woody” mushroom family, the fan-shaped ‘shroom boasts orange to reddish-brown hues and can be found in the forest areas of Asia, Europe, South America, and the United States. Reishi’s effects on the body are widely ranging – it’s been shown to have anywhere from anti-depressant qualities to anti-fatigue effects on the body.

How it’s consumed:Reishi mushroom has a tough, thick form that is hard to bite into – it’s definitely not a mushroom that you can just cut into and stir fry with your dinner veggies. Most consume it as a dehydrated mushroom powder, or in a liquid tincture form. Though, some cut the mushroom into long strips, then steep it in hot water to make tea.

What it tastes like: This isn’t the most delicious mushroom you’ll taste. Reishi has an earthy bitterness that has been compared to tree bark.

What it does, according to science: Reishi mushroom’s positive effects on the body are widely ranging. It’s been shown to decrease depression and work as an anti-fatigue agent in a population of breast cancer patients. There’s also ongoing research into whether the trace amounts of cytotoxins found in Reishi could be used in targeting cancer cells.

Maca Root

What it is: Maca is a plant native to Peru that has been traditionally used to improve energy and stamina, while also improving sex drive and fertility. It looks like a cross between a turnip and a radish, with thick rosemary-like leaves. Different varieties come in different colors: red, pink, black, and yellow.

How it’s consumed: For most, maca root is supplemented as a dried powder. The caramel-like taste mixes very well into smoothies, lattes, and even the occasional oatmeal bowl.

What it tastes like: It has a delicious caramel-like flavor, with a subtle earthy aftertaste. Out of all the adaptogens, some vote for maca root as the best tasting.

What it does, according to science: This Peruvian root, long used by Spanish royalty, helps improve memory recall ability and overall learning ability. This super root is also known for its ability to protect against depression and age-related cognitive decline.

Rhodiola Rosea

What it is: Also commonly called “Golden Root” and “Arctic Root”, Rhodiola typically grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia, as well as high altitudes in the Arctic region, such as Finland, Norway, and Russia. Historically, people in northern regions of Scandinavia and the Nordics have used Rhodiola for anxiety, fatigue, and depression, People also have used it to increase physical endurance and to improve resistance to high-altitude sickness.

How it’s consumed: Typically it’s taken as an extract that confers both 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside.

What it tastes like: It actually tends to taste somewhat sweet with only a slight bitterness, which allows it to mix very well with many drinks and desserts.

What it does, according to science: It has been shown to help with physical performance in non-athletes by modulating cortisol levels after exercise-induced stress, and to reduce general anxiety as well. Note: it is not recommended in high amounts for pregnant women or those taking Warfarin.

Schisandra Chinensis

What it is: Known also as “Omija”, it is a bright red berry that is natively found in China, where it has been used to make medicine, tea, and wine for centuries.

How it’s consumed: Normally it’s taken in the form of dried powdered fruit, although can also be found in the form of whole dried fruit, juice, or part of a tea blend.

What it tastes like: Called “the five flavor fruit” in Chinese, it has an interesting mixture of flavors described as sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour.

What it does, according to science: It possibly reduces anxiety, and could affect cortisol levels, although most of the research from numerous human trials that were done in Russia have been kept secret. New research is still being currently done however and shows promising possibilities, and the fruit itself is high in beneficial lignans which can aid in maintaining a healthy bacterial gut biome.

Angelicae Sinensis

What it is: Natively referred to as Dong Quai (which translates to female ginseng), this antioxidant-rich, adaptogenic root has long been cultivated in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its health effects in women. Although most likely first widely cultivated in Asia for medical purposes, this nomadic herb canalso be found in the middle east and eastern Europe, and possibly originated in modern-day Syria. It is also very commonly used as a botanical in many popular gins.

How it’s consumed: The root is normally dried and/or powdered and can be found in loose powdered form or with the powder encapsulated into pills.

What it tastes like: Bitter and earthy, but with a very subtly sweet and flowery undertone.

What it does, according to science: The polysaccharides in Angelicae Sinensis have been shown to cause hematopoietic effects in both animal models and in humans, meaning it aids in the formation of new red blood cells and thus could aid in the bioavailability of other compounds in the bloodstream, as well as having anti coagulative effects. There is also some evidence that it does indeed affect the female reproductive system with a kind of hormone regulation and is, therefore, advised to not take it if pregnant.

