by Robel Mengistu | Nov 22, 2022 | Uncategorized
Poor adrenal health can have a downstream effect on other hormones.
The adrenals are part of a hormonal circuit called the ovarian adrenal thyroid (OAT) axis. The OAT axis consists of:
- The adrenals glands
- And ovaries
Each element of the OAT axis has an impact on the other two, this means that when one
component of the axis becomes out of balance, the rest suffer as a result.
Estrogen / Progesterone
Estrogen dominance and adrenal fatigue go side by side. One of the precursors to cortisol is progesterone. When the body is stressed and needs to pump out more and more cortisol, it needs more and more progesterone. This can lead to an imbalanced ratio of estrogen –
progesterone, causing a phenomenon that’s often called estrogen dominance.
Excessive stress hormones circulating in the blood can impact enzymes that convert T4 to T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone). When stress hormones are high, this can lead to hypothyroidism if not enough of T3 is circulating. This is why you’ll often encounter women with hypothyroidism who also have adrenal fatigue and sex hormone difficulties.
The adrenal glands are also responsible for producing DHEA. DHEA is a precursor to both estrogen and testosterone. When the adrenals are overproducing cortisol, and under producing DHEA this can lead to low testosterone levels and symptoms such as low energy levels, low libido, weight gain, weak bones, and depression.
The good news is that supporting one aspect of the OAT axis will also benefit the others. And, in many cases, the resolution for resolving issues in one component is the same resolution for resolving issues in another.
Key ways to support the OAT axis:
Wake up at the same time everyday
Your circadian rhythm is the 24 hour built in body clock. This helps you to know when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to be awake. A healthy circadian rhythm often follows the sun’s light/dark cycle. Your circadian rhythm loves predictability! Aim to get up about the same time every day, even on the weekends!
After you wake up, spend about 10 minutes getting direct sunlight on your face. Your brain stops producing melatonin (your sleep hormone) when you’re exposed to light, which can make you feel more awake as a result. If there is no sunlight when you wake up, you can get an inexpensive sun light off Amazon to help with this.
This is the most important factor in preventing an imbalance within the OAT axis. Avoid stressful events as much as possible. Pay attention to what your body is telling you, and keep your stress levels under control through natural stress-relieving techniques such as:
● Fulfilling social connections
Engage in the right amount of exercise (not too much, not too little).
Exercise has been proven to help reduce stress levels. The key here is to exercise the right amount of time so that your adrenals aren’t getting depleted. This could mean doing some yoga, or even walking! Make sure to exercise either in the morning or early afternoon to avoid impacting your sleep.
Avoid certain foods.
Consuming certain foods can lead to a stress response within the body. Eliminate any difficult-to-digest foods as well as foods that cause inflammation. This includes the following:
● Sugars and sweeteners
● Hydrogenated oils
● Processed meats
● And other processed foods.
Blood sugar management.
Low blood sugar is a common cause of cortisol release and is not uncommon in those struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome or hormone imbalances. Here’s what you can do to balance blood sugar levels:
● Eating enough fiber
● Including fat and protein with every meal
● Limiting carbohydrates
● And staying hydrated.
Reduce or avoid caffeine intake
Caffeine can disrupt your sleep pattern and make it difficult for your adrenal glands to recuperate. When healing from adrenal dysfunction, it’s often better to avoid caffeine all together as it adds unneeded stress on your adrenals.
Have an early dinner
The timing of when you eat can affect your circadian rhythm. Late dinners can make it difficult to fall asleep, so eat your final meal two to three hours before bedtime. This will allow your body to digest the meal properly and get your body used to a routine. Try to avoid alcohol and caffeine.
Turn off devices 2 hours before bed
The blue light from devices can reduce or inhibit melatonin production, which can leave you feeling wide awake while laying bed.
Getting enough sleep is necessary to support all hormones within the body. Aim to sleep for around 8 hours per night and avoid staying up late regularly.
Adaptogens help the body to become more resistant to stress and decrease the overall sensitivity to various stressors.
