Ask the Doctors: Stress, Your Heart and Your Health
09/02/2020 | Season 2, Episode 35
WATCH NOW! In this week’s episode of Be HEALTHistic, we bring you an encore presentation of a recent Facebook Live event with Drs. Stephen and Drew Sinatra, where our doctor duo directly addressed audience questions about how to manage stress in the most natural ways possible. From the various symptoms of stress to be aware of, to supplements that can provide soothing support, to holistic strategies that can calm the body and the mind, the Doctors Sinatra answer your burning questions about how to reduce the stress we’ve all been coping with.
First, the doctors discuss how the heightened amount of fear and vigilance that we’re all feeling due to the pandemic can be destructive to all of our bodily systems. From exhausted adrenals and extreme fatigue, to GERD, to headaches, to increased blood pressure, to poor digestion, to sleep issues — no matter what the symptom or chronic condition, the doctors share practical solutions for lowering stress naturally. They explain how getting out into nature, simple health screenings, and a daily meditation routine can all be stress-relief gamechangers during these turbulent times.
Our doctor duo also focuses on a topic close to Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s heart — cardiovascular health, and how stress combined with untapped emotion and rage can do real damage. The doctors suggest lots of healthy foods and natural supplements that can support the heart, quiet our minds and bodies, fortify our guts, and boost immunity. Finally, they talk about the importance of taking a “media diet,” avoiding blue light and EMFs, and the benefits of grounding/earthing in the age of COVID‑19.
You won’t want to miss this engaging episode of Be HEALTHistic, where the Doctors Sinatra take YOUR questions and suggest their top strategies for lowering anxiety and staying healthy as the pandemic rolls on.
LINKS & RESOURCES
- Visit the Healthy Directions website for more health and wellness content and information!
- Check out the Healthy Directions Articles Archive, where you can search for specific, health-related content from all of our Healthy Directions doctors and experts.
- During the episode, Dr. Drew Sinatra talked about “perceived stress” that people may be feeling; watch this video to find out more about the concept of perceived stress and what you can do about it. And if you want to read the transcript, click here.
- During the conversation, the doctors talked about the advantages of ashwagandha, an adaptogen; check out this article from Dr. Drew on the benefits of ashwagandha: use and dosage for adrenal fatigue.
- The doctors mentioned cortisol, a powerful hormone, during the live event; read this article from Dr. Briana Sinatra on cortisol: what it is and how it impacts your health.
- The Drs. Sinatra addressed audience questions about how stress can make it difficult to get a good night's sleep, and how it can impact blood pressure. Check out these articles from Dr. Stephen Sinatra on how sleep deprivation affects your heart, and also more information on how you can lower your blood pressure naturally by reducing stress.
- During the event, Dr. Drew talked about how meditation is an essential stress-reduction tool for him; watch this video of Dr. Drew discussing his morning meditation ritual.
- Other audience members asked about atrial fibrillation (AFib); read this article from Dr. Steve on what you need to know about the causes and treatment for atrial fibrillation.
- Throughout the discussion, the doctors mentioned some risks of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs); check out this article from Dr. Steve on EMF radiation and your health.
- For this week’s Wellness Wisdom, watch this video “extra” from Dr. Steve Sinatra with more information on stress and its impact on your heart.
- Throughout the discussion, the doctors talked about the importance of managing anxiety, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information and advice, check out Episode 27: Pulse Check: Coping with Stress During the Pandemic.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Hi, folks. Welcome to a very special episode of Be HEALTHistic. Recently, my dad and I did a Facebook Live event to answer the questions that our audience had about stress and health. We’re sharing that here, so that you can get all the benefits of this valuable information. Let us know what you think about this Q and A by sending us an email at [email protected] If you like it, we’ll make sure we do more of these, and invite you to ask your questions.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Welcome, everyone! This is Facebook Live, something my father and I have not done in probably over a year and a half now. So welcome everyone, welcome Dad!
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Hey, it’s good to be here, Drew…long time!
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Long time, so this is great. Well, today we’re going to be talking all about stress, and how stress impacts the heart, stress impacts our mood, stress impacts our digestion. And everyone can agree watching this, every single one of us are under tremendous amounts of stress these days, during COVID times. We were already under a lot of stress before COVID, and now add this layer on top, and certainly everyone’s having troubles with dealing with stress in their life. The uncertainty of what’s happening, the virus itself, the economic destruction that is occurring from this. So there’s so many different layers of stress that we’re all experiencing right now, and we’re going to be talking all about that today.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Now Dad, where do you want to start with this? Do you want to jump in with the stress and the heart, and what you’ve seen over the years, and what people can do to help remedy that?
