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Hey there, hey everyone!
I’m Kendra Perry, I am a functional diagnostic nutritionist and i specialize in female hormones, GI health and heavy metal detox so if this is your first time joining me it’s very very nice to meet you, and I’m pretty excited about today’s video because I’m actually gonna be going over the case study of a GI map which is a very very important GI panel that i use with pretty much all my clients and i honestly get so much in so many questions about the gi map.
So a lot of people with chronic GI issues they’re doing a ton of research and ultimately they’ll end up coming to the gi map which is a very effective panel for identifying infections, leaky gut, inflammation, immune function and stuff like that. So I actually want to go over a case study of one of my clients Lacey we’ll call her Lacey.
So you can see what her test initially looked like when she came to me, the symptoms that she was initially experiencing and how we worked through the different protocols to actually a hundred percent resolve her chronic GI symptoms. This is an amazing test and if you want to copy up the case study that I’m going to go through today you just have to type amazing in the comments below, and I’ll just send it to you through facebook messenger, I have all the entire protocol that I used in this document plus copies of the lab tests so you can get an idea of what it would look like.
Okay, so I am actually going to share my screen so here we go and I’m going to take you through this. So Lacey was a client who came to me just over a year ago, she was a 36-year-old female she was an IT consultant and she was having a really rough time, she was currently eating a standard American diet so unfortunately, she was eating a lot of processed food she thought she was eating healthy but she was eating a lot of things that came from a box that came from a package and because of that her sugar consumption was much higher than desirable she was eating lots of unhealthy fats she wasn’t getting enough protein, which is pretty common with many of the woman who I work with they don’t like eating a lot of meat so they’re just not getting the protein that they need.
She wasn’t getting enough sleep either she was staying up really late she was doing a lot of her work late at night and then she was getting up pretty early in the morning and she was pretty stressed out, overall she didn’t like her job she was you know really stressed out with work she had a bit of a relationship stress and she kind of dealt with that by doing a ton of different exercise so she would she would go to CrossFit she would go to spin classes and she would do this five to six days a week and she would actually get up early and deprive herself from even more sleep just so she could do this really intense exercise.
She was trying you know she was doing her best she was taking some supplements but yeah, magnesium citrate really low, form of magnesium because her main complaints were bloating and gas. She was doing ghee, membrane, peppermint. She was also taking a multivitamin and some vitamin D and she was taking quite a few over-the-counter pain meds just because she was having so much pain with her month of migraine so her, main complaints are right here she had chronic fatigue she had horrible constipation where she just couldn’t eliminate at all.
She would only go once or twice a week sometimes which is pretty bad. So you know reabsorbing a lot of the toxins she was being exposed to, she was also severely bloated pretty much everything she ate was just bloating her she said, even water would bloat her.
And then she was having you know migraines a few times a week so she was having a really really hard time. So we ran some tests with her but I do want to show you her first GI Map, so this is a gut panel that I use it is amazing it’s very sensitive it uses a more cutting-edge type of technology than a traditional stool analysis and so because that is very sensitive it’s very good at picking up different infections, parasites, bacteria, yeast, viruses, worms which is a cool new addition to the test plus it will look at inflammation, digestion, detoxification and a few other things a, well so, this was the first page of her tests so right off the bat down here these are some major issues like really really major so these parasitic pathogens here I like to call these the big bad three because these are the most damaging parasites that you can get.
Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica and giardia and she does have two of them, I’ve actually had all three of these but that’s me so this one right here the entamoeba histolytica this is the most dangerous parasite that you can get. Most doctors know about this it causes a lot of disease basically, it is a parasite that doesn’t stay in the GI tract it travels into the brain into the lungs and into the liver and in the liver it has the opportunity or possibility of creating a liver abscess and that’s what can actually kill people, so this is a potentially fatal infection so it’s no wonder she was having so much fatigue while she was having so much of gi Issues because this is a really really serious infection and this is actually a good lesson for why it’s so important to test because you know I come across so many people who are just you know they think they have a gi infection so they’re just taking like some anti microbials they’re taking different herbs that they’ve heard of that will help,
Well in the case of this one in the case of entamoeba histolytica, It does not respond to her mo protocols this is probably the only infection where I will send someone to their doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics a very specific antibiotic a lot of antibiotics don’t touch this but there is a couple specific antibiotics that will get rid of this and it will generally get rid of it within two to three weeks of treatment so if you know and that’s why I’m such a proponent of testing I think you should always test not guess and yeah this is because with this one you know if you didn’t test you would never know that you have this and this can actually exist in you for years and just cause so much sickness, okay so pretty, big deal right there.