8 adaptogens to support the adrenals:
● Licorice root
● Holy Basil
● Reishi mushrooms
(Note: always check with your healthcare provider before starting / stopping any supplements)
If you strive for a balanced lifestyle that includes adequate sleep, exercise, a healthy diet and environment, your ovarian adrenal thyroid axis is likely to remain healthy.
by Robel Mengistu | Nov 15, 2022 | Uncategorized
I want you to close your eyes.
If you could transform your health…
● What symptoms do you wish you could resolve?
● How would you like to feel on a daily basis?
● What do you think is holding you back?
What came up for you with the last question?
WHY do you think that you can’t heal?
Whatever came up, often the antidote to it is to take radical responsibility for the result that you want…
There will always be an excuse available for you to use to prevent you from reaching your goals.
Reflect on what you are telling yourself and why you aren’t taking action towards what you want. Address your symptoms before they are yelling at you. Day after day, I see people investing in items that don’t add to their health…and then tell me they don’t have the resources (or time) to change their lifestyle.
While this is a sad (and maybe harsh) truth, it simply means that their health (right now) isn’t a priority.
And when their symptoms are finally yelling so loud that they can’t ignore them anymore, then they will be forced to make time for their health.
But what if you have no time right now to get healthy?
If this sounds like a habit of yours, try a simple idea. Change your language.
Changing your language reminds us that time is a choice. When you are using time as an excuse, it may be because time provides a polite answer when the truth often might be hard to hear.
Instead of saying – I am not able to go to the gym right now because I don’t have time.
Try this – I am not able to go to the gym right now because my health is not a priority.
Instead of saying – I don’t have time to prepare nourishing meals.
Try this – I’m not able to meal prep, because I have other priorities like scrolling through social media.
Instead of saying – I don’t have enough hours in a day to get enough sleep.
Try this – I’m not getting enough sleep, because I’m prioritizing TV time.
Big difference isn’t it?
If this change of language makes you uncomfortable, then you may have been using your time as an excuse. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice and that healing is a personal responsibility.
Yes, your personal healing journey is hard work.
It will be uncomfortable and challenging at times, and it will take courage to get you through it!
The most important step in activating that courage, digging deep and promoting it to the next level, is to look inside yourself, take responsibility and start to heal your body.
Are you taking responsibility or accepting the conditions of your health?
Taking radical personal responsibility is crucial in order to live your own version of success…including being the healthiest version of YOU!
Taking responsibility doesn’t mean blaming or shaming yourself.
It means accepting that the way we are living may be contributing to our health problems, and realizing that changes need to be made.
At the end of the day, your success is dependent upon you, so rise up and take control of your life and your health. Don’t accept where you are at if you aren’t healthy or happy.
People who take control of their own physical, mental, and spiritual health tend to live longer.
Real healing happens within when you take 100% responsibility for your life and ACTIONS.
Your body can heal itself as long as we give it what it needs to do its work.
As a health practitioner, my role is to guide you and advise you on the best course of action to help you resolve your symptoms.
● Give you personalized supplement recommendations based on your health history and your goals.
● Share with you the best type of exercise for you and your body.
● Provide a list of which foods to include and avoid that will accelerate your healing.
● Suggest various stress relieving practices for you to try out to see which is the best fit for you.
● Share tips and tricks to help you get better quality/quantity of sleep.
But… I can’t implement the action plan for you.
● I can’t take your supplements for you.
● I can’t wake up an hour earlier and exercise on your behalf.
● I can’t set aside time to prepare healthy, healing food for you.
● I can’t meditate when times get stressful for you.
● I can’t go-to bed at a reasonable time for you.
I am your guide during your health journey, you can count on me for:
● Setting your health goals
● Getting to the root cause of your symptoms
● Using cutting edge technology to test every possible thing
● And supporting you along every step of the way.
But at the end of the day, you are the one that needs to do the work!
There is no other way around it!
Before working with any kind of health expert, you need to know that you are the one who is responsible for your treatment success!
