I’ve lost all of this weight, so what do I do about my bingo wings?

One of the few negative things about weight loss is that some people are left with focal areas of saggy skin.  Not only is this skin unsightly, but it can create hygiene issues and physical discomfort.  Even minor weight loss can result in lumpy, less resilient skin that is prone to cellulite.  Larger amounts of weight loss can leave some people with excessive amounts of hanging, sagging skin; which can be prone to skin irritation and even infection or chronic inflammation.  Some people find their abdominal skin is so loose that it appears more like an alien landscape than the body they have come to know.  It just doesn’t feel like “you”.

 

It used to be that you had two options on dealing with it – you could live with it or you could get it surgically removed.  Well, I am here to tell you that there is a lot that can be done, and if you are still in process with your weight loss journey, there is even more we can do to minimize those dreaded bingo wings and abdominal aprons (pannus).

 

I remember looking at my own abdomen shortly after my second child was born, and thinking “when did I become a shar pei?”  You can be ecstatic about accomplishing your weight loss goals but feel demoralized every time you look in the mirror.  It is not fun, and has to be the least sexy feeling in the world!  So this is what I did, and this is what I recommend to my patients and clients:

 

Wrinkles and skin folds are cute on babies and dogs.  On us, not so much!2

 

First, never under estimate the power of DRY BRUSHING.  Dry Brushing is a technique involving a dry brush (shocking, I know!) where you make long sweeping passes lightly over your skin.  Always moving towards your lymph nodes and heart.

Arrows indicate the direction of your passes with the dry brush1

 

I recommend that you start with your feet and work up towards your waist, then move to your hands and brush towards your heart, finishing with your neck and torso – also directing all brush strokes towards the heart.  Remember, always use a dry brush, and do this before your shower so you wash off any toxins that you release.  Some people chose to purchase two brushes for this task, one a small brush that straps to the palm of your hand, and the other, a similar brush attached to a stick to make reaching inaccessible areas easier.

 

So how does this work, well, first we need to remember that your skin is your largest organ, and is occasionally referred to as your third kidney because it eliminates approximately a pound of toxins per day, mostly through your sweat glands.  In addition, over 33% of your blood supply is directed to your skin but it is one of the last areas to receive nutrients, so it is subject to showing signs of deficiency.  The skin closely interacts with the lymphatic system, another powerful system of detoxification.

 

ü  Dry brushing stimulates lymphatic drainage and the elimination of toxins

 

ü  It encourages circulation and revascularization of hypoxic tissues

 

ü  By increasing blood flow, it encourages nerve conduction and wound healing

 

ü  It stimulates your immune system

 

ü  It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, thus tightening skin that has lost some of its elasticity

 

ü  It removes layers of dead skin and encourages the growth of new skin cells

 

ü  It improves skin texture and reduces signs of cellulite

 

ü  It stimulates hormone production and oil gland secretion

 

ü  It helps with more even distribution of fat deposits

 

ü  It improves nervous system functioning by stimulating nerve ending firing and receptors in the skin

 

ü  It is invigorating

 

ü  It is quick and inexpensive

 

Tips – use a light touch on thinner areas of skin, and a stronger touch on thicker areas of skin (like the abdomen, legs, and feet).  It should not hurt, but it should feel invigorating.  Do 8 to 10 strokes on each area before moving on.  When you first get started with dry brushing, you may only be able to tolerate a few minutes of it.  Once established though, it should take 10-15 minutes to cover your entire body.  Do not brush moist skin as you can cause micro tears in the outer layer of skin.  If you can dry brush during your weight loss journey, then you may avoid loose skin all together.  If you have stubborn areas, like under the arms, love handles, or a pannus, – you can spend extra time brushing them to stimulate the skin.  If you have areas that are especially sensitive to the dry brushing, you can avoid them for the time being, the same can be said for damaged or wounded skin.  Never dry brush skin wounds or infections.  Always shower after dry brushing, and if you can end your shower with 15 seconds or so of cold water, that will further stimulate the skin.  I recommend dry brushing 6 days per week, and using a salt or mineral scrub on the 7th day.  This gives your body a break to further detoxify and regenerate.  After your shower, massage a high grade plant oil (olive, coconut, almond, flax, sesame, avocado, castor oil with essential oils, etc.)

