You haven’t been feeling your best lately. You are more tired than usual. You haven’t been sleeping very well. You seem to wake up at the same time every night. You gut feels off. You have been noticing some indigestion and bloating. You aren’t sure what’s going on but you know something isn’t right.
You make an appointment with your doctor and he/she sends you in for some blood work. You are excited to see get the result and see what’ going on. In your follow-up appointment you are told that all your lab work came back normal and there is nothing wrong with you.
You leave the doctor’s office feeling frustrated, confused and probably with a prescription in hand. You know you don’t feel your best but you have no idea what to do about it.
Does this experience sound familiar?
This experience is common. Why is it that lab tests come back normal despite you feeling like crap? It is because conventional lab ranges are meant to encompass 90% of the population. This means that as the population gets sicker and more unhealthy, these lab ranges get wider.
These tests are meant to detect end of stage dysfunction so that you can be diagnosed with some condition or illness. What is your doctor is really telling you when he/she says everything is normal is that you just aren’t sick enough, yet.
It is only once your condition (whatever that condition may be) has progressed far enough along the spectrum that you will finally fall out of the lab range and get a diagnosis. At this point the issue may have been going on for years, even decades and it has now progressed so much that healing it becomes problematic.
Symptoms are not normal. It’s true they are very common, but that does not mean they are normal. Your body is an incredible machine and it’s meant to work. All it wants is to be in balance and for you to be healthy.
For this reason, it attempts to compensate when things start to go sideways. By the time you experience symptoms, the imbalance has been going on for quite some time. If you have symptoms, you have dysfunction.
A study was done on Armed Forces Personnel who eventually were diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is an autoimmune condition also known as lupus in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues including kidneys, joints, skin, blood, brain, heart and lungs.
Blood draws are taken regularly from the armed forces. This study evaluated the blood of 130 men before they were diagnosed with lupus. It was found that SLE antibodies were present in the blood up to 9.4 years prior to diagnosis.
What does this mean?
It means chronic health conditions do not just occur overnight. They take years to develop but are often not detected until a significant amount of damage is done and reversal is difficult to achieve.
Functional medicine addresses the underlying cause of disease and seeks to find dysfunction even when it’s in its early stages. It engages both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. The patient takes responsibility for their health and is fully involved in the healing process.
The healing process involves using different kinds of lab tests and careful analysis with functional lab ranges. Functional lab ranges are narrower then conventional lab ranges and are based on people who feel healthy.
Types of testing include looking at hormone balance, detoxification status, gut function, food sensitivities and for the presence of gastrointestinal pathogens. When all these things are in proper working order, you feel healthy.
As you know, I am a Functional Nutrition Practitioner. When I first heard about the Functional Diagnostic Nutrition training program, my health was in the toilet. I was really struggling. I could barely get out of bed and I was scared. I was scared for the future and I was scared that I wasn’t going to live very long.
I signed up for the program so I could learn how to heal myself. And along the way I realized that I wanted to help others heal as well.
As a part of the training I ran several different labs on myself. What I discovered was that I had the hormone levels of an 80 year old woman, my liver was congested and my cells were breaking down. I also had a parasite infection, a bacterial infection, yeast overgrowth, leaky gut and multiple food sensitivities.
By following the protocols I was taught, I was able to fix most of these things and get my health back. This was a few years ago now and since then I have turned my passion into a business that I love and that allows me to help people every single day. How cool is that?
These days I feel like my health is at about 80%. While I feel great most days, I know there is still work to be done. I have felt for a while that my energy should be stronger, my sleep should be better and that my athletic performance should be higher. I had also been noticing some mild digestive symptoms.
Maybe 80% health is good for most people but it’s not acceptable for me. I decided to run a couple of labs. I ran my standard GI Pathogen Screen and leaky gut test. Both came back clean. The standard GI Pathogen screen that I use relies on stool culture. If you have an infection, it needs to be able to grow in your stool and seen through a microscope in order to be detected.
