Outstanding Health:August 2015
By Astrid Derfler Kessler
The 6 Essential Keys To Maximize Your Energy And Well Being
An Interview With Michael Galitzer, MD
For over a quarter of a century, Hollywood’s top celebrities—including actress, health advocate, and best-selling author Suzanne Somers—have been flocking to the Santa Monica, California, clinic of cutting-edge physician Dr. Michael Galitzer, one of the country’s most respected experts in the fields of Energy Medicine, integrative medicine, and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. For more than 40 years, he has been acknowledged as a key player when it comes to longevity and anti-aging medicine.
According to Suzanne Somers, “Dr. Galitzer is the best kind of doctor… He has kept me well for over a decade. I lead an active and stressful life, constantly traveling, which wears down the body. Before and after every trip, I go to his office and utilize protocols that protect and build up. As a result, I never get sick.
“We work together, rarely resort to drugs, and his approach allows me to enjoy superb health. He keeps my insides healthy, which manifests on the outside, making me look and feel young.”
In this exclusive interview with Life Extension®, Dr. Galitzer discusses how to turn back the clock to increase energy, improve vigor and stamina, and have the best health of your life.
LE: You are considered one of Hollywood’s “best-kept secrets.” What is it that you do that keeps the movers and shakers of the movie industry flocking to your door?
MG: Simple—I’ve developed a program that consistently helps people look and feel younger than their actual age. The sad truth is that poor health is something most people in this country are struggling with. They may not necessarily be suffering from specific illnesses, but they certainly lack the energy they had when they were younger to do the things they most enjoy. In fact, lack of energy is the number one complaint among my patients. Add to that chronic stress, low libido, memory problems and “foggy” thinking, joint pain, and lack of flexibility, and you have the potpourri of symptoms that the majority of Americans experience each and every day.
LE: One of the biggest complaints we as a nation have is that we’re always tired. You believe this exhaustion is toxin based.
MG: One of the primary causes of energy loss and energetic imbalances in the body, and therefore disease, is toxins. Toxin-related imbalances can result in a wide range of physical, emotional, and mental health issues. Conventional medicine recognizes two classes of toxins: exogenous and endogenous. I add a third class: toxic emotions.
LE: Can you provide examples of each kind of toxin?
MG: Exogenous, or external, toxins are those present in the outside environment. Most exogenous toxins that affect us include tap water, smog, alcohol, sugar and artificial sweeteners, food preservatives, additives and artificial flavorings, tobacco, pesticides, petrochemicals, heavy metals, viruses, bacteria, prescription medicines, and over-the-counter medicines.
Endogenous toxins are internal toxins produced in the body as a result of compromised digestion and inefficient metabolism. They result from pancreatic digestive deficiency, poor eating habits, and wrong food combinations.
Toxins are discharged by the liver, kidneys, lymph, colon, lungs, and skin. As more and more toxins accumulate, they place severe stress on these organs of elimination. With continued accumulation, the liver, kidneys, and lymph system become less efficient in their ability to excrete these waste products, causing toxins to accumulate in the connective tissues and then in the organs. Your body tries to compensate by having the endocrine or hormonal glands secrete hormones to help stimulate detoxification. Over time these glands become inefficient and tired. The end result is an inefficient elimination system with toxin accumulation, coupled with reduced organ function, producing an ideal environment for illness to flourish.
LE: Let’s get specific and discuss the best ways to “drain” or detox various organs in the body. We’ll start with the kidneys.
MG: Drink healthy, non-distilled pure filtered water each day. One of the world’s leading authorities on water and its relationship to health was the late Dr. Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. Based on his findings, he recommended a person divide their weight in half, and then drink that amount of water in ounces each day. For example, a woman weighing 120 pounds would need to drink 60 ounces. To increase hydration from water, Dr. Batman, as he liked to be called, advised adding a pinch of sea salt to each glass of water. Doing so helps carry water more efficiently into the cells, thus improving the cells’ ability to flush out toxins.
