Detox

How Toxic Is Your Bed?

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How to Stop Your Bed from Making You Sick

You likely make an effort to get good sleep at night, because you know sleep is vital for your health. Maybe you even bought a special memory foam mattress or a foam mattress topper, in hopes that it would help you sleep. But did you know your bed can expose you to toxic chemicals?

Unfortunately, most mattresses and bedding are dosed in flame-retardants and other chemicals like pesticides. As you sleep, the chemicals come into contact with your body and can be absorbed. These toxins from the off-gassing mattress are also released into the air to become part of the dust in your home. This is not a good scenario for health!

Read on to learn more about toxins that may be lurking in your bed and steps you can take to avoid these issues.

Chemicals in Mattresses

By law, mattresses must withstand an open flame from a blowtorch for over a minute without bursting into flame. This is generally accomplished by covering the mattress with flame-retardant chemicals, which are linked to various health issues. (1, 2)

These toxic, flame-retardant chemicals in mattresses include:

  • Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE). This is a strong flame-retardant. It was banned in the US in 2004, but if your mattress is old, you may still be getting exposed. Unfortunately, PBDE exposure has been linked to hormone imbalances, thyroid issues, cognitive difficulties, and more. It is especially harmful to children. (3, 4)

  • Organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs). This class of chemicals has been used as a replacement for PBDE; however, it comes with its own list of health risks, as OPFRs are known carcinogens and neurotoxicants. (5)

  • Formaldehyde. This one is used as an adhesive in some memory foam mattresses, and is a known carcinogen. (6)

  • Decabromodiphenyl Oxide. This is another potent flame retardant that is also suspected to be a carcinogen and neurological toxicant.

Dust Mites and Mold in Mattresses

In addition to chemicals, your mattress may be housing other unwanted visitors. Dust mites are tiny, spider-like creatures that are too small for us to see, but they love to live in mattresses. These tiny bugs extract their water from the air, so this means they like any warm, humid place they can find, such as your mattress.

While they don’t bite, they unfortunately do produce waste, which is highly allergenic for us. As Katie (Wellness Mama) notes in her article:

“Dust mite feces (their poop) contain powerful digestive enzymes that actually allow the resourceful dust mite to eat and gain energy from its own waste.

But for humans, these enzymes can be destructive. In fact, there are over 20 allergens in a single dust mite waste packet, which can easily enter the human bloodstream when disturbed and sent airborne.” (7)

Dust mite allergens have been linked to asthma, hay fever, conjunctivitis, eczema, and more. (8)

Additionally, the warm, humid atmosphere in mattresses makes them a great place to harbor toxic mold, which, if you know my story, is a big deal!

Pesticides in Bedding

Most sheets and blankets are made from cotton, which is one of the dirtiest crops in the world, sprayed with all kinds of pesticides. When pesticide-laden sheets come into contact with your skin, you can absorb these chemicals into your body. (9)

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to take care of these issues.

Unfortunately, there is still another way your bed might be making you sick.

EMF Exposure from Metal Bed Frames

If you’ve heard of exposure to EMFs (Electromagnetic Frequencies), you likely know it’s a controversial issue. While there are some outrageous claims, there is enough evidence that it should inspire us to do what we can to protect ourselves and our families.

Per Claus Plummer, a holistic sleep coach from Samina Sleep Systems (you can see my interview with him below), metal bed frames and springs in mattresses can be excellent conductors of the EMFs, concentrating them and sending them straight into our bodies. Since we’re hopefully spending all night (⅓ of our lives) on our mattresses, this is something to consider.

At this point, you may be ready to throw your hands up in despair. Who knew there could be so many problems with a simple bed?

Don’t worry-- as I was learning about this, I felt overwhelmed, too! Let me share with you some tips and ideas for detoxing your bed.

How to Find a Healthy Mattress (That Works)

As part of my research, I recently recorded a discussion I had with Claus Pummer, a Holistic Sleep Coach and sleep expert. He walked me through many tips on finding a healthier mattress.

In this interview, we discuss:

  • How to choose a non toxic mattress carefully

  • Questions to ask when buying a mattress

  • How to discourage dust mites

  • Non-toxic flame retardant options

  • The pros and cons of different types of rubber in mattresses

  • How to evaluate your sleep environment

  • How to test and reduce your nighttime EMF levels

No time to watch the full interview? That’s okay!  

I’ll go ahead and share with you some great non-toxic options.

For mattresses, consider the Samina Sleeping System. This mattress uses a natural flame-retardant (sheep’s wool), discourages the dust mites, and reduces EMF exposure. We don’t get any commissions if you buy a Samina, but tell Claus you came from Bridgit Danner’s community!

There are other options out there at various price points, just be sure to do your research as many companies practice ‘greenwashing,’ making it sound like their materials are safer than you’d think.

For non-toxic bedding, I love Coyuchi’s organic bedding sets. These products are made with organic material, so you don’t have to worry about absorbing pesticides while you sleep.

