Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Part 2: Your Toolboxes

Part 2: Your Toolboxes

Brain/Nervous System Toolbox:

Is your brain on fire? Is your nervous system aflame? Signs of brain inflammation include brain fog, problems with concentration and focus, mood problems like anxiety and/or depression, and memory issues. Long-term brain inflammation may be a risk factor for cognitive impairment and eventually dementia, as well as for autoimmune disease or other neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, especially in genetically susceptible people. A leaky blood-brain barrier could be to blame. This is a condition often linked to leaky gut syndrome, and it means that the tight junctions that seal off the digestive system and the brain have become compromised. This can let bacterial endotoxins, called lipopolysaccharides (LPS), into places they shouldn’t be, triggering an inflammatory response. Your toolbox contains the foods and other therapies that target brain inflammation. You will probably notice an improvement in your mood and ability to concentrate within just a few days of beginning this plan. Here are your tools. Eat them, use them, try them, as often as you can. Wild-caught fish, because of its high concentration of brain-boosting docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid.2 MCT oil: its bioavailable fats, extracted from coconut and palm oil, have been shown to improve cognitive function. Lion’s mane mushroom, which contains nerve growth factors (NGFs) to help regenerate and protect brain tissue. Mucuna pruriens, an Ayurvedic herb that supports the central and peripheral nervous systems, helping the body to adapt to stress. It is rich in L-dopa, the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is sometimes called kapikacchu. Krill oil is even better than fish oil, containing 50 times more of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin than most fish oil brands. Krill oil also contains the beneficial phospholipids called phosphatidylcholine and phosphatidylserine, which the body uses to support brain and nerve function. Magnesium supports the brain receptors for learning and memory function, increasing neuroplasticity and mental clarity. Deficiencies have been linked to brain problems such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, migraines, and brain fog. Magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate are two of the most absorbable forms that are conducive to calming anxiety and improving cognitive function (respectively). Aerobic exercise enhances the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), boosting memory and overall cognitive function. Try to get at least 30 minutes six days per week. Valerian root, which contains valerenic acid, a substance that modulates the neurotransmitter GABA. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein that helps the growth and function of neurons. Healthy GABA levels are necessary for increasing BDNF, which is important because low BDNF levels are associated with impaired memory and Alzheimer’s.

Digestion Toolbox:

Almost everyone experiencing chronic health issues has some degree of gut inflammation resulting in digestive dysfunction, even if it’s mild. The most common issues are constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), bloating, and acid reflux. Chronic digestive issues can also cause other serious problems, such as esophageal damage from long-term acid reflux, or a stomach or intestinal ulcer, as well as loosening the junctions in the gut lining, causing leaky gut syndrome, which can trigger autoimmune problems. Calming inflammation in your digestive tract so it can heal and work better can have a ripple effect throughout your entire system. Make this happen now with your toolbox. Here are your tools to try—use them often. Cooked vegetables instead of raw. They are much easier to digest. Pureeing them in a blender for soup or to add to other foods makes them even more digestible. Bone broth and galangal broth. Cook bone broth no more than eight hours or pressure-cook it to reduce the effect of inflammatory histamines that develop with extended cooking times. Galangal broth, made from galangal, a root related to ginger, is a plant-based option. Both are anti-inflammatory, healing for the gut, and can be sipped by themselves or used as a base for soups. Try them both, if you can. They are easy to make. Fermented vegetables and drinks. Vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi and drinks such as water or coconut kefir, beet kvass, and kombucha contain beneficial bacteria to restore and support good gut bacteria. Avoid sweetened versions of fermented drinks. Probiotic supplements. These help improve the balance of bacteria in your gut. Rotate different ones for greater bacterial diversity. L-glutamine supplements. This amino acid supports healing of the gut lining. Digestive enzymes such as betaine HCL with pepsin and ox bile. These enzymes can support your body’s digestion of protein and fat as your gut heals. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice supplement. Licorice root is soothing and healing for an inflamed gut lining. Slippery elm powder. This is an excellent remedy for irritable bowel syndrome issues like cramping, bloating, and gas. It’s also healing for the gut lining.

Detoxification Toolbox:

Your liver, lymphatic system, kidneys, and gallbladder are largely responsible for detoxification as well as processing and removing toxins like alcohol and drugs, pesticides and pollutants, and the waste products of your own metabolism. If these systems get impaired by inflammation, waste can back up in your body, causing more inflammation. If you are having inflammatory issues with your detoxification system, you could be prone to lymphatic backup, fatty liver disease, gallbladder problems, or a feeling of being “toxic.” You might also be letting toxins hang around in your body too long, where they can cause damage to organs and systems. This category also encompasses those who may be struggling with Lyme disease, mold exposure, or heavy alcohol or drug use, or who have to take prescription drugs every day. Cool the inflammation in your detox system ASAP with the liver/lymphatic/gallbladder toolbox and free up your body’s natural systems for taking out the trash. Here is your toolbox. Dandelion tea. A natural liver tonic, this tea contains B vitamins to support methylation and detoxification. Spirulina supplements or powder. This alga has potent detoxification properties. Red clover blossom tea, powder, or supplements. This is another liver supporter that helps promote efficient detoxification. Milk thistle tea or supplements. Yet another liver supporter that can help decrease heavy metal damage. Parsley and cilantro, which help eliminate heavy metals such as lead and mercury. Add these herbs, fresh or dried, to your meals. Sulfur-containing vegetables. Vegetables with a high sulfur content include garlic, onions, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and broccoli sprouts. These help your liver break down toxins and heavy metals, making it easier for your body to get rid of them. Broccoli sprouts are even more powerful than broccoli. Their sulforaphane content aids in supporting healthy detoxification pathways. Try to have some of these vegetables every day. Leafy greens. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, and chard contain folate, which is essential for opening detox pathways. Bitter greens, such as collard greens, mustard greens, and arugula, also support liver function. Dry brushing. Special dry brushes are made for brushing your skin before showering. Brush up legs and arms toward the body, and brush the torso toward the armpits and groin, or toward the center of the body, where you have the highest concentration of lymph nodes. Dry brushing daily gets your lymphatic system working and moves excess fluid and lymph out of the body, along with the waste they carry. This can eliminate that puffy look, which comes from sluggish lymph. Do it right before you take a shower or bath. 

