Dr. Coplin’s Writing

Anxiety and sleeping pills 'linked to dementia'

  • By lemaster
  • 12 Mar, 2016
New research is showing that long term use of sleep and anti-anxiety medication predisposes the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The drugs we're talking about here are benzodiazepines, known as diazepam, clonazepam, and lorazepam (among others). This class of drug works by enhancing the neuron receptor binding and effect of GABA, a sedative neurotransmitter.  Once on the receptor sight, GABA will work to calm the body, alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. But now researchers are asking, do these drugs have a long term adverse effect to the mental status of the person taking them. Simply put, do they lead to dementia?

The answer is not entirely clear. One thing for sure is that patients who have been experiencing anxiety or insomnia and have medicated with benzodiazepines are experiencing higher rates of Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's like dementia. The question becomes, are the drugs causing the dementia, or does having the symptoms that are being medicated by the drugs signal a disposition?

Regardless, this raises an excellent point which Naturopathic healthcare is expertly poised to address. Pharmaceutical drugs, though incredibly effective for short term or emergency interventions, are absolutely ineffective at treating a long-term, or chronic illness. Rather than providing actual solutions to the underlying cause of symptoms, as naturopathic healthcare does, pharmaceutical drugs simply mask the symptoms. As we see with the example of benzodiazepines and dementia, the long-term masking of a symptom can lead to results more destructive than the original symptom.

This is the fundamental difference between conventional pharmaceutical management of disease and the naturopathic healthcare approach to the healing of a disease. In the example discussed, the drug will take the anxiety away, it will help get you hours of sleep. However, the disturbance – the underlying cause behind the anxiety or the insomnia –remains, and may in fact be silently creating issues that do not manifest until years later, in this case as irreversible dementia. Symptoms are always a warning sign pointing to something deeper. Just because the drug is good at taking away the sign does not mean it can take away the danger at which the sign was pointing.

Naturopathic healthcare provides actual solutions to the underlying cause of the symptoms. The cause may be a hormonal imbalance, unmanaged stress, an overburdened toxic system, a nutritional deficiency, or unregulated inflammation – very likely, the symptoms are caused a combination of those factors. Whatever the cause is, healing it at the root is the only way to ensure long-term successful treatment.

Whatever your symptoms may be, an in-depth examination at my office can help to unlock their underlying causes, and initiate a treatment that sets you up for optimal health in the years to come. The treatments I use are all based in restoring function to the body, balancing the neurochemistry and biochemistry through nutritional pre-loading, and removing the triggers of persistent inflammation.

Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals are being used for the long term treatment of many chronic diseases, as with benzodiazepine use and Alzheimer's – which, as we’ve now seen, leads to troubling long term results. Without proper treatment of the underlying cause of symptoms, the disturbance to the body will find another (and typically more devastating) expression. There are many conditions today that are treatable and reversible without the use of pharmaceuticals. Call my office to set up a free consultation, and we’ll discuss a pharmaceutical-free plan for your care.
By lemaster 12 Mar, 2016
For years the detrimental effects of aspartame and other non-caloric artificial sweeteners have been preached about by those of us in the natural health world. Althoug h it seemed like a good idea at the time (calories = fat; fat = bad therefore 0 calories = good), new evidence is showing that the mechanism for why we MUST avoid ALL non-caloric sweeteners is more complex and broad reaching than originally thought.

In a new study released in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the GI flora of mice was examined and found to alter with the use of non-caloric sweeteners. This altered GI flora creates conditions within the body of the mice that actually make glucose harder to take into the cell. What does that all mean? Non-caloric sweeteners are causing glucose intolerance; Diet Coke is CAUSING diabetes!

In the past I have written about, and if you have come in to my office you have certainly heard me preach about the benefits of a healthy intestinal flora. The microbiome of our GI system is foundational in setting us up for long term health and avoiding many chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and even cancer!

But newer research has noted that the quality of our GI flora may also contribute to our ability to lose weight! Bad bacteria lead to weight gain! The new metric can thus be: artificial sweetener = bad bacteria, bad bacteria = fat, artificial sweeteners = fat! We are probably a long way off before Coca-cola loses a law suit regarding the false advertising claims of their “diet” drinks, but I hope you can see why putting these chemically derived sweeteners into your body actually predisposes you to a host of terrible health challenges.

And whats more?? The bacteria in our GI system actually have influence on our cravings. This means that, when we cultivate a healthy microbiome, rich with diverse probiotics that feed of fiber rich vegetables, healthy vitamin rich fats and complex mineral dense carbohydrates, we begin to crave these foods more and more. BUT, when we have an altered microbiome from over exposure to diet coke and other non-caloric sweeteners, the bacteria in our GI actually trick our brains into craving these things more and more. The altered microbiome has you addicted to and craving for diet coke!

