79- Preventing Dementia and Alzheimer's with Cindy Santa Ana
It is estimated that over 16% of elderly people will develop Dementia or Alzheimer's after the age of 65. The rate increases the older you get.
If you have ever known someone suffering from Dementia, it can be a really sad disease for the family to deal with. Seeing someone you love slowly disappear mentally is not the last memories we wish to have of our loved ones.
While researchers have spent decades trying to find a cure for Dementia, conventional research isn't any closer to finding the cure as they were 50 years ago.
However, the Amen Clinic has been making some huge changes in the progression of Dementia in their elderly patients.
How Should We Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer's?
What the Amen Clinic is doing right is they focus on the entire person in front of them.
This means they aren't just assessing brain function and deterioration. They are looking at:
- Substance Abuse
- and much more
By looking at the entire person's history, their protocols go much more in depth than anything else out there!
Lucky for us, Cindy Santa Ana is part of the food and nutrition team at the Amen Clinic, and came on the show to share about how that impacts Dementia and Alzheimer's.
What To Expect From This Episode
- [4:00] How does Cindy Santa Ana integrate nutritional practices with cooking classes
- [7:00] Did you choose to remove dairy on your own, or did a practitioner test for it
- [9:00] Have you tried different types of dairy to see if the allergy continued
- [10:15] What was the process for you to start learning about Dementia and Alzheimer's
- [13:00] The Amen Clinic has different branches of support for their protocols
- [18:00] Are the people coming into the clinic trying to prevent brain issues, or are they too late and trying to manage it
- [23:00] Omega 3 foods are extremely helpful for brain function
- [26:00] Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers can help to push extra oxygen into the brain
- [28:00] Those who drink alcohol have worse brain scans than those who don't drink
- [31:00] Do the scans show whether there is a specific amount of alcohol that causes more damage than others
- [34:30] What type of movement is beneficial for preventing Dementia and Alzheimer's
- [35:30] Ryan Glatt talked about using commands during exercise to train the brain
- [37:00] Are there specific dietary types that are best for Dementia and Alzheimer's
- [41:00] Jack Wolfson talked all about Cholesterol and how statins are not the best option
- [43:00] How does the Thyroid influence the brain
Resources From This Episode
Some of these resources may contain affiliate links, which provides a small commission to me (at no extra expense to you).
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts may not be 100% Accurate)
Announcer: 00:00:01 welcome to the summit for wellness podcast where we help you climb to the peak of your health. And now here is your host, Bryan Carroll.
Bryan: 00:00:16 Over 50 million people have dementia and it's estimated that nearly 10 million new cases of dementia are reported every single year. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia and it may contribute up to 60 to 70% of all dementia cases. typically this is found in the older population. However, it is not a normal part of aging. And when it comes to dementia, a lot of times we're a little bit too late because we don't focus on preventative strategies to prevent dementia and said, we wait until our brain starts to decline and we have to try and minimize the decline of our brain health. What's up everyone? I'm Bryan Carroll and I'm here to share in nutrition and fitness tips to make wellness less complicated. And today's topic is one of those ones that's hard at not to make complicated because dementia and Alzheimer's is a very complicated disease. My guess today, Cindy Santa Anna, she works at the Amens Clinic and they work a lot with dementia and a brain health and so they, they run a bunch of different tests.
Bryan: 00:01:34 They check brain scans, they do all sorts of things when it comes to the brain. So she's here joining us to talk about what it is that they do over there, the amens clinic to help people to minimize the impact of dementia and Alzheimer's and other brain health issues. But before we dive into this episode at this episode is brought to you by our friends over at Garmin. Garmin has a wide variety of fitness and outdoors watches that I absolutely love and I have right now one of the Fenix series watches. The beauty of having one of these wellness tracking watches is that you can, that you can measure different analytics such as your sleep quality or the number of steps that you take throughout the day or your heart rate or your heart rate variability. So it's amazing now that we have this technology that we can wear something on our wrist and we can track all these different measurements.
Bryan: 00:02:34 Just from one device. On top of that, you can also check the time. You can see notifications from your phone. It's just amazing how far technology has come. Garmin provides a whole range of different watches from very basic wellness trackers all the way up to the Fenix series, which is like the top of the line outdoors watches and you can learn more about these [email protected] at slash. Garmin. Well let's dive right into my episode with Cindy is Santa Ana to talk all about brain health and what we can do to try to prevent or minimize the impact of dementia and Alzheimer's. Cindy is Santa Ana is a nutritional therapy consultant, integrative nutrition health coach and culinary nutrition expert. She is the author of unprocessed living three steps to transition into healthy eating. Cindy teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes in northern Virginia where she teaches people how to use food as medicine. She has a private practice also in northern Virginia but also works virtually with clients all over the u s and works at the amens clinics, brain health clinic in DC as well. Her primary focus is women. Over 40 with a hormone imbalance and auto immune disease and her website is unlocked better health.com. Thank you so much Cindy, for coming onto the show.
Cindy: 00:03:57 Thanks for having me.
Bryan: 00:03:58 Oh of course. And let's dive into your background cause you kind of have a wide range of different things that you do. So I would love to hear a little bit about the nutrition stuff and how you incorporate cooking into that.
Cindy: 00:04:11 So I actually got into this field because I turned 40 and was a complete mess. I couldn't make it through the day without a nap, without my, you know, and if my two and four year old didn't nap and I was like screaming mommy, I was a mess. I was also 50 pounds a week. And at 40 years of age I was on four medications. So I kind of woke up one day and I said, I don't think this is right. I don't think that I should be on medication this early. And you know, I had a lot of illness and cancer and disease in my family and I didn't, I didn't want to go down that same path. So I actually sought out the help of a, of a health growth coach and changed my diet. She introduced me to some local farmers. I started eating grass fed meats and sourcing farm, a farmer's market, learning how to cook my own food cause I, I really didn't know how to cook, especially how to make a, you know, Kale or what even Kale was.
