Ommani Center Blog

How To Maximize Your Safety From The CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19

THE HISTORY OF CORONAVIRUS 

The Coronavirus is an RNA virus, first identified in the 1960s, which has been divided into 4 genera, two of which infect humans.  Remember SARS? Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome occurred in the early 2000s carrying a 10% death rate. The initial transmission was from animal to humans via live game markets, then human to human through aerosol spread – coughing, sneezing and hospital procedures on the respiratory tract, which caused nosocomial spread. This taught us that animal CoVs could jump the species barrier, expanding the perception of pandemic threats.  

In 2012, a beta-CoV made the species jump as the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome was identified in the sputum of a Saudi man who died from respiratory failure.  This virus was contained and smoldered. As of 2019, MERS -C0V has caused 2494 cases and 858 deaths, the majority in Saudi Arabia. The reservoir for this is presumed to be bats, but the human transmission events have been through the dromedary camel.  

The most recent Corona Virus, COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan China again in a live animal market.  The initial transmission of the virus was from animal to human, classifying it as zoonotic transmission. The action of the WHO which placed SARS and MERS-CoV on its Priority Pathogen list was responsible for Chinese authorities reporting the cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan China on December 31, 2019.   So far, the fatality rate of COVID-2019 is lower than both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. 

As of 8 March, the outbreak has affected more than 89,000 people globally, with a total death toll in excess of 3,000. In mainland China, of the 80,734 confirmed cases, over 53,638 people have recovered, and 3,045 (or 3.6%) have died. Over 148 deaths have occurred outside of China.

MODE OF TRANSMISSION

Person to person transmission is still considered the primary mode of spread of this virus.  Standing less than 6 feet from a coughing and/or sneezing person who is infected carries the greatest risk for transmission.  

COVID-19 presents with symptoms similar to a bad cold, and mild to moderate respiratory problems such as a runny nose and sore throat.  The spread of this virus has been greater than SARS and MERS, infecting over 89,000 documented cases, but with a death rate of only 2%. People vulnerable to mortality from this virus are the frail elderly and people with co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases with compromised immune systems.  

The trajectory of this virus is unknown so the best measures we can take are to strengthen and fortify our immune systems to prevent infection, or to fight it early so it dissipates.  

CDC PRECAUTIONS 

The CDC recommends the following precautions to prevent infection from the virus:

  1. Avoid non-essential travel to China, Italy, Iran, South Korea and travel to  Japan with precautions
  2. Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces by wiping them down with a household cleaning spray or wipe.  COVID-19 can live for up to 9 days on surfaces. 
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Stay home when you are sick.
  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  6. Follow CDC recommendations for using a face mask.  The CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a face mask to protect themselves from COVID-19.  They should be used by health workers with exposure to patients with upper respiratory symptoms. 
  7. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, sneezing or coughing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60% alcohol.
  8. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

A DOSE OF PREVENTION TO KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY

I would like to offer some solace and tips for minimizing your risk for Coronavirus infection. While attempts to contain COVID-19 are underway, we are still more at risk with the influenza virus than Coronavirus, but the newness of this virus among humans, its lack of symptoms early after infection, and person to person contact has created justified concern.  

Our lifestyle has the most profound impact on our immune system and some simple measures to reset our lifestyles can help prevent and contain this virus are as follows: 

  1. Eat a Whole Food Plant-Based Diet.
  2. Exercise daily for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Utilize stress reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga and abdominal breathing – holding stress in the body negatively impacts the immune system.  
  4. Try to get at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep per night .
  5.  Drink plenty of water, a minimum of 4, 8oz glasses per day
  6.  Take a broad spectrum probiotic daily that contains at least 5 Lactobacillius and 5 Bifidum strains.
  7.  Stop smoking.
  8.  Minimize to eliminate alcohol.  Alcohol disrupts the gut flora by inducing leaky gut and making the immune system vulnerable.  It also reduces the production of vital proteins by the liver that assist in    foreign bacteria/virus recognition by the immune system. It also reduces the production of natural antioxidants and reduces the liver’s detoxifying functions.  A healthy liver assists the immune system in fighting bacterial and viral infections.

So although we are in the process of containing COVID-19, we need not panic, but take the necessary precautions listed above.  The most important steps you can take to prevent getting sick, are the same evidence-based steps listed above for decades that detail lifestyle methods providing maximal prevention and recovery from illness.

With concerns for a potential pandemic with Coronavirus, why not begin taking these steps now and building resilience and strength to fortify your body’s inner pharmacy so you can stay healthy?

After all, prevention is the best medicine.

We at The Ommani Center are taking the necessary precautions to minimize viral transmission and to keep our patients and health providers safe.  We do not see a large number of patients for typical symptoms seen in Urgent Care and Emergency Department settings, so our patients and health workers are at a lower risk for Flu/Coronavirus transmission.

However, we are following the guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization to take the necessary precautions to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

©March2020 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.

Feelings are the Medicine that Do the Healing

What do feelings have to do with the practice of Medicine? What is the importance of feelings in the healing process? Many of you may have heard the saying, “You can’t heal what you can’t feel.” There is great truth to this statement. But how is one to feel in a culture where authentic feeling is not valued? How can we feel safe with one another when we are conditioned to substitute sentimentality for true feeling?

