About Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin is the office manager at Texas Spine & Wellness. She often blogs about alternative medical care and nutrition. She is an ardent supporter of chiropractic medicine and uses chiropractic treatment not only for herself, but for her pets as well!

    Find more about me on:
  • googleplus

Here are my most recent posts

Author Archive for Kerrin Kuntzman – Page 2

Sleep Deprivation and Heart Health – A Serious Link

Our busy lifestyles often leave us little time for rest, which has resulted in a major change in sleep patterns. Now people sleep an hour to two hours less than they did just 50 years ago. While some people might consider this great for productivity, it’s not a good situation for our health. Recent research indicates there’s a link between those shorter hours of sleep and an increased potential to develop heart disease.

Man with sleep deprivationIn the United States, heart disease is reported to be the leading cause of death and disability, with strokes being the number 4 cause. A major threat factor in both cases is high blood pressure.

The lack of sleep—or prolonged sleep—isn’t necessarily the cause of heart disease, but it definitely affects the heart disease risk factors in terms of arrhythmia, stroke and heart failure.

These are the kinds of statistics that research has revealed about sleep deprivation:

  • A 48% increase in the risk of getting or dying from coronary heart disease (CHD);
  • A 15% risk increase in developing or dying from stroke;
  • Interestingly, there is also a 38% risk increase of CHD in people who sleep too much, such as nine or more hours a night!

Just like the rest of your body, your heart needs rest. It never stops beating, so resting that reduces the heart rate and blood pressure is essential to its health.

Sleep Regulates Your Health!

While you sleep, your body regulates insulin levels, hormone levels,including stress hormones, and blood pressure. When you don’t get enough sleep it throws all of those things out of sync.

It’s those hormone levels, in particular, which affect your appetite and energy. When those decrease because you’re tired, you have a greater chance for weight gain, the development of insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collection of physiological and biochemical abnormalities associated with initiating cardiovascular disease. This is because it triggers inflammation, and studies have shown that inflammation causes high blood pressure. This explains why the risk of stroke or heart attack shoots up when you don’t get enough sleep.

If you already have a heart problem, even short-term sleep deficit is shown to be harmful. The effect of daylight saving time, which strips away that extra hour of additional sleep in spring, is known to increase the risk for heart attacks by a surprising 4%!

The depth of your sleep is also important. Along with shorter sleep, shallow sleep can result in hypertension. Without long periods of deep rest, the important chemicals needed to keep the heart rate and blood pressure lowered, aren’t activated. So, the longer you sleep deeply, the better rested you are and the better your heart feels.

Sleep Apnea

Not everyone suffers from sleep apnea, but the manner in which the condition affects heart health is one of the reasons the “sleep and hearth health” link has been identified.

Sleep apnea causes snoring and gasping for breath while a person sleeps. That condition results in the heart rate increasing, a rise in blood pressure, and frequently disrupted sleep. All of the bodily functions that normally slow down at night are forced to continue operating at a higher rate of activity. Over time, the higher blood pressure carries over into the day. Some researchers believe at least one-third of identified cases of high blood pressure among adults are due to sleep apnea. As mentioned above, high blood pressure during the day increases the chance for cardiovascular issues.

Sleep Deprivation Catches Up with You

No one intentionally decides they just aren’t going to get enough sleep. Even night owls require down time to rejuvenate, and people who thrive on activity and long hours are forced to sleep whether they want to or not. But in many cases it’s simply difficult to fall asleep, or to stay asleep when you finally manage to drift off. That can be due to external factors, such as work, children, emergencies, a middle-of-the-night phone call, a restless partner or pet, an uncomfortable bed, or to internal factors such as worry, anxiety, bad dreams, depression, excitement, or sundry other mental intrusions.

A lack of sleep causes “sleep debt,” which isn’t unlike being overdrawn at your bank. It catches up with your body, and your body won’t let you go without repaying the debt. People don’t adapt to getting less sleep. Eventually all of your functions are impaired and you have to react.

Here are a few tips to help with sleep issues:

  • Get a little exercise during the day
  • Keep regular bedtime hours
  • Refrain from late night snacks; especially caffeine and alcohol
  • Keep your bedroom dark and quiet
  • Limit your use electronics such as a tablet or a cell phone

If you need extra help, a cup of soothing herbal tea, accompanied by a a small dose (1 to 3 mg.) of melatonin may help you fall asleep.

There is an Irish proverb that says “A good laugh and good sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.” An excellent perspective to embrace in order to keep your heart healthy!

The Causes of Osteoporosis and Natural Prevention Tips

More than 54 million people suffer low bone mass and osteoporosis in the United States. To some extent it’s a preventable condition, but if someone is affected and the condition is allowed to progress, it can lead to a bent posture, which means a loss of height, sometimes a humpback, and often acute pain.

