Yes, You Can Predict the Future

I’m excited to inform you all that I’ve recently formed a relationship with the Cleveland Heart Lab—a branch of the renowned academic hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Cleveland Heart Lab specializes in predicting inflammatory issues, diabetes, and other things that can impact the quality of your life. In particular, it offers many different tests that are used across North America, Europe, and Asia in the management and prevention of heart disease—the number one killer of men and women in the US. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Economics predicts that Cleveland Heart Lab’s inflammation testing could reduce the average heart attack and stroke rate by 10% over the coming years. That translates to about $187 million dollars saved and thousands of healthier, happier people. 

Cleveland Heart Lab can predict the future of your health by measuring the level of inflammation in your body, an often over-looked indicator of health problems either now or to come. People with higher levels of inflammation are more likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension, amongst other things. 

What sorts of life choices might cause the body to become inflamed? Namely, poor diet. Certain foods are naturally pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, which means that what you choose to eat can have a serious impact on your inflammation responses. Eating sugary, processed foods and trans fat, which tend to be found in fried foods, snack foods, industrial seed oils and baked goods, is one of the best ways to put your body on track to chronic inflammation.

When you eat inflammatory foods like the ones mentioned above, chemicals called “cytokines” are released into the blood and tissues. Cytokines are known to be destructive to our normal cells and, if the inflammation is chronic, they often wear down tissues and lead to further systemic inflammation. The result? Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Even if you manage to evade the worst outcome, studies have shown that inflammation of internal organs also leads to mental and emotional imbalances, digestive disorders, skin problems, and more.

This brings me back to the Cleveland Heart Lab. If you want to know the future of your health as it stands with your current lifestyle, consider getting one of the many tests offered by the Lab. Here is a quick summary of some of the tests available and how they can help you:

  1. C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test: often used in combination with a lipid profile to evaluate an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease. CRP is a protein found in the blood that increases with inflammation. The hs-CRP test is used to detect low but persistent levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, thereby indicating low levels of inflammation that could result in heart disease given enough time. The consensus within the medical community is that this test can be used to target people who have a moderate risk of heart attack over the next ten years. Very high levels of hs-CRP, especially in combination with high levels of LpPLA2 (an enzyme that produces inflammation in the artery walls) can be used to predict an adverse cardiac even within the next one to six months.
  2. TMAO test: another incredibly powerful way of predicting heart attack and stroke risk in individuals who seem otherwise healthy. This test measures the level of trimethylamine-N-oxide in the blood, a compound produced by the liver.
  3. Adiponectin test: targets individuals at risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes due to poor life choices. People with low adiponectin levels have a 3X greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 9X increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  4. Fibrinogen test: Fibrinogen is a protein essential for blood clot formation. Low levels of fibrinogen can indicate a bleeding disorder or disseminated intravascular coagulation. 
  5. Vitamin D test: Vitamin D deficiencies are known to lead to a host of health problems including osteoporosis, some forms of cancer, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and more—even in people who seem perfectly healthy. 
  6. Hemoglobin A1C test: used to monitor the glucose control of diabetics, helping to prevent the health complications that can come from long-term high glucose levels. This test can also be used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes in individuals with or without symptoms.
  7. Homocysteine test: helps target individuals at high risk of myocardial infarction or stroke or individuals with a family history of coronary artery disease. A homocysteine test can also reveal Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiencies. 

Finding out this information now can help you pursue the most promising and tailored path of preventative care—before it’s too late. Yet, your doctor is likely not going to recommend any of these tests to you. While conventional medicine often focuses on the treatment of present illness, Cleveland Heart Lab saves lives every day by revealing prophecies of ill health before they become a reality. With this information so readily available, patients can make informed decisions about how to ensure disease prevention based on their personal situation and disease risk. The Lab offers many more tests than the ones mentioned here for people at all different places in their health. Chances are there is at least one test that can help illuminate the future wellbeing of you and almost anyone else.

The effects of inflammation on your body may not always be obvious—but that means you have even better reason to seek professional help to predict the future of your health. It is crucial that you monitor low, but persistent levels of inflammation on your body now before the effects start to appear. To find out more about the services offered by Cleveland Heart Lab, please contact Gary Merel at or call 734-222-8210.