Giardia is another parasite for some people also can cause fever but you get it from drinking contaminated water or swimming in like a contaminated lake or pond, you know it’s nasty it causes a lot of toxins to be released in the body it will cause a lot of dysbiosis so you know right here she has two of the three big bad parasites right so no wonder that she feeling the way that she’s feeling, okay on top of that sheso has h pylori so helio factor k pylori is a little spiral shaped bacteria, It likes to burrow into the lining of the stomach and typically the stomach is very acidic and that’s what allows you to break down and denature protein but h pylori actually changes the ph to alkaline so when the ph is alkaline you actually can’t break down protein so you have a lot of protein malabsorption and then you have these large chunks of protein traveling through the gi tract and getting fed on by other types of bacteria it will cause a lot of purification a lot of gas production hence bloating right, so this is a really nasty infection and unfortunately she does have this Vac A Virulence factor, which just, means that she has a strain of hp laura that is more likely to lead to something like stomach ulcers and stomach cancer so this infection is actually a primary cause of stomach cancer.
So yeah right off the bat we’re seeing, some major infections, it’s not going to be a quick fix but we can definitely help her okay, and then as I scroll down here we can see her this is her normal flora which some of it is looking a little bit low. So, I did put her on a probiotic and then we’re also seeing some of these potential autoimmune triggers so these are bacteria that have been shown in some research to potentially trigger certain types of autoimmunity. This one is specific to rheumatoid arthritis and this one is just specific to autoimmune conditions in general so yeah, some pretty nasty opportunistic bacteria this is gonna crowd out her friendly flora so definitely an issue definitely something we want to address.
And then she also has one of these parasites not as nasty as the two other parasites she has but you know, not favourable we don’t want to see parasites in people so we’re gonna address this parasite as well and then finally she does have Candida. She doesn’t have candida albicans this is the strain of candida most people are familiar with she has a different strain of candida it’s in moderate amounts and she also has micro spur idiom which is considered a parasitic fungus really, really nasty fungus causes a lot of pathology causes a lot of symptoms a lot of fatigue so you know we’re seeing a lot of infections in Lacey and its really validating how she feels right.
Okay, and then if we go down we can see secretory iga, which is a marker for immune system you can see how depressed it is so the range is five to ten and considering how many infections she has you would actually expect to see this really elevated that would show you that the immune system is on high alert and actually responding to those infections that she has but it’s so low so these infections are really wearing on her immune system and it’s possible that these infections have actually been going on for a really long time and that’s why her immune system just simply isn’t mounting a response anymore.
Okay, so anti-gliadin, IgA is the section of the immune system that reacts that responds to gliadin which is a component of gluten that people react to and this is really high so I don’t often see ones this high, anything over 300 can show that your body is mounting an inflammatory response to gluten but this is so high I actually was like this could be a sign for something like celiac disease I don’t diagnoseI’mm not a doctor so i sent her to a doctor to get tested for celiac to see if that was something she had but regardless even if she doesn’t have celiac we still need to follow a very certain free diet because her body is having a pretty negative nasty response to that protein.
Elastase-1 this is a marker for pancreatic enzyme function and you can see it’s quite low 200 or above is the range I like to see 400 or higher from a functional standpoint, so she’s at 110 so pancreas is a bit sluggish she’s not getting good enzyme production so she’s not breaking down her food very well and then calprotectin is a marker for inflammation in the gut and this is really high and considering how low her immune function is this is very high because it’s like she’s barely being able to respond, her immune system is not responding. And then she has this in high inflammation so this is actually a lot higher than it looks because of that so I know this isn’t some another situation where I sent her to a gastroenterologist just to get her checked out for something more serious of course those infections that she does have they can definitely cause a lot of inflammation but I always like to be safe I want to make sureI’mm within my scope of practice so I did send her to a doctor to get that checked out as well.
Okay, so what did we do to help her?
So we’ll go up here and so we actually we had to do a lot of work with Lacey, just because you know she wasn’t eating a super healthy diet, she wasn’t living a super healthy lifestyle so, we put her on 100% gluten-free diet Paleo I had her eliminating, grains, dairy, legumes, beans, sugar a lot of those things can be hard to digest and we could just tell that she clearly wasn’t digesting so i really had to clean up her diet.
We got her eating four to seven tablespoons of added fat daily of healthy fats these are the ones I usually recommend and I really upped her protein content so we had her starting to eat a little bit more meat we also added in a really high-quality protein powder to just get her some of some more of that protein, we started introducing some really healthy carbs like roux feds root vegetables and some low sugar fruit and I also significantly upped her cooked veggie intake I’m a big fan of cooked veggies because they do increase mineral content and when your body is having trouble digesting raw veggies just aren’t your friend because they are hard to digest.
Okay, so when I work with clients I like to use DRESS-D protocol so dress stands for Diet Rest Exercise Stress reduction Supplements and then I also added another D for Detoxification. that’s really important so it really is a holistic approach when i work with clients it’s very important we can’t just give people supplements, we can’t just give people, you know, tell them to sleep we can’t just clean up their diet really, we need to address all those things, okay?
So, we also got her resting warm we got her going to bed early in bed by 10:30 every night, started getting her to prioritize that seven to nine hours of sleep and then avoiding screens and bright lights before bed just so that she wasn’t affecting her melatonin. Which is her sleep hormone which can be affected by bright light so we had her sleeping better which is really helpful, i did have to tell her to slow down on her exercise because she was exercising way too hard for her energy level she was exhausting herself and as you go through a healing program especially when you’re killing off infections they do dump their toxins so it is pretty hard on the body so you really do need to rest so we had her doing more restorative workouts, walking, pilates, yoga stretching and avoiding all that intensive cardio for the duration of the program.