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I mean, stress and the heart is easy for me, because when I became a cardiologist, I studied to be a psychotherapist because I realized that a lot of the sudden death I was seeing, and a lot of the heart attacks were related to emotional stress. And when I received my Cardiovascular Boards back in 1977, and my Internal Medicine Boards in ‘75, the Vietnam War had just waned down. And, there were so many people in the State of Connecticut, you know, the Groton Sub Base, Pratt and Whitney Aircraft, Colt Firearms. So many people lost their jobs, and I was seeing…Drew, it was amazing. I was a young cardiologist in my mid 30s, and I’m seeing people my age with heart attacks and sudden death coming in. And I was doing coronary angiograms on these people. And I realized, the loss of a job in a male, or the sudden unexpected loss of a job, when the defense industry was waning down…oh, it was devastating to men.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And, then I was seeing all these cases. I remember one case in a guy who, had to fire somebody at his place of employment. And he was so angry when the administrator told him to fire one of his employees, he developed an acute aortic dissection. And, he lived through it, but I reported him in one of the cardiovascular journals because his anger was so toxic, that he literally burst his aorta open…and that’s really serious.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: I remember another guy, he was in his 40s, and he routinely brought his car to a gas station to get an oil change. And he got everything changed, they got a new oil filter…but they forgot to put the oil in. And he drove away, and about three minutes later, his car seized up. He was so angry, because he pulled his car with a rope to get it out of the intersection.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Oh my goodness.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And he had a massive infarction, a heart attack. And again, all related to anger. So anger is the Achilles’ heel of the cardiovascular system, there’s no doubt about it. And I tell people, I say, you know, for years, as a heart specialist, you know…it’s not worth dying for. Nothing is worth dying for. So if you have anger or sadness or — rage is the worst emotion, because rage fights uncontrollability. And when you’re uncontrollable, you know, people can do bad things under rage. They can kill other people, they can kill themselves. I mean, I’ve seen that happen. So, you know, in this day and age of COVID, we got to be really cautious how to handle our anger, our rage, our sadness, and our emotions, you know, related to this…well, to the epidemic, and the usual stresses that we all have in everyday life.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And what about fear? Because a lot of people are living under this massive umbrella of fear — whether it’s fear of the virus itself, getting sick, or transmitting it to others. And also the fear of losing a job, fear of losing your home. I read in the USA Today this morning, that 40 million Americans are going to be losing their homes, from this pandemic. 40 million Americans will be losing their homes. That is unprecedented, the level of stress that people are going to be under. And underlying a lot of that is fear, right? Fear of the unknown, fear of not having enough food, fear of not having something else in your life — even water, for example, or something like that. So it’s scary times for people out there.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Well, another word for fear, is vigilance. And vigilance is like waiting for the other shoe to drop. In other words, you’re living in fear, you’re living in vigilance, you’re living in uncertainty, all those things. And that is devastating to the cardiovascular system because what happens is, the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, get released. And people…they have low potassiums, for example. There’s more sudden death that occurs during episodes of long-standing fear, because of, you know, potassium and calcium derangements in the serum. So it’s very important for people to realize that fear can be devastating.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Make sure, you know, we tell our people to take in lots of fresh fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of potassium. You know, drink potassium drinks and stuff like that, because these minerals can get wasted over time, and that makes the heart more vulnerable to going out of a rhythm. And again, I saw so many cases of ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, and even atrial fibrillation in situations of, you know, uncertainty and fear.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And we’re going to dive into some of those later on in the show today. And I wanted to talk to our listeners right now, we’re here for your questions. So if you have any questions, please post them. We’re going to jump in right now to a couple of our questions.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: This first one is from Donna Baker. “If your adrenals aren’t functioning properly, and thyroid, as well, and your back is really out of alignment, can these things cause palpitations and dizziness? Also, can all the stress bring on problems with adrenals and cause fear, anxiety, and panic?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I would answer that all of the above.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, right.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: I mean, that’s a bad combination. If your adrenals and your cortisol get depleted.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And your thyroid isn’t working, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And the thyroid isn’t working. A low thyroid with an exhausted adrenal, you’re in double handcuffs, so to speak. I mean Hans Selye wrote about this for years, you know, vital exhaustion. And actually when I studied with Al Lowen, I actually came up with the term vital exhaustion. And that’s a bad situation. So, you know, it’s important for people to try to keep their adrenals up. In other words…thyroid’s another one. I mean, there’s an epidemic of low thyroid in this country. A lot of it is due to cellular phone, Drew, where people are holding a cordless phone or a cellular phone towards their ear. And the electromagnetics, that’s, you know, it’s only a few inches away, can penetrate the thyroid, and render the thyroid to not work efficiently. And you get a hypothyroid condition.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: So hypothyroidism, overstress with adrenal overload, low thyroid hormone, adrenal exhaustion, cortisol thrown in the mix. This is a recipe for cardiac arrhythmias. And, you know, people need to be very cautious. And again, eat a healthy diet with lots of minerals, or take in minerals. And, at least that’ll give you some assurance that your heart can withstand the stress. Because let me tell you this, if you have a heart low in potassium and you’re facing stress, that’s when it gets very, very dangerous.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Right, right. And I’ll speak to the adrenals really quick, Dad, because I feel like a lot of our listeners should really understand what the adrenals do in our body. They are these little triangular-shaped glands that sit on top of your kidneys, and they’re the ones that pump out cortisol — and other hormones, as well, like norepinephrine and epinephrine. And cortisol, like what you mentioned, is the stress hormone. And a lot of us right now probably have high cortisol levels, because we’re under this cloud of stress all the time from COVID. And what I see in my practice is, people do have high cortisol levels — but they also have low cortisol levels, and that’s a problem, too. So you really want to have a balance of cortisol levels, you don’t want to have too high and you don’t want to have too low.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And ultimately, you want to help balance out those levels by reducing stress in your life. Whether it’s going for a walk in nature, whether it’s meditating or doing some sort of a breathing technique — like you like to do that alternate nostril breathing, that’s really good for regulating the autonomic nervous system. And anything that you can do to calm down your body is going to help lower those cortisol levels.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And what I want to talk about here, too, Dad, is there’s the physical stress that we feel, sometimes with physical ailments — like Donna just mentioned low back pain, that creates stress in your body. But there’s also perceived stress, perceived stress. And that is this looming threat that we experience right now during COVID, which is scary for folks, right? And, that perceived stress can be incredibly stressful for people, and it acts like real stress in the body. And that can really damage the adrenal glands, and dysregulate cortisol levels, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Well, that’s what you said before…living in fear and vigilance, you know, creates that situation. You know, you said something very, very important, Drew. You said, walking out in nature. And we should tell our listeners, one of the best ways of adjusting the imbalance of the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system is walking barefoot outside. Because whenever you are grounded — and you’re an expert in grounding, you publish a lot of papers on grounding. You know, we can tell our listeners, whenever they do ground themselves…now, if you have a hypervigilant sympathetic nervous system, it tends to be balanced by some parasympathetic discharge. And that is very important, as well. So, I think grounding, in this day and age of COVID, is one of the healthier things we can do to lower the cortisol and adrenaline that can have adverse effects on us.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And also, too, you’re familiar with those studies out of Japan with forest bathing. So, going out into the woods, there’s actually studies to show that your cortisol level can go down, and it can actually help regulate stress. And if you can go out barefoot, walking on a trail in the woods, that’s the best thing you can ultimately do for yourself!
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Right, right. Or walking into the ocean, you know…I think the best grounding is where the ocean meets the sand, in that little surf area, you know? And, I’ll tell you, when I’m in Florida, I take my fly rod and I just walk that beach for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of yards. And, sometimes I go out at six o’clock in the morning when nobody’s out there, and it’s nirvana for me, I go to tell you. And very, very healing, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Couldn’t agree more with that, Dad.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Well, let’s take another question here from our audience. “Can you discuss how or if stress can cause GERD symptoms to flare up? Also, is there anything natural that can help with what feels like heart flutters?”