This can work really well for some pathogens but not for others. My intuition was telling me that I had an infection so I decided to run the GI-MAP from Diagnostic Solutions Lab (DSL). DSL uses a new technology that allows lab technicians to analyze pathogenic DNA in stool rather than looking for pathogens through a microscope. This is an FDA approved technology and I have been hearing good things about it.
Here are the results I received earlier this week.
First of all, I have Entomoeba Histolytica. Histolytica literally means “tissue destroying.” This is basically the worst, most dangerous parasite you can get. When it comes to the parasite lottery, I just won (or lost….). This guy does not like to stay in the intestinal tract. It can move to the brain and the lungs. It also loves to travel to the liver and create abscesses. This can be fatal.
Unfortunately, this parasite does not respond to herbal formulas. I will need to take a potent dose of anti-biotics to kill it. Anti-biotics are something I avoid in all cases. This is clearly a case where they are necessary.
Second of all, I have Clostridium Difficile. This is a bacterial infection that is highly resistant to antibiotics. I am hoping that by taking the antibiotics for the E. Histolytica, it won’t cause this infection to flare up. This infection generally occurs because of antibiotic use and is rampant in hospitals. It secretes a toxin which basically poisons cells and kills them. It accounts for 29,000 deaths in the United States each year.
Not to mention I have Giardia Lamblia (another parasite) and Klebsiella, a nasty bacteria which can lead to autoimmune diseases. Clearly, my gut is a disaster zone.
The good news is that my immune system markers are good. This means that my immune system strong and is responding appropriately. If it wasn’t I probably wouldn’t be doing as well as I have been.
This is some serious stuff. I never would have imagined that I could have so much imbalance in my gut. All this time I have felt thatI was at 80% health but maybe it’s more like 50% or even 40%.
I can only imagine how amazing I am going to feel when I eradicate these infections and rebuild my gut. It’s exciting.
I am truly grateful that I ended up on this path with Function Nutrition. Without it my life would be much different. There is a good chance I would end up with a chronic illness or worse.
I will never know exactly how this happened. It likely has a lot to do with my past and how I used to live my life. I was often sick as a child. I was on multiple rounds of antibiotics. In fact, I can remember having these liquid antibiotics that tasted like banana and strawberry. I used to sneak them from the fridge and drink them. They tasted like candy!
I spent a lot of my life eating what I considered to be a healthy diet. Unfortunately, this consisted of low-fat processed foods and sugar. I also spent a good 10 years of my life partying like a maniac.
On top of that I once took a 3 month course of antibiotics for acne, I was on birth control pills for 8 years and I was emotionally stressed through my teens and most of my early 20’s.
All these things together deplete gut flora, depress the immune system and set the stage for infections to enter the body and thrive.
Symptoms are no joke. Many of us put up with them because everyone else has them and we think they are normal. Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. If you ignore them or mask them with pharmaceuticals, you are ignoring this important message.
You will either end up with new symptoms or they will come back with a vengeance in the future. You may even end up being diagnosed with a chronic illness and losing your quality of life.
I am not writing this to scare you. I am writing this to educate you and to help you avoid a nasty diagnosis down the road. You have the power to take control of your health. You have the ability to change what’s happening to you now and create a happier, healthier, more energetic future.
Be proactive about your health. If you are having symptoms, contact a Functional Medicine Practitioner or a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. Spend the money, run the labs and take responsibility.
If you want to contact a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner please schedule here.
Collagen is my new favorite thing. I’m totally stoked on it. Wanna know why?!
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It can be found in bones, muscles, skin and tendons. You can think of it like the “glue” that holds everything together. It gives skin it’s elasticity and repairs damaged tissues.
When collagen production starts to decline, you notice wrinkles, saggy skin and weak cartilage. Aging is a process that contributes to collagen breakdown but other things like sugar consumption, excessive sun exposure and smoking cigarettes can also cause collagen to break down at a faster rate. This is why it’s not only important to consider adding collagen into your body but also to consider the lifestyle factors which may be reducing your collagen levels.