Avoid both tap water, unless it’s first filtered through a good quality filter, and distilled water, which is dead and has no minerals. I’ve found that Volvic water from France can be helpful because it’s slightly alkaline and contains both healthy electrons and the right amount of minerals. Fiji water is also good. Alkaline water has also become popular.
LE: What about foods that detox the kidneys?
MG: Eat a plentiful supply of organic fresh fruits and vegetables that act as natural cleansers because they’re high in fiber. Kidney-friendly foods include asparagus, blueberries, cranberries, cucumber, grapes, kale, spinach, string beans, and watermelon. Herbs such as dandelion, ginger, nettles, and parsley are also recommended. Horsetail tea also promotes kidney drainage.
LE: What do you recommend for the liver?
MG: In addition to fresh-squeezed lemon water upon arising, incorporate apples, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, citrus, dandelion greens, squash, watercress, and zucchini. Cruciferous vegetables are also important because they contain compounds called glucosinolates, which aid in enzyme production in the liver. These liver enzymes help flush out carcinogens and other toxins, and have been shown to lower the risk of cancer. Dark leafy greens are also rich in chlorophylls to eliminate environmental toxins from the bloodstream. They also contain compounds to help neutralize heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides. Bitter greens, such as arugula, chicory, and dandelion and mustard greens, also help increase production and flow of bile, to further help remove toxic residues.
LE: Before we discuss the best ways to drain the lymphatic system, please describe what it is.
MG: Without the lymphatic system, you could not live. The fluid circulating in the lymphatic system is called lymph and is derived from blood plasma but is clearer and more watery. The body has twice as much lymph as blood and twice as many lymph vessels. It also includes lymph nodes, the appendix, tonsils, and spleen. The lymphatic system aids immune function by filtering out disease-causing organisms, manufacturing white blood cells, and generating antibodies.
Lymph has no pump. The process of breathing creates a partial vacuum that causes blood and lymph to flow upward, and return to the blood stream from which it came. The easiest way to facilitate drainage of your lymphatic system is to take deep breaths. Try to make a point to engage in deep breathing exercises for five to 10 minutes three times a day. Another excellent measure for improving lymphatic function is skin brushing. This not only keeps lymph flowing, it helps rid the outer layer of skin of accumulated dead cells and debris, improving overall circulation and helping your skin “breathe” easier. You need a dry skin brush. Starting with your arms and hands, brush towards your heart in long, firm strokes. Then do the same with feet and legs, brushing upwards. Then brush along your chest and abdomen, again moving towards your heart. Be sure to take deep, full breaths.
LE: After the drainage stage, the next step is detoxification, which you recommend people inform their health care provider they are doing. Can you outline the steps involved in detoxifying the body?
MG: The first component is to adhere to a detoxification diet. Foods and beverages to include are sesame, and almond milk; organic apples, berries, lemon, watermelon; organic non-starchy vegetables, that comprise the bulk of your food intake each day; wheatgrass and other green juices, almonds, tempeh, tofu, stevia sweetener, and alkalizing spices like chili, cinnamon, curry, ginger, sea salt, mustard, and tamari; black, pinto, and kidney beans, lean poultry, lamb, wild-caught fish; quinoa, brown rice, millet, and non-GMO corn.
LE: What foods must you avoid?
MG: Sugar, artificial sweeteners, wheat and wheat products, simple carbohydrates, white flour, vinegar (except apple cider), dairy, processed or preserved foods, and coffee, alcohol, and soda.
LE: Another key to outstanding health is improving the health of your gastrointestinal tract, or gut. What makes this such a vital part of overall health?
MG: The health of the gut is just as important as the health of your brain, liver, and other organs. When gut health is compromised, it soon places a burden on these organs and can trigger a host of other health problems.
LE: What are the causes of an unhealthy gut?