 

In Closing….

Adaptogens can have a wide array of benefits to the human body due to the balancing effects they can bring and have properties that can truly aid against the added stresses and anxieties of a modern lifestyle. Adding adaptogens into your diet or taken as an added nutritional supplement could bring some health benefits – at least based on current research – and they are similar in their role against stressors as antioxidants are to oxidizers.

 

Jennifer L Jennings, DNP is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with a doctoral degree in nursing practice (DNP), an IFM Certified Practitioner, and a diplomate for the American Academy for Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). She explored functional medicine for her own health journey and observed her body healing through dietary changes, stress management, GI healing and key supplements as well as bioidentical thyroid management. She knew in that moment that the foundations of functional medicine were the comprehensive medicine that she wanted to discover, learn and deliver to her patients. Book an appointment with Jennifer through Blum Center for Health by calling 914.652.7800

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Is CoQ10 the Secret to a Healthy Heart?

CoQ10 Heart Health

When Heart health is talked about in a conventional setting, lowering cholesterol, quitting smoking, increasing exercise and reducing red meat intake is often recommended.  While we agree with those important steps for prevention or treatment of heart disease, the buck doesn’t stop there.  There’s many more building blocks that contribute to a healthy heart that we talk about from a Functional Medicine perspective.  

Mitochondrial health, your gut microbiome and hormone health can impact cardiovascular disease, too.  Inflammation will increase your risk of making plaque in all your arteries.  At Blum Center for Health, we treat the whole person and work with our patients to design a program to correct these underlying issues quickly and effectively. 

One treatment we often recommend is CoQ10 shots in our Infusion Center.  Because it is fat soluble and how well you absorb it is affected by the quality of your digestion, an injection is a great way to make sure you are getting what you need. 

CoQ10 is short for Coenzyme Q10, and is found in the highest concentrations in your heart and brain.  It powers up your mitochondria, which are the critical energy producing organs inside every cell of your body.  CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant with many health benefits–heart health and beyond!

The whole approach to heart health and CoQ10

The prime candidate for CoQ10 injections are those who are taking a statin or red yeast rice for lowering their cholesterol, because both of these block CoQ10 production as a side effect of blocking cholesterol. Low CoQ10 levels are likely one factor responsible for the muscle aches and brain fog that are commonly reported in people taking statins especially.

If you have fatigue, taking a CoQ10 should be part of your program because it boosts mitochondrial production of energy. 

This is also why it’s so critical to take if you’ve had a heart attack or any damage to your heart or want to prevent damage to your heart, because it keeps those heart cells going strong.  

The same is true for your brain.  If you’ve had a stroke or any damage to your brain or want to prevent damage to your brain, CoQ10 will support optimal functioning of all your brain cells.   

Because we know the virus that causes COVID infects the heart and brain, it is especially important for those of you recovering from this virus, and probably all viruses too.

What to expect when receiving a CoQ10 shot

The best way to receive CoQ10 is through our infusion center as an injection so you can absorb the entire dose. When given as an injection, it makes the CoQ10 100% bioavailable because it bypasses the GI tract and goes straight to the cell. 

The injection takes only a few seconds and is usually given in either the deltoid or gluteal muscle. There may be some pain when the injection is given and zero to mild soreness for a day in the muscle that the injection is given. 

We recommend that you get an injection once a week for four weeks and then to continue with maintenance injections every two to four weeks thereafter. 

CoQ10 is a very well tolerated injection with a good safety profile. Majority of people do not experience side effects but nausea, diarrhea, or heartburn have been reported.

It is important to note that CoQ10 should not replace any current medication regimen you are on, and can be helpful in addition to current medications or treatments. Do not stop any of your medications without discussing with your healthcare provider first. Management of almost all diseases at Blum Center remains interdisciplinary with functional aspects such as diet, exercise, supplementation and mindfulness in addition to conventional modalities. Our Functional Medicine doctors can do a work up to see on any existing conditions or can help with prevention of heart conditions. And our Functional Nutritionist and Health Coach are here to work with you on lifestyle and diet changes.