 

Other things you can do now to avoid your outer shar pei and encourage skin tightening:

 

1.       Limit sun exposure.  Avoid sunburns and tanning beds.

 

2.       Get a massage.  Massage therapy stimulates circulation, and can release pockets of inflammation.

 

3.       Keep hydrated!  Another reason for you to be drinking that water.

 

4.       Increase your consumption of raw foods.  Raw foods contain enzymes that promote immune function and digestion, and decrease inflammation.

 

5.       Consume high quality protein.  Your body needs high quality protein to replace and repair its own supply.  Collagen and elastin both require protein building blocks.

 

6.       Make sure to wash chlorine from skin after swimming.  Avoid putting chemicals or artificial creams or moisturizers on your skin.

 

7.       Use alcohol in moderation.  Alcohol can severely impact collagen synthesis.

 

8.       Use seaweed or other ‘wraps’ to help tone the skin

 

9.       Take at least 1 Epsom salt bath per week to pull toxins and to increase your serum levels of magnesium (at least 2 cups of Epsom salts in a bath for at least 20 minutes)

 

10.   Use an abdominal or sports wrap on areas you tend to be losing too quickly from so that the skin remains compressed.

 

11.    Avoid cigarette smoke at all cost!

 

 

 

Supplementation

 

Healthy skin requires normal levels of collagen and elastin.  Dry brushing will encourage the production of these, but supplementation is likely necessary. 

 

Vitamin C is the backbone of collagen formation.  500-3000 mg per day is the average daily requirement range.  If you are losing weight quickly or already have lose skin, you will require doses towards the higher end of the spectrum.

 

Magnesium is required for hyaluronic acid production (the gel-like substance that is found in skin, joints, and soft tissue).  It is also required for over 200 different biochemical processes in the body.

 

Omega 3 fatty acids support the fatty membrane structure of all cells and improve skin repair and turn over.

 

Lysine, argenine, glycine, and proline – amino acids necessary for collagen and elastin production.  Glycine also plays a role in blood glucose regulation, muscle repair, digestion, and glutathione production.  You can supplement with these individually or use a broad spectrum amino acid containing supplement like whey protein to get in all of the amino acids.

 

Bone Broth – One of the traditional foods that is rarely found in the modern diet, it has been suggested that a lack of bone broth (and its associated minerals, gelatin, and collagen) is one of the major reasons why arthritis is so prevalent now.  Minerals found in bone broth are highly absorbable, far more than from most dietary supplements.  If you make your own bone broth (which I highly recommend) roast your bones first, then gently boil them with your cut vegetables and 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to help make the minerals more absorbable.  You know you’ve made a great bone broth when you refrigerate it and find a thick layer of gel on it.  When you cook meat, try cooking it on the bone for additional collagen and proteoaminoglycans.

 

Green tea – a potent source of catechins, which help with collagen and elastin production.  Enjoy a few cups of green tea each week to reap its benefits.

 

Taking these steps will make a marked improvement in your skin.  Now some people will always be candidates for surgery, but I always recommend using natural methods first, because once you cut, there is no going back.  If you can do these while you are undergoing your weight loss, your skin will tighten at nearly the same rate as your fat loss – thus likely preventing sagginess to begin with.  What do you have to lose other than those bingo wings?!

 

Edited to add:  I’ve had several requests for me to show what a dry brush looks like:  http://www.amazon.com/Tampico-Approx-Inches-Yerba-Prima/dp/B008MONZFI/ref=sr_1_4?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1386109118&sr=1-4&keywords=skin+brush

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright (c) 2013 Miranda Jorgenson. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part with out the express written permission of the author. You are welcome to share this link or print this page and use in its entirely.

 

Photo Sources:

 

 

1.  Drybrush picture. Retrieved 12/3/2013 from http://mayamoonhealingarts.com/dry-skin-brushing/

 

2.  Shar pei. Source: imgfave.com via DoanPhuong on Pinterest,   Retrieved 12/3/2012 from http://www.gracielushihtzu.com/baby-shair-pei

 

3. Pannus. Retrieved 12/3/2013 from: http://www.eplasty.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=627&catid=173:volume-12-eplasty-2012&Itemid=121