Even though the journey is ultimately yours to walk, you don’t have to walk it alone. Find a person that will support you through all the ups and downs of your self-discovery. Going down the path of the unknown by yourself is the only way we can save ourselves.
If you’re looking for a guide, schedule your initial consult with me.
by Robel Mengistu | Nov 15, 2022 | Uncategorized
It seems like there are memes constantly circulating around that promote the below as “normal:”
● Bloating so much after meals that you look pregnant
● Constant anxiety from being an “adult”
● Fatigue that makes it difficult to get out of bed after the age of 30
● Aches and pains that remind you that you’re not a teenager anymore
● Drinking alcohol to temporarily take away the constant stress
Hands up if you experience any of the following symptoms. If your hand is up, you’re not alone!
These common symptoms affect a majority of us. In fact…they are being used as a constant source of comedy…which I find just promotes these symptoms as a part of aging…
But guess what?
While these symptoms are all common, they’re NOT normal.
Yes, you read that correctly. We’re often told that symptoms such as these are “normal” and that they’re simply a part of aging – something we can’t escape. Something that just happens after you turn the age of 30.
I’m here to tell you that it’s time to stop ignoring the messages your body is trying to tell you. These symptoms are NOT a part of aging, and they’re most definitely not normal, but they can be resolved.
Stop letting society dictate that it’s normal to not feel healthy and vibrant.
I understand…those memes can feel like a source of relief because you feel seen and heard.
Health is a BIG source of frustration with many.
One of the biggest reasons why is due to the misconception of what works to reach your health goals.
So what does it actually take to reach your health goals?
Whether you want to:
● Ditch the weight for good
● Stop cravings in their tracks
● Wake up refreshed with an abundance of energy
● Get the best sleep of your life
● Enhance your focus so that you can achieve your goals
Stop losing chunks of hair everyday in the shower
● Say goodbye to adult acne once and for all
● Feel like yourself again
It’s going to take more than just willpower to exercise and eat well…despite what pop culture
health information says.
To reach your health goals you’re going to need to:
First, identify the ROOT CAUSE of WHY you’re experiencing symptoms.
Next, you’re going to have to follow a customized plan that’s tailored just for you and will often
● A personalized diet
● The correct amount of exercise for you
● Stress reduction techniques
● Fixing your gut (HINT: I do this will almost ALL my patients regardless of their symptoms)
● Focusing on sleep
● Targeted supplementation
● Balancing your blood sugar (Another thing I do with almost all patients)
● + any other specific lifestyle recommendations that YOU specifically need.
As you can see, it’s not a “quick fix” like you see everyone promoting.
And perhaps the most important thing to remember is that there is no end point when it comes to health, and really life in general, there is no destination. We will never arrive. While this can seem defeating, it’s actually liberating, knowing that it’s a constant process and a lifestyle, rather than pure grit and determination.
Healing journeys are rarely linear. It is rare for someone to go from point A ⟹ B without a detour, roadblock, and/or wrong turn.
Those things are all part of the journey. When we realize that, it can help to ease some of the frustration, guilt, and shame that often coincides with those road bumps.
There is no such thing as a linear healing journey, but I believe that with a proper game plan and serious commitment, healing is possible✨
If you are not feeling optimal right now, wherever you are on your healing journey, I am here to encourage you to keep going!
So if you’re ready to leave behind the norms and expectations of society to live a full and vibrant life, sign up for a an initial consultation to learn more about how I can help you on your journey. https://www.timetap.com/appts/Oq6yt0krJub/
by Robel Mengistu | Nov 15, 2022 | Uncategorized
Did you know your gut could have up to 500 species of bacteria which weighs about 3 pounds!
This bacteria is often called the microbiome and to be more specific the entire set of microorganisms in your microbiota — bacteria, fungi and viruses. They have a unique place and function inside your body. Bacteria make-up the majority of the cells, about 30-50 trillion.
Your individual microbiome is as unique as your body shape and size. Geography, gender, age, what you’re exposed to, diet, health, and basically everything that you are, experience and come in contact with. Hence, the microbes are always in flux.