MG: Poor diet and nutritional deficiencies due to the standard American diet, which is devoid of many essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, and loaded with unhealthy fats, sugar, and simple carbs. It’s also lacking in fiber, which is necessary for proper elimination of waste and toxins, and naturally occurring enzymes necessary for proper digestion.
Another cause of unhealthy gut is food sensitivity, including chemical, pharmacological, enzyme deficiency, immunoglobulin reaction, and food intolerance or allergy. Infections and malabsorption, stomach acid imbalance, the overuse of pharmaceutical drugs, stress, and lack of exercise also contribute to an unhealthy gut.
LE: You have a long list of easy-to-follow rules for improving gut health.
MG: Don’t skip breakfast and eat no later than 8 p.m.; eat meals that contain 70 to 80% alkalizing foods and only 20 to 30% acidifying foods; on average, limit total protein to 50 grams; follow a ratio of 40% protein, 20 to 40% complex carbs, and 20 to 40% healthy fats; consume essential fatty acids (cold-water fish and extra virgin olive oil); avoid cooking at high temperatures; eat fruits by themselves either a half-hour before a meal or two hours after; avoid artificial sweeteners; cut down on total carbs; and give thanks for your food before eating.
LE: What supplements do you recommend for lasting gut health?
MG: Digestive and proteolytic enzymes. Digestive enzymes include amylase, cellulose, lactase, lipase, and protease, which help digest carbohydrates, fibers, dairy, fats and proteins. Proteolytic enzymes are also produced by the pancreas, as well as bromelain, papain, lumbrokinase, nattokinase, and serrapeptase.
Probiotics support the more than 400 species of life- and health-enhancing bacteria that live in the gut. They include L. acidophilus, bifidobacteria, L. bulgaricus, L. casei, and Streptococcus thermophilus. Used as supplements, probiotics help keep harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in check, protect against food poisoning, mitigate side effects of antibiotic drugs, improve immune function, aid in the manufacture of B vitamins, reduce high cholesterol, and improve overall health and efficiency of the gastrointestinal tract.
You can increase your body’s own supply of gut probiotics by regularly consuming fermented foods, such as sauerkraut, kimchi, and miso soup.
LE: How about recommended herbs for gut health?
MG: Herbs have been used for centuries to maintain and restore gut health. They fall into categories such as anti-inflammatories, [like] chamomile; astringents like meadowsweet to prevent and heal GI bleeding; bitters, such as gentian and yarrow root to improve digestion; carminatives like peppermint, spearmint, and valerian to prevent and relieve gas and bloating; demulcents, such as marshmallow and slippery elm to soothe lining of GI tract; and nervines like hops to ease stress.
LE: You are considered an expert in the field of bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. Can you discuss in detail your position on this topic?
MG: Anti-aging physicians with an expertise in hormone therapy, including myself, prefer to use bio-identical hormones when treating patients because of how closely they mimic hormones that are naturally produced in the body. Doing so both increases the effectiveness of hormone therapy and greatly minimizes the risk of side effects.
Synthetic hormones are patented substances manufactured by drug companies and represent one of the most prescribed class of drugs by doctors. Such hormones are produced by altering the structure of the hormone so that drug companies can patent them. This change in structure, however, also alters how the hormones affect the body when they are used. In many cases, synthetic hormones are derived from the natural hormones and other substances of animals, then structurally altered. Premarin®, one of the most common unnatural-to-the-body hormones, is derived from the urine of pregnant mares. It’s natural to a horse, but not to a woman [and] it is not the same as human estrogen. It carries the risk of toxicity that all chemical drugs have.
LE: With such a horrific list of health risks and side effects, it makes you wonder why anyone would choose a synthetic hormone replacement. Please discuss the natural alternatives.
MG: No studies have associated bioidentical hormone replacement therapy with increased risk of cancer. Bioidentical hormones and progesterone are bioengineered from natural plant products (wild yams), and contain the exact same chemical structure as natural female sex hormones. They most closely mimic natural human physiology.