Cindy: 00:05:09 And this was about 10 years ago. So, I, I completely changed my diet and within six to eight months I had lost 50 pounds. I got rid of all of my medication and I reversed my high cholesterol, my autoimmune thyroid disease. I had frequent illnesses like bronchitis and sinus infections that were actually due to a dairy allergy that I didn't know I had. So I stopped eating dairy. All of that went away. I wasn't sick anymore. I was healthy and thriving and I had energy and confidence and I felt fantastic. And I was like, why aren't more people doing this? Well, I have to share this with everybody that I know. And so I just started small with blogging and sharing with friends and family. And then I decided that, I wanted to take my own degree, which used to be, it was physical education and health and I minored in community health, so I had a passion for it.
Cindy: 00:06:05 I just deviated away from all of that. So I went back to nutrition school, became a health coach, and then as years progressed I wanted to learn more. So then I went to a culinary school to learn, how to make dairy free, gluten free, plant based foods, really healthy and how to use food as medicine, which is a, you know, fantastic culinary nutrition school and then onto nutritional therapy association because I really wanted to get at the root cause of what is driving some of these health concerns for people. And so, I've been in practice for, fully 10 years now and loving what I'm doing and using my passion and my experience to help mostly women over 40, achieve better health.
Bryan: 00:06:53 And I love that you put focus into the cooking side of it because, when the gluten free dairy free stuff started coming out, a lot of the food tasted terrible because people didn't really know how to work with those type of ingredients. And now the food is getting a lot better and it's pretty palatable. So it's cool to see people that are focused on that and trying to make super palatable foods. you had mentioned that you discovered with the dairy sensitivity was causing a lot of health issues for you. Was that your health coach kind of guiding you to get tested or did you just remove dairy and that's what you discovered?
Cindy: 00:07:30 Yeah, so in the beginning I actually removed the dairy because, I had like a little bit of a postnasal drip and she's like, you know, I think you have a dairy allergy. And so, I would like, I would cough it clear my throat a lot and she is like, I think you should do an experiment. Go off dairy for two or three weeks, see how you feel. After week one that postnasal drip had stopped. I had stopped that little cough every night when I lay in bed at night, I'd kind of cough for a few minutes and that a real way. So that propelled me to try it for another week. And I was like, okay, this is crazy. I was so, so then eventually I actually, got tested and sure enough, I had a full on ige food allergy to dairy. So, and pretty much after speaking with my mom and talking about when I was growing up and the issues, the health issues that I had when I was younger, I pretty much had this my entire life since I was a baby. So, it's just really important to get in tune with our bodies and listen to those signs and symptoms. They're silently screaming at you to stop eating something and we have to listen to that. We have to honor that.
Bryan: 00:08:44 And a lot of times people get so used to, you know, having to clear their throat or having that mucus in their throat that they don't really recognize that that could be a problem. now you tried different types of dairy, like have you tried, goats milk and stuff and to see if that's any different or do you have the same issues?
Cindy: 00:09:03 Yeah, I actually, so when I stopped eating cows, dairy and I even went to organic, I even went to, I used to source from an Amish farm nearby. I'm in northern Virginia and I w I would get, you know, or you know, organic like the best, you know, raw milk that you can, you can get. And I've still had the issue. you know, and some people, you know, may not, it's a completely bio individual factor. You, you have to, you know, try those different things. And if you still have that mucus production or if you have GI issues, gas, bloating, belching, tooting, constipation, diarrhea after consuming dairy products, then you, you have to listen to that. I actually, my food allergy tests still said that the, the casing, the friends and the goats, the goats was actually an issue for me too. So I just avoid it completely and stick to, you know, coconut milk or making my own homemade cashew milk, which is fantastic and chase amazing versus the stuff that you buy in the grocery store. so yeah, I just stick to those.
Bryan: 00:10:11 And so you work at the amens clinic and you help out with a lot of the brain health stuff that they do over there. And you kinda got thrown into that role a little bit. So can you talk about that process and how you started learning how to help people with the, brain health, especially all the timers and dementia?
Cindy: 00:10:29 Absolutely. Yeah. So a few years ago, a friend of mine in the field, said, hey, somebody, in your area is looking for nutritionists at the Amen Clinic. And I thought, oh wow. I remember back in my very first nutrition school, Dr. Daniel Amen was one of my instructors. And he actually came and spoke to us in a nutrition conference. And it was, for me, it was very life changing. I am listened to one of his talks and basically he showed a brain scan of a woman who was 40 years old and the brain scan showed all these holes in divots and pivots in her brain. And, she was a moderate drinker, slightly overweight, didn't sleep super great, it wasn't super active, moderately stressful job. And I was thinking, wow, that's neat. Now that, you know, that's that I could be my brain. So, he said we stopped alcohol completely for six months.
Cindy: 00:11:28 She, you know, ate a healthy diet and, she's, you know, started sleeping better. We started getting her moving, started working on stress management, and then he showed the brain scan six months later, completely filled in all those areas of the brain that had those divots and pivots that weren't receiving oxygen were now full again. She had lost the week, she was thriving. And I thought, oh my gosh, I have to do this. So I stopped drinking completely for, you know, two years, had no alcohol and, and then, you know, a couple of years later, so I, I met Dr Amun and was hired at the Amen Clinic here locally in DC. And I also do some of their, I'm consulting for the New York office. but I, I didn't know anything about Alzheimer's dementia except for just personal history with my grandmother who's now 87 and suffering pretty seriously with, cognitive issues and losing her keys and not knowing some family members and names and pretty much all her short term memory has gone. So. So I only knew it from just my personal experience and, and, but I just, you know, stuck to what I, what I've learned and, and you know about, you know, food and lifestyle and, movement and, and sleep and stress. And so that's what I really try to focus on with our clients there.
