Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

Heart Healthy Living in Functional Medicine Style (2)


As mentioned in the previous weeks on my homepage, the functional medicine conference provided those of us who attended with more inspiration, science, and supportive tools for addressing the root cause of disease specific for the individual. After attending the conference, I'm still in awe of how Functional Medicine never ceases to explain or leave behind any individuals labeled "medical mysteries".  (Please visit my homepage for this week's discussion on functional medicine and how it addresses biochemical individualized medicine).

Dr. Houston, as well as all our other mentors and presenters at the conference, spoke of these medical outliers who feel like they are "oversensitive" to the world. These individuals may experience annoying, unexplained, and negative reactions to medicines, strange responses to environmental stimuli, and seemingly disconnected symptoms. We learned from these geniuses that these people are just annoying patients who like to be sick, but those who need the holistic mind-body-biochemical approach that functional medicine offers.

As far as the cardiovascular topic, Dr. Houston awestruck his audience when he was able to provide scientific evidence and biochemical explanations between the gaps in treatment outcomes based on serum cholesterol, lipid, and inflammatory markers.  One example left me with my mouth, "catching flies!"

Dr. Houston gave us the evidence on why those with low LDL and lipids may still experience heart disease and why those with high lipid panels may actually be at a lower risk!  This had more to do than just the amount of cholesterol in the blood, or in lipid particle size (with smaller sizes more likely to clog the vessels). Heart dysfunction was created by "infinite insults" with three finite results (inflammation, oxidative damage, and immune dysfunction). Our job as Functional medicine doctors was to find what infinite insult created these three finite results that caused cholesterol in one's body to be a risk factor for disease! We have to ask how the biological environment is interacting with an active infection, blood sugar imbalance, environmental toxins, or other triggers that  are causing these negative changes on the vasculature.

Below is an article highlighted by Dr. Mercola on one factor in heart disease, getting the right kind of fat in your diet.

Less Saturated Fat in Your Diet = Higher Risk of Heart Disease (Dr. Mercola)

Since the introduction of low-fat foods, heart disease rates have progressively climbed, even as studies kept debunking Keys research--repeatedly finding that saturated fats in fact support heart health. For example:

·         A meta-analysis published two years agoii, which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.

·         In a 1992 editorial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr. William Castelli, a former director of the Framingham Heart study, statediii:

"In Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person's serum cholesterol. The opposite of what... Keys et al would predict...We found that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most physically active."

·         Another 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a reduction in saturated fat intake must be evaluated in the context of replacement by other macronutrients, such as carbohydratesiv. When you replace saturated fat with a higher carbohydrate intake, particularly refined carbohydrate, you exacerbate insulin resistance and obesity, increase triglycerides and small LDL particles, and reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol. The authors state that dietary efforts to improve your cardiovascular disease risk should primarily emphasize the limitation of refined carbohydrate intake, and weight reduction. -Mercola, J. Why I believe Over Half of Your Diet Should Consist of This. May 31, 2012.

Interestingly, Dr. Houston provided evidence that high saturated fat diets were linked to lower stroke risk, but higher cardiovascular disease. He explained how even with food, we can't look at things in isolation from our cellular biology. It is the combination of saturated fats with highly processed foods and sugar or in too high of a ratio that can and does create inflammation in the vessels of the body. However, I have good news--- if these fats were taken with antioxidants and other substances, the effect could be mediated--good news for those who like sweet potato fries. J


MARK HOUSTON, MD, MS. Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors, Noninvasive Cardiovascular Testing, and Metabolic Cardiology. June 2, 2012.  IFM  Phoenix, AZ. A New Era in Preventing, Managing, and Reversing Cardiovascular and Metabolic Dysfunction

JEFFREY BLAND, PHD. The Impact of a Toxic Environment and Unhealthy Lifestyle Factors on Cardiometabolic Disease. June 1, 2012.. IFM  Phoenix, AZ. A New Era in Preventing, Managing, and Reversing Cardiovascular and Metabolic Dysfunction.

MARK HOUSTON, MD, MS . Release the Pressure: Effective Interventions for the Treatment of Hypertension. June 2, 2012.  IFM  Phoenix, AZ. A New Era in Preventing, Managing, and Reversing Cardiovascular and Metabolic Dysfunction.

Eldon Taylor. May 29, 2012: Biology of Belief and Spontaneous Evolution. HayHouse Radio.

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...

Dr. Sarah Lobisco

SARAH LOBISCO, ND, is a graduate of the University of Bridgeport’s College of Naturopathic Medicine (UBCNM). She is licensed in Vermont as a naturopathic doctor and holds a Bachelor of Psychology from State University of New York at Geneseo. Dr. LoBisco speaks professionally on integrative medical topics, has several journal publications, and is a candidate for postdoctoral certification in functional medicine. She currently incorporates her training in holistic medical practices and conventional medicine through writing as well as through her position as Director of Clinical Education for a highly-esteemed nutraceutical and medical food company.*Dr. LoBisco’s recent blogs about living naturally in our complex world and on the applications of essential oils can be found at Her book, BreakFree Medicine, is set for release this year. *

*Currently, Dr. LoBisco is not seeing new clients or practicing naturopathic medicine with private consultation work. Although she holds a license in VT, her current role is to provide support for clinical education and technical support on natural products, exclusive of any medical or diagnostic consultations or services. Read more...