What is osteoporosis?

image of osteoporosisIf you aren’t familiar with osteoporosis, let’s define it. It’s a disease that results in the loss of bone strength to the extent that broken bones become a real risk! Although anyone can be susceptible, for the elderly, osteoporosis has become the main cause for broken bones. Weight-bearing bones in the hip, back, and forearm are most susceptible. Breaks in these important bones wreak havoc on a person’s mobility.

Unfortunately, symptoms often don’t appear until a bone actually breaks. A bone can become so weak, it may snap with very minor stress, or even spontaneously. Obviously, when that occurs, the person who has such a break experiences prolonged pain and difficulty performing their daily activities.

Causes of osteoporosis

Here are some of the conditions that create weakened bones:

  • Inactivity
  • Aging
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Long-term use of certain medications
  • Steroid use
  • Low vitamin D levels
  • Emotional stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies

There are additional risk factors, including but not limited to:

  • Gender – More women are at risk of contraction osteoporosis than men
  • Age – Older people are more susceptible than younger people
  • Body size – Smaller and thinner people are at greater risk
  • Ethnicity and family history – If relatives historically had a low bone mass, a person has an increased potential for developing osteoporosis.
  • Lifestyle and food choices – Lifestyle can affect bone mass. Bad habits such as smoking, an immoderate intake of caffeine or alcohol, and too little exercise can also affect bone strength.
  • Medical conditions – Some medical conditions contribute to bone loss, including Cushing’s syndrome, hyperthyroidism, and hyperparathyroidism.

Foods for Osteoporosis

woman receiving treatment for osteoporosisEating right plays a big part in avoiding bone loss. If certain important minerals and vitamins are missing from your diet, that could result in osteoporosis. Important nutrients that keep bones strong and healthy include calcium, magnesium, zinc and copper, manganese, and vitamins D, C, and K.

Below you’ll find a breakdown of nutrients that are essential to fighting osteoporosis and the foods that contain them. Adding these minerals to your diet will help to strengthen your bones.

  • Calcium is the body’s most plentiful mineral, with the greatest percentage of it it going to our bones. Ingesting enough calcium aids in reducing bone loss between 30% to 50%. Calcium-rich foods include: broccoli, kelp, kale, turnips, collard greens, sardines, almonds, soy beans, sesame seeds, chia seeds, beans, oranges, milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, Bok Choy, oatmeal, Cheerios, tofu, and eggs.
  • Magnesium helps increase bone density. Magnesium has been mostly removed from processed foods, so if you eat many processed foods you aren’t getting enough magnesium. Interestingly, since magnesium works with calcium, it’s necessary to eat an appropriate ratio of the two minerals. A 2:1 ratio of calcium-to-magnesium is a good approach. Magnesium-rich foods include: brown rice, corn, buckwheat, dark green vegetables, Dandelion greens, legumes, nuts (cashew, Brazil, almonds), rye, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ/bran, and whole grain cereals.
  • Zinc deficiency can cause bone loss, and copper is involved in the skeletal systems growth and development. These minerals need to be balanced in your diet. The recommendation is that 30mg of zinc should be balanced with 2mg of copper. Zinc-rich foods include: peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, oats, pumpkin seeds, rye, split peas, and oysters. Copper-rich foods include: crab, liver, buckwheat, peanut butter, mushrooms, split peas, seeds and nuts, and vegetable oils (olive and sunflower).
  •  Manganese benefits healthy bone structure, and one symptom of a deficiency is bone malformation. It’s found naturally in the body, and is concentrated in the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and bones. Manganese-rich foods include: almonds, bananas, beetroot, blackberries, brown rice, carrots, cloves, coconuts, cucumbers, figs, garlic, green beans, green vegetables, grapes, hazelnuts, kiwis, leeks, lettuce, molasses, mustard greens, nuts, oats, peppermint, pineapples, raspberries, rice, spinach, strawberries, tofu, tropical fruits, turmeric, watercress, and whole wheat. The five bolded foods are extra good because they maximize manganese absorption.
  • Vitamin D is required to draw calcium into the bones. The body synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight, but not everyone gets enough sunlight to generate the amount of vitamin D needed. Vitamin D deficiency can result in bone deformities. Vitamin D-rich foods include: tuna, mackerel, herring, catfish, salmon, mushrooms, some orange juices, milk, egg yolk, cod liver oil, pork, tofu, caviar, fortified cereals, beef liver, and ricotta cheese.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps increase bone density because it promotes higher calcium absorption. Vitamin C-rich foods include: oranges, limes, grapefruit, lemons, papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cantaloupe, kiwis, strawberries, pineapple, red chili peppers, Guavas, red cabbage, raspberries, apples, pears, chard, leafy greens (turnips, collard, mustard, and beet), tomatoes, spinach, asparagus, green beans, peas, watermelon, summer squash, sweet potato, carrots, and more.
  • Vitamin K binds calcium and other minerals to bones, promoting bone strength. A daily dosage of 150 mcg is recommended; too high a dose can result in sweating. Also, avoid vitamin K if you take warfarin as a blood thinner. Vitamin K-rich foods include: eggs, kale, chick peas, broccoli, seeds, Brussels sprouts, dairy products, cauliflower, and vegetable oils (canola and olive).