Collagen and gelatin are often used interchangeably. Gelatin is actually derived from collagen. When collagen breaks down it becomes gelatin. You might know about my intense love for bone broth. I just love the stuff. I may be a bit of a broth pusher. Bones contain loads of collagen and when you cook broth, that collagen turns to gelatin. You know that jiggly stuff that look like jello? That’s gelatin. You may think it’s gross but I think it’s beautiful.
Collagen is packed full of amino acids like arginine, glutamine, glycine and proline. These are “nonessential” amino acids which means your body makes them on its own but when you are sick, stressed or unhealthy, your body becomes less efficient at producing these important amino acids.
These “nonessential” amino acids are critical to having a healthy body. Without them things don’t run smoothly. For example, proline helps release fat build up in the blood stream. This is crucial for keeping arteries clean maintaining heart health.
Glutamine plays a decisive role in keeping the acid-alkaline balance in the body. It is also needed for muscle recovery and keeping the skin firm.
Glycine makes sure the cells function properly and builds healthy DNA strands. It also helps create creatinine which boosts muscle production and sustains healthy energy levels
Collagen is important stuff. Without it you would be a saggy, floppy, weak, exhausted sorry excuse for a human being. And that’s not sexy!
I don’t mean to alarm you but as you read this your collagen production is slowly declining! That means you are slowly getting looser skin and more wrinkles. Ark! Taking collagen can help slow this process and keep your skin looking smoother, tighter and more radiant. It can also keep your hair strong and healthy. Extra collagen can enhance cell renewal and repair which means quicker wound and scar healing.
If you have noticed your body getting stiffer as you age, collagen deficiency may be your problem. Too little collagen can also lead to swollen joints that prevent you from doing all those awesome activities that you love.
Ingesting extra collagen can reduce your risk of joint deterioration, bring down joint pain and help your joints glide more easily. There is research that shows that collagen can also help with osteoarthritis.
Leaky gut is a condition where the gut is broken down and inflamed. Food, toxins and pathogens can easily move into the bloodstream. The result is ongoing immune reactions that can lead to chronic inflammation, allergies and so many other symptoms.
If you suffer from this syndrome, collagen can be super helpful. It is fantastic at repairing and generating gut cells which can heal the damaged lining of the gut and prevent particles from leaking into the blood.
Collagen also helps your gut absorb more water which can keep things moving and help you produce that perfect morning poop (you know, the one that is so fabulous that you want to take a picture of it and show it to your friends!
You can boost your metabolism by adding extra collagen into your diet. Glycine, a component of collagen, can help move sugar out of the cells to increases energy levels. Glycine also plays a role in muscle development. More collagens equals more muscles! Da beach is dat way!
Do you have weak nails that split and peel easily? You may be lacking collagen. Do you have unhealthy teeth that are dull and susceptible to cavities? Again, it could be collagen! Supplementing with collagen can keep your teeth healthy and keep your nails strong.
Detoxification is a process that your body is continually doing. Sometimes the liver absorbs foreign substances that can be damaging. The glycine component of collagen can help minimize damage to your liver. If you’re looking to detox, collagen is extremely helpful. That’s because glycine helps minimize damage to your liver. Since we are constantly being exposed to toxins, no matter where we live in the world, having a well functioning liver is important for overall health and avoiding chronic disease.
When skin loses its elasticity as a result of decreased collagen, it can make cellulite more visible. When you lack collagen, your skin becomes thinner and cellulite is more obvious. Taking collagen may be the most important thing for reducing cellulite. Of course, this also needs to be combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Collagen is no magic pill but it can be extremely helpful in ridding yourself of this annoying problem.
Collagen was a huge component of ancestral diets. Since primitive people ate the whole animal including skin, tendon, ligaments and bones, they were constantly exposed to collagen. These days we stick to boneless muscle meats which means we don’t get nearly as much collagen as our ancestors did.
My favorite way to get more collagen is by consuming bone broth. I have an intimate relationship with bone broth. Click here to see my super awesome bone broth recipe. You can use bone broth for cooking or just drink it hot and salted in your favorite mug.
Anytime you cook a turkey or a chicken, keep the carcass and turn it into broth. You can also get bones inexpensively from your local butcher.