The Adrenal Glands: The Body’s Alarm System

The Adrenal Glands: The Body’s Alarm System

Adrenal Fatigue: What is it?

With more and more stress at home and at work, it is unsurprising that adrenal fatigue is on the rise. The pressures of life put many in a constant state of “fight or flight,” leaving our adrenal glands working overtime until they can no longer keep up. Adrenal fatigue is a direct result of this overworked, stressed, and rushed lifestyle, and can result in some serious health consequences in both the short and long term. Unfortunately, some medical doctors only treat patients for adrenal fatigue when these patients exhibit symptoms of Addison’s disease (extremely little adrenal function) or Cushing’s disease (hyperactive adrenal function). Addison’s and Cushing’s disease are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and only affect 2% of the population. However, some experts believe that over 80% of the population suffers from some level of adrenal malfunction. In the following article we will describe what the adrenals are, their role in the body, and some simple methods for determining how effectively your adrenals are working for you.

What are the adrenal glands?

The adrenals glands are walnut-sized glands located above the kidneys. Each gland is composed of two separate functional entities. The outer zone, also known as the adrenal cortex, is comprised of roughly 80-90% of the glands size and secretes adrenal steroids (Cortisol, DHEA(S), estrogen, testosterone, and Aldosterone). The inner zone, or medulla, accounts for roughly 10-20% of the gland, and is responsible for secreting adrenaline. Cortisol, DHEA and adrenaline are the three main adrenal stress hormones.

What is cortisol?

Cortisol helps us meet the big challenges of the day. It converts proteins into energy and counteracts inflammation. In short bursts, it is very useful. In urgent situations, cortisol can increase heart rate, blood pressure, release energy stores for immediate use, slow digestion and non-emergency functions, and sharpen senses. Our bodies are not meant to maintain these states for very long, nor enter into them very often.

It can be very detrimental when cortisol release is sustained at high levels for long periods of time. Over-production of cortisol means the underproduction of other necessary hormones. We remain stuck in a state of overdrive while our energy levels, bone health, muscle production, mood, joints, sex drive and immunity all suffer.

The Adrenal Rhythm

The human adrenal gland releases cortisol in a cycle with the highest value released in the morning, the lowest value released in the evening. This 24-hour cycle is known as the circadian rhythm. These hormones help supply us with the necessary energy we need throughout the day.

How modern life contributes to adrenal malfunction

Unlike our ancestors, we live in a state of constant stress. Instead of sporadic, immediate demands followed by rest, we live in a world of constant communication, fast food, environmental toxins, and worry. It’s no wonder that many adults suffer from adrenal malfunction. That’s why it’s important to keep on the watch for these 7 common signs and symptoms of abnormal adrenal function.

9 Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Abnormal Adrenal Function

1.      Low energy. Abnormal adrenal function can alter the cells ability to produce the correct amount of energy for the day’s activities. People who struggle to wake up and keep themselves going through the day often have abnormal adrenal rhythms and poor blood sugar regulation. Additionally, cortisol levels control thyroid hormone production. Fatigue and low body temperature, symptoms of hypothyroidism, can be attributed to adrenal malfunction.

2.      Behavior, mood, and memory problems. Cortisol regulates the electrical activity of neurons in the brain, greatly influencing behavior, mood, and memory. Symptoms include depression, decreased tolerance, clarity of thought, memory, and memory retrieval.

3.      Muscle and joint pain. Abnormal adrenal function can compromise tissue healing, often leading to breakdowns and chronic pain.

4.      Weak bones. The adrenal rhythm determines bone health. If our cortisol levels are too high, our bones will not rebuild well and will become more susceptible to osteoporosis.

5.      Poor Immune System Health. The immune system’s white blood cells follows the cortisol cycle. If the cycle is disrupted, the immune system cells will not receive the conditioning, nourishment, and instructions necessary to protect the body. These immune system failures can be seen in the lungs, throat, urinary and intestinal tract, leading to increasing susceptibility to infection and allergy onset.

6.      Asthma, bronchitis, or chronic cough. The lungs react poorly to stress. Asthma is often considered an emotional disorder because stress can trigger attacks.