Call or text 914.652.7800 to book your CoQ10 shot in our infusion center.  



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How You Can Benefit from Glutathione — the Ultimate Antioxidant

The benefits of antioxidants are undisputed – they slow the aging process and help prevent vision loss, cancer, heart disease, strokes, and other chronic diseases.  Most importantly, they help you feel vibrant and healthy!  Glutathione is known as the “master antioxidant” and is an extremely important molecule found in every human cell. It is considered the main protector against oxidative stress in the body. 

What is Oxidative Stress? 

Oxidative stress occurs when the ratio between antioxidants and free radicals are out of balance. Free radicals are molecules that are produced naturally in the body,  as a byproduct of normal metabolism or by exposure to environmental pollutants and stressors. Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron, so they become activated and try to “borrow” electrons from other molecules in healthy cells.  This borrowing action damages the cells themselves and is often the earliest trigger that starts inflammation. 

Think of oxidative stress as a situation when your antioxidants aren’t keeping up, and then these free radicals can create little sparks or embers of inflammation throughout the body. When you are sick, stressed or come in contact with pollutants, your body produces even more free radicals – and in turn more oxidative stress – that can damage your DNA, cause inflammation, contribute to disease and accelerate aging.

How Glutathione Combats Oxidative Stress

Your body comes equipped with antioxidants, especially glutathione, to neutralize these free radicals. Antioxidants work to balance the load of free radicals and create a harmonious, healthy environment for you to thrive. The two ways nature gave us to prevent oxidative stress is through food and our natural antioxidant systems in the body of which glutathione is the champion. That’s why eating a diet with a variety of colorful  fruits and vegetables is so important! 

Additionally, the body naturally creates glutathione to balance and repair damaged cells. Glutathione is critical for the function of the liver to detoxify and works to put out the “fires” that free radicals have sparked. Glutathione is a tripeptide of three amino acids (glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid). This antioxidant helps your body fight disease and injury by binding to free radicals and facilitating their removal from your body.

Under certain conditions you may have a higher demand for antioxidants. There are several factors that can significantly use up and decrease your antioxidant levels, thus increasing your need, including: 

  • high toxic burden 
  • poor diet
  • Stress
  • Infections, including gut dysbiosis 
  • chronic illness
  • Pollution
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • certain medications
  • excess body fat
  • age 

The use of Functional Medicine testing can measure the amount of oxidative stress you may be carrying. A session with our Health Coach or one of our Functional Medicine Physicians can help determine your best course of action.  To replenish glutathione, we typically recommend intravenous therapy as it completely bypasses the digestive system and delivers the antioxidant directly to your cells.  When taken as an oral supplement, glutathione is not typically absorbed well as it is destroyed by digestion in the stomach. 

A glutathione infusion has many incredible benefits:

  1. Detoxifies the liver 
  2. Combats oxidative stress
  3. Prevents chronic illness
  4. Decreases inflammation
  5. Increases energy
  6. Slows aging 

Glutathione is an extremely well tolerated infusion. Depending on the dose, it can either be given as a slow IV push over 5 minutes or a quick 10 minute infusion with very few side effects. Many people add on glutathione to a longer infusion, such as a Myer’s Cocktail, Detoxify, or Immunity infusions. 

Text or call 914-652-7800 to schedule an appointment! Schedule a FREE consultation with our Infusion Director, Michelle Levins, NP, to get your questions answered.

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Improve Nerve Pain with Alpha Lipoic Acid

If you’ve experienced nerve pain, also known as neuropathy, you know that the pins and needles, numbness, weakness and burning sensations that occur in the body greatly impact quality of life.  Those who suffer from nerve pain understand how difficult it is to complete simple tasks or focus their mind on anything other than their symptoms. 

Why does nerve pain feel all consuming? The nervous system is responsible for transmitting a variety of signals such as pain, touch, temperature and balance to the brain, and for sending motor commands to move muscles. It plays an essential role in the things your body does without thinking, such as breathing, blushing and blinking. Your nervous system affects every aspect of your health! 

What is Neuropathy? 