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, Dad, I’ll take the first segment of this question here. She’s asking about, how stress can cause GERD symptoms. So let’s dig into this, Dad, and we’ve talked about this on podcasts before, but when you’re living in a stress environment, we’re leaning more towards a sympathetic drive, a sympathetic state. And that’s when the cortisol kicks in, that’s when the epinephrine, the norepinephrine kicks in. And during a sympathetic state, this is when your body is very alert, right? You’re trying to get out of a situation that is dangerous — or let’s say with prehistoric man, you’re trying to run away from the proverbial tiger, or something like that. So, what’s happening there is that your body is using all its resources to survive — and that’s really what it’s designed to do, is to keep you alive.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Now, if you’re living under that environment all the time, like some of us are — with COVID, with social media, with notifications on your phone that come through every five minutes, with text messages, with emails…the mainstream media putting out fearful stuff around COVID and everything. That is all stress that is chronic, and people feel that all the time, and that’s putting us more into this sympathetic state. Now, in order to have really good digestion, you need to have more of a parasympathetic state, which is more of a “rest and digest.” And that’s so that your enzyme systems in your body, your digestive system can kick in and you can actually digest food more efficiently. But if you’re in “fight or flight” mode, sympathetic-driven mode, you’re not going to be digesting food all that well. So what happens is, people can develop GERD, which is really heartburn, chronic heartburn.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And this is for many reasons. One which I want to talk about at this moment is…I know a lot of people, including myself this happens, where I’m eating lunch and I’m just shoveling food in my mouth. And I’m reading something on the internet about COVID, or something happening in the world right now that’s terrible. And that, ultimately, is not helping with my digestion because I’m not chewing my food, for one, and two, I am reading something that is very negative or scary, and that’s influencing my nervous system. So what I recommend people do is first off, to chew your food very thoroughly. So that means, chew it as much as you can, like it should be liquid in your mouth before you swallow it.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And number two, when you’re eating food — I love to do what you do, Dad, is really to say a little prayer beforehand, to give thanks for the food, for the farmers for bringing that food to you. And I think that puts people in a really good state to be present for their meals, so that they’re not rushed, and they’re not shoveling food in their mouth, and they’re not waiting to do the next thing that they have to do, the next errand they have to run. And when you really focus on your food, you’re present there, you’re chewing your food. That’s going to allow for more optimal digestion from the beginning, and it will hopefully lead to less symptoms associated with heartburn.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, well said, Drew — and I would add one more remedy. I mean, I think, especially in this day and age, digestive enzymes are so important. I mean, I remember the late Marcus Lowry, he was a naturopath just like yourself, and I was very good friends with him for years. And about 20 years ago, we were eating dinner together and he was popping digestive enzymes immediately. And I said, “What’s that?” And he told me, he says, “Amylase, lipase…” You know, he gave me the rundown. And it had such an impact on me that ever since then, because I trusted him, he knew a lot…I mean, he was just an amazing guy…that I’ve always used digestive enzymes.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And I think today, in this day and age of COVID, and you said it very, very nicely, and you were very concise with your thoughts. In this day and age of COVID, we are stewing in our digestive juices, you know? And people are getting more GERD, they’re getting more ulcers, they’re getting more dyspepsia, and all that stuff. So chewing your food is a start, but to finish it off, I think we need three or four capsules of digestive enzymes just to keep down, you know…or helping our digestive system. In other words, we’re giving it some adjunctive supports in digesting the food, and that’s what we really need right now.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, couldn’t agree more with that, Dad. And also, too, what’s happening these days with COVID, and all the stress we’re under is people are stress eating. So they’ll tend to grab a bag of potato chips late at night, or they’ll eat a dessert two times during the day, or they’ll just have more sugar, because a lot of people do crave more sugar during these times of stress, and that ultimately doesn’t lead to good digestion.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: There was a second part to that question, I forgot what it was, it was on…
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Oh, right, thank you. So she was asking, this is from Nisha again, “Is there anything natural that can help with what feels like heart flutter?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Anything natural for heart flutters? I mean, again, I’m a big proponent of potassium, you know, and minerals — calcium, potassium, magnesium. I think they’re so important, because we’re going to discharge a lot of minerals, and it’s important to keep our mineral status up. So for any sensation of heart flutters, go to minerals are easy, it’s so easy to take more minerals. And even additional table salt that, you know…Himalayan salts, for example, that have a little bit of not only iodine in there, but different trace elements, as well. So I’m all in on minerals, especially during this age of COVID, because we need minerals that are supportive for the heart.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And I’m glad you mentioned the salt piece there, Dad, because a lot of people do have a fear of using salt. If you’re cooking most of your meals at home, and you’re not eating processed foods or soups for that matter, where there is a really high sodium content — I always tell people it’s okay to sprinkle some salt on their meals, because you are getting minerals in that, if it’s a high quality salt. And also, kind of historically, sodium and other minerals have been helpful for the adrenal glands, as well. So you’re getting multiple functions there.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, let’s take another question here from the audience. This is from Amber. Hey, Amber, how are you doing? “How does fear affect weight gain in children? My daughter has way more activity this summer and is eating the same, but seems to have gained weight. She’s six years old, and I’m not sure how to help her.”