If you want to keep things simple, you can take collagen supplements. It’s important that you get collagen powder from grass-fed, naturally raised cows. Make sure they are free of antibiotics and hormones. Collagen powder is easy to take. It mixes into any liquid (hot or cold) and has no noticeable flavor. I drink collagen every morning in my tea or sometimes in a smoothie.
Did you know that magnesium can help every cell cell in your body function better, boost serotonin, reduce symptoms of PMS, improve your stress management skills, help you get more sleep, and do all this without side effects?
Magnesium is amazing!
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium is often referred to as the most crucial mineral in our bodies. It is your body’s most potent relaxant. It has been well researched and proven to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep quality, reduce migraine headaches, improve energy levels, increase insulin sensitivity and enhance daily performance.
Did you know that when pregnant women are having seizures, doctors inject them with magnesium sulfate to stop the seizure? That is how powerful magnesium is.
Magnesium is crucial for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, yet experts have estimated that up to 80% of the population is deficient in this essential mineral.
Magnesium deficiency has been linked to a number of symptoms.
11 Symptoms of Magnesium Deficiency
The main job of magnesium is to produce energy within our cells. That means that every single function, thought and action is completely dependent on magnesium. With levels of deficiency so high, we need to contemplate our magnesium consumption and make sure we are getting enough.
How Can Magnesium Support Healthy Hormones?
What Causes Magnesium Deficiency?
Firstly, understanding what contributes to magnesium deficiency can help you assess your risk of deficiency.
Magnesium is burned quickly by the body to buffer and alleviate the physical symptoms of stress. It soothes the muscles and calms nerve impulses.
Since it is a water soluble mineral, it is easily flushed out of the body. If you are chronically stressed than there is a good chance that your magnesium levels are less than optimal. It’s important to be mindful of your stress levels and increase your magnesium intake during these times.
My favorite way to increase magnesium is by rubbing magnesium oil on my belly and feet. You can purchase this inexpensively at a natural foods store. Check out the Back to Eeden style of gardening. I just love this!
Sugars And Refined Foods
Magnesium is used by the body to breakdown sugar. This means the more you consume sugar and refined foods, the more you deplete your magnesium stores.
One of the easiest ways to improve your magnesium profile is to cut down on sugar and eliminate refined foods from your diet.
Vitamin D & K2 Deficiency
Vitamin D and K are crucial for sufficient magnesium levels. If you are low in either of these vitamins, your magnesium levels will suffer.
I recommend having your vitamin D levels tested to assess the need for supplementation. Request a 25(OH)D test. The Vitamin D Council recommends levels of 50 ng/ml for optimal health. You can request a test from your doctor or order one directly through ZRT Labs
If you do decide to supplement with vitamin D, make sure to purchase a liquid D3/K2 combo. Age
How to Supplement?
All forms of magnesium are not made equally. Oral supplementation is not the best way to get magnesium as up 60% is lost in the GI tract, even with the best absorbed forms.
My favorite forms are magnesium gyclinate or magnesium bisgyclinate. The cheapest forms of magnesium are the magnesium oxides. These are poorly absorbed and can often cause diarrhea. The best way to get magnesium is through the skin. I recommend magnesium oil or Epsom salts baths (or foot baths if you don’t have a bath tub or live in an area with water restrictions).
And if you live near the ocean, get in the sea!
Getting enough magnesium and protecting your body’s stores of it is an extremely powerful way to enhance your health and your life.
If you have been struggling with muscle twitches/spasms/contractions, seizures, anxiousness, abnormal heart rhythms, numbness and tingling or poor sleep, then give magnesium a try. It may be just what you need to get back on track.
Do these Symptoms Sound Familiar to You?
– Weight gain (that won’t come off not matter what you eat)
– Infertility (you have been trying for year with no luck)
– Varicose veins
– Mood swings before or during your period
– Swollen or painful breasts
– Variations or skipped cycles
– Vaginal dryness or itchiness (it just doesn’t make you feel very sexy)
– Excessive or scanty blood flow during periods
– Cyclic insomnia & hot flashes
What is Estrogen Dominance and What Causes it?