Blood Sugar/Insulin Toolbox:

If your blood sugar goes too high too often, you are at risk for insulin resistance in all its various forms: metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, obesity, and eventually full-blown type 2 diabetes, including its many complications (nerve pain, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and vision damage, to name a few). Diabetes is no joke, taking an average of ten years off a life. Some experts believe half of all U.S. citizens have some degree of insulin resistance. Contributors to this imbalance may be inflammation in the liver and exhausted cellular insulin receptors in the liver that are no longer sensitive to insulin’s sugar-balancing effects. Diet is essential in managing blood sugar and insulin balance, to reduce liver inflammation and modify extreme changes in blood sugar and insulin that can result in diabetes. This is your toolbox. Cinnamon. Try cinnamon tea, or add cinnamon to your warm drinks, fruit, or other food. This tree bark contains proanthocyanidins, which alter insulin-signaling activity in fat cells in a positive way. Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. Reishi mushrooms. Most available as a tea, powder, or dried, these medicinal mushrooms help lower blood sugar levels by downregulating alpha-glucosidase, the enzyme responsible for breaking down starches into sugars. Berberine supplements. Berberine is a plant-based alkaloid and a remedy in Chinese medicine that delays the breakdown of carbohydrates into sugars, keeps blood sugar levels balanced, and has been shown to be just as effective as metformin in regulating blood sugar in people with diabetes. Matcha. This form of green tea contains a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which helps stabilize blood sugar. Drinking the whole green tea leaf in the form of matcha powder is a great way to increase your intake of EGCG. D-chiro-inositol supplements. This nutrient plays an important role in insulin signaling and decreases insulin resistance. Apple cider vinegar. This common kitchen ingredient greatly improves insulin sensitivity and improves the way your body responds to sugar in addition to encouraging lower fasting blood sugar levels. High-fiber vegetables. Fiber from wholefood plant sources is particularly effective at both improving insulin sensitivity and lowering glucose metabolism. Chromium supplements. Chromium is a mineral that plays a role in insulin-signaling pathways. It improves insulin sensitivity and blood glucose in addition to lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Part 1: Inflammation

Part 1: Inflammation

Based off the book "The Inflammation Spectrum"

The body can become inflamed simple by being out of balance or out of homeostasis. This can be from our work/home life, our exercise and social habits, and what we eat. Food intolerances: Unlike allergies, these do not directly involve the immune system. Instead, intolerances occur when your body is unable to digest certain foods (such as dairy) or when your digestive system becomes irritated by them. These are usually the result of enzyme deficiencies. Food sensitivities: These are immune-mediated, like allergies, but food sensitivities can result in a more delayed reaction. You might be able to digest a small amount of the food without issues, but overdoing it or eating that food every day could gradually increase your inflammation to the point that your health begins to suffer. The symptoms of food intolerances and sensitivities include: Bloating, Migraines, Runny nose, Brain fog, Joint or muscle pain, Anxiety or depression, Fatigue, Itching, rashes, Heart palpitations, Flu-like symptoms, Stomach ache, and Irritable bowel syndrome. Exercise. Some people flourish on vigorous exercise—for them, it’s not only good for their cardiovascular systems but boosts their moods and reduces inflammation. For others, vigorous exercise causes fatigue and stress—for these people, vigorous exercise can be inflammatory, and they do much better with brisk walks in nature, a yoga class, or gentle stretching. Socializing. One person may get a rush of endorphins from lots of socializing. Social activity may actually be anti-inflammatory for them. Another might feel stressed from too much togetherness in a way that is inflammatory. They will feel best having some alone time. Stress tolerance. Some people have a high tolerance for stress and even enjoy a fast-paced, challenging day, while others have a low tolerance and need to be more mindful about slowing down, taking time to unplug, and otherwise managing the more stressful aspects of life. We know stress is inflammatory, so it is important to know what stresses you. Immunity. Some people catch every cold, while others hardly ever get run-down. This can be due to the impact of inflammation on your immunity—the more inflamed you are, the more likely you are to get sick. Environment tolerance. Some people react to every contact with pollution, chemicals, mold, and fungus, while others seem to be immune. Again, for many, these environmental toxins can trigger an inflammatory response, and those who already have more inflammation may also be more sensitive to these toxins. Personality. Glass half full or half empty? Artistic or logical? We are all different in so many ways, and that too is an aspect of bio-individuality—and related to inflammation. What causes inflammation in you (certain foods, certain exposures, certain kinds of stress) is bio-individual, and what inflammation causes in you (weight gain, fatigue, acid reflux) is also bio-individual. Inflammation tends to develop in eight primary systems: Brain and Nervous System, Digestive Tract, Liver, Kidneys, and Lymphatic System (together, these comprise your body’s detoxification system), Liver, pancreas, and cellular insulin receptor sites, which control your blood sugar/insulin balance, Endocrine system (the brain’s communication with the hormone system: thyroid, adrenals, and ovaries or testes), Muscles, joints, and connective tissue (your musculoskeletal system), and Immune system, which can turn against your body, causing autoimmunity. Lots of places at once. Some people have inflammation in more than one of these areas and/or throughout the body, including in the arteries that go everywhere (which can affect the heart as well as the brain). This may be due either to unusual sensitivity or ignoring inflammation for too long. This problem is referred to as “polyinflammation.” The brain and nervous system especially when inflammation has caused a more permeable blood-brain barrier (what is called leaky brain syndrome, similar to leaky gut syndrome) or is causing problems like brain fog, depression, anxiety, trouble concentrating, poor memory, or an overall feeling of unwellness. The digestive tract, including the stomach and the small and large intestines, resulting in digestive problems as well as a “leaky” or more permeable gut lining that can eventually lead to systemic inflammation and even autoimmune disease. Constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, bloating, and heartburn are just a few of the symptoms. The detoxification system, consisting of the synergistic actions of the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and lymphatic system. When these are inflamed, they can’t process waste as efficiently, meaning it can back up in your system, further exacerbating inflammation, pain, and swelling, such as when your arms, legs, and belly look larger than usual, you have an allover uncomfortable or painful feeling, or you frequently get rashes. The blood sugar/insulin system, governed by the liver and the pancreas, and cellular insulin receptor sites. When inflammation hits this system, you can experience unstable blood sugar and an excess of insulin, which can eventually lead to metabolic syndrome, prediabetes, or type 2 diabetes. Uncontrolled hunger and thirst as well as sudden rapid weight gain or weight loss resistance are symptoms, as are high fasting blood sugar numbers you might get from a test at your doctor’s office. The endocrine system, which consists of the brain’s communication with the glands that produce hormones. Inflammation can hit anywhere in this system, impacting the hormones of the thyroid, the adrenal glands, and the sex glands (ovaries or testes), causing a wide range of diverse symptoms—from thinning hair, dry skin, and weak nails to anxiety or mood swings to irregular menstruation or low sex drive—because hormones control so many aspects of wellness. The musculoskeletal or structural system, including muscles, joints, and connective tissue. Inflammation in this system can cause joint pain, muscle pain, joint stiffness, fibromyalgia (a condition often related to autoimmunity), a general feeling of achiness, and more. The immune system, the governing system over inflammation, can overreact and attack the organs, tissues, or structures of the body. This is called autoimmunity. It can happen when inflammation is getting advanced. Autoimmunity can impact every system in the body, especially the digestive system (as with celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease), the brain and nervous system (as with multiple sclerosis), the joints and connective tissue (as with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus), the thyroid gland (as with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), as well as inflammatory skin conditions. Polyinflammation, which means you have inflammation in more than one area—a common occurrence as inflammation insidiously progresses.