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Well, really what happens is when — and children experience this, too, just as adults do — but when you have these high levels of cortisol, your metabolism gets affected and you can actually start storing fats when cortisol levels are high. So that’s a mechanism that I’m aware of, I’m not sure if there’s anything else that you’re aware of there, Dad.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Well, the other thing, too, is carbohydrates. I just feel that, again, if stress is a factor, and COVID, and if children mirror their parents, and their parents are showing fear or overconcern, hopefully not panic. But if the parent does this, a child may mirror that — if the parent starts to eat more, the child may eat more. And, especially during this time, we want to watch sugar. Not only does sugar depress the immune system, which is very dangerous during COVID, but like you said, I mean, sugar can lead to so many other unhealthy situations, particularly weight gain and insulin resistance. And we’re seeing that more and more in young children, insulin resistance. So we got to be really careful during this day and age and eat a lot less sugar, a lot less carbs, eat more healthy fats, and certainly more healthy proteins, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, and I should add, too, Dad, that when you do have these sugar cravings, because everyone has a sugar craving at some point, especially now. When you do have that craving, or you want to open up a bag of chips at night before you go to bed, go for a walk. Even if it is late at night, I’m telling you, if you can just distract your brain a little bit by getting movement into your body instead of that food which will not serve you, that can be really helpful for that distraction piece. So you don’t get focused so much on the sugar, but you get focused on how your body feels good after movement.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, and I would add one more to that. And, I remember we did a podcast with Dr. Michael Murray and I asked him this very question — if you had to choose one food out of the six superfoods, he said dark chocolate! And he’s absolutely right. I mean, the beauty of taking just a small piece of dark chocolate is that you will get a little sugar, but the polyphenol activity is going to overwhelm any of the negative impact of sugar. And these bioflavonoids and these flavonoids found in dark chocolate are really supportive for the body. I mean, they not only reduce blood pressure in a lot of people, but they have these antioxidant effects, as well. So I’m all in on a little bit of dark chocolate, if you do need a sugar fix. If you must have a little sugar, one or two pieces of dark chocolate a few times a week, I see no problem with.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And chocolate has the mood-enhancing benefits, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly, that’s right, there’s a feel-good aspect to it.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, well, everyone…thank you so much for posting these questions, we’d love it if you can post some more. I’m going to take another one right now, from our audience. This is from Peggy West. “What are the best supplements to take to boost the immune system?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Boy, this is something that, I’m on the radio and TV all the time on, and let me just suggest a few. I’ll tell you what I do…I mean, I take vitamin D every day. I think vitamin D, right now, is an unsung hero. And no matter where you are, if you’re in Atlanta or if you’re in Minneapolis…you know, a lot of people in the Northern latitudes have diminished vitamin D levels, they’ve done this with serum levels. And if you live above Atlanta, you have low vitamin Ds; if you live below Atlanta, you have higher vitamin Ds. But, now more research has been done, and even people below Atlanta are deficient in vitamin D. So I think 2,000 to 5,000 units of vitamin D, especially in this day and age of COVID, is a must. I would definitely do it, vitamin D is essential.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: A thousand milligrams of vitamin C, at least, every day. I mean, I take one of my mineral packets that contains a thousand milligrams of vitamin C, I love it. And I actually do it at a couple of times a day. I mean, taking quercetin, for example. I think quercetin is one of these nutrients that, not only supports respiratory health, but it has a remarkable impact on oxidative stress in the body. Garlic and onions, you can certainly take, in foods. And the list goes on and on.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And if you need something with stress, I love ashwagandha, for example. I’ve been taking ashwagandha for like, 20 years. It is one of the supplements that has a balancing effect on the autonomic nervous system. And remember, whenever the autonomic nervous system is over stressed, it affects the immune system. So, you know, all these systems are sort of combined together, and it’s important that reducing stress intention by taking a few supplements, and fortifying your immune response at the same time, is really the key going forward.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, and I would echo all those, Dad. I think that vitamin D is, like you said, an unsung hero. And also it’s really good for mood, which people need some help and support with these days. And I like the ashwagandha piece, as well, because you’re right. When you are taking an adaptogen, right — and adaptogens help adapt people to stress, that’s really what they’re designed to do. Ashwagandha is a perfect, perfect herb for that purpose. And it’s not too stimulating, either, because there are a lot of adaptogens out there like licorice root, for example, or like a panax ginseng, that might be too stimulating for people. But this one, the ashwagandha, they can take even at night before bed, and they can still sleep really well from taking that.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: No, I agree, 100%. I mean, like I said, I have a long experience with ashwagandha. Rhodiola is another one, but again, people may get a little bit of a buzz from that, as well. But I think ashwagandha is probably the highest adaptogen people can take right now, especially in this day and age of COVID.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And I’ll add two more supplements, Dad, for immune support. I would add zinc, and I would also add colostrum.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh, absolutely, oh my gosh.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: I’m a big colostrum proponent, because I do find that it really helps support the gut health. And most of our immune system is located in and around our gut. So when you’re supporting the gut, then your systemic immune system is going to be improved, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that. And I think zinc is another one of these minerals that you must have. And there’s good data to show that zinc may be similar to hydroxychloroquine. I mean, in other words, you know, some researchers believe, is it the hydroxychloroquine that made a difference — or is it the zinc? You know, because even New York Hospital was doing a study on this, as well. And I don’t think it’s out yet, but I think zinc is really important, especially in this day and age.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And a lot of us are zinc deficient, too. So it’s, you know…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Make sure you’re taking a multivitamin that has some zinc in it, or take zinc separately by itself.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, let’s take another question from our audience here. This is from Kathy Cadeaux. Hello Kathy, thanks for joining us today. “Over the last five months, I’ve been more stressed than usual, and my blood pressure has increased. What can I do to alleviate this and get my blood pressure back under control?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: You know, the first hit I get is earthing and grounding. I mean, I’ve mentioned this to celebrities, people have called me, I’m getting calls all the time. And again, it’s the times we live in, the emotional stress of the COVID is a factor. You know, living indoors and being trapped…I mean, whatever it is that affects the autonomic nervous system. And remember that grounding discharges the autonomic nervous system immediately. I mean, it’s just incredible. And grounding not only has the discharging effect where it lowers blood pressure, but it thins the blood at the same time. So, I ground all the time. Even when I’m on the computer, Drew, I have a grounding mat underneath my feet. So I’m grounding at home, I sleep grounded at night. You know, I have a rod that goes out my window with a wire attached to my grounded sheet.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: That’s the best way to ground yourself.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And I’m telling you, I just think people should sleep grounded, and even walk as much as they can barefoot outside. Not an asphalt, asphalt is not the ground — but sand, dirt, grass. I think, like I mentioned before, the beach is probably the best way. But the more you can earth, oh my gosh! It does so many important physiological remedy…it creates physiological remedies for the overtaxed autonomic nervous system.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, and I’ll say this too, Dad, you know, like right now during COVID times, we’re socially distancing and wearing masks, which everyone should be doing. I do believe that people should do some social distancing from the media, because I do find that the media is stressing us out. There’s so much information coming, at so many different angles, from so many different platforms. Whether it’s Twitter, or if it’s watching the news, or if it’s even Facebook and Instagram, and all kinds of things. We’re just bombarded with all this stress, and no wonder Kathy is experiencing a little elevation in blood pressure. If I measure my blood pressure after watching the news, I’m sure that I would have a high blood pressure, as well. So I do believe that people should socially distance from media, occasionally, because we do need a break from it. I don’t think that it’s really good for us to be doing it so frequently, and it’s hard to get away from it, really.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Even that, even the present hurricane in Florida, people were really fearful on the East coast. And, you know, I’ve gotten so many phone calls because I live in Florida for half the year and people said, “This was nothing, it was a breeze.” But the media, again, blows that up, you know?