We all know what sentimental statements sound like. When a person is hurting or grieving a loss, we are conditioned to say, “I’m sorry,” even without thinking or feeling into what they must be feeling. When we project what we think the other person is feeling, based on what we think we would feel if the tables were turned, we are not coming from our heart or empathy, but projection. Projection lacks true feeling. It is a perception or a mental construct created by the ego that has less to do with empathy and more to do with the story we tell ourselves about what we are conditioned to say in the face of suffering. But there is no way to know what another is feeling, unless we connect through our heart and our feeling function. When seen through the lens of projection, sentimental statements don’t truly help the other during a difficult time, they don’t connect with what they are feeling, and this doesn’t really help them heal.

Over the past 30 years of medical practice, I have seen tens of thousands of patients, many whom have suffered greatly and have apologized for crying in my presence or for feeling intense emotional pain. I am always amazed at the apology and it saddens me to feel that they feel alone in their suffering. It makes me wonder why we are ashamed of feeling deeply.

One answer to this question is that we live in a society where feelings are seen as a weakness. When we dig a bit deeper into the roots of this, we can follow the thread to the foundational roots of our society. Here, the Feminine Principle is not valued. Feelings are at the heart of the Feminine Principle and rejecting, pathologizing or shaming ourselves for feeling is a symptom of our collective and personal rejection of the feminine qualities we all carry. Feelings make us genuine, real, trustworthy, and validated. If we feel grief, fear or sadness, we must honor our vulnerability as sign of strength rather than weakness. Feelings remind us of our humanity. Our Emotional Body is a conduit to the deeper wisdom that lies within us and connects us to our intuition and instinct. This is our inner guidance system that keeps us safe. Without it, we lose our discernment and cannot navigate safely through life.

When men and women enter their fourth decade of life, the biological shift that occurs from hormonal changes brings forth a greater intensity of feelings. It is as if forty years of conditioned repression of the feeling function begins to break down to assist in the alignment with the authentic, unconditioned, uncontaminated Self. This is our True Nature, the Self that is beneath our conditioning and adaptations, undistorted by family imprints or shame. This organic process of reorientation can cause anxiety and fear as it does not comply with familial or societal ‘rules’. The Authentic Self rises up at this time of life through feeling function and wants us to experience meaning and add value to our life. This process has been written about for thousands of years as sacred yet it is discounted by our society.

In order to align with our authenticity, we must accept our feeling function as a ‘normal’ and sacred part of who we are. Often, when hormones are imbalanced at this stage of life, it can be confusing to navigate through this reorientation process. Our biology effects our emotions and neuropeptides are the molecules of emotion which are impacted by hormonal changes. Hormone balancing can greatly assist in this process of individuation. Hormone balance assists in bringing clarity to the process. I have witnessed this time and time again.

I have seen thousands of patients replace sentimentality with True feeling in midlife and for all of them, this results in a deeper experience of meaning and more authentic relationships.

I am always in awe of the human body, its precision and the delicate web within that connects us to empathy, intuition, inner wisdom and, of course, to one another. I see the body as a responder to the thoughts we think, the food we eat, the intentions we live from, and the feelings we express. When we live from our truth, our body feels aligned and healing is supported. This is indeed a spiritual practice, as we have to reorient ourselves to live this way in contrast to how we were conditioned to live, by family of origin and society.

We are all witnessing a world that is hurting with a level of suffering that is unprecedented. It is difficult to feel deeply in the midst of it, but we must. We must muster the courage to keep our hearts open, and stay true to the authentic way of being. It is the only way we can add true value to our lives, our community and the world at large.

©Feb2020 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

Keto Versus Plant Based – The Illusion of Health Versus True Health

Those of us in midlife cannot afford to follow fad diets. At this stage of life, the body does not have the resilience for the yo-yo stress that weight loss and weight gain causes. Fads like the Keto diet are not natural, not healthy and not based on scientific evidence. In fact, their consequences make us sicker over the long haul. 

An example of the latest fad is the Keto diet. This is a modification of the Atkins diet which so many followed nearly 25 years ago. Then there is Paleo, and now Keto. People claim these result in rapid weight loss and an increase in energy in the short run, but over the long haul, they cause rebound weight gain and significantly increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, dementia and chronic kidney disease.

People defend the Keto diet with such vehemence that sometimes I wonder what this extremist fuss is all about. I wonder if it is because many of the general public’s choices are heavily influenced by social media, which are public opinion rather than science. Public opinion has inertia. People who promote health care solutions on social media often gain television notoriety because of their ‘following’ not their scientific background. Even when what they are promoting is unhealthy and may even be harmful, what they promote becomes the latest fad due to fast results that the public wants.  We must be weary of quick-fix fads because public opinion is not the same as scientific evidence. We must be careful to not get entranced by these popular pundits especially when what they preach affects our health. After many decades of medical practice, I can confidently say that what is publicly normalized is not the same as what is healthy. 