Fortunately there is a lot you can do. The first and foremost step – stop it already with the diet coke! It just aint worth it! After that, rebuilding your microbiome to serve your highest health is a process that can successfully begin. I can send out for tests from my office that will give us a profile of all the bacteria in your intestinal microbiome. From there we can create a tailored herbal regimen to eradicate the non-helpful strains of bacteria. As we do this we can rebuild the GI terrain and recolonize with the best in organ specific nutrients, and strong researched probiotic intensive therapy. A series of in-office biophysical treatments will ensure that the circulation of blood and the nerve function of the GI tract is restored to its highest function to best support this process . After having dealt with the pro-inflammatory, diet-coke mutated bacteria world, a strong start is the best way to ensure success.

I also encourage all my patients to maintain their GI microbiome relationship and health through a home practice of eating lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha. It is my deepest pleasure when I can share a bite of wild sauerkraut or some home-brew kombucha that my patients bring into their visits. Drop me a line for some ideas on how to start your own ferments today. And steer clear of the diet drinks, you never get something for nothing in this world!
By lemaster 12 Mar, 2016
New research is showing that long term use of sleep and anti-anxiety medication predisposes the development of Alzheimer's disease.

The drugs we're talking about here are benzodiazepines, known as diazepam, clonazepam, and lorazepam (among others). This class of drug works by enhancing the neuron receptor binding and effect of GABA, a sedative neurotransmitter.  Once on the receptor sight, GABA will work to calm the body, alleviating the symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. But now researchers are asking, do these drugs have a long term adverse effect to the mental status of the person taking them. Simply put, do they lead to dementia?

The answer is not entirely clear. One thing for sure is that patients who have been experiencing anxiety or insomnia and have medicated with benzodiazepines are experiencing higher rates of Alzheimer's and Alzheimer's like dementia. The question becomes, are the drugs causing the dementia, or does having the symptoms that are being medicated by the drugs signal a disposition?

Regardless, this raises an excellent point which Naturopathic healthcare is expertly poised to address. Pharmaceutical drugs, though incredibly effective for short term or emergency interventions, are absolutely ineffective at treating a long-term, or chronic illness. Rather than providing actual solutions to the underlying cause of symptoms, as naturopathic healthcare does, pharmaceutical drugs simply mask the symptoms. As we see with the example of benzodiazepines and dementia, the long-term masking of a symptom can lead to results more destructive than the original symptom.

This is the fundamental difference between conventional pharmaceutical management of disease and the naturopathic healthcare approach to the healing of a disease. In the example discussed, the drug will take the anxiety away, it will help get you hours of sleep. However, the disturbance – the underlying cause behind the anxiety or the insomnia –remains, and may in fact be silently creating issues that do not manifest until years later, in this case as irreversible dementia. Symptoms are always a warning sign pointing to something deeper. Just because the drug is good at taking away the sign does not mean it can take away the danger at which the sign was pointing.

Naturopathic healthcare provides actual solutions to the underlying cause of the symptoms. The cause may be a hormonal imbalance, unmanaged stress, an overburdened toxic system, a nutritional deficiency, or unregulated inflammation – very likely, the symptoms are caused a combination of those factors. Whatever the cause is, healing it at the root is the only way to ensure long-term successful treatment.

Whatever your symptoms may be, an in-depth examination at my office can help to unlock their underlying causes, and initiate a treatment that sets you up for optimal health in the years to come. The treatments I use are all based in restoring function to the body, balancing the neurochemistry and biochemistry through nutritional pre-loading, and removing the triggers of persistent inflammation.

Unfortunately, pharmaceuticals are being used for the long term treatment of many chronic diseases, as with benzodiazepine use and Alzheimer's – which, as we’ve now seen, leads to troubling long term results. Without proper treatment of the underlying cause of symptoms, the disturbance to the body will find another (and typically more devastating) expression. There are many conditions today that are treatable and reversible without the use of pharmaceuticals. Call my office to set up a free consultation, and we’ll discuss a pharmaceutical-free plan for your care.
By lemaster 12 Mar, 2016
This past couple of weeks I have watched as all over the internet, friends, family members, celebrities and politicians alike, have taken action to show their support for ALS research.

The challenge – post a video of yourself getting doused by a bucket of icy cold water.

Though it seems shocking and is perceived as an extreme thing to do to one's self, ice water actually has an incredible health benefit. Cold water therapies are a crucial part of the full spectrum of biophysical treatments that naturopathic doctors use to activate and encourage the physiologic regulation and biochemical stimulation of our patients. As a naturopath, every treatment I use for my patients is geared toward this end of activating the organs, purifying the blood and regulating the nervous energy of their system. Hydrotherapy is a gentle and powerful way of activating these systems; gentle in application, powerful in effect.

Cold water therapies stem from the Bavarian tradition of Wasser-Kur (water cure). This therapy was made popular by a farmer by the name of Vincenz Priessnitz. Priessnitz observed, at the edge of his farm an injured stag would return to a cold stream every day in order to soak in the cold water. After many days of doing this, the stag emerged from the cold water healed, and bounded off. Later, after sustaining a major injury himself and being written off by the regional physicians, Priessnitz remembered this experience and would treat himself with wraps of cold water, completely healing his “incurable” injury. He went on to share this treatment, which grew into a large center where people of all classes from all over Europe, would come to take the cure.

