Monthly Archives: January 2015

Alcohol and your Digestive System

Digestive System

This system is where food is broken down, or digested. Its organs include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus. The mouth, stomach, and the lining of the small intestine contain tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. The liver and the pancreas also produce digestive juices that reach the intestine and help the process of digestion.

Alcohol is not digested like other foods. Once alcohol is swallowed, it travels down the esophagus into the stomach and the small intestine. It avoids the normal digestive process and goes right into the bloodstream. About 20 percent of the alcohol consumed is absorbed in the stomach, and about 80 percent is absorbed in the small intestine.

One organ that is particularly affected by alcohol is the liver because it is the main organ that processes alcohol. The liver weighs more than three pounds and is the largest organ in the body. One of the liver’s main jobs is to get rid of poisons—like alcohol—that enter the body. Without the liver, you could not live.

Heavy drinking over a period of years can damage the liver. Some of this damage comes from free radicals, a group of molecules that are highly reactive. These molecules can attack the nearest stable molecule, leading to a dangerous chain reaction that can result in a disease called cirrhosis of the liver. Cirrhosis occurs when scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue and the liver, which needs unrestricted blood flow, doesn’t work as it should.

Alcohol increases acid in the stomach, which in alcohol abusers can lead to severe stomach pain or sores in the intestines. One way to help prevent the increase of acid is by eating while drinking. Food slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed by the body.

Are Your Vitamins Harmful to Your Health- Synthetic vs Natural Vitamins

For the average person, the health food and vitamin landscape is overwhelming at best and confusing at worst. When you walk into the vitamin department, you expect to find healthy foods and supplements.  But, did you know there’s such a thing as synthetic vitamins as opposed to natural vitamins?

When you think about vitamins, you probably automatically think “healthy” and “natural”.  Unfortunately, that’s just not so.  In fact, some synthetic vitamins, which are made up of isolated nutrients and synthetic ingredients, can actually build up in your fatty tissues and cause toxicity.

Most synthetic vitamins are derived from chemical compounds and other synthetic ingredients, the likes of which certainly aren’t found in nature.  For thousands of years, the human body has become adept at metabolizing and digesting foods found in nature and, because of that, your body prefers natural vitamins and ingredients (such as those found in whole foods) as opposed to the chemical compounds found in many synthetic vitamins and supplements.  And, believe it or not, the human body is smart enough to know the difference between natural vitamins and synthetic vitamins.

Synthetic Vitamin Problems

With some synthetic vitamins, the body is able to flush them out easily because of their water solubility.  In fact, when you take some synthetic vitamins, you may notice that your urine turns a bright yellow color, particularly with Vitamin B12.  Rest assured the body is doing its job: flushing out the excess that it can’t use.  But, while the body is flushing out the excess, the kidneys are also being taxed to remove that excess.   Additionally, some synthetic vitamins are made up of ingredients that have a low bioavailability, and your body is unable to utilize most of the nutrients, which means your money is, quite literally, flushed down the toilet.

In addition to the increased potential for toxicity when taking some synthetic vitamins, there’s also an increase potential for allergic reactions.  Since some synthetic vitamins are largely made up of chemicals, including nicotine and coal tars, some individuals may experience allergic reactions when taking them.

But, what about fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E & vitamin K?  Aren’t they always considered natural vitamins?  The simple answer is “NO”.  Fat-soluble vitamins can be chemically altered with synthetic ingredients in a laboratory, resulting in pure synthetic vitamins. And, because they are dissolved in fat instead of water, if you take more of these fat-soluble vitamins than your body can metabolize, they will be stored up within your fat cells.  Over time they can accumulate, resulting in toxicity and creating even more health problems for you!

The alternative to synthetic vitamins is clear: eat as many whole foods as possible and take only the finest natural vitamins.