Is your microbiome RICH and DIVERSE?
Most of the microbes are present in the large intestine and vary throughout the intestines. Common species found within the gut are Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Escherichia, Streptococcus, and Ruminococcus.
When looking at WHO lives in your microbiome we use both the terms richness and diversity to describe them.
Richness = the number of total bacterial species
Diversity = the number of each type of bacterial species
The way I like to think about it is this way:
Think of a large group of people in a room. If we were to organize them by occupation, RICHNESS would indicate the total number of different occupations present. (Teachers, nurses, mechanics, etc)
DIVERSITY would be how many people of each occupation there were. (32 teachers, 96 nurses, 48 mechanics, etc)
Just as in a community, when both the richness and diversity is high, it is much stronger and more resilient. If there’s a lot of people with different specialties, there’s the perfect person for each job.
Different species of bacteria play different roles within the gut.
Are you a part of this group?
When a patient comes to see me for the first time, I always use an in depth questionnaire + a long introductory appointment to really get to know them.
During this process of analyzing your whole life history and how it relates to your health, I’m looking out for specific clues that your microbiome might be imbalanced…before we even begin testing!
The microbiome is quite delicate and many different things can disrupt its balance. For example, did you know that just one round of antibiotics can decrease diversity by 30%?
Clues that I’m looking for that might indicate that you’re in a high risk group for a microbiome imbalance:
● Born via c-section rather than vaginally
● Multiple rounds of antibiotics throughout your life
● A low fiber diet
● Predominantly a SAD diet
● Any chronic or autoimmune disease
● Sedentary lifestyle
● Long term low carb / keto diet
● Stressful lifestyle
● Certain prescription medications
● Your age
● Travel history (did you go somewhere known for travelers’ gut?)
● Past illnesses
● A diet full of sugar
● Exposure to environmental toxins
● Tap water that’s full of chemicals
● Use of conventional skincare products
● Use of toxic cleaning supplies
● Living in a city vs living in a rural area
● Eating the same thing every day
● Not eating enough quality or quantity of vegetables
● + more
I’m always looking to piece together your unique history and what it might mean for the symptoms that you are currently experiencing.
So now what? If you suspect an imbalanced microbiome, here are my top tips to begin rebuilding your microbiome!
My top tips to rebuild diversity of the microbiome:
Focus on high quality sleep.
Disrupted and not enough sleep not only promotes stress and low mood but also obesity. Research shows that sleep deprivation accelerates weight gain because it significantly changes your gut flora.
Working out regularly helps create more bacterial diversity in the gut. Therefore, focus on increasing your good bacteria by keeping yourself physically active.
Find time for yourself to unwind from all the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan cities. Your mind and gut affect each other equally.
Avoid these foods
Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed foods, and dairy as they can disrupt the balance of the gut flora.
Eat these foods
Increase the intake of nuts, herbs, greens, berries, wild foods, and whole grains if you’re lacking in them. These foods are full of fiber to support your microbiome.
Take high-quality probiotics everyday to boost a healthy ecosystem of your gut flora.
Eat at home
Prepare your own meals that focus on whole foods that aren’t overly processed. Processed foods can impact the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria.
Include fermented foods
Include lots of green veggies and fermented foods in your diet like pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, miso, Kombucha etc. Veggies = food for the natural probiotics found in fermented food.
Drink filtered water
Most tap water (yes, even “clean” tap water found in the US and Canada) can have many toxic chemicals in it. Even the chlorine found in the tap water can disrupt the microbiome.
Eat the rainbow
I love the motto: “Eat the rainbow” when it comes to eating your veggies & fruit. They are chock full of phytonutrients like polyphenols, vitamins, minerals (and fiber!) that support the microbiome’s development. Each different color has different benefits.
Consume enough fiber daily
Fiber contributes to a healthy microbiome by increasing diversity and helps produce short-chain fatty acids. In addition, fiber keeps things flowing throughout your digestive tract so that things don’t become stagnant which can lead to an overgrowth of bacteria that you don’t want!
