5 ways poor gut health can impact your heart

Heart disease, also known as cardiovascular disease, is the number one leading cause of death in the US and is considered a whole body disease because it affects not just the heart, but also all other parts of the body.

Traditional risk factors include:
● High blood pressure
● High cholesterol
● Metabolic disease
● And smoking.

However, as a gut expert I take it a step further and tend to look at most symptoms and disease through the lens of this system as it’s the cornerstone of health.

The gut

The gut serves as a key interface between the body and the external environment, and helps regulate the balance of energy and nutrients. It is home to a complex and diverse community of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiome, which has been shown to influence many physiological processes in the body, such as digestion, immunity, mood, the cardiovascular system, and more.

A healthy gut microbiome is characterized by a diverse and balanced population of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms that support and protect against a wide range of health problems, including cardiovascular disease.

The TOP 5 ways poor gut health can impact your heart

An imbalanced gut microbiome, also known as dysbiosis, can negatively impact heart health in several ways:

Inflammation

An imbalanced microbiome can lead to chronic inflammation in three key ways, which is a known risk factor for heart disease.

Increased production of pro-inflammatory molecules: An imbalanced microbiome can lead to overgrowth of certain pathogenic bacteria, which can increase the production of pro- inflammatory molecules such as lipopolysaccharides and cytokines, thereby leading to chronic inflammation.

Decreased production of anti-inflammatory molecules: A balanced microbiome typically includes bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory molecules, such as short-chain fatty acids. An imbalanced microbiome can reduce the production of these anti-inflammatory molecules, exacerbating the effects of chronic inflammation.

Altered gut permeability: An imbalanced microbiome can also increase gut permeability, allowing harmful substances to enter the bloodstream and triggering an immune response, further contributing to chronic inflammation. Inflammation can cause damage to the inner lining of blood vessels, leading to the formation of plaques that can block the flow of blood to the heart.

Cholesterol metabolism

The gut microbiome plays a role in the metabolism of cholesterol. An imbalanced microbiome can impact the metabolism of cholesterol by altering the gut microbial composition, leading to changes in bile acid metabolism, and disrupting the gut-liver axis.

Bile acids are synthesized from cholesterol and help in the digestion and absorption of dietary lipids. An imbalanced gut microbiome can alter the production and composition of bile acids, leading to changes in cholesterol metabolism and increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, the gut microbiome also influences the production and clearance of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (bad cholesterol), which is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Thus, an imbalanced microbiome may contribute to dysregulation of cholesterol metabolism and cardiovascular disease risk.

Insulin resistance

The gut microbiome is also involved in the regulation of insulin sensitivity.

An imbalanced microbiome can contribute to insulin resistance by altering the gut-liver-muscle axis and the gut-brain axis. The gut microbiome plays a role in regulating the production and
metabolism of various metabolites, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), bile acids, and neurotransmitters.

An imbalanced microbiome can disrupt the balance of these metabolites, leading to inflammation and oxidative stress, which are known contributors to insulin resistance. The gut microbiome can also affect the gut permeability and contribute to the systemic exposure to
bacterial lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which can induce inflammation and insulin resistance.

In addition, the gut microbiome influences the gut-brain axis by regulating the production of various signaling molecules, such as peptides, hormones, and neurotransmitters, that are involved in the regulation of glucose and energy homeostasis. An imbalanced microbiome can contribute to alterations in these signaling pathways, leading to impaired insulin signaling and insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a risk factor for heart disease because it contributes to high levels of glucose and fatty acids in the bloodstream, leading to oxidative stress and inflammation, both of which are factors in the development of heart disease.

Obesity

An imbalanced microbiome has been linked to obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease. An imbalanced microbiome can contribute to obesity by several mechanisms:

Energy metabolism: An imbalanced gut microbiome can result in increased energy extraction from food and storage as fat.

Inflammation: An imbalanced gut microbiome can trigger low-grade systemic inflammation, leading to insulin resistance and obesity.

Hormonal Changes: An imbalanced microbiome can alter the gut-brain axis, leading to changes in hormone levels (such as leptin and ghrelin) that regulate hunger and metabolism.