Identifying The Finest Natural Vitamins

While the solution is simple, you may find yourself asking the question, “what exactly are natural vitamins?”  Unfortunately, that’s where the simplicity ends and the complexity begins.  While the label on a vitamin can reveal some vital information, it doesn’t always tell the whole story.  For example, many vitamins contain the label “natural”.  This can mislead many into thinking that the vitamin is made up entirely or even mostly of natural ingredients.  In fact, within the United States, this is simply untrue.   Vitamins can be labeled as natural by containing as little as 10% of the natural form of the vitamin.  That means the other 90% could contain purely synthetic, isolated nutrients.  Not nearly as natural as you thought, right?

Another label that can be misleading is the label, “organic”.  While many people consider products labeled organic to be vastly superior to those that aren’t organic, this isn’t always the case.  For example, some sources of Omega 3s can’t be certified organic – like fish oils.  And, if a vitamin contains Omega 3s from fish oils, it can’t be certified as entirely organic.  That doesn’t, however, mean the particular vitamin isn’t superior to the competition. It just takes a bit more investigative work to determine if they are among the finest natural vitamins and if they are superior to the competition.

Reading The Label

While labels can’t always tell the whole story, the ingredient labels should give you further insight into whether they are the finest natural vitamins or if they are made up of mostly synthetic ingredients.  The finest vitamins will most likely include a mix of natural and synthetic vitamins, chosen based on risk factors and bioavailability.  Look for the parenthesis after the listed ingredient which can help you tell what form the supplement uses.  To identify synthetic vitamins, look for words that begin with “dl” in the vitamin’s ingredients.  When an ingredient contains these letters, it is an indication that the vitamin is synthetic.  For example, “dl-alpha tocopherol” is one synthetic form of vitamin E.

By taking the best forms of vitamins – whether natural or synthetic, you allow the ingredients to work synergistically within your body, and allow the vitamins the best possible chance for producing the desired results in your life.

For more help in finding the right natural vitamin supplement for you feel free to contact us.

Ulthera or Thermage?

Which is better Ulthera or Thermage….I have followed both technologies since their inception, Thermage for about the last 10 to 12 years, and Ultherapy by Ulthera for the past 4 years.  Based on the science behind them and the patient satisfaction results, Ultherapy by Ulthera is a superior treatment.

Ultherapy by Ulthera is the only FDA approved device for both tightening and lifting of the muscles and skin of the face and neck, including the eye brows.  Ultherapy is the only technology available that uses ultrasound to heat the muscles and skin to create both deep and superficial collagen production.  The level of the treatment is visualized on an ultrasound screen to insure that the energy is being delivered to the proper level.

The muscle fascia or SMAS is targeted in the neck and face.  This is the same layer that s surgeons tighten when they perform surgical face lifts.  Ulthera energy goes deeper than any other energy device, 4.5 mm for the SMAS, and 3.5 mm for the deep skin collagen production.  The patient satisfaction rate with Ulthera is about 90% in the clinical studies.

Thermage is a radio frequency technology device that heats the skin and subcutaneous tissue superficially.  Although Thermage has been improved over the years, it’s main problems have been a very high patient dissatisfaction rate (up to 66%), and a very painful patient experience.  Ulthera can cause discomfort as well, but if patients are enduring pain, they appreciate a result that they can notice.

Ultherapy, featured in Vogue, is a safe and effective non-invasive ultrasound (US) treatment that can lift and tighten facial skin and muscle without downtime.  According to Catherine Piercy, author of the well written Vogue article, “Ulthera…is making it much easier to imagine a world in which hooded lids, falling cheeks, and lazy jaw lines can be treated without a single incision”.

Originally FDA approved for lifting eyebrows non-surgically,Ulthera’s unique state of the art technology is now used to lift and tighten the face, neck, and other areas of the body.  It has successfully treated the lines along the upper lip that are most difficult to treat with injectables.