Dr. Jorgenson’s Top 14 Things to Prevent Colds & Flu

Dr. Jorgenson’s Top 14 Things to Prevent Colds & Flu

Now that we are in the throes of flu season, I have been getting a ton of questions on what I recommend for colds and flu.  I make no bones that I am not a fan of flu vaccines, and since I mentioned my ‘secret weapon’ on a facebook thread last week, my email has been blowing up – so here is my list:

 

            1.  My ultimate ‘secret weapon’ is Muco coccinum.  I was turned onto this supplement 9 years ago by another doctor, and we have used it with our family and our patients ever since.  One year I waited too long to order my supply and it got sold out.  Lesson learned!  I now order early to make certain that I secure my supply for my kids , myself, my patients, and clients.  Muco coccinum is a homeopathic preparation comprised of homeopathic preparations of four of the worst strains of flu seen in the past century:   Influenzinum  200 K,  Klebsiella pneumoniae  200 K,  Branhamella catarrhalis  200 K, and  Micrococcus tetragenes  200 K.  For those of you unfamiliar with homeopathy, it is a system of alternative medicine developed in Germany over 200 years ago based on the principle of ‘like treats like’.   Extremely diluted preparations of natural substances are prepared using specific ratios and delivered in liquid or tablet preparations which you dissolve under the tongue. 

mucococcinum

Muco coccinum is made in Belgium, but I import a supply from Canada each year.    It was designed to boost immune function and stimulate the body’s own defenses to combat or prevent symptoms associated with flu and other seasonal viruses.  In studies it has been shown to be 88% effective in the prevention of influenza and 82% effective in the treatment of primary flu-related symptoms of chills,  muscle aches and minor fever.  So, if taken as recommended, most people find that they simply do not get sick, but if they are exposed to a virus, they have fewer and less severe symptoms and recover faster.  The key is to take the product regularly.  It is recommended that you dissolve one tablet under the tongue every two weeks.  If you know you have been exposed to a contagious person, you can take an additional dose as soon as possible as an extra preventative measure.  A box of 10 tablets will last a person for the duration of the flu season, if taken every two weeks from late October through March. Please note, that particularly susceptible individuals such as children and seniors can take one tablet every week for prevention.  Another unique feature about Muco coccinum is that if you haven’t been able to take it preventatively, and you are already starting to come down with symptoms of the flu, you can take it to lessen those symptoms.  Simply dissolve one tablet 2-3 times per day until the package is emptied.  Muco coccinum is a safe and natural way to prevent symptoms and guard you and your family against the flu. With over a million doses sold each year, the country of Belgium has been using this successful remedy for many years. It is now become available in North America. This oral medication is considered a safe and effective alternative to the influenza vaccination.

 

MucoCoccinumgraphsmContraindications
Auto-immune disorders and pregnancy. Muco Coccinum is not indicated for pregnant women due to a lack of research on its safety for pregnant woman by the company that makes this product. Homeopathic remedies do not have the actual molecular ingredients that are used to make these products, as they have been diluted down to such a level that the original substance is no longer detectable; it is the energetic quality of the substance that remains. Though those energetic qualities do move the body to build up it’s immune response antibodies, so those antibodies can recognize and react to these flu strains in this product if you are exposed. Non-Medicinal Ingredients:Xylitol (from birch or beechwood), Magnesium stearate, Lactose (from milk).    
Note: As with any homeopathic treatment, it is not advisable to eat, drink, or consume products containing mint (ie. Candy, chewing gum, toothpaste, etc.), or to use products that contain menthol, camphor, or eucalyptus (e.g.- Tiger balm, Ben-Gay, mentholatum, etc.) within 30-60 minutes of using a homeopathic. These products can antidote the medication, so do not use them around the time of taking mucococcinum. *** Muco coccinum is part of a physician only nutritional line, so be very careful where you are buying your supply from.  Neither I nor the company authorize or recommend online sales.  Buy from a doctor that guarantees that you are receiving fresh product that hasn’t been exposed to potentially damaging shipment conditions, heat, light, etc.  As of today, I still have a limited supply of Muco coccinum at the office, so contact me if you would like me to reserve it for you.