Neuropathy affects about 30% of Americans and it stems from damage done to our nerves. Damage can be caused by:

  • Diabetes
  • Trauma
  • Some autoimmune disorders/infections
  • Exposure to heavy metals or other toxins
  • Vascular disorders
  • History of stroke
  • Inherited or genetic disorders
  • Idiopathic (sometimes there’s no clear reason!)

Conventional treatments for nerve pain include antidepressants and medications for seizures that only treat the symptoms of the disease and not its root cause. At Blum Center, we take our Functional Medicine approach to uncover the underlying cause of your pain so we can guide you to a long lasting solution for your overall health. 

There’s many underlying conditions that can be the cause of neuropathy, including B-12 deficiency, infections, medications, toxicity and more. We encourage you to see one of our Functional Medicine doctors to put you on a personalized treatment plan based on the underlying cause of your neuropathy. 

Functional Medicine Solutions for Nerve Pain 

In addition to a personalized treatment plan from your doctor, an Alpha Lipoic Acid infusion can make a real difference for the healing of the cells in your nervous system, and also in supporting its general health.  

You might be wondering, how does it work?  Alpha Lipoic Acid is a powerful antioxidant that is fat soluble.  Because the brain and nervous system are mostly fat, it’s one of the best antioxidants for protecting and healing your nerve cells.  Antioxidants lessen or neutralize the effect of free radicals. Free radicals are a byproduct or waste of metabolic processes and even more free radicals are produced when fighting an infection or exposure to pollution to name a few. When we have an imbalance where there are more free radicals than antioxidants, our body undergoes oxidative stress, which causes damage and inflammation, and in this particular case at the nervous system. 

An infusion of Alpha Lipoic Acid gives the body the antioxidants it needs to restore the balance and clear free radicals to prevent further destruction and even reverse the damage done. Again, Alpha Lipoic Acid is particularly good for the nervous system over other antioxidants because it easily passes into the brain and the nerve tissues.

Alpha Lipoic Acid, Diabetes, and Diabetic Neuropathy

If you are experiencing neuropathy secondary to diabetes, then Alpha Lipoic Acid has even more benefit! Intravenous Alpha Lipoic Acid can decrease blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Not only are you reversing the damage and inflammation done to your nerves by high blood sugar with its antioxidant effects, you are also preventing further damage by improving the control of your blood sugar.

What to Expect When You Receive an Alpha Lipoic Acid Drip? 

Alpha Lipoic Acid is a very well tolerated infusion, but we do recommend that you eat before your infusion because it can lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and are taking medications to lower your blood sugar, we will work with you and your regimen to make sure you don’t become hypoglycemic. The infusion takes about 30 minutes and is usually added on to another infusions like the Myer’s Cocktail, Detoxify, or Immunity. Alpha Lipoic Acid by itself is $175 and is $115 as an add-on. Alpha Lipoic Acid is also part of our Post Covid and Mito Recovery protocols and is included in the price, a bundle worth 20% off a la carte items!

Ready to alleviate your nerve pain? 

Text or Call 914-652-7800 to schedule an appointment or use our convenient online scheduling platform.  Our Infusion Director, Michelle Levins, NP, is standing by to answer all your questions.

**Mention this email to receive 20% off your first infusion!

 

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10 Ways To Beat Holiday Stress

Deck the halls, we are officially in “holiday season”. Do your holidays come with a side dish of stress? 

While holiday stress tends to affect every person in one way or another, the American Psychological Association asserts that holiday stress disproportionately affects women. Women traditionally carry the extra burden of shopping, wrapping, hosting and prepping holiday events, creating time crunches, emotional and physical stress and, let’s be honest here, burn out. Women, listen up: Tis the season for setting boundaries and taking care of yourself!

Holiday specific stressors include:

  • Family visits and holiday parties are a common source of seasonal anxiety. From planning and hosting events to a packed social calendar, too much activity may cause you to feel overwhelmed during the holiday season.
  • Many people have unreasonable expectations of themselves — and others — during the holiday season. 
  • Holiday celebrations typically involve lots of food — some of which may not be diet- or allergy-friendly for you or your loved ones.
  • Gaining a few extra pounds may be a seasonal rite of passage for some, but it can be a significant source of stress for anyone who is trying to lose or maintain their weight. Changes in exercise and sleep routines can also be a source of stress and may lead to worsening of other health conditions.
  • If you have experienced trauma, family conflict, or loss of a loved one, the holidays may cause you to feel especially sad or lonely. 