So she was a little resistant to that but once she started resting more and taking more time for herself she did see how much it helped. So, we had her implement some stress reduction techniques Daily, gratitude journal meditation practice more restorative yoga and journaling I referred her to a couple’s counsellor for relationship issues which I know she did find helpful and you know she just wasn’t doing enough things that were fun for her so you know. I really encouraged her to get outside to do things with friends just to spend more time doing things that made her happy.
I got her on on some foundational supplements and so this was for the duration of all the protocols that she ended up having to go on Ashwagandha to mitigate the stress response I got her on some high dose magnesium glycinate so I’m a big fan of magnesium for everyone, GI Revive is a really great gut rebuilder. So I gave her some of that megaspore biotic is a really potent probiotic,
So to just support that sort of friendly flora and microbiome I had are taking some interphase and Biocidin this helps address the biofilm this is actually really really important for any Infection elimination because the biofilm is like this sticky
Polysaccharide matrix that bacteria produce between them and they can actually physically kind of hide under it as a barrier but they also use it to kind of communicate among each other so that’s how they kind of resist and adapt to some of the treatment you might giving it so a big part of getting rid of infections is disrupting the biofilm so these are biofilm disruptors we also gave her some colostrum which will help improve her immune response,
Someday just some bitters to help her produce more enzymes and some Boswelia as an anti-inflammatory and for this protocol I actually Had to put her on five Separate protocols just because she had so many infections this was definitely a bit of a worst-case scenario I mean not all of the ones I see her this bad but it’s not uncommon so first I wanted to address the entamoeba histolytica. If you’ll remember that’s that really dangerous Potentially fatal infection. That a lot of people that just won’t respond to hurled protocols so I referred her out for an antibiotic and fortunately the antibiotic that kills the entamoeba histolytica will also kill giardia so this Was kind of like a two birds with one stone, we had her on three weeks of those antibiotics prescribed By her physician and after those three weeks.
We started the second protocol so the whole time she’s taking all these foundational stuff foundational supplements. So the second protocol was 60 days and the next thing i prioritized was the h pylori, because that is the reason she’s not digesting any of her food so these are the products I use pylori it’s mostly mastic gum, mastic gum seems to be the thing that kills off h pylori. DGL synergy Which I deglyzerized licorice roots of licorice root without the effects that they can have on hormone so very good for the stomach and then mutula tea which is a really really healing tea it’s a combination of different flowers and herbs that are picked at very specific times of the year but it’s pretty awesome at getting rid of h pylori, if i have h pylori with a client and there aren’t those of ireland’s factors or those factors pointing to having the type of h pylori that leads you to stomach ulcers and cancer i may not add in mutulu tea but because she had that more serious strain of hp laurie i did add in maturity
So then, we knew that third Sixty-day protocol for that last parasite that penta chromis hominis and so amazon ap, this is a great product that’s rain, forest botanicals so really effective herbs are getting rid of parasites i really really love, these products We did that for days. And then we did the fourth protocol for sixty Days to address the bacterial infection so I put her on another product with rain forest botanicals but More specific to the bacteria and then alison is just really high dose concentrated garlic
So, that’s really really effective for addressing, bacterial infections and then the fifth protocol. The final protocol is for the yeast for the candida and the micro spur idiom so i did another product with rainforest botanicals for fungus and then candid x which will help address that candida, that she had for detox we had daily coffee enema coffee enemas I know those are probably sound scary but they’re very effective for detox. We had her during regular castor oil packs in sauna therapy and then of course i did send her to her Physician for celiac testing to see if that was something that she had because of that really Elevated immune response to the anti-gliadin, iga, okay?
We did that this took about six months is I think it took longer than six months this was a long protocol, we had five different protocol. So, that’s probably, about eight months So at eight months we checked in and she actually had experienced a lot of improvement so her fatigue had Improved she was still having migraines but they were becoming less intense and less frequent. She was experiencing less, bloating she was starting to have more regular bowel movements but they were so hard to pass is still a bit of constipation there she did notice that she was sleeping better.
And she was adhering to the recommendations and you know. No one’s perfect! She wasn’t perfect but she was doing a really good job. She did manage to cut down on some stress she cut down on work hours she was pursuing a new job opportunity Which she thought was feeling very excited about. She took up a new hobby and she cut down on her exercise which even though she was resistant she did find that that really helped and it turns out the celiac test was negative so she did not have celiac disease according to her doctor but because of the elevated response to it
Strict gluten free diet okay, so let’s look at what her second test looked at looked like okay so this is kind of interesting and this is actually a situation that i see a lot. Sometimes the retest you get rid of one round of infections and a whole bunch of new infections show up very common that’s just because you know the gut is a deep dark place.
There’s a lot of things that are in there and such small amounts and once you get rid of one thing you kind of make room, for these other things they kind of come out of hiding and show their face it’s not a bad thing it shows that the particle is working so it’s not uncommon to have to go through another round of treatment after the first. One or sometimes you just don’t get rid of those initial infections they need a longer treatment everyone’s different so this isn’t straightforward, there’s no cookie cutter approach.
