Heal Your Gut

Heal Your Gut

Having a healthy gut is a mainstream phenomenon. We hear the term “gut health” thrown around on social media, on cable TV, and of course from functional medicine practitioners. It has been linked to everything from weight loss to cancer prevention. But do you really know the true benefits of gut health? Before I delve into everything that can go wrong with the gut and how to heal your gut, I would first like to highlight its function in our bodies, and how it affects every aspect of our health.

Our Second Brain

The gut is often referred to as the second brain. This collection of our digestive organs is responsible for the breakdown and metabolism of everything we consume. When it functions properly, we absorb all of the nutrients we need and eliminate everything we don’t. Contained within the gut is an entire microbiome of 10-100 trillion beneficial bacteria. Our bodies actually contain more bacteria than anything else! This is why functional medicine practitioners like myself discourage the use of antibiotics, which kill off all bacteria indiscriminately. Gut health is one of the first things we target in functional medicine because when the gut is imbalanced, everything else in the body will follow suit.

The term “gut feeling” refers to an instinctive, split-second judgment call. The gut is closely tied to our mental health. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of ease and happiness, is dependent on a healthy microbiome for production. Even conventional medicine is beginning to recognize the connection between gut issues and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

Probiotics

One of the best and easiest ways to support a healthy gut is to consume probiotics regularly. These are available in food and supplement forms. These beneficial bacteria replenish strains that may have been wiped out by conventional medication, illness, or living a toxic lifestyle. The following are a few of my favorite sources of these beneficial bacteria:

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are not only packed with beneficial bacteria but are easy to make and delicious! Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are a few of the most popular. These foods encourage the growth of probiotics.

Supplements

It can be difficult to choose the best probiotic supplement. Many companies have jumped on the bandwagon. You can even find a sugar-laden, gummy version available in most stores! For the most effective probiotic, choose a supplement with multiple strains. It should be stabilized to survive the stomach’s hydrochloric acid. Refrigerated, carefully shipped brands are often high-quality. Remember, these are live bacteria, and we want them to survive the process! Once in the small intestine, the colony will start to multiply and thrive.

Diets That Support Gut Health

A healthy gut requires more than a high-quality supplement, however. A low-stress lifestyle with plenty of rest, stress-relieving techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and a healthy diet are all necessary pieces of the puzzle. Unfortunately, many of us are led to believe that we have achieved our best health if we master even one of these. If you have a thriving yoga practice but indulge in a donut after class, you’re setting your system up for failure.

Grain-free, whole food diets are one of the best options for ensuring gut health. Not only do most of these diets encourage stepping away from processed, sugar-laden foods (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30), but they eliminate common allergens as well.

If you suffer from a sensitivity to scented perfumes, you likely avoid the department store perfume counter. However, many of us have underlying sensitivities to common foods like gluten and dairy but still consume them on a daily basis! By eliminating these foods from the diet, we give our bodies the chance to shift out of attack mode (which is what is truly happening during an allergic response) and instead allow our bodies to digest completely.

The Right Tests to Discover Your Underlying Health Concerns

Many of my patients have found immediate relief with making these small, yet significant changes. But for some, underlying conditions like small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can complicate the process. As a trained functional medicine practitioner, I will order the right tests to uncover the underlying conditions that are keeping you from optimal health. Together, we will address these issues and create a plan to help you achieve your health goals!

The Benefits to Heal Your Gut

By making small lifestyle shifts like incorporating probiotics and eliminating common allergens, we can start to support one of the most important systems in our bodies. When we digest our food properly, we feel nourished, hydrated, energized, and relaxed after a meal. Digestive complaints like irritable bowel syndrome disappear, as the connection between our brain and gut is functioning properly. Mental health thrives because the neurotransmitters responsible for positive responses are in balance. Hormones are produced in the right amounts at the right times because our bodies are no longer in fight-or-flight mode.

While our modern lifestyles may neglect gut health, this doesn’t have to be the case! I can help you uncover the root cause of your deepest health concerns, in order to achieve optimal health. If you’re ready to heal your gut and ditch your health problems for good, contact me today for a FREE consultation!

 

What You Need for Awesome Health

What You Need for Awesome Health

Is your schedule packed with holiday gatherings? Do evenings with family, friends, and coworkers dominate your December? Have you made a list (and checked it twice) to make sure that these events fall anywhere other than the week of your period? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone! Find out what you need for awesome health every day of the year.

Over 14% of menstruating women admit to missing work or family events due to PMS and period discomfort. If you’re planning your days around those dreaded two weeks, you’re missing out on half of your life! Give yourself the gift of better health this holiday season.

In the bustle of holiday shopping and year-end deals, it can be easy to overlook our greatest investment: our health. If you deal with any of the symptoms below, it’s time to rethink your plan:

  • Fluctuating weight
  • Bloating
  • Low back pain
  • Breast swelling and tenderness
  • Stiff, swollen joints
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Low sex drive
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cramps
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Acne
  • Mental fog
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Each of these is a symptom of hormonal imbalance, and over 80% of women complain of undergoing this each and every month! While most just accept these conditions or rely on ibuprofen and prescription pain medication to dull their symptoms, there is a better way! You can balance your hormones, and eliminate these symptoms from your life forever.