After nearly 100,000 patient encounters in my career, I can say with a great degree of certainty that we must rely on scientific evidence to make healthy choices. In a similar manner as prescription drugs, fad diets come and go.  Their impact is mainly palliative but they leave an unhealthy imprint in our bodies. Unlike prescription drugs that can sometimes be lifesaving, fad diets are not. They may work in the short term, but diets like paleo and keto significantly increase all cause mortality. There is no drug or diet that has ever cured what we have eaten ourselves into, and no fad diet has had a lasting positive impact on our health. In fact, diets have been shown to have a failure rate of 95%.

So what does a Board certified, preventative, integrative, lifestyle and evidence based physician recommend?  A plant based, diet (lifestyle) combined with daily aerobic exercise, intermittent fasting and a good night’s sleep. That’s it! That is the secret of the success of the vast majority of my patients.

You may wonder what the difference is between a plant based diet and a keto diet. Let me explain.

The first thing we must understand is what ketosis is.  It is a state where the body burns fat over glucose for fuel. Ketones are the breakdown products of fat and are a great energy source for the brain and the body. This is why early during an Atkins, keto or paleo diet, people have a lot of energy and lose weight. The keto diet accomplishes this by carbohydrate starvation and a high intake of animal fat and protein. But over time, the body needs complex carbohydrates for energy, an important macronutrient missing in keto and paleo diets. For example, people with diabetes who go on a keto diet may initially see better control of their blood sugar, but then develop worsening insulin resistance.

A plant based diet accomplishes this is by eating a diet high in vegetables, and fatty foods like nuts and seeds, avocados, and coconut milk, and allows complex carbohydrates such as lentils, grains and low glycemic fruit in moderation. These foods should be prepared in your kitchen if possible and with fresh, organic ingredients. This matters, as we need to put body to pure, preservative-free and food grown in harmony with nature in our bodies. It is the best way to support  healthy cell structure and our microbiome. After all, the food we eat is what fuels our body and creates our cell structure. This is our foundational platform for health or disease. 

Six key principles that are most successful for restoring health in my Medical practice are:

  1. An organic plant-based diet. Evidence has shown that eating organic does matter. Not only is it less toxic for the body than conventional food, the majority of which is genetically modified in the U.S., it is laced with pesticides which are hormone disruptors in addition to disrupting the biome of the soil  in which they are grown, which results in reducing the nutrient content of the food and negatively affecting biodiversity and the ecosystem. After all, healthy soil is synonymous with a healthy body. 
  2. Portion control: Eat from a medium not large sized plate, slightly bigger than a tapas plate (If your diet includes healthy plant based fat, you will feel satisfied with smaller portions and not feel the need for seconds or supersized portions).
  3. Intermittent fasting: Fast for at least 12 hour to 16 hours after your last meal of the day, at least 5 nights per week. For example, if your last meal of the day is at 6 pm, don’t eat solid food till 8 to 10 AM the next morning. Intermittent fasting has been shown to break down fat to ketones, which are excellent for brain health and promote autophagy, where cells renew and regenerate.
  4. Get at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 6 days per week. If you are not committed to this practice, start by just walking briskly at least 20 min per day. This will become a habit in a few weeks and your body will begin to crave more exercise.
  5. Drop the alcohol. Alcohol is pure sugar and highjacks the liver’s ability to repair DNA damage. It has now been shown that aside from being a neurotoxin and a depressant, alcohol also causes 8 types of cancer.
  6. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night . Turn off your electronics at least an hour prior to bedtime. Your body regenerates when you sleep. Electronic light has been shown to decrease melatonin production in the pineal gland, a hormone that is essential for health and immunity.

If you can accomplish these six principles, at any time of your life, your liver, your metabolism and your body will be rebooted and recalibrated.  Fat will melt away and your tissues will be more efficiently oxygenated and energized. 

This is the best health platform you can establish for any time in your life, especially during the second half when it becomes critical and almost urgent to create a healthy platform from which to live for the rest of your life. 

The body begins to manifest half a lifetime of dietary habits that build incrementally over time and reach a tipping point when hormones begin to shift during the midlife transition around age 38 to 50. The profound shifts in the psyche and emotional body that accompany the changes in the physical body make it necessary, indeed imperative, to learn healthy skills for self-nourishment. This requires us to follow a different set of rules to care take our very vulnerable bodies during this nearly 15 year transition.  What we practice now will accompany us into our elder years as either health or disease, depending upon how we choose our nourishment.

With the rate of chronic diseases on the rise in the U.S, and dementia projected to affect 1 in 2 Americans in 30 years who are now in their fifth decade, learning how to restore and reclaim health needs to be our top priority. 

A plant based, diet has ample evidence to support its legitimacy, safety and efficacy not just through hard science over the past 4 decades, but also historically,  over hundreds of years of observational data in the ‘Blue Zones’, where people live to be centenarians with an extremely low incidence of chronic illness. 

Do you want to age this way?

I most certainly do.

So join me as you explore and experiment with a plant based lifestyle.  Every patient of mine who has begun this journey has enjoyed disease reversal, increased energy, vitality, and improvement in mental clarity and memory.  And there are no negative long term side effects. What could be better than that?