Here are 10 ways to beat holiday stress:

  • Take a daily walk with no phone, no agenda. Unplug from the world. Ten minutes every morning makes a huge difference in how you face the day.
  • Stick to your routine and schedule your priorities first. Do you usually workout on Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Go to your book club on Thursday evenings? Do something special on Friday nights? Go! Put these on your calendar in pen!
  • Cut down on emotional eating. Identify exactly what you’re feeling before you take the first bite. Are you hungry? thirsty? tired? stressed? sad? happy? Give it a name, and then choose to eat it. Choose each bite. It takes the “power” away from the food.
  • Say “No.” We go overboard to please others. Accept the commitments you want. Period.
  • Ask for help and delegate. Accustomed to doing it all? Most of the people in your life are accustomed to you doing it all too, and most likely, they don’t realize you need help. They aren’t mind readers. Ask for help, and be ready to assign a task.
  • Create a nightly tranquil self-care routine rather than plopping in front of the television. Consider taking a hot bath, and surround yourself with fragrant candles and your favorite music. You might even “unplug” from all electronics. Gasp, I know!
  • Downsize meals — consider less dishes, or host a community meal where everyone brings their favorite dish. This creates inclusion and connectedness.
  • Reduce gifting — Set boundaries and limits early, and stick to them. Decide for whom you are buying presents, and decide on a quantity. When we give with overabundance to the people in our lives we desensitize them to the meaning of the gifts.
  • Simplify plans with close friends. Save the holiday get-together for after New Year’s. For now, get together for coffee as a respite from the holiday flurry.

In essence, what all of this means is … slooow down … enjoy the sights and sounds of the holidays, and most of all fill your holiday with joy, love, gratitude and merriment. There’s much to celebrate — including a less-stressed you!

 

 Join Melissa for her Best Year Ever virtual workshop on January 11th to set intentions and goals for 2022! 

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters.

 

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Why You Should Receive IV Therapy in a Medical Setting

The popularity of IV therapy has skyrocketed in recent years.  Everyone from celebrities and influencers, to moms and CEO’s, have turned to intravenous injections (IV) as a way to boost their vitamin intake.  No doubt, having adequate levels of vitamins and minerals is necessary for our bodies to function properly. 

Why has it become so popular?  When we take vitamins orally, the dose you take is greatly reduced as each nutrient travels from your mouth to your cells.  This is because these nutrients first have to be absorbed in the gut (a process compromised in many people with digestive issues), and then they get processed in the liver, which can further reduce their availability.  When these vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants are given intravenously, they bypass these metabolic processes, making  them 100% available in the bloodstream for maximum benefit. 

Another big reason that Infusions are so popular, is the development of Medical IV’s.  Medical IV’s supplement the treatment plan for people who are struggling with health issues. We have developed excellent medical treatments for conditions that require high doses of specific nutrients that are not as effective when given orally.  For example, high dose Vitamin C for Epstein Barr Virus or Cancer treatments.  Another example is Glutathione for detoxification, and yet another is a custom cocktail for people suffering with Long Covid.  These Medical IV’s take simple vitamin infusions to a whole next level.

While the benefit from intravenous infusions is clear, what is not as well known is what to look for when choosing a place to receive your IV Therapy.  

4 Reasons to receive your IV in a Medical Setting: 

Personalized Screening and Drips: There is no one-size-fits all Vitamin IV. At Blum Center, our principle to  provide personalized medical care in a safe, unhurried environment is reflected in our Infusion Program.

If you are already a patient here, your provider will determine the best IV prescription for you to meet your health goals and support your treatment plan.  If you are a new client to Blum Center, our Infusion Director will meet with you for a simple but powerful screening consultation, so that she can prescribe exactly what you need, too.  

We are very strict and buttoned-up about safety in our medically supervised setting.  Before you start  we ensure your well-being with this basic screening and labs.  This extra step can give you the comfort that you will receive maximum benefit and the safest possible visit. Any business that does not screen you or take labs is potentially putting you at risk, especially if you have ongoing health issues that need that next level of attention and care.