What I do for you is very different for what i do for her or him. Okay, so the good news is we got rid of those big bad infections so we got rid of the entamoeba histolytica We got rid of the giardia and this is awesome we got rid of the h pylori the first round of treatment Which doesn’t always happen so that was awesome. But what we did see is this clostridium difficile or c-Diff so this is a very nasty Bacterial infection it’s very resistant to antibiotics and typically people get it from taking too many antibiotics and Lacey did have a history of antibiotic use plus it’s rampant in hospitals so if you spend any time in hospitals if you are a hospital worker a nurse a doctor there’s a good chance that you might have this and if you spent any time you know visiting relatives or friends in the hospital and she did have a sick mother so she was spending a lot of time in a hospital we never really know why people get these or when they pick them up or how long they had them for but those are definitely some risk factors.
C-diff if is nasty causes a lot of toxin production this one can be fatal as well although mostly in people who are immunocompromised or really elderly people but definitely not something that you want in your stomach okay. So this is a new protocol that we’re gonna have to put her through if we scroll down. We’re actually seeing some improvements in her bacterial flora which is good so that probiotic is helping and just the fact that we’re getting rid of these major infections is actually really increasing the rate at which your friendly flora can grow so we got rid of the citrobacter.
We got rid of the proteus so this is all awesome but we did have another parasite pop up and this is actually really common so the h pylori, that she originally had tends to travel with blastocystis hominis the two teams seem to come together. Although i rarely see them come up with the same task so usually I’ll see one on the first test and on the retest the next one comes up that’s pretty common although i did just have a client yesterday, where we saw both on the same test so it does happen so we’re gonna have to do another parasite protocol for Lacey. And then we did do a pretty good dent in the candida and microsporum fungus they were moderate before so now they’re low so yeah we just need she needs a bit of a longer protocol for this but what we’re doing is working.
We just need to do it for a little bit longer and then for these additional tests, we can see this is her immune system marker it’s coming back. I believe it was at 135 before and it’s at 526 so her immune system is starting to bounce back this is awesome. This is the immune system that is reacting to gluten. Excuse me and it’s gone down it was at 500 before but it’s still high so after we saw this she was eating a really strict glutenfree diet she’s doing really good with that so i had her go through all her personal care products and beauty products and check for
Gluten in the ingredients because a lot of these products do have gluten and that for people who are really sensitive. Okay, so we’re back on i think i just bounced off for a second as always i have super crappy internet. So enzyme production is back it’s it’s better it’s above the range now it’s still low from my perspective but we’re starting to see better pancreatic enzyme response, calprotectin, which is that inflammation marker has gone down a little bit too so we’re seeing a lot of really good things with this test
Which is awesome and then it’s showing it how she feels it’s showing in her symptoms. Okay, so what did we do so for the second test? We had to put her through another protocol so We had her continue with everything she was doing because her energy levels were up i let her Add a bit of resistance training, some interval training as her energy allowed we continued with all those foundational supplements but we did have to put her on a few more 60-day protocols so seed if that’s the nasty one. This one actually responds really poorly the antibiotics really poorly the herb it does really well with saccharomyces boulardii.
Which is a probiotic and i do a taper off protocol, which means we start with a high dose and we slowly decrease. Ok, we’re back on so i added in the ap, some gi microbe acts have been some more things and then we also added in i just a yeast protocol, we continued with what we were doing because it was working and then i added in some grapefruit seed extract, Some caprylic switch is from coconut oil to just really try to speed that protocol along and then we continued with everything, of course, we did have her assess her personal care and beauty products to look for those gluten-containing ingredients ok. So after this protocol she again experienced some significant changes she said she hadn’t had a migraine in a couple months which is awesome she was reporting better energy and more consistent energy throughout the day she didn’t feel bloated anymore her bowel movements were regular and only occasionally difficult to pass, her sleep was really good and she said she was following the guidelines but 90% so she was doing a really good job.
And well this is what, we saw on her third test. Okay so this, is test number three, we can see the c-diff is gone sorry guys having internet connections but i’m gonna keep going here all her bacteria was up which is awesome and this was all looking really clean the yeast was gone that parasite was gone. And then where we’re seeing so this these are actually there, was so in between the I’m just gonna, keep pushing, through, these tech issues guys and so this is where we’re seeing so many good things so alas says one, enzymes are way up there above 400 this is awesome pancreas is keeping up again we’re seeing that her immune response has really bounced back so it was 500 on the last one now we’re up to 1300 we’re,back in that range and she’s no longer mounting an inflammatory response to gluten that’s because she has completely removed it she’s got it out of her diet she had got it out of her personal care products she’s been really good with that so that is no longer an issue for her and then calprotectin this is the inflammation marker and that is way down so this is a really great success story and this is typically what happen when i work with clients it’s not always done after the first round like one test usually isn’t enough, we have to work through a couple. This probably took a full year to complete or just a little bit over a year.