Supplements for osteoporosis

How important are supplements for folks who don’t like many of the nutrient-rich foods identified, or—even for those who do like them—don’t always have enough time to eat a good meal? High-risk groups, including the elderly, should definitely take supplements to be certain they’re getting the needed nutrients for healthy bones. Anyone else, who knows they’re not sticking to a good diet, should consider supplements to take up the nutritional slack. You can add extra minerals to your diet with this supplement, or pick up the necessary nutrients in one fell swoop with a good multivitamin .

At our Garland Chiropractic Clinic, we have the expertise and desire to help our patients, old and new, achieve optimal fitness. And, because we’re a chiropractic clinic, we have an investment in—and a special fondness for—bone and skeletal health. Allow us to aid you in achieving that skeletal health by creating a regimen of nutrition and exercise that will enable you to develop and maintain strong bones free of osteoporosis. You can contact us at (972) 840-2520.

Want to Protect Your Heart? Eat Red Meat Like Grandpa Used To

By now, if you follow the latest diet trends you might be a little confused. What’s the best way to eat if you want to be healthy? Should you follow a low fat, high carb diet or just the opposite? Should you eat like a caveman or live on protein shakes?

If you’ve always thought that Grandpa and Grandma ate what they wanted to and seemed to do just fine — you may be right.

image of a grilled steakOver the decades, many medical experts have led us to think that red meat, whole milk, eggs and bacon are enemies to good health and a healthy heart. But are these deeply ingrained beliefs really accurate?

It doesn’t seem so. A meta analysis (a review of research about previous research) of almost 400 studies indicate that saturated fat rich foods like beef and full fat dairy won’t increase your risk for heart disease..(1)

Another study, executed by the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Pennsylvania State University between 2007 and early 2009, showed that a daily serving (between 4 and 5.5 ounces of lean beef) actually reduced cholesterol levels when eaten alongside a healthy diet consisting of vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

Grass-fed beef delivers superior benefits

To ensure you’re getting the highest quality beef, look for grass fed and grass finished beef. The fat in cattle raised under these conditions delivers three to five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a powerful fatty acid, than the CLA in grain feed cattle.

CLA is also found in raw, grass-fed dairy.

The proven benefits of conjugated linoleic acid include:

  • Improvements in long-term weight management
  • lowered inflammation within the body
  • improvements in insulin resistance
  • reduction of tumor size in patients who have cancer
  • lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels

In addition to CLA, grass feed beef has higher levels of certain vitamins including vitamin E, thiamin and riboflavin and is higher in omega 3 fatty acids.

As for whole fat dairy, a frothy glass of ice cold whole milk could also benefit your heart. That’s because the calcium in the milk helps to lower blood pressure and the vitamin K2, found in whole milk has artery protecting benefits. Organic whole milk is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. And if you eat raw cheese, you’ll tap into even more of the benefits of conjugated linoleic acid.

So back to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s diet. (For you twenty and thirty year olds, you may need to think back one more generation.) If you’re like me, you may remember a relative who lived to a ripe old age. In my case, it was my grandmother, who lived to be one month shy of 98. She was very healthy, never fussed over her cholesterol levels and ate what she wanted to.

So what was the difference with this generation of healthy 70, 80 and 90 year olds? The answer seems pretty simple.

Your Nana and PawPaw, and my grandmother, ate lots of home cooked food, including meats, vegetables and whole grains. My grandmother started off each morning with yogurt and fresh fruit.

What they didn’t do was eat a shopping carts worth of highly processed foods like potato chips and crackers each week. Neither did they supplement their daily meals with McDonalds and Taco Bell. And if you were to monitor their sugar consumption, you’d probably find that they drank less soda pop and ate fewer desserts.

Vegetables were a stable of their diet. And exercise was a natural part of their daily routines, whether it took the form of gardening, raking leaves or walking to the store.

We know that it’s hard to let go of long held beliefs, so If you’re still afraid that a steak might not be good for you, then follow the American Heart Association recommendations — 6 ounces of lean meat a day. Lean cuts include chuck, loin, sirloin or round. In the context of healthy eating, there’s nothing wrong with adding red meat and whole fat dairy in moderation to your diet.

So, if you’re craving a succulent grilled steak, go fire up the grill. And if you’re accompanying that steak with a baked potato you might try adding some grated raw milk cheddar cheese to the top.

Go ahead, live a little! You deserve it.