Father Sebastian Kneipp, a priest from the region, further systematized this treatment, and made it popular with his book, My Water Cure. His institution was also widely popular, successfully curing thousands of patients with a wide variety of complicated illnesses. Kneipp trained the physicians who would eventually bring the system to the United States, where under the influence of the evolving scientific field, it emerged as modern naturopathic medicine.

So, you ask, how exactly is the Ice Bucket Challenge going to keep me healthy? The fact is you already know! Everyone has had a hard morning at one time or another. You know the morning I am talking about, up early to catch a flight or help a friend move, compounded with a late night previously. As you fell asleep you did some quick math convincing yourself that you might just get one REM cycle, and anyway you could catch up on the ZZZ's on the plane/passenger seat of your friend's truck.... anyway, that first action as you groggily admire your bed head in the bathroom mirror is to splash some cold water on your face. Invigorating, is usually the qualifier used to describe this experience, and rightly so. The cold water creates a temporary shock to the system, that wakes you up, stimulates the circulation and activates the nerves. You feel awake, vital and alive.

Short cold water immersions, a la the ice bucket challenge, can act in much the same way, although when applied to the whole body the action is more global. This means that the entire system, all the nerves, the circulatory system and the organs are shocked into a higher state of alert. The magic is in what happens next...

After you do a brief cold water immersion, your body is jump started into action to counter act the cold water. In doing so all sorts of reflex reactions take place and continue on well after the cold water is no longer. This includes, immune stimulation, hormone balancing, nervous relaxation, increased organ function and better circulation and detoxification. Hydrotherapy treatments in my office are aimed at just this. With regular and ongoing treatment, sick bodies are guided back into correct physiologic functioning. Added to this treatment are herbal, nutritional, vitamin and mineral components specifically chosen to support the regaining of optimal biophysical function.

The best part of water therapy is, you can do it at home as part of your daily routine! I have all my patients, as part of their ongoing total health program, end their showers with a cold rinse. Ideally your shower will look like this.....

Warm up, soap up, rinse, cold rinse for 30 seconds making sure to get the arm pits, groin, and lower back over the kidneys and adrenal glands. Then repeat (with out without soap – your call) two more times for a total of thee cold rinses. End the shower on cold, and you can skip your morning coffee or tea! Every one of my patients says the same thing – Doc, I was very skeptical when you told me to do this. In fact, it took me a week to work up the courage. But, you know, I did it, I do it every day, and now I love it! The cold doesn’t even bother me anymore!

It really works. The cold shower makes you feel vital and energized, makes weather variations less severe, and serves as one of the best preventive measures against cold and flu season that I know of!

In fact, a German study followed two groups of medical students (who are categorically known for having stress induced poor immune function). One group did the shower I described above every day, the other did not. Well, basically, one group got sick and the other did not. Can you guess which one was which?

In my office there are a lot of ways this treatment is modified and specified to treat various conditions. But as a prevention method for getting sick, and as part of an optimal health program, the hot/cold shower is something you can start today!
By lemaster 12 Mar, 2016
I just completed an intensive multi-seasonal mentorship with Will Morris, master pulse diagnostician.

By attuning to slight variations in different positions of the radial pulse, pathologies of different organs and different regions of the body present themselves, sometimes even before the symptoms of that pathology are present.

With the insight of what the pulse has to reveal, great specificity is used to determine which herbs will combine in a formula to best suit your health needs.

The lineage of pulse reading I was trained in has been passed down through families for many generations and predates the Chinese communist revolution and it's effect on Chinese medicine. This has allowed for the information to be transmitted in "the old way," and for that information to take deep root.

I have a lot of gratitude for my teacher, and his teachers, and the lineage bearers before them. I look forward to being able to offer this old way of healing in my office. Come by to see what your pulse reveals about your inner universe.
By lemaster 12 Mar, 2016
Many people hear the term "elimination diet" and immediately think, I won't be able to eat anything!

In my practice I term this treatment the Illumination Diet. The true nature of this diet is to shed light on how foods react with our individualized biochemistry. Once we are able to identify hidden dietary triggers of persistent inflammation, and immune system dysregulation, the foundational work for reversing and healing many chronic ailments can begin. Often times this intervention is the difference between a lifetime of managing an illness and the beginning of a life lead towards optimal health.

I am a lover of quality food, both from the farm and on the plate. The illumination diet does not need to be boring in order to work.

Pictured here is a dinner of braised lamb chops over a roasted cauliflower mash with a side of kale-cashew butter. Completely on the program and completely delicious.

Stay tuned for more creative and delicious ideas for eating well on the program. Make an appointment to come in and talk with me about how the illumination diet can be a powerful tool for your own health.
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