Altered gut permeability: An imbalanced microbiome can increase gut permeability, leading to the entry of lipopolysaccharides into the bloodstream, which can cause systemic inflammation and contribute to obesity.

Reduced gut motility: An imbalanced microbiome can slow down gut motility, leading to longer transit times and increased caloric absorption.

High blood pressure

An imbalanced microbiome can also lead to high blood pressure, which is another risk factor for heart disease.

Gut dysbiosis can contribute to high blood pressure in several ways.

An imbalanced microbiome can cause chronic low-grade inflammation, which has been linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Additionally, the gut microbiome affects the production and regulation of various hormones and signaling molecules, including ones that play a role in regulating blood pressure.

Studies have shown that changes in the gut microbiome can impact the renin-angiotensin- aldosterone system (RAAS), which is involved in blood pressure regulation.

An imbalanced microbiome can also affect the absorption and metabolism of certain nutrients, such as sodium and potassium, which are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.

Overall, an imbalanced microbiome can contribute to a number of heart disease risk factors, including inflammation, cholesterol metabolism, insulin resistance, obesity, and high blood pressure.

If you feel like you need gut health support, metabolic support and overall wellness support, schedule an initial consult and we will come up with a great program for you including functional diagnostics

Hypothyroidism

Maintaining proper amounts of thyroid hormone in the body is essential to feeling like yourself!

Thyroid hormone is the goldilocks hormone! Having too little or too much thyroid hormone floating in the body can have negative effects.

Hyperthyroid, which is an overactive thyroid, is when your thyroid secretes too much thyroid hormone. This supercharges your body in the wrong way, causing anxiety, panic, and other issues.

Hypothyroid is the more common problem, which is when your thyroid is underactive. Too little thyroid hormone leaves you lethargic and can result in other side effects like weight gain.

Did you know that out of every 1000 Americans 8 have overt hypothyroidism and 30 have subclinical hypothyroidism?

Signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Suspect you might have an underperforming thyroid? Here are the most common signs and symptoms:

● Skin problems, acne, hair loss or brittle nails
● Mood issues or disorders – frequent mood swings, anxiety, depression
● Weight gain or inability to lose weight
● Feeling tired and fatigue even after a good night sleep
● Painful or inconsistent periods, PMS, low libido
● Constipation and problems with digestion system
● Inability to concentrate well, poor memory, brain fog
● Rheumatoid arthritis, muscle pain, joint pain, tendonitis
● Insomnia, snoring or hoarse voice
● Sensitivity to heat, having low body temperature, cold feet and hands
● Missing the outer third of your eyebrow

Root causes of hypothyroidism

Nine common causes for an underactive thyroid include:

1) Congenital hypothyroidism is when a person’s thyroid isn’t working correctly, starting at birth. Usually, hospitals screen for this.
2) A deficiency in iodine can also trigger hypothyroidism. Iodine is artificially added to unhealthy processed foods. This can sometimes make it hard to get enough iodine on an otherwise healthy diet. Supplements can help fill the gap.
3) If part or all of your thyroid has been removed or killed with radiation, you probably don’t make enough thyroid hormone.
4) Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (lymphocytic thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disorder where your body attacks the thyroid. Your thyroid then stops producing enough hormone as its tissues get damaged. This is one of the most common reasons for an underfunctioning thyroid.
5) A high toxic load overloads your body’s detoxing systems. This often results in autoimmune diseases that can attack the thyroid.
6) Some prescriptions can slow down your thyroid – your doctor or pharmacist can tell you if this is a side effect of any medications you’re taking.
7) Radiation can damage your thyroid. This is most common after cancer treatments around the neck.
8) Postpartum thyroiditis results in an increase and successive drop in thyroid hormone production. This can sometimes occur during the first year after giving birth due to fluctuating sex hormones.
9) Abnormalities in the signaling between your hypothalamus and pituitary glands can result in hypothyroidism, as well as hyperthyroidism.

How to identify hypothyroidism

Did you know that not all thyroid tests are created equal?
● So, you believe you have a thyroid issue and ask your doctor for a test.
● They perform a TSH blood test, and everything comes back “normal”.
● You’re left feeling confused, unheard, and not sure where to turn next.

If this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

You may find yourself going back and forth, and requiring many opinions before receiving the information you require if you’re seeing a conventional doctor.