Maybe about a year and a half but But it’s not a long time because these Issues were going on for years she had this going on for 15 years so 15 years a year and a half to heal i actually think that’s pretty good that’s why i love testing. You want a copy of this case study with everything that i did to help or you can just type amazing into the comments box and i’ll send it to your facebook messenger we’re just pushing through these tech issues hopefully i won’t have another i’ll be able to finish this before i drop off again but if you’re interested you can book a free appointment with me if you just want to chat with me, pick my brain and see if what you’re going through will be a good fit for my program and of course if you do want this case study you want to take a look at these tests and the protocol that i recommended for Lacey just type “amazing” in the comments box and ill send it to your FB Messenger.
You can learn more about me at kendraperry.net Have a good day, Bye!
Feeling exhausted, cold, backed up and carrying around a muffin top around your belly? If you’re answer is yes, then you might be struggling with a sluggish thyroid.
Symptoms of low thyroid include: constipation, fatigue, weight gain (despite eating a healthy diet and exercising), cold hands and feed and many, many more!
Thyroid problems are on the rise and effect women significantly more than they affect men. WTF?!
The result is many women are struggling to lose weight and have enough energy to get through the day AND they have NO IDEA how to fix it.
Unfortunately, thyroid problems are often under diagnosed. As lab ranges get wider, your thyroid markers have to be pretty freakin’ bad to get a diagnosis. Instead, many women are sent away with an anti-depressant or are told to “relax” and stop “stressing.” Unacceptable.
If you suspect your thyroid is malfunctioning, make sure to grab my FREE Sluggish Thyroid Cheat Sheet. I will teach you the signs of a sluggish thyroid, a simple at-home test you can do to identify a thyroid problem and finally, all the markers you need your doctor to run and where exactly your numbers should fall. Get that here!
Ok, let’s get to it! Watch the video below to learn 3 simple strategies to support your thyroid and finally start losing weight! Enjoy!
As you may have noticed, I am a huge supporter of the Paleo diet. In the past few months, I have mentioned this diet as a therapeutic way to deal with hormonal issues such as estrogen dominance and PCOS.
There is some controversy surrounding the Paleo diet. Proponents of this style of eating discuss earlier times in human history when people were healthier and free of degenerative illness. Many believe the Paleo diet mimics that sort of diet, when access to grains, dairy and legumes was limited.
This may be true but many dispute this, saying that our current diets in no way represent foods that were available in prehistoric times.
The truth is, I don’t care much for either of these arguments. It’s true our food has changed significantly in the past few thousands of years. Nothing we eat today has much resemblance to the foods that were available to our ancestors. It has been modified many times over to be sweeter, bigger and to resist disease. Replicating an ancestral diet is virtually impossible.
That being said, we can rely on certain principles that helped our ancestors to be healthy and free of many of the diseases that plague modern society. These principles involve eating real, whole foods, reducing sugar, eating free range meat, growing our own food and reducing processed food as much as possible.
The reason I am such a huge supporter of the Paleo diet is due to it’s therapeutic qualities. When it comes to hormones, the Paleo diet can be extremely helpful.
The Paleo diet eliminates sugar. Sugar has a significant effect on blood sugar. Yo-yoing blood sugar is incredibly stressful to the body and is a main culprit behind imbalanced hormones. The adrenal glands, which produce stress hormones, also produce a significant amount of your sex hormones.
If you blood sugar is consistently crashing because you are eating a high sugar diet, your body will be stressed and the adrenal glands will pump out cortisol to deal with it. Since cortisol gets priority over your other hormones, your sex hormones can become depleted.
Too much sugar can also lead to weight gain. Excess weight becomes an organ of it’s own because fat cells can produce estrogen and upregulate an enzyme the increases the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This can lead to Estrogen Dominance. Sugar also stimulates testosterone production. Too much testosterone can lead to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and prostate problems in men.
Soy is a phytoestrogen, which means that it is shaped similarly to natural estrogen. When consumed, phytoestrogens can increase estrogen load in the bloodstream. Excess estrogen can cause weight gain, PMS, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, and mood disorders.
Estrogen Dominance is a huge issue in both men and women. To learn more about estrogen dominance, click here.
Like sugar, grains & legumes have a significant effect on blood sugar. They are broken down quickly and do little to give you long lasting energy. As we know, fluctuating blood sugar levels have a massive effect on hormonal health and energy levels.
Additionally, grains can be irritating to the gut lining. Many health practitioners implicate grain consumption in the development of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Leaky Gut Syndrome can lead to GI infections, yeast overgrowth and autoimmune conditions.
A Standard American Diet tends to be high in Omega 6 fats such as canola oil, soybean oil, vegetable oil and other seed oils. Too much Omega 6 fats can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is an issue for most genders but for women it can increase premenstrual cramps and other PMS symptoms.
Too many Omega 6 fats can also negatively affect an infants brain during the last trimester of pregnancy, leading to decreased frontal lobe formation.
The Paleo diet encourages a high intake of Omega 3 fats such as coconut oil, animals fats, avocados and eggs which reduce inflammation and promote healthy brain development.