Hormones in Balance

Our bodies are composed of an intricate system of cells. Hormones control the function of these cells so that when our bodies are ready for rest, the right hormones are secreted to help us wind down, relax, and drift off to sleep. They keep us from getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and stimulate our hunger in the morning.

When hormones are in balance, we eat the right things, are naturally rested and energetic, and are generally clear-headed. Sadly, our lifestyles contribute to an imbalance on a daily basis, from the foods we eat to the products we use and the air we breathe. Hormonal imbalance can be caused by any of the following:

  • Hormonal contraception (birth control pills)
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Stress
  • BPAs in plastics
  • Cosmetics
  • Non-organic meat, eggs, and dairy
  • Environmental toxins (mold, pollution, etc.)

While some of these causes are under our control, many occur naturally in our environments. We are not destined to live out of balance, however!

An Imperfect Cycle

When hormones become imbalanced, it causes a cascade of symptoms. For many women, this manifests as severe cramping, moodiness, and bloating 7-10 days before their periods, as well as painful and heavy periods. Digestive disturbances are common, as are cravings. Mental fog, fatigue, and exhaustion can make it hard to support the body nutritionally, which further shifts the balance. By the time the week of their periods comes to an end, most of my patients feel like they’ve been on a terrible rollercoaster, and spend the next two weeks recovering. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like awesome health to me.

Rebalancing Hormones

Conventional medicine dictates that in order to balance hormones, we must flood the body with more hormones. This goes against functional medicine and our body’s natural healing methods. It’s like setting your house on fire because it’s a little too warm. Instead of seeking the cause of the problem and treating it from this source, most doctors will try to use the pharmaceutical solution despite the links between these products and cancers, infertility, and more severe symptoms.

The Functional Medicine Difference

Functional medicine practitioners like myself have an entirely different view of healing. We believe in restoring the body’s natural function, and that bringing everything back into balance will restore your awesome health. We use advanced diagnostic testing to determine deficiencies and imbalances in your body instead of sending you home with a few different medications that may or may not help. You are unique, and so is your body. With functional medicine, you will be treated as an individual.

With your unique test results, I will help you bring your health back into balance by addressing your diet, lifestyle, and other factors that are contributing to your symptoms. I will recommend the right supplements to address any deficiencies. Unlike conventional medical practitioners, my goal is to solve your deepest health concerns, not keep you on a leash until I authorize your next prescription. I want you to live the fullest life possible, and I will be an advocate for your best health!

My goal is to help you enjoy each season of your life. In a month filled with holidays for many people, I make it my priority give you the gift of better health. I offer a free consultation so that we can discuss your health goals together, and end the year strong. If you’d like to have the best December ever, contact me today!

 

 

How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Have you been told that you have high blood pressure? Often one of the few vitals taken consistently at the doctor’s office, this simple measurement has a significant impact on our health. But what if high blood pressure, and the subsequent medication(s) prescribed for it, were really a symptom of a larger issue? Could 30% of the country be living with this condition, and not know the underlying cause? (more…)

Functional Medicine Proven Effective by the Mayo Clinic

Functional Medicine Proven Effective by the Mayo Clinic

My mentor, Dr. Kalish, published his joint research study conducted in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic in May 2016.  This is the first step in proving that both Functional Medicine and the Kalish Method are effective.  There has been great progress in resolving gastrointestinal pathogens, stress markers (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal: HPA Axis) and also stress symptoms (depression, fatigue, anger, tension, confusion).

Functional Medicine Examined

The study talks about correcting the three body systems: hormonal, digestive and detoxification.  Studies show that restoring these systems is shown to have positive effects on stress, energy, fatigue, digestive issues, and also quality of life.  Treatment protocol is based on functional labs assessing salivary DHEA and cortisol implicating HPA axis dysregulation.  Testing will also include stool analysis to evaluate the possible presence of pathogens in the GI tract.

This is a really exciting study, so I’ve also included a link to download the PDF courtesy of Dr. Kalish.

Download the study here

Copyright: wolterk / 123RF Stock Photo

Why Don’t I Have More Energy?

Why Don’t I Have More Energy?

Do you have the energy to go about daily tasks and do things you enjoy? This is the minimum requirement for a good quality of life.

I suffered from chronic fatigue for nearly 2 years. I know what it is like to force myself out of bed and try to drag myself through each day. Every task seemed like a monumental chore. This included things that I used to enjoy like working out or going for a hike.

If you have ever suffered from bouts of fatigue you will know exactly what I am talking about. If not, let me assure you: constantly being tired and having no energy is no fun at all!

What makes it worse is that often the people around you start to question you. Your friends and family think you are making things up or exaggerating. And even when you go to seek professional help they can’t find anything wrong and think it is all in your head.

The Truth About Fatigue

Do you suffer from fatigue?

Do you lack the energy to be able to do the things you enjoy?

Want to solve your fatigue issues and regain your health?

I want you to know that there are things you can do to get your life back. It’s not always easy, but there are choices you can make that will help you solve your fatigue and regain your energy!