This makes them much safer to use, in addition to increasing their effectiveness. Most importantly, bioidentical hormones are responsible to all of the body’s enzymes and other cofactors that regulate their function and make them so efficient. There have been several studies in menstruating women that showed that the higher the progesterone level during her second half of the cycle, the lower the incidence of breast cancer. Unfortunately, many people, including most physicians, believe that estrogen and progesterone cause female cancers. In the 28 years I’ve been using bioidentical hormones in thousands of patients, I have only seen two cases of breast cancer. I have concluded bioidentical hormone replacement therapy does not cause cancer, and more importantly, helps you feel well, look well, and be well by improving your sleep, energy, mood, and outlook on life.
LE: Aside from hot flashes, what are some of the signs of estrogen deficiency?
MG: Menstrual problems, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, low libido, sagging breasts and loss of fullness, insomnia, dry eyes, night sweats, bone loss, urinary tract infections, joint pain, hair loss, palpitations, migraines, mood swings, anxiety, depression, and impaired mental function, or brain fog.
LE: Are there any self-care steps women can take to address an estrogen deficiency?
MG: Steps include eating enough protein and estrogenic foods, and when appropriate, the use of natural bioidentical estrogen creams. Estrogenic foods help raise estrogen levels in the body and include animal proteins, apples, barley, brown rice, carrots, cherries, coconuts, peanuts, olives, plums, and nightshade vegetables like eggplant, tomatoes, as well as sweet and hot peppers.
LE: What kind of cream do you recommend?
MG: There are three main types of estrogen: estradiol, which [is the most abudant]; estrone, which is the most potent, and estriol. I prescribe Biest Cream, which contains 80% estriol, the safest form of estrogen, and 20% estradiol. Numerous studies show the benefits of estriol: It offers breast cancer protection, controls menopausal symptoms without causing growth of the lining of the uterus, it maintains a healthy vaginal flora; it maintains a healthy pH of the vagina, and it helps prevent urinary tract infections. It prevents vaginal dryness, helps treat pain on intercourse, and helps reduce incontinence. It also maintains and improves skin tone, helps prevent bone loss, and helps reduce the risk of heart attack. In addition, it reduces the risk of new onset diabetes.
LE: That’s incredibly impressive. What is the role of progesterone?
MG: Progesterone plays a vital role in keeping estrogen levels in the body in check. Progesterone also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and is a natural diuretic. It’s an antidepressant, improves the function of the thyroid gland, normalizes blood clotting, stimulates bone growth, and helps restore normal sleep patterns. Progesterone decreases blood pressure, relaxes the coronary arteries, and is now being used to stabilize brain function after traumatic injury. It’s also essential for a healthy libido.
Symptoms of progesterone deficiency include anxiety and agitation, menstrual irregularities, sleep problems, loss of interest in sex, and water retention.
LE: What’s the best way to boost progesterone and keep estrogen levels in balance?
MG: With the use of a natural progesterone cream, applied topically. Such creams contain natural progesterone, made from yams, that’s absorbed through the skin.
LE: If a woman is experiencing symptoms, and wants to start bio-identical hormone therapy replacement, what does she need to do?
MG: Women should have the following blood tests: CBC, chem profile, insulin, Free T3, TSH, thyroid peroxidase, thyroglobulin antibody, estradiol, progesterone, SHBG, IgF1, IGFBP3, prolactin, HsCRP, FSH, LH, testosterone/free testosterone, DHEA-S, 25-OH vitamin D, cortisol, and HbA1c.
LE: Thank you for the information, Dr. Galitzer, and your time.
Dr. Michael Galitzer is a nationally recognized expert in Energy Medicine, integrative medicine, and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. For over 40 years, he has been a leading figure and innovator in the field of longevity. For the past decade, he has been a featured contributor to nine bestselling books by Suzanne Somers. His own publications include Re-ignite Your Spark, No Batteries Required, and a chapter on bio-identical hormones in Alternative Medicine, The Definitive Guide 2002. For more information about Dr. Galitzer, visit www.DrGalitzer.com.
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