©Jan2020 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

The Power of Kindness

“Namaskar”, said the 6-foot Sikh man standing outside the front door of our hotel. He was wearing traditional Indian clothes and a turban, as he bowed his head with his hands folded in a prayer position. He was greeting me, a total stranger this way, because “Guest is god”. The sincere kindness that permeated from his heart into mine was palpable and brought tears to my eyes. He was a well built, very masculine man, yet what I felt from him in that moment was a purity of kindness and respect, as if from a mother. It was a sort of kindness that I rarely feel from people in the West, and deeply miss. My two weeks in India last month were infused with this level of kindness, which was not just isolated to me, I also observed this among people with each other. Being kind is a way of life there. It permeates relationships. In the East, love, kindness, reciprocity, community, and relatedness are valued simply as a way of life.

In contrast, in the West, ‘acts of kindness’ are a special way to behave towards another. In fact, the book, “Random Acts of Kindness’ was most popular in the ‘90s. Its success ‘not only inspired many individuals but also led Congress to declare a National Random Acts of Kindness Week  in February 1995’. It was deemed, ‘good for our health. It is difficult to comprehend that kindness is an act that needs to be learned or, is viewed as a prescription for good health, or that it can actually be learned from a book. Is this because being kind is not the norm? In our society, I feel it is seen as something we ‘do’ rather than ‘are’. In fact, lack of kindness is normalized in our society. We see this amplified in corporations, in how they treat employees, and sadly also in health care, most commonly now, practiced within a corporate framework, where being kind to patients is seen as a weakness, time-consuming, and ‘touchy-feely’.

In the East, being kind to one another is synonymous with living from Atma or Soul. Jung termed the Soul or the Self,  the deeper, wiser, more divine aspect of who we are that does not have the needs of the Ego. It is our essence, our True Nature. Living from the Self in the East  is termed, living from ‘dharma’. Dharma implies we live from Soul, always behaving towards others with empathy and kindness.

When we live without relatedness, we cannot access empathy. In the East, relationships are a way to access our Soul. It is a way of realizing our True Nature, also called, Self-realization. If we do not value relatedness, we cannot align with our True Nature. This leads to ‘adharma’, the opposite of dharma and results in living from a way where ‘might is right’ or ‘survival of the fittest’, which shuts down our empathy for each other. What is normalized in Western society (and corporations) would be termed adharma in the East, because of how much relatedness is valued there and how deficient it is here.

When we live from a place of dharma, we live from Soul, from empathy and kindness. Our cultural collective is deficient in these qualities because of what we have normalized. Could it be that our foundational platform with each other has not yet evolved to value relatedness and relationship? Could it be that we have valued materialism in favor of relationships and have disconnected ourselves from each other in the process? Or could it be that we consider technology, such as email and texting as a convenient substitute for real interaction? We must know by now that this is merely a cosmetic substitute for experiencing the essence of relationships. It is impossible to be in each other’s presence or fully present with each other through text and email.

We must become aware of the unintended consequence of how we use technology as there can be no substitute for human to human interaction.

Our True Nature cannot be shared unless we are authentically present with each other. We need to return to our humanity, to empathy and kindness. To experience this, we need to reorient ourselves back to Self and have more authentic relationships. This is one way we can live from kindness rather than to merely do ‘kind things’.

So next time you are in another’s presence, (even a stranger’s), align with your heart and treat them with kindness like the Sikh man did with me in India. Offer them a ’Namaskar’ if only in your mind. It means, ‘I honor your True Nature with my True Nature’. Notice how sacred this feels. I promise you it will be healing for both you and the recipient of your kindness.

Since we are in the season of reflection and gifting, it may be worth reflecting on what it would mean to live a dharmic life, to live from Atma, or Soul or Self. Gifting another with our True Nature is ultimately the greatest gift of all.

©Dec2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

Protect Your Brain – Encore

 

Did you know that one in two Americans who live to be 85 will get Alzheimer’s disease or some form of dementia?  That is correct, 1 in 2. After decades of research and errors in medical judgement about the causes of Alzheimer’s and pharmaceutical treatments which actually worsen dementia when stopped due to intolerable side effects, there is finally hope for preventing and reversing Alzheimer’s (dementia).  

We have been arriving at the answers slowly and questioning our theories about the causes of dementia.  Twenty years ago when I began seeing increasing numbers of patients with memory loss, I intuitively felt that inflammation was the likely cause.  I took inventory on patient’s lifestyle – their level of stress, exercise, and considered their food choices to learn if what they were eating could be causing inflammation.  Inflammation is not just localized to one part of the body. When present, it pervades the entire body and brain. What if a person was to change their diet, get more exercise, and learn relaxation techniques?  Could this help memory loss? Without any research evidence, merely from a medical intuitive sense, I began making these recommendations to my patients. Not only did it help their memory, it helped their overall health as well.  Now there is a compelling study with specific suggestions based on scientific research, many of which align with the recommendations I have made to my patients for nearly two decades. 

This study  has revolutionized how we view dementia, and what’s more, it has shown memory improvement in patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI), but also Alzheimer’s disease.