Daily Detox Options

Concerned about chemicals and allergens you’ve been exposed to already? No money for a bed right now? Here are a couple easy options to give you peace of mind that you are supporting your body each day in clearing toxins:

  1. Our Detox Starter Kit                

Our Detox Starter kit contains a dry brush kit ( a great way to move lymph and expel toxins), a binder called GI Detox (learn more below), and a glutathione mouth spray.

Glutathione is the most important antioxidant in the body. It helps us clear toxins, and it’s depleted in the presence of toxic load.



2.  GI Detox                    

GI Detox is a blend of the most effective binders to help ‘bind’ toxins in your intestines and help them exit the body. Binders are the garbage men of the supplement world; they aren’t the sexy star but they get the job done!

Purchase either product today at a discount! Use the code NEW15 for 15% off if you are new shopper at our site.

If you are returning shopper, use the code DETOXNOW for free shipping within the US on your whole order. Thanks!


Your Post-Holiday Detox Plan!

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Fear Not! We’ve Got Foods that Cleanse the Body and More!

Are you feeling bloated after your holiday eating? Sometimes I feel I have gained 20 lbs in just a week or two!

If your healthy holiday eating plan did not turn out how you hoped, read on because I’m offering several easy, all-natural ideas to lose the sluggishness, stomach upset, and sugar addiction that can follow after a high-flying season of holiday meals.

Why You Feel So Gross After the Holidays

You are likely the healthy type: you cook and try to eat organic, you make smoothies and work out. But you are human. You likely love cookies, red wine and cheesy potatoes.

The nostalgia, stress, and excitement of the holidays can leave you indulging in your vices more often than you meant to do.

But what is exactly happening in your body that leaves you feeling so miserable? Here are few line items!

  1. Food sensitivities: You are choosing foods that you normally avoid that cause inflammation.

  2. Mast cell activation: You may eat more foods that raise histamines like cheese, wheat & wine. Histamine intolerance can be more prevalent when there is hormonal imbalance (1).

  3. Lack of time-restricted eating: You may be eating late at night or snacking all day.

  4. Overeating: Your body can’t make enough acids and enzymes for the amount you’ve eaten.

  5. Sugar addiction: If you usually avoid sugar and alcohol but are now indulging, you may find you are craving sugar every few hours.

  6. Food additive flare-ups: The MSG, Roundup and more in that food you eat at restaurants and parties is increasing your toxic load, which can result in short-term puffiness or headaches, and longer-term toxic burden.

Is This Extra Weight Going to Stick Around?

The older you get, the harder it becomes to lose weight after you put it on, BUT it’s not impossible to lose it again! However, you may need more than a few extra sessions at the gym if you are over 40 and reading this!

If liver function goes down over time, weight can go up, along with insulin resistance and high blood pressure (2). We are all susceptible to a faulty liver due to poor nutrition or digestion and due to the high amount of toxins in the environment.

Here are a few examples of toxins and their impact on human health:

  • Effect of Perchlorate (a dry cleaning chemical) on thyroid function (3)

  • Formaldehyde (commonly found in our flooring and furniture) is classified as a known human carcinogen (4)

  • Phthalates (found in plastics and fragrances) can cause chemically-induced weight gain (5)

How Full Is Your “Toxic Cup”?

Have you ever heard about the analogy about your health and a cup?? You’re right, it sounds like a very simple concept, but bear with me!

Let’s say when you were 20 you had a pretty empty cup. You had some toxins in your body (because we all do), but you were otherwise pretty fit and could bounce back from anything.

But then you got exposed to toxins at work in a jewelry studio, and at home when you put in new carpet. You also took who-knows-how-many antibiotics for all those sinus infections you got. Were those due to toxic mold? You still wonder.

And then your mom died, and that was incredibly hard and you ate horribly. But then you fell in love and got married but it was stressful and then the kids came and you ended up having two C-sections and your hair fell out.

Then you got your gallbladder removed after that horrible pain and infection. And then you realized your dental fillings were probably leaking mercury and you don’t know what to do about it...

I think you get the idea. Life builds up its insults against your body and the amount of scar tissue and toxins accumulate. Your body systems may be hampered and not totally doing their jobs as well as they used to do.

This is why, my friend, it’s time to detox harder.

Three Ways to Detox Harder

1. Diet

When you think about cleaning up your act, you may think about foods that cleanse the liver, and rightly so! The liver does a lot of the detox work in the body.

After indulging in sweet food, give your liver some bitter and sour love! We need all ‘tastes’ to balance our diet.

Bitter greens like arugula salad, cooked chard and fresh-juiced parsley are great additions to the diet right now. You can also drink your bitters by squeezing a half lemon or 1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar into a glass of water.

Other foods that cleanse the body include healthy fats. That’s right, you don’t have to starve yourself on salad to detox! Use ghee to stir fry. Add fresh pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds into your smoothie recipe. Fats compose the membranes of the cell, nucleus and mitochondria, and healthy fats keep our cells functioning and communicating correctly.

You also need plenty of pure water, so remember to drink ½ your body weight in ounces of water right now. Count it out in a water bottle or measuring container to make sure you are!