Estrogen is a potent hormone. For this reason it should be cleared from the blood immediately after it completes its job. This is one of your livers jobs. If you liver is sluggish or congested with excess toxins, estrogen is allowed to build up in the blood. Too much estrogen can be a nightmare for many women, causing all the symptoms listed above plus greatly increasing your susceptibility to breast cancers.
Excess Estrogen from a Sluggish Liver, which reduces estrogen clearence: In order to detoxify appropriately the liver needs all the necessary co-factors including an abundance of proteins and vitamins. Your liver may be struggling due to a lack of co-factors or because it simply has too many other toxins to remove from the body. If estrogen can’t be removed, it recirculates in the body causing dysfunction. This makes protein especially important for the liver. B-vitamins, selenium, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Vitamin A are also necessary for proper detoxification.
Environmental Estrogens. Unfortunately many estrogens come into the body from external sources. Personal care and beauty products are a huge culprit. As women, we rub numerous products on our bodies such as moisturizers, creams, body washes, make-up etc. Sometimes one of the quickest ways to lower your estrogen is to switch to a natural skincare regime. Estrogen can also come into the body from BPA plastic so make sure you drink you water out of stainless steel or glass.
Excess Phytoestrogen Consumption. Foods like soy, flax and sweet potatoes contain isoflavones which are considered phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogen). While these may not be an issue in small amounts, some people overdo it. This is common in women eating a vegan/vegetarian diet. If you eat a plant-based diet, be careful not to eat these things in excess (especially soy products).
Low Progesterone. Estrogen and progesterone need to be in proper balance. While estrogen is a potent, feisty hormone, progesterone is the mellow, soothing hormone that balances estrogen out. Chronic stress and poor diet can deplete progesterone causing estrogen to be dominant over progesterone. Your estrogen may not necessarily be high but if it is too high compared to progesterone, then estrogen can take over. This balance is important. Progesterone needs cholesterol to be made effectively (yep, I said cholesterol) as well as Vitamin A and T3 (a thyroid hormone).
Chronic stress. The adrenal glands, which make a significant amount of your sex hormones, also make the stress hormone, Cortisol. If you are chronically stressed (this is not only mental/emotional stress but also hidden internal stress) then your body makes Cortisol at the expense of your sex hormone. Progesterone is commonly depleted this way.
Birth Control Pills. The addition of synthetic estrogen to your body will boost estrogen. This is a common reason why women gain weight when starting on the pill.
Aging. Estrogen levels generally decline with age, especially during menopause.
How to Tell if You Have Estrogen Dominance?
I always recommend testing to confirm this. In my experience, testing hundreds of women, something I have learned is that generally what you think is going on with your hormones, isn’t. Even if you have many of the symptoms listed above, this does not guarantee that you have estrogen dominance.We are all unique and not everyone follows the typical pattern.
Never confirm estrogen dominance with a blood test. Blood can only tell you about total estrogen. You cannot differentiate from estrogen which is free and usable and that which is bound up in proteins (and not usable). The best way to check for estrogen dominance is a saliva or urine hormone panel. My favorite test for looking at sex hormones at the moment is the Precision Analytical Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones.
Luckily if you suspect you may have estrogen dominance but can’t afford testing, there is still a lot you can do to improve your situation.
Nurture Your Metabolism
Stop the low-fat dieting and calorie counting. One of the crucial building blocks for hormones is dietary fat. If you eat a low fat diet than you are doing yourself a huge disservice. Often times introducing healthy fat back into the diet is enough to jump start a missing menstrual cycle and boost progesterone production.
Making sure you are eating enough is also necessary for healthy hormone production. Starvation can act as a huge stress on the body, causing your body to pump out cortisol instead of creating those sweet sex hormones. You can determine if you are eating enough food by taking your waking body temperature. Take your temperature under your arm and ideally you should fall between 97.8-98.2 F. If you are less than that, eat more food!