If this is the case, why not use these recommendations to prevent dementia.  How many of us have noticed memory impairment in midlife, when we begin forgetting names of people, grocery lists, where we last placed our keys, or even words while in a conversation?  These are all signs of our changing brain and it feels scary to think we are headed down a degenerative path. These changes are actually normal for most people in midlife. As hormones shift and decrease, brain wiring also changes.  Neurotransmission is affected and recall is impaired. But for some (nearly 50%), this is just the beginning of what may be a progressive loss of memory. The longer a person has followed a lifestyle that is contrary to the one listed below, the more the blood brain barrier is impaired and neural cell death is underway.  Our lifestyle in the first half of our life does catch up with us in midlife and beyond. It is absolutely worth creating the lifestyle changes needed to protect our brain and prevent and reverse any progression of memory loss that may be underway. Some are predisposed to dementia through genetics, but research has shown that genetic expression  can remain switched-off or even be turned-off with positive lifestyle changes which heal the environment of our body. 

An increase in beta-amyloid in the synapse was found to be present in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.  Beta-amyloid was thought to be the cause of Alzheimer’s and is still considered to be an important contributor, but now we know that amyloid also plays a positive role in the body.  It protects the body from infections, repairs leaks in the blood-brain barrier, promotes recovery from injury, and regulates synaptic function.  It is only when beta-amyloid production increases that it interferes with neuronal transmission as well as causes an important protein in the brain called tau protein, to become toxic.  Toxic tau protein creates neurofibrillary tangles  in the brain, a pathognomonic finding in Alzheimer’s disease.  This affects neuronal function by interfering with neurotransmission. A leaky gut, inflammatory foods, insulin resistance, viral infections, toxins like copper and iron, and other heavy metals increase beta-amyloid concentrations abnormally.  The following will increase beta-amyloid abnormally in the brain:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Hormone imbalance
  3. Insulin resistance 
  4. Toxins  (increased copper to zinc ratio – reduced zinc is found prominently in patients who use Proton pump inhibitors like omeprazole (Prilosec, Protonix, Prevacid, Nexium)

Insulin resistance is the single most important contributor to Alzheimer’s disease and progression. 

Apo E  is a gene that we all carry.  Two alleles form the Apo E gene. One is inherited from our mother and one from our father.  There are three types of Apo E genes, Apo E2, E3 and E4.  

  1. E2, reduces risk of Alzheimer’s but increases risk of cardiovascular disease and cholesterol problems.  
  2.   E3 confers no increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  
  3.   E4 confers an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease especially if you inherit two E4 alleles,  one from each parent. 

Not to worry too much, though.  If you have one or two Apo E alleles, you may never get Alzheimer’s disease as long as you create an environment in your body that keeps the genes switched off as mentioned above.  This is called epigenetic regulation. The environment you create in your body has an impact on which genes are turned on or off.

Dr. Dale Bredesen in his landmark study  mentioned above, has created a protocol after trying it on patients with MCI and Alzheimer’s dementia, called Recode .  What he found is that patients with the Apo E4 gene can alter their amyloid load by making specific changes in their lifestyle.  

Biomarkers which have been shown to be correlated with dementia are:

  1. Elevated hs-CRP due to sugar, processed carbohydrates, animal protein and increased levels of stress.  Keep level less than 1.0 mg/L 
  2. Elevated homocysteine (due to folate and b12 deficiency): The higher the level, the more rapidly the hippocampus and gray matter declines.  Keep level less than 7 mm/L
  3. Elevated insulin levels due to high intake of sugar and processed carbohydrates, and lack of exercise contributing to insulin resistance. Insulin Degradation Enzyme (IDE) degrades insulin as well as beta-amyloid. When insulin levels are elevated, IDE favors insulin degradation over amyloid degradation thereby elevating levels of beta-amyloid.  Keep level less than 5 ulU/ml
  • A1C level.  Increases with elevated blood glucose from diet and lack of exercise.  Keep level less than 5.6%
  • Low Vitamin D.  Keep level between 50 to 80 ng/ml
  • Low B12 level.  Keep level greater than 500 
  • High Copper to Zinc ratio: Keep ratio 1:1

 

  1. Hormonal imbalance: Optimal thyroid panel with TSH <2 and estrogen and progesterone balance in women and testosterone balance in men, including normal DHEA levels in both

Lifestyle changes that improve cognitive function, prevent dementia, and reverse Alzheimer’s:

  1. Eat a plant-based/rich diet rich in color (antioxidants).
  2. Heal your leaky gut with the correct probiotics .
  3. Decrease to eliminate animal protein.
  4. Keep biomarkers optimal and add supplementation based on blood levels. 
  5. Stimulate ketosis (Do not eat any food for 12 hours after your last meal of the day to increase ketones  in the body and brain, which improves brain function and cognition).
  6. Exercise at least 20 min per day.  Start slow and increase your exercise tolerance till you are able to exercise daily.
  7. Reduce the fat load in your body.  Adipose tissue is highly inflammatory and is a risk factor for cognitive decline. 
  8. Add Omega 3 fish oil or DHA.  This has been shown to support brain health, memory issues, and mood.  In fact, it reverses cortisol  induced brain changes due to stress.  
  9. Reduce toxin exposure, keep your liver healthy and reboot it.  It is the most important detoxifier in your body. Eat foods like green leafy vegetables that chelate metals and reduce or eliminate your consumption of alcohol. Do detoxification cleanses, periodically.
  10. Increase Vitamin E rich foods – nuts, seeds, and green leafy vegetables.
  11. Manage your stress with assistance from professionals, meditation, and self-care.  