Bryan: 00:12:53 And, you mentioned to me before we started recording that at the amens clinic, there's an entire team working with people who have Alzheimer's and dementia and you kinda focus on, the food side of it. Can you talk about what those other branches of support are?
Cindy: 00:13:12 Yeah, so I am in clinic, it's a very integrative, holistic approach. So we have, you know, integrative psychiatry where you have functional medicine doctors and we have nutritionists. Then everyone has a role in working with a client when they come in because usually they've been to their conventional medicine medicine doctor. They've might've been given one of the two or three medicines that are on the market for all timers. I'm using air quotes that, you know, don't work. There's just, they just don't work and they cause more side effects than they do actually health, dementia, brain health, cognitive issues. It needs to, to be attacked with, an integrative approach. You need to look at your food, you need to look at your health history. Did you have exposure to toxins? how is your gut microbiome, do you have inflammation? actually one of the first, you know, steps and blood tests we do is the APO genotype.
Cindy: 00:14:13 Are you more at risk for Alzheimer's because you have this carrying this gene, the AP o e you know, type you have a higher risk. So that doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get it because we know that that's just genetics. It's the epigenetics that switches returns on that gene. So we look at your inflammation markers, your c reactive protein, your homocysteine levels. do you have infections like mime coinfections that come with that? And what is your hormonal status? Have you had a full thyroid panel? vitamin D levels for women? You know, we look at, and then we look at this, you know, sex hormones, you know, most people, over the age of 50 declining hormone levels correlates with them re issues. And so we really have to tack this and have a very proactive preventative approach, to brain health.
Cindy: 00:15:09 So if you're in your thirties and forties, now it's time to start acting like you have this and let's prevent it because some of the lifestyle lifestyle factors, you know, in our twenties and thirties and even in our forties, aren't really contributing to great brain health. Like, like excessive drinking and staying up too late or, you know, the party until we hours in the morning when you're younger, this, this all can have a cumulative effect. If it's a one timer kind of thing, it's no big deal. You know, you have to celebrate and have fun. But if this is something that's ongoing, then this is something you need to look at. some of the other things that we look at are, brain shrinkage, which you can measure via a volume metric MRI. we look at lipid panels, stress management and that kind of thing.
Cindy: 00:16:01 So, so we, we take all these factors into account and then we lay them all out and we see where are the risk factors for a particular client that comes in. the neat thing about the amen clinics where I work, is that Dr Ayman developed a way to see the brain called a spect scan, which stands for a single photon emission computerized tomography. So it's just a fancy way of saying we're going to take a nice little 3d image of the brain and we're going to see how it's functioning. So it's really cool in that, it's very simple. You just lay on a table. This machine moves around your had and takes maybe 20, 30 minutes at Max, and there's also a, a computer tests that they do to, measure your like response or reflect your reflux time. And then, then we look at the scan and we see, we can see inside the brain and we can see parts.
Cindy: 00:16:57 Maybe it's the, you know, the frontal lobe or the temporal lobe or, or interior occipital that aren't receiving oxygen. And Dr Ayman has correlated those particular parts of the brain to say, how they link. So, parts of the brain that you know, respond to, anxiety or depression or you may be prone to on Alzheimer's based on these patterns that we see in these scans and he's done, you know, hundreds of thousands of them. So it's kind of neat. I've had mine done, I kind of wish I had had mine done years ago when I was suffering and sick to have a comparison, but for now it looks good and I'm really happy with the way if I bring looks. So I have to think and you know, vision that I made some improvement when I made my lifestyle changes. So at least I'm hoping. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:17:50 You know, dementia and Alzheimer's usually is a pretty slow process and it takes years and years to develop. So a lot of people are, you know, don't put a whole lot of effort into prevention strategies until you start getting to the point where it's too late. So that people coming into the clinic, are they at that point where it's too late or are these people that are trying to get ahead of it? They might have family members that have had it, already. And so they're trying to, you know, take care of their own brain health before it gets too bad.
Cindy: 00:18:22 It runs the gamut. We get younger people who, are trying to prevent brain brain issues. Maybe they're, maybe they're thriving corporate, CEOs who want to stay on top of their game and their forties who, you know, want to prevent this. or maybe, you know, it's someone in their 50s who walks into a room and forgets what they came in there for, or forgets, you know, that exit as they're driving down the freeway, you have just these little minor slip ups are some clues that somethings going on and it's time to take a more serious look and at your lifestyle to see if there's something that, is contributing to some of these risk factors that are associated with, memory and cognition issues. And then of course we get, you know, 80 and 90. And even my oldest client was 101 amazing.
Cindy: 00:19:17 Yeah. So, so we get the full gamut of people throughout the spectrum of the disease who are pre one, just wanting to prevent all the way to having, you know, full blown Alltimers. so I've, I've seen, I've seen it all and, my advice is to take a proactive approach and even if you don't want to take it as far as they in clinic, you need to do some of the, the lifestyle and the preventative, things that you know, that we know can have an effect so that you don't have to face this because it is very hard where it's, we're just really on the edge and learning how to, I don't want to say reverse because it, there's only been a couple of instances where I've seen like really, you know, great reversal of some of the, of the disease.
