Exercise

Case Study: A Functional Approach to Hormones and Gut

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How Functional Health Coaching Treats Mood, Gut and Hormones in an Integrated Way

The Symptoms

When Emily joined our coaching program, she was struggling with depression, anxiety, fatigue, and brain fog. She said that she did not have the energy to improve her diet or exercise regimen to support her health. She feared that trying to make major changes could have the potential to elicit panic attacks that would prevent her from moving forward.

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Emily felt “tired almost all of the time.” Up until a few years before joining our functional coaching program, she had lived an active life. She had spent years gaining her education and working as a public health professional. And, at 38-years-old, she found herself barely making it through the day.

Emily had resorted to some of the most common coping mechanisms available: coffee in the morning to give her enough energy to get going, and alcohol at night to help her sleep.

Emily had resorted to some of the most common coping mechanisms available: coffee in the morning to give her enough energy to get going, and alcohol at night to help her sleep.

She suffered from symptoms of gas, bloating and indigestion. Her symptoms eased when she was strict about her diet but returned whenever she wavered slightly. 

The First Steps

The first thing we advised Emily to do was to take the huge step of removing coffee and alcohol from her diet. Within a matter of a couple of weeks, she was amazed at how much better she felt, just from those small changes. While this is not always as impactful for everybody as it was for Emily, it does show that sometimes a couple of small tweaks can have big effects.

The Labs

As Emily made those early changes to diet, we ran a handful of functional labs, including:

  • DUTCH Complete hormone panel

  • Comprehensive thyroid panel

  • GI-Map stool pathogen test

  • Micronutrient (vitamin and mineral) test.

The Test Results

The test results showed that Emily was quite deficient in the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone but it is also responsible for providing a sense of energy and plays an important role in regulating the circadian rhythms controlling sleep/wake cycles.

Emily was also very low in all of her female sex hormones (the estrogens and progesterone) and she was also very low in melatonin, a hormone that helps promote restful sleep.

Emily's thyroid appeared to be slightly sluggish and she was deficient in seven different important micronutrients.

Her stool test detected two different parasites, an overgrowth of two different opportunistic yeast species, suppressed immune response in the small intestines, and a very strong sensitivity to gluten-containing foods.

Part of the Hormone Report

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Stool Test Results

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The Protocol

Emily remained free from coffee and alcohol and began to adopt a gluten-free diet.

She started doing moderate exercise, managing her stress levels, eradicating gut pathogens through an herbal protocol, and supporting her healthy hormone balance through diet, herbs, and lifestyle changes.

She introduced some herbal tinctures such as black cohosh, red clover, vitex, and motherwort to support her female hormone levels. She used a product called Adrenotone from Designs for Health to support the adrenal glands and the balance of stress hormone production through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Emily supported her micronutrient balance through the introduction of a complete mineral support formula and used the Designs for Health GI Microb-X product as one of the antimicrobial blends for eradicating infectious microorganisms. She also introduced Megaspore probiotic to rebuild beneficial gut flora and to support the immune system. 

For dietary support, Emily began seed cycling and introduced more healthy fats into her diet. She also incorporated detoxification strategies such as dry brushing and rebounding into her daily routine to help her move toxins out of the body in a natural way.

The Transformation

Photo by Patrick Hendry

Photo by Patrick Hendry

As Emily gained energy, she was able to reintegrate exercise into her life and she enjoys mountain biking and outdoor sports of many kinds.

After six months on the coaching program, Emily reported feeling better than she had in years despite experiencing some extreme stress, including the sudden death of her partner’s mother.

Over the course of her six months on the program, Emily gained enough energy and mental clarity to make big decisions about her life, including the purchase of a new home and a desire to have a baby.

Emily is now thriving, pregnant, happy in her life, and excited about her future.

 

 

Are You Ready for Your Transformation?

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 check out our coaching options to see if it’s a fit.


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Bridgit Danner, LAc, FDNP, 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 You in Prediabetes? With Dr. Alan Hopkins

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Dr. Alan Hopkins is the CEO of YOURLABWORK, LLC and is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Surgery and Perioperative Care at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. In this episode, we continue with the conversation on blood sugar that we started last week with Diane Sanfilippo. Hopkins talks about what prediabetes is, testing and blood sugar numbers.

Here's what you'll hear:

Min 01:45 Dr. Alan Hopkins' background & work
Min 04:25 Diabetes research
Min 08:40 Lab testing at Your Lab Work
Min 10:25 Taking a stand for your health
Min 12:35 Prediabetes & diabetes numbers
Min 13:20 Blood sugar markers & your risk potential
       - Blood sugar of 85 or less is considered perfect
       - Blood sugar of 100 is prediabetes
       - Blood sugar of 125 is diabetes
       - Blood sugar of 126 & above is consistent with Types 2 diabetes
Min 18:00 Early blood sugar screening
Min 24:50 Insulin resistance
Min 28:40 Effects of exercise & food on blood sugar
Min 33:10 Dealing with Prediabetes
Min 36:45 Custom lab work
       - Metabolic panel
       - Sugar metabolism & Diabetes screening
       - Thyroid tests (TSH, Free T3, Free T4), Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (for Hashimoto's)
       - Advanced cholesterol panel

To learn more about Dr. Alan Hopkins, visit his website here.