Knowing what we now know about the rising epidemic of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and how preventable it is, we must engage our consciousness and our knowledge base to create a healthy environment to protect our brain.  It is never too late to start, but we must.

It is imperative for our health and the health of our families and communities.  

 

©Nov,June 2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

 

The Medicine of Truth Telling: My Mother’s Story

“The past is never dead, it isn’t even past”

~William Faulkner

Last weekend, I hosted an Exhibit at The Ommani Center called, “Refugees of the British Empire”. It featured stories of survivors of the I947 Partition of India and Pakistan.  I hosted this to give voice to the truth of what millions suffered and to reveal the truth of how the human shadow shaped history in India and Pakistan.  

My mother, at the tender age of eleven, became a refugee during the Partition by being suddenly orphaned at the hands of violence on a train full of Hindus crossing the newly defined border out of Pakistan into India.  The 1500 travelers on that train were massacred, but a few survived. My mother and her two younger siblings were three of the few who survived, while her parents and oldest brother were killed in an ambush orchestrated by enraged Muslims.  Nearly 2 million people were killed, Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs, who once lived in harmony, overtaken by mob mentality from the stress of displacement from their homes, in the largest mass migration in world history. Yet another political maneuver gone awry, impacting millions and generations to come. The Exhibit spoke the truth of stories that have been hidden, unspeakable, yet important to know, witness and accept, with the intention of healing for all who suffered as well as their families and future generations. 

Why is it important to write about this?  

It is important because it happened.  In a society that is fearful of discomfort of any kind, be it emotional, physical or psychological, it is important for us to speak the truth of our history  as an antidote to our desire for numbing out, shutting down or suppressing our feelings.  Truth telling is powerful medicine.  Discomfort has always been unpopular among humans, maybe because of the suffering associated with it, but suffering is a necessary catalyst for growth and meaning, and as a result a healthy mind, body and spirit.  In my medical practice this is an important context I use to help my patients transform and grow. We need to learn the skills to suffer authentically. Jung said, “Neurosis is suffering that has not found its meaning.” I believe our society is stuck in neurosis and does not know how to suffer authentically.  It is only when we learn this that we grow. Avoiding suffering makes us sick. I believe our collective sickness is a result of our normalization of this.  

My mother’s trauma was so vast and deep, that she was unable to speak about what happened to her.  It shaped her psyche, fractured and fragmented her in a thousand ways. She coped with her loss through prayer and meditation but was never able to access the meaning of her experience.  The amplitude of her pain and suffering was transmitted into my DNA and my life experiences. This is generational trauma. After her death, nearly three years ago, my psychological process reached new depths.  When I found her written accounts of what occurred in that train, it was clear that even the unspeakable truth of her experience had to be released. In her journal, she expressed her desire to share her story with the world.  As I do this on her behalf, maybe this can be healing for her, even after death. My hope is, that it will and heal some of her pain and the amplitude of what has been transmitted through her lineage. 

History flows through our bodies at all levels.  It shapes our psyche and our cells. It is a foundational axis around which we organize our perceptions of reality, our responses, reactions and behaviors. Embedded in our symptoms, lies our history. We must become conscious of the foundational elements that shape our lives. Avoiding them only leads to suffering. I am sharing the short version of my mother’s story as an offering to the truth of how she suffered so her words can stay alive in the world, words she was unable to speak. 

“Mummy, the world will hear your story, and will bear witness to what you carried inside for 70 years.”

My Mother’s Story (in her words) 

My name is Adarsh Kumar.  I was born in 1936 in Dandot, 30 miles west of Pind Dadan Khan where we moved when I was two and a half years old. My parents were Atma Ram Kapoor and Ram Rakhi (Malhotra) Kapoor.  We lived our lives peacefully (with Muslims and Sikhs), without any communal disturbance known to us. 

Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan was our neighbor and the head of our town.  My mother considered him a brother and tied a Rakhi on his wrist every year in August. Hindus celebrated Eid, and Muslims celebrated Diwali with their neighbors.  

Suddenly in 1947, the same people suddenly turned on each other and there were many incidents of Hindu and Muslim killings.  Living in fear and the uncertainty of death became a daily norm. 

The memories of that time are so vivid in my mind as if it is all happening today. 

We boarded the train departing from Pind Dadan Khan to Amristar on September 21. The train was full of passengers. We sat inside the carts where coal was transported. I sat with my mother and younger sister and brother.  My father and elder brother were in another cart in front. At night, he train pulled out of the station andcame to a halt near Chalisa, not far from where we had left. Someone had placed a tree trunk on the tracks. A crowd with farming tools, machetes and swords gathered. They were chanting, “Allahu Akbar”(God is great) and “Kafiro ko maro” (Kill the infidels).  The murders began in the coal cart where my father and brother were. My mother hid us underneath her shawl. She said to me, “Adarsh, say the kalaam (become a Muslim).” I said, “I won’t become a Muslim, they can kill me.”