There is an inflammation assessment to see where you personally fall on the inflammation scale-if you want more information on the assessment please set up a PPP appointment.

If you want to reduce inflammation there is an elimination diet you can try to see if these foods are inflammatory for you or not. You take them out for 4-8 weeks and then add them back in slowly to see if any reaction occurs.

These are the foods that are mostly likely to cause inflammation in most people: Grains (even those without gluten). Many people have an inflammatory reaction to grains of all types, and this is the only way we can determine whether you are one of those people. That means crossing off wheat, rye, barley, rice, corn, oats, spelt, quinoa, and anything made with them from your list of available foods for now. Dairy products containing lactose and casein, including animal-derived milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and coffee creamer. These foods are also common sources of inflammation. Although you may do okay, eliminate them for a while. Added sweeteners of all types, especially cane sugar, corn syrup, and agave syrup, but also maple syrup, honey, date syrup, coconut sugar, stevia, monk fruit, sugar alcohols like xylitol, and anything else you add to foods to make them sweeter than they are naturally. While the more processed sweeteners are more likely to cause inflammation in most people, you may find, when testing during reintroduction, that you can bring some natural sugars back into your diet. Or you may find that added sweeteners don’t agree with you at all. In order for you to find out for sure, they are all eliminated for now. Inflammatory oils, especially corn, soy, canola, sunflower, grape-seed, and vegetable oils, as well as trans fats (anything that says “partially hydrogenated”). These guys are highly processed and likely to be inflammatory for you. The real test will be taking them out of your diet, then reintroducing them later. Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, pinto beans, white beans, peanuts, and anything made from soy. These contain lectins, phytates, and other potentially inflammatory proteins. Some people do fine with legumes, but many don’t. You will find out where you stand during reintroduction. Nuts and seeds, including almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds. For some people, these are hard to digest (especially if they are not soaked beforehand) and contain many of the same potentially inflammatory compounds as legumes. Eggs, both whole eggs and egg whites. Many people are sensitive to the albumin in egg whites, and some are sensitive to the whole egg. We’ll find out if you are one of them. Nightshades, including tomatoes, tomatillos, sweet and hot peppers, white potatoes, eggplant, and goji berries. These contain alkaloids that are more inflammatory for some people. If you decide to do the elimination to reintroduction diet please consult with a physician or RD first. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

The Final Part: Sleep and Gut Health

Part 9: Sleep and gut health


During sleep, damaged and destructed cells and toxins are removed from your body, which plays a crucial role in combating and reducing inflammation. Ever woken up with more pain and inflammation that dissipates later during the day? This can be due to lack of deep or REM sleep, due to your “clean up crew” not getting to complete their jobs. Lack of sleep can negatively affect your hunger levels by increasing ghrelin hormone levels and increasing fatigue. This can lead to increased cravings, lack of control with food, as well as decreased satiety with meals. It can also increase your risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep can also increase inflammation, decrease recovery, inhibit optimal thyroid and hormone production, and decrease your immunity. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the key determinants of quality sleep include (1) sleeping at least 85 percent of the total time while in bed; (2) falling asleep in 30 minutes or fewer; (3) waking up no more than once per night; and (4) being awake for 20 minutes or less after initially falling asleep.

What Can Go Wrong to Screw With Your Sleep? 

-Hormone imbalances 

-Thyroid disorders 

-Gut infections 

-Nutrient deficiencies 

-Adrenal imbalances 

-Poor nutrition 

-Blood sugar imbalances

-Mold toxicity 


-Poor liver health

More on Gut Health:

Your gut controls key functions of your health, including the production and conversion of hormones, neurotransmitters, and micronutrients (yes, you produce micronutrients in your gut too). Your gut is also your most important immune system barrier, as 80% of your immune system resides in your gut. 

Here are some signs that your gut is out of whack: 

-Abdominal pain



-Diarrhea/loose stool 

-Steatorrhea (fat in stool) 


-Weight loss 

-Muscle wasting 

-Micronutrient deficiencies 

-Hair loss 

-Dry, brittle hair 

-Dry, flaky skin 

-Brittle nails 

-Fluid retention 



Mechanical Digestion: Mechanical digestion begins in your mouth when your teeth help to break down the foods that you eat. This is such an underrated and forgotten part of the digestion process, and many people sometimes forget to optimize the first and one of the most helpful parts of digestion. Chewing your food sets the stage for what is to follow. The process of chewing sends signals to your stomach to start producing gastric juices. Basically, it says, “Get ready! Food’s coming!” If you are “inhaling” your food and not taking time to properly chew it, your stomach isn’t getting that time to prepare. Your salivary amylase is also not produced to the same extent, which can impact the beginning of your carbohydrate digestion. By chewing your food thoroughly (about 20-30 times per bite), you are helping all later digestion phases to work more efficiently. 

What Influences a “Healthy Microbiome”? Many factors influence the health of your microbiome, including: Exercise and sleep habits, Diversity of plants in the diet- including fiber and prebiotics, Amount of digestive enzyme secretion (including stomach acid, pancreatic juices, and bile), Environmental toxins and pollutants (including mold, endocrine disruptors, and heavy metals), Geographic location, Stress levels (which can damage the gut lining and heighten your risk of infection and intestinal permeability), Antibiotic usage, Artificial sweeteners and food additives, Intake of fermented foods and probiotics, Diet quality- mostly plant based vs animal based and highly processed vs whole food based, Birth and infancy- the way you were born (natural vs C-section), bottle-fed vs breastfed, how your mom ate during pregnancy and her environmental exposures.