Resources:

Detoxing From Sugar with Diane Sanfilippo
How High Blood Sugar Wrecks Your Hormones with Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo 
Get 20% discount off your lab work using the discount code "Drr2018"
Practitioner Training Program survey
Custom lab work

Here's the video version of the interview with Dr. Alan Hopkins:

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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

Get Your Brain Working Better with Dr. Steven Masley

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Dr. Steven Masley, MD is a physician, nutritionist, trained-chef, and author. In this episode we talk about brain health and his new book "The Better Brain Solution" coming out Jan 2, 2018.

Here’s what you’ll hear:

Min 01:55 The fear of aging & brain health
Min 02:55 Introduction to Dr. Steven Masley
Min 03:25 Motivation behind the book "The Better Brain Solution"
Min 05:55 The 5 pillars to better brain health
Min 06:45 The odds of cognitive dysfunction for men & women
Min 08:35 Why women's brains rewire during menopause
Min 10:50 Other factors affecting brain health
Min 15:50 Exercise for improved brain health & insulin control
Min 19:30 Ketogenic diets, memory loss and interminent fasting
Min 22:10 Avoiding meat & grains when fasting
Min 25:00 Nutrients & supplements for a better brain
Min 30:10 Toxins (BPA, Phthaletes, Mercury), paleo eating & preservatives
Min 36:55 Dr. Steven Masley's brain quiz

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

Resources: 

  1. Dr. Steven Masley's brain quiz

  2. Enroll for the 30-Day Better Brain Challenge

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

3 Reasons You Probably Shouldn't Be Giving Up on Sports

The huge changes in your body that inevitably come with middle age suggest that you're locked out of a lot of activities you've always wanted to try, especially some of the more demanding sports. This fact, however, could also come as a greater incentive and a source of motivation to pursue a sport that could potentially force you to push limits you never thought you could get to. The benefits that sports can provide for your physical, mental and emotional health are ultimately endless.

Finding a good coach and seeking advice from a medical professional will help you set realistic goals in the sport that you want to take up or go back to. This would also ensure your safety, as the risk of injury is real and completely different from when you were younger.

More importantly, having the right information about your body will let you play and get better without having to worry too much—so that you can enjoy the things that sports can do for you at this point in life, which include the following:

 

1. Sports Makes You Look Younger

This article on Health.com points out how good posture will do more to keep you younger than a face-lift or botox. A weak posture seems to naturally deteriorate with age but this doesn't have to be the case. Andrea Atkins wrote an article for the Huffington Post suggesting the definition of "good posture” as being keeping your body in proper alignment, improving your balance and maintaining that alignment as you move.

This leads to a whole range of benefits from giving you a more youthful appearance to keeping you from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases that are common in older people.

Sports pushes the muscles to work to stabilize the spine and keep the body upright during movements. Because there is progress to track, sports double the incentive for exercising all the things that your body is still able to do. The stress that movement puts on the bones also encourages an increase in density, enabling them to support your body and let you stand as tall as you can.

 

2. Sports Makes Food Taste Better

Physical activity and movement promote better appetite because your body becomes more sensitive to the effects of what you eat. While this means that unhealthy food will definitely make you feel sluggish and unstable, it also means that you'll be able to actually enjoy food that's good for you.

This is especially true for sports, as the reward lies in the visible signs of the progress that you make. This article by Jess Goulart, a regular contributor to specialist tennis website Play Your Court, points out that complex physical activities help people develop a sense of how food affects their performance. Little by little, you will discover which kinds of food do the most for your energy levels, focus, stamina, and—more importantly—how you feel. Truly good food, regardless of whether you're following a diet plan or not, will make you feel generally happy and confident about yourself.

Be sure too keep your expectations realistic, however. Trying to make too big of a change can do a lot to make you feel disappointed. Keep track of your gains, and don't dwell on the moments you find yourself falling short. It happens to the best of us.

 

3. Sports Can Help You Cope

Sports promotes good blood circulation along with proper posture and breathing. You'll be surprised at how much this can do for your mental and emotional stability. Purposeful physical activity exposes you to a tolerable amount of stress, along with an immediate reward—say, a score or a successful shot.

According to an article by Brain Flux, this teaches the body and brain to develop a healthier relationship with stress enabling them to deal with it better. In contrast with other situations in our day-to-day lives such as a difficult day at work or an uncomfortable commute, sports stimulates your stress response in a way that engages all, and not just one, of the body's faculties.

Considering how the emotions we feel in our bodies determine how we see ourselves and the world around us, sports doesn't just change your body. It can, on a modest and practical level, change your life.