 

            2.  Use a humidifier!    Coughing and sneezing spreads germs and viruses, and studies have shown that the less humidity in the air, the further those bacteria and viruses can spread.  Many physicians have even speculated that the real reason we have a cold and flu season, is because of the fact that we are cooped up in closer quarters and bacteria and viruses thrive in the drier indoor air resulting from popular heating methods.  Not only do these nasties live longer in dry conditions, but they can rapidly spread on air currents effectively contaminating entire rooms in mere seconds.  By placing humidifiers in your living and sleeping areas, not only can you alleviate symptoms of colds and flu if you are already sick, but you can thwart their spread to other members of the household, and even prevent certain bacteria and viruses from being able to take hold in sensitive lung tissues.  If you have small children, make sure you place the humidifier at a safe distance so they do not burn themselves.  

 

 

            3.  Take your probiotics.  It has been said that over 80% of your immune function originates in the gut, so support your immune system by taking a potent probiotic blend.  I am very pleased with ProBio5, and I rotate other broad spectrum probiotic blends in my household to boost immunity to optimal levels.

probiotics

            4. Wash your hands frequently with good old fashioned hand soap.  Do not use anti-bacterial soap or hand sanitizers, use of either of these has been associated with increased risk of cancer.

 

            5.  Use peroxide. If you have been exposed to someone who is coughing, sneezing, or otherwise presenting as ill, swab your ears out with a cotton swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide as soon as physically possible.  I learned this trick from an old Doctor of Osteopathy, who premised that many airborne germs enter your system via your ear canals since your nose and mouth have other protective mechanisms to prevent infection.  I started swabbing my ears our after any air travel several years ago and cut my incidence of getting sick after flights dramatically.

 

                 6.  Load up on raw fruits and vegetables.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are chock full of valuable nutrients and enzymes that boost your immune system and help it resist infections. 

 

            7.  Eat your soup!  Grandma knew what she was doing when she made you eat homemade chicken soup when you were feeling ill.  A few different studies have now confirmed that not only does chicken soup possess anti-inflammatory benefits, but it also affects the mobility of certain types of white blood cells which make it particularly effective at helping with chest and sinus infections and symptoms.  Make sure to use bones when you make your broth and include plenty of onions (source of quercetin) and herbs (source of a variety of anti-inflammatory  compounds).

            8.  Drink Green tea.  A recent study showed that regular green tea drinkers had 69% less chance of developing the flu vs. non-green tea drinkers. 

 

            9.  Supplement with Vitamin D.  Most clinical studies in the past decade conclude that the RDI is woefully inadequate, and believe that 3000-10,000 IU/day of Vitamin D is an optimal dose.  I recommend cholcalciferol (D3), not ergocalciferol (D2).  I attended a medical conference a few years back in Cincinatti, and one of the lead researchers on vitamin D proposed that nearly all doctors are dosing vitamin D incorrectly.  She said that our current practice of only dosing in the winter months is opposite how we understand vitamin D uptake to work.  Since vitamin D synthesis and uptake is circadian and based on the wavelength of sunlight, she proposed that we dose heavily from mid-Spring to mid-Autumn (when the wavelengths of sunlight are the longest) and only take a maintenance dose over the winter months. 

 

10.  Get out and exercise.  Spinal movement is essential for maintaining health, and regular and consistent movement of your quadriceps is the best lymphatic pump in your body.  A simple walk each evening for 20 minutes or so after your meal will do wonders for your overall health and immunity.  Deep breathing associated with moderate physical activity also helps to clear the lungs of mucous and foreign substances.

 

11.  Increase your protein intake.  High quality protein and whey protein are both valuable sources of proteins and amino acids such as argenine help the body make lymphocytes and T-cells that dramatically improve your immune function.  Plexus 96 is a great, portable source of whey protein, and an easy way to add it to your diet.  Also, studies have shown that the nutrients in whey protein give your body all of the building blocks it needs to increase its glutathione production, one of the best markers of health.

 

12.  Don’t make a habit of popping acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the first sign illness.  These not only tax your liver or kidneys, but artificially lower your body’s natural response to defending against colds or flu (fever), which can dramatically increase both the intensity and the duration of your cold or flu.   

 

13.  If you have low or altered immune function, consider taking desiccated thymus gland concentrate.  This supplement is another ‘hidden gem’ at boosting overall immune function and helping you ward off seasonal nasties.

 

 and lastly, my personal favorite

 

14.  Visit your local chiropractor.  Spinal adjustments have been shown to stimulate immune responses, and as the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Copyright 2012, 2015 Miranda Jorgenson