Ultherapy is performed in the office with only ultrasound gel applied to the skin.   An ultrasound screen image allows the technician  to visualize the level of treatment before US energy is applied to the targeted tissue.  The treatment takes from 45 to 90 minutes depending on the area(s) treated.  Cost also depends on the areas treated.

What about the discomfort level?  Again from Ms. Piercy in Vogue, “If anything, Ultherapy’s greatest drawback may be the pain factor, which ranges from a hot prickling sensation to short but intense bursts of discomfort”.  Patients can be given oral medications or local anesthetic nerve block injections if needed, but the majority of Ulthera patients are able to tolerate a properly performed treatment with a topical numbing cream.

Although many patients see immediate lifting results, the ultimate results do not happen overnight, but gradually over time.  It can take up to 2-3 months for optimal rejuvenation.   Ulthera has been used for close to 2 years.  Some patients treated 1 1/2  to 2 years ago are now returning for second treatments.  Though they still appear improved from their pre-treatment “before” photos, most desire further improvement, further turning back the hands of time.  Patients feel and notice the tightening to the point of being satisfied. After two years of personal research and due diligence about the clinical benefits of Ulthera, as well as being impressed by the findings and experience of worldwide  respected cosmetic physicians, I  decided to add Ulthera to our practice 2 years ago.  We have been overwhelmingly pleased with the results as have our patients.  As with all cosmetic treatments, results will vary depending on the skill,experience, and aesthetic sense of the treating physician, physician’s assistant, nurse, or staff member.  Results will also depend on proper diagnosis and patient selection.  Side effects may include some bruising, swelling, and a feeling of tightness in the days after the procedure.

Ultherapy by Ulthera has been recently featured  on Dr. Oz, The Doctors,as well as on Real Self reviews, links which you may access for further information about this amazing state of the art technology.


Dieting- finding the right science for your body

Dieting,Meal Plans,and the Junk in Between

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

Therefore science is only OBSERVATION by definition. Facts are only facts until more information is gathered and theory now becomes the new replacing “fact”

So many people are so caught up in the right ways and wrong ways to diet. They lose sight of the value of the vast array of information that we have at our disposal. This information is sure to point in one direction. There is no perfect direction that works for every human being on the planet. (Excluding my own biblical beliefs)

Dieting for a competitive fitness athlete vs Dieting for a non competitive fitness athlete.

Let’s start with macro nutrients.
Protein,fat,carbohydrate,(sugar). Most people process protein equally. There are people who can process protein faster, and in greater amounts than others. Usually through genetics or supplementation.
Fat is slightly more complicated. In order for our body to lose body fat, we must take in certain types and amounts of healthy fats. Otherwise our body will refuse to let go of it’s highly valued fat. (Fat is our most efficient source of energy)
Carbohydrates are the most complicated of them all. Some people process carbs perfectly fine. Some people are carb sensitive. Some people just don’t thrive on a traditional carbohydrate in general. Depending on genetics, origin, nutritional history. All affecting our ability to process carbohydrates. In most cases our hormonal response to carbs is out of wack for one reason or the other. All carbs are not equal. Glycemic index basically ranks by speed of conversion how fast carbs turn into sugar. Which in turn decides calorie storage or use.
Sugar, I give sugar it’s own category because of it’s extreme affect on our society. Sugar is the largest contributor to our obesity epidemic. It’s causes more issues than I care to discuss for this piece. The basic idea I’d like to show is sugar tells your body to store energy (fat) as fast as possible.

Now that we have a basic concept of macro nutrients, let’s move forward into micro nutrients. As far as health is concerned, we should be far more focused here. Micro nutrients are vitamins & minerals that are essential (required). Not only for optimal health but optimal performance for our circulatory system. Which is the system that transports all nutrients. If our micros are off then our macros become only guess work. I won’t go into great detail for the lack of most attention spans. Basically if your macros are not packing your micros you will struggle in more than just weight loss.