“Heal Your Gut Starter Pack”- 4R Approach: Please work with a professional to do this. Don’t blindly drive your “car.” You could crash it. 

Step 1- Remove: Identify and eliminate factors that may be contributing to your symptoms, including allergens, intolerances, infections, overgrowths, and parasites. The removal agents that you use will depend on your situation and needs. For example: Anti-fungals (such as caprylic acid) may help eradicate yeast overgrowths such as Candida, Antiparasitics (such as black walnut, goldenseal, wormwood, and oil of oregano) may help to clear out parasites, Antimicrobials (such as allium from garlic, berberine-containing herbs, neem, and oil of oregano) may help to diminish SIBO and aid in dysbiosis – may be used in single products or combination products, Products such as activated charcoal and modified citrus pectin may be helpful in removed mold or heavy metals.

Step 2- Replace: Replacement includes HCl, pancreatic enzymes, and bile acids based on your specific needs. Be careful, more is not better. Too much HCl can cause stomach burning and lead to ulcerations if H pylori is present. The replace phase also includes replacing and ensuring adequate sleep, stress reduction, and switching from a low quality, processed food diet to a whole food based diet. 

Step 3- Reinoculate: Repopulate your microbiome with good bacteria by taking a targeted probiotic supplement and eating fermented foods. You can also repopulate your gut by consuming prebiotics that will serve as additional fertilizer for your gut bugs. My favorite reinoculation products include: PHGG (partially hydrolyzed guar gum) or “Sun Fiber”- acts as a prebiotic to stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria. It is slow to ferment, reducing the risk of gas and bloating that other prebiotic fibers can cause, and may help to reduce symptoms of both diarrhea and constipation dominant IBS. S. Boulardii probiotic- this is a yeast-based probiotic that can help to reduce inflammation, eradicate infections, and aid in healing a weak intestinal lining. Megaspore- this product is spore-based, broad spectrum probiotic, meaning that it was formulated to survive through the digestion tract to ensure short-term colonization within the GI tract. Megaspore may help to increase microbial diversity, reduce metabolic endotoxemia (aka “leaky gut”), strengthen the immune system, and reduce symptoms associated with “IBS”.

Step 4- Repair: Help seal the gut lining through diet, lifestyle, and supplementation. You should always be repairing in every one of these steps. A quick note- repairing can’t truly happen if an infection is present, or if mold and heavy metals continue to circulate their toxicities throughout your body. You have to find the root source to prevent your health issue from coming back and flourishing. Products for repairing the gut include: Glutamine: serves as a fuel source for your intestinal cells, helps in the maintenance of your intestinal lining, and stimulates gut mucosal cell proliferation, Zinc carnosine: may help aid in the repair of the gut lining and reducing inflammation, Bovine colostrum/immunoglobulins: colostrum comes from the first milk produced after an animal gives birth, reduces inflammation, and stimulates the immune system, Deglycyrrhized licorice: helps to soothe the gut lining, lower inflammation, and promote healing of the mucosal lining, Saccharomyces boulardii: a beneficial yeast probiotic that can help to preserve and restore gut barrier infection, increase secretory IGA levels, and combat conditions such as H pylori, SIBO, and food poisoning, Full spectrum CBD oil: lowers inflammation and pain levels- may enhance the healing of the gut lining. 

During these four phases, remember that diversity of plants in your diet is one of the biggest contributors to a healthy gut. Fiber is your friend. Prebiotics and fiber ferment to produce SCFAs (short-chain fatty acids) that serve as fuel sources to help maintain your gut lining health, reduce inflammation, combat pathogens, lower cholesterol levels, as well as influence your immune, cardiovascular, and nervous system. They also help to enhance the diversity of your gut microbiome, which is what you want in order to have a healthy, not rebellious, gut. 


The presence of dysbiosis or an overgrowth of bacteria in your gut can spell a recipe for disaster to your thyroid, hormones, metabolism, and your overall health. Not only can digestive symptoms occur, but so can nutrient deficiencies, autoimmune attack, low immunity, hormonal imbalances, and poor thyroid conversion. 

Contributors to Dysbiosis include: Dietary factors (low fiber, high processed foods, high intake of artificial sweeteners, added sugars/sugary foods, food additives or preservatives), Environmental toxins (mold, heavy metals, etc), Impaired digestion, Nutrient deficiencies, Medications such as birth control, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), antibiotics, NSAIDs, Diabetes, Viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections, Poor oral health, Low stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, or bile acids, Intestinal adhesions, Chronic stress (physical or emotional), Undereating, Food poisoning, and Ileocecal valve malfunction (lies between your colon and small intestine). 

There are 3 main patterns of dysbiosis: 

-Low Beneficial Bacteria: causes include chronic stress & inflammation, chronic antibiotic use, undereating, low-fiber diet, poor digestion, chronic antimicrobials, environmental exposures

-High Pathogenic Bacteria: causes include poor digestion, lack of enzymes, low stomach acid, chronic stress, heightened intestinal permeability, parasites, yeast overgrowth, slow motility, chronic inflammation, food poisoning , poor oral health

-Loss of Overall Microbial Diversity: causes include chronic stress & inflammation, chronic antibiotic use, undereating, low-fiber diet, poor digestion, chronic antimicrobials, medications, environmental exposures


Symptoms of a small and/or large intestine overgrowth include: chronic bloating (especially present upon waking without having eaten food), belching, reflux, brain fog, chronic fatigue, chronic diarrhea and/or constipation, acne, eczema, hair loss, depression, joint pain, weight loss (or weight gain), hormonal imbalances, iron or B12 deficiency, heartburn/reflux, and hypothyroidism. If you say these things, consider SIBO to be the culprit: “I feel pregnant all day long!” “Sugar and carbohydrates seem to make things worse” “I just can’t eat anything without symptoms” “I’ve tried probiotics they make me feel worse” “I just can’t seem to get rid of my acne” “I am tired, irritable, and anxious. Nothing seems to help” “I can’t poop no matter what” or “I have diarrhea despite any change in my diet”. Causes of SIBO include: Medications (ex. birth control, proton pump inhibitors, antibiotics), Low stomach acid, Pancreatic enzyme deficiencies or bile acid deficiencies, Mold toxicity, Ileocecal valve malfunction, Immunosuppression, Traumatic brain injury, Poor MMC- Migrating Motor Complex, Chronic stress, Chronic undereating or eating disorders, Abdominal surgery, Intestinal adhesions, Slowed motility (ex. Gastroparesis), Nerve dysfunction, and Food poisoning Co-infections (H pylori, Candida).