Eat prebiotic foods
Prebiotics = food for good bacteria! It’s important to always keep feeding the good guys! The bad guys thrive off of sugar and other common foods found on the SAD diet. Common prebiotic foods include chicory root, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, and (green) bananas.
Are you up for a 3 day challenge?
Research shows that only 3 days of clean eating can dramatically impact the microbiome!
Here are the rules of the game:
3 days of eating high quality:
3 days of avoiding
● Packaged foods
Want personalized support to heal your microbiome? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
by Robel Mengistu | Sep 26, 2022 | Uncategorized
Do you experience these symptoms like clockwork, every month?
● Mood swings
● Food cravings
● Excess fatigue
● Difficulty sleeping
● Breast tenderness
Check, check, check?
PMS while common, is NOT normal.
PMS (premenstrual syndrome) refers to a group of symptoms women commonly experience a week or so before their period.
75% of women experience PMS, and other issues before starting their period each month. Most of us unconsciously accept this because we’ve been conditioned to believe it’s “normal”.
PMS is not an inevitable side effect of beginning your period, even though society would let us believe otherwise.
It DOESN’T have to be this way‼️
To think that 75% of women have an inherent design flaw that occurs EVERY SINGLE MONTH is crazy
Yet, why is it that some women’s PMS is so much worse than others? Why do some women experience it every single month while others breeze through life with little to no symptoms (YES – there are women who don’t experience PMS).
So what determines how severe PMS symptoms are?
One of the biggest factors lies in the fluctuation of hormones that occurs every month:
● How quickly are estrogen and progesterone falling?
● Is progesterone falling more rapidly than estrogen?
Progesterone buffers against those symptoms associated with PMS. Yet when there is too little progesterone in relation to estrogen (frequently known as estrogen dominance), this can lead to PMS symptoms.
Other factors that can exacerbate PMS:
Feeling stressed leading up to your period can increase risk of experiencing more severe symptoms of PMS.
Focus on decreasing stress, especially in the second part of your cycle. Find stress reducing activities such as journaling, meditating, yoga, breathing, walking, etc that can help mitigate the overall stress placed on the body.
Exposure to xenoestrogens
Research has found that chronic exposure to endocrine disruptors such as BPA, phthalates, and parabens can lead to an increase in PMS symptoms.
Actively reduce exposure to xenoestrogens by decreasing exposure to plastics, choosing clean beauty & hygiene products, and using natural cleaning products.
Excess inflammation within the body
High levels of cytokines, which are produced during the inflammatory process, in the second of the menstrual cycle can lead to an increase in symptoms, especially those related to mood.
Reduce excess inflammation in the body by avoiding highly processed foods, excess alcohol, and sugar.
Nutrient deficiencies such as Omega 3s, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, selenium and calcium are all correlated with an increase in PMS symptoms.
Focus on foods rich in in these nutrients:
Omega 3s: organ meats, flaxseeds, fatty fish, pumpkin seeds
Magnesium: Almonds, dark leafy greens, avocados, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate
Zinc: Seafood, oysters, meat/poultry
Vitamin B6: red meat, poultry, eggs, and leafy greens
Selenium: seafood, organ meats, brazil nuts, eggs
Calcium: Winter squash, sardines, almonds, leafy greens
Blood sugar dysregulation
Chronic spikes and crashes in blood sugar are bad news for your hormones.
High levels of insulin resistance are linked to:
● increased testosterone production from the ovaries
● decreased levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which can lead to an excess
of estrogen within the body (estrogen dominance)
● a downregulation of the production of estrogen leading to low estrogen levels
To help bring blood sugar into balance, focus on eating regular meals full of healthy proteins and fats, go for a walk after each meal, and reduce the consumption of simple carbohydrates.
Feel like you can’t catch a break with your PMS symptoms? Find out how we can help you find the root cause of WHY you’re experiencing symptoms in the first place. The first step is to schedule a session for an initial functional health consultation with me, Schedule here