The type of test ordered, as well as what is considered “normal” for that test play a large role in thyroid diagnosis and treatment. The truth is that a lot of docs will use TSH ONLY as the indicator of your thyroid function.

This is because TSH levels only depict a small portion of what “normal” thyroid function entails.

Here are ALL the thyroid tests that can be given:

Free T4 (Thyroxine) is used by your body to store thyroid hormone for conversion to T3 when needed. Too little, and there won’t be enough to convert.

Free T3 (Triiodothyronine) is the active form of thyroid hormone. Usually, your body converts T4 to T3 when needed, but sometimes this process goes awry.

Reverse T3 is also converted from T4. It does the opposite of T3, which helps slow things down when needed. Too little reverse T3 can result in anxiety and a racing heart.

Thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) attack the enzyme that’s used to make thyroid hormone.

Thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb) reduce thyroglobulin, which is also used to make thyroid hormone.

Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) should also be tested since it’s responsible for modulating thyroid hormone. Here’s the catch. Since it’s used by the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to create thyroid hormone, any issue with these two glands makes a TSH measurement less than useful.

So what can you do to support your thyroid?

Focus on these 6 lifestyle factors to support your thyroid:

Exercise regularly
Exercise can help improve thyroid function and increase energy levels. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you are really struggling with fatigue, it may be better to focus on low impact exercises such as pilates and yoga first.
It’s important to note that while exercise can be helpful for people with hypothyroidism, it’s important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting or making significant changes to an exercise routine. The intensity and type of exercise may need to be adjusted based on individual circumstances and thyroid hormone levels.

Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is important for maintaining proper thyroid function. In particular, studies have shown that sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland and regulates the production of thyroid hormones. (High TSH = HYPOthyroidism, low TSH = HYPERthyroidism). Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Reduce stress
Chronic stress can disrupt thyroid function. Stress can cause the body to produce higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can interfere with the production and release of thyroid hormones. In addition to disrupting thyroid hormone production, stress can also weaken the immune system, making the body more vulnerable to infections and autoimmune disorders, such as thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid gland. Practice stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing to help manage stress.

Eat a healthy diet
A well-balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can help support proper thyroid function. Certain nutrients, such as iodine and selenium, are important for proper thyroidfunction. Iodine is found in foods such as seaweed, seafood, and eggs, and is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones. Selenium is found in foods such as nuts, seeds, and whole grains, and is necessary for the conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone (T4) to the active form (T3). Avoid processed foods and sugar, which can contribute to inflammation and hormone imbalances.

Minimize consuming goitrogens
Goitrogens are substances that can interfere with thyroid hormone production. Foods that contain goitrogens include soy, cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts), and nuts and seeds. While these foods can be part of a healthy diet in moderation, it is best to consume them cooked rather than raw.

Avoid overexposure to environmental toxins
Certain environmental toxins, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and industrial chemicals, can disrupt thyroid function. To reduce your exposure to these toxins, try to use natural and organic products whenever possible and avoid areas with high levels of pollution.

Work with a provider
If you’ve been struggling with hypothyroidism and don’t know where to turn, schedule an INITIAL CONSULT to see how I support clients with hypothyroidism.

Are limiting beliefs holding you back from achieving your New Year’s Resolutions?

Are you tired of making New Year’s Resolutions that you never keep? Tired of all the guilt that comes with it?

Do you feel like no matter how hard you try it’s impossible to keep your promises to yourself? If so, it could be due to the thoughts that are taking up rent in your head, in the form of limiting beliefs.

Limiting beliefs are thoughts or beliefs that hold us back and prevent us from achieving our goals or reaching our full potential.

These beliefs can be about ourselves, our capabilities, or the world around us, and they can limit our actions, behaviors, and choices…and all those things impact our overall health.

Limiting beliefs are often formed in childhood or early life experiences and can be reinforced by negative experiences or messages we receive from others.

They can also be the result of negative self-talk or automatic thoughts that we have internalized over time. Limiting beliefs can be difficult to identify and challenge, but it is possible to overcome them and develop a more positive and empowering mindset.