They came into our cart and killed everyone.  My mother handed me 500 rupees and said, “Go. Take care of your brother and sister.”  A Muslim man with a sword came towards us to kill us but stopped and said to his companions,”Don’t touch them. They are mine.”  He took us out of the cart and led us to a corn field. The farmer who owned the corn field discovered us and recognized us as the Kapoor children.  He took us to his house. I overheard him discussing what to do with us with other men, whether he should kill us. He eventually decided to inform Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan of our plight.  He rode his horse to Pind Dadan Khan to inform him. It was decided that we go to a refugee camp in Pind Dadan Khan. We stayed there for weeks before my brother Shiv came and took us to my oldest sister’s family home in Delhi.  After moving there, I spent a few summers in the refugee camp there.  

Soon, I received a Birla scholarship for refugees. This helped me attend a boarding school in Pilani, Rajasthan. After my education, I wanted to keep my mother’s promise and take care of my brother and sister.

©October 2019  Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

The Root of ALL Illness

How can there be a root cause to all illness? Western Medicine is based on the premise that fixing symptoms in piecemeal ways with surgery and medications are good enough, that we do not need to explore the roots of illness, that fixing symptoms is the best we can do, that aberrations in biology and physiology lead to symptoms we define as illness. As an example, recently Western medicine claims to have created a polypill as the answer to heart disease prevention, deducing that conscious living and a heathy lifestyle can be bypassed, despite scientific evidence that has shown otherwise. This kind of pharmaceutically driven thinking perpetuates the complacency of our collective thinking, discouraging us from valuing the importance of making conscious choices. This is an example of how our medical paradigm highjacks us from conscious living and authentic seeking. This is clearly not the path to health, meaning, wisdom, or authenticity.

For thousands of years, Eastern wisdom identified the root of illness as an imbalance in Prana or life force.  What does this really mean? The English language does not have a word for body/mind, mind/body or energy/matter.  The very fact that these are two separate words indicates two parts, joined together. The body and mind, according to Eastern wisdom are actually a continuum. The body is a denser expression of the mind, and the mind is within the body. The mind is the subtlest aspect of the body and the body the most tangible manifestation of the mind. In Sanskrit, the word for this continuum is Prakriti.

For both physical and mental health (a healthy Prakriti), the body requires food high in vitality.  Given this awareness, one can deduce when the body is not well-nourished with organic, unprocessed, natural, and vibrant food its cells will become toxic and unhealthy. An organic plant-based diet has historically been recommended by the non-Western world for cellular nourishment. The foods we have normalized in the West are far from this level of vitality. 

Similarly, when one’s thoughts and feelings are adapted to the values and thought patterns of the collective, the mind flowing through that body becomes turbulent and unhealthy. For Prakriti to have health and balance, both aspects that make up the material and energy body,(which are indistinguishable and interrelated) require us to make conscious choices, with an awareness of what facilitates our health at all levels. We need to learn these skills to promote health and nourishment of our Prakriti. 

When this is not encouraged, as it is not in our society, a large majority of people are conditioned to follow the collective way of life by remaining unconscious and merely following what is normalized. This behavior adds to what spiritual teachers have called Maya or illusion. Anything that is not authentic is of illusion. Illusion is not aligned with the truth of our being, even though it is normalized and accepted in society. When we confuse this with our truth, we engage in self-deception. Over time, we must make incremental course corrections away from the collective mind set or we rob ourselves from experiencing our authenticity. If we cannot access this, we are unable to offer it to the world. This loss is what many regret towards the end of their lives.

Herein lie the roots of illness. If one’s Prakriti is not healthy, illness will result over time.

Which path would you consider choosing, the one of consciousness or the one of self-deception?  In the final analysis, health is a choice and a polypill of any kind, cannot replace a life that is lived consciously and authentically.   

 

©Sept2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI. www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press. Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.

 

REFUGEES OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE – A POP-UP EXHIBITION, COMES TO WISCONSIN

Dates:      

     Saturday/Sunday, September 21 & 22, 2019 

Times:

     Saturday – 11am until 3pm, Opening Reception 11-11:30AM seating is limited so book early 

     Sunday – 11:30AM until 3PM       

Place:

      The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, 1166 Quail Court, Suite 210, Pewaukee, WI 53072


Discover the impact and hidden truth about our global history in this audio-visual, pop-up exhibit. Refugees of the British Empire is sponsored by The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine and Dr. Mahendra Kumar, and designed by The 1947 Partition Archive. 

Learn about the little known, but largest mass refugee crisis that unfolded when the British Empire left India in 1947, directly from survivors and witnesses, many of whom are your own neighbors and friends. 

A $10 ticket is required and will support The 1947 Partition Archive. For more information please email ommani@ommanicenter.com 

To purchase tickets, sign up to volunteer or make donations in lieu click here  

 

Generational Trauma: An Emerging Science to Facilitate Deeper Healing

The past is never dead.  It is not even past. ~William Faulkner

I am the daughter of a Partition survivor.  The India/Pakistan Partition, marked on August 15, 

1947 brought with it freedom from 200 years of oppressive British Rule, but also a massacre of monumental proportions.  On the heels of World War II and the Jewish Holocaust, the Partition of 1947 went unacknowledged. Not only did 2 million people die in the largest mass migration in human history, the collateral damage and death from PTSD, shock, severe depression, anxiety, broken psyches, unspeakable grief and suicide has gone unaccounted.  