Conventional dairy products contain added synthetic hormones and traces of antibiotics. Synthetic hormones given to cows are still present in the dairy that you eat. This can throw off your own delicate hormone imbalance.
Antibiotic exposure depletes gut flora and increases the likelihood of developing leaky gut syndrome and other gastrointestinal issues.
In addition to eliminating problematic foods, the Paleo diet also focuses on including high quantities of nutritional foods; fruits such as blueberries are high in antioxidants, vegetables such as kale are rich in vitamins and minerals, and high quality animal products such as pasture-raised eggs deliver complete protein and nutrients different from those found in plants like choline, vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin K2. A nutrient-rich diet is critical for reducing inflammation, balancing hormones and having optimal reproductive health.
The Paleo diet is a great place to start if you want to significantly improve your health. You don’t need to get caught up in all the silly rules of Paleo. You can customize this diet to fit your needs. Some people can tolerate some grains and some people can tolerate some forms of dairy.
My advice is to start with the Paleo diet and all it’s restrictions for at least 30 days. After 30 days you can try adding some dairy or some grains back into your diet and see how it goes.
Watch below to see me talk about this article in a video!
This week on the blog we are talking about PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Last week I discussed this condition in detail and how it is the leading cause of infertility in women in the Western world. If you want to get all the details about PCOS, you can read the article here.
According to statistics, PCOS effects up to 20% of women in childbearing years. Unfortunately, it is not completely clear what causes this condition and this is still up for heavy debate in the scientific community.
The medical industry has put its focus on treating the symptoms of this condition through medication, like the birth control pills and metformin, rather than addressing the root cause. This has led to the misconception that PCOS is an unpreventable and incurable disease. This simply is not true. If you have PCOS, do not feel hopeless and please do not give up all your dreams of having children. PCOS is not only treatable, it is preventable, and it may even be curable in many women.
To be diagnosed with PCOS, you must meet two of these three criteria;
• Irregular or absent periods
• Elevated androgenic hormones (DHEA, testosterone)
• Cystic ovaries
Having PCOS is not fun. Often times women have a hard time losing weight, acne breakouts, facial hair growth, oily skin and hair, infertility and issues with anger and irritability.
We still don’t know what the definitive cause of PCOS is but it tends to come hand in hand with insulin resistance.
Insulin (the blood sugar hormone) is released into our bodies in response to sugar in the bloodstream. Its purpose is to grab this sugar from the blood and get it into the cells so that it can be burned for energy or stored as fat. Now, when we’re eating healthy complex carbohydrates, these break down gradually keeping our insulin and sugar levels balanced with only slight increases after meals. But when we eat unhealthy refined, or simple sugars (think cake and cookies, white bread, white rice) these break down much more quickly causing a dramatic spike in our insulin levels.
That huge spike that occurs when we eat refined sugars causes sugar to get pulled from the blood too quickly. The result is a dramatic drop blood sugar levels which then causes intense sugar cravings to normalize blood sugar again. This is known as the blood sugar roller coaster and for many people they ride it all day long.
It goes a little bit like this: High sugar/carbohydrate breakfast. Flood of insulin to reduce blood sugar. Blood sugar goes to low. You experience dizziness, fatigue, “hangryness,” and intense sugar cravings. You reach for more sugar/carbohydrates (ie. pastry, donut, bread, etc.) Blood sugar spikes again and you start the cycle all over again.
Eventually, if you continue with this vicious cycle, your body will develop insulin resistance. Extreme fluctuations of blood sugar is not normal. Previous to one hundred years ago, people did not have unlimited access to sugar and refined carbohydrates. This is not a normal situation. As insulin continues to knock on the doors of the cells and force sugar through the door, the cells stop hearing insulin. They become resistant. If the cells won’t let sugar into the blood, insulin then is forced to bring the sugar to the liver where it can be converted to fat.
1. Most women who have insulin resistance also have high testosterone and DHEA. For some reason insulin resistance seems to drive the androgen pathway, leading to elevated androgen levels.
2. Excess insulin causes the liver to make less sex-hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), the main protein that binds testosterone and keeps it from exerting its potent effects. This leads to extra free testosterone in the blood.
3. Insulin resistance increases the enzyme, aromatase. Aromatase causes the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. This can create estrogen dominance and lead to a whole host of nasty symptoms. Learn more about estrogen dominance here.
4. Insulin is a fat storage hormone which means you gain weight, typically around the abdomen.
5. Fat is found to act like an endocrine organ in itself. Excess fat can release excess testosterone, estrogen and cortisol. Too much of any of these hormones can block the pituitary from making enough Follicle Stimulating Hormone. This means FSH is not longer in balance with Lutenizing Hormone (LH). Too little FSH means that follicles in your ovaries cannot mature as usual. The dominant egg is never formed and instead the many immature follicles end up becoming cysts in your ovaries.
