Team GR: Last year, Dr. Ernesto Gutierrez gave us his 2017 prediction for the top trends he foresaw making waves in the community. Dr. Gutierrez is back to share what wellness trends he predicts will grow this year!
Wellness Trends to Add to Your Radar Today!
Written by Ernesto Gutierrez, M.D.
Fifteen days into 2018 and it feels like we’re finally getting over the holiday excesses and have gotten back into a routine. Last year gave us many advances in different areas of health and most of them I feel were very positive. Now I want to explore a bit more of what I think is in store for us in this new year.
I think the most positive trend overall I see coming into 2018 is the increased awareness that our health is our own responsibility and not something we should blindly trust governments and agencies with.
People are reading, learning and educating themselves like never before on what’s good for them and what’s not so good. For instance, we’ve known for a while that GMOs are a big no-no but organic had been completely out of reach for most pockets. In 2017 prices started coming down as more competition entered the space. Now Amazon bought Whole Foods, Thrive Market is also delivering organic nationwide without the huge markup and so on. And as more people start moving towards consuming organic, these shifts will be more pronounced.
And not just in terms of what we eat. We are also seeing people are becoming more and more aware of what’s happening with our environment and how it affects us.
Last year I wrote a bit about light therapy and now we’re seeing lots of new devices for home use. Different wavelengths affect our cells in different manners. Ideally, you want to be exposed to sunlight every day but for those who live in the northern side, during winter there is not a lot of sun… And even if there was, the last thing you’d want to do would be to go outside shirtless in the snow to receive sunlight and its full benefit! There are several studies that show how being exposed to these devices for a few minutes every morning can help us reset our circadian rhythms and “charge up” our mitochondria. This helps get rid of grogginess in the morning but it will also help you (and your kids!) sleep much better at night.
And speaking of sleep, we now see a very positive shift towards sleeping. While a few years back it was all about the “grind” and how sacrificing sleep for work/study was seen as positive, now we know better. Several good books have been written about it but suffice it to say that you cannot function properly without good quality sleep. This is in fact one area that affects our community enormously. Because of altered circadian rhythms and hormonal imbalances (mainly cortisol, melatonin and serotonin) our children struggle with sleep –either not being able to fall asleep until very late and/or waking up too early–. And the real problem is that our brains perform their larger maintenance functions during sleep, via the glymphatic system, described in 2012.
Another thing that I am seeing a lot of awareness about, and something I won’t go too much into since just last week Zack interviewed Peter Sullivan, are EMFs. It’s amazing how little we knew about EMFs and how much they can affect us and our children. Please make sure to watch that interview and take notes because there’s a lot of good information in it.
Many ASD parents have known about ketogenic diets for a long time. In fact, they have been around since the mid 1900’s. Researchers back then noticed that ketones were an alternative source of energy and hypothesized (correctly) that moving a patient from glucose-based energy producing to ketone-based would diminish the number and intensity of seizures in epileptic patients. It did but achieving this metabolic state known as ketosis was very difficult since it involved periods of fasting and a VERY strict diet restricting carbohydrates.
A variation of this approach is what Dr. Atkins popularized in the 80’s as his now famous Atkins diet. It sounded like a dream come true for many when people started learning that all you had to do to lose weight was to eat fat! Fats were fair game to followers of the Atkins diet as long as they removed the sugars and most carbs. In with the bacon, eggs, butter, lard, oils. Out with the grains, cereals, breads, pastas and even starchy vegetables like potatoes.
And it worked! People were losing weight despite how this advice clashed (heavily!) with the low-fat craze of the 90’s. Sadly, this extreme was not very beneficial. These Atkins followers were not aware that burning fats while cooking heavily damaged them and created other problems in the body. They didn’t realize that by completely removing carbohydrates, they also increased their protein consumption dramatically which brought other metabolic issues. And then the industry started making these “compromises” such as moving to vegetable oils and trans fats. So people were indeed eating more fats, but it was fats which no human should eat.
Fast forward 30 years and now we know better. Last year we saw an explosion of the keto lifestyle. I’d say that late last year keto diets went mainstream. And I believe this is a good thing as long as they’re followed fully. You can’t deep fry your meals and say that you’re going keto.
Vegetables should still be the foundation of our diet. Non-starchy and green leafy veggies should rule your meals. Make sure to add healthy fats as dressings. Personally I like blending an avocado with some olive oil, herbs, sea salt, and lime juice. Again, you may find a lot of examples in our Instagram account where we’ve published more than a few yummy recipes.
You can expect better mental acuity, more focused attention, less weariness and overall better performance while in ketosis. In my blog I’ve shared how being properly diagnosed with ADHD as an adult and receiving treatment (at Dr. Amen’s clinic) has enormously helped me in every aspect of my life and now I’ve discovered that I do not need to use my prescription medications to focus if I’m in ketosis. However, before you go trying to start your child on the keto diet, you should ALWAYS consult with your healthcare provider first. Also, you should know that there are no studies (that I’m aware of) in patients with ASD on a ketogenic diet. And this could very well be explained by the difficulty of achieving ketosis with diet alone…
Enter exogenous ketones. These are products which, although they’ve existed for a while, have just become much more popular as people want to move towards ketosis but have a hard time in the initial adaptation periods. Several companies produce different powders which can be diluted in water (or coffee! ☕️) and will raise your ketones. I don’t want to go into any particular products here but feel free to reach out to me online if you have questions.
Cell-Based Therapies in the US
2017 was another big year for cell-based therapies. Several new studies were published around the world showing progress in the treatment for conditions such as autoimmune disorders, orthopedic and sports injuries, respiratory disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. Also, large strides were made in the field of longevity and overall well-being. In fact, longevity treatments were by far our most common request at our sister clinic Advanced Biomedicine.
And in regards to autism, Duke University published the results of its Phase I trial last May. I expanded on these findings in this post. But the short version is that they found stem cell therapy to be safe in the treatment of ASD and even reported some benefit at this early stage. Now they’re working on a Phase II study and, not only that, but they’ve also managed to get approval for an Expanded Access Protocol which would allow many more children to participate of this treatment even if they did not qualify for the original study. There are a few limitations and conditions which many might not meet but, it’s a very positive move in the right direction.
However, I don’t want to make these posts exclusively about stem cells. If you’d like to learn more, I have written several short articles in our social media profiles about this and other developments in the stem cell field.
I’m looking forward to your comments on these 2018 wellness trends. What do YOU think is gaining popularity and awareness in terms of health and well being?