Cindy: 00:20:11 But we're, we're just on the edge of learning, how all of this, how it even happens, you know. So, but some of the, if you want to talk about some of the, the preventative things that we can do if you want to dive into that, you know, eating, eating of healthy, nutrient dense diet is, is such a, this is such an overused phrase, but I can't emphasize enough how important it is to make sure that you get a very diet that you're eating more than just broadly as a vegetable that you're getting there and getting that full spectrum of, of color, you know, hit up your farmer's market and ask, you know, ask the farmer there, how do I cook this? What is it? What even is this? Oh, it's been all. Okay, go home and youtube and Google it. And there's tons of videos that will show you how to cut fennel or coal Robbie and how to put it into your stir fry or how to use the froms to, you know, spice up a curry.
Cindy: 00:21:13 it's really important that we don't get into these food ruts and start avoiding major groups of food that, or even vegetables that can be beneficial to us. It's really important that we source really good high quality food. It's as much as you can afford. So when we did this food switch for me 10 years ago, and my family too, well that just me as my husband and our two kids, I started pinning things that, that most people consider, to be luxuries. I got rid of them. I got rid of the satellite radio, we stopped buying, you know, chotskies and things around the house. we don't have fancy cars, but I do source some really good, amazing grass Fed's food from my local farmer. And yeah, it's more expensive. But this is, this is what's really important to me. Sourcing and buying the best high quality food that, that we can afford.
Cindy: 00:22:11 and that doesn't mean that I have to have, you know, super food shipped from Peru to me. That's, you know, even, even though I might try some every now and then, but that doesn't, that doesn't need to be a part of your, your diet. if you can just source some really good high quality grass fed meat and pasture raised, you know, turkeys and chickens and eggs and then in the maybe, you know, shop the farmer's market or get 'em belonged to us. I CSA community supported agriculture. When you get a, you know, a shipment or a box of fruit and vegetables every week. I know a lot of people who live in food deserts around the United States and they don't have access to these things. So I encourage them to try to, you know, grow some, really go to grow organic Kale on a pot, on, you know, on their back porch if possible or grow fresh berries.
Cindy: 00:23:00 you know, all of these things can make a difference in your health. So, so sourcing the best food that's free of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, genetically modified organisms. So look for that little label. If you buy something that says it's non GMO project verified, we have to figure out a way to get away from the, the, the chemically laden foods. Cause that is a huge part of our health decline is a lot of these chemicals. and then a mega three fats, getting enough of those good fatty fish. sardines, mackerel, herring, and Toby's so I was just in Italy and it's summertime and the, you know, the the fishes was fresh and the vegetables were amazing and I ate a lot of local foods the for four days in a row. For some reason I kept ordering foods and everything had fresh anchovies on it.
Cindy: 00:24:02 So I had a salad with HIV. Then I had all the lines, the pasta with anchovies. And then there was like a little fried dish and it had Friday and Jovi's and oh my gosh, these people love their anchovies. you know, and they were really good. They were actually delicious. So much so that when I got home from my trip, I went to the local grocery store, I bought a little 10 of Italian, you know, sardines. I put them on my salad and my 13 year old was like, wow, what are those? And I was like, ms, she couldn't eat it there in Chubby Tenney who to try. And she pulled him right out of the 10 and ate them and loved them. And I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. I have to, you know this, I'm going to put this on Instagram.
Cindy: 00:24:43 Like this is bananas, you know, so, so ntvs have become a part of our diet here. Oh, what some prosciutto because man, Italians have made some good prosciutto. But but so getting your good a mega three bots is really important and it's a really good blood marker to look at too. Not a lot of conventional doctors. You're testing your Omega three, six and nine ratio and that's really important because if you're eating out a lot, you could have a lot of really high and Megan nine from all the soybean in the canola oil that's in all the restaurants. So that's a, that's a really good marker. You can get some plant based and Megan Omega threes too from like flax and Chia seed and walnuts have a scan to come out. But you know, if you eat fish, it's really, it's really important to try to get some of the smaller fish that are lower and mercury like your, Saturday and Salmons and Halibut, the anchovies as I mentioned, and try and try one, just try one and see if you can, if you can stomach it.
Cindy: 00:25:50 So really, again, I don't, I don't recommend the jarred ones that are just sitting in that salty water because the fish absorb it and they're super salty. They're not really great, but the fat, the fresh ones without all the salt were actually very tasty. They really didn't have a fishy taste. It was just more like, I'm like tuna, but milder I would say. and then, one of the modalities that we use at the Inman clinic is, h Bot or hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy. And basically it, it works by just by pushing oxygen into the brain by pushing into those areas that aren't receiving the oxygen. So it's great for folks who even, not just dementia but those who are in car accidents or sustained a brain injury or you know, fall downstairs or fall off their bike and they have an injury.
Cindy: 00:26:40 It pushes oxygen into that. The same way in which exercise does so not as I age box obviously works, you know, a little bit, more forcefully. But maybe there's lots of places around the United States that actually have centers now that have h botch chambers and you can rent them out and use them just like can like an infrared sauna, which is really great for detoxing by the way. But exercise is crucial to do every day. We have to push that oxygen into our brain. We have to move our lymphatic system. So making sure that someone is at least walking or swimming or doing some sort of yoga, it's harder as they age to get some of the 80 and the 90 year old clients to, to move and to do those kinds of things. So that's where the h Bot would come in, come in handy for that if their, if their modality is limited in that capacity.
Cindy: 00:27:43 so back to the food really quickly. I do want to talk about alcohol for a second because, when, when I see the scans, the brain scans of people who are drinkers versus those who are not, it's a big difference. and, and then again you can look at at liver enzymes and things like that and see how your body's processing that. But for women, someone to talk to talk to you ladies here for a second, women over 40, the amount of alcohol dehydrogenase, which is an enzyme that breaks down alcohol in the liver, it actually decreases. But as we age, but as, as a species by itself, we actually have less than men. So we already start out with a smaller amount of this enzyme to break out alcohol in the first place. That's why it, it just affects us, you know, even even more so than men.