Keep in mind that a consistently low body temperature can also indicate low thyroid. To rule this out, have you doctor do a comprehensive thyroid panel that includes T3, T4, TSH, rT3, TPO antibodies and TBG.
Keep Your Blood Sugar Stable
Low blood sugar can also act as a stressor and deplete your hormones. You can keep your blood sugar stable by eating meals high in protein and healthy fat. Don’t overdo it on the carbohydrates. If you feel “hangry,” irritable, dizzy or shaky in between meals than you will need u your snacks or eat more frequently.
Love Your Liver
Make sure you are eating enough protein. Ideally you should be eating 0.4-0.7 grams of protein per pound of body weight. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, go for 0.4 grams and if you are a high performing athlete, go for the 0.7 grams. Note that 100 grams of chicken does not contain 100 grams of protein. Read labels to determine this.
Make sure to include eggs, dairy (if tolerated), fish, gelatin and shellfish to balance muscle meats (chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, etc). Eating the whole animal is important. Don’t shy away from fat, skin and bone broth (my favorite!).
Reduce your exposure to chemical skincare/beauty products and household cleaning products. Check out the toxicity of your favorite products here.
Emphasize liver friendly foods like turmeric, dandelion, lemon, asparagus, grapefruit, watercress and radicchio.
If you are going to take a liver support supplement, make sure to take one that supports both Phase 1 & Phase 2. Many liver support products only include components that support phase 1 liver detox. Make sure you also see Phase 2 supports like sulfur, cysteine, methionine and milk thistle.
Stress can be caused by mental/emotional distress, lack of sleep, over exercise, poor diet or burning the candle at both ends. Take a good look at your life and see what you can improve. Sometimes small changes make the biggest difference.
Do things that you love. While meditation and deep breathing are fantastic, I believe one of the greatest ways to reduce stress is to have fun and laugh. So many of us don’t take enough time for ourselves. So stop being so serious. Get out there and have as much fun as you can. Do it now!
Do you struggle with estrogen dominance? Please share in the comments!
We all know that sleep is important. Not only is it crucial to brain and organ regeneration, but it also directly influences mood and energy levels the following day.
Sleep is also crucial for your hormone balance and adrenal health. The adrenals do the majority of their regeneration between the hours of 10pm and midnight. If you are going to bed too late then you are missing out on this super crucial time.
If you have ever heard the saying, “an hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight,” this is what that phrase is referring too. A lot of important regeneration happens during this time.
Not being able to get the amount of sleep you need is frustrating. Hours lying awake or continually waking throughout the night are situations many of us are familiar with, including myself. I have been a weird sleeper most of my life. There have only been moments in my life when I felt I was truly getting the amount of rest my body needed.
You know those people who fall asleep on a dime and sleep so deeply that they snore? Well I hate those people. Just joking. Hate is a strong word but I can say that I am incredibly envious of those people and wish I could be more like them when it comes to sleep.
According to T.S. Wiley, author of Lights Out, Sleep, Sugar and Survival, missing out on just 3 hours of sleep a night can make you as insulin resistant as a diabetic. Not only will sleep deprivation increase your risk of developing diabetes, but it also increases your chances of developing obesity, according to this study.
If you are like me and struggle to get those much needed zzzzz’s, here are ten tips which may help you in your quest for a better night’s sleep.
Our cell phones and computers are constantly transmitting electromagnetic frequencies. If you are in the midst of cell phone waves and wifi and whatever else, it can greatly interfere with your sleep. Even your alarm clock can have an impact on your sleep quality.
Turn off your computer. Put your phone in airplane mode. Get rid of that electric blanket. Get a battery powered alarm clock and stop all that nose flying around your head.
Let’s talk about melatonin. Melatonin is your sleep hormone. It is lowest in the morning and highest at night. The secretion of melatonin happens when the sun goes down and the sky gets dark. It lets your internal self know that it’s night time.
