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Energy Zappers 

1. Dehydration
Your extreme fatigue might be coming from hidden sources. Nixing these spirit-depleting factors from your life will automatically help reboot your verve.
It turns out that even moderate dehydration (which results in the loss of 3 percent of your body weight) can make you feel mentally sluggish and mess with your concentration. The next time you're feeling foggy or lightheaded, don't just assume you're in serious need of some food. Try downing a glass or two of water.

2. Cell Phones
Checking your cell before bed amps up brain activity, making it harder to doze off. Plus, any electronic gadget's artificial blue light can suppress the sleep hormone melatonin. A 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation found that 20 percent of people ages 19 to 29 are awakened by a call, text, or e-mail at least a few nights a week. Power it down well before bedtime.

3. Medication
Many drugs have veiled energy-sapping side effects. Chief among them are some classes of antidepressants and certain beta-blockers used to prevent migraines or treat high blood pressure. If you start a new med and feel more lethargic than usual, see doctor Bert for an alternative. (If there isn't one, take your dose right before bed.)

 4. Overtraining
While working out zaps the stress hormone cortisol, prolonged sweat sessions--like, for example, regularly running for more than 30 minutes at a steady rate--can actually rev cortisol production. Interval training (bursts of intense activity) combined with strength training (free-weight and body-weight moves) helps keep cortisol in check.

5. Low Iron
The mineral shuttles oxygen around your body and removes waste from your cells. If you're not getting around 18 milligrams a day, your body struggles to function properly and you can feel worn out; low iron levels in your diet can cause iron deficiency anemia. If you feel sluggish, call our office and ask for a simple blood test to see if you should be taking a supplement. 

For more information please call our office at 786-360-6355 

Let the Flu Go Around You

 Keeping Your Immune System Strong
 Basically, your immune system works spectacularly well, provided you take care of yourself. Good health perpetuates good health.

And, yes, you're allowed to binge here and there. Most effective food plans have one "free day" each week when you can eat all the ice cream, pizza, french fries, and soda you want.

If you've been exercising regularly for a while, you can miss some time without losing your base. In other words, you don't have to be perfect.

Your immune system functions at peak performance when you

  • Drink plenty of water - six to eight glasses each day
  • Eat several servings of fruits and vegetables each day
  • Take vitamin/mineral supplements to fill in the gaps in an urban diet
  • Get sufficient sleep - on average, seven to eight hours each night
  • Exercise regularly - five days per week, at least 30 minutes each day
  • Meditate and/or engage in quiet time regularly to center yourself and let go of the day's stresses
Since mid-Fall TV commercials have been trumpeting the horrors of the "flu season". "It's never too soon to begin fighting this year's bug" they blare. Public health announcements urge us to get our "yearly flu shot", as if this is something we've got permanently scheduled in our Blackberries. All the leading over-the-counter pain medications offer special seasonal "flu" mixtures, and their ads deluge daytime and prime-time broadcasting.

For the health consumer, namely us, it seems as if this annual "war on the flu" is received wisdom.  We're just defenseless human beings at the mercy of the all-powerful flu virus.

What's wrong with this picture?

What's never mentioned in the "flu warning" marketing is the versatility and adaptability of our remarkable immune system. We're the lucky owners of a built-in state-of-the-art biowarfare system, on-the-job 24/7 to combat microscopic foreign invaders of our health and well-being. Once our immune system has detected a foreign protein it mounts an immediate defense, attacking and destroying the alien molecules. And, the memory of that particular invader is permanent, enabling a future immune response to be swift and effective.1

The big issue with influenza is that new strains appear each year. We've never encountered these germs before. But, the whole basis and strength of our immune system is flexibility. It is specially designed to respond quickly to new attackers. And, for the most part, it does this very, very well.

Of course, no one wants their dinner companion to sneeze in their plate of pasta, as Elaine did on an infamous episode of "Seinfeld". Through a typical cascade of unfortunate events, Jerry's and George's comedy pilot was almost scuttled because the network executive was Elaine's date, and he got violently ill by being on the receiving end of her blast of micro-bugs.

In the real world, our immune systems can be weakened due to life habits, circumstances, and stress. Stress is a notorious compromiser of immune defenses.2 And, of course, being human, there's plenty of stress from dawn to dusk.  If worry and anxiety pile on top of not-enough-sleep or sub-optimal nutrition, getting sick is a pretty likely outcome. So, developing and maintaining healthy habits of living and successful strategies for managing stress is really the key.3

If you do the simple things that keep you healthy and well, in the winter months you can pretty much "let the flu go around you". You can be confident, knowing you've done the work to fight off the latest flu threat. Someone else's germs are their germs, not yours. If your immune system is on the job, you're far less likely to "catch" something.

And, even if you do succumb, you've got a much better chance of getting well again quickly.

1Sompayrac L: How the Immune System Works, 2nd ed. Blackwell, 2002.
2Wein H:Stress and disease - new perspectives. NIH Word on Health, October 2000.
3The Truth About Your Immune System - What You Need To Know. Harvard Health Publications, 2007.