Cindy: 00:28:45 Not, not so much if somewhat due to size variant, but mostly because we don't have as much of this enzyme. It decreases as we age. So we lose that ability to break down the alcohol. So it sits in the liver longer. You have toxins in the liver longer and it affects us. So, you know, I have a lot of clients who are like, I am not giving up my nightly glass of red wine. That's just not happening, Cindy. I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna do it. And then as we start and we've worked together, we get through the process and I say, let's just take it out for a week and see how you feel. they're sleeping better, the insomnia is gone. Maybe the hot flashes are gone. The night sweats are gone. They're like, oh my God, it's my alcohol. What am I to do?
Cindy: 00:29:32 I'm like, I told you, but you know, they have to kind of see and do for themselves. but you'll know if it's an, if it's bothering, you're effecting you sometimes even when you drink it, if you get a flush or, or redness or like I get hives on my chest when I drink red wine, so I just know that it's not serving me. And if it takes you way too long to recover the next day, you're headachy your brain foggy or you're sleepy. you know this, it's telling you that it's not for you and you know, it's okay. I, you know, if somebody wants to have a, you know, a glass of wine or a celebratory drink now and then, I mean, I still do every once in a while. I had a, you know, a little prosecco when I was in Italy, but, but as a general rule, I'm not going to just like go out to a restaurant and have a, have a drink or I'm not going to sit at home and, and have alcohol anymore if I just don't have it around. Or if I do, I'll have a glass to some fizzy water and put a lime or lemon in there. And it looks like it looks like a cocktail or maybe I'll have some Kombucha, you know, some or some fizzy, fizzy beverage. But, I think as a society we celebrate, we drink too much and it's not serving our bodies. so I'll get off my pedestal. But when you, when you see it on a scan, it, it changes your mind a little bit.
Bryan: 00:30:58 So have you been able to look at different scans and see, okay, if you drank once a week, then it does this to the brain. If someone drinks once a day, or someone that drinks once a month, have you been able to see the scans and be able to see the changes that way?
Cindy: 00:31:16 No, I mean it's pretty expensive to have a brain scan done and you know, and I think it would be, oh, that would be an interesting experiment to try. But it's mostly, you know, over a long period of time. So, you know, like clients will come into the clinic and they'll have a brain scan initially and then, you know, six months later they'll have their followup scan. And that's really where we can see, you know, most of the change take place. And, for the most part, you know, if you're there, you're there because you've, maybe you've tried everything or most of the clients that come to us have, have come to us as, as a last resort, which is unfortunate because if they came to us first, that would cut out a lot of wasted time and effort and money. But, unfortunately some people do come to us last, you know, because they're like, it's like, you know, I really want to figure this out.
Cindy: 00:32:12 but so they're very determined and they follow everything to the letter of the t that we, we, you know, recommend for them and we say, don't, you know, don't drink and they don't do it. You know, most of the times we do see an improvement in their brain scan, but it's usually because you know, of all these factors together, you know, and improved diet and improved sleep, getting rid of some of the toxin exposure, looking even, you know, your personal care and your cleaning products. we haven't talked about water. Yes. Water, you know, water is extremely important to filter your water in the United States. You know, if you're, if you're not living right next to a fresh spring, most of his art, not able to glass bottle at the store. It's really important if you're getting municipal tap water to filter it and get rid of the hexavalent chromium and the cadmium and arsenic and trihalomethanes and the chlorine, even that just drying to your skin and hair.
Cindy: 00:33:13 so I I live in an area where, you know, we have some toxins in the water, so I have not only a whole house filter, it was about six or 700 bucks, but that's take care of all the shower heads and then my drinking water underneath the think I have a reverse osmosis system that has a re mineral either because reverse osmosis does remove all and that removes beneficial mineral minerals that are in the water. So my particular system has a marine mineral, either that puts them in that back in or if you don't have that, you can use trace minerals or add some really good high quality sea salt to your water. but because, you know, I drink a lot of it and we all should, you know, the brain needs water and it needs fat to function. So, you know, hydrating your brain is very important and getting really good quality. Water's very important.
Bryan: 00:34:10 Yeah. I've always joked about, if I could go up every week to the mountains and load up on a fresh glacier water, I'd totally would, but that would be extremely heavy to pack down. So it's not going to happen. can, let's go back to the movement and exercise part to get more oxygen to the brain. Is there a specific types of exercise that you're trying to do? Is Cardio good or are you trying to do like high intensity workouts or just movement in general?
Cindy: 00:34:40 I honestly think that any kind of movement that you can do is beneficial. Even if it's just walking a couple of miles a day, you know, you want to get something, obviously they get your heart rate up that move, you know, so, because that's going to drive that, that oxygen to the brain so you know, whether it's swimming or walking or yoga, something that is, is strenuous and, and gets your heart rate up is what you're looking for. even if even if it's just, you know, taking your dog out for a walk, as long as it's a good clip and you're really, you know, you're, you're panting, you want to, you want your breath to be somewhat labored, so, so that you can breathe that oxygen in and be able to drive it to the brain. That's really important.
Bryan: 00:35:29 And then, we had Ryan Glass on, I want to say episode 34, but not sure about that. and when he does exercise, they do a lot of stuff with brain and movement. they do like a different types of commands or whatnot when people are moving. So it could be like a color command or it could be like a direction. So as people are moving, then they have to adjust and change what they're doing. So it's getting their brain to fire. Have you played with that at all to increase that oxygen flow to different regions of the brain?
Cindy: 00:36:03 I think that would be fabulous because at the same time you're now you're, you're taxing the, the brain to actually think and function whether than just going out for a walk. Dr Ayman Loves Pink Foam. Like that's his all time, highest recommended exercise. because of the hand dyes, coordination and just, you know, the movement. So that's, he recommends ping pong to everyone. Loves it. Loves it. Yeah.