Quality:  We pack in more vitamins and at higher doses than  walk-in drip centers. We have  done extensive research on each vitamin cocktail and how to safely give high doses to help you get the most positive effect from our infusions. You can feel confident you are getting the most out of each treatment.  

Expert Care:  Michelle Levins, NP, our Infusion Director is on the National Infusion Center Association Standards Development Team that implements nationwide protocols to all infusion centers across the country. These standards are already being used at Blum Center. You will have a master prepared Nurse Practitioner with years of extra education and training administering your infusions.  

Patient Safety: We are dedicated to providing the safest and highest quality of infusion care and have strict protocols in place to decrease potential risk as much as possible. 

IV THERAPY IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY

We take Covid precautions seriously and have various protocols in place to minimize exposure risk.  First, we now have multiple rooms in use for IV’s, which allows us to infuse high risk or unvaccinated patients by themselves in a separate room.  We are using HEPA air filters in the infusion room, requiring masks to be worn, and limiting the number of patients seen at the same time.  

Our Infusion Program sets itself apart from other centers through our individualized care, high quality infusions, and utmost cleanliness with strict protocols in a comfortable, calming environment. Come in and see for yourself! 

Click here more information on our Infusion Center and to view our current menu of IV drips. We are open to patients and the public alike!  To book an appointment or schedule a consult with our Infusion Director, please call 914.652.7800

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HOW TO HANDLE CANCER DURING THE PANDEMIC

Do you have a health condition, like cancer, that you’d normally seek medical care for but you haven’t during the coronavirus pandemic?  Is this because you think you’re safer at home and going out would risk infection, or your usual physician is not available to see patients?  You aren’t alone.  

One of the most disconcerting things to me as a physician during this pandemic is that the other medical conditions people have been suffering with have mysteriously disappeared.  It makes sense that emergency rooms have noted a dip in occurrences like car fatalities and injuries since many of us are not out and about driving. However, what about heart attacks and strokes?  These are time-sensitive events that if treated early, make a significant difference in someone’s survival.  Many people are afraid to call an ambulance or go to the ER with concerning symptoms like chest pain or sudden weakness in parts of the body because they fear they will get infected with Sars-CoV2.  And unfortunately this is leaving many people to die at home or they are left with permanent disabilities because they received medical attention too late.  These are not conditions where the wait-and-see approach works.

SCREENINGS FOR CANCER DURING THE PANDEMIC

Have you been due for your regular screening colonoscopy or mammogram and have delayed calling to make that appointment because it isn’t an emergency or you decided it can wait until we have some clarity about returning to normal life? Again, you are not alone.

In a typical year, roughly 150,000 cases of cancer are detected monthly in the US population.  As a physician specializing in Integrative Oncology, I am very concerned that people with signs of cancer – a new mass or lump – are not being assessed quickly enough and that these new cases are being missed in the earliest stages when treatment is most effective.  Many people have been choosing to wait until it is “safe” to make the phone call for an appointment.  Every doctor and health system is doing their best to create a safe environment for patients, and while we don’t have all the answers, it is now time to reach out to your provider through telemedicine and share your concerns so that you can create a plan of action together.

CANCER AND COVID

As someone with cancer during the coronavirus pandemic,  are you concerned about what you can do beyond secluding yourself at home? 

During the past 3 months, I have been hearing from many of my cancer patients with concerns about what else they can do. Whether they have a past history of cancer, or are actively in treatment, these patients are looking to have an action plan in place that will help when they are going to reintegrate into the world.  

During this exceptional time, it has also been more difficult for my cancer patients to find some semblance of security in their treatment or monitoring.  Many have felt that their diagnosis has taken a backseat to the pandemic at large.  One of my patients called for a telemedicine followup with her oncologist to find that he was recruited by his hospital to work in the ER managing COVID-19 patients.  Another patient was told to forgo treatment for one month due to a high risk of exposure; her tumor markers became elevated the following month.  Others have found that when they questioned their current regimen, they were told to stay the course until things resumed to a more normal format.  And just like everyone else, those with cancer are very reluctant to go to an ER (whether for a cancer related issue or anything else like heart attack or stroke symptoms), because they are known to be a high-risk category because of a weakened immune system. 