Now as survivors of the 1947 Partition are dying from old age, their stories are being archived by the 1947 Partition Archive who is cataloguing details of what survivors went through and witnessed.  It has raised awareness of the important and thus far unacknowledged effects of the transmission of trauma in their offspring and beyond, an important field of scientific and psychological study now underway.  

Generational trauma is real.  The field of epigenetics proves this. Those who descended from parents, grandparents and beyond who survived war trauma, massacres, refugee camps, famines, or even singular extreme traumatic experiences, have had those trauma memories, symptoms and sensations transmitted through genes into our biology and feeling function.  

Dr. Shaili Jain, a psychiatrist and author of The Unspeakable Mind,  an expert in generational trauma states:

”The science of epigenetic refers to how PTSD may possibly alter the way genes express themselves in a trauma survivor and how such alterations can then be inherited by children on a cellular level and alter their neurons, brain molecules, neuroanatomy and genes.  These epigenetic changes are transmitted to children by a process called “intergenerational transmission” by having a negative impact on the parents’ sperm or egg quality or impacting the mother while she is pregnant. These children then carry the sorrows in their blood.”

Rachel Yehuda, PhD, a researcher of generational trauma has shown that the children of Holocaust survivors carry forth the emotional pain of their parents.  She has found evidence of this transmission in their DNA in gene FKBP5 and has found tags in one region of a gene associated with the regulation of stress hormones, known to be affected by trauma.  Her team found epigenetic tags on the same part of this gene in both Holocaust survivors and their offspring, the same correlation not found in any of the control group and their children.  

Since we live in a culture that denies emotions, where deep feeling is seen as a distraction or a weakness, when deep or amplified feelings arise in us they are pathologized, discounted, palliated, or denied perpetuating the cycle of continued transmission down the generations.  My sense from my own experience as a Partition survivor’s daughter is the transmission is amplified and surfaces in the biology, manifesting in the lives of the generational lineage. 

My childhood and adult life has been filled with repeated trauma.  How could it not be, as the first born child of a mother who at a mere age of 12, a Hindu in what became Pakistan, was displaced from her home in Pind Dadan Khan, to begin a new life in Hindu India.  She boarded a train with her parents and 3 siblings, only to be orphaned during an ambush that left the majority of passengers in her train dead and dismembered. She arrived at a refugee camp in New Delhi, with two younger siblings and tens of thousands of others who had suffered similar trauma, and from that day forward had to weave her way into a new and altered life. She carried within her, unspeakable grief, rage, dissociation, shock, PTSD, displacement and separation wounds, abandonment, sorrow, and a brokenness that only a survivor of this magnitude of trauma can understand.  As her first born, I have carried all of her emotions with an other-worldly amplification. My own life has been a series of traumatic experiences, first stemming from her relationship to me, then an amplification of all of her above-mentioned feelings, experienced in an intensely abusive marriage which left me with no choice but to transform my symptoms (and hers) to regain my will to live from a place of empowerment and meaning.

Since making a commitment to my difficult yet transformative journey, I have come to understand that my mother’s experience lived on in me for a promise of healing.   As I began my intense therapeutic work with my personal trauma nearly 2 decades ago, over time, I sensed that my healing was having a greater impact on more than my personal process.  It was healing the wounds in my maternal lineage. 

Even though my mother passed away unhealed  in 2016, I feel the profound importance of continuing my work of generational healing, for my ancestors, children, and grandchildren.  I have felt my deepest pain transform into meaning in what I can only describe as an alchemical process. I am now able to see how each feeling that was generated within me from precise forms of violence and abuse I suffered, were connected with the thread of what my mother suffered and was unable to heal.  This work is deeply sacred. The separation from Self that deep trauma causes can be healed. But it requires intentionality, consciousness, and professional guidance. My mother did not experience healing and transformation when she was alive, but my hope is that through my continued perseverance, her soul will find peace. 

As physicians, it would be important to expand our patient interviews to include a history of generational trauma.  It is an important and profoundly powerful context, which when addressed may be a key to healing deep suffering that our patients carry. 

As a tribute to those who perished and survived the 1947 Partition, an exhibit called, The Adarsh Kumar 1947 Partition Exhibit will be open to view in mid-September, 2019, at The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine.   This is a PopUp museum  organized in collaboration with  The 1947 Partition Archive  whose volunteers have been archiving interviews with living survivors, and whose intention is to bring world awareness to this monumental yet unrecognized event, and to heal the children and grandchildren of the survivors of the 1947 Partition.

©August 2019 Kalpana (Rose) M. Kumar M.D., CEO and Medical Director, The Ommani Center for Integrative Medicine, Pewaukee, WI www.ommanicenter.com Author of 2nd Edition – Becoming Real: Reclaiming Your Health in Midlife 2014, Medial Press.  Dr. Kumar is happy to accept new patients; call 262.695.5311 to schedule an appointment.