Candida, aka Candida albicans, is an opportunist yeast that is naturally present in your intestines. However, when it becomes overgrown, it can compromise your immune system, deplete your good bacteria, and increase your risk of nutrient deficiencies. Symptoms of Candida include: Skin, hair, or nail fungal infection, Brain fog or poor mental clarity, White tongue, “Drunk” or tipsy feeling without drinking alcohol, Digestive distress such as gas, bloating, or constipation/diarrhea, Recurring UTIs or yeast infections, Skin issues such as acne, rosacea, hives, or psoriasis, Mood swings, Worsening anxiety or depression, Sugar or refined carbohydrate cravings, Vaginal or rectal itching, Chronic fatigue, Sinus infections of worsening allergies 

H. Pylori:

H pylori is another normal bacterial inhabitant that when overgrown, causes total health chaos. Symptoms include: Burping/belching, Difficulty digesting protein, Bad breath, Heartburn or reflux, Upper abdominal pain (esp right after meals), Acne, Bloating & gas, Constipation, Headaches, Nausea, Undigested food in the stool. H pylori overgrowth can lead to: SIBO, Candida, Anemia, Nutrient deficiencies, Hormonal imbalances, Hypothyroidism, Stomach ulcers, gastritis, or gastric cancer, Intestinal permeability

Intestinal Permeability:

Intestinal Permeability, or “leaky gut” as it is commonly called, is not a specific disease, but an explanation of how well your gut barrier is intact. When you have increased intestinal permeability, the lining of your intestinal tract and intestinal wall tight junctions become loose, allowing for undigested food particles, toxins, and microbes to escape your gut and enter your bloodstream. Having increased intestinal permeability simply indicates that your gut lining and gut barrier are not fully intact. Symptoms and Diagnoses associated with heightened intestinal permeability include: Anxiety, Depression, Asthma, Allergies, Brain fog, Chronic fatigue or pain, Indigestion, Diarrhea or constipation, Bloating, Recurring illness or infections, Multiple chemical sensitivities, Exercise intolerance, Acne or skin rashes/ eczema, Arthritis, Autoimmune disease (ex. Crohn’s disease, Type 1 Diabetes, Hashimoto’s, Lupus, multiple sclerosis, Sjogren’s syndrome), Celiac disease, Ulcerative colitis, Gluten intolerance, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. What causes “leaky gut” or increased intestinal permeability? Chronic inflammation (can be from undereating and over-exercising all the way to low or high cortisol), Infection or dysbiosis, Medications (such as NSAIDs, hormonal birth control, steroids, and antibiotics), Food poisoning, Impaired digestion (i.e., low stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, bile acids), Nutrient deficiencies, Infections or viruses, Stress and trauma, Alcohol, Environmental toxins, Poor diet with low fiber and prebiotic intake, Food sensitivities such as gluten (which can weaken tight junctions in susceptible people).


The Common Causes of Bloating: Sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners, Food additives and preservatives (especially thickeners like xanthan gum), Too much fiber or raw vegetables, Eating too quickly, Not chewing food properly, Drinking too much liquid with meals, Dehydration, Low stomach acid, Low pancreatic enzymes, Food Intolerances, Constipation, Hormonal or thyroid disorder, Gut infection or overgrowth, Stress, PMS, Dysbiosis. Remember this- it’s normal to have mild bloat from food and water after eating, especially if you had a higher volume meal. Big salads are going to be harder to digest as the plant cell walls are harder for your body to break down. Higher fat meals take a longer time to digest in your GI tract. If you consume a lot of gas-producing foods such as cruciferous vegetables and beans, or eat too much fiber, you are also welcoming a bloat. However, if you struggle with consistent, constant bloating that creates pain or takes away from your day-to-day life- it’s time to address it. That isn’t normal.


If your poop life isn’t happy and consistent- neither are your hormones or metabolism. Pooping is one of the most important steps of natural detoxification. Can’t poop? You can’t get out any toxins or excess estrogen either. Weekly bowel movements may look different for everyone, but you should be pooping daily. Chronic constipation is not only extremely uncomfortable, but it can lead to estrogen dominance, gut dysbiosis, SIBO, and the development of pelvic floor disorders. It also may worsen thyroid disorders, burden your liver, and cause nutrient deficiencies. How can you fix it? Always look to fix the root cause. This should be redundant to you by now. In many cases, constipation can be relieved by: Increasing water intake - dehydration causes constipation. Drink 1 gallon a day, minimum. Low electrolyte intake can also cause constipation. Try using Nuun tablets, Ultima replenisher powder, or adding Himalayan salt to your foods. Increase your activity - movement helps increase peristalsis of the large intestine, helping with gut motility. Walking after meals can help with digestion. Get outside after meals and go on a 5-10-minute walk. Note- over-exercising will not be helpful as it blunts digestion via the stress and cortisol connection. We want parasympathetic dominance- aka rest and digest mode. Try to increase your fiber intake - 25-40 g is a good range, however everyone has a different “fiber sweet spot.” Remember the different types of fiber here. Insoluble fiber helps move your digestion along and increases stool bulk, while soluble fiber slows things down and draws water into your intestines. Psyllium husk and citrus pectin are two fiber supplements that may be helpful, however try increasing your overall food fiber first. Great first addition could be 2 tbs chia or flax seeds. Stress less - If you are constantly in fight-or-flight mode, your body doesn’t want to digest. You need to do more parasympathetic work and relaxing (or slothing) to help get those digestive movements going. Get sleep. Make sure to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep slows down intestinal motility and increases inflammation. Make sure you aren’t undereating. It can be common to get constipated if you aren’t eating enough. It’s also common to be mildly constipated when you are dieting, as your thyroid hormones naturally decline. Lower thyroid hormones can lead to slow gut motility. That doesn’t make being constipated normal while dieting. It just means that if you are dieting, be aware that your poop motility may change. Try adding a natural prokinetic such as ginger, triphala, or tryptophan or digestive bitters, which help to stimulate digestive juices, as well as can help relieve heartburn, support the liver, support blood sugar, and stimulate peristalsis. Digestive bitters include ginger, myrrh, orange peel, fennel, dandelion root, rhubarb, wormwood, and cinnamon. If the previous tips don’t help, coffee or tea may help move things along. Caffeine can increase motility and so can the use of natural prokinetics like magnesium citrate. I would be cautious and avoid using supplements to enforce movements, as for some, they can become dependent and addicted to them. For example, senna (found in many “bowel movement regulator” supplements) is habit forming and the body becomes accustomed to it. Meaning that as you continue to take it, it will work less and less. The same may happen for magnesium citrate. Luckily, I have not seen dependency with caffeine, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Look at lifestyle factors first to find what may be preventing you from happy daily bowel movements, then look at: Possible food intolerances, Overgrowths (methane-dominant SIBO is a major cause), Lack of pancreatic enzymes or bile flow, Cortisol dysregulation, Hypothyroidism, Intestinal adhesions, Gut nerve damage, and Colonic muscle weakness.