So now that you have a pretty good idea what’s going on, you are probably wondering, “How the heck do I fix this?!” It is completely possible to fix this issue but it does mean taking a careful look at your diet and lifestyle. Good things don’t come easy but with a little bit of love and attention you can bring your body and your hormones back into balance. Here is where to start:
1. Eat a low sugar diet – when it comes to PCOS, the most important thing to get under control is your diet. The quickest way to fix insulin resistance is to start pulling sugar and refined carbohydrates out of the diet. This can be hard at first since it is the norm to eat a diet high in these things. Ditch the refined sugar but also be wary of high sugar health foods like dried fruit, tropical fruits, honey, maple syrup and agave.
Make sure to have a high protein breakfast with lots of healthy fat. Try to keep sugar and carbohydrates as low as possible. Great choices for breakfast are eggs, free range meat, avocado and non-starchy vegetables (ie. greens, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.).
If you are insulin resistant, you may be extra sensitive to sugar. You really need to remove it from your diet as much as possible. If you continue to struggle with sugar cravings despite reducing it in your diet, you can try this supplement or eat low sugar fruit like berries and apples. Coconut butter is also a delicious treat to help curb your cravings.
2. Eat Fibre – A high fibre diet may help pull excess testosterone out of the body. Cholesterol based hormones like estrogen and testosterone are secreted with the bile produced by the liver. Fibre can bind to hormone containing bile in the gut and be excreted in the stool. It isn’t known how much fibre can actually bind to fibre but there is likely some amount of binding which may reduce re-absorption of cholesterol-based hormones back into the blood. Too little fibre in the diet may lead to excess androgens circulating the blood and exerting their powerful effects.
Try to eat 35-50 grams of fibre a day in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables. The highest fibre foods include berries, apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, asparagus, squash, zucchini and broccoli.
3. Omega-3’s – According to this study, Omega 3’s may help reduce serum testosterone levels in the blood without a significant effect on Sex Hormone Binding Globule and insulin levels. The best way to do this is to include wild salmon in your diet or take a high quality fish oil supplement.
When it comes to supplementing with fish oil, quality matters the most. Many brands are not processed well and the result in rancid oil hiding in a capsule. Want to know if your fish oil supplement is any good? Open one of your capsules and smell it. If it’s gone bad, you will know. I generally recommend sticking to fish oil supplements made with mackerel, sardines and anchovies. My current favorite is Thorne Research Fish Oil and Orthomolecular Orthomega.
4. Vitamin D – A 2011 study concluded that most women with PCOS are deficient in Vitamin D. In another study, 67-85% of women struggling with infertility were also vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, is crucial for your immune system, bone development and muscle function. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with insulin resistance, obesity and inflammation, all drivers of PCOS. Make sure you get enough unfiltered natural sunlight every day if possible. The amount of time you should spend in the sun depends on your skin tone. Fair skinned persons may only need 15-20 minutes of unfiltered sun exposure daily, whereas dark skinned individuals may need as much as an hour or more.
If you have PCOS, it is a good idea to supplement with vitamin D. Make sure you purchase a Vitamin D3/K2 combo, without K2 you won’t absorb much vitamin D. The Vitamin D counsel recommends that you take a minimum of 1000 IU per 25 lbs of body weight. I personally take 10,000 IU’s a day because I was found to be significantly deficient in my last blood test.
5. Chromium – chromium is a mineral that promotes proper insulin utilization and helps with blood-glucose management. This is one of my favorite supplements for blood sugar control. Chromium can be found in a wide range of foods – Broccoli, sweet potatoes, grass-fed beef, raw onions, and eggs are all good sources. You can also supplement with 200mcg of chromium picolinate a day.
6. Exercise – This is important. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity. Make sure to get a little bit of exercise every single day. Be mindful of your activity levels. You want to be active but you also do not want to go overboard. Too much exercise can lead to excess cortisol levels. High cortisol leads to high blood sugar levels. Exercise should make you feel energized, not exhausted. If you feel exhausted after exercise, take it down a notch.
7. Acupuncture – I am a huge proponent of acupuncture for reproductive health. I know many women who have regulated their cycles and gotten pregnant after introducing acupuncture into their lives. Acupuncture is a powerful thing. Give it a try before taking any prescription drugs or surgery.
If you were to look at what the medical industry has to say about PCOS, you would think it was an unavoidable incurable genetically contracted disease. I do not believe this is anywhere near the truth.
Remember that families share a lot more than just genes. They share meals, habits, lifestyle and environment. They may also share their love of Chinese takeout, Netflix and inactivity. To say that genetics is the main cause of PCOS is to say that you have no role in your condition. This ignores all of the things you can start doing right now to get to the root cause of PCOS and reverse it.
When a woman hears that she has been diagnosed with an incurable disease that was handed down to her, her options for treatment immediately become limited. In a condition like PCOS, where a woman’s lifestyle and food choices are such a huge component, I urge all women to at least consider all their options before resorting to drugs or invasive medical procedures.
What helped you overcome PCOS? Please tell me about your experience below.
Do you want to hear me talk about this article in a video? Check it out below.
What is PCOS? PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and to be diagnosed you must have at least two of the following criteria;
• Irregular or absent menstrual periods
• Elevated testosterone or other androgens
• Cystic ovaries
Up to 15% of women suffer from this condition. It is considered the leading cause of infertility in women in the Western world.
This condition is not very fun and I truly feel for every woman who is struggling with it. According to conventional medicine there is no cure for PCOS. Generally a physician will prescribe birth control pills to regulate sex hormone production. Birth control pills can also reduce free testosterone which can alleviate symptoms from increased androgen production.
If the woman is attempting to become pregnant, she may be referred to a fertility specialist.
Some women may undergo surgery to remove ovarian cysts. While this process may reduce testosterone levels and regulate ovulation, it may leave damaging scar tissue and many times the effects of the surgery only last a few months.
Unfortunately, none of these options addresses the root cause of the condition and the progression of the disease will continue if no interventions are made.
While testosterone and other male hormones are a huge driver of PCOS, estrogen and progesterone are important as well. They need to be in proper balance with testosterone in order to effectively regulate the menstrual cycle.
Common symptoms associated with PCOS include;
• Irregular or Absent periods
• Scalp hair loss
• Facial hair growth
• Inability to lose weight
• Oily skin and/or hair
• Irritability and/or anger
In order to understand how this condition affects a woman’s cycle, it is important to understand how a normal, healthy cycle progresses throughout the month.
The first day of the menstrual cycle is the bleeding phase. During a woman’s period, estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels. During this time, the lining of the uterus is shed for the first 3-7 days of the first half of the menstrual cycle. The first half of the menstrual cycle, from Day 1-14, is called the Follicular Phase.
After bleeding stops, estrogen begins to rise. Estrogen, which is a growth hormone, begins to build and thicken the uterine lining. During this phase the Pituitary gland secretes the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which causes the growth of between 3 and 30 follicles, each of which contains an egg.
Eventually FSH starts to decline and only one of the follicles continues to grow. The other follicles decay and breakdown.
When the Pituitary detects this shift, it secretes Lutenizing Hormone (LH), which causes the follicle to rupture and release the egg inside. This occurs at day 14 and is called Ovulation. During ovulation, testosterone surges and estrogen begins to drop.
If that egg is not fertilized after 24 hours then the egg turns into the corpus luteum and begins to break down. As it breaks down, it secretes progesterone, making it the dominant hormone of the second half of the menstrual cycle. This phase is called the luteal phase. As progesterone levels begin to fall, this triggers the shedding of the lining and the cycle starts over again.
The cycle generally lasts 28 days but can be up to 35 days in some women.
It’s not completely clear how this occurs but there are a few ways depending on the woman in question.
1. Women with PCOS typically have low levels of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). SHBG is responsible for binding to hormones and making them inactive. This could result in increased levels of testosterone. Low levels of SHBG decrease the rate of conversion from testosterone to estrogen. Low levels of estrogen may result in poor signalling to the Pituitary gland leading to irregular cycles.
2. High levels of testosterone can also block the effects of progesterone and estrogen, disrupting the cycle.
3. If there is a Pituitary problem present, FSH and LH may not be secreted as they normally should. Typically, the ratio of FSH to LH is 1:2 but in women with PCOS it is 2:1.
The mechanism driving PCOS likely varies for each woman. What we do know is that insulin resistance plays a large role in PCOS. Whether the PCOS causes the insulin resistance or insulin resistance drives PCOS is unclear.
Insulin resistance plays a huge role in androgen metabolism, causing a women to prefer androgen production over estrogen production. Anytime I see elevated DHEA or testosterone in a woman on a hormone panel, I always focus on blood sugar control.
70% of women diagnosed with PCOS are also insulin resistant according to this study. PCOS needs to be taken seriously as it predisposes women for coronary artery disease later in life.
Insulin is a hormone made in the beta cells of the pancreas. Although it has many jobs, it is known for its ability to manage blood sugar levels. When you eat a meal, sugar levels rise in your blood. Insulin is then secreted to usher sugar into the cells where it can be used for energy.
Without insulin, you would die. Insulin is the only way for sugar in your blood to get into the cells where it can be used. Insulin becomes an issue when you continually eat foods that push the blood sugar too high. Refined sugar and processed carbohydrates require little breakdown and go straight into the blood, elevating blood sugar levels higher than what the body likes. The body overcompensates by pushing out extra insulin which can then drop blood sugar levels too low, causing you to crash and crave more sugar and carbs, starting the cycle over again.
If a person continues to consume sugar and carbs, the cells are constantly being bombarded by insulin knocking on the door trying to push sugar in. At some point, the cells stop listening to insulin knocking and become resistant. This means sugar levels rise in the blood and the cells don’t receive it for energy.
So that sugar levels don’t get dangerously high, sugar is then sent to the liver to be converted in triglycerides. That can lead to increased weight gain, especially around the abdomen.
A sign that you might have insulin resistance is getting sleepy after a meal. The conversion of sugar into triglycerides uses a lot of resources and the result is your energy levels crashing.
Any treatment plan for PCOS needs to involve careful attention to blood sugar levels and unwinding insulin resistance. How do you do this?
I plan to discuss solutions for PCOS in next week’s blog post. See you then!
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.