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So yeah, if you’re watching the media, you’re scared. And the fear level is going up…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Cortisol’s going up…
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Cortisol is going up, and there goes that whole thing.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Now, I wanted to reply to Kathy with something that I would recommend doing, and that’s meditation. And I know, Dad, you and I have gone on many podcasts and talked about this before. But I’ll just share with the audience what I do on a daily basis. I wake up every morning around 6:30 or 7:00 and I’ll meditate for around 20 minutes. And all that is for me is I sit on a meditation cushion, and I close my eyes, sit up in upright position. And I just focus on the breath, coming in and out of my nose. And I have all these thoughts come through my head around all the projects I need to get done, the work I need to do, driving my kids to school. All of these things are on my mind.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: But what happens is, I have those thoughts come in, and I just let them go. It’s kind of like the tide, or like the waves coming in…you know, if you’re on a beach, the waves come in, they go out. It’s sort of, that’s what you do with the thoughts coming in and out. And if you sit there for even five minutes, just five minutes of doing that, your day will be much easier. The amount of stress that you can handle during the day will go up. I can promise you that, I’ve seen that in my life. If I don’t meditate every morning, I feel like I can’t tolerate as much stress, and things kind of bother me more.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So for Kathy, I would suggest doing a simple…start off with just five minutes a day, of breathing, just breathing. That’s all it is, just focusing on the in breath and the out breath through your nose, and try to work up to 10 minutes, and then 15 minutes, or 20 minutes and above. And I bet that your blood pressure would go down a little bit if you started to incorporate that into your daily regimen.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Well said, I agree 100%.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, well, let’s take another question here from our audience. This is from Ian. “I have read that not much zinc is absorbed into the bloodstream from zinc tablets, and even less into the cell. Any way of helping with this?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, you know, there’s a lot of zinc preparations, for example. It’s a good question because there are certain, like…could zinc oxide, for example, be less absorbed than zinc picolinate, for example, or an ascorbate. And the answer is yes. In other words, any mineral — and even magnesium is a classic example of this — if you can use different Krebs cycle components, or…different preparations may get better absorbed.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: So I agree with the question, and if you try one zinc preparation and it’s not doing anything for you, just to get a different preparation with a different delivery system and see what happens. But zinc is very crucial, especially in men. The link between prostate health, sexuality in the male, a lot of it depends on zinc. So, zinc is one mineral that a lot of us males are not privy to, and we really need more of it going forward. Especially males in my age group, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, and there are supplements out there, too, that have different forms of zinc in it. So you can get the oxide, the picolinate, and other ones, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Right, the ascorbate.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Ascorbate, sorry, yeah. Okay, let’s take another question from our audience here. This is from Gail Acosta. “What about L-theanine for stress?” Yeah, I like L-theanine.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Go ahead, Drew.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: I think it’s a really safe supplement to take. People can take it in the morning, they can take it in the evening for better stress. And my understanding is that it really puts your brain into more of a calming brainwave state. So you’re not all jazzed up and all stressed out, but it can really just calm down your brain. And I do find that that’s helpful for people that are trying to manage stress, or even for sleep, for that matter.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I would echo that. And, if you do want to take L-theanine, there are preparations that also contain melatonin. And I love melatonin, especially in this day and age COVID, as well. Melatonin is a really powerful antioxidant, but people don’t realize this. In fact, in the sun, melatonin and CoQ10 are the first two antioxidants to be used up in the body very quickly in combating the UV rays of sunlight. So, I think melatonin will not only help you sleep better at night…now, it’s amazing, some people can get a benefit from a milligram, or half a milligram. Some people need 10 to 15 milligrams, big doses at night. So wherever you lie, you can start at a half a milligram to a milligram of melatonin and see if it helps. And if it doesn’t help, just go a little bit higher. But, I think sleeping today, under all the stress we have is, probably the best antioxidant we could possibly have in our bodies, because sleep really heals the body. And, especially, productive REM sleep is really the best sleep to have.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And let’s talk about sleep, while we’re on the subject here, Dad — and melatonin, as well. Because what people do is they’re on their computers late at night, they’re on their tablets…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh yeah, the worst thing...
Dr. Drew Sinatra: …they’re on their cell phones, they’re texting. And when you’re looking at that blue light, that’s actually suppressing the body’s endogenous production of melatonin. So let’s rewind and even say, “Hey, get off your devices, just take a break.” Socially distance from your devices, let’s call it that, and take a break. And I know, Dad, your son, Step, my brother…he uses candlelight in the evenings, he doesn’t really use any of these lights and whatnot. And he finds that that really helps with his sleep, and I do think that more of us need to be more cognizant of light and how it can affect us. Because the lights around us, whether there are compact fluorescent bulbs or the blue light coming from your screens, they can mess with your brain, and they can mess with melatonin levels. And I think we need to be more aware of that.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, and I’m so glad you mentioned, even a cell phone. Some children sleep with a cell phone underneath their pillow, and they’re getting that EMF, and that can really disrupt sleep. And it can cause ADD, ADHD, it can cause bizarre behavior. So if any parents are listening, if your children are sleeping with a cell phone on under their pillow to avoid missing a call, call them on it because this is a dangerous situation that I think, you know…we don’t want to get into undesirable circumstances here, children are under a lot of stress as it is. But a cell phone underneath a pillow, I believe, will create more physiological stress to the body.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And Dad, when we interviewed the Perlmutters, David and Austin Perlmutter, we talked about how dopamine, and that whole dopamine pathway — with getting a text message from a friend or a notification — that can be keeping kids up at night, too. Because you’re right, they’ve got the cell phone underneath the pillow and they’re waiting for that next text to come in, which ultimately is stimulating their dopamine system, and that’s going to keep them up at night.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly, exactly.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So, you know, our brains have been hijacked by the social media stuff, right? By the phone being there, and waiting for the next text message or the alert to come through. And so we need to break that cycle, and I think you said it so eloquently there, just get rid of your cell phone at night, turn it off.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly. Turn it off.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Put it on airplane mode, let it go. Focus on sleep.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly…sleep heals, sleep heals the body.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: It looks like we’ve got another question on melatonin here. This is from Lee Krieger, “Is melatonin safe to take on an ongoing basis?