Bryan: 00:36:30 Yeah. That, that would be very similar to the idea cause every time you hit the ball it's a little bit different. So it's definitely you're adjusting to it. and now for the Diet part, you are talking about a whole nutrient dense foods. people will always ask, and I'm sure I know the answer that you'll give. is there a specific dietary template that they should follow? Like a ketogenic diet or something along those lines that's better for brain health or I'm assuming you're going to say it's more bio individual?
Cindy: 00:37:04 Well, not exactly. I mean obviously any diet bio individual. So you know, based on your, your likes, your dogma, your eve, maybe even your religion, you know, versus you know, whether or not you eat meat or, or not. so obviously we, you know, you have to take that into account. However, if we play around with a macros a little bit, there's a lot of science that backs up. a higher fat diet can be more beneficial for improving bank brain health. so not to go all the way into, Ketogenic, specifically. However, the Ketogenic Diet, which is, you know, a very, very high fat, low carb, very low sugar diet was actually originally in and its purpose original purpose was, they found that it severely reduced the amount of seizures in epileptic children. So playing around with that, they also discovered, oh, and these kids are losing weight at the same time.
Cindy: 00:38:08 So we've sort of extrapolated that and we've, we've hung onto that as, as, as a society, as being this new diet trend. But not everybody can safely even execute a ketogenic diet because you have to be able to digest the extra fats. And so it's something really important to look at, especially if you're older and you have compromised digestion. Can you digest high amount of fat? Do you have your gallbladder still? How is it functioning? What about your liver health? Are you on a lot of medications? So those are some questions to ask is how well are you digesting your food? So, you know, we might look at a doing a stool panel. I like either the GI map or Genova's GI effects when we can look at the gut microbiome and we can see how you're digesting the fats. so a higher fat diet, healthy fats, all Avocados, raw nuts and seeds.
Cindy: 00:39:08 I love sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. olive oil, Gaye, which is clarified butter. even some pasture raised lard, coconut oil. Those are some really good healthy fats to get. And of course, your omega three fatty acids from fish, to get into your diet, to, to help the brain cause a good source of fuel for the brain. So water and healthy fats, feeling the brain, and, and you know, checking, checking on lipid panel as well as it can be important just to make sure that there's not an excess of inflammation or a history of atherosclerosis are arterial damage. So it's really important to look at all of that, especially in some of our older clients we have to look at, we have to look at their lipid panel. But as you and I both know, cholesterol is actually needed.
Cindy: 00:40:06 We need cholesterol. It's very protective and we don't want to have lower levels of, as we age, we actually need a little bit more cholesterol to help 'em, especially as we age. So I hate it when like I would say 98, 99% of the clients that come to the amen clinic are on a cholesterol lowering medication and they all had dementia. When wonder why that is there. The function of a cholesterol lowering drug or a Stanton is to stop the liver from producing cholesterol. So essentially we're starving the brain of its primary fuel or fat to thrive. So I have an issue with those because I just see it so much and I see that correlation and this, the science is there too. So I don't tell people to get off medications. That's what the doctors are there for. But I certainly help them if there's a dietary issue or they're consuming lots of fast foods or they have a high carbohydrate diet, I help them lower their triglycerides that way so that they can manage it through their diet versus a drug.
Bryan: 00:41:23 Yeah, we had Jack Wolfson on who is a cardiologist and he, he is very much against statons. He's like the, the science that they off of for a sentence. Lowering cholesterol is like less than a half a percent anyways. So all the side effects that you can get from being on a setting isn't worth that half a percent of lowering the cholesterol.
Cindy: 00:41:46 Yeah. Well there's, and there's lots of things that we can do to, to lower costs, draw through diet and movement and, or even supplementation, you know, if you want to do red yeast rights for example. But, I think that, there's definitely a better way to go about doing that person versus the drug
Bryan: 00:42:07 one. Cholesterol number is a increase due to inflammation too. So by finding the roots to the inflammation in the body, then you're going to naturally reduce the cholesterol.
Cindy: 00:42:18 Exactly, yes.
Bryan: 00:42:19 So, and that could be a dairy sensitivity that you have no idea that you have you, no,
Cindy: 00:42:24 exactly. It's true. I had high cholesterol, so, and I, I, you know, but I was also eating Taco Bell and pop tar. It's like they were, you know, I mean, if I was too lazy to make dinner with a bowl of cereal, a pop tart and some skim milk, that it was well into my thirties that I ate that way. So it's no wonder that I had high cholesterol and that all went away when I stopped eating that garbage. So, yeah.
Bryan: 00:42:52 So earlier you were talking about at your clinic they also check for full thyroid panels, which most people if they go in for wellness checks, they only check for TSH. Can you briefly talk about how the thyroid influences the brain?
Cindy: 00:43:10 Sure. So, first of all, you need, if your doctor isn't doing a full thyroid panel, you need to work with those functional nutritionists. Somebody like myself who can, who has access to labs and can run that for you because you need more than just the TSH. You need the t three, the t four, the free t three, three reverse t three need to check for your thyroid antibodies. Like almost no conventional medicine doctor is checking for thyroid antibodies because they say they're still going to treat you the same exact way whether you have them or not. So it doesn't make any difference to them. But for us as practitioners, we, we take that information and we say, no, let's lower the antibody. That's inflammation in the body has to figure out why you have that as why do you have this autoimmune disease? Why is your body attacking the thyroid?