Common limiting beliefs that hold you back from changing your health:

“I’m not good enough.”
This belief can lead you to not try to make changes because you don’t believe you have what it takes to succeed. If you feel like you’ve already have tried SO many things yet nothing worked, this can contribute to this limiting belief.

“I don’t have the resources.”
This belief can cause people to feel like they don’t have the time, money, or support they need to make changes. Many people (maybe even yourself included) feel as though being healthy comes at a large financial cost. However, that does NOT have to be the case. The truth is that the cost of an unhealthy lifestyle consisting of fast food, Netflix, and microwave meals can add up pretty quickly – not only for your bank account but also for your health. But becoming healthy doesn’t have to cost an arm and leg. You might be surprised that when comparing a healthy lifestyle to an unhealthy one, you can actually save more money in the long run, and there are even many healthy practices that are entirely free!

“I don’t deserve it.”
This belief can cause people to feel undeserving of success, happiness or even a basic foundational human right: health. I truly believe that everyone deserves to feel their best…even you.

“I can’t do it.”
This belief can cause people to doubt their abilities and give up when faced with challenges. You don’t have to face your health journey alone. Build a healthcare team to support you on your journey. By having support, you can ask questions and feel like you can achieve your goals when you have an actionable plan.

“It’s not worth the effort.”
This belief can cause people to believe that the benefits of making a change are not worth the time and effort it would take. Getting healthy doesn’t have to be depriving or challenging. By working with someone who knows your specific needs / challenges can make the process easier.

Are these beliefs true or false?

These beliefs are not necessarily false, but they can be limiting and prevent people from making progress on their health goals.

It’s important to recognize that everyone has the ability to grow, learn, and make positive changes in regards to their health, no matter their past experiences or perceived limitations.

While it may take time, effort, and resources to make changes, the benefits of working towards and achieving one’s goals can be well worth it.

It can be helpful to reframe these limiting beliefs and instead adopt a growth mindset, which means approaching challenges with the belief that one can learn, grow, and improve through effort and perseverance.

Limiting belief exercises

Identify the limiting beliefs.
Start by becoming aware of the specific thoughts and beliefs that are holding you back when it comes to your health. Pay attention to negative self-talk or automatic thoughts that pop up when you’re faced with challenges whenever you try to implement a new habit (like going to the gym!) or trying to make a change. Write these beliefs down and try to understand where they came from and how they are impacting your actions and behaviors.

Challenge the evidence.
Once you have identified a limiting belief, try to evaluate the evidence for and against it. Are there any examples in your life where you were able to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal despite this belief? Is there evidence to suggest that this belief is not true or is not always true in every situation?

Practice reframing.
Once you have challenged the evidence for a limiting belief, try to reframe it in a more positive or realistic way. For example, instead of thinking “Why do I always fall off track,” try thinking “I may not be perfect at this yet, but I am learning and improving with every effort I make. Every little improvement adds up.”

Set small, achievable goals.
One way to challenge and overcome limiting beliefs is to set small, achievable goals that help you build confidence and momentum. These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART goals).

Practice gratitude and self-compassion.
Focusing on the things you are grateful for and being kind and understanding to yourself can help you build resilience and a more positive mindset. It’s important to recognize that everyone makes mistakes and has setbacks, and it’s okay to be imperfect. Instead of beating yourself up, try to be compassionate and understanding, and focus on the progress you have made.

Visualize
“Visualizing success” isn’t a waste of time – it’s science. Many incredibly successful people use visualization. Visualization alone won’t make you Tiger Woods – but combining visualization with practice makes your potential soar. Science shows us four main benefits from visualization:

1) Reinforces positives with the power of your “reticular activation system” (RAS). Every day, we’re bathed in an incredible amount of stimulus. What’s dangerous? What’s beneficial? What’s worthy of attention? Your RAS helps you spot that car swerving into your lane – but it’ll also reject anything that doesn’t reinforce your beliefs. Visualizing negative beliefs? Positives become invisible. Visualizing success? Your RAS helps you achieve by showing you what you need.

2) Reduces fear and anxiety by hacking your brain. The root of fear and anxiety? The anticipation of unknown future events. Real and vividly imagined memories look the same to our brain. Intensely visualize a situation to make it familiar to your brain, which can reduce the impact of crippling anxiety.

3) Reprogramming your