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: You know, I think it is. I mean, I’ve gone to lectures where melatonin has been discussed, even by the original scientists who have been using it for decades. And even high-dose melatonin, like 15 milligrams taken at night, that’s a huge dose. But I don’t see a downside to melatonin. If I do come across one, we’ll be the first to tell you, but I have not seen a downside to low-dose melatonin. Again, I don’t take 10 to 15 milligrams, like some of my colleagues do, but I do take low-dose melatonin and I think it helps me.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: I’ll say this, I think that there is a subset of the population…I can’t really give a number, maybe 10%, maybe 5%, that don’t react well to melatonin, even in physiological doses. I’ve seen even one milligram, or even less, cause sedation in people where they feel groggy in the morning, they feel hungover — and melatonin just isn’t for them. But for the majority of the population, yes, melatonin can be helpful and it can be taken long-term.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I’m glad you mentioned that because like beta-blockers, melatonin can cause vivid dreaming in some people, as well. And sometimes the dreams, you know, may not include only good content. So I’ve heard that, as well. And again, melatonin and beta-blockers were the two more common supplements and pharmaceuticals that people reported to me.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Right. Well, let’s see if we have another question here from the audience…by the way, guys, these are great questions so continue posting these, these are awesome.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: This is from Jeff…hey there, Jeff. “Hey there, Doctor Sinatra. I’ve been having more trouble than usual sleeping, mostly my mind is too active and anxious. I already take magnesium. Any recommendations for other natural ways to relax and sleep better?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Well, if you really want to calm down the autonomic nervous system immediately, when your head hits the pillow, this is so simple. You can breathe in to the count of four in one nostril, hold it, and then breathe out to the count of eight in the alternative nostril. So you’re breathing into four, out to eight. Do that about four or five cycles, and that can really calm you down before sleep. And I’ll tell you, it’s worked on a lot of people. I know as a cardiologist, sleep disorders was prevalent among my population. And I taught them that one exercise, and so many people came back and thanked me because it does work. Because it discharges the autonomic nervous system immediately, and we call that alternative nostril breathing.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, I’m happy you mentioned that, Dad, because people actually have to be doing something like that in this day and age, right? If it’s deep breathing, if it’s the alternative nostril breathing, if it’s meditation, if it’s some form of Qigong, or tai chi…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: …or prayer, even a prayer.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Or prayer, exactly. We need something like that because we’re all stressed and it’s affecting our sleep, like it is for Jeff. And Jeff, I would suggest even doing something throughout the day — set a timer on your phone where noon hits and you do a 10 second pause, and you look around and say, “Okay, what’s going on in my life right now? Let me get centered back in my body.” And you do little checks like that throughout the day, and that can certainly calm things down for your mind at night. Because this is a cumulative thing, this isn’t just occurring at night for you. The daily stress is affecting you and unfortunately, it’s coming on at night.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: There’s even an app out there called Breathing Zone, that I have a lot of my patients download and do. And what it does is it paces your breathing, so you can set it for five breaths per minute, or six breaths per minute. Or if you’re pretty experienced, you can even do four breaths per minute. And I’ll do that one or two times throughout the day, I’ll even drive to work listening to it. And it helps me just focus and concentrate on my breathing, which can really help with putting you into more of a parasympathetic state, and help calm down that brain activity of yours.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Also Jeff, I would suggest…and I think my dad and I may disagree on this, but I do like CBD for sleep, I find that it can be very calming for people. Generally speaking, it’s very safe to use. There are some people that do feel sedated from it, as we talked about, like melatonin. So some people, it’s not for them, But I do find CBD to be really good. You mentioned magnesium already, in your question. I absolutely love magnesium, there’s many different forms out there that you can take. There’s sustained-release ones, there’s magnesium threonate. There’s even, like, citrate that people like to take before they go to bed to help them sleep. And I would also suggest — and I think you mentioned already, Dad — but the earthing, grounding aspect, I think that’s a knockout, there.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: It’s amazing.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So, great point there. All right, let’s have another question here from our audience. This is from Clyde Newcomb. “Awesome, you guys are health gurus, heart, heart, heart.” Thank you, Clyde, that’s awesome, thank you so much for your comment.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, this is from Lidia Chordas. “Doctor Sinatra, could nausea after exercise be related to the heart? I’ve exercised all my life, but now even with light exercise, I get nauseous.”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: This is not usual, especially since you have been exercising before, and you don’t get nauseous. So this is what I would do…could nausea be a cardiac symptom? Yes, it could be. So for now, I will hold exercise to a minimum. I would call your doctor, and try to set up an exercise stress test, and just work out on a treadmill. It’s fun, believe me. I mean, I’ve had about a half a dozen of them myself, and I’ve done 40,000 of them in my career. And if you see a heart specialist or an internist that does exercise stress testing, you get on a treadmill. And if you notice that, with exercise, that you get nauseous and at the same time your EKG is changing, well, that could mean that the nausea is related to the heart, that’s struggling to get oxygen.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: So just keep that in mind, even though it’s only about a 10% or 15% chance of having a cardiac-related problem, it’s still enough to get screened for. So I would definitely call your doctor, and just tell them that when you exercise, you get a little nauseous, and just have an exercise test. And then whatever the results are, you just go forward. If the stress is positive, you may need a CT scan, or a CT angiogram, or even a coronary angiogram. You know, it doesn’t matter, but the most important thing is you get screened because when it comes to the heart, you do not want to live in denial.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, and I would add to that, Dad, too…she may want to look into getting a chem panel, just looking at electrolyte status, you know, potassium and calcium levels…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh yeah, all of that is good, yeah.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: …and also looking at thyroid function. And, while you’re at it, running a cortisol or even a four-point cortisol curve, if that’s even available. And lastly, I’d look at electrolyte status, too. I mean, sometimes people can be really deficient in electrolytes, and then exercise can really wipe them out and wear them out. And if you have enough electrolytes in your system, that can be enough to mitigate that nausea sometimes.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Okay, well, you guys, these are great questions, so let’s keep these things coming in here. Let’s field another one here from the audience. This is from Lynn Nopper. Hey Lynn! “My question is about stress and my digestion. As someone who already suffers from GI issues, the stress of today’s environment has been making my GI even more angry at me. I do take ashwagandha, but what can I do to really help calm down my gut?”
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, go ahead, Dad.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: I would tell Lynn to buy Dr. Murray’s book, you know, what was it? The Longevity Matrix, right?