INTEGRATIVE ONCOLOGY

I have been practicing integrative oncology for well over 15 years, helping people to navigate through conventional treatments by offering ways to naturally mitigate symptoms from chemotherapy, radiation and surgery as well as exploring other areas of evidence based treatments that lie outside of the box of their oncologist.  Often, people seek me out to support their treatment nutritionally or to “boost immunity” during treatment, and this is a good place to start.  But then most people discover there is a plethora of other adjunctive possibilities outside of what their oncology team has offered.  Cancer is a diagnosis that I hope that one would consider all angles and possibilities and various opinions to help construct the most solid plan to move forward and try to conquer the disease.

One of the areas that I focus on is supporting immunity and treating immune issues with these patients.  It is interesting to me that many of the natural herbal and nutraceutical treatments that I have used in cancer for various reasons, have activity in some format against Sars-CoV2. For example, I’ve  utilized Chinese Skullcap (also known as scutellaria baicalensis) in both breast and ovarian cancers (as well as other cancers such as colorectal and prostate cancer) because of its anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells but interestingly it has a place in combating Sars-CoV2 by enhancing not only immune function but also possessing anti-inflammatory activity for a variety of cytokines and can potentially block the virus from attaching to ACE-2 receptors that are unique to this virus.  A good review can be found HERE.

The field of integrative oncology is immense and I have always gravitated to working with cancer patients for a number of reasons.  It presents an incredibly difficult time that often necessitates a change in mindset, which allows me to show people that this challenge is an opportunity not only to make positive and sometimes radical change in one’s life. It’s also a time to take control and not always assume that there is nothing out there beyond what the oncologist or surgeon is offering.  And with over 100 peer reviewed publications that come out daily, the field is constantly evolving and my work is never “protocol.”  These are just a few reasons why I find working with cancer patients extremely rewarding. The current pandemic adds yet another layer to work through with patients and I accept the challenges ahead.

 

Pamela Yee, MD is an Integrative Physician at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY where she creates highly personalized treatment plans for each of her patients. Dr. Yee has a special interest in integrative cancer care, immune disorders, and lyme disease. She lives in Nyack NY where she and her husband manage their own organic micro-farm.

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COVID-19 Nutrition 101: Let Food Be Your Medicine! 

A walk through the grocery aisles early this morning was a little shocking: The produce section was overflowing and the packaged processed food aisles were … empty.

The Number One thing you can do to support your immune system is: Eat Real Food

Your immune system is fueled by the food you eat. After all, over 75% of your immune system lives in your digestive tract. This means that every bite of food you eat influences your gut microbiome, which in turn determines your body’s ability to mount the appropriate immune response to invaders like COVID-19. 

Stroll on by the cookies, the sweets, the empty-calorie crackers, the high sodium frozen dinners and opt for packaged foods with minimal ingredients. Take a peek at the ingredient list and use this litmus test, “Am I willing to eat each ingredient with a spoon?

Here are 6 no-nonsense things you can do right now to help boost your immune system and keep your body healthy.

Choose whole, nutrient-dense foods. 

Eat the rainbow! Focus on fruits and vegetables of all colors — They  are filled with antioxidants that support your immune system, and fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria. Choosing foods that mirror the colors of a rainbow ensures that you eat a large variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that have enormous protective and healing powers.  

These rainbow foods are particularly good right now: 

Green produce helps boost the immune system and detoxify the body.

All healthy diets require green-colored produce and that is particularly true now. In fact, research suggests that green vegetables are the source of a chemical signal that is important to a fully functioning immune system. They do this by ensuring that immune cells in the gut and the skin known as intra-epithelial lymphocytes (IELs) function properly. (1)  Include green vegetables, such as arugula, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, green beans, kale, peas, romaine lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, and zucchini. Enjoy fruit, such as avocado, green grapes, and kiwi. 

Orange and yellow-colored produce help improve immune function.

Chock full of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A and vitamin C, these include vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, all varieties of winter squash, yellow summer squash, orange and yellow peppers and golden beets. It also includes fruits, such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons, mangoes, papayas, pineapple and peaches. 

Pro Tip: A great way to ensure you’re getting enough vegetables is to make your plate at lunch and dinner is at least half vegetables. 

