Erectile Dysfunction: The Canary in the Cardiovascular Coal Mine?

Erectile Dysfunction: The Canary in the Cardiovascular Coal Mine?

The role of endothelial function on tumescence – and beyond

By Erica Zelfand, ND

The stories I hear of men* with erectile dysfunction (ED) are strikingly similar: The issue begins insidiously and is initially treated at a “low T clinic” with gradually increasing doses of exogenous testosterone in regimens that yield varied but ultimately insufficient results.

A review of the lab work of these individuals reveals that they are typically overdosed on their prescription hormones, with total testosterone levels often above 1000 ng/dL. While supraphysiological levels of testosterone do, in fact, enhance the sexual desire and performance of some men, they come with significant health risks and pesky side effects like anxiety, irritability, and insomnia. Other men, however, find that even high doses of anabolic steroids fail to engender desired outcomes in the bedroom.

Erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence) is a fairly common medical condition, characterized by the inability to achieve and maintain a penile erection firm enough for satisfying sexual intercourse.1 ED is also on the rise: While the condition affected an estimated 152 million males worldwide in 1995, that number is expected to swell (no pun intended) to over 320 million people by 2025.2,3

Just last week, a new patient shouted at his wit’s end, “I’m taking testosterone, HCG [human chorionic gonadotropin], and anastrozole. I’m lifting more weight than the other guys at the gym. I look amazing. I have tons of energy—so much I can’t fall asleep at night – but I after two years of playing with all my doses I still can’t get hard. What the heck is wrong with me!? What are my other doctors missing? I really hope you can figure it out.” [Note: This patient employed more expletives when expressing himself.]

Time and time again, I explain to exasperated fellows like this one that sex hormone levels are just one piece of the puzzle. The successful treatment of ED often also entails assessing the nervous system (including mental health), adrenal function, metabolic health, and endothelial integrity, with the latter being among the most overlooked aspects of sexual health.

Tumescence is a hemodynamic process characterized by enhanced penile arterial inflow and reduced venous outflow.4,5 Because the physiology of tumescence (penile erection) requires that the penis engorges with blood, the integrity of the vascular system—and ergo the status of nitric oxide production—is of utmost importance to male sexual performance and satisfaction.6

Nitric Oxide: The Endothelium Relaxer

Our understanding of nitric oxide (NO) is relatively new: In 1998 three American pharmacologists received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of NO’s effects as a signaling molecule within the cardiovascular system.7

This tiny gas molecule is produced in the blood vessels, nerves, and immune cells. Neuronal and endothelial NO causes relaxation of the surrounding smooth muscle, resulting in vasodilation.8,9 With regard to male sexual health, NO triggers the relaxation of the cavernous smooth muscle of the penis, allowing for engorgement and  subsequent erection.

NO production declines with age, however, placing males at increased risk of ED as they grow older.10 It is now estimated that nearly half of men above the age of 40 have some degree of ED.11

Endothelial inflammation undermines NO production and is thus a significant determinant of ED and other vascular diseases.12 It is also a culprit that can effectively be treated with naturopathic medicine.

Erectile Dysfunction as Coronary Risk Marker

Due to the relatively small size of the penile vasculature (on even the most well-endowed of individuals), ED may be understood as a warning sign of poor vascular function and impending coronary artery disease (CAD).9,11,13,14 ED may present well before the observation of so much as an elevated blood pressure reading.15 If left unchecked, the vascular inflammation and dysfunction associated with many cases of ED may lead to ischemic heart disease;16 ED has thus been referred to as “penile angina.”17

ED is such a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease in men,3 in fact, that providers are now advised to assess the cardiovascular health of patients presenting with the condition.16 While not all men with ED have cardiovascular problems, a significant percentage of males with angiographically demonstrated CAD have been observed to have ED.13 ED was also shown in one study to precede CAD in a whopping 70% of male CAD patients.13

It is perhaps no surprise that ED and CAD go hand-in-hand, as they share many of the same risk factors, including sedentary lifestyle, obesity, diabetes, smoking, hypertension, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and declining NO activity.9,11,18,19

Conventional Treatments of ED

The first-line therapy for ED entails phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE5i) like sildenafil.20 Although these drugs do not directly increase NO, they do augment NO-mediated pathways.21

When PDE5i’s fail to improve symptoms, vacuum devices, intracavernous injections, and penile prosthesis implantation are considered second- and third-line therapies. Few patients are eager to try these interventions, however, which may not be too great of a tragedy, as none of these methods adequately addresses the underlying metabolic, neurological, hormonal, or endothelial aspects of ED.

Testosterone plays an important role in sexual function via several mechanisms, including the stimulation of NO release.22 As more and more males become afflicted with ED, the increasing number of “low T” clinics that have cropped up over the years now comprise a multi-billion-dollar industry.23,24 Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) does help many men with ED—though not all. In my experience and opinion, focusing on NO augmentation—either in lieu of or in addition to hormone prescription—may serve ED patients in both the short and long term.

Erectile Dysfunction: The Canary in the Cardiovascular Coal Mine?

Two Pathways of Nitric Oxide Production

There are two pathways by which NO is created in the body (see Figure 1).25 One pathway entails the reduction of dietary nitrates to nitrite and then NO.26 Another pathway depends upon the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS) to convert L-arginine to NO.27

Oral Hygiene

In the NOS independent pathway of NO production, facultative oral microflora reduce dietary nitrates (NO3) to nitrites (NO2), which are then converted to NO in the acidic environment of the stomach.26

In this pathway, the presence of particular oral bacteria and the stomach’s low pH are invaluable for NO production. These requisite conditions are undermined, however, by antiseptic mouthwashes, proton-pump inhibitors, and over-the-counter antacid medications—agents commonly used in industrialized societies.28–30 Although restoring a patient’s gastric acidity is a relatively straightforward task for the naturopathic physician, as of this writing there is no nutritional probiotic supplement that contains the oral bacteria essential for nitrate reduction. We may still, however, advise patients to avoid commercial mouthwash products.26

Dark Leafy Greens and Beetroot

Vegetable-rich diets have been shown to support heart health,31,32 in part due to their nitrite and nitrate content. High nitrate diets lower the risks of hypertension, heart attack, and stroke,33–35

Although dietary nitrites such as those naturally found in bacon have been vilified, nitrites and nitrates are actually naturally occurring molecules produced in the body that are important to health.36,37 (The culprit in processed meats is likely not nitrite, but rather the carcinogenic compound nitrosamine.38,39)

In addition to eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, powdered greens products, beetroot (also known simply as “beets”), and beetroot products may all be used as supplemental sources of nitrates, antioxidants, and phenolic compounds pertinent to cardiovascular health.40 Beetroot is a particularly rich source of nitrates and antioxidant compounds and has been observed to increase NO levels and lower blood pressure readings in both men and women of various ages.41–43