I suggest three films if you really want the education. (Food inc, Food matters, Sugar, the bitter truth)

Dieting for competition is an extreme. It can be done safely, but there are many different methods. I like to categorize them as so.

Hormonal Response


Caloric Intake

Hormonal response is basically recognizing that Protein burns fat, healthy fat burns fat, and carbohydrates have the ability to store fat. Although over consumption of any of the three can cause weight gain, and disease. For most people completely cutting out carbs for long periods of time can cause damage. The damage comes not from lack of carbs but transitioning at extreme rates. Not replacing your bodies need for external energy. Also not supplying with sufficient micro nutrients. Ketosis is very powerful but should be used in moderation in most cases. Most hormonal response diets are carb cycle diets. A simple search on google will explain both Ketosis and carb cycling if you are interested.


This strategy is gaining quick popularity because of it’s great variety in food choices. It works really well in a body that is well balanced in it’s hormonal response. (Insulin production and timing being the key). The misconceptions about this diet are prevalent in both supporters and those who appose the IIFYM strategy. If you have a carb sensitivity through genetics or self inflicted damage to receptors this diet can pose some undesired roadblocks. IIFYM is not solely based on caloric intake. 1500 calories in twinkles is not aligned with this theories approach. It is based on specific amounts of protein,fats,and carbs. As basic as that seems many who appose the theory don’t understand that basic concept. On the other side the supporters promote the variety and ease. Which in cases can prolong the lack of discipline and food addiction that has gotten so out of control. Again a quick google search can give the guidelines to this strategy

Caloric intake

This is the theory of calories in calories out. Which is often mistaken for IIFYM. This is where IIFYM gets most of it’s negative response. Many studies have shown that if you stay in a caloric deficit no matter the food type (twinkies for example), you will lose weight. This by no means says you will be healthy or look healthy or attractive. It just means the scale will change. I won’t spend time on this approach. DONT DO IT!!!

Although I have my opinion on what works best, I’ll let you come up with your own conclusion. Just kidding

For competitors or non competitors I like to start with a short Ketosis 1-3 weeks to a carb cycle to a carb back load to a macro nutrition calorie count. When getting closer to a competition i get really strict on protein choice, carb choice and veggies. In some cases all the way back to a Ketosis (low to no carb diet.)

For non-competitors I won’t get as strict because we don’t have a date to peak out.
As far as health risk. What are we comparing? The average American diet? A healthy balanced diet? I guess we really have no generality to compare it to. My theory is this, keep your vitamins and minerals where they need to be and you can play with your macro count. Observe how your body reacts and adjust if needed.
When going to the extreme of a show diet, taking it all the way down to extremely low body fat. Taking it down to really low macro nutrients. It’s imperative to understand adaption of hormones.
Example: If you take pain killers and become addicted, you body will stop producing certain hormones. If you just quit cold turkey, you will have some extreme consequences. In some cases death.
So in the case of dieting, if you over load your body with hormonal response (insulin overload) after a long period of time of controlling it. You will have tremendous hardship. Your body will react in crazy ways. Extreme water retention, adrenal fatigue, “metabolic damage” ect.  So we stair step into extreme diets and stair step out. (Reverse dieting) (water reloading)

To sum it up, people all over the world react different to food choice both mentally and physically. Our society is made up with an extremely dynamic culture. So many different physical responses to food because of size, origin, genetics, habits, disease and so on. Focus on finding what works rather than what’s comfortable. Be mindful and observant of how your body is reacting. If you have any influence at all in other peoples life, never stop absorbing information. Not just information proving your theory, but all information. Otherwise you may miss out on some great truth. For the people who argue about healthy balanced diets. Sometimes you have to trade just a little bit of healthy for a whole lot of hot. The argument spurs from a subconscious rejection of your new choice not lining up with their vision of you. People are very uncomfortable with you doing what they are not. That’s a whole other topic. I hope this gives at least a topical view of
Dieting, Meal Plans,and the Junk in Between

by Justin Blevins

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