Low Stomach Acid:

Do these symptoms sound familiar? Bloating or belching immediately following a meal, A sense of fullness after eating, Itching around rectum, Chronic candida infections, Peeling or cracked fingernails, Mineral deficiencies, Acne, Chronic parasite infection, GERD (gastrointestinal reflux disease), Post-adolescent acne, Undigested food in stool, Morning diarrhea or diarrhea after big meals, Iron, B12, or zinc deficiency, Nausea, Lack of desire to eat protein or meat, Bloating, and Multiple food allergies or intolerances. The best way to find out if you have low stomach acid is to perform a baking soda test. How to perform a baking soda test: Drink a mix of 1/4 tsp in 4 oz water on empty stomach See if burping occurs within 5 minutes. If it does, it is likely you have adequate stomach acid. If you burp right away, you may have high stomach acid. Low stomach acid can be caused by: hypothyroidism, infection or illness, autoimmune disease, stress, fasting, post-surgery, medications (such as proton pump inhibitors, antihistamines, antacids), gastroparesis, hiatal hernias, pyloric sphincter malfunction, and/or increased age. If you suffer from low stomach acid or GERD, there are some specific changes that may help with your symptoms. Foods to avoid: high fatty/fried/greasy foods, chocolate, coffee, mints, high sugar, alcohol, onions, garlic, citrus fruits, tomato-based foods, spicy foods, and carbonation. Lifestyle changes to make: eat smaller meals, minimize liquids with meals, go on walks after meals, wear looser fitting clothing, don’t lie down after meals, limit food intake before sleeping, prioritize stress reduction, try chiropractic adjustments which may improve blood flow to the stomach to improve HCl production. 

Low Pancreatic Enzymes:

Common symptoms of low pancreatic enzymes include: Watery diarrhea, Undigested food in stool, Undesired weight loss or muscle wasting, Chronic fatigue, Chronic bloating, Malnutrition or nutrition deficiencies, Edema, Indigestion/fullness 2-4 hours after meal, Chronic bloating, and  Slow digestive transit time. You can naturally support enzyme function by: Focusing on rest and digest: mindful and slow eating, ensuring proper mastication (aka chewing of your food), and prioritizing stress management, Being cautious of your food choices: limit high fatty and processed foods, consume cooked vs raw vegetables, Add in herbal therapies and digestive bitters that help stimulate digestion such as ginger, fennel, mint, and natural proteolytic enzymes such as bromelain (from pineapple) or papain (from papaya).

Low Bile Acids:

Bile acids help to emulsify fats from your food. Remember, bile is what helps to digest and absorb dietary fat and fat-soluble vitamins. It also plays a crucial role in helping to remove excess cholesterol, environmental toxins, and hormones from your body. Think of bile like pac man- gobbling up toxins to remove and sweeping up to help vitamin absorption. If you say “yes” to the following symptoms- you may have issues with creating bile acids. Symptoms: Fatty stools (bulky, pale/gray, oily stools), Floating stools, Diarrhea, Unintentional weight loss, Constant feeling of fullness, Nausea or pain after a high fat meal, High cholesterol levels, and Malnutrition or nutrient deficiencies (especially of fat-soluble vitamins). 

Histamine Intolerance:

Histamine is a natural compound produced by mast cells (immune cells) that is naturally found within foods and aids in regulating your immune and allergy responses. It triggers the beginning of an inflammatory response by helping to increase blood flow and marks as a red flag to your body that some “attacker” is present. It also helps to increase stomach acid and acts as a neurotransmitter in your brain. Symptoms of histamine intolerance include: Rashes or eczema, Increased allergies, Dry throat, Sinus congestion, Runny nose, water eyes, Stomach aches and cramps, Low blood pressure, Flushing Headache, Heartburn, Diarrhea, Rapid heart beat, and Insomnia. Treatment for histamine intolerance includes rebalancing the gut and restoring the immune system. Symptoms can be managed by removing high histamine foods such as fermented foods, alcohol, wine, aged cheeses, eggs, citrus fruits, seafood, spinach, processed meats, ripe bananas/avocados, tomato based products, vinegars, and even leftovers (in which histamine is produced with microbial fermentation and maturation). Histamine intolerance occurs when you have too much histamine in your body than it is able to break down. Histamine intolerance can be caused by: Lack of DAO or HNMT enzymes that help to degrade histamine, overgrowth of bacteria that produce histamine, and/or supplements and medications that black DAO production. 

Testing Bowel Transit Time:

“Transit time” can be defined as the time it takes for you to eat, digest, and eliminate (aka poop) out the food that you eat. Testing your bowel transit time can tell you about a possible potential problem digesting your food. If you can’t digest your food, you can’t absorb your nutrients. An optimal transit time is between 12-24 hours. Less than 12 hours may indicate malabsorption or infection, while greater than 72 hours may indicate slow motility, which can predispose you to overgrowths due to increased colonic fermentation, as well as increase the reabsorption of toxins back into your bloodstream. The Test: Calculate the number of hours it took from eating three to four beets and when your stool turns a dark red color. The best way to increase your bowel transit time? Increase your water intake, consume 30-40g fiber per day, exercise at least 30 minutes per day, and prioritize stress reduction. 