7.      Un-restful Sleep. When cortisol values are high at night, REM sleep cycles are more difficult to achieve. Chronic lack of restful sleep reduces mental vitality, bodily strength, and can induce depression.

8.      Skin problems. Human skin regenerates when we rest at night. High cortisol values during the evening reduce skin regeneration.

9.      Food allergies, specifically to gluten. Genetic intolerances to grain can inflame the gut and spur an adrenal stress response. Since almost ¼ people living in the U.S. suffer from gluten intolerances, this is a common cause of adrenal malfunction.

If you or a loved one suffers from any of the above symptoms, it is crucial to visit a health practitioner. Some medical doctors prescribe pharmaceutical hormones for issues related to adrenal malfunction. Due to the pharmaceutical hormones' side effects many medical practitioners, such as those at Digestive Health Ann Arbor, are now instead turning to changes in lifestyle and diet, as well as bio-identical hormones. It is crucial that you find a health practitioner who understands how to incorporate a variety of treatments that work for your needs.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.


How to get rid of food allergies

10 Steps Towards Symptom Freedom
There is good news. We can successfully eliminate the symptoms of a food allergy by discovering what foods serve as our triggers. By excluding the trigger food from our diet, the intestinal inflammation quickly recedes and the symptoms disappear. We can also take additional precautions to remove other chemical triggers from our diets and environments. Here are 10 straightforward steps towards symptom-free health.
1. Eat organic produce, especially if you are pregnant or considering having children. Organic produce complies with strict pesticide regulations and it doesn't have the synthetic compounds found in genetically modified crops.
2. Wash, wash, wash conventional produce. Though it doesn't remove all the residue, it will help.
3. Eat food that is in season. Food that is shipped or trucked in from far away is often treated with chemicals or preservatives.
4. Buy natural cleaning products.Petroleum is the main component in most dish-washing liquids and detergents. Some even contain suspected hormone disruptors. Use healthful cleaning products, such as Ecover, or a home-made solution of vinegar, water and lemon juice.
5. Avoid plastic.Bisphenol A (present in infant feeding bottles) and phthalates (present in children's toys) are serious hormone disrupters. They can deform sex organs among other things.
6. Avoid air fresheners.Aerosol propellants contain tiny particles which burrow in human lungs, as well as flammable and nerve-damaging ingredients. Instead of spraying Febreeze, open a window, dust or sweep.
7. Avoid Petroleum-based fragrances. Natural fragrances made with actual flower, fruit and plant-based extracts are available.
8. Clean household supplies.Use water-based varnishes and glues, paints, stain removers, sealants and adhesives. Avoid rooms that have been recently painted.
9. Avoid preservatives and food dyes. Preservatives such as BHA, BHT, TBHQ are especially detrimental. Consumption of food dyes has increased almost threefold since the 1980s, rising from 6.4 million pounds in 1985 to more than 17.9 million pounds in 2005.
10. Get an ALCAT (antigen leukocyte cellular antibody test). A simple and cost-effect food allergy test can quickly determine which offending foods may be causing behavioral, mental and physical issues in your body. The test identifies physiological reactions to over 350 foods, chemicals and other potential inflammation triggers. David Ortiz, baseball star from the Boston Red Sox, recently took the test. Read this interesting ESPN report on how Ortiz's dietary changes have significantly improved his energy level and his game. This food allergy test is available at Ann Arbor Holistic Health.
 “You are what you eat. Or, even more accurately, you are what you absorb,” says Dr. John Wycoff, an osteopath based out of East Lansing who believes hormonal balance, allergies and diet are integral to health. As reactionary medicine and over-usage of prescribed chemicals fail to alleviate our pain and discomfort, more and more physicians are embracing holistic approaches to healing. Through a deeper understanding of what our bodies do and do not absorb, and how these physiological responses affect us, we can take charge of our wellness and move towards a brighter, more fulfilling future.
Please call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation.  
At Ann Arbor Holistic Health we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Dangerous and Expensive Medication: Crohn's and Colitis Drugs Revealed

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) where chronic inflammation can destroy the integrity of the colon wall, severely impeding the body’s ability to absorb food.