Steer clear of those processed, rich and sweet foods you grew fond of over the holidays. This may mean throwing some things out to avoid temptation, and vowing to eat in all week.

2. Lifestyle

There are so many fun ways to detox through your lifestyle!

Movement and sunlight are two great ways. There may be less sunlight where you live right now, but try to get what you can. And when you exercise, try to work up at sweat at least some of the time. A heated yoga class can really facilitate this!

A 2015 study concluded that vitamin D (obtained from sunlight or supplements) in conjunction with sufficient beneficial minerals can prevent excess absorption of toxic minerals like cadmium and mercury (6).

Speaking of heat, do you sauna? Saunas are really incredible for detox on some many fronts. They move you out of fight-or-flight mode, they liberate heavy metals (7), chemicals (8), and mold toxins, and they increase your metabolism for weight loss.

You can invest in a personal sauna, but you can also use the one at your health club for now.

If you’ve followed me over the past couple years you know I became addicted to dry brushing as I went through recovery from toxic mold. Dry brushing moves the lymph to clear toxins from the body, and also can help reduce cellulite build up! It’s a win-win! We sell dry brushes at our shop.

Lastly I’ll mention epsom salt baths. Two cups of salt in your hot bath not only provides magnesium but also sulfate, which absorbs easily to support the detox process of sulfation.

3. Supplements

With the heavy toxic assault we all now face in everyday life, I believe supplements have become essential to successful detoxification.

Earlier we talked about supporting the liver with food. Let’s now turn to how you can support the liver through supplementation.

The liver needs several amino acids (building blocks of protein) to perform its duties. One way that it clears toxins is by attaching them to amino acids in phase 2 of detoxification. Amino acids that are essential for this process include: methionine, cysteine, glycine, taurine, glutamine, and choline.

Getting all your amino acids through diets takes eating a variety of proteins regularly and strong digestion. As this is lacking in many of us, amino acid supplementation is a great idea.

Have you heard of glutathione? It is often called ‘the master antioxidant,’ but it’s actually composed of some of the amino acids listed above.

As toxin levels rise in the body, free radicals increase and oxidation occurs. Glutathione counters this oxidation, but if toxin levels are overwhelming, glutathione levels drop, leaving you with weakened immunity and deficient detoxification. So supplementing to support glutathione is helpful as well.

Other antioxidants include vitamins C and E, biotin, NAC (N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine), grape seed, turmeric, green tea and more. Antioxidants don’t get the praise they deserve! Antioxidants are very important in phase 1 detox, when toxins are transformed into water-soluble compounds or metabolites that can move on to phase 2 detox.

Again, you may not get enough antioxidants in your daily diet to counteract the onslaught of toxins, like gasoline fumes or pesticide residues or off-gassing curtains, carpets and furniture.

If you are looking for the best toxin cleanse or detoxes that work to lose weight that utilize antioxidants, amino acids, glutathione and more, keep reading!

Join Us to Detox!

As I added new products to our shop this past fall, I got the question, “What’s a good general detox?” We actually didn’t really yet have one, at least not in the way people were wanting.

I found that most people don’t know what toxins they have, but they know detoxing is a good idea and they want to feel more energetic, think more clearly and maybe lose a few pounds.

This is why we are now offering the 14-Day Paleo Detox. Even though the cart has closed on our special New Year’s offer, you’re still welcome to check out our 14-Day Detox and the other detox products at our shop.

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...

Why You Need to Clear Roundup® from Your Body (Even if You Eat Well)

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How Roundup® Can Sabotage a Healthy Diet, and What to Do About It

Could Roundup be lurking in your body? Even if you eat well, even if you exercise and drink enough water, you may have Roundup toxicity. This sneaky herbicide can find its way into even the most healthy lifestyle, causing bad gut health, hormonal imbalances, detox issues, and many other health problems.

So, before you take another bite of your oatmeal, salad, soup, or snack bar, join me as I share where Roundup is hiding, how you can avoid further exposure, and how to clear it from your body.

Why Use Roundup?

The active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup is glyphosate, which is a broad-spectrum pesticide and herbicide, as well as a crop desiccant. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in other common pesticides as well.(1)

As an herbicide, glyphosate is sprayed on crops that are “Roundup Ready®,” meaning the crops have been genetically modified by Monsanto to withstand being sprayed. This is convenient for farmers, who can spray an entire field and kill the weeds, leaving their crops alive. Unfortunately, this also means more glyphosate ends up on our food and in our bodies.

Roundup Ready® crops include:

  • Alfafa

  • Apples

  • Canola

  • Corn

  • Cotton

  • Papaya

  • Potatoes

  • Soy beans

  • Squash

  • Sugar beets

With more under development. (2)

As a crop desiccant, glyphosate is sprayed on crops like oats, wheat, barley and beans just before harvest. This kills the crop, which dries it out faster than letting it die naturally, so it can be sent to consumers more quickly. This means you can find glyphosate in even more products, even those that aren’t genetically modified to withstand spraying.

Additionally, RoundUp exposure occurs when people spray weeds as part of their landscaping efforts, both in residential and commercial areas. In fact, glyphosate is the most heavily-used herbicide in the United States, with its usage ever increasing. (3)

How Does Roundup Work?