Foods to Limit In Your Diet:

(limit does not mean 100% avoid) (obviously including any specific food intolerance or allergy you may have yourself) Highly processed vegetable oils (canola, soybean, sunflower, corn, safflower, margarine), Alcohol, Hydrogenated oils and trans fat (avoid), Food additives and preservatives including: carrageenan, nitrates, nitrates, gums, sulfites, artificial food dyes, BHA, BHT, polysorbates, sulfites, sodium benzoate, potassium bromate, EDTA, Processed meats, Canned fish unless low mercury (for example, Safe Catch), Sugary beverages or condiments, and Artificial sweeteners.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Part 8: Stress

Part 8: Stress 

Stress (or cortisol) can wreak havoc on our bodies. Alterations in a healthy cortisol rhythm can lead to weight gain, trouble losing weight, poor immune function, blood sugar imbalances, brain fog, chronic fatigue, aches and pains, salt and sugar cravings, insomnia, hormonal imbalances, gastrointestinal distress... you name it. Cortisol and adrenal imbalance are the biggest demons to your health, happiness, and well-being. 

Do these questions sound like you?

-Am I constantly tired, even when getting 8-10 hours of sleep? 

-Do I feel energized, or worn out after exercise? 

-Do I notice blood sugar swings throughout the day or random mood swings? 

-Do I wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed? 

-Do I need coffee and caffeine to get through the day? 

-Do I wake up in the middle of the night? 

-Am I “tired but wired” at night? 

-Do I get sick often? 

-Does my body feel inflamed and puffy? 

-Do I feel stressed or have a lot on my mind? 

-Do I notice aches/pains, especially in the morning? 

-Do I have a craving for salty and/or sugary foods?

-Do I have a sensitivity to chemicals or fragrances? 

-Do I have problems concentrating, remembering things, or deal with brain fog?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may have a cortisol imbalance.

How do your adrenal glands and cortisol work? Your adrenal glands sit right on top of your kidneys and are a part of the intricate HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) that influences your thyroid and hormonal health. They are in charge of secreting hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine (also known as adrenaline and noradrenaline, respectively). Together, they influence your flight-or-flight response- aka the stress response. The hard truth is that your body can’t distinguish between types of stress, whether it is physical, mental, or environmental. To your body, stress is stress. Whether the stress is intentional (such as dieting, over-exercising, poor sleep, or poor diet quality), or unintentional (such as emotional mental stress, inflammation, or disease/infection), stress will play out the same way physiologically. Long term, any chronic stress not addressed can lead to cortisol, adrenal, hormonal, and digestive imbalances. Now not all stress is bad, and neither is cortisol. Although chronic stress and high cortisol can be devils that wreak havoc on your health, we need cortisol in our bodies. Cortisol is essential for life and can: regulate blood sugar and blood pressure, manage the sleep-wake cycle, maintain immune function, improve insulin sensitivity, impact digestion, respond to stress and danger, decrease inflammation, and regulate digestion, growth, and reproduction. Cortisol is part of the glucocorticoid family in your body (aka- it raises your blood sugar). This is important because it helps to increase glucose levels and release them from the liver in times of stress and starvation when glucose is needed. Your body thrives on glucose. Ever have a terribly rough workout or go hours without eating? Your body pumps out cortisol to signal for more glucose to be released for energy. You need cortisol in your life. Just not too much, or too little. To reiterate- not all cortisol is bad. If you don’t have enough, this can lead to electrolyte imbalances (which can be life-threatening), chronic fatigue, bone loss, hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, dizziness, muscle loss and weakness, as well as anxiety and depression. 

Chronically high cortisol can: 

-Shift your hormone creation and conversion- such as inhibiting ovulation and reducing progesterone secretion, leading to PMS, infertility, or irregular menstrual cycles. The limit does not exist on how high cortisol can wreak havoc on your hormones. Upregulate your regulated androgen and DHEA levels, contributing to acne, weight gain, male pattern hair loss, or PCOS -Impair your thyroid hormone conversion, reducing the amount that is able to be utilized by the cell. It also can inhibit the absorption of thyroid hormones into the cell. Slow digestion and prevent release of digestive enzymes from your stomach, pancreas, and gallbladder, contributing to constipation, food intolerances, gas/bloating, and risk of bacterial overgrowths -Decrease insulin sensitivity and increase insulin output, contributing to blood sugar dysregulation, weight gain, and accelerated aging Accelerate the continued release of glucose from your liver contributing to insulin resistance and weight gain (also leading to acne and blood sugar dysregulation) 

-Decrease your immunity and increase risk of illness and infection- causing you to get sick often or decrease your ability to fight illness Impair workout recovery and contribute to muscle and joint pains- making you feel like you got “hit by a truck” (at least that is what it felt like for me!) -Impact mood and motivation – in turn increasing anxiety or depression Inhibit sleep and sleep quality- further contributing to your chronic fatigue Increase cravings for salty and sugary foods, further troubling issues with weight loss 

-Increase total body inflammation and decreasing the capability fight and reduce inflammation, which can increase your risk of autoimmune flare-ups, development of chronic disease, and further hormonal imbalances

Low Cortisol and Your Health:

Though you won’t hear about it in conventional medicine, and some conventional doctors may deny its existence, sub-clinically low cortisol levels can be a devastating cause of chronic aches and pains, fatigue, low thyroid, and hormone imbalances. Conventional doctors may not recognize this without the diagnosis of Addison’s disease or an adrenal crisis, however what the author calls “subclinical hypercortisolism” is real, and can be crippling.

Low cortisol levels can: 

-Downregulate sex hormone production, leading to total low sex hormones and infertility, -Contribute to low blood sugar and low blood pressure (including orthostatic hypotension or dizziness upon standing quickly), creating energy crashes throughout the day and possible caffeine sensitivity 

-Create electrolyte imbalances, leading to alterations in blood pressure, salt and sugar cravings, water retention, increased urination, and heart palpitations 

-Decrease immunity and wound healing capabilities

-Worsen chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia- leading to a vicious cycle of low energy, motivation, impaired memory, and chronic pain Increase risk for bone loss- leading to increased fracture risk and osteoporosis 

-Disrupt sleep – causing insomnia, abnormal cortisol rhythms, and muscle loss 

-Cause weight gain (especially around the abdominal region) or trouble losing weight

-Create exercise intolerance- in which any form of exercise makes you feel worse and worse -Heighten stress, anxiety, and depression

A healthy cortisol rhythm starts with your cortisol awakening response (CAR) in the morning, where cortisol levels should be the highest, and then slowly drops throughout the day, until cortisol reaches its lowest levels in the evening. Your CAR is what kick starts your cortisol production in the morning. It also participates to help scavenge free radicals through a process called apoptosis (aka killing of “failed cells”) and combat inflammation. Ever notice increased aches and pains in the morning that go away in the evenings? This can be tied to a disruption in your CAR, or the lack of one. Your cortisol then steadily drops throughout the day until it reaches its evening low. This low allows for the production of melatonin, which helps you to fall and stay asleep, as well as triggering the secretion of growth hormone. Melatonin is produced by your pineal gland in response to darkness. This production of melatonin can be interrupted by artificial and blue light, which prevents your body from releasing melatonin as well as alter your natural cortisol patterns. Symptoms of low melatonin include insomnia, chronic fatigue, poor immunity, constipation, increased appetite, weight gain, and mood instability. 

