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Alan S. Weiss, MD
A New Year, A New Start
Annapolis Integrative Medicine
. http://www.annapolisintegrativemedicine.com/

A New Year, A New Start

A New Year, A New Start

The beginning of a New Year is a natural opportunity to take stock of many things, including our relationships, finances, goals and dreams, and our health. One of the most common resolutions is to exercise and lose weight.

Shifting to a plant based diet can help with weight loss and reduce inflammatory issues, which are the root of many of the chronic health issues of western society. Reducing intake of sugar and processed foods is one clear key to greater health.

It is clear that people are under stress with financial issues and a 24/7 news cycle. I see patients every day who are chronically tired, in some degree of physical discomfort, often not sleeping well and cannot seem to lose weight. An effective approach to getting patients like this well includes working to restore the sleep cycle, promote digestive health, and investigate the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands.

The adrenal glands are the stress handlers of the hormone system, and produce cortisol and other chemical messengers in response to stress. Over time the adrenal glands can become over taxed and ultimately stop functioning correctly. Symptoms pointing to this issue include sugar cravings, afternoon slumps in energy, waking up suddenly in the middle of the night unable to get back to sleep, and inability to lose weight. Diagnosing and treating adrenal issues can make a big difference in energy, alertness and over all well being.

The thyroid gland produces a hormone instrumental to cellular energy production. Sometimes thyroid issues are obvious, but there are many cases where it is not so clear. There are both natural and prescription methods for addressing thyroid problems, and when this does turn out to be an issue, treating it often makes a big difference very quickly for people.

Evaluating and treating digestive issues is also critical. Inflammation of the intestinal tract is very common, presenting as heartburn, bloating, pain, diarrhea and constipation. Often chronic infections can be at the root of this, including overgrowth of yeast, as well as deficiencies of digestive enzymes. Food allergies and intolerances can also play a role in intestinal dysfunction. Addressing this from a systematic, functional medicine perspective can powerfully restore health.

Finally, most of us inherited a metabolism which is geared towards survival, and storing fat helped primitive humans survive, but in this modern world it makes it easier to gain than to lose weight. A new class of medicines called glucagon like peptides can make an enormous difference in weight loss for people who have been stuck, and it is worth discussing these with your doctor.

These are a few of the methods available to improve health in the new year. When accomplished, feeling well and having more energy can contribute to flourishing in the other important areas of life.

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