Plants, bacteria, parasites and fungi use a metabolic route called the shikimate pathway to synthesize the amino acids they need. Roundup kills these garden pests by inhibiting the shikimate pathway. (4)

Since humans don’t have the shikimate pathway, Monsanto claims that Roundup is not harmful to humans. However, while your body may not have the shikimate pathway, the beneficial bacteria in your gut DO use this pathway, and are therefore susceptible to Roundup.

Is Glyphosate Harmful to Humans?

As noted above, Glyphosate is believed to negatively impact your gut health by killing your beneficial bacteria. Since gut health is key to avoiding many ailments, this is not something to take lightly.

As this article notes, “The bacteria in your body outnumber your cells by 10 to 1. For every cell in your body, you have 10 microbes of various kinds, and all of them have the shikimate pathway, so they will all respond to the presence of glyphosate!” In fact, glyphosate appears to target the good bacteria in your gut, leaving you with more pathogens and toxins to deal with as the bad bacteria take over. This can quickly lead to major health problems.

But it gets worse.

Various studies have connected glyphosate exposure to a host of issues, including:

  • Autism

  • PCOS (5)

  • Autoimmunity

  • Depression

  • Deformities, learning disabilities

  • Infertility

  • Hormonal Imbalances

  • Damaged mitochondria

  • Thyroid issues

  • Heart Disease

  • Impaired liver function

  • Inhibited production of methionine and other aromatic amino acids your body needs

  • Affected muscle and collagen formation, causing pain

  • Acting as an antibiotic (glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic)

  • Chelating important minerals (iron, cobalt, manganese; glyphosate was patented as a mineral chelator)

  • Impairing methylation pathways

  • Impacting neurotransmitter production

Obviously, glyphosate toxicity is bad news for your health! (7, 8, 9)

But, maybe you eat healthy. Maybe you don’t spray glyphosate in your yard. Maybe you’re thinking you’re safe.

But glyphosate is lurking in unusual places.

Is Glyphosate in Your Food?

One concerning study found that, due to the large amount of glyphosate that is used each year, it “was detected in more than 50 percent of soil and sediment samples, and water samples from ditches and drains, precipitation, large rivers, and streams.” This means that, since glyphosate is prevalent in the environment, it can also end up in organic crops that have never been sprayed directly. (10)

Of course, if you’re buying anything that contains a GMO crop, you can expect to find glyphosate in your food, as explained earlier. Current GMO crops include alfalfa, apples, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, potatoes, soybeans, squash and sugar beets, with more under development. (11) It’s important to read the labels on your packages, as some of these heavily-sprayed GMO crops, such as soy, corn, and canola are cheap fillers and are included in many products (salad dressings, chips, breads, soups, etc.).

Remember when I told you glyphosate is also used to dry crops so they can be harvested faster? This means glyphosate residue has been found in innocent-sounding grain-based foods, even some that are marketed as being more healthy. (12, 13) This includes:

  • Cold cereal

  • Granola

  • Energy bars

  • Oats/oatmeal/instant oats

  • Snack bars

  • Crackers

  • Chips

  • Cookies

  • And more!

This is especially shocking when you realize that children, who tend to be more susceptible to toxins, are being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of glyphosate in many of their crackers, cheerios, and other snacks. Some researchers connect rising glyphosate levels with the rising rate of autism and other issues in children, which is a sobering thought. (14)

Fortunately, there are ways to find out your current level of glyphosate, avoid major exposure to it, and clear it from your body.

How to Detoxify Glyphosate from Your Body

Get Tested

A great first step to clearing glyphosate is to determine your current levels. My favorite glyphosate test is from Great Plains Laboratory. This laboratory offers a glyphosate urine test which is usually combined with other tests like a chemical toxic test and/or an organic acids test.

You can order most tests from them on your own, but tests are cheaper when we (your coaches) order them. The results can look really shocking, and can be hard to know how to interpret correctly. This is why I feel it’s always best to work with a practitioner who is trained in interpreting this testing and building a plan to help you heal.

Drink Clean Water

As mentioned previously, your water supply may be contaminated with glyphosate. Make sure you’re drinking enough properly filtered water. (To test your water, check out MyTapScore.com.)

Watch What You Eat

Since many crops have been genetically modified (GMO) to withstand being sprayed, they are often inundated with glyphosate. By definition, organic food can’t be GMO, so eat organic as much as possible. If you can’t afford to buy all your produce organic, refer to the Dirty Dozen list to see which foods are the most important to buy organic.

Also, factor in that most restaurants, even expensive ones, have very low food quality.

Take Steps to Detox Glyphosate

Of course, the best plan is to avoid glyphosate in the first place. However, with glyphosate all around you, it’s hard to avoid it 100%.

There are various ways to detoxify glyphosate that we teach in our Detox Your Hormones course. Today I’ll focus on one effective method: consuming raw apple cider vinegar.

Apple cider vinegar contains a bacteria that can metabolize (break down) glyphosate.