So if you are hanging out in a room with bright fluorescent lights, your body still thinks it’s daytime and melatonin secretion is inhibited. After the sun goes down, keep the lights low or better yet, use candles. Try to limit the amount of TV you watch or time looking at the compute screen. I suggest a no screens rule after 8:30pm
Instead of watching Netflix, you can read a book, go for a walk, hang out with your partner or play a board game.
A lot of people will tell you not to eat late a night. This advice may pose a problem for those who struggle with blood sugar problems. For example, if you eat dinner at 6pm every night and breakfast at 8am then you are going a very long time without food.
A major reason that people have trouble staying asleep is blood sugar crashing in the night. Low blood sugar is not a great scenario and when this happens the body will use a number of things to bring it back up. One of these things is adrenalin which can effectively raise blood sugar but will also wake
If you are someone who wakes frequently during the night, experiment with having a healthy snack high in protein before bedtime. The protein will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you asleep throughout the night. You may even want to experiment with keeping your snack next to your bed. When you wake up, eat a little and hopefully this should help you fall back asleep.
The reason many of us can’t sleep is because we just have way too much on our minds. Whether it’s stressing over the events of the day or contemplating what needs to be done the next, sometimes we just don’t know how to hit the off switch.
I have found it helpful to journal before bedtime. It helps clear the mind and get rid of anything you may have been holding onto from your hectic day.
I also like to make my “to do” list for the following day. That way I don’t need to lie awake and worry about all the things I might forget.
This is one of my all time favorite ways to get a good nights sleep. While some people may not think getting needled can be relaxing, it actually is. The theory of Chinese Medicine is based off of 12 meridians, running through the body, which are connected to the internal organs and the emotions.
For example, the liver meridian is linked to stress and anger and the heart meridian in linked to anxiety. Too much of any of these emotions can affect the organs and their corresponding meridian. This can lead to imbalances in “shen,” the energy of our emotional body and sleep disturbance can be a symptom.
I have found getting a really good acupuncture treatment in the late afternoon generally induces great sleeps. If your acupuncturist has also been trained in herbs, he/she might be able to prescribe a herbal treatment that can help in between treatments.
If they above 5 suggestions do not help you, it might be time to consider a good quality supplement. Many people try taking Melatonin supplements but I would caution against this. Melatonin is a hormone, and taking a hormone without knowing where your levels are at could cause hangover like symptoms the next morning.
L-tryptophan and 5-htp are the building blocks of melatonin. Tryptophan (the amino acid from meat products) is converted to 5-htp, which then turns to serotonin (your happy and feel good hormone) and finally becomes melatonin.
Unless you know your melatonin levels, it’s best to give your body the building blocks for this hormone and so your body can decide how much it needs. While you will need to figure out your own dosages of these supplements, according to Julia Ross, author of The Mood Cure, you can start by trying 500-1500mg of tryptophan (start at the lowest dose and work your way up).
If that doesn’t work, try 100-300mg of 5-htp. And if you still aren’t experiencing results, try combining the two. Play around with your dose until you find a combination that works.
If supplementing with tryptophan and 5-htp isn’t working for you, you can try adding in some St. John’s Wort. This herb has been used for centuries to combat depression because of it’s ability to stimulate serotonin production. And remember what serotonin converts to??? Melatonin! Yeeeah! If you wanna give this stuff a try, try 300 mg in late afternoon and 300 mg again at bedtime.
Magnesium is damn important. Actually, I might consider magnesium the single most important mineral needed in the human body. When it comes to sleep, magnesium is a powerful relaxant.
In fact, doctor’s use high concentrations of magnesium sulphate to stop some types of seizures. It relaxes and calms the nervous system, while promoting a healthy heart rhythm.
Unfortunately, this important mineral is also one of the most depleted minerals in our environment, so simply eating magnesium rich foods may not be enough. Another fact to consider is that it has limited absorption through the GI tract. The best way to get your dose of magnesium is through the skin.
My personal favorite is magnesium oil. I rub it on my feet at night, put some little sockies on and go to sleep. You can also try an epsom salts bath. Epsom salts is just another name for magnesium sulphate salts. Draw yourself a hot bath just before bed and this should help you relax and have a great sleep.