New and Controversial Medicines

Biological therapy medications are the latest addition to the stock-pile of questionable drug solutions thrown at IBD, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The pharmaceutical industry claims these pills will revolutionize the treatment of IBD. The medications are, efficacious because they are tailored to specifically target an immune or genetic mediator of the disease. However, this theory completely disregards the contributions of our environment, lifestyle, and diet choices on our health. And the medication still does not provide an absolute cure. Why is science so focused on our genes if the medications thus far have not entirely worked?

Biological Therapy is Big Business

At $3,000- $8,000 Per Infusion, Biological therapy is extremely profitable for pharmaceutical companies. There is no incentive for them to invest in preventative or alternative measures when they charge an arm and a leg for each infusion.

4 Dangerous Side Effects

Not only are these new biological therapy medications unaffordable, they also have numerous detrimental side effects.

  1. Anyphylaxis
  2. Reactivation or worsening of old diseases, like tuberculosis
  3. Multiple Sclerosis
  4. Lymphoma

Your Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from an Irritable Bowel Disease, take a second look at the medications pushed at the problem. Before you sink money into a hazardous drug, we encourage you to find other options that are simpler, healthier, and more cost-effective.

Conventional Medicine Exposed: the Truth about Crohn's and Colitis Treatments

Contradictory and Controversial

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) offers some confusing information in regards to diet and the onset of Irritable Bowel Disease. First, they concede that diet “may play some role in the underlying inflammatory process” but then claim “there is no evidence that anything in your diet history caused or contributed to these diseases.” They ridicule patients who “believe that their disease is caused by, and can be cured by diet.” This, they inform us, is “too simplistic an approach.” The options they recommend are corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, antibiotics and surgery, all of which are expensive, invasive, and potentially dangerous.

Uncovering the Hidden Truth

There are some obvious holes in this argument. What the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America neglects to mention is that 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Therefore, nutrient malabsorption is one of the biggest causes of all systemic ailments. Food, obviously a major component in this absorptive process, is a key contributor to our health. The suggestion that food and digestion is irrelevant to any illness, especially an Irritable Bowel Disease, is ludicrous.

Take Back Your Health from Greedy Corporations

Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America is funded primarily by pharmaceutical corporations such as Abbott, Axcan Pharma, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., Takeda Millenium, Warner Chilcott, Salix Pharmaceutical Inc., and Shire. Though CCFA claims they do not necessarily endorse the views of their direct corporate sponsors, it is unlikely that they would bite the hand that feeds them and support “simplistic” resolutions such as diet and lifestyle changes. “Simplistic” is actually a euphemism for “no profit.” Do you really want to be another dollar in their pocket?

It's time to take your health into your own hands. If you or a loved one suffers from an Irritable Bowel Disease, do not hesitate to get help now. 

Crohn's Disease: What Everyone Needs to Know

Spreading at an Alarming Rate

Up to 600,000 people in the United States alone suffer from Crohn's disease and the number is quickly growing, according to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) believes over 1.4 million people suffer from one of these diseases.

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) where chronic inflammation can destroy the integrity of the colon wall, severely impeding the bodies ability to absorb food.

6 Symptoms Watch:

1. Loss of appetite

2. Chronic diarrhea

3. Cramping

4. Abdominal pain

5. Weight loss

6. Complications such as intestinal blockage, sores or ulcers that tunnel through the affected area to surrounding tissue in the bladder, vagina, and areas surrounding the anus. These tunnels may become infected and require surgery.

Conventional Treatments: “No Cure”

Modern conventional medicine claims “there is no medical cure” (The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America). While it is certainly true that no medicine has proven to eradicate the disease, there are simple, cost-effective ways of healing our digestive tracts.

Other Treatments: Cheap, Easy and Effective

The easiest and most cost-effective treatment for Crohn's disease is diet and lifestyle change paired with supplemental support. A simple food-allergy test followed by removal of aggravating food allergens can quickly and drastically improve our health. Supplements can help the readjustment process as we begin to heal our compromised digestive tract.

Take Action

Don't let conventional medical wisdom stand in the way of your health. If you or a loved one suffers from Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), take action and get help now.