Here are three easy recipes:

ACV Limeade:

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2 drops doTERRA lime oil

2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar

7 drops liquid stevia

12 oz. cold water

1 lime, squeezed


ACV Grape Drink:
2 oz. organic grape juice

10 oz. cold water

2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar


Magnesium Super Drink:

6 oz. cold water

1 teas. Magnesium Chelate powder

1 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar

Enhance Your Efforts: Support Your Gut Health

As mentioned earlier, poor gut health and glyphosate toxicity go hand-in-hand. MegaSporeBiotic is hands down my favorite probiotic, and is a great way to maintain a healthy variety and balance of beneficial bacteria.

As we are all exposed to high amounts of glyphosate in North America, I consider this supplementation essential, no matter how well you try to eat!

MegaSporeBiotic is the first all-spore, pharmaceutical grade probiotic that survives the gastric environment naturally. To learn more, visit my page on Megaspore here.

Enjoy free shipping in the US on your whole order with the code MEGAFREE now (enter at check-out). We also offer a bulk discount on Megaspore when you buy in three or more!

Please leave your comments or questions 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.

Is Your Gut Messing Up Your Hormones?

If you struggle with hormonal imbalances or gut issues (or both!), be sure take our"Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, to investigate your own signs and symptoms!

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.

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

Free Guide: Healing from Toxic Mold

You want help for your mold symptoms ASAP! Cut to the chase with this straight-forward guide, outlining my favorite supplements for detoxing mold. As a person who has been healing from mold toxicity, I can personally say these supplements support my daily self-care effectively.

Let me help you start healing!

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.

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...

Toxins Testing with Ann Melin & Bridgit Danner

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Ann Melin & I are your guests this week. Ann is our lead coach at WWC. In this episode we talk about some of my own test results, mold tests for the home & body, testing for chemicals in the body, heavy metal testing, and organic acids testing.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 03:10 Tests covered at Women's Wellness Collaborative
Min 04:40 Toxicity in the body
Min 07:10 Hair mineral analysis testing
Min 11:00 Glyphosate test & urine test
Min 17:30 Water test
Min 19:10 The dust test & Marcon's test
Min 21:55 Organic acids test
Min 30:00 Serotonin
Min 34:30 Nutritional markers

Resources:

To learn more about our program, sign up for a FREE consult here.
To see some of our favorite resources for reducing your toxic load, visit our Hormone Detox Shop.
To learn about our testing recommendations for gut infections, click here.

Here's the video version of the interview with Ann Melin.


Let Us Help You Feel Better!

If your case is a fit, 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.

Herbs That Will Rock Your World with Jane Barlow-Christensen

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Jane Barlow Christensen is a master Herbalist and co-founder of Barlow Herbal. Her father, Max G. Barlow, worked with Dr. ET Krebs Jr and Dr. Hulda Clark, inventor of the Essiac formula.Jane loves everything natural, holistic, wellness, fitness, and nutrition oriented. In this episode we talk about herbs, Lomatium, virus infections, and Jane's supplements.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 02:25 Introducing Jane Barlow
Min 05:10 The art of putting herbs together
Min 09:35 Jane's Lomatium formula
Min 16:00 Munityboost 
Min 23:35 Jane's turmeric formula
Min 26:55 Chlorella & spirulina
Min 31:35 Heartlove supplement - includes cayenne pepper, cinnamon, & slippery Elm
Min 36:35 Brain Glow 
Min 42:15 Jane's parasite products & resources

To learn more about Jane Barlow, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram 
YouTube 

Resources:

Here's the video version of the interview with Jane Barlow.


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.

 

What You Need to Know About Phthalates

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Some years back, BPA (a type of plastic), earned a bad name as a health disruptor. The market responded by slapping a ‘BPA free’ label wherever it could, and often just replaced BPA (bisphenol A) for  BPS (bisphenol S), which has the same estrogen-like compounds.

While it was great that consumer awareness about plastics began at this time, and it also was great that many consumers started using glass and steel containers, I would not say that we, as a culture, got a deep and clear understanding of synthetic ingredients following the BPA uproar. 

Let's Learn About Phthalates

So let’s continue our education and add another ‘bad plastic’ to the list: phthalates.  Phthalates is a hard word to pronounce ( say “thal - lates” ) and even harder to spell, but I want you to get to know this group of chemicals, as they are probably more ubiquitous than BPA, and a lack of awareness is leaving you literally soaking in a sea of phthalates.

Phthalates keep plastic soft- like in those disposable, pre-filled water bottles, plastic hoses, plastic wrap, even IV bags in hospitals. But that’s not all phthalates do. They also help keep fragrance lingering for longer, so they are a part of about every ‘fragrance’ mix you see on a label.

Large companies are now pumping fragrance around their buildings as a signature scent. Hotels are doing it, and even Goodwill Industries has gotten into it. But I digress...

The Problem with Phthalates

The problem with phthalates is that they are obesogens and endocrine disruptors. This means that they contribute to a toxic load that can make you fat, tired and grumpy.  They can also contribute to fertility issues and man boobs.