This one is not exactly the quickest thing to do but if none of the above options work then you need to consider the health of your gut. Why? Because 80% of your melatonin is produced in your gut. Low melatonin production may be caused by a malfunctioning gastrointestinal tract.
If you are having trouble sleeping, you are likely also experiencing digestive problems. Maybe you are also experiencing some mood problems since serotonin is also produced in the gut.
How do you heal the gut? Time, patience and probably some professional help. Eating a real food diet that is right for you is of up most importance. Probiotics, bone broth and digestive enzymes will help as well. It might also be necessary to get a pathogen screen to detect any infections or parasites going on in there. This is why you will likely need the help of a trained medical profession or a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner.
If all the above fails miserably and you continue to be sleep deprived, you may want to have your adrenal function tested. Having healthy adrenals are very important for good sleep. Adrenals have many life sustaining functions including producing the stress hormones (epinephrine and cortisol) and the sex hormones (DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone).
Malfunctioning adrenals can cause your cortisol levels to be high at night and thus inhibiting your ability to fall asleep. Adrenal dysfunction can also lead to an imbalance in your sex hormones. Deficiencies in DHEA, progesterone, estrogen and progesterone can all cause sleep disorders. Talk to your Naturopath or contact a Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist and ask about running Precision Analytical DUTCH test.
Now do it. Have a good nights sleep and be the best person you can be!
Bone broth is good stuff. Based on my research, I think bone broth may be the most important thing for optimal digestive function and overall health. Not only is it rich in nutrients and mineral but it’s super cheap and easy to make. You have no excuse not to include this stuff in your daily life!
Bone broth is nutrient dense, easy to digest and it also taste good. The stuff is super high in minerals like, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, silicon, sulphur, and much more. It also contains many healing components such as collagen, praline, glutamine, glucosamine and glycine.
The simmering of the bones in water allows these things, which make up the bone, to become infused in the water and bioavailable for you and me to eat. All the nutrients and minerals are amazing for healing the gut, rebuilding tissue, supporting growth and reducing inflammation. As far as I’m concerned, bone broth is an absolute super food.
There is no need to spend stupid amounts of money on expensive supplements when you can just have a cup of bone broth every single day.
Sally Fallon, founder of the Weston A. Price Foundation, believes the bone broth is not only necessary for adults, but it integral to the proper development of children and pregnant women.
The collagen and gelatin in bone broth are the source of the broth’s immune boosting properties. Collagen is a protein which is found in connective tissue. When the collagen is broken down, such as in the simmering of bones, you get gelatin.
What is gelatin good for? Dr. Francis Pottenger, a famous researcher, who did experiments with cats and the affects of modern foods on their health and development, found bone broth to be helpful with the following conditions;
• Helps reduce food allergies and intolerance
• Aids in the healing of irritable bowl syndrome, Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis
• Helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and gets rid of cellulite
• Heals leaky gut and gut inflammation
• Promotes tissue growth, especially in pregnant women and children
• Prevents bone loss
Bone broth is a staple in traditional diets. It was considered a scared food because our ancestors knew that without proper nutrition, they would not survive. These days, people throw the bones away, often choosing boneless cuts of meat for convenience. Now you know something other people don’t. The bones are the most important part of the animals and you need to get some. The good news is bones are cheap. Since no one else wants them, you can purchase them from the butcher without breaking the bank.
If you order your meat in bulk, request to get the bones as well. You can go to any butcher and ask if he/she has some bones you can buy. Keep the chicken carcass when you cook a whole chicken. Order a whole fish and save the bones. Try to have a little store of bones in your freezer at all times. This way you can always have some bone broth on the go.
I like to add in veggies when making my bone broth. My advice is to save all the odds and ends when you cut up any vegetables. I usually keep the ends of carrots, onion skins and whatever stuff I would normally throw in the compost. I keep these stuff in a container in the freezer to use when I make a batch. This way you don’t need to spend extra money buying veggies to put in your broth
Here is my recipe for delicious and nourishing bone broth.[yumprint-recipe id=’3′]