Dr. Drew Sinatra: The Longevity Matrix.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: When I read his section on digestion, I felt that that was the best section on digestion I have ever read from anybody in my lifetime. I thought he’s done an outstanding job — he’s just like you Drew, he’s a naturopath. And I just feel that he brings an enormous amount to the table, especially on digestive issues. Lynn, that would be my tip of the day for you is to go to his book, or even listen to the podcast. I mean, I’m sure we asked Michael questions about digestion, because I thought it was awesome. Again, I review so many books, Drew — I read a book a week from other authors, asking me for endorsements. And I only endorse maybe one out of three or four or five books. I mean, because there’s so many books, I disagree with certain things…but you know, this book was just awesome. You know, I agreed with about 95% of what it was written, it was great.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: No, I agree. Well, to add onto your answer there, Dad. For Lynn…listen, we know that stress is probably having an effect on our microbiome, as well. And, I don’t think this has been really talked about, too, Dad, but…think about all the sanitizers that we’re using, right? I mean, I go to Costco, I go to Whole Foods, I to go to Trader Joe’s and I pick the shopping cart — and it’s already on my hands, right? And I didn’t ask for it to be put on there. And unfortunately, our microbiome is linked, not just with our gut but we have a skin microbiome, as well. And I think that hand-washing is really the best thing that we can do these days, especially washing your hands for a solid 20 seconds, right? Because it helps dissolve the viral coat of COVID.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And when you’re in a pinch, having a sanitizer is obviously pretty helpful, as well. But I think that, unfortunately, it’s everywhere now. I mean, now our schools are going to be cleaned, and every single surface in our house is going to be cleaned, and every building, and everything that you touch, door knobs, etc., are being cleaned. And, unfortunately we’re not getting natural exposures that we should be. And I think the reason I’m even talking about all this is because everything is linked to our microbiome of our guts, and I do find that stress, in general, can actually reduce the diversity of the microorganisms in your gut.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: So for Lynn, I’d also suggest getting on a good probiotic, because I think we’re under trouble these days with the onslaught of disinfectants and sanitizers and everything. And I don’t know what that’s doing to our gut microbiome, to be honest with you. I don’t think we know yet the implications of that, so I would get on a really good probiotic to help with your digestion, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, let’s see if we have another question here from our audience. This is from Kevin Smith. “I have heard that some sort of medication…” Sorry. “I have heard that some sort of meditation can help atrial fibrillation.”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh yeah, absolutely true. In fact, there’s been studies on yoga, for example, when people do yoga and then meditate after a yoga session, the reoccurrence of atrial fibrillation is exceedingly less. These are in people who had recurrent atrial fibrillation. So yeah, meditation, remember, calms the mind. And whenever you calm the mind, you’re attenuating the autonomic nervous system, which has a big impact on atrial fibrillation.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: The other thing about atrial fibrillation is, we’re seeing more of it today because of the electromagnetics in the environment. I’m afraid 5G may make it even worse, so be aware that if you are getting more symptoms of AF, or atrial fibrillation, be aware of cordless phone, computers, cellular phone, 5G transmitters, etc., etc. Because the heart is the most vulnerable organ, as well as parts of the brain, to electromagnetic stress.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, let’s see if we have another question here. This is from Mary Jane. “Hello! Any suggestions for someone trying to heal and strengthen the lungs after viral pneumonia?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: That’s a good point. And I’ll tell you one thing about COVID…even though you can get through the viral pneumonia, a lot of these patients, because the antibodies don’t seem to last long, and a lot of these patients can get a relapse of the same symptoms going forward. So it’s just important to realize that if you do have a COVID-like syndrome or pneumonia that, instead of getting better in two or three weeks — you may improve in two or three weeks, but it may take months, I mean, months, to really get back to par. And even when I was a cardiologist in the ICU and CCU, I’m talking about for decades, whenever we saw these viral pneumonias, we always saw cardiac related problems, even later on. So, even though the pneumonia can attack the lung tissue, it can have a propensity for cardiac…and we call that cardiac myocytes. And even the experience in Wuhan, China, there’s about 20% of people who had the viral illness — they developed cardiac related disorders, and we call that myocarditis.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And I think, Dad, all those things that we mentioned earlier for general immune support would be helpful for many different viral conditions in the lungs. I would add on board NAC, right? You know, big fan of NAC…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Absolutely, NAC…remember when you take N-acetyl cystine, it gets reduced to a glutathione derivative. And when you have NAC with glutathione in the body, with selenium and vitamin C, it forms glutathione peroxidase — and that’s the most important endogenous antioxidant you can possibly take in your body.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: The other thing is that quercetin, you know? And quercetin…you and I did a lung formula together with quercetin and NAC. And quercetin has been shown in the literature to have a great impact on viral pneumonias. And I’ll tell you, I’ve always loved that Zutphen Elderly study, I’ve mentioned it before in podcasts. But the more Dutchmen who took in more quercetin in their body, over decades, lived the longest. So quercetin has a factor in longevity, and that in that Zutphen Elderly study, they measured one thing — how long you lived. They didn’t care whether you died of cancer, heart disease, or a stroke, it didn’t matter. They just were looking at years of life…and the higher blood levels of quercetin, the longer you lived. So you can take that one to the bank.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: We’re both big quercetin fans, that’s for sure.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly, we love quercetin. And NAC, N-acetyl cysteine. They great the take, you know. Alpha lipoic acid is another one, Drew…I’m really liking ALA.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: It’s a great antioxidant.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh yeah, because I think even in this day and age, especially more and more people…I don’t know whether it’s due to all the diabetes we’re seeing, but we’re seeing so much peripheral neuropathy, where people are getting nerve pain. And this is where alpha lipoic acid really helps. I mean, I think it really helps with people…you know, whether you’re having trigeminal neuralgia-like symptoms, or burning pain in your feet that diabetics get, I think ALA is a great supplement for that.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Well, let’s see what we have here for more questions. This is from Janice King, “I had gallbladder surgery Monday, June 27th, now I’m having heart palpitations. What is good for this? Spoke with my doc, she said it could be from pain medication.”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: You know, it could be. June 27th, though, you’re more than six weeks…you’re about six weeks, I mean, you should be healed. But like, if you’re still having heart palpitations, make sure you get some electrolytes drawn and some renal function drawn, just to make sure it’s not a metabolic situation. Remember, when a gallbladder is taken out, the body has to adjust…you won’t store the amount of bile that you normally have, so it may have an impact. Inflammation could also be a factor. So, just make sure that if it doesn’t go away, you do get it checked — even a routine electrocardiogram, or a 24-hour monitor, or even a King of Hearts monitor that goes on for a week. Any of these things are good, just to make sure you don’t have any significant arrhythmia that you need to be concerned about.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And I would add on, too, Dad…I mean, you mentioned digestive enzymes in the beginning being really good for digestion. And for this woman, I would suggest, some sort of digestive enzyme that has lipase in it, or even like an ox bile…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: …to help emulsify the fats that you’re going to be getting from your diet. Because I think over the years, I’ve learned that if there’s one organ that can be removed that can really alleviate lots of symptoms for people, it is the gallbladder. However, you need to support the body’s natural function, and with bile, it helps emulsify fats. And so, you need support with that using enzymes, and, like, a lipase or an ox bile to help facilitate that.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: And I’m glad you mentioned that, because there is a subset of patients that I’ve seen who had palpitations due to GI issues alone, had nothing to do with their heart. So, you know, again, this could be an adjustment of the surgery and the bile relationships, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Exactly. Well, let’s take about two or three more questions here, Dad — let’s see what we have here. This is from Isela Jim, “What can you recommend for extreme fatigue, also for stronger immune?”