The tricky thing about environmental toxins is that we are all exposed to multiple toxins from multiple sources, so it becomes difficult to isolate any one source as the cause of disease.

However, there is a growing body of study linking phthalates and other chemicals to health disorders, especially in unborn and small children:

Associations of prenatal environmental phenol and phthalate biomarkers with respiratory and allergic diseases among children aged 6 and 7 years.

Early Prenatal Phthalate Exposure, Sex Steroid Hormones, and Birth Outcomes.

Impact of diisobutyl phthalate and other PPAR agonists on steroidogenesis and plasma insulin and leptin levels in fetal rats.

Association between use of phthalate-containing medication and semen quality among men in couples referred for assisted reproduction

Are We Being Protected?

According to the FDA, the higher levels of phthalate metabolites now found in urinary testing cannot be tied to symptom development. (Example of testing of phthalate levels)

“While the CDC report noted elevated levels of phthalates excreted by women of child-bearing age, neither this report nor the other data reviewed by FDA established an association between the use of phthalates in cosmetic products and a health risk. Based on this information, FDA determined that there wasn’t a sound, scientific basis to support taking regulatory action against cosmetics containing phthalates.” (source)

It appears this information has not been reviewed since 2002.  However, I did find an article that stated that, in 2016, the FDA was going to reconsider the use of phthalates in food packaging and equipment (source), but I have not seen any further reference to their response to this public petition.

What Can You Do?

As I mentioned earlier, we all have multiple exposures to chemicals in our modern world. But we can reduce our exposure significantly through our own choices!  Most of those choices are made in what we buy to eat and use around the home. If you want to avoid phthalates, here are some easy tips:

  • Avoid buying those pre-filled soft water bottles. Instead, invest in a home water filter and keep glass bottles of filtered water ready to go when headed out of the house.

  • Eat organic as much as possible. Phthalates are part of some pesticides.

  • Avoid processed foods wrapped in plastic like pre-made burgers. Also, store your food in glass- not plastic.

  • If you don't need your receipt, ask the sales clerk to throw it out for you.

  • Don’t get your nails done. Nail salons are so full of chemicals! Just buff, trim and oil your nails to keep them healthy.

  • Make your own air freshener. This is super easy and avoids phthalates. I have a video on it here.

  • If you visit a place with a troubling amount of fragrance, comment! I just wrote my local Goodwill Industries and cited some sources!

  • Avoid the word ‘fragrance’ like the plague. Instead, buy unscented or items scented with essential oils. Be careful, because everything from kitty litter to trash bags is now being scented.

  • Learn more. This is a huge topic but little by little you become an expert!

Favorite Resources

1. Watch the Webinar: Choosing the Best Products for Your Skin Type

In this free webinar recording we will spend a little time talking about why Beautycounter is different in terms of product quality (both non-toxic and high performance) and then we'll focus on their skincare lines to help you choose a good, non-toxic line up for your skin type.

Watch the Recording Here 

I chose to work with Beautycounter as it allows me to recommend high-performing, safer products online. You can browse our Beautycounter store here.

 

2. Read some of my other posts about Detoxing from Chemicals

How to find a non-toxic deodorant that works

Why I love toxin binders

How to test for toxins in your body

How toxins can disrupt your weight


3. Get My Free Download: 5 Easy Detox Swaps

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!

What are your experiences with phthalates? Do you try to avoid them?

Detox From Sugar with Diane Sanfilippo

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Diane Sanfilippo is a Certified Nutrition Consultant and New York Times bestselling author of Practical Paleo. Her new book, The 21-Day Sugar Detox Daily Guide was released recently in January 2018. In this episode we talk about sugar addiction, changing health habits and taking charge of your health.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:45 Diane Sanfilippo's book tours
Min 06:55 Diane's sugar detox books
Min 09:00 Launching the 21-day sugar detox program
Min 16:00 Cleanses & dealing with setbacks
Min 19:10 Using judgement in making good decisions
Min 24:35 Diane's objectives for her new book
Min 30:05 Changing health habits
Min 34:30 Diane's health coaching program
Min 38:45 Connecting brands with health coaches
Min 42:30 Launching a coaching program
Min 46:30 Beautycounter products

To learn more about Diane Sanfilippo, visit her website here and follow her on social media:
Facebook 
Instagram 
Twitter 
YouTube 
Pinterest 

Resources:

Practitioner training program survey
21-Day Sugar Detox program
21-Day Sugar Detox Coaching program
Beautycounter products - non-toxic line of beauty products

Here's the video version of the interview with Diane Sanfilippo:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

Improve Your Genetic Performance with Dr. Ben Lynch

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Dr. Ben Lynch is well-known for his study on MTHFR gene variations and is the author of the book "Dirty Genes". He is also the President of www.SeekingHealth.com, a supplement company oriented towards disease prevention and health promotion. In this episode, we learn more about genes, Dr. Lynch's work, and detoxification.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:45 Introducing Dr. Lynch & his book "Dirty Genes"
Min 04:05 What are genes & DNA?
Min 08:00 Dr. Lynch's health history
Min 11:15 Genes & detoxification
Min 15:55 SNPs
Min 20:40 Dr. Lynch's dirty genes quiz
Min 23:40 Changing a gene's shape
Min 26:10 Effect of too much protein on genes
Min 30:40 Benefits of taking carbs at night
Min 32:20 Understanding your individual susceptibilities
Min 37:05 Aging & changing genes
Min 41:50 Genetic testing
Min 47:20 Dr. Lynch's resources