Cindy: 00:43:59 So we need those, that thyroid stimulating hormone to help us bring function to reduce brain fog. When somebody has a super high TSH and they're not converting their t four into t three, they, they feel like they're just walking through mud. Like every step is extremely, fatiguing so you can't function in the body without proper thyroid hormones. Same thing with, with sex hormones, with the estrogen and the progesterone and the testosterone and the Melatonin, the DHE, a too much cortisol, it all affects the brain. So it's important to look, get a full thyroid and hormone panel as well. in my private practice, I actually specialize in doing the Dutch, test for women and men too. But most of my clients are women, or 40 daily with hormone imbalance. And the Dutch test is dried. you're in testing for comprehensive hormones.
Cindy: 00:45:02 It looks at how the liver is metabolizing these particular hormones, which can tell us how, what, how, what does that help? The liver is, it can look at our cortisol levels and are you, you know, too high, too low? Do you have a wonky diurnal pattern throughout the day? But it's fascinating information because it tells us exactly how the estrogen is being, converted and metabolized and what pathway in the body so we can look as it, is it going down to more protective pathway or is it growing down that quote unquote dirty estrogen estrogenic pathway. So it's, it's great information and I, I love using that tool to help women with, hormonal issues.
Bryan: 00:45:45 Awesome. Well, are there any, any things that we haven't talked about that you want to make sure that we touch on before we start wrapping things up?
Cindy: 00:45:55 yeah, just one last thing is I think it's really important too that we look at, well two things. Stress is huge. That can be a major contributing factors to every single dysfunction in the body from, from brain health to all kinds of different disorders. So I think it's really important to look at your daily life and say, you know, is my commute stressing me out? How am I physically responding to stress? Are you internalizing things? Do you have an outlet? You know, exercise is a great outlet for managing stress. you know, having a yoga practice or a meditation practice or even journaling or writing on a craft that happened to you in the day, you know, just write it down, want it up and throw it away and say, I'm done with that. You know? But I think that managing stress is really important.
Cindy: 00:46:45 and having the tools to do that. And I love studio, just some simple breathing exercises like the four, seven, eight breathing exercise where you inhale for four counts, hold for seven, exhale for eight. That's, that's really, a great tool to get you into that parasympathetic mode. But then lastly, something that I think is really important that, then I actually sort of took in on my recent trip to Italy is I spent two weeks there with my best friend to celebrate my 50th birthday, which is coming up in a few days. And as I approach 50, I say, okay, what do I, what's next for me in life? but as we were in Italy and the locals and the people that were there and how they ate and how they worked, it was very, it's very different. Of course the United States and honest and, and I was only there for a couple of weeks, but what I gleaned was that, food was really important to them.
Cindy: 00:47:48 Quality food, their community. if a, if a neighbor needed something, they, they were over there or there inviting them over for dinner. They were, lots of, you know, festivals and markets and people were just gathering around and just talking and hugging one another. Some of the women that were at the villa, there were there to, you know, Cook for us and teach us throughout the week that we were in this one villa. I just sat down with them and I said, what are you stressed about? What, what worries you, what concerns you here? And they were just kind of like, like, what's the, to me like, what are you talking about? I'm, you know, gas prices are high here. And yes, they were. but they just really were concerned about the same things. They, they didn't suffer from menopause. They, they didn't have crazy hot flashes or insomnia. And I'm trying to figure out, well, what is, what is going on, what's the difference? And then they just really contributed to their lifestyle and, and how happy they were. Well adjusted, happy, communal people. So I think that is really a key, if you can find that sort of utopia or create it yourself with the people that you surround yourself with. You know, I think that can go a long way to improving your health.
Bryan: 00:49:15 Yeah. We went down to a Patagonia a couple of years ago and I can't speak for all of Chile, but the region that we were in, you know, lunchtime, everyone would go home for like two, three hours and just spend time with, each other with a family, sit down and have a nice, lunch together. And it was almost frustrating for us because of course we're traveling and we're like, we would like some food for lunch and nothing's open. Yeah. But I mean, that's how they are. And they're just kind of relaxed and they're going with the flow of the day and then they stay up kind of late and party and have a good time. But everyone there was super just relaxed and stress free. It was a lot different than what we're used to.
Cindy: 00:49:57 Yeah. And I, and I think that's, it's that cultural and we, you know, we're sort of driven that way in the United States and, but we adapted, you know, while we were there, we're like, okay, we can't just go all day and expect to eat at 3:00 PM for a late lunch. So yeah, everything's closed. The shops are closed. So, you know, we started eating earlier and, and enjoying that long, you know, communal lunch and sat at big long table with other people and joined in conversations and met our travelers. It made it such a different experience. I think that if we try to do that a little bit here, I think it would, I think it would be kind of knee. So I'm going to try it.
Bryan: 00:50:36 Well, we're going to put you in charge of creating a community like that somewhere.
Cindy: 00:50:41 Why? I lie. I mean I tried to do that with my neighbors now and you know, and had people refer Sunday brunch or you know, community potluck and things like that. Cause I think that's really important that you have a supportive network of people that you're in and know that if you, if you need something or you're sick, that a neighbor might step in and help you. And I think that that would just be amazing. We had that in a lot of communities here.
Bryan: 00:51:08 Yeah, I agree. Well, my final question for you is do you have a morning routine and if so, what is it?
Cindy: 00:51:15 so for the most part, I like to get my workout done in the morning. I just feel so much better throughout the day. If I can wake up, I immediately put my workout clothes on and I get my workout done. It's, it's sort of like my reflection time. I mentally wrote my first book in my head one morning and I workout, I wrote my second one that's still in my head. It has, it's not, it's not done yet. I'm still working on it. But my second book, you know, hopefully be done within a year, but it just like, that workout time, that free time in the morning is just my creative space. And, it's, I've, I've sat on a rainy day on my, on my stationary bike and then mentally written a blog post in my head. So, you know, it's just, it allows for that, that free thinking, creative flow to happen for me. So that, that's my, my morning routine is I got to have my, at least 30 to 45 minutes of workout.