Cortisol Phases 101 

Stage 1- You are a Boss. Getting the job done and high on life. Adrenaline kicks in and some feel the energy bunny effect 

Stage 2- You are wired and tired. You start to develop energy crashes midday or blood sugar swings, low motivation, trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night, poor recovery, and getting sick easily. You may be relying on caffeine. 

Stage 3- You are anxious and tired, but pushing through. You may notice extreme morning fatigue, irritability, aches and pains, salt and sugar cravings, exercise intolerance, and brain fog. Caffeine may not do the job anymore or make you feel worse. 

Stage 4- You are just plain exhausted. Nothing can get you through the day. Everything hurts and you may be depressed and anxious all the time. You are constantly craving food and salt and gaining weight, especially in your abdominal region.

Top Tips for Adrenal Health:

-Learn to say “No”- if it doesn’t serve you or depletes your life of happiness or impacts your health, cut it out. Including toxic relationships with friends or significant others, and toxic relationships with yourself. 

-Ensure you are eating a nutrient-dense diet full of the vitamins and minerals involved in your stress response. These include vitamin C, vitamin D, GABA, zinc, folate, B-12, iron, magnesium, and trace minerals. 

-Incorporate healthy fats, various colors from fruits and vegetables, healthy fibers, and lean proteins. 

-Avoid too many added sugars, refined grains, and processed vegetable oils, and if you suspect a food intolerance or sensitivity, work with a healthcare professional to help eliminate it. -Remember, high stress causes your body to burn through these nutrients, so you may need more than normal, especially if you have already gotten your body to a place of deficiency. 

-Don’t be afraid to go to therapy or counseling. Talking with someone can help you to acknowledge your feelings and emotions, and channel them into energy to help you accomplish your life goals instead of holding you back. 

-Focus on sleep and your cortisol rhythms. Start each day with getting into the sunlight as soon as possible, even try taking a walk or using a happy light if you don’t have light upon waking -Don’t skip meals and avoid the use of blue light at least two hours before bed that can block your body’s ability to produce the melatonin you need to go to sleep. Blue light blockers can be excellent to help with this, whether they are glasses or a setting on your phone laptop (or blue light blocking screen for your TV)

-If you suspect adrenal imbalance- test, don’t guess! (the author is a huge fan of the DUTCH Salivary cortisol test or ZRT salivary four point cortisol test). 

-Don’t try to self-medicate with adaptogens or CBD oil alone. Be smart and invest in your health and yourself by doing proper testing. You want to make sure your testing involves four points to assess cortisol fluctuations throughout the day, and not just use a single cortisol level via blood test (like many conventional doctors will use to assess). These single blood markers can be helpful in assessing adrenal diseases of Cushing’s and Addison’s, but they will most likely not catch adaptive cortisol or cortisol dysregulation. 

-Use adaptogens in a smart way. Again, you need to be using what will help you. 

-Practice gratitude. Starting your day with a grateful mindset can set the tone for a positive outlook on the day. Not only that, but your thoughts can either help or hinder your healing. Negative thinking can increase inflammation in your body, preventing you from healing both emotionally and physically. Start your day by journaling, praying, practicing yoga, or going for a walk. Drink a cup of tea (or coffee if your adrenals are able to handle it), and cuddle with your pet (which I hope is a cat- just saying). Journal down your thoughts so that you can recognize, release, and respond to them and your emotions. 

-Have an orgasm. Yes, girl- do it. Orgasms can lower your cortisol levels and flood your brain with the happy neurotransmitter oxytocin. Help your brain choose pleasure over stress. 

-Learn how to “sloth mode.” Slothing means doing nothing. Being a pure sloth. Slow, relaxed, and recharging. Slothing isn’t just physical- it is also mental and emotional. Silence your phone, sit or lay on your couch, and watch a funny or happy movie. Learn to sloth when you need it and it will become a superpower. 

-Detox your social media. If following someone increases stress, self-hatred, or causes comparison to yourself or your body, kindly unfollow or mute the person. You need to do what is best for YOU. If Sometimes a social media detox for a week is enough, other times it may be time to cut it out for good. 

-Laugh, cuddle, hug people, and have sex (get that orgasm girlfriend!). Then do it again. Seriously though, this boosts levels of oxytocin in your brain, which leads to feelings of happiness, as well as relaxation. Plus, who needs an excuse to have an orgasm? 

-Limit consumption of refined sugars and carbohydrates to help balance your blood sugar. -Focus on smart snacks- always pairing two macronutrient components together. 

-Track your heart rate variability (HRV). As previously discussed, this can help you when you may need more rest, relaxation, and recovery. 

-Limit your caffeine intake, especially if you are a slow caffeine metabolizer (CYP1A2-1F are slow, while CYPA2-1A are fast). Having caffeine too late in the day can keep you wired at night, affecting your sleep. It can also increase cortisol in your body, which you don’t want when your cortisol levels and adrenals need some love. You don’t need to cut out caffeine cold turkey, but think of weaning yourself down bit by bit. A great goal is keeping your caffeine under 400 mg per day, if possible. If caffeine makes you jittery or causes low blood sugar, it’s a great sign caffeine is not for you. 

Supplements for overall adrenal health include: B-vitamin Complex (don’t add to a multivitamin) Magnesium biglycinate: 400 mg/day Vitamin C: 1-2 g/day Omega-3s: 1-2 g/day Vitamin D: 1000-5,000 IU/day, depending on labs (deficiency may need up to 10,000 IU) Zinc: 10-50 mg based on needs, deficiencies, and copper levels, Reishi mushroom: 300-2000 mg/day