To learn more about Dr. Lynch, visit his website here and follow him on social media:
Facebook 
Twitter 
Instagram 
YouTube 

Resources:

Dirty Genes book 
Dirty Genes course 
Article on the side effects of Folic acid
26 Steps to Clean Genes - free giveaway

Here's the video version of the interview with Dr. Ben Lynch:

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you have not yet joined our community, be sure take our "Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board!

We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

Bridgit Danner,

Founder of Women's Wellness Collaborative

How To Use Toxin Binders

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According to detox expert Wendy Myers, the term ‘binders’ or ‘toxin binders’ was coined by Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, who specializes in Lyme disease, heavy metal toxicity and other chronic illnesses and infections.  Binders are substances that ‘bind’ to toxins to help move them out of the body.  Some work by trapping the toxins, others also attract the toxin through a negative charge.

I was introduced to the idea of binders a few months after I found out I had been exposed to toxic mold. (As a quick frame of reference, I found out after not being able to recover my health despite other interventions, and our first point of discovery was from a mold inspector who sampled our home.)

The first binder I took was activated charcoal. I was using this at the recommendation of a naturopath as part of a protocol to treat mold toxicity and Epstein Barr virus. To be honest it was hard to tell if this binder was doing anything.  But using it in combination with other things, such as sauna and complete mold avoidance, I did start to feel better.

A couple other binders I tried after the charcoal were clay or zeolite based.  Again I didn’t notice any knock-out effect, and one I tried was about $60 for 1 ounce!  But looking back on this experience (it was about 1.5 years ago), I was still new to understanding mold toxicity and how to treat it. I now better understand how binders work, and I definitely think they offer a use for both health maintenance (we are all exposed to many toxins on a daily basis) and in the recovery of chronic health issues.  

I hope you benefit from this brief introduction to binders. As I researched this topic, I found there are a lot of nuances that need further exploration, but this will get us started!

Prescription Binders

There are a couple prescription binders established for off-label use by Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker. Personally, I have not used either. When I proposed using Cholestyramine to my new naturopath, he said flatly that he didn’t think I could handle it.  This was based on the fact that I reacted severely to some chelating agents he had used with me, and that in general, this is a strong agent that can cause various side effects.

According to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, the granddaddy of mold research, Cholestyramine is the strongest binder we have available. He also uses a binder called Welchol, which is only 25% as strong, when patients cannot handle the Cholestyramine.  

The Biotoxin Journey blog explains that Dr. Shoemaker tried and tested several natural binders on his clients and found that patients’ inflammatory blood markers and visual acuity tests did not improve. When I read this I was concerned that maybe natural binders don’t do much.  

Dr. Shoemaker, to my knowledge, did not publish a formal study on this. It also sounds like he used these binders alone, without complementary therapies. As I mentioned earlier, I think they are more effectively used in combination with other therapies.

My stance on pharmaceuticals is to be open to them if natural options can’t do the job.  I have used a few pharmaceuticals in the midst of this journey, but I have not used these two binders.  If you have and would like to comment below, that would be great.  There are many natural options for binders, and we’ll explore these next.

Activated Charcoal and Bamboo

Activated charcoal is literally charcoal from wood, peat or coconut shell that is ‘activated’ through heating it in the presence of a gas that creates more internal gaps within the charcoal. These gaps provide an environment to entrap toxins.  

Activated charcoal can be used as a general toxin binder on an empty stomach first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Remember that toxins can come from our external environment but are also by-products of internal imbalance, for examples in cases of leaky gut, food poisoning and parasitic or bacterial infections. I find charcoal especially helpful if I have gas!  

It also can be used for the toxic by-product of drinking alcohol, otherwise known as a hangover. Take the night after drinking and again the morning too with plenty of water.

It can be used to mitigate a Jarisch–Herxheimer reaction, which is a side effect of using an antibiotic, antimicrobial, chelation or another detox agent. As we mobilize and destroy toxins, the organs of the body may become overwhelmed, and symptoms like a headache, fever or rash could occur. This is one of the most important uses of binders- to allay these symptoms and prevent the toxins from landing elsewhere in the body.

Activated charcoal is affordable and generally considered safe. Note that any binder can bind up medication and nutrients, so take 2  hours away from medication and supplements and 1 hour away from food. (At times I have taken a binder and then later taken a natural sleep aid, and the sleep aids still worked.  So I don’t think binders binds things 100%. Just FYI in case you get into the same situations as me!)

Activated bamboo I just found out about while researching this article but I’m very intrigued!  Supposedly the naturally porous structure of bamboo makes it 10 times more effective than activated charcoal.

