About Dr. Alan Christianson
Alan Christianson is a Phoenix, Arizona-based Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) who specializes in natural endocrinology with a focus on thyroid and adrenal disorders. He is the author of the released Adrenal Reset Diet, the bestselling Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease, and Healing Hashimoto’s – a Savvy Patient’s Guide.
About Dr. Alan Christianson's new book The Adrenal Reset Diet
03: 48 Adrenal – Fat Cell Cycle: Cushing’s syndrome, from prolonged exposure to cortisol, results in abdominal obesity, among other symptoms and researchers thought that they might have found the overall cause of obestiy. When researchers could not make a perfect correlations, they dropped it as a theory. In recent years researchers have discovered that there is more to the adrenals than the adrenal glands. With advances in technology, we see whole body production of adrenal hormones, thus making a tight correlation to obesity.
04:52 What We Can Do for Our Adrenals: One of the best things we can do is shift our mindset from blaming ourselves for weight challenges. Strategies that work for you need to be soothing, comforting and relaxing. It is not your fault.
06:44 Gut Microbiome’s Role in Adrenal Reset: Many variables, including the microbiome, can turn on your “being chased by a lion” response. The ratio of bacteroides and firmicutes are stronger predictors of bodyweight than activity levels. The biggest impact to our health are the anaerobes. The aerobic organisms, which we target using probiotics, are a fraction of a percent of our entire microbiome. The best diets are those that are non-inflammatory and can feed our beneficial anaerobes. Sometimes we have issues with foods that are rich in prebiotics or precursors and they may be signs of dysbiosis.
08:36 Balancing Diet and Compatibility: In clinic Dr. Christianson tests for food compatibility, functionality of the intestinal tract, the level of microflora and make some strategic corrections to fix things. When you respond to short term food incompatibilities, your diet becomes narrower and narrower. You don’t want to eat food that makes you sick, but you need the diversity.
10:07 His Version of Carb Cycling: Cortisol rhythm/cycle is a common thread in the causes of obesity. One of cortisol’s jobs is to control blood sugar. To support a healthy cortisol rhythm cycle carbohydrates through the day inverse of the healthy cortisol cycle, fewer carbs earlier and more carbs later. The idea is that you sustain a good morning cortisol elevation, supported by low carb high quality protein. Strategically appropriate carbs in healthy amounts later in the day supports insulin release and good cortisol shut down, and raises melatonin. Bodybuilders tend to do the opposite.
13:49 Circadian Rhythm: Every little thing, it seems, in our body has a circadian rhythm. Morning sunlight is one of the biggest influences. Your brain is sensitive to the wavelength of the light, the intensity of the light and the angle of access, coming from above rather than in front of you. If you cannot get morning sun, light boxes are a good idea no matter where you live. The better ones put out 10,000 lux or more and will emit from overhead.
15:52 Minimizing Evening Light Exposure: Change your bedroom lamp bulbs to red. It tells your brain that it is sunset and it is time to wind down. Reduce or eliminate bright lights and electronic devices. Reading a book, rather than reading from an electronic device helps your brain wind down. Schedule an hour of wind down time to end your day.
17:53 Progressive Muscle Relaxation: One of Dr. Christianson’s favorite relaxation techniques is progressive muscle relaxation. Starting with your toes/feet, take a breath in and hold it, tightening the muscles as much as you can. Hold for a few seconds and let it go. Work your way up the body, including your head and face, which should be done twice. Being tense is mental and physical. Our brain is connected to all. Releasing the neurologic current in the muscles has a huge effect upon relaxation.
20:17 Exercise for the High Functioning: Type-A people need days off and recovery time. Some of the most externally fit and active people have terrible adrenal function and difficulty managing it. It takes reframing goals and priorities.
20:55 Exercise for the Wiped Out: For those of us in a deep stage of adrenal decompensation, a good place to start is with a gentle walk at sunset, time spent stretching or tai chi, yoga or Pilates. Movement is important.
21:40 Exercise Timing: There is a distinction between exercising for fitness, wellness or maximum exercise performance. For competitions, your body performs best in the early afternoon. For health and wellness, morning is a better fit. It goes against your rhythm to do intense activities after sunset or evenings.
22:52 Supplements: When things are working wrong, they are working wrong in different stages: higher engagement of cortisol, disrupted rhythm, and decompensation. At different stages, you have different needs. Supplements are stage specific and time of day specific. Dr. Christianson has a quiz that you can take to determine your stage.
24:10 Views of Adrenal Dysfunction: Adrenal disease, Addison’s or adrenal insufficiency, can be the only adrenal dysfunctions recognized in some circles. It is not an all or nothing issue. Your adrenals may be functioning, but not in your best interest. Much of adrenal dysfunction can be turned around in a few months at the most.
26:34 Dr. Christianson’s Elevator Pitch: Your health is always transforming, like it or not. In a matter of days or months, your physical self is completely regenerated. It entails having the building blocks that your body needs and having the barriers removed.