Bryan: 00:52:20 And when you're working out to have that access to that creative space, are you not listening to music or anything then? Are you just there with your own thoughts?
Cindy: 00:52:29 if I, I used to always have my music on, especially like if I go for a walk and I'd put that, you know, that iPod on and whatnot. But now I actually love having no music whatsoever and just listening to the sounds of nature. I might hear a wrestling in a tree and then see a neat bird or the birds chirping or, or the see deer. And Bunny and squirrel and foxes on my walks. And I live in a neat community in northern Virginia where I have access to great walking trails. So I love that. And that is my music. But if I'm in my gym most of the time, yes. I, we, we put a gym in my home cause I have some personal training clients, clients here. So, yeah, I'll listen to some music and jam and out in dance my way, you know, to some silliness and then morning cause I think it's fun and dancing is another great to get some exercise and keep your body young and limber too.
Bryan: 00:53:30 [inaudible] for sure. Yeah. Well people can find [email protected] you're also on Instagram and Facebook at unlocked. Better health. thank you Cindy so much for coming on. We appreciate it. I loved all the different topics that we talked about in this podcast. It was great. So thanks.
Cindy: 00:53:48 Oh, thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Love, love sharing my information. Yeah, thank you.
Bryan: 00:53:54 What I found was really neat was how the Amens clinic has a whole team of different providers that are creating a really unique experience of care for the clients and the patients that they have coming into their clinic, which is what we've been trying to slowly build to with summit. We're not quite at the level of the amens clinic, but we're definitely getting there and I'm really excited about just the direction that we're going with summit. the other really neat thing about this episode is it really showcased a lot of the other episodes that we have recorded with this podcast and how they all kind of come together because we talked about the Keto diet or a higher fat diet and how that can help with dimension all's timers. And we had an whole episode about the Keto Diet and all those timers before. we also talked about Ryan Glatt and how he uses voice commands during exercise to improve oxygen flow to different regions of the brain.
Bryan: 00:54:51 we also talked about the episode we had with Jack Wolfson where he was talking about cholesterol and how statens might not be the best option to reduce cholesterol and it can cause more harm than good. And then we've also had episodes with Dr. Brandon Brock talking about concussions and how that can lead to dementia and Alzheimer's and, different protocols to help recover faster from concussions. So it's really neat to see all of this starting to come together and seeing all the different resources that you have available to learn more about these different topics. That might be something you can relate to. And if you go to summit for wellness.com/ 79 then you can see all these resources and it's really easy to find all of those episodes. Okay. If you really enjoyed this episode, then please leave us a rating and review on apple podcasts. Those ratings and reviews do help to get the podcast in front of more people and it just helps to spread the message that we're trying to get out there. So if you go to summit for wellness.com/apple, it will take you about 20 seconds to leave a rating and review. Next episode we have Brian Richards from sauna space coming on to talk about near infrared Saunas and a red light therapy and how both of those can be beneficial to your health and how they are beneficial. So here is a little clip from that episode. We are here with Brian Richards of sauna space. Hey Brian, what is one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Speaker 4: 00:56:30 When I was six years old, I shot myself in the eye with a BB gun and ripped my left iris in half. And if you look at me closely, you can see that the upper part of my left eyes black because there is no iris. And, so, I thought, I, I've actually, everybody thought I was going to be blind, but I ended up surviving and I can still see out of my left eye and I don't know what the psychological, or metaphysical ramifications of that were. But it definitely, it definitely affected me for the rest of my life. I, I have too much light goes into my left eye, so I kind of have a asymmetric squint when I'm out in the sunlight. and my left eye sees a much better than my right. I actually wear glasses or contacts. and my, the vision in my damage dye my, where the IRS is ripped as is, many times better than my other eye.
Bryan: 00:57:34 That's gotta be one of the craziest ones we've heard. So that's, that's a pretty unique thing, that's for sure. so what are we going to be learning about in our interview together?
Speaker 4: 00:57:46 We'll talk about how we're beings of light and beings of heat, that we have light therapy, we have heat therapy and we want to return to these ancestral methods of, of, of long life. And of health and of restoration to, to basically not just survive, but kind of thrive in this modern toxic world we live in. So we'll talk about all that and, and hopefully a little bit about life and about EMF and, and whatever else we can get to.
Bryan: 00:58:16 And then what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Speaker 4: 00:58:24 I'm a big fan of cooking with homemade tallow that's rendered beef fat. And so I cook all of my food in that and I've pretty strictly follow what's called a Dr. Walls or the wall's protocol diets and lots of cooked vegetables that are low in Lectin and, lots of, lots of animal fat, frankly, lots of Yang foods and try to avoid some of the more yin foods like wheat based and and sugary type foods. But I will admit that I still use butter if I cook my eggs because tallow is, it has a strong flavor to it. but I, I'm a big fan of the walls for a call approach and and eating, an animal may STI more or less a paleo diet, but whatever you eat, it ought to be fresh and, and, and fresh cooked and, and not be anything really out of a box or, or, or prepared or processed. [inaudible]
Bryan: 00:59:22 yeah, you should know exactly what it is. And then a, what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness?
Speaker 4: 00:59:31 Well, of course a sauna space, sauna use every day. addressing, natural lighting in your, in your environment you live in and you work in. And, and like we said before, addressing your diet as well. I think if you, if you strengthen a restore and galvanize the body with these ancestral methods, you're, you're less susceptible to disease and to break down and to illness and you're stronger for it. And that puts you in a better position to help others around you and, and be a force force of good on earth.
Bryan: 01:00:06 And there you have it. We have a great episode coming up, so stay tuned until next time and keep on climbing to the peak of your health.