Here are a few resources for getting organic, healthy foods delivered:

Check out Misfits Market — they will send you a box of seasonal produce at up to 40% less than what you would pay at the grocery store. (Use the code COOKWME-DY5XFK for $25 off.)

You might have access to a local CSA that will deliver to your door. Do a google search for your area or you can start with https://www.localharvest.org/csa/

Check out Butcher Box — they deliver 100% grass-fed beef, free range organic chicken and heritage breed pork directly to your door. 

Ditch sugar and processed foods.

The stress and anxiety of COVID-19, combined with “Sheltering at Home” creates the perfect recipe for craving sugary and processed foods — they temporarily make us feel energized but a big crash comes shortly afterward. Beyond that sugar and processed foods SUPPRESS your immune system. To help you kick the sugar habit, enroll in our 7-Day Sugar Detox Here

Eat high quality protein foods.

Protein is critical for immune function. What’s an adequate amount? Roughly half your bodyweight in grams a day. These include plant-based proteins, such as legumes and nuts and seeds, as well as organic, clean, humanely-sourced animal protein. 

Plant-Based Protein Superstars:

  •     1 cup cooked lentils = 18 grams
  •     3 tbsp. hemp seeds = 10 grams
  •     I cup cooked quinoa = 6 grams
  •     3 ounces extra firm tofu = 9 grams
  •     1 cup chopped broccoli = 8 grams
  •     ¼ cup raw almonds = 8 grams
  •     ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds = 7 grams
  •     2 tbsp. chia seeds = 6 grams
  •     2 cups chopped kale = 4.5 grams

Wild-caught salmon has 13 grams, chicken has 18 grams, and ground beef, 11 grams — all per 2 ounces.

Eat cultured and fermented foods to feed your microbiome and support immune health.

Include sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, chickpea miso, yogurt made from coconut or almonds. These foods give your body a dose of healthful probiotics — live micro-organisms crucial to a healthy intestinal microbiome (the microbial community in the gut) — which plays a role in supporting the immune system and warding off damaging inflammation inside the body. 

Make friends with mushrooms.

Mushrooms are medicinal!  They have immune-boosting polysaccharides that have anti-viral, antibiotic properties. Shiitake, maitake and oyster mushrooms are easy to prepare — a simple roast, sauté or simmer will do. In fact, you can throw them in everything — soups, omelettes, stir fries, stews, vegetable dishes. 

Add garlic, onions, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, oregano and more when cooking. 

These herbs and spices not only add flavor to your food, they are anti-inflammatory powerhouses. Add them to soups, stews, vegetables, oatmeal, or just about anything! Did you know that garlic and onions offer wide spectrum antimicrobial propertiess.

Drink plenty of fluids.

Your body depends on it, as does your immune system. Water and herbal teas,of course, but soups and broths also count! Stay away from fruit and vegetables juices — they are full of sugar (yes, even the so-called healthy ones.) 

Wondering what else you can do?

Join Dr. Blum’s FREE Friday Open Office Hours Q & A, to have all your lingering questions answered: Register Now

Schedule a 45-Minute Immune Support Consult with one of our healthcare practitioners.  Schedule an informational call here

Read my recent blog post: 10 Ways to Reduce the Coronavirus Stress Response 

 

Check out Dr. Blum’s FREE 3-part video series! Last month I led live classes on the immune system and I’m happy to share with you the three videos:  How To Boost Your Immunity and Resiliency to Viruses: DOWNLOAD FREE NOW

Meet Melissa: Melissa Rapoport is the Manager of Health Coaching and Lifestyle Programming at Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, NY. She combines her graduate work in Developmental Psychology with her education in nutrition, health and coaching to create highly individualized programs that result in lifetime change. A contributing author to three international bestselling books, Melissa’s greatest joy is her relationship with her two daughters. To learn more about Melissa’s coaching practice at Blum Center for Health, click here.

Resources:

  1. Ying Li, Silvia Innocentin, David R. Withers, Natalie A. Roberts, Alec R. Gallagher, Elena F. Grigorieva, Christoph Wilhelm, Marc Veldhoen. Exogenous Stimuli Maintain Intraepithelial Lymphocytes via Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Activation. Cell, 13 October 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.09.025