Jennifer Robins, of the blog Predominantly Paleo, says Takesumi Supreme (a brand of activated bamboo) is her favorite binder and she can feel the difference after taking it.

According to the website Lyme Knowledge :

“Research from Japan claims (activated bamboo) emits far infrared rays (thus improving circulation) as well as negative ions, and it shields the body from EMFs (Electromagnetic Fields). It also is a natural source of minerals (macro and trace) and is reported to be alkalizing. Patients suffering from variegate porphyria should avoid the use of Takesumi Supreme.”

Activated bamboo is a little more expensive than activated charcoal but, if this information is correct, it may be worth it.  Uses and instructions are similar to that of activated charcoal.

Clay

Your first thought might be, “why would I eat clay? Isn’t that something you’re not supposed to eat?” Similar to charcoal, the clay is going to just pass through you, giving you some beneficial nutrients and absorbing some harmful ones. I think of it as just getting some earth into us, something that happened more often when we lived closer to nature. Clays and other binders are used in veterinary medicine, and wild animals will eat earth when they have stomach upset.

Just to make things complicated, there are actually many types of clay. I’ll cover a few here:

Bentonite Clay:

This is volcanic ash from Fort Benton area of Wyoming. It binds electrically- once mixed with water it has a negative charge. It also gains a spongy texture when mixed with water that can be used to absorb toxins, heavy metals, antiviral, and antibacterial effects. It contains vitamins and minerals. You can you use a ¼ cup in a bath to draw out toxins too.

Precautions: Take away from food and supplements. Don’t use a metal spoon to scoop it or put in a metal container. Can cause constipation: take with 8 - 16 oz water as needed.

French Green Clay:

Also called illite, French green clay is a type of mineral composed of both decomposed plant material and trace minerals such as calcium, aluminum, magnesium, silica, phosphorous, copper, and zinc. It is prized as a facial mask, and a 2007 Arizona State University report found: “French green clay effective in inhibiting Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium marinum, bacterial pathogens that cause serious and sometimes drug-resistant skin infections.”  (Source)

Oregon Blue Clay:  

This variety of clay is from the Cascade mountain range. I found out about this clay from a colon hydrotherapist who recommends it to clients. We have been using it in our home for over a year. It is a k- rectorite clay, which is just indicating the mineral composition of the clay.  

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I have used a brand called Healthy Clay by Mineceuticals and their website shares this: “ongoing research on MineCeuticals™, LLC is being conducted at Arizona State University in conjunction with other Universities research of the base clay’s incredible antibacterial properties and abilities. In several rounds of testing, harmful bacterial strains of pseudomonas, staphylococcus, (MRSA), extended spectrum beta lactamases (E.S.B.L), salmonella, buruli ulcer, and E. coli were added to the minerals used in MineCeuticals™, LLC and cultured for 24 hours.  At the end of the 24 hour observation period the bacterial count for all measured zero!” Take two capsules once or twice a day on an empty stomach. Can be used as a binder while using a sauna or ionic foot bath.

I have never had an issue with constipation while taking a binder but it is possible, so take with plenty of water and start with a lower dose.

Chlorella

Chlorella is my new favorite binder. I had always thought of it more as a nutritive supplement, so, at first, I didn’t understand while people in our mold recovery group were so into taking chlorella.  More than one person in this group says that they take chlorella if exposed to a new mold source.

Chlorella is a blue-green algae usually sourced in Hawaii or Japan.  You’ll see it advertised as having a broken or pulverized cell wall for better absorption.  It is a very popular supplement among the Japanese population.  According to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, who I mentioned at the start of this article, chlorella pyrenoidosa is a better binder; Chlorella vulgaris is a better nutritional option. (Source)

In addition to this anecdotal evidence above on assisting with mold toxicity, chlorella is often used to mobilize and bind heavy metals, including radioactive metals present after a nuclear accident or radiation therapy.

It does have a nutritive component, providing B vitamins, iron, fatty acids and amino acids. It oxygenates the blood. Folks with toxicity often have thick, sludgy blood from lack of proper detoxification.

Chlorella quadruples itself every 24 hours- that’s some serious growth potential!  Its high amount of nucleic acids (that form DNA and RNA) can provide much-needed fuel for our own cellular repair and generation, often hampered in conditions of chronic toxicity.

Chlorella can be taken with food, if you are doing a gut detox protocol.  But if you are going after metals or other toxins, take away from food. 

Precautions: check with your doctor if on blood thinners or if you have an iodine allergy. Taking too much chlorella too quickly could bring on those detox reactions I mentioned above. Start slowly, perhaps with 500 mg twice a day.

Other Binders

I go on to discuss other binders, including zeolite, pectin, silica and fulvic and humic acids, in part 2 of this article here.

My Preferred Binder

Click on image to learn more.

Click on image to learn more.

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.


Join Our Community!

If you have not yet joined us, be sure take our"Is a Gut Infection Causing Your Hormonal Imbalance" quiz here, and come on board! We have lots of valuable, free resources for women's health we share weekly.

If you use Facebook, please join our group! Hormone Detox Tribe 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.


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.