Although dietary nitrites such as those naturally found in bacon have been vilified, nitrites and nitrates are actually naturally occurring molecules produced in the body that are important to health.36,37 (The culprit in processed meats is likely not nitrite, but rather the carcinogenic compound nitrosamine.38,39)

In addition to eating plenty of green, leafy vegetables, powdered greens products, beetroot (also known simply as “beets”), and beetroot products may all be used as supplemental sources of nitrates, antioxidants, and phenolic compounds pertinent to cardiovascular health.40 Beetroot is a particularly rich source of nitrates and antioxidant compounds and has been observed to increase NO levels and lower blood pressure readings in both men and women of various ages.41–43

L-Arginine and L-Citrulline

L-Arginine may be acquired from nutritional supplements and/or endogenously derived from the amino acid L-citrulline, and serves as the source raw material from which the body produces NO via NOS (Figure 1).44 Low serum levels of L-arginine have unsurprisingly been correlated with poor NO production.45

A significant percentage of ED patients have low L-arginine or L-citrulline levels, placing them at increased risk of disease.45 Because of this and because the NOS-dependent route of NO production was the first pathway discovered, the nutraceutical product market is now replete with L-arginine-containing formulae.46

Although oral L-arginine supplementation may improve NO-mediated vasodilation and endothelial function, its effects as a monotherapy are transient due to the short duration of its presence in the circulation (on the order of milliseconds).47 This may be why a review of L-arginines efficacy in the treatment of ED reports that a minimum dosage of 3 g daily is necessary to achieve outcomes. Some studies have even dosed the amino acid at 5 g and higher.48

The efficacy of L-arginine may be improved by delivering it alongside N-acetylcysteine or glutathione (GSH), both of which contain sulfur residues or thiols. NO binds GSH, forming S-nitrosoglutathione. This molecule then transports and circulates NO, has a half-life of hours, and is just as vasoactive as NO.49 Antioxidants like ascorbate also are able to cleave or release bound NO.50 L-arginine also pairs particularly well with Pycnogenol, as is explored in the section below.

Unlike L-arginine, its precursor L-citrulline (named for the watermelon, or Citrullus vulgaris, from which it is derived51) evades presystemic metabolism, effectively increasing circulating NO levels.45,52,53 This may make L-citrulline a more advantageous nutritional supplement than L-arginine in the treatment of ED, hypertension, and related vascular conditions.54,55

Although L-citrulline supplements are less effective than PDE5i’s (at least in the short term), they are an effective adjuvant to PDE5i treatment.54,56 L-citrulline has also been shown to be safe and psychologically well tolerated.54

What may be even more effective than L-arginine or L-citrulline monotherapy, however, is the administration of the two NOS substrates concurrently: Simultaneous oral supplementation of L-arginine and L-citrulline (1 gram of each) increased plasma L-arginine levels more than 2 g of either alone in a 2017 study.57 (Note that because many viruses, including herpes simplex virus [HSV], are dependent upon the bioavailability of arginine,58 L-arginine and L-citrulline supplements may be poorly tolerated by patients with frequent HSV outbreaks.)

In addition to augmenting the body’s supply of L-arginine, it is also important to support conversion of the amino acid into NO.38 This conversion is enhanced by oxygen, NADPH, heme, tetrahydrobiopterin (THB, also known as BH4), and other coenzymes. Things as simple as checking oxygen saturation and ferritin levels may therefore prove advantageous.


A standardized extract from the bark of the French maritime pine, Pinus pinaster—or Pycnogenol, as it’s known in the US by its patent name—can improve erectile function both as a stand-alone treatment and in combination with L-arginine.59,60

In a double-blind study of 21 males suffering from ED, patients received 120 mg of Pycnogenol or placebo daily. After three months, Pycnogenol significantly improved the symptoms of ED from moderate to mild stage. Perhaps more importantly, a significant increase in plasma antioxidant activity was noted among those who received Pycnogenol, while no such benefit was found in those who received placebo. The Pycnogenol group further enjoyed reductions in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol levels (from 5.41 to 4.98 mmol/L and from 3.44 to 2.78 mmol/L, respectively). (No significant changes in triglycerides or HDL were observed.) These findings suggest that Pycnogenol may not only treat ED but may also temper some of the more serious vascular changes that succeed it.61

In another study of 40 males, 25 to 45 years of age, a combination of L-arginine and Pycnogenol significantly outperformed Pycnogenol alone, helping 80% of men (and, after another month of the study, 92.5% of men) achieve a normal erection – as compared to only 5% of men who benefitted from Pycnogenol alone. Pycnogenol was given at a dose of 40 mg one to three times daily, with L-arginine at a dose of 1.7 g daily.60 (It is worth noting that the minimum effective daily dosage of L-arginine as a standalone treatment of ED may be 3 g,62 though this study suggests that lower doses may be used within the milieu of co-treatment with Pycnogeol.)

In a similar trial of 50 males, L-arginine (3 g/day) plus Pycnogenol (80 mg/day) restored normal erectile function after just one month of supplementation. Sperm quality improved in the men who took this combination and their testosterone levels increased significantly. The men also reported a doubling in their sexual intercourse frequency.63

Glutathione and Other Antioxidants

Supplementation with L-citrulline and GSH has also been shown to synergistically increase NO levels.

In addition to providing thiols for the formation of S-nitroso glutathione, GSH also affects the NOS enzyme function. In a GSH-depleted environment, NOS becomes uncoupled, resulting in the production of toxic superoxides instead of salubrious NO. Endothelial NOS (eNOS) uncoupling has been implicated in numerous conditions marked by vascular endothelial dysfunction, including heart failure, ischemia/reperfusion injury, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and diabetes.65

As the master antioxidant of the body, GSH strongly protects against the oxidative stress associated with endothelial dysfunction. Like other antioxidants, GSH may prevent eNOS uncoupling by scavenging free radicals, mitigating certain radical-generating pathways, maintaining the optimal ratio of reduced to oxidized glutathione, and protecting the endothelium against damage by toxic metabolites.66

GSH and other antioxidants can thus prevent oxidative stress, ameliorate vascular endothelial dysfunction, and stave off cardiovascular disease (among other chronic ailments).66


The steroid hormone precursor dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) not only augments hormone production, but also positively affects eNOS. Supplementation with DHEA may thus further support endothelial health.67 A systematic review of 38 trials found that DHEA improves various aspects of sexual health in both males and females, including sexual interest, sexual frequency, lubrication, arousal, pain, and orgasm.68

Carnitine and Taurine

Carnitine and taurine have been shown to support NO production and vascular health. Specifically, propionyl-L-carnitine (PLC) has been observed to stimulate NO production and facilitate the delivery of free fatty acids into the mitochondria.69 When administered alongside acetyl-L-carnitine, PLC enhances the efficacy of sildenafil in treating the symptoms of ED in men who have undergone bilateral nerve-sparing prostatectomy.70

Taurine also increases NO, likely by decreasing asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), as an inhibitor of NO synthesis.71,72


Beyond erectile function and blood pressure, NO’s benefits include blood clot prevention, immune function enhancement, and nervous system support.7 NO may also contribute to the relaxing effects of meditation and mindfulness practice—and mindfulness practice may likewise enhance NO production.73 In one study, for example, experienced meditators were found to have lower levels of subjective stress and higher nitrate and nitrite levels.9 This finding may be added to the long list of reasons to recommend meditation and other mindfulness-based practices to those with ED and other cardiovascular ailments.


Sedentary lifestyle is a significant risk factor for both ED and cardiovascular disease.9 Physical activity is known to increase vascular NO levels and improve vascular function,74 which explains at least in part why exercise is hailed as the lifestyle factor most strongly correlated with erectile health.74,75

A 2018 systematic review of 10 studies concludes that moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise four times weekly for six months improves erectile function in men who have ED caused by sedentary lifestyle, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and/or metabolic syndrome.9 Considering that exercise helps with a wide array of other health conditions, physical activity should be a basic treatment guideline for just about every patient.


During sexual arousal, the vessels of the penis rely upon nitric oxide to help blood—and the oxygen and nutrients it carries—engorge the penis, resulting in tumescence. Erectile dysfunction may therefore represent poor endothelial health and a deficit of NO in many cases—and thus serve as a warning sign of more serious vascular ailments to come.

Because there is no standard lab test for assessing NO levels,76 it is important for healthcare providers to make astute clinical assessments of their patients’ cardiovascular status when labs and imaging fall short.

Simple, natural strategies and supplements—like oral health, digestive hygiene, green vegetables and beetroot, L-arginine, L-citrulline, glutathione, DHEA, carnitine, Pycnogenol, meditation, and exercise—may well serve the men who suffer from erectile dysfunction. Even in the context of testosterone replacement and phosphodiesterase inhibitor prescription, nitric oxide support may further improve sexual performance and safeguard against more serious vascular disease.

  • L-Arginine and L-Citrulline
  • Pycnogenol
  • Glutathione and Other Antioxidants
  • Carnitine and Taurine
  • __Berkeley Life Pro, __ M3 Powder, __  NO Max ER
  • Testosterone __ IM, __Troche,__ Topical
  • DHEA
  • Meditation
  • Exercise

The Ten Principles of Consciousness


A Brief History
The Ten Principles of Conscious Creation are tenants of ancient wisdom which were nearly lost in the burning of the Alexandrian Libraries several thousand years ago, when between 400,000 and 700,000 books and scrolls perished. According to Master Kirael, some 200,000 volumes survived the fires. Of these surviving scrolls, a select few were retrieved by the Guidance Realm to be re-introduced at a point in the evolution of the planet when they would be best understood and utilized by humanity. The Ten Principles of Conscious Creation were recorded in one such document. The Ten Principles actually pre-date the Libraries at Alexandria and were practiced by enlightened ancient societies, such as Lemuria, some 50,000 years ago.

Why are these Principles being reintroduced at this time in humanity’s history?
The Ten Principles are here because we are experiencing a Great Shift in Consciousness. They are here because We the People are raising our global consciousness to a critical mass, whereby the entire Earth plane and her inhabitants will undergo a fundamental shift in dimensional awareness. They are here because we are at a period in human evolution where we are now able to create?consciously?everything that we desire in our lives. As Master Kirael explains, “Everything starts as the Creator, and everything ends as the Creator.” Within the Ten Principles we recognize that we are not separate from the Creator, we are the Creator. The Ten Principles of Consciously Creating are a way of life.

Here they are in their simplicity:

Sleep State Programming
Masterminding The Trinity

The Trinity
One – Truth: Truth is the essence of Love from which all reality extends and the basis of your light on earth. The integrity of thought, word and deed that creates the freedom to be who you truly are. Truth is the foundation of the other nine Principles.

Two – Trust: Trust is an inner knowing which comes from the Truth that you are part of the Creator and connected to all levels of reality. The understanding that everything in your life unfolds in perfection.

Three – Passion: Passion is the core energy by which you feel the presence of your own Creator Light. Passion is the realization that you are a limitless being of light. It is the force that allows your life journey to continually evolve. The Three Commitments

The Three Commitments
Four – Clarity: In its simplest form, Clarity is the acknowledgment that your physical self is part of a greater, non-physical power. Clarity is the knowing of your own truth, which guides you to consciously create your life.

Five – Communication: Communication is the exchange of energies and information (including words) between humans, between your physical self and the essential or higher self, and between you and the unseen forces of light.

Six – Completion: Completion is the knowing that the conclusion of an experience, a process or a journey exists on multiple levels of understanding. Each completion opens to the beginning of a new experience, process or journey. The Four Pillars

The Four Pillars
Seven – Prayer: Prayer is a communication between your human self and the unseen forces of light, which can include your own higher self, the Creator, angels, guides, etc. Prayer need not be a religious act; it is an opportunity for you to define your thoughts, feelings and desires in your daily life’s journey. In Master Kirael’s words, “Prayer is the asking; meditation is the hearing” of the answers to your prayers.

Eight – Meditation: The practice of quieting your mind such that you are able to consciously receive information, wisdom, and guidance from non-physical sources. In Master Kirael’s words, “Prayer is the asking; meditation is the hearing” of the answers to your prayers.

Nine – Sleep state Programming : Sleep state Programming is the practice of enlisting your own higher self, or essential light, to contact and communicate with the higher self of another during sleep state.

Ten – Masterminding: Masterminding is the act of creating a collective consciousness focused on manifesting a particular experience or outcome. This collective consciousness can be comprised of physical humans, human higher selves, angels, guides, and other unseen forces of light.

“If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” –James Madison

How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve

Over the years and most recently, I have posted a number of articles and posts about the Vagus Nerve and its connection to Heart, inflammation, Microbiome Gut, Brain, Memory, Cognition etc. This article written by Jordan Fallis, provides excellent information and perspective allowing you the opportunity to remain healthy.

How to Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve for Better Mental Health

“By developing an understanding of the workings of your vagus nerve, you may find it possible to work with your nervous system rather than feel trapped when it works against you.”

— Dr. Arielle Schwartz, Clinical Psychologist

Stimulating my vagus nerve has played a key role in the management of my mental health over the years.

What exactly is the vagus nerve?

Originating from the Latin word “wanderer”, the vagus nerve lives up to its name as the longest nerve in the entire body. As the tenth cranial nerve,the Vagus is a major player in the parasympathetic (rest & digest) nervous system connecting your brain to the heart, gut (intestines and stomach) heart and lungs influencing heart rate, breathing ,memory, cognition and a host of other conditions.

Vagal tone

Vagal tone is an internal biological process that represents the activity of the vagus nerve. The tone of the vagus nerve is key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Vagal tone is measured by tracking your heart-rate alongside your breathing rate. Your heart-rate speeds up a little when your breathe in, and slows down a little when you breathe out. The bigger the difference between your inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart-rate, the higher your vagal tone. Higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

What is high vagal tone associated with?

High vagal tone improves the function of many body systems, causing better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, improved digestion via better production of stomach basic and digestive enzymes, and reduced migraines. Higher vagal tone is also associated with better mood, less anxiety and more stress resilience. One of the most interesting roles of the vagus nerve is that it essentially reads the gut microbiome and initiates a response to modulate inflammation based on whether or not it detects pathogenic versus non-pathogenic organisms. In this way, the gut microbiome can have an affect on your mood, stress levels and overall inflammation.

What is low vagal tone associated with?

Low vagal tone is associated with cardiovascular conditions and strokes, depression, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment, and much higher rates of inflammatory conditions. Inflammatory conditions include all autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, autoimmune thyroid conditions, lupus and more).

How do we increase vagal tone?

But what you really need to pay special attention to is the “tone” of your vagus nerve.
Vagal tone is an internal biological process that represents the activity of the vagus nerve.

Increasing your vagal tone activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and having higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

In 2010, researchers discovered a positive feedback loop between high vagal tone, positive emotions, and good physical health. In other words, the more you increase your vagal tone, the more your physical and mental health will improve, and vice versa (5).

“It’s almost like yin and yang. The vagal response reduces stress. It reduces our heart rate and blood pressure. It changes the function of certain parts of the brain, stimulates digestion, all those things that happen when we are relaxed.”

— Dr. Mladen Golubic, MD, Medical Director of the Cleveland Clinic

What’s interesting is that studies have even shown that vagal tone is passed on from mother to child. Mothers who are depressed, anxious and angry during their pregnancy have lower vagal activity. And once they give birth to their child, the newborn also has low vagal activity and low dopamine and serotonin levels (1-3).

Your vagal tone can be measured by tracking certain biological processes such as your heart rate, your breathing rate, and your heart rate variability (HRV). When your heart rate variability (HRV) is high, your vagal tone is also high. They are correlated with each other.

You can increase your HRV by using the EmWave2 device. Some researchers actually use the EmWave2 to measure vagal tone in their studies.

NOTE: If your vagal tone is low, don’t worry – you can take steps to increase it by stimulating your vagus nerve. This will allow you to more effectively respond to the emotional and physiological symptoms of your brain and mental illness.

Stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing vagal tone has been shown to help treat a wide variety of brain and mental health conditions, including:

For people with treatment-resistant depression, the FDA has even approved a surgically-implanted device that periodically stimulates the vagus nerve. And it works (6-9).

But you don’t need to go down that route..  You can enjoy the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation naturally by following these 13 steps.

1. Cold Exposure

Acute cold exposure has been shown to activate the vagus nerve and activate cholinergic neurons through vagus nerve pathways (10).


Researchers have also found that exposing yourself to cold on a regular basis can lower your sympathetic “fight or flight” response and increase parasympathetic activity through the vagus nerve (11).

I often take cold showers and go outside in cold temperatures with minimal clothing.

Try finishing your next shower with at least 30 seconds of cold water and see how you feel. Then work your way up to longer periods of time.

It’s painful to do, but the lingering effects are worth it.

You can also ease yourself into it by simply sticking your face in ice cold water.

2. Deep and Slow Breathing

Deep and slow breathing is another way to stimulate your vagus nerve.


It’s been shown to reduce anxiety and increase the parasympathetic system by activating the vagus nerve (51-52).

Most people take about 10 to 14 breaths each minute. Taking about 6 breaths over the course of a minute is a great way to relieve stress. You should breathe in deeply from your diaphragm. When you do this, your stomach should expand outward. Your exhale should be long and slow. This is key to stimulating the vagus nerve and reaching a state of relaxation.

The best way to know if you’re on the right track is by using the EmWave2 device. It’s a biofeedback device that assist you in pacing your breathing. I previously wrote about the benefits of using the device here.

3. Singing, Humming, Chanting and Gargling

The vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat.

Singing, humming, chanting and gargling can activate these muscles and stimulate your vagus nerve.

And this has been shown to increase heart-rate variability and vagal tone

I often gargle water before swallowing it. This is discussed more in Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s book, Why Isn’t My Brain Working?

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another alternative treatment that has been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve (46).


I’m a really big fan of auricular acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture is when needles are inserted into ear. I’d recommend trying to find a health practitioner in your area who provides it, especially if you’re weening off psychiatric medication. It really helped me the first time I came off antidepressants. I was surprised.

Research shows that ear acupuncture stimulates the vagus nerve, increases vagal activity and vagal tone, and can help treat “neurodegenerative diseases via vagal regulation” (45).

In my experience, ear acupuncture is more effective than regular acupuncture. I’m not sure why. I’ve just personally noticed more benefits from ear acupuncture.

I also use this acupuncture mat at home to relax before bed.

5. Yoga and Tai Chi

Yoga and tai chi are two “mind-body” relaxation techniques that work by stimulating the vagus nerve and increasing the activity of your parasympathetic “rest and digest” nervous system.


Studies have shown that yoga increases GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in your brain. Researchers believe it does this by “stimulating vagal afferents”, which increase activity in the parasympathetic nervous system (13-18).

Researchers have also found that yoga stimulates the vagal nerve and therefore should be practiced by people who struggle with depression and anxiety (19).

Despite all the great research, I’m personally not a big fan of yoga. A lot of people swear by it but it’s just not for me. I prefer tai chi.

Tai chi has also been shown to increase heart rate variability, and researchers think this means it can “enhance vagal modulation” (20).

6. Probiotics

It’s becoming increasingly clear to researchers that gut bacteria improve brain function by affecting the vagus nerve (27).


In one study, animals were given the probiotic Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, and researchers found positive changes to the GABA receptors in their brain, a reduction in stress hormones, and less depression and anxiety-like behaviour.

The researchers also concluded that these beneficial changes between the gut and the brain were facilitated by the vagus nerve. When the vagus nerve was removed in other mice, the addition of Lactobacillus Rhamnosus to their digestive systems failed to reduce anxiety, stress, and improve mood (25).

Another study found that the probiotic Bifidobacterium Longum normalized anxiety-like behavior in mice by acting through the vagus nerve (26).

I personally take the probiotic Prescript Assist. It’s my favourite probiotic.

But it doesn’t contain Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Bifidobacterium Longum, which were used in the above studies. Here is one probiotic supplement that contains both. This one also contains both.

I previously wrote about some other ways you can increase the good bacteria in your gut. You can read about that here.

7. Meditation and Neurofeedback

Meditation is my favourite relaxation technique and it can stimulate the vagus nerve and increase vagal tone.


Research shows that meditation increases vagal tone and positive emotions, and promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself (22, 23).

Another study found that meditation reduces sympathetic “fight or flight” activity and increases vagal modulation (21).

“OM” chanting, which is often done during meditation, has also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve (24).

I couldn’t find any research demonstrating this, but in my experience, neurofeedback significantly increased my heart-rate variability and vagal tone as measured by my EmWave2.

Now that I’m done neurofeedback, I use the Muse headband to meditate. Similar to neurofeedback, it gives you real-time feedback on your brainwaves. I previously wrote about it here.

8. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that your body cannot produce itself. They are found primarily in fish and are necessary for the normal electrical functioning of your brain and nervous system.


They often appear in most of my posts because they are so critical for brain and mental health and affect so many aspects of wellness.

They’ve been shown to help people overcome addiction, repair a “leaky brain”, and even reverse cognitive decline.

But researchers have also discovered that omega-3 fatty acids increase vagal tone and vagal activity (35-37, 40).

Studies shown that they reduce heart rate and increase heart rate variability, which means they likely stimulate the vagus nerve (34, 38, 39).

And high fish consumption is also associated with “enhanced vagal activity and parasympathetic predominance” (35).

This why I eat lots of wild-caught salmon and supplement with this krill oil.

9. Exercise

I’ve already discussed how exercise increases your brain’s growth hormone, supports your brain’s mitochondria, and helps reverse cognitive decline.

But it’s also been shown to stimulate the vagus nerve, which may explain its beneficial brain and mental health effects (28).


Many brain health experts recommend exercise as their number one piece of advice for optimal brain health.

This is my exercise routine:

  • Lift heavy weights 1-4 times per week
  • High-intensity interval sprinting 1-2 times per week
  • Walk as much as I can (ideally 30-60 minutes every day)

Walking, weightlifting and sprinting are the best forms of exercise, but you should choose a sport or exercise routine that you enjoy, so that you’ll stick with it consistently.

10. Zinc

As I’ve discussed before, zinc is an essential mineral for mental health, especially if you struggle with chronic anxiety.

One study shows that zinc increases vagus nerve stimulation in zinc-deficient rats (41).

It’s estimated that 2 billion people in the world are deficient in zinc, and six different studies show that subclinical deficiency of zinc impairs brain function in children and adults (42-44).


So, if you struggle with a brain or mental health disorder, it’s quite possible that you’re deficient.

Some of the best food sources of zinc include oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, cashews, mushrooms and spinach.

However, I still recommend at least short-term supplementation to ensure you get enough. I regularly supplement with zinc picolinate, one of the most absorbable forms of zinc, especially after any alcohol consumption. You can get it here or here.

It’s also available in this high-quality multimineral.

Check out my previous post about zinc and copper if you’re interested in discovering more steps you can take to increase your zinc levels.

11. Massage

Research shows that massages can stimulate the vagus nerve, and increase vagal activity and vagal tone (31-32).


The vagus nerve can also be stimulated by massaging several specific areas of the body.

Foot massages (reflexology) have been shown to increase vagal modulation and heart rate variability, and decrease the “fight or flight” sympathetic response (29).

Massaging the carotid sinus, an area located near the right side of your throat, can also stimulate the vagus nerve to reduce seizures (30).

I personally get a massage from a registered massage therapist every couple of months.

12. Socializing and Laughing

I’ve already discussed how socializing and laughing can reduce your body’s main stress hormone.


And now I’ve learned that they are likely doing this by stimulating the vagus nerve.

Researchers have discovered that reflecting on positive social connections improves vagal tone and increases positive emotions (47, 48).

Laughter has been shown to increase heart-rate variability and improve mood (49).

And vagus nerve stimulation often leads to laughter as a side effect, suggesting that they are connected and influence one another (50).

So my advice is to hang out and laugh with your friends as much as possible. Although I should probably be taking my own advice here, as I’m an introvert and often avoid socializing too much.

13. Intermittent Fasting

On most days, I don’t eat breakfast at all, and then “break my fast” by eating my first meal of the day around 2 or 3 p.m. That means I eat all my food for the day within an 8-hour window.


There are many health benefits to doing this. As I’ve discussed before, intermittent fasting can boost your brain’s growth hormone, improve mitochondrial function, and may help some people overcome brain fog and cognitive decline.

Research also shows that fasting and caloric restriction increase heart rate variability, which is an indicator that it increases parasympathetic activity and vagal tone (33).

The best way to start fasting is simply by eating dinner around 6, not eating anything after that before bed, and then eating a regular breakfast the next day. That should give you about 12-14 hours of fasting time.


You don’t have to be controlled by your body and mind. You have the power to tell them what to do.

By stimulating the vagus nerve, you can send a message to you body that it’s time to relax and de-stress, which leads to long-term improvements in mood, wellbeing and resilience.

Increasing my vagal tone has allowed me to overcome anxiety and depression, and better manage them when they arise.

Overall, I hope you implement some of the above steps into your daily life, and they allow you to live more optimally.

Live Optimally,

Jordan Fallis

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First of all, the vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body which originates in the brain as cranial nerve ten, travels down the from go the neck and then passes around the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs. This nerve is a major player in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest and digest’ part (opposite to the sympathetic nervous system which is ‘fight of flight’).

Vagal tone

The tone of the vagus nerve is key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Vagal tone is measured by tracking your heart-rate alongside your breathing rate. Your heart-rate speeds up a little when your breathe in, and slows down a little when you breathe out. The bigger the difference between your inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart-rate, the higher your vagal tone. Higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

What is high vagal tone associated with?

High vagal tone improves the function of many body systems, causing better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, improved digestion via better production of stomach basic and digestive enzymes, and reduced migraines. Higher vagal tone is also associated with better mood, less anxiety and more stress resilience. One of the most interesting roles of the vagus nerve is that it essentially reads the gut microbiome and initiates a response to modulate inflammation based on whether or not it detects pathogenic versus non-pathogenic organisms. In this way, the gut microbiome can have an affect on your mood, stress levels and overall inflammation.

What is low vagal tone associated with?

Low vagal tone is associated with cardiovascular conditions and strokes, depression, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment, and much higher rates of inflammatory conditions. Inflammatory conditions include all autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, autoimmune thyroid conditions, lupus and more).

How do we increase vagal tone?

In the article above, vagal tone was increased through a device that stimulated the vagus nerve. The good news is that you have access to this on your own, but it does require regular practice. To some degree, you are genetically predisposed to varying levels of vagal tone, but this still doesn’t mean that you can’t change it. Here are some ways to tone the vagus nerve:

  1. Slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing from your diaphragm, rather than shallowly from the top of the lungs stimulates and tones the vagus nerve.
  2. Humming. Since the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords, humming mechanically stimulates it. You can hum a song, or even better repeat the sound ‘OM’.
  3. Speaking. Similarly speaking is helpful for vagal tone, due to the connection to the vocal cords.
  4. Washing your face with cold water. The mechanism her is not known, but cold water on your face stimulates the vagus nerve.
  5. Meditation, especially loving kindness meditation which promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself and others. A 2010 study by Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kik found that increasing positive emotions led to increased social closeness, and an improvement in vagal tone.
  6. Balancing the gut microbiome. The presence of healthy bacteria in the gut creates a positive feedback loop through the vagus nerve, increasing its tone.
  7. Qigong, Tai Chi, Yoga, Chill Out, (added by Dr. P)

The implications of such simple and basic practices on your overall health, and in particular on inflammation are far-reaching. If you suffer from an inflammatory condition, digestive upset, high blood pressure or depression, a closer look at vagal tone is highly recommended. We’ve known for years that breathing exercises and meditation are helpful for our health, but it is so fascinating to learn the mechanism by which they work. I hope this short article has inspired you to begin a meditation practice, as it has for me, and also to look for other means to manage the body’s inflammatory response.

NOTE: Chiropractic Adjustments are infamous for stimulating the Vagus Nerve as it passes close to the Cervical 1 Vertebrae (Atlas)

Additional Links:

How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve for Better Optimal Health

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Dramatically Reduces Inflammation

Here’s how stress in your brain may cause heart troubles

Transcendental Meditation

Full Catastrophe Living written by the developer of this technique Jon Kabat-Zinn

I have asked my folks to purchase the book Human Heart/Cosmic Heart by Thomas Cowan MD to further their understanding of how the heart works and what we can do to prevent America’s # 1 killer heart disease



Forsythe P, Bienenstock J, Kunze WA.Vagal pathways for microbiome-brain-gut axis communication. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;817:115-33.

Kok, B, Fredrickson, B, Coffey, K, et al. How Positive Emotions Build Physical Health: Perceived Positive Social Connections Account for the Upward Spiral Between Positive Emotions and Vagal Tone. Psychological Science 2013 24: 1123

Adrenal Gland Function/Anatomy

Adrenal Gland Function/Anatomy

The adrenal glands also known as the suprarenal glands are endocrine glands that sit on top of the kidneys. They are chiefly responsible for releasing hormones in conjunction with stress mainly cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. The latter two are known as catecholamines. The adrenal glands effect kidney function by secreting a hormone known as Angiotensin II which is involved in regulating plasma osmosis. There is a 50 fold increase in kidney failure and this increase may be due to the impact of stress on the adrenal glands and its subsequent effect on kidney function.

The adrenal glands are divided by two distinct anatomies. The first being the outside core know as the cortex which is responsible for producing cortisol, aldosterone and androgens. The inner center known as the medulla produces epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Corticosteroid hormones are synthesized from cholesterol and include cortisol, corticosterone and androgens such as testosterone and aldosterone. Unlike the medulla which has direct nerve innervation, the cortex is regulated by neuroendocrine hormones secreted by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus.

The medulla or inner core of the adrenal gland is under direct supervision of the Sympathetic Nervous System through “circuitry” extending from Thoracic 5 through Thoracic 11. As mentioned above, the medulla produces both epinephrine and norepinephrine commonly known as noradrenaline. These are water soluble hormones derived from the amino acid tyrosine and are the major contributor to what is known as the fight-or-flight response.

The adrenal glands and the thyroid gland are the organs that have the greatest blood supply per gram of tissue. Up to 60 arterioles may enter each adrenal gland. This may be one of the reasons lung cancer commonly metastasizes to the adrenals.

Although all of the hormones produced by the adrenal glands are vital for our existence, in this piece, I will focus on Cortisol know in medical circles as “the death hormone”

Cortisol levels are most accurately measured using a saliva test requiring an early morning reading, a mid morning reading, and early afternoon reading and a mid-afternoon reading. The measurements should be highest in the morning and gradually decrease throughout the day. Cortisol can also be measured by blood tests but the results do not seem to be as accurate as saliva testing.

Contact myself or any physician who has an understanding of salivary hormone testing.  There are more than one laboratory in the US that offers testing such as this,.

The Cortisol Melatonin Circadian Coordination Rhythm is a phenomenon where the cortisol levels drop as the day progresses and the melatonin levels increase. Melatonin is responsible for naturally lowering cortisol levels.

Problems with the above cycle create problems within the Hippocampus portion of the brain and it is in the Hippocampus where Alzheimer’s and Dementia first appear.

Cortisol also plays a role in heart disease and blood sugar regulation.

Normal Cortisol levels are necessary to regulate the immune system, glucose and lipid (fat) metabolism and maintain cardiac output by increasing vascular tone and decreasing vascular permeability

Abnormal cortisol levels are associated with hypertension, increased heart rate and increased levels of total and low density lipoproteins cholesterol and fasting insulin and glucose levels.

Cortisol increases glucose levels and as such is an important factor in the development of Type II diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus). A study done in New York showed 1 in 7 New Yorkers will develop Type II diabetes. This condition which was once a minor population issue has now gone pandemic.

Through saliva testing, what is seen more often than not is low cortisol as opposed to high. This is known as “flat-lining” and it is directly associated with “burn out” caused by years of unyielding stress.

Since cortisol is produced by the cortex of the adrenal glands and since the cortex of the adrenal gland operates from transmitter signals originating in the Pituitary-Hypothalamus Axis. This axis also produces thyroid stimulating hormone known as TSH and this is why many believe the adrenal glands and the thyroid somehow work hand in hand with one another. Cortisol is known to inhibit T4 hormone to T3 and these two hormones along with TSH are major factors in thyroid health and function.

“The Pregnenolone Steal”

This is the phenomena where the super hormone Pregnenolone which is manufactured from cholesterol is used as the raw material to make the stress hormone cortisol instead of YOUR other hormones- such as thyroid hormones and sex hormones.

Adrenal Failure is measured in Stages I, II and III with three being the worst and most common.

There are a million products on the market to support adrenal health. Standard Process Food Supplements first introduced their product “Drenamin” back in 1941.

There are also a number of adatopgenic herbs such as various varieties of ginseng and licorice which have been made into tinctures since “the beginning of time” so to speak.

I use a variety of products which tend to support the adrenal glands as opposed to stimulating them.

But one should use supplementation for a limited time only to allow themselves to get from point A to point B. The real key to healing the adrenal glands takes much more than “popping a pill”. What follows are some way to manage stress.

  • Meditation, Meditation, Meditation—20 minutes twice daily would be perfect
  • Exercise – make it a daily habit & something you enjoy. Cardiovascular health at least 30 minutes per day, resistance training. Just do it!
  • Calming Exercise – yoga, tai chi, meditation – they will extend your life
  • Nutrition: Anti-inflammatory diet. Better eating habits. No coffee, sugar, soda, or junk. Don’t eat out of a bag, box, can, & THE SAME GOES FOR YOUR KIDS!
  • Balance perceived stress – change your response to stress…your reaction is your choice.  Change habitual reactions, especially with family.
  • Journaling 20 minutes a day decreases stress & inflammation.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours per day & be in bed by 10 p.m..

The above information is purely preliminary. Each individual should have a consultation regarding just this one issue (adrenal/stress) so as to determine the correct approach.

Preferably I would like to have professional documentation such as the saliva test for all 4 daytime cortisol levels.  However, with or without, I treat adrenal fatigue with an array of products depending on the patients specific needs–and again wanting to use supplementation  only temporarily;  using lifestyle changes for a long term guaranteed elimination of the problem

Dr Princetta is available for consultation regarding this issue. Call 619-231-1778; e-mail [email protected] or use the website

Poor Sleep = Alzheimer’s

Poor sleep associated with buildup of toxic Alzheimer’s protein

Restful sleep is required for us to store and save our memories. If you are not getting enough sleep each night, you may be at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This is something that I feel equally applies to many other chronic diseases as well.

I previously wrote about the connection between Sugar and Alzheimers with Alzheimers often referred to as Type 3 Diabetes.  I am worried about this for myself and my patients. This article is a continuation of additional information and insights to help us never to get Alzheimers /Dementia to begin with.

I have also mentioned using sleeping medications does not allow the brain to go into the correct and proper REM cycle and therefore you may in fact be sleeping but your brain is not regenerating and rebuilding as intended.

In a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience, researchers at University of California, Berkeley, found evidence that poor sleep, specifically a deficit of deep sleep, is associated with a buildup of the beta-amyloid protein. Excessive deposits of beta-amyloid are the primary suspects in the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease, as this toxic protein ends up attacking the brain’s long-term memory.

This correlation between sleep, beta-amyloid, memory, and Alzheimer’s disease has been growing stronger. Sleep is when our body repairs itself. Quality sleep prevents these toxic proteins from accumulating and destroying brain cells. A buildup of beta-amyloid protein has been found in Alzheimer’s patients as well as in patients with sleep disorders. A study from University of Rochester in 2013 found that the brain cells of mice shrunk during non-rapid-eye-movement (non-REM) sleep to free up space for the cerebrospinal fluid to wash out toxic metabolites such as beta-amyloid protein.

Overall, the results of the new study demonstrated that the more beta-amyloid you have in certain parts of your brain, the worse your memory. In addition, the less deep sleep you get, the less effective you are at clearing out beta-amyloid protein. Researchers do not know yet which of these two factors – the poor sleep or the build-up of beta-amyloid protein – begins the cycle that triggers this cascade.

This is a new pathway linking Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, which is significant since we can do something about it, since poor sleep is treatable and can be improved by modifying sleep habits. It is important that you go to sleep around the same time every night. When the timing of your sleep is shifted even if the duration of sleep is the same, it’s not going to be as restorative. In addition, avoid watching TV or using your computer before bed. Computer screens (smartphones and laptops) emit light in the blue part of the spectrum. This doesn’t cause a problem during the daytime, but at night, this blue light limits the production of melatonin. As a result, it disturbs your sleep-wake cycle. There are free apps you can install on your computer if you absolutely need to be on your computer at night that adjusts colors in a way that reduces the stimulating effects of blue light at night.

Caffeine and other stimulants can also keep you up and interfere with sleep. It is best to avoid these four to six hours before bedtime. Finally, try to workout earlier in the day. Exercise increases cortisol and can make falling asleep very difficult.

If behavior and lifestyle modifications are not enough, there are nutrients and botanical agents that can significantly promote restful sleep. Melatonin is a hormone whose primary role is in controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. While adequate levels of melatonin are essential for quality sleep, its production declines significantly as we get older, often causing sleep difficulties associated with aging. Thus, supplementing with melatonin has been shown improve sleep quality. In addition, 5-HTP can further support endogenous melatonin production during the night to help with staying asleep.  Inositol is a member of the B vitamin family that promotes relaxation and helps maintain the proper metabolism of serotonin. In addition, L-theanine provides calming neurotransmitter production clinically proven to reduce stress and improve the quality of sleep.

Valerian root, German chamomile, passion flower, and lemon balm are all calming botanicals used for centuries to help with insomnia. They have all been shown to decrease the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve sleep quality.

However, although taking herbs to aid in sleep is far better than toxic pharmaceuticals, the bottom line is to find out why we are not sleeping well to begin with.

In addition to eliminating sugar and foods that break down into sugar, I highly recommend Meditation twice daily, Qigong and the powerful Mindfulness Technique.  Doing the above is almost a sure shot of getting a good nights sleep.  So take one of these up, practice makes perfect and before a year is out, if not sooner, you will be sleeping beautifully and as such re-setting our brains circuitry.

High Blood Pressure Info

High Blood Pressure Info

High blood pressure is a widely misunderstood  condition. It essentially did not exist 100 years ago!

My first comment regarding HBP is to do all I can to support the patient into lowering it!!

Although I respect their existence, I do not like pharmaceutical medicines because they mask the symptoms as opposed to getting to the root cause(s).

**Problem is that in 95% of the cases documented in the U.S., the underlying cause cannot be determined. This type of high blood pressure is called essential hypertension.

On the other end of the stick, I am also not fond of using natural supplements  for any length of time but may indeed recommend them  for a short period to support my patients as they make the necessary lifestyle changes to permanently reverse this condition on their own accord..

 Every person’s high blood pressure is unique to that individual. Blood pressure is almost a “private thing” with us knowing what we need to do to eliminate it  and just having to bite the bullet and do it.

A Few Surprising Facts:.

Some people think that those with hypertension are tense, nervous or hyperactive, but hypertension has nothing to do with personality traits. The truth is, you can be a calm, relaxed person and still have HBP..

*If your blood pressure reading is higher than normal, your doctor SHOULD take several readings over time and /or have you monitor your blood pressure at home before diagnosing you with high blood pressure.

To get the most accurate reading at your next blood pressure screening, insist the procedure be done properly. Follow these tips given to us courtesy of Dr. David Williams.

  • Do not exercise or eat for 30 minutes before having your blood pressure taken. (Even a cup of coffee can affect readings for several hours after you drink it.)
  • Rest at least five minutes beforehand. You should feel comfortable and relaxed in your surroundings.
  • Have your reading taken in the morning because biological rhythms naturally cause pressures to be higher in the afternoons and evenings.
  • Remove all clothing from the waist up. Just rolling up your shirtsleeve can act like a tourniquet and cause false readings.
  • Ask that your blood pressure include readings taken while you are lying, sitting, and standing. Readings often skyrocket as you change positions, which may signal weak adrenal glands—not high blood pressure.
  • Make sure your elbow is at the same level as your heart. Every doctor and nurse is taught this, but very few check it. An elbow that is even a couple of inches below the heart can make the reading as much as 17 points higher than it should be. There’s no telling how many people have “low elbow” instead of high blood pressure!
  • Have your blood pressure taken three times with at least a one-minute rest between each one.

A single high reading does not necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. However, if readings stay at 140/90 mm Hg or above (systolic 140 or above OR diastolic 90 or above) over time, your doctor will likely want you to begin a treatment program.

Such a program almost always includes lifestyle changes and often prescription medication for those with readings of 140/90 or higher.  Problem with prescription meds is they are not getting to the root cause of the problem because the root cause has not been determined.

Which number is more important top (systolic) or bottom (diastolic)?

  1. The first # Systolic is when the heart contracts forcing blood into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. Most attention is given to this number as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease in persons over 50 years old
  2. The second # Diastolic is when the heart returns to rest in between heartbeats.


** In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque, and increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease. It may be “normal” for older folks to have slightly higher pressure.
At 60 years old, the circulatory system could never be the same as that of a 20 year old.
Other factors that can raise the risk of having essential hypertension include any of the following::
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Heart
  • Nitric Oxide Depletion
  • Sleep Deprivation / Problems
  • Adrenal Insufficiency (Medulla/Cortex)
  • Overweight
  • Alcohol Consumption*
  • Sodium Consumption
  • Potassium/Magnesium
  • Caffeine
  • Diabetes
  • Urine Albumin-to-Creatinine Ratio

*Alcohol consumption is a double-edged sword. Some studies indicate it helps lower blood pressure, while others report the opposite. In very small amounts it may lower blood pressure. But if you drink too much, even moderate amounts regularly, blood pressure levels may go up. People who drink more than moderate amounts of alcohol regularly virtually always experience elevated blood pressure levels.

*Research indicates systolic blood pressure levels are about 7-10 mmmHg higher in frequent drinkers than in people who do not drink

 *Here is the 2014 list of Blood Pressure Meds

For those of you on Lisinopril, my suggestion is get off that one asap as it is believed to be the #1 cause of spontaneous dementia in nursing homes

Here is a list of what may work outside the medical model

  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise
  • Diet
  • Weight Loss (The secreting success out of exercise is to do it regularly)
  • Sleep Patterning Reset
  • Stop Drinking Alcohol
  • Hibloderox
  • Meditation*
  • Yoga*
  • TaiChi*
  • Qigong*

*Some research has also concluded that Yoga, TaiChi, Qigong and Meditation can have the same effect as some of the most potent drugs used to lower pressure  

There are 3 bullet points to remember from this post

  1. Cause of High Blood Pressure not determined in 95% of the cases
  2. Blood Pressure is checked incorrectly
  3. The list of blood pressure medications and what they do
For additional information on how Dr. Princetta treats HBP, contact him at 619-231-1778 or Email Him

Ileo-Cecal Valve

The Ileo-Cecal Valve Syndrome

 The Ileo-Cecal Valve was first given attention through the Chiropractic technique of Applied Kinesiology.  The founder of that technique, the late George Goodheart Jr. said in a lecture that if a doctor fixed the Ileo-Cecal valve and did not one other thing, he/she had done the patient the best service they could possibly do for them.

In medicine, the word syndrome means that a certain condition can manifest itself in many ways or symptoms.  The Ileo-Cecal Valve is just such a syndrome. Here are just a few of those symptoms:

  • Acute Debilitating Low Back Pain-(it’s the intestines, not the back)
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Bursitis
  • Pain around the heart
  • Headaches both Cluster and Migraine
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Hormonal Problems
  • Vision Problems
  • Digestion
  • Constipation
  • Low Energy
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)

 What does it do?

The Ileo-Cecal Valve opens and closes (patency) and therefore has a two-fold purpose.

  1. It prevents the contents of the ileum (small intestine) from passing into the cecum before the digestive process has been completed.
  2. It serves as a barrier which prevents the bacteria-laden contents of the cecum from seeping back into the small intestine resulting in auto-intoxication –poisoning yourself

**This causes the Liver to not release toxins at its 100% capacity and because the liver is slow in releasing toxins, the entire lymphatic system backs up with no outlet of release

And to top it all off,he Ileo-Cecal valve is distinctive because it is the only site in the GI Tract which is used for Vitamin B12 and bile acid absorption

 Where is it located?

It is located approximately two inches to the right of the naval and two inches down. In the area of the appendix

What causes it to malfunction?

  • Everyday Stress
  • Poor Diet!
  • High Acid Blood pH
  • Candida
  • SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth)

Note that most every stressful thought creates stomach acid.  Therefore, the ileo-cecal valve syndrome falls under the mental aspects of illness because the truth of the matter is we can mentally control stress through how we choose to think.

How do I help prevent this syndrome and most importantly prevent you from having to adjust my valve every time that you see me (because it hurts like hell when you do it)?

  1. For starters, do everything you can to remove stress accumulated throughout the day. Here are four stress removers guaranteed to work!
  • Prayer (asking to be released from the prison of stress)
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Qigong

Take one day off weekly and dedicate that day to just enjoying yourself.  This is known as Sabbath.  My friend Wayne Muller wrote the book Sabbath – Restoring the Sacred Rhythm of Rest because so many people do not allow themselves the time and the space to dump their stress and their worries by taking Sabbath.

  1. Eat your salads at the end of the meal as they do or used to do in Europe.  Since salad is raw and rough it takes longer to digest.  Therefore it blocks the flow of whatever you eat afterwards which is usually you main meal.  By eating it at the close of the meal the salad acts as a brush and comb and helps to easily push the bulk of what was eaten before through the digestive system.  Raw salads unless chewed very well, are direct irritants to people who are actively trying to heal their Ileo-Cecal valve.
  2. Adjust your own Ileo-Cecal valve the way that I have shown you or as outlined in the handouts that I have given you.  This should be done regularly–like everyday if need be.  Can also use ice pack over that area of the valve for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Use Edgar Cayces’  castor oil pack over the liver at bedtime.  Castor oil heals from the outside in and is known to alkalize a hot inflamed liver caused by over-acidity
  4. Work with a qualified practitioner who knows how to treat Candida and SIBO.

For additional information, contact me at [email protected]