There are lots of medical conditions that have fatigue listed as a symptom, but regardless of the disease or the condition, it all boils down to producing energy at a cellular level. If you cannot efficiently produce energy you will be tired and fatigued!!!

I am not a doctor and I don’t diagnose or treat disease. However, I do know that nutrition, sleep, and exercise have a profound effect on your body.  When these are used in the right combination most people regain control of their health.

In this article, I am going to briefly talk about at how the body produces energy and then I’ll also discuss some nutritional concepts for recovering from fatigue.

A Scientific View

If you hate science just bare with me for the next three paragraphs. I find that people make better choices when they understand how the body works so it is going to get a little wordy!

Our body uses energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule that transports chemical energy to where it is required by the body. Under the instruction of specific enzymes, energy is released from ATP to be used for all bodily processes.

ATP gets produced in our cells by mitochondria. For this reason, mitochondria can be considered as our body’s powerhouses. Sugar (carbs), fatty acids (fat), and amino acids (protein) are converted into Co-Enzyme A which then enters something called the citric acid cycle (CAC).

The CAC is an eight step process which produces another set of molecules that then move onto the electron transfer chain. This is the final step in the process where the substrates from the CAC get converted into ATP

Most importantly, inefficiencies in this process lead to reduced ATP production which we feel as tiredness or fatigue.  Your condition is irrelevant, increasing efficiency in this process will lead to better energy.

Supporting the Body’s Energy Cycle

Your body does a tremendous amount of work without you having to think about it. It keeps your heart beating, digests food, makes hormones and controls breathing without conscious thought. Each of these processes requires energy from ATP. These basic functions are your body’s priority and they must be supplied with energy before you have any left to hit the gym or play with your kids.

Macronutrients and Micronutrients

From a nutritional perspective, you need the following to efficiently produce energy: The macronutrients carbohydrates, fats, and protein are used as fuel for the CAC. The micronutrients vitamins and minerals are required by enzymes to make the CAC run. It can be helpful to think of the body as a car. Macronutrients represent the gas and micronutrients represent the oil.

A car needs gas and oil to run properly. If you run out of gas then the car quickly stops working. Put more gas in the tank and it starts working again without much lasting damage. Things are a little different with oil. When your car gets low on oil it still runs, but it starts to lose efficiency. If oil gets too low then the whole engine can seize up, which leads to an expensive repair job.

The human body is a little more complex than a car, but if you don’t eat enough calories from macronutrients then you get tired and fatigued very quickly. If this is the only problem, as soon as you start eating again you feel better and there is no lasting damage.

The Perfect Formula for You

The exact amount of carbohydrates, fats, and protein is going to vary from person to person because everyone has an ideal fuel mix. One of the tricks to solving fatigue is to figure out exactly what your ideal fuel mix is. Something we know for sure is that you need to be eating your macronutrients from sources that don’t cause inflammation or add to your toxic burden.

When it comes to micronutrients, your body is a lot smarter than a car. Your body has an unbelievable capacity to compensate for not receiving optimal levels of vitamins and minerals. However, over time vitamin and mineral deficiencies lead to reduced performance, which you feel as “symptoms” like fatigue.

Many people don’t see this as a problem and chalk it up to getting older. Eventually, the symptoms mount up and people get sick. It’s normally only when people get really sick that they start to take notice. You can guarantee the problem has been building up over time.

All bodily processes are enzyme dependent. Enzymes require vitamins and minerals to function. When you do not eat enough vitamins and minerals, enzymes will not be able to do their job properly!!!

The Right Diet for Optimal Performance

This is why we need to eat a diet based on real food and not processed foods. We need energy from calories but we also need sufficient vitamins and minerals. Any food that isn’t adding to your reservoir of micronutrients is stealing from it. Meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts will generally add to your reservoir. Processed foods like breads, cookies, pastries and pasta will generally use more nutrients for processing than they give you and hence steal from your reservoir! Less micronutrients equals less efficient enzyme function, which equals less energy.

Be Mindful of Your Digestive Health

To complicate things further, hidden blocking factors also drain your pool of resources. For example, a poorly functioning digestive system won’t allow you to absorb all the nutrients you eat.

Exposure to environmental toxicity also falls into this category. Trying to clean up toxicity drains your vitamins and minerals, leaving less left over to turn the cogs of the CAC. It should go without saying that a combination of both is a recipe for fatigue disaster.

This is why in addition to eating properly, many people also need to take specific action steps to improve both of these areas.

Finding Balance

In the end, it all comes down to balance. If you are eating, digesting and absorbing enough nutrients, your body will produce an abundance energy for you so that you may enjoy life. On the other hand, if you have multiple blocking factors, energy production suffers and you will feel exhausted.

By using functional laboratory tests we can identify blocking factors. You can also pinpoint precise vitamin and mineral deficiencies that are impeding your energy production cycle from working.

Identifying blocking factors and getting your body using nutrients efficiently can be a complicated process. Luckily, with the right guidance, it is possible!

 

[mailmunch-form id=”337147″]

Copyright: sifotography / 123RF Stock Photo

Pin It on Pinterest