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Well I’d say, Isela, you’re probably going to have to get worked up, and make sure your thyroid is functioning well, and make sure you’re not anemic. Make sure there are no other major causes that are causing that extreme fatigue. I would say, yeah, figure out what’s going on there. Maybe you need to look into something like a mold illness, or even a Lyme disease, because there are certain things out there that can really, really devastate and bring down people’s energy, and you got to figure out the underlying cause. Because if you just throw certain vitamins and minerals and herbs and things at it, it may not improve unless you really figure out the underlying cause. I don’t know if you want to add onto that, Dad.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, I mean, it’s important to see if there is a cause. I mean, again, it could be prolonged severe emotional stress that just attacks the body, and just wears us down. I mean, I certainly…I’m a big CoQ10 proponent. Whenever I hear fatigue, the most energizing nutrient you can possibly take that drives ATP or the energy of life in a preferential direction, is coenzyme Q10. So I would definitely take CoQ10, without a doubt. Magnesium is another one that gets worn down under emotional stress. So magnesium and CoQ10 are two supplements in anyone with fatigue. But again, you know, we want to turn over a few cards and make sure that the fatigue doesn’t have an organic cause, as opposed to a theoretical, emotional, or stressful situation.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, or even the heart. But like you were talking about here, Dad, it sounds like with CoQ10 and magnesium, we’re addressing it more from mitochondrial function.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh yeah.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And if the mitochondria are severely depleted and worn down, that can surely cause extreme fatigue in people, as well.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Exactly.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right, let’s see what else we have here. This is from Peter Hoag, “I get headaches, and it seems my headaches causes me more negative thoughts and anxiety. Can headaches or other physical syndromes cause persistent anxiety and stress?”
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Yeah, I mean, I’ll jump in, Dad. I think when we’re under lots of stress, like we are now, we tend to get really tense in our shoulders, in our neck. I mean, we’re on the computer all the time like this, and so our posture is off. And that can create a lot of tension in the neck and shoulders, and create headaches for people. And so we need to really work on proper ergonomics, making sure that you’re sitting at your computer properly. The worst that I’ve found, Dad, and I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced this personally is — when you’re texting, it’s like the angle at which you lower your head down to text, really can create a lot of neck tension for people. So, I’ve actually been having to guide and coach people on properly texting, which I never thought I’d have to do in my career but…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh geez!
Dr. Drew Sinatra: …you know, there’s certain things that we do on a daily basis that we may not be aware of that is creating that tension along the neck and shoulders, which can create the headaches. And you’re absolutely right with your question that it can create anxiety and depression, because when you’re under chronic pain like that, your world can be miserable. You just feel like you’re under this tension all the time, and surely that’s going to bring down your mood and create some depression or anxiety. So I think, for you, figuring out really what is creating your headache would probably be the place to start. And really working on a lot of these stress-reduction practices that my father and I talked about today.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Yeah, and I would just add just a couple of things. Certainly magnesium and CoQ10, I’ve seen a lot of people who had temporal-type of headaches and migraine-type headaches, improve significantly, amazingly, on CoQ10 and magnesium. The other thing is, I’ve seen the people with a lot of headache who had an inability to cry. And I’m talking energetically, as a bioenergetic therapist. But people who hold back sadness and tears get way more headaches than people who don’t. So if you can give yourself permission to cry and allow the energy to go out, instead of holding the energy in, that in itself can be lifesaving for you and make your life a lot easier if you can sob deeply and get rid of that internal tension that, in some people, can cause severe headache.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Dad, I’m so glad that you got your psychotherapy training, because that’s just…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: It’s amazing, isn’t it?
Dr. Drew Sinatra: …fantastic, thank you. Gosh, I wish more doctors were like you. Okay, let’s do one last question here, and this is from a Nisha Thomas. “What supplements can help protect the heart during this awful time?”
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh my gosh, there’s so many things. I mean, first of all, garlic and onions, these are the two foods that are top of my list. Avocado would be another top food, broccoli with sulforaphane another top food, lycopene in tomatoes. Certainly supplements, I mean, all in and Omega-3, CoQ10. I mean, I’m a big proponent of squid oil. I love it because it has more DHA in it, and DHA is really good for the heart, as well as the retina of the eye and the brain. Certainly ashwagandha, as an adaptogen…we talked about that one before, for stress going forward. I mean, there’s so many things that you could possibly take. It’s just, you know, I take a ton of supplements a day, I don’t bat an eye on it, and I truly believe it helps me. And don’t forget the natural stuff, like grounding and the avoidance of sugars, as well.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And Dad, now I’ll put on the psychotherapy hat and say that if there’s any grief, or anger, or sadness, or fear that you need to let go of in your life, let yourself cry, let yourself laugh hysterically. Try to smile more. Even under the mask, when you’re in the grocery store and no one can see your face, just smile at people, because that really is a way to connect with other people. And express yourself, because I feel like even these days with us wearing masks all the time, you’re not seeing anyone’s expression on your face, and I feel like we need to connect more as human beings. So if there is some sort of underlying emotion for you that you do need to get out, I would say express it, because it’s going to be really good for your heart.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: And I’d only add on one herbal to what my father suggested, and that would be crataegus, or hawthorn berry, which has traditionally been used as a tonifier for the heart and cardiovascular system. And I find that it’s just another thing to have on board to support heart function.
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Good, well said.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Well, everyone, this was just so great. Dad, I’m so happy that you and I got to do this again, after a hiatus of a 1.5 years here, so…
Dr. Steve Sinatra: Oh, it’s been that long, I thought it was just a year, okay.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: Maybe it was…I wasn’t sure if it was a year, year and a half, but wow! This was just great, we should do this again. I love answering questions that our listeners have. So thanks for joining us, everyone, and let’s do this again soon!
Dr. Steve Sinatra: All right, I agree. Be well everyone.
Dr. Drew Sinatra: All right. Bye now.
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Meet Dr. Drew Sinatra
Dr. Drew Sinatra is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and self-described “health detective” with a passion for promoting natural healing, wellness, and improving quality of life by addressing the root cause of illness in patients of all ages. His vibrant practice focuses on treating the whole person (mind, body, and spirit) and finding missed connections between symptoms and health issues that are often overlooked by conventional medicine.
Meet Dr. Stephen Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy.