The Real Reason You’re So Tired

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When Your Cells Are Fatigued, so Are You…

These days the adrenal glands get blamed for all our fatigue.  They are worn out from too much stress. This is partly true, but not the whole story. In this article, you’ll learn how the health of your mitochondria determines how you feel and how your body performs. You’ll also learn how to boost your mitochondria for all day energy!


What Are Mitochondria?

Mitochondria are a part of each of your cells and do an important job. They use, get this, 90% of your oxygen and take up 10% of your body weight. Mitochondria make energy, called ATP, for your cells to function. They also boost overall efficiency of your cellular functioning, thereby increasing your metabolism.

Every cell in your body has a different job. Your heart cells pump blood. Your eye cells help you see. Your skin cells protect you from the outside world. The mitochondrial health of each cell determines the functionality of that cell. Is the cell doing a fantastic job, or a so-so job?

Mitochondria also have another important job. They help kill off damaged cells. You can imagine this is important for things like cancerous cells! It is theorized that when mitochondrial health is poor, this killer instinct can be thrown off, and damaged cells are more likely to reproduce.

Mitochondrial Disease Symptoms

As you just learned, mitochondria are everywhere, so the symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction can be quite varied. But there are some common symptoms, and I’ll put those at the top of the list:

  • Fatigue

  • Foggy thinking

  • Poor memory

  • Slow metabolism / can’t lose weight

  • Autoimmune disease

  • Chronic pain / headaches

  • Chronic allergies

  • Poor digestion

  • Loss of muscle

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer

You may have noticed that many of the above conditions are attributed to ‘normal aging.’ While it’s true that mitochondria decline with age, the rate at which mitochondria decline is very much influenced by your habits.

What Causes Mitochondrial Disease?

I can’t resist but share an interesting bit of biological history here! Mitochondria, once upon a time, lived outside the cell as a proto-bacteria. But they invaded cells and used cellular membranes for protection. It worked out well for the cells, because the mitochondria produced energy for the cells.

I tell that story to say that mitochondria aren’t naturally well-protected. They are vulnerable. Mitochondria can be affected by a number of toxins and poor lifestyle choices. These include:

  • Shallow breathing

  • Lack of exercise

  • Smog and indoor air pollution

  • Viruses

  • Stress

  • EMF (Electromagnetic frequency)

  • Toxic mold

  • UV light

  • Bacterial infections

  • Overeating

  • Sugars

  • Alcohol

  • Heavy metals

  • Fluoride

  • BPA (bisphenol A from plastics)

  • Trans fatty acids

  • Glyphosate

  • Poor methylation of B vitamins

Basically anything bad for you can also be bad for your mitochondria! If you are in my community, you are likely already trying to get exercise, breathe deeply and avoid processed and non-organic food. Keep it up!

But what if you are already doing a lot of ‘the right things’ and are still feeling foggy and tired?

Consider these natural remedies for fatigue:

  • Reduce EMF. Please turn your WIFI off at night and don’t hold your cell phone directly to your head. Leave your phone on airplane mode if you’re not expecting a call.

  • Kill bugs. Consider testing for chronic pathogens on a free consultation with our coaching team.

  • Look into time-restricted eating. Eating all your meals (coffee counts!) within an 8-11 hour window boosts your body’s efficiency. A great book on the subject is The Circadian Code by Dr. Satchin Panda.

  • Eat more fats. Ketones (energy from fats) boost mitochondria production and help purge damaged mitochondria. Consider raw nuts and seeds, high quality seed oil like hemp or flax, avocado, wild salmon and grass-fed ghee.

  • Increase antioxidants. The mitochondria produce free radicals as they work, so quench those with antioxidants. Increase organic or wild berries, green tea as tolerated, and sprouts.

These are easy, natural ways to fight fatigue!

Best Mitochondrial Supplements

Fish Oil

As mentioned above, fats support happy mitochondria. I love good fats in all forms, and I recommend to always have high-quality liquid fish oil on hand as it gives a concentrated boost of good fats.

If you are feeling particularly inflamed or tired, take 1 teaspoon daily for a month along with plenty of raw nuts and seeds and other friendly fats. Otherwise, use as needed when you feel flared up or feel a flu coming on. (It prevents viruses from being passed cell to cell.)

The oil we carry and recommend is Wiley’s fish oil and it’s 15% off through 11/17 with coupon code PRESALE15.


Essential Oils

We covered the benefit of antioxidants for mitochondrial health. High-quality essential oils are chock full of absorbable antioxidants for your mitochondria! Rosemary, lemongrass and turmeric are among my favorites, but most essential oils have beneficial antioxidants.

I would be happy to create a custom essential oil protocol for you on an essential oil consultation.

My Favorite Supplement for Mitochondria...MitoQ!

I recently started taking MitoQ, a highly bioavailable form on CoQ10, and was very impressed by the result.

CoEnzyme Q10 is needed for mitochondrial health, but the usual supplement form has a hard time actually entering the cell wall and getting to the mitochondria. MitoQ is bound with the addition of an ion called Triphenylphosphonium, which gives it a positive charge and helps it enter the cell and feed the mitochondria.

Despite many years of good diet and habits, I could not shake an afternoon fatigue. I eventually resorted to a daily dose of tea or chocolate to get me through the afternoon. The afternoon slump would usually turn into an early evening headache. I was so used to these headaches that I stopped even registering them as a problem.

I tried adaptogens and sea salt and all sorts of things. It wasn’t until I found MitoQ that my afternoon slump disappeared! I stopped even craving tea or chocolate, and some days I would make it to the evening without even realizing that I had passed my slump time without an issue.

I do have adrenal issues, but ultimately it was supplements for mitochondrial dysfunction that did the job for me.

So I plan to take MitoQ for life. It is possibly the most important supplement I have found, and I have taken hundreds of different supplements over my career.

MitoQ comes in its original form, plus there are versions with extras too.

MitoQ is also on sale now for 15% off  through 11/17 with coupon code PRESALE15.

If you are chronically tired or ill, I really recommend you give it a try. We will refund you if you don’t like it, so there’s nothing to lose. But try it for a whole month before you decide! When you run out you’ll really notice the difference. It’s 2 capsules in the morning ½ hour away from food. I think it would be ok to take alongside a thyroid medication.

Original MitoQ  

MitoQ + Blood Sugar Support (for weight and cravings)

MitoQ + Liver Support (for all the things your liver deals with!)

Shop all MitoQ products here.

What did you learn? What have you tried? Share your thoughts below!

How Healthy Fats Benefit Hormones and Detoxification

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Don't Avoid Fats: You Need Them

For many years, dietary fat has been unfairly villainized as the cause of a slew of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. During the heyday of the low-fat craze in the 1990s and early 2000s, medical authorities urged us to banish fat from our diets.

Unfortunately, epidemiological research indicates that this dietary shift did not make us any healthier; in fact, it may have worsened many of the conditions it initially sought to reverse. The truth is that the body requires healthy dietary fats to carry out many crucial biological processes. Two critical functions influenced by healthy fats include hormone production and detoxification.

Read on to learn about how healthy fats benefit hormones and detoxification and how you can incorporate more healthy fats into your diet.

What Are Healthy Fats?

All fats are not created equal. While it is true that some fats, such as man-made trans fats, are harmful to our health, other fats serve essential functions in the body. To understand why some fats are healthier than others, it helps to understand the chemical structure of fats.

Fats are chains of carbon atoms bonded to hydrogen atoms. The length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to carbon atoms create different structures; these structures translate into differences in form and function among various fats.

Man-made trans fats are created when industrial seed oils, such as soybean and safflower oil, undergo a process called hydrogenation. Hydrogenation heats the oils to high temperatures in the presence of heavy metal catalysts, adding more hydrogen atoms to the carbon chain; this process turns the fatty acids into rigid, kinked structures that damage blood vessels and cell membranes and are highly inflammatory. Trans fats are ubiquitous in margarine, baked goods, and other processed foods.

Healthy fats, on the other hand, include the naturally-occurring monounsaturated fatty acids, certain types of saturated fats (such as those found in coconut oil and pastured butter), and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

While monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids have their place in a healthy diet, I'd like to focus specifically on the roles of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as these fats play vital roles in hormone production and balance, and in detoxification.

Omega-3, Omega-6, and Prostaglandins

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids; the numbers 3 and 6 in their names refer to the location of the double bond within their carbon/hydrogen structures. The body cannot make omega-3 and omega-6, thus necessitating the consumption of these fats in our diets.

In contrast to trans fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. Their anti-inflammatory effects stem from their crucial roles as precursors in the creation of prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are lipid compounds that play roles both in the initiation and reduction of inflammation. While inflammation is a normal physiological process in the body, excess inflammation causes a variety of health problems, including hormone dysregulation.

In fact, a growing body of research indicates that hormonal issues have an inflammatory component caused by an imbalance between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Hormonal issues associated with a prostaglandin imbalance include premenstrual syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hot flashes and osteoporosis associated with menopause. (1)(2)(3) Omega-3 fatty acids and specific omega-6 fatty acids can help correct these conditions by promoting the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins that reduce inflammation.

Types and Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids that we can obtain in our diets:

  1. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

  2. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

  3. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

ALA comes from plant sources, including flaxseed oil, chia seeds, and walnuts. EPA and DHA come from wild seafood, fish oil, and pasture-raised eggs and meats.

ALA can be converted into EPA with the help of an enzyme called delta-6-desaturase. EPA, in turn, can be converted into prostaglandin E3 (PGE3), an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin. A high intake of omega-3 fatty acids can help suppress the formation of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins such as PGE2, discussed below.

Types and Sources of Omega-6 Fatty Acids

While fresh sources of omega-3 fatty acids are always a healthy choice, omega-6 fatty acids are more of a mixed bag. While these fats are found in corn, canola, and safflower oils, these oils should be avoided because they come from genetically-modified seeds and are rancid and pro-inflammatory due to the chemical changes they undergo during food processing! Eating these fats induces inflammation and may worsen hormonal imbalancesF

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Conversely, omega-6 fatty acids from avocados, almonds, brazil nuts, pistachios, pecans, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, organic organs meats, borage oil, evening primrose oil, flax oil, olive oil, hemp oil, and spirulina are very healthy and can help reduce inflammation.

As with omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids are precursors to prostaglandins. The omega-6 fatty acids include linoleic acid (LA) and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

LA can be converted into dihomogamma-linolenic acid (DGLA), a precursor to both PGE1, an anti-inflammatory prostaglandin, and PGE2, a pro-inflammatory prostaglandin.

Both PGE1 and PGE2 are needed in the body; however, higher levels of PGE2 are associated with inflammation and hormonal problems such as dysmenorrhea and premenstrual syndrome. We can optimize our hormones by choosing to eat omega-6 fatty acids that balance PGE1 and PGE2 in the body.

Oils for Hormone Balance

Consuming an optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet can help balance the production of pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins in the body and resolve symptoms of hormonal imbalances. In fact, supplementation with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids have already been found to improve symptoms of PMS, premenstrual syndrome, and menopause! 

PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal abnormality in reproductive age women. It is characterized by elevated androgen levels and insulin resistance, both of which can exacerbate imbalances between pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce symptoms of PCOS and restore hormonal balance by reducing inflammation. 

  • Flaxseed, a source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA and antioxidant lignans, decreases insulin and testosterone in PCOS. (4)

  • Omega-3 fish oil supplementation reduces serum levels of testosterone and regulates the menstrual cycle in women with PCOS. (5)

  • Supplementation with fish oil, high in omega-3, decreased lipid profiles, waist circumference, and the interval between periods in women with PCOS. (6)

Premenstrual Syndrome and Painful Periods

Up to 80 percent of women report experiencing symptoms before menstruation, including irritability, bloating, migraines, and breast pain. (7) Furthermore, 25 to 50 percent of women and 75 percent of adolescents experience pain with menstruation. (8) These uncomfortable and in some cases debilitating phenomena are called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea, respectively.

Many features of PMS and dysmenorrhea may be attributed to imbalances in pro- and anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. For example, research has found that women with dysmenorrhea and PMS have a reduced conversion of GLA to DGLA in their bodies, resulting in abnormally low anti-inflammatory prostaglandin production.

However, supplementation with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids can help promote anti-inflammatory prostaglandin production and alleviate symptoms of both PMS and dysmenorrhea.  

  • Two months of supplementation with flax seed, high in the omega-3 ALA, significantly reduces symptoms of PMS, including cramping and headaches. (9)

  • Supplementation with GLA, found in evening primrose, black currant, and borage oils, improves symptoms of dysmenorrhea. (10)

  • Fish oil combined with vitamin E reduces the intensity and duration of pain in women with dysmenorrhea. (11)

Menopause

Many menopausal women are plagued by uncomfortable symptoms, including hot flashes and bone loss. Fortunately, several dietary oils can help reduce these symptoms and improve quality of life throughout a woman's menopausal years.

  • Black cumin oil is a great oil for menopause because it supports healthy progesterone levels, reverses osteoporosis, and protects against metabolic syndrome. It may even be powerful enough to serve as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy! (12)(13)(14)(15)

  • Sesame oil improves blood lipid levels, antioxidant status, and sex hormone status in postmenopausal women. (16)

  • Omega-3 fats improve hot flashes and depressive symptoms in menopausal and post-menopausal women. (17)(18)

  • Pumpkin seed oil raises HDL cholesterol (the “good” type of cholesterol that protects against cardiovascular disease) in postmenopausal women. (19)

Breast Health

We don’t often associate our fat intake with the health of our breasts, but it turns out that omega-3 and omega-6 oils can help promote healthy breast tissue!

  • Phytoestrogens in pumpkin seed oil may protect against breast cancer. (20)

  • Flaxseed oil suppresses the growth, size, and proliferation of breast cancer cells and promotes breast cancer cell death. (21)

  • A high intake of fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer. (22)

Clearly, healthy dietary fats play essential roles in female hormone health!

However, the benefits don't stop there; healthy fats also assist with detoxification, a collection of biochemical and physiological processes that help maintain hormone balance and eliminate hormone-disrupting toxins from the body.

Healthy Fats for Detoxification

The processes of detoxification help the body achieve a balance between hormone production and elimination and usher hormone-disrupting toxins out of the body. Healthy fats help support detoxification through several mechanisms. 

Healthy Fats Accelerate Bowel Motility

One of the most important routes of toxin elimination from the body is via the colon. Healthy fats, such as flaxseed oil and sesame oil, lubricate the colon and promote bowel regularity, thus speeding up the elimination of excess hormones and hormone-disrupting compounds from the body.

Healthy Fats Protect the Liver and Cell Membranes

The liver is the body’s primary organ of detoxification. It converts toxins into water-soluble forms that they can be excreted in the urine and stool.

Omega-3 fatty acids help protect the liver from oxidative damage induced by environmental toxins such as heavy metals. (23) They also support the regeneration of cell membranes that have been damaged by bacterial toxins. (24) Omega-3 fatty acids thus help protect our primary organ of detoxification and ensure that it can carry out its essential functions.

As you can see, healthy fats deserve a significant place in our diets! By balancing anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory prostaglandins and protecting our organs of detoxification, omega-3 and omega-6 oils can help balance our hormones and optimize our detoxification systems.

Choosing Healthy Oil Supplements

There are many omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements on the market, and navigating the available options can be overwhelming! Fortunately, here at Women’s Wellness Collaborative, we’ve taken the guesswork out of selecting omega-3 and omega-6 supplements!

Learn more about Bridgit’s favorite high-quality fish oil supplement here.

What to Do About Menstrual Migraines

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By Ann Melin, Lead Health Coach for Women’s Wellness Collaborative

Of all of the symptoms that women experience with their menstrual cycles, menstrual migraines are among the most debilitating. Many women who suffer from menstrual migraines report missing at least one day of work per month and many others often have to cancel personal plans and social activities.

I’ve been lucky in that I have only had a few migraines in my life! Unfortunately, those were a few of the worst experiences I’ve had. I remember thinking that I wanted to crawl into a dark corner with a morphine drip… that’s how bad it was!

In all honesty, very few things would make me consider going to an ER. Although I never did for the migraines I had, I thought about it seriously on a couple of those occasions!

So, let’s talk about menstrual migraines. Read on to learn what they are and how to avoid them.

What are Menstrual Migraines?

True menstrual migraines are those that occur anywhere from 2 days prior to menses up until day 3 of the menstrual period. Many women also experience migraines throughout the menstrual cycle that become more prevalent during menses.

Menstrual migraine symptoms often include severe aching, throbbing, or pounding pain on one or both sides of the head. This pain may be exacerbated by light, noise, and movement. Symptoms may also include nausea and vomiting. Some migraines are associated with visual auras or other kinds of visual disturbances, such as temporarily blurred vision or disturbances in visual perception.

What Causes Menstrual Migraines?

Shifting levels of hormones and neurotransmitters are thought to be the primary cause behind menstrual migraine symptoms. In particular, the decline of estrogen towards the end of the luteal phase appears to trigger menstrual migraines in those who experience them.

This is even more common in women who have elevations in estrogen during the follicular phase and lower than normal levels of estrogen during the luteal phase. These wide swings of estrogen appear to be more highly associated with menstrual migraines than having consistently high or low levels of estrogen.

Progesterone levels also drop sharply just before your period, and women’s bodies are more sensitive to the decline of estrogen when progesterone is low. Progesterone can also act as a buffer against high levels of estrogen throughout the month and may offset symptoms of estrogen fluctuations that result in menstrual migraines.

As women enter into peri-menopause, they often experience declines in overall progesterone levels creating a condition of estrogen dominance that can precipitate the onset of menstrual migraines.

Drops in estrogen also lead to decreases in serotonin. We often think of serotonin as the neurotransmitter associated with mood. Indeed, mood dysphoria associated with pre-menstrual syndrome is likely connected to decreased levels of serotonin caused by fluctuations in estrogen.

Additionally, research has shown that low levels of serotonin cause dilation of the blood vessels in the brain thereby initiating migraines. Serotonin regulates GI function and low levels of serotonin are thought to be involved in the common symptoms of nausea and vomiting associated with migraine headaches.

What Helps Migraines?

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The DUTCH Cycle Mapping Test

The DUTCH test for hormones is one of our favorite labs at Women’s Wellness Collaborative and they have a version of their test that is called the cycle mapping test. This test evaluates shifts in estrogen and progesterone throughout the entirety of the menstrual cycle.

This is a great lab to consider if you suffer from menstrual migraines as it could help target variations in hormones that may be driving menstrual migraine symptoms.

Creating more balance in the hormone system can ultimately lead to a reduction in frequency and severity of symptoms, while simultaneously helping you to work towards menstrual migraine prevention rather than symptom management.

This is where health coaching can really help you to access the right labs and to build a customized protocol based on your results.

A Good Diet

Some foods are known to have the potential to trigger migraines, and these foods include:

  • alcohol

  • caffeine

  • cheese

  • ice cream

  • citrus

  • nuts

  • vinegar

  • and chocolate (I know! It’s a crime to tell a woman to avoid chocolate when she has PMS!)

Self Care

Both too little and too much sleep can exacerbate migraine headaches, as can excess exercise, poor hydration, environmental toxicity, smoking, and travel.

Magnesium

Interestingly, one study showed that 45% of women who experience menstrual migraines have a magnesium deficiency and experience significant benefits from supplementing with magnesium. Magnesium also aids in muscle relaxation, which can help alleviate menstrual cramps and tensions associated with menstruation.

Due to declining soil and food quality, most of us do not get enough magnesium and are deficient. We have tried many brands and types of magnesium and this magnesium bisglycinate chelate is one of the best absorbed forms of magnesium.

Fish Oil 

Essential fatty acids are critical for balancing hormones and studies have correlated imbalances in fatty acid metabolism in all of the more troublesome symptoms associated with PMS. Linoleic acids (as found in things like flax oil and evening primrose oil) and EPA and DHA (as found in fish oil) can help the body synthesize prostaglandins which can regulate the body during PMS. Fish oil is also thought to enhance serotonin production which, as mentioned above, may be implicated in the etiology of menstrual migraines.

Herbal Remedies

Natural remedies for migraines commonly include the herbs feverfew and willow bark, which are both wonderful for the reduction of headache pain. In addition, butterbar has been shown to be specifically effective for use with migraine headaches.

Traditional herbalists have also used feverfew for a wide variety of gynecologic issues and the herb has been shown to reduce the nausea that commonly occurs with migraines. Cramp bark and black haw are both herbs that are effective against menstrual cramping in that they work as muscle relaxants. As with willow bark, cramp bark and black haw contain salicylates which alleviate pain and can help with menstrual migraine symptoms.

There are also great phytoestrogenic herbs that can help to regulate estrogen levels. I always prefer to know what the estrogens actually look like through lab testing before adding phytoestrogens; however, some good options include red clover and black cohosh.

Vitamin D

Low vitamin D is something that we see in a large percentage of our clients and there is some evidence that low levels of vitamin D may be one of the common migraine triggers. We recommend getting your vitamin D levels tested and then supplementing appropriately! If you are supplementing with vitamin D, it is important to have your levels monitored with some regularity and to take a bit of vitamin K2 as well.

Overcoming Your Migraines

So, what’s the take away? Yes, menstrual migraines are common and they can be debilitating at times. But they don’t have to be a life sentence! There are tons of natural tools available that can support you in having more comfortable periods.

Sometimes people have to try several things before they land on what works but there are so many wonderful labs and herbs and supplements and dietary options available to try and you deserve to be as comfortable as you can be throughout all parts of every month.

If you’re looking for tested, high-quality supplements, you can find these products in our shop:

Click here to learn about our favorite magnesium and here to learn about our favorite fish oil.

How to Use Toxin Binders: Part 2

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In my previous article, “How to Use Toxin Binders,” I introduced you to toxin binders, which are substances that “bind” toxins and facilitate their elimination from the body. I discussed cholestyramine and Welchol, two prescription binders that have been popularized by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker for the treatment of toxic mold illness. I also covered several non-pharmaceutical binders, including activated charcoal, bamboo, clay, and chlorella.

In this blog post, I want to introduce you to several lesser-known but very effective toxin binders: Pectin, silica, zeolite, and humic/fulvic acid substances. While human research on some of these binders is limited, a growing body of environmental and animal research indicates that they are potent detoxifiers of heavy metals, mycotoxins, and bacterial toxins.

Pectin

Pectin is a soluble polysaccharide composed of short, branched carbohydrate chains that naturally occurs in the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. In plants, pectin’s purpose is to provide mechanical strength and flexibility to the plant’s body, to form a barrier against the external environment, and to regulate the movement of water.

Pectin becomes thick and gelatinous when mixed with water; in fact, the word “pectin” comes from the Greek word “pektos,” meaning “gelatinized.” Citrus fruits (especially citrus peels), apples, and pears are the richest dietary sources of pectin in the plant kingdom.

While many people are familiar with the use of pectin as a gelling agent in the creation of jellies and jams, few realize that pectin is also a powerful toxin binder! Certain types of pectin, including apple pectin and modified citrus pectin (MCP), bind bile acids and the toxins that circulate with those acids in the gastrointestinal tract.

Modified citrus pectin is created from the peel, pulp, and seeds of citrus fruits, and has been thoroughly studied in humans. It is an excellent chelator of heavy metals, particularly lead. In children with high levels of lead, modified citrus pectin was found to significantly decrease their blood serum levels of the toxic metal. (1)

Another study conducted in adults with “normal” levels of heavy metals found that just 6 days of supplementation with MCP reduced urinary excretion of arsenic, cadmium, and lead by a whopping 130%, 150%, and 560%, respectively. (2) Importantly, MCP reduced lead levels in these subjects without causing the adverse side effects characteristic of pharmaceutical chelating agents such as EDTA and DMSA.

In addition to its powerful heavy metal-detoxifying effects, pectin also has anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and prebiotic effects. Modified citrus pectin reduces the expression of galectin-3, a molecule involved in inflammatory and tumorigenic pathways in the body. (3) Citrus and apple pectin also have prebiotic effects in the gut, promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. (4)(5) If you want a multi-purpose supplement that binds toxins, reduces inflammation, protects against cancer, and improves gut health, then pectin may be the binder for you!

Silica

Silica is a mineral that our bodies require in small amounts for the maintenance of our bones and collagenous tissues. However, intake of silica beyond our bodies’ basic needs may help us detoxify heavy metals, mycotoxins, and bacterial toxins.

Silica has a high affinity for aluminum, a toxic metal implicated in neurodegenerative disease, as well as mercury, cadmium, and lead. (6) Silica combines with aluminum in the body to produce aluminosilicate, a nontoxic compound that is excreted by the kidneys.

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that when subjects drank 1.5 liters of silica-rich mineral water per day for just five days, their urinary excretion of aluminum was significantly reduced, suggesting that the ingested silica reduced the body burden of aluminum. Silica also reduces aluminum accumulation in the brain, a tissue that is highly sensitive to toxic metals.

In animal studies, silica reduces circulating levels of mycotoxins, which are harmful byproducts produced by toxic molds. (7) Silica also mops up endotoxin, a substance released by pathogenic bacteria in the gut that that causes inflammation and the symptoms of food poisoning.

Supplemental silica comes in several forms: Powder, liquid, and gel. Silica-based powders have been studied primarily in the context of heavy metal and mycotoxins. Silica-rich mineral waters are also useful for reducing heavy metal burden.

Enterosgel, a hydrated silica gel produced in Europe, is highly recommended by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, a specialist in complex chronic illness, for detoxifying aluminum from the body. Enterosgel also adsorbs bacterial toxins in the gut, alleviating symptoms of diarrhea and food poisoning. (8)

Zeolite

Zeolites are a group of porous minerals naturally found in volcanic rock and ashes. The crystalline structure of zeolite acts as a “cage” that traps positively and neutrally-charged molecules in the gastrointestinal tract. This unique property of zeolite makes it useful for binding heavy metals such as mercury and lead. (9)(10)

Are you struggling with leaky gut or dysbiosis? If so, zeolite may be an excellent binder for you! Zeolite restores the integrity of the gut barrier by decreasing levels of zonulin, a molecule that damages the tight junctions that bind intestinal epithelial cells together. (11)

Zeolite also reduces levels of pathogenic gut bacteria and enhances intestinal antioxidant status, helping to repair the damage caused by gut dysbiosis. (12)(13)

Last but not least, animal studies indicate that zeolite reduces the body burden of mycotoxins, including aflatoxin and zearalenone, which commonly contaminate wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, sorghum, and peanuts. (14)(15) These findings suggest that zeolite may also be useful mold toxin binder for people recovering from toxic mold illness.

Zeolite is widely available as a supplement, but it is crucial to buy only very high-quality zeolite. Because zeolite is extracted from the earth using water, mold can grow if it is not processed properly. Some companies sell commercial-grade zeolite intended for air and water filtration or odor removal – this zeolite is not intended for consumption! The best form of zeolite is micronized zeolite that has been thoroughly tested for purity.  

Humic and Fulvic Acids

Fulvic and humic acids are organic compounds present in humus, the part of soil that is richest in decayed plant and animal matter. Humic acids are large molecules that help plant roots receive water and nutrients. Fulvic acids, on the other hand, are smaller molecules that transfer vital nutrients through the cell membranes of plants. Together, humic and fulvic acids enhance soil and plant health.

However, the health benefits of these organic compounds aren’t limited to plants - they also offer health benefits to us! Humic and fulvic acids are rich in bioavailable minerals that can replenish our depleted stores. Furthermore, their unique chemical structures facilitate the removal of toxic substances from our bodies, including heavy metals and organic pollutants.

Humic acid adsorbs heavy metals, including cadmium and lead, and binds glyphosate, a pervasive agricultural pesticide that contaminates conventionally-grown fruits and vegetables, our air, and our water. (16)(17)(18) Humic and fulvic acids also bind organic toxins such as benzo(a)pyrene, a chemical found in coal tar, tobacco smoke, and charred meats, and pentachlorophenol, a pesticide and disinfectant. (19)

For much of human history, we have consumed humic and fulvic acids unintentionally on vegetables grown in nutrient-rich earth. However, this practice has abated as our soils have become increasingly nutrient-depleted due to intensive agriculture. Fortunately, humic and fulvic acid supplements are now available on the market. Read on to learn more about a highly effective toxin binder, GI detox, that contains humic and fulvic acids.

Biocidin GI Detox: An Effective Full-Spectrum Binder

Given the number of toxin binders available on the market, how do you choose the best binders to fit your needs?

Since each binding agent I've discussed has its own unique beneficial properties, I recommend using a product that combines multiple toxin binders. Biocidin’s GI Detox fits the bill! It contains zeolite, activated charcoal, silica, apple pectin, and humic/fulvic acid for binding toxins, along with aloe for its gut-soothing properties. The combination of binders in GI Detox covers all your bases, efficiently binding heavy metals, bacterial metabolites, and mycotoxins.

Toxins are one of the biggest threats to our health we face in the modern-day world. By adding toxin binders to your daily routine, you can reduce your body burden of heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins, and bacterial toxins, and create a foundation for lifelong optimal health!

Purchase certified GI Detox from our shop here.

You’ll also find GI Detox in our specially-priced Detox Starter Kit.

Disclaimer: All information copyright of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and cannot be reproduced or shared without prior permission. This information serves as education only and does not replace your relationship with your doctor.

Seed Cycling for Hormone Balance at Any Age

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How to Adapt This Low-Cost Choice to Support Your Body

Do you suffer from irregular menstrual cycles, PMS, or mood swings? What about hot flashes, hair loss, or weight gain? If so, you’re not alone! Many women are searching for natural ways to balance hormones.

Seed cycling (also called seed rotation) is a natural remedy for hormonal imbalance which you can easily adapt. Read on to learn more about hormone balance, seed cycling and how you can customize this approach to fit your specific situation.

What Do Balanced Hormones Look Like?

We all want our hormones to be healthy. Unfortunately, today hormone imbalances are so common that it’s easy to ignore the symptoms with thoughts like, “Everyone else experiences this, too!”

Our cycles (or hormonal rhythms, for menopausal women) should not be accompanied by symptoms of hormonal imbalance. These are not normal; they are warning signals that your hormones are not right and your body is trying to get your attention.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Menstrual cramps

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Acne

  • Fatigue

  • Missing cycles (if you’re of childbearing age)

  • Short, long or irregular cycles (if you’re of childbearing age)

  • Hot flashes

  • Tender breasts

  • Hair loss

  • Weight gain

  • Menstrual headaches

  • Insomnia

A balanced cycle will not be painful, depressing, or irregular. (1, 2)

How to NOT Balance Your Hormones

Unfortunately, today’s world makes it hard to be healthy, and many women struggle to obtain hormone balance. Why?

Here are a few of the common reasons why hormones may be out-of-balance.

  • We are constantly being exposed to toxins. Endocrine disruptors like phthalates, parabens, and fragrances fill our toothpastes, deodorants, shampoos, and makeup. Toxins like heavy metals, arsenic, and pesticides lurk in our drinking water. Plastics fill our food and our houses. Air fresheners and cleaners fill our air with debris. And these are just a few examples. No wonder our bodies are overloaded!

  • We are constantly stressed out. We get stuck in traffic. We get sick and long to feel better. We worry and fret over our busy lives. We work long hours. We never stop to rest. Stress takes its toll, depleting our hormones and running down our reserves.

  • We often eat foods that don’t support our bodies. Some foods, like gluten, dairy or other, can excite an inflammatory response in some people. Non-organic foods are often sprayed with pesticides, which stay on the food and enter our bodies when we eat them.

Obviously, we can work to avoid some of these factors, but a quick glance will tell you that avoiding them all is impossible!

So what can we do to help balance our poor, stressed-out hormones?

Many women, desperate for solutions, turn to options like hormonal birth control or symptoms-based hormone replacement therapy. Unfortunately, these can be expensive, and do not treat the underlying cause. They may not even resolve the symptoms these women are facing, and they are well-known for causing additional unwanted side effects. (3, 4, 5)

There must be a better way to encourage hormone balance!

What Is Seed Cycling and How Does It Work?

Simply stated, seed cycling is alternating the consumption of certain raw seeds every 2 weeks. It's very safe and gentle, but always ask your doctor first if you are on medications or in poor health.

While there is not a large amount of scientific studies on the subject, seed cycling has successfully helped many women. The basic theory is that certain seeds support the production and proper elimination of different hormones.

During the first half of your cycle, estrogen production should be higher. Flax seed powder, pumpkin seeds, and omega 3 oils can help boost and balance estrogen and hormones. (6, 7)

Progesterone should rise during the second half of your cycle. Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and oils such as borage oil or evening primrose oil can boost and support progesterone.

Basic Instructions for Seed Cycling

For best results, buy quality ingredients and prepare them appropriately. Use raw nuts and seeds and store them in the fridge or freezer. You’ll also need to grind the seeds fresh daily, but if you keep a little grinder on your counter, you can quickly scoop in your seeds and grind.

Cycle Day 1-14: Follicular phase, also known as Phase 1

1 T organic, raw, fresh-ground flax seed

1 T organic, raw, fresh-ground pumpkin seed

And/or 1 T high-quality fish oil

Cycle Day 15-28 Luteal Phase, also known as Phase 2

1 T organic, raw, fresh-ground sesame seed

1 T organic, raw, fresh-ground sunflower seed

And/or 500 mg borage oil

A note on dosage: You will see slightly different recommendations in different places. You can do 1 rounded tablespoon of each, 2 tablespoons of just one type, or up to 4 tablespoons total (measurement is made before grinding) in a day. I think what is most important is to get at least 2 tablespoons a day. If you happen to get in extra servings, no problem!

How to Adapt Seed Cycling for Your Situation

My cycle is somewhat regular. How do I support it?

If you are currently cycling, you start phase 1 of the seeds on the first full day of your period. You will then switch to phase 2 on day 15 of your cycle.

What do I do if my cycle is too short or too long?

You can start the phase 1 seeds on the first day of your period or on the new moon. On day 15, go ahead and shift to the phase 2 seeds, even if you haven’t ovulated yet. Once you hit day 28/29 (or the next new moon), switch back to phase 1 seeds. Eventually, your cycle should start to line up with the new rhythm you’re setting.

I have an irregular menstrual cycle and/or I have PCOS. What should I do?

These seeds can be a great supplement for PCOS patients to balance hormones for irregular periods. You may choose to start on the first day of one of your cycles or on the new moon. On day 15, go ahead and shift to the phase 2 seeds, even if you haven’t ovulated yet. Once you hit day 28/29 (or the next new moon), switch back to phase 1 seeds. Eventually, your cycle should start to line up with the new rhythm you’re setting.

I don’t have a cycle. Can I still benefit from seed cycling?

Yes! This goes for menopause, breastfeeding women after 6-9 months, or women with amenorrhea (no cycle in 3 or more months.) Start phase 1 of the seeds on the new moon. You will switch to phase 2 of the seeds on the full moon. A special note for menopause: Though you will not be supporting a cycle anymore, these seeds and oils can be a great part of the best diet for menopause, to clear and balance your hormones.

I’m following the lunar calendar. When do I switch the seeds exactly?

Seed cycling is recommend on a 28 day cycle. However the lunar cycle is 29.5 days. I would say if you are going with the lunar calendar, stick to the lunar schedule.

I’m trying to get pregnant. Can I try seed cycling?

Seed cycling is one of the natural ways to boost fertility. It can help regulate your cycle and improve fertility so you can get pregnant. Be careful, though, to stop seed cycling once you’re pregnant. This is a tip from the website of Dr. Amy Neuzil, ND, "If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important to continue the luteal-phase seeds (sesame/sunflower) until you actually have a period, just in case you are pregnant that month. This gives the egg the best chance at implantation."

I am currently pregnant. Is seed cycling a good choice for me right now?

This protocol is NOT intended for pregnant women.

What if my diet doesn't allow me to eat some of these seeds?

If you are avoiding, for example, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, then just use the pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds in rotation. If you are avoiding all nuts and seeds, then you can rotate a fish oil supplement in your phase 1 (2 caps a day), and then use borage oil in phase 2 (2 caps a day). You can purchase these at our supplement shop under the names GLA 240 and OmegAvail Ultra.

Do I need to soak the seeds?

No, you don't need to soak them, but you are welcome to do so to increase the digestibility.

I’m looking for home remedies for menstrual cramps. Can seed cycling help?

Yes, seed cycling can help improve your hormone balance, which leads to fewer cramps. For more ideas, check out my blog post here.

Will seed cycling boost levels of bad estrogen?

No. Seed cycling invites your body to make and properly clear the good estrogens. This will actually lessen the effect of any “bad estrogen” you may be dealing with.

I have high androgens. Will seed cycling help that?

Yes, the increased fiber should help, as well is the increased support for the whole hormonal system.

Can I start seed cycling at any time in my cycle?

Yes! Just make sure you start with taking the seeds for the phase that you are currently on.

How long can I keep this up? Do I need to take a break?

The seed cycling is pretty safe. You shouldn’t need to take a break, but if you want to take a month off a couple times a year that is ok too. Or you can just continue until your cycle regulates and then see what happenst.

Extra Resources and Recipes

Join Us to Learn More

Do you have experience with seed cycling? Or do you have more questions?

You’re invited to join and share with our Facebook group, the Hormone Detox Tribe! This is a community of amazing women who love learning, want happy hormones, and want to avoid toxins to protect their health and to love up on the environment.

Click here to join us. We can’t wait to meet you!

Notice: This information serves as education only and does not replace your relationship with your doctor.

The Toxic Mold / Leaky Gut Connection

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What to Do When Mold Is Damaging Your Gut

Awareness of toxic mold’s impact on human health has risen exponentially over the past decade. Health authorities have linked toxic mold exposure to serious health problems, including respiratory infections and neurotoxicity. However, the harmful effects of toxic mold are not limited to the lungs and brain; emerging research indicates that toxic mold also affects the gastrointestinal tract and promotes the development of leaky gut. Read on to learn about the connection between toxic mold and leaky gut and how you can restore your gut health if you’ve been exposed to mold in your living or work  environment.

What Is Toxic Mold and Where Is It Found?

Have you ever walked into a building and immediately been hit by an overwhelming “musty” odor? While most people find this smell to be disagreeable, few understand its true implications: Musty odors are a sign of water damage and indicate that a building may be harboring toxic mold.

Mold thrives in warm, damp, humid conditions and water-damaged buildings provide a perfectly hospitable living environment. Once established in water-damaged environments, molds spread and reproduce by making spores; the spores are capable of surviving harsh environmental conditions and are notoriously hard to eradicate. (1)

According to a recent report from the Federal Facilities Council, a shocking 43 percent of buildings in the U.S. have current water damage, and 85 percent have past water damage. (2) This means an overwhelming number of buildings in the U.S. potentially contain harmful molds such as Cladosporium, Penicillium, Alternaria, Aspergillus, and Stachybotrys chartarum (aka “toxic black mold”). (3)

Unfortunately, water-damaged buildings aren’t the only places where toxic mold is found. Mold and mycotoxins also widely contaminate our food supply. Approximately 25 percent of the world’s crops, including grains, nuts, wine, spices, and coffee are contaminated by mold and mycotoxins. Mycotoxin contamination of food is caused by poor growing and harvesting practices, improper food storage, and damp conditions during food transportation and processing.

What makes these molds dangerous? The harmful effects of mold are mediated by biotoxins, including spores, cell fragments, endotoxins, beta-glucans, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and mycotoxins.

In this article, I will focus on the effects of mycotoxins, toxic metabolites produced by mold that cause a variety of adverse health effects. The most common mycotoxins found in water-damaged buildings are trichothecenes and ochratoxin, while aflatoxin and fumonisins proliferate in mold-contaminated foods.  

Some mycotoxins have beneficial properties: for example, the antibiotic Penicillin is a byproduct of the Penicillium fungus and citrinin is a mycotoxin used to produce fermented foods.

However, the mycotoxins in water-damaged buildings and food tend to be harmful to our health. They promote respiratory and neurological damage, DNA mutations and carcinogenesis, hormonal imbalances, and impair immune system, liver, and kidney function.

However, not all people become sick upon exposure to toxic mold and mycotoxins. An individual’s risk of developing toxic mold illness is influenced by several important factors, including their genetics and their gut health.  

Who Is Affected by Toxic Mold?

Given the prevalence of mold in our buildings and food supply, it is highly likely that you have been exposed to harmful molds and mycotoxins at some point in your life. Toxic mold symptoms include the following:

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Headache

  • Light sensitivity

  • Poor memory

  • Difficulty with concentration

  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities

  • Increased urinary frequency

  • Appetite swings

  • Abdominal pain and bloating

  • Sinus congestion and chronic cough

  • Static shocks

However, people are not all affected by mold equally. According to doctor and mold researcher Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, approximately 25 percent of the population is genetically prone to develop serious health problems, referred to as "Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome" (CIRS) upon exposure to toxic environmental molds. Furthermore, 2 percent of the population have genes that make them susceptible to the toxic effects of mold.

While genetics play an important role, they are not the only factor influencing an individual’s risk of developing toxic mold illness. In fact, fascinating new research indicates that the health (or lack thereof) of an individual’s gut also influences their risk of developing toxic mold illness.

How Do Mycotoxins Alter the Microbiome?

Emerging research indicates that mycotoxins induce leaky gut, one of the most common chronic health conditions affecting people today. Toxic mold exposure promotes leaky gut through a series of complex interactions between ingested mycotoxins, the gut microbiota, and cells of the gastrointestinal tract.  

In healthy individuals, one of the key roles of the gut microbiota is to detoxify harmful substances. Interestingly, researchers have found that certain beneficial bacteria in the human gut bind to and metabolize ingested mycotoxins, protecting us from their harmful effects.

However, the bad news is that, over time, mycotoxins also alter the gut microbiota; this reduces the inherent detox capacity of the gut microbiome and causes high levels of mycotoxins to accumulate in the body. The bi-directional relationship between the gut microbiota and mycotoxins means that people with pre-existing gut dysbiosis are more likely to become sick upon exposure to toxic mold than those with a healthy gut microbiome, due to their reduced ability to bind and eliminate mycotoxins. (4)

Once mycotoxins disrupt the gut microbiome, the integrity of the intestinal epithelial barrier begins to break down. Over time, this promotes the development of leaky gut.

Leaky gut is a condition in which intestinal lining becomes more permeable than normal. Enhanced permeability of the intestine allows bacteria and other toxins to leak from the gut into the systemic circulation like the blood stream. Once in the circulation, these substances provoke an inflammatory response that affects multiple body systems, including the neurological, respiratory, and hormonal systems.

Mycotoxins promote leaky gut in several ways:

  • Mycotoxins reduce beneficial bacteria and enhance the growth of pathogens. Reduced numbers of beneficial bacteria and increased numbers of pathogens alter the integrity of the intestinal barrier and increase intestinal permeability. (5)

  • Trichothecenes, fumonisins, and aflatoxin (other mold toxins) suppress the expression of tight junction proteins, the proteins that bind adjacent intestinal epithelial cells together. A lack of these proteins allows spaces to develop between epithelial cells, causing leaky gut.

  • Mycotoxins generate reactive oxygen species, which oxidatively damage intestinal cells and compromise intestinal barrier integrity.

  • Mycotoxins enhance the virulence of harmful intestinal parasites. Parasites inflame the gut, and the subsequent oxidative stress promotes leaky gut.   

To make matters even more complex, additional confounding factors can potentiate the harmful effects of mycotoxins on the gut. An inflammatory diet, exposure to environmental toxins such as BPA and heavy metals, excessive antibiotic use, and chronic stress also disrupt the microbiome and promote leaky gut.

When these factors are present along with toxic mold exposure, a vicious cycle of chronic inflammation and leaky gut is perpetuated.

To heal, steps must be taken to remove mycotoxin exposure, rebalance the gut microbiome, and repair the gut lining.  

Steps to Heal Your Gut After Mold Damage

If you’ve become sick as the result of toxic mold exposure, there are three steps you should take to address your gut health. The first step is to remove mycotoxins; this can be accomplished with the help of binding agents. The second step is the rebalance the microbiome, and the third step is to repair leaky gut.  

Remove Mycotoxins with Binding Agents

Binding agents (also referred to as "binders") bind to mycotoxins in the GI tract and prevent them from being recirculated through the liver and intestine. When taken over a period of several months, they decrease the number of mycotoxins in the gut, giving the gut a chance to heal.

Several mycotoxin binders are used in toxic mold illness, such as cholestyramine and Welchol, are available only with a doctor’s prescription.

For those who want a natural alternative, activated charcoal, bentonite clay, calcium montmorillonite clay, diatomaceous earth, and zeolite are also effective at removing mycotoxins. (6)(7)(8)(9)

While binding agents are crucial for removing mycotoxins from the body, they also bind essential minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. For this reason, always take binding agents 1 hour away from food or supplements. A nutrient-dense diet paired with vitamin and mineral supplementation is thus a crucial part of any mycotoxin detoxification protocol.

Rebalance the Gut Microbiome with Probiotics

As I mentioned earlier, a healthy gut contains microbes with the capacity to detoxify mycotoxins. But, what are you to do if your gut microbiome has been disrupted by factors such as mycotoxins and antibiotics, and doesn’t contain optimal levels of these beneficial bacteria?

Fortunately, there are several species of probiotics you can supplement with to lower your body burden of mycotoxins. Lactobacillus rhamnosus, L. plantarum, L. casei, and Propionibacterium freudenreichii are helpful for decreasing aflatoxin levels while Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast, promotes the elimination of ochratoxin. (10)(11)(12)(13)

These microbes facilitate the removal of mycotoxins from the body either by directly metabolizing them or by binding them in the digestive tract so that they can’t be reabsorbed. By lowering the GI tract’s burden of mycotoxins, these probiotics reduce intestinal inflammation, and the body can prioritize repairing leaky gut.

You may also want to consider supplementing with spore-based probiotics, such as those found in MegaSporeBiotic. While spore-based probiotics don’t directly bind mycotoxins, they repair the intestinal barrier and help heal leaky gut. (14) Rebalancing the gut microbiome with these probiotics will further assist with mycotoxin elimination and speed up the gut repair process.

Repair Leaky Gut with a Low-Mold Diet

If you eat a diet centered around grains and processed foods, it is likely that your diet contains mycotoxins. A diet that reduces food source of mycotoxins – a low-mold diet – can do wonders for reducing gut inflammation while also providing the gut with the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Here are some simple guidelines for a low-mold gut-healing diet plan.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Fermented foods: Mold spores can proliferate in food during the fermentation process. Avoid fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, cheese, sour cream, buttermilk, processed and smoked meats, and alcoholic drinks

  • Dried fruits: Raisins, cranberries, mangos, figs, prunes

  • High-sugar fruits: Pineapple, mango, banana, melons, oranges, grapes

  • Packaged and processed foods: Mold and mycotoxins may enter these foods during processing

  • Grains: Grains tend to be among the moldiest foods; small amounts of gluten-free grains may be acceptable (see recommendations below)

Foods to eat in moderation:

Grains, legumes, and starches should be eaten in moderation to avoid providing mold in the gut with a growth medium (fungi thrive on carbohydrates!).

  • Gluten-free grains: Rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, teff, gluten-free oats

  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, low-sugar fruits (apples, berries)

  • Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, black beans

Foods to eat freely:

  • Organic and grass-fed meats and poultry

  • Wild-caught seafood

  • Non-starchy vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussels sprouts, kale, swiss chard, spinach, bell peppers

  • Fresh soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds

  • Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, butter

  • Bone broth: Bone broth provides amino acids that help repair leaky gut.

Experts in toxic mold illness typically recommend that people follow the low-mold diet for at least a few months while undergoing treatment with probiotics and binding agents.

The combination of these strategies expedites the elimination of mycotoxins from the body, reduces intestinal inflammation, and gives the gut an opportunity to rest and repair.

Help for Detoxing and Healing Your Gut

G.I. Detox is my favorite resource for binding to and extracting mold toxins from the gut. It is carefully formulated to assist in the removal of mold toxins, heavy metals, and other intruders. To get this powerful effect, it includes a perfected combination of zeolite clay, activated charcoal, aloe vera, and other carefully-chosen detoxifiers.

Our Gut Restoration Kit includes the best ingredients to soothe and rebuild a compromised gut. It also comes with a PDF guide of simple diet and lifestyle adjustments you can make to maximize your results.

Each Gut Restoration Kit contains:

  • 1 MegasporeBiotic (soil-based bacillus probiotic)

  • 1 GI Revive (drink powder of soothing herbs and supplements)

  • 1 GI Assist (Saccharomyces boulardii, a beneficial yeast that helps the megaspore work even better)

  • 1 PDF Guide to Leaky Gut Do's and Don'ts

Is toxic mold messing up your gut? What have you tried to help you gut heal? Comment below to share your thoughts!

*Stay tuned for part 2 of the Toxic Mold / Leaky Gut Connection, where we’ll explain how to test for toxic mold in your body so you can treat it the most effectively.

Herbals vs. Bioidenticals for Hormones: Which Is Better?

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By Ann Melin, Lead Health Coach for Women’s Wellness Collaborative

The question “What do you think of hormone replacement therapy?” is one of the most common I get asked as a health practitioner focused on women’s health.

And, a fair amount of the time, the question is followed up by a client telling me she has been using bioidentical hormone replacement therapy but isn’t sure it’s safe and asks if there are natural hormone supplements that might be effective.

Should You Consider Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Although I have had these kinds of questions arise in women of all ages, the decision about whether to use hormone replacement therapy or to seek natural remedies is most hotly considered when women begin experiencing perimenopause and menopause. Common symptoms of this include hot flashes, night sweats, and emotional swings.

As with everything in the world of health, my answer is often somewhere in the neighborhood of “It depends!” Just what you wanted to hear, right?

Seriously, though, there is no one right answer on this subject and each woman has her own symptoms and health history that needs to be factored into any decision. I have certainly witnessed circumstances in which the use of hormone therapy for women is highly beneficial. I have also seen some women respond extremely well to using herbal remedies for menopause and perimenopause.

The Biggest Problem with Hormone Replacement Therapy

Unfortunately, many women are not properly tested when they start using hormones and even more women do not have their hormone levels monitored after they begin using hormones. I believe this is a major problem that can exacerbate hormone imbalances.

It’s confusing, because many symptoms of progesterone deficiency mimic symptoms of estrogen deficiency (and also mimic symptoms of cortisol dysregulation).

For example, it is not unusual for perimenopausal women to experience symptoms consistent with estrogen depletion, when they actually have elevated levels of estrogen and suppressed levels of progesterone. Many of these same women have been recommended BOTH estrogen and progesterone hormone therapy by other providers based upon symptoms alone. Not desirable!

Blindly supplementing with estrogen when it is already dominant can lead to estrogen dominance. This can be a dangerous condition that drives issues such as uterine fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, endometriosis, endometrial polyps, and even cancers, like breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Although it is natural for perimenopausal women to go through some months when estrogen becomes more dominant, we definitely do not want to provoke those conditions through the unmonitored use of hormones.

Should Anybody Ever Use Hormone Replacement Therapy?

Lest it sound like I’m against hormone replacement in every case, let me assure you I am not. In fact, I have been using progesterone therapy for many years now because I have a personal history of endometrial polyps and ovarian cysts. The progesterone helps to balance excess estrogen and to lighten monthly endometrial proliferation.

Blindly using hormone replacement therapy without knowing the actual levels of hormones is dangerous. But through the use of sophisticated lab work, like the DUTCH test, I can get a clear view of hormonal imbalance and gather information about the potential benefits of varied approaches.  

If you’re going to use hormone replacement therapy, make sure you know why you’re using it and make sure you get properly tested and monitored along the way!

Should You Pursue Natural Alternatives?

Many women are looking to integrate natural alternatives to HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and, as I stated earlier, I have seen some remarkable results. Of course, you still need to know what you’re taking and why you’re taking it.

For example, I have many women who come to me already using herbs like maca and ashwaganda in efforts to promote balanced female hormones. While both of these herbs are WONDERFUL under certain conditions, I often see lab results from these women showing elevations of DHEA without the intended benefits to the female sex hormones.

Despite what any research or anecdotal evidence might suggest, each woman is unique and it is absolutely impossible to know how you respond to any herb, supplement, or medication without looking at the impact on your individual physiology. And it is for this reason that I will always recommend testing rather than guessing!

Once women have their lab results, they often wonder if herbal therapies will actually work and, again, the answer is, “It depends!”

Some women respond very well to herbal approaches; however, it often takes a little bit longer to experience the benefits. In general, you have to use herbs for hormones for about 90 days before they will really start to drive a noticeable shift in hormones.

In many cases, I feel that herbs are a wonderful option in that they promote regulation of hormone production via the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis thereby regulating and stimulating the function of the endocrine organs rather than simply replacing what the body is not producing efficiently. This strategy helps to encourage appropriate levels of hormone production that fall within optimal ranges.

I have had clients completely eliminate their hot flashes and night sweats through the use of appropriately developed herbal formulas.

I have had clients experience more comfortable intercourse, enhanced libido, and increased vaginal lubrication from the use of herbal remedies.

The primary caveat to this is that you must have all of your organs in order for this to work; meaning that women who have had complete hysterectomies probably won’t experience much benefit from using herbs to help them regulate their symptoms of low estrogen and progesterone.

My Favorite Herbal Formula for Female Hormone Balance

With all of that said, my favorite formula for working with all kinds of female hormone imbalances includes the herbs mentioned below in the indicated ratios. (And I can’t put this out there without another reminder that everybody is different and I will usually customize the formula when I’m working with people individually.)  

*Note: I usually am referring to volume when I indicate a “part.”

  • 5 parts Vitex. This is an herb that helps to promote production of progesterone.

  • 3 parts Black Cohosh. This is an herb that helps regulate estrogen production.

  • 3 parts Red Clover. This is a phytoestrogenic herb, meaning that it resembles estrogen and has estrogen-like effects on the body.

  • 2 parts Ashwaganda. Supports DHEA production and can help support the adrenal system.

  • 2 parts Motherwort. This herb helps to enhance the synergy and efficacy of the blend of herbs. (Note: Motherwort is generally contraindicated in those with thyroid conditions… another reason to have proper testing and assessment prior to use)

You can use these herbs in tincture form from companies like Herb Pharm or Gaia Herbs. In this form, a reasonable dosage would be about 30-40 drops of the blend up to four times per day.

You can also use the cut and sifted form of the bulk herbs and blend them into a tea. I personally like this approach as it forces you to experience the taste of the herbs (as bitter as they might be), and taste immediately sends certain signals to the brain about what is being ingested and what the body needs to do to integrate it.

If you want to use a tea, you can order herbs from a place like Mountain Rose Herbs. You will make the mixture of herbs and then take 2 tbsp of that mixture, put it in a glass bowl, and cover it with two cups of boiling water. Cover the herbs and let them steep overnight. Strain the herbs out of the tea in the morning and separate the tea into two halves. Drink one half in the morning and the other in the evening.

Of course, both of the above suggestions are labor-intensive yet many women have a lot of demands and prefer something simple! In this case, Pure Encapsulations has a great product called PhytoBalance which contains several of the herbs mentioned above.

How to Properly Test Your Hormones

Knowing your actual hormone levels is the most crucial piece of attaining proper relief from your symptoms. There are many treatment options available and almost all of them have appropriate uses. However, it is nearly impossible to achieve balance if you don’t know exactly what is out-of-balance and how far out of balance it is. Once you know where you’re starting from, it becomes much easier to identify strategies to optimize health and well-being.

The DUTCH test is my favorite way to get a clear picture of hormonal imbalances in my clients. Check out my video, below, to learn which hormones the DUTCH test measures and why the it’s so effective in guiding hormone treatment plan.

Help for Your Hormones

Precise hormonal testing and expert, customized functional coaching is the BEST way to finally get results for your hormonal woes.

Visit our coaching page to learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of coaches.

Good Bye For Now with Bridgit Danner

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This is the 195th episode of Women's Wellness Radio. We've been on air for almost 3 years, and done a lot of good work. And I'm ready for a little change of pace. This is our last episode!

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 00:30 Changes on the WWR
Min 01:45 Finding our mission in work
Min 03:00 Toxins in our daily lives
Min 04:00 What's next for WWR
Min 07:00 Seeing new clients
Min 07:30 Past episodes on WWR

Resources:

Hormone Detox Tribe Group on Facebook
Hormone Detox Shop YouTube channel
Free gift "5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women's Health"
Private Coaching (includes free consultation information)

5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health

Are you doing all the ‘right things’ but still feeling blah?

Get my list of 5 Easy Detox Swaps for Women’s Health to start clearing out the toxins and reset your system to feel better today!

Click here to learn more...

Amazing September Specials from doTERRA!

This month doTERRA is offering six of its popular enrollment kits for 20% off! These kits are already discounted, and already include a beautiful book about oils and a year-long wholesale membership. Many of the kits come with bonus points to spend the next month.

The discounted kits are:

  1. Diamond kit - This is the ‘all the things’ kit! Enjoy everything doTERRA has to offer and get a $500 private session with me. (Details below.) Normally $2,650, now $2,120. That’s over $500 off!

  2. Every Oil kit - This is what is says it is! It’s every oil doTERRA offers and every blend, plus a diffuser. What a dream! It’s a huge bargain for quality and array of exotic oils. Plus you get an hour private session with me! Normally $1825, now $1460.

  3. Natural Solutions kit (top seller) - Normally $550, now $440. You get a LOT of fun stuff to try throughout your house with this kit. A non-toxic home makeover! It’s very popular.

  4. Home Essentials kit (top seller) - This is the most popular kit! Normally $275, now $220. The top ten oils plus a diffuser.

  5. Cleanse and Restore kit - Normally $254, now $196. A collection of supplements and oils to detoxify your body.

  6. Emotional Aromatherapy Diffused kit - Normally $195, now $156. Unique blends of calming and uplifting oils plus a diffuser!

*Available in U.S. and Canada and limited participating international markets. To see if your market is participating, please contact Member Services in your market at (800)-411-8151.
Click here to enroll and save!

PLUS I’m am donating $20 worth of bonuses for every special kit bought this month! My bonuses include:

  1. Keychain oil holder (keep sample bottles in your purse!)

  2. doTERRA shampoo and conditioner sample

  3. OnGuard toothpaste sample

  4. Deep Blue Rub sample

  5. Essential Oils usage guide

  6. Live Guide to the essential oils lifestyle

PLUS if you buy a Diamond or Every Oil kit, you will get a private new patient consultation with me for free! ($497 value)

If you’ve been putting off joining doTERRA, it’s time to get off the fence, girl!

Click here to enroll, fill out your name, address, etc, and you can choose your kit (discount applied automatically in the cart.)

Don’t miss the boat! I have only 10 bonus kits available so buy today before you forget!

For more information on these six kits plus my bonuses, please watch the short video below. Click here to enroll and save!  Questions? Send to bridgit@bridgitdanner.com

Essential Oils for Hypothyroidism

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Stubborn Symptoms Can Fade with the Right Oils!

So you found out you have hypothyroidism. Knowing is a great first step, but unfortunately many treatment methods will miss the mark in addressing your daily symptoms and the root cause of your hypothyroidism.

Roll up your sleeves and prepare to get oily because you are about to take a deep dive into the natural ways to treat hypothyroidism, and how a simple toolbox of essential oils for thyroid can really shift things for you!

Symptoms of Thyroid Problems in Women

The list of thyroid problems symptoms in females is long and varied! You may have a set of symptoms that differ from your friend with the same condition. Hypothyroid blogger Dana Trentini, aka Hypothyroid Mom, lists over 300 symptoms of thyroid disease! (1)

Here are some of the complaints I hear about that are common and can affect your daily life or your sense of self-esteem:

  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Can’t think clearly
  • Cold all the time
  • Feeling anxious
  • Getting sick often
  • Can’t fall asleep
  • Can’t get enough sleep

The reason the symptoms are so numerous is that most cells in your body have a receptor for thyroid hormone. That thyroid hormone stimulates energy production within that cell so it can do its function. So if there isn’t enough thyroid hormone arriving to the various cells and systems of your body, all sorts of symptoms can arise.

Are You Doing the Right Things for Your Thyroid?

If you are using a conventional approach to dealing with your hypothyroidism, you are likely using a combination of prescription medication and over-the-counter remedies.

You may find that the conventional medicine approach is not fully addressing your symptoms, or is causing other side effects. This could be due to a few reasons:

  • You are on the wrong medication
  • You are on the wrong dose of medication
  • You are not treating the real source of your health problem
  • You are using synthetic medications that have secondary side effects
  • You are exposing yourself to toxins in your OTC medications

If you are using natural remedies for thyroid, that’s great, but you still may not be getting to the root cause of your hypothyroidism.

If you are trying to treat hypothyroidism and still not feeling better, it’s very frustrating! Luckily there are essential oil benefits that can really help for hypothyroidism. Before we get into the oils, I want to briefly detail the causes of hypothyroidism.

Getting to the Root Cause of Your Hypothyroidism

There are various reasons you can fall into hypothyroidism. If you’d like to learn more on how the thyroid gland works and what can go wrong, please read our article, How to Know if You Have a Thyroid Problem.

Here are the main reasons for hypothyroidism:

  1. The autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (this is the #1 cause).
  2. A neurological issue in which the thyroid is not getting a signal to make sufficient hormone.
  3. A conversion issue, in which the health of the the body’s cells, liver or gut is not supporting sufficient conversion to active thyroid hormone.
  4. Inflammation at the cellular level, which blocks thyroid hormone from entering the cell.

But these reasons for hypothyroidism have underlying causes! The main ones are:

  1. Stress
  2. Lack of sleep
  3. Toxin exposure through food, air and water
  4. Genetic predisposition
  5. Leaky gut (aka ‘increased intestinal permeability’)
  6. Chronic infection
  7. Poor nutrition

If you don’t address these underlying causes, you may never feel better.

Essential Oils for Thyroid

Essential oils, when sourced properly and used knowledgeably, are safe, affordable and effective tools for your natural medicine cabinet.

Addressing Root Causes

Best Oils for Gut Health:

Digestive issues are almost always present in hypothyroid cases. It requires some advanced testing to sort out if you have parasites, candida, H Pylori, etc, but we can say for sure that everyone in this busy society could use a digestive boost. And we also know that if you have a low-functioning thyroid, you produce less stomach acid.

Back in the day I studied Chinese Medicine, and I actually practiced acupuncture for 13 years. In Chinese Medicine, we have the concept of ‘five tastes,’ and two tastes that stimulate digestion are sweet and bitter.

Bitter tastes stimulate stomach acid production, digestive enzyme production, and bile flow. Sweet taste (and I’m not talking mini-donuts here) ‘warms the stomach’ and food is digested and assimilated better.

An all-in-one oil for digestion is Digestzen by doTERRA. It contains anise seed, peppermint, ginger, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon, and fennel seed essential oils. This oil is one I recommend to all my thyroid clients.

Best Oils for Stress:

Chronic stress taxes your adrenal glands, gut lining and more. So it’s ‘essential’ to address it!

Many essential oils address high cortisol, the hormone that hangs around when we live in chronic stress. These include:

There are a couple popular blends for relaxation and sleep by doTERRA.

Balance is a favorite of many women to bring on the calm. It contains spruce leaf, ho wood leaf, frankincense resin, blue tansy flower, blue chamomile flower, and osmanthus flower essential oils in a base of fractionated coconut oil.

Serenity is the personal favorite around our home.  We diffuse it for sleep, and I’ll inhale it deeply when I’m anxious.

Speaking of how to use the oils, the most effective way to use oils to reduce stress is through inhalation. This could be 3-10 deep breaths straight from the bottle, using a cold air diffuser in your bedroom, or sprinkling a few drops onto a tissue and leaving that on your pillow. (2)

Addressing Common Symptoms

Best Oils for Hair Loss:

This sign of hypothyroidism is very distressing for women!  The good news is that essential oils can play a huge role both in short-term improvement of hair appearance and in long-term regrowth.

Lavender can be used each time you wash your hair. This study on lavender essential oil for hair and maybe others demonstrate certain essential oils to be as effective as Rogaine over a 6-month period. (3) Add a few drops to your palm, inhale three times, and then mix with your shampoo.

Rosemary essential oil is my favorite to use as I apply conditioner. It not only promotes hair growth but it also has a smoothing quality. So shake 3 drops into your palm, inhale deeply, and then mix with your conditioner. Rosemary has antioxidant properties that support your thyroid as well.

Best Oils for Brain Fog:

When you’re dealing with hypothyroidism, your brain is not firing as fully as you would like. You can’t find your keys, you can’t recall a word you know, and maybe you just aren’t learning as quickly. Luckily there are some ‘tricks’ to help with brain fog.

Peppermint is an oil that invigorates, stimulates and creates circulation. Rub a little onto your temples and scalp to wake up your brain.

Orange is an uplifting oil that, when diffused in a room, helps you stay alert, energized and focused.

Motivate is a blend by doTERRA that contains both peppermint and citrus, plus basil and other oils. I love this one and, if you use it daily, you may find your memory is sharper.


Best Oils for Weight Loss:

Oils that have circulating and warming properties can support weight loss. Some oils help move lymph, some curb cravings and others promote good digestion and blood sugar balance.

The best of the bunch are combined into a blend called Slim and Sassy by doTERRA. It contains grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon, and it’s delightful.

You can put a dab on your tongue before or after meals for cravings or spread it on your belly with a carrier oil.

Amazing September Specials from doTERRA!

This month doTERRA is offering six of its popular enrollment kits for 20% off! These kits are already discounted, and already include a beautiful book about oils and a year-long wholesale membership. Many of the kits come with bonus points to spend the next month.

The discounted kits are:

  1. Diamond kit - This is the ‘all the things’ kit! Enjoy everything doTERRA has to offer and get a $500 private session with me. (Details below.) Normally $2,650, now $2,120. That’s over $500 off!
  2. Every Oil kit - This is what is says it is! It’s every oil doTERRA offers and every blend, plus a diffuser. What a dream! It’s a huge bargain for quality and array of exotic oils. Plus you get an hour private session with me! Normally $1825, now $1460.
  3. Natural Solutions kit (top seller) - Normally $550, now $440. You get a LOT of fun stuff to try throughout your house with this kit. A non-toxic home makeover! It’s very popular.
  4. Home Essentials kit (top seller) - This is the most popular kit! Normally $275, now $220. The top ten oils plus a diffuser.
  5. Cleanse and Restore kit - Normally $254, now $196. A collection of supplements and oils to detoxify your body.
  6. Emotional Aromatherapy Diffused kit - Normally $195, now $156. Unique blends of calming and uplifting oils plus a diffuser!

*Available in U.S. and Canada and limited participating international markets. To see if your market is participating, please contact Member Services in your market at (800)-411-8151.
Click here to enroll and save!

PLUS I’m am donating $20 worth of bonuses for every special kit bought this month! My bonuses include:

  1. Keychain oil holder (keep sample bottles in your purse!)
  2. doTERRA shampoo and conditioner sample
  3. OnGuard toothpaste sample
  4. Deep Blue Rub sample
  5. Essential Oils usage guide
  6. Live Guide to the essential oils lifestyle

PLUS if you buy a Diamond or Every Oil kit, you will get a private new patient consultation with me for free! ($497 value)

If you’ve been putting off joining doTERRA, it’s time to get off the fence, girl!

Click here to enroll, fill out your name, address, etc, and you can choose your kit (discount applied automatically in the cart.)

Don’t miss the boat! I have only 10 bonus kits available so buy today before you forget!

 

For more information on these six kits plus my bonuses, please watch the short video below. Click here to enroll and save!  Questions? Send to bridgit@bridgitdanner.com


Written by Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP

Bridgit is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

How to Know if You Have a Thyroid Problem

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Get Diagnosed to Treat Your Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

According to the American Thyroid Association, one in eight women will develop a form of thyroid disease. (1) Are you one of them?

I was shocked to get my own diagnosis a few years ago! But knowing will help you make targeted healthcare choices that get results, rather than just hanging out in ‘symptom land’ for years on end.

Learn the warning signs and symptoms of thyroid problems in women, the times in life you are most likely to develop a thyroid condition, the root causes, and the best thyroid lab tests to get a diagnosis.

Signs of Thyroid Problems

Signs (visible markers) of thyroid problems include:

  • Hair loss

  • Pale skin

  • Excess weight

  • Sweating

  • Bulging eyes

  • Rapid weight loss

The first three signs are signs of LOW thyroid function, which is the more common form of thyroid dysfunction. The signs of thyroid weight gain and thyroid hair loss are often the most distressing for our clients.

The last three signs are signs of HIGH thyroid function. Sometimes a patient will swing from signs of low function to hyperfunction. You’ll learn more about this later.

Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

The symptoms of low thyroid are many. According to author and thyroid expert Dana Trentini, there are 300+ symptoms of thyroid disorder! (2) I’ll list some of the common ones here:

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  • Cold hands and feet

  • Indigestion

  • Fatigue

  • Foggy thinking

  • Never sweating

  • Geting sick often

  • Swelling

  • Chronic candida

  • Dark under eye area

  • Acne

  • Dry skin

  • Headaches

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Irregular periods

  • Infertility

  • Lox sex drive

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism swing the other way and include:

  • Excess hunger

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • High blood pressure

Many of these symptoms could overlap with other health conditions. And many people who have a thyroid condition also have another health challenge. Let’s look at the roots and triggers for thyroid disease and learn how it develops.

How the Thyroid Gland Works

The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones that influence metabolism and more. Most cells in the body respond to thyroid hormone in some way.

Authors Nussey and Whitehead state in their publication, Endocrinology: An Integrated Approach, “In most tissues... thyroid hormones stimulate the metabolic rate by increasing the number and size of mitochondria…” (3) Thyroid hormones produce energy for most processes in your body.

Thyroid hormones are produced at the command of your hypothalamus/pituitary axis. This axis releases a hormone called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to stimulate your thyroid to make hormones. The thyroid then produces hormones called T1, T2, reverse T3, T3 and T4.

As T4 leaves the thyroid gland, it needs to be converted to T3 in the blood, kidneys, liver and intestines.

The hormones T4 and T3 are bound by proteins that carry them in the bloodstream. They must become unbound or ‘free’ in the last step before they can bind with their hormone receptors in cells throughout the body.

What Causes Thyroid Problems

There are many steps that can go awry in this process of thyroid hormone production. The most common cause of thyroid disease is autoimmunity.

The most common autoimmune thyroid disease is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s disease symptoms match the ones I outlined above.

Hashimoto’s usually appears as low thyroid symptoms, but as the body attacks the thyroid gland, thyroid hormone is released, and symptoms of hyperthyroidism can appear.

The other autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid is called Graves’ disease. This is less common, and it’s marked by signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, like insomnia, racing heart, and rapid weight loss.

The definition of autoimmunity is straightforward:

Autoimmunity is the system of immune responses of an organism against its own healthy cells and tissues. Any disease that results from such an aberrant immune response is termed an ‘autoimmune disease.’” (4)

Understanding why autoimmunity happens, and how to reverse it, is much more complex.

Autoimmunity occurs due to a mixture of genetic predisposition and environmental factors.  Autoimmunity is very much on the rise in our time and it’s likely thanks to our fast-paced, high-stress lifestyle combined with new chemicals and triggers in our environment.

Dr. Alessio Fasano has a theory that each autoimmunity case involves a genetic predisposition, a leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) and a ‘vector,’ or an external infection or irritant that disrupts the body. (5)

Most functional practitioners include a focus on the gut as leaky gut can allow peptides to enter the bloodstream and dysregulate the immune system, and because some gut infections are linked to autoimmunity. (6) Dr. Izabella Wentz, a New York Times best-selling author and Hashimoto’s expert, focuses on gut hygiene and pathogen eradication in her work.

Beyond the gut, I have observed toxins like indoor toxic mold help trigger autoimmunity. It is a part of my own story with Hashimoto’s that you can read more about here.  

The most common times in a woman’s life to be diagnosed with autoimmunity are after childbirth, after a major stress, after breast implant surgery and as she shifts into menopause.

Unraveling the why of autoimmunity in each case is where functional medicine shines, and where conventional medicine is left in the dust.

Conventional medicine will just manage your medication for the rest of your life. And the trouble is that, even when given thyroid hormone, you may not feel better.

Functional medicine blends the best of modern testing techniques for thyroid, mold, nutrition, gut infections and more with a holistic approach of treating the whole person with lifestyle, nutritional therapy and targeted supplementation.

Outside of autoimmunity, you can have low thyroid function from other factors. These could be:

  • A neurological issue in which the thyroid is not getting a signal to make sufficient hormone.

  • A conversion issue, in which the health of the the body’s cell, liver or gut are not supporting sufficient conversion to active thyroid hormone.

  • Inflammation at the cellular level, which blocks thyroid hormone from entering the cell.

Doctors Chris Kresser and Eric Osansky both detail mechanisms in which reduced active thyroid hormone is not adequately produced. (7, 8)

These other thyroid issues can all be addressed with functional health care as well.

Thyroid Lab Tests

Since thyroid symptoms are so overlapped with other conditions, you cannot self-diagnose by symptoms; you need to test.

A thyroid function test is easy to access. It’s a simple blood panel that can be drawn at any lab. Nowadays, there are many companies that offer options to order a test online yourself. One of my favorites is Your Lab Work, which you can check out here.

Why would I bring this up and not just say, “go see your doctor”? Most doctors are not trained to look at your thyroid from the vantage point of best function.

We have had scores of women come to us with incomplete thyroid lab test results, or reporting their doctors would not agree to run full thyroid labs. Most conventional doctors are trained to look at the thyroid from a broad view, and are not advised to test for autoimmunity to boot.

This is how your thyroid labs may appear ‘normal,’ but you still feel like crap. And this is why I recommend to test your thyroid with a functional health provider like us.

If your health care provider’s views match your own, you will have a much better experience and outcome.

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The image to the right details the tests to run if you think you may have low thyroid function.

These are:

  • TSH

  • Total T4

  • Free T4

  • Total T3

  • Free T3

  • Reverse T3

  • TG antibody

  • TPO antibody

This battery of tests will give you a sense of where the cascade of thyroid function failed you. Was it right away, in the brain? Was it a conversion issue? Do you have autoimmunity?

If you suspect you could have Graves’ disease or hyperfunction of the thyroid, please request the thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) in addition to the other tests.

What’s Next After Your Thyroid Test

So you had your full thyroid panel run; that’s great! If you were paying attention to this article, you’ll realize that addressing thyroid imbalance may be complicated.

You and your functional practitioner may want to run additional tests based on your symptoms and your thyroid results. These may include:

  • Gut pathogen testing

  • Blood nutrient testing

  • Heavy metal testing

  • Female & adrenal hormone testing

A couple additional tests help can round out the picture and give you a very clear and targeted protocol for healing. A targeted protocol of nutrition, lifestyle practices and supplementation will get you results much faster and will save money and time in the long run.

Work With Us!

We would be honored to work with you as a private client. We provide testing and coaching options to women in most every state and country. Come chat with us on a free consultation to see if it’s a fit.

Questions? Please post below.


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Written by Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP

Bridgit is trained in functional health coaching and has worked with thousands of women over her career since 2004. She is the founder of Women’s Wellness Collaborative llc and HormoneDetoxShop.com.

 

Are There Heavy Metals in Your Lip Gloss?

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What to Do When Your Beauty Routine Is Making You Sick

When it’s time to go out, or you just want to look pretty, it’s easy to reach for your favorite lip gloss. But what if it’s actually making you sick through toxin exposure? 

It seems unfair that an innocent-sounding object like lip gloss or lipstick could actually be harming us! Unfortunately, the truth is these cosmetics are not regulated and most of them contain heavy metals and chemicals that wreak havoc on our health.

Did you know experts estimate the average woman eats 10 pounds of lipstick in her lifetime? (1) Read on to learn how to protect yourself and your family with chemical-free makeup.

Heavy Metals in Cosmetics?

If you haven’t heard much about heavy metals, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn’t metal natural? Yes, but when we talk about “heavy metals,” we’re referring to tiny, toxic pieces of metals like lead, cadmium, arsenic, aluminum, and many others. Our processes of mining and manufacturing often stir them up and expose us to them in unnatural ways and amounts.

These heavy metals, which can easily be absorbed into our bodies, are hard to get rid of, so when we’re exposed they build up in our bodies and cause many health problems. (More on this in a bit.)

If heavy metals are such a problem, why do we find lead and the others in so many cosmetics?

Obviously, most companies are not adding heavy metals just for the sake of adding heavy metals! Instead, heavy metals often sneak into products by way of the materials used for adding the coloring. The coloring pigments are typically based on either petroleum or minerals, and both of these could include heavy metals. (2)

The Dangers of Heavy Metals in Beauty Products

Having heavy metals in our bodies is linked to many adverse effects on our health. Heavy metals can cause many problems, including: contributing to the development of autoimmune disorders, slowing cellular energy, burdening detoxification channels, causing hormonal imbalances, and affecting behavior and learning in children. (3)

When we use lip gloss or lipstick with lead and other heavy metals, it’s easy to ingest them while our skin also is absorbing the toxins. Once we’re exposed, it’s difficult for our bodies to clear these toxins, which can lead to build up and ever-increasing associated health issues. (4)

  • Lead. Most of us have heard about lead from the way it was removed from house paint and gasoline for its health hazards. However, lead still lingers in our lives today in other places. Surprisingly, lead-free lipstick can be a hard thing to find. Lipstick without lead is important, as lead is linked to many things including developmental/reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, respiratory issues, kidney toxicity, and cancer.  (5) (6
  • Cadmium. While cadmium hasn’t had the coverage that lead has, it is still concerning that it is one of the heavy metals found in beauty products. Cadmium is believed to be carcinogenic and cause hormonal imbalances, as well as cause kidney issues. (7) (8)
  • Arsenic. This is another troubling heavy metal that may be lurking in our cosmetics. Arsenic is a known carcinogen, is linked to hormonal issues and infertility, and is a toxicant to many of our bodily systems. (9)
  • Aluminum. Again, aluminum is not something we want to be exposed to. It is linked to brain toxicity, as well as respiratory issues. (10)
  • Mercury. Earning a bad score of 9 from the EWG, Mercury is linked to endocrine disruption, cancer, respiratory issues, and environmental toxicity as well. (11)

Obviously, we want to avoid filling our bodies with these toxic heavy metals! But finding safe lipstick or lip gloss can be so confusing. Are we doomed to never wear make-up again? Fortunately, there are ways to wear non toxic make-up and reduce our exposure to these chemicals, which we’ll talk about soon.

More Problems for Teenage Girls

In addition to all the problems discussed above, teen girls who are exposed to heavy metals face extra issues. When a girl hits puberty, her body is still trying to figure out how to set up her reproductive processes, causing her to be extra sensitive to any disruptions. As we noticed above, heavy metals are closely associated with issues in endocrine and reproductive health. 

When teen girls absorb and ingest heavy metals by using lip gloss or lipstick, this can have lasting implications on their lifelong health. This is when their bodies are learning to function, so disturbances during this time leave their bodies with no picture of what is correct. Additionally, heavy metals easily build up in our bodies throughout our lives, meaning that more exposure at an early age means more heavy metals to deal with later in life. (12)

Is Everybody Doing It?

The search for lead-free lipstick and other safe cosmetics can be daunting. It’s easy to assume that unsafe products wouldn’t be sold; however, the truth is the FDA doesn’t regulate most of the ingredients of cosmetics. In fact, they report: “Cosmetic products and ingredients, and their labeling, do not require FDA approval before they go on the market. There’s one exception: color additives (other than coal-tar hair dyes).” (13)

Since there aren’t strict regulations, it’s important for us as consumers to shop smart. Unfortunately, when tested, almost all cosmetics turn up with heavy metal content, and companies generally don’t engage in the often-expensive process of good 3rd-party testing. (14) (15

So how do you protect yourself and your family?

How to Find Non-toxic Lipstick and Lip Gloss

While there will be very trace amounts of heavy metals in the coloring of any cosmetic, there are steps we can take to greatly reduce our exposure and risk of health issues.

Safer Usage Tips

When using any lipstick, be sure to keep it away from babies and small children, as they are at a higher risk for complications.

If you eat while wearing lipstick, you unfortunately ingest more! To reduce exposure, make sure you wash off your lipstick before you got to bed.

However, the most important tip is to find a quality product, which you can read about below. (16

MY FAVORITE NON-TOXIC LIP PRODUCTS

Beautycounter is the only company I know that engages in third party testing and sets their standards at or below the strictest international guidance for keeping their products safe. (17

Beautycounter offers a perfect, non-toxic lip gloss, which is my daily favorite, as well as great lipsticks.

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I like the sheer lipstick as I don’t like heavy color and it’s so moist and lightweight. But they offer more intense color too that you can layer with a gloss. Browse all their lip products here.

The great news is Beautycounter is currently running a HUGE site-wide sale of 20% off everything! This is the best sale I’ve seen, so this is a perfect time to try out their products or stock up on your favorites. 

Simply enter the code “LOVE” at checkout now through Aug. 13th to receive 20% off your next order! Shop here.

Healing Leaky Gut and Dysbiosis with Kiran Krishnan

Kiran Krishnan is a Microbiologist with over 20 years experience in the probiotics industry. In this webinar we did in May, Kiran talks about leaky gut, the microbiome, gluten, the immune system & supplements for a leaky gut.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 03:20 Introduction to WWC
Min 04:05 Kiran Krishnan & his work
Min 08:35 Leaky gut progression
Min 13:13 Effects of a leaky gut
Min 17:15 Effects of stress on the gut
Min 20:40 Symptoms of a leaky gut
Min 23:30 Is leaky gut genetic?
Min 27:15 Gluten & Megaspore
Min 33:25 Eating right
Min 35:50 Megaspore
Min 43:20 Getting the right probiotic
Min 48:25 GI Restore supplement
Min 50:25 Taking probiotics for bloating
Min 54:30 GI Assist supplement & gut restoration kit
Min 1:01:00 Parasites & leaky gut
Min 1:04:35 Candida, immune deficiency & breastfeeding while on probiotics
Min 1:11:00 Histamine

Resources:

Megaspore 
Gut Restoration kit 
Gut Infection kit 
GI Restore powder 
GI Assist 
Atrantil 
Healing Gut & Oral Infections With Herbs with Rachel Fresco 
Why Chronic Bloating Happens with Eric Rieger

Here's the video version of the interview with Kiran Krishnan:

High Energy Morning Detox Guide

No time to detox? If you are willing to put in just 5 minutes a day, you’ll see a shift in just 5 days!

Grab our High Energy Morning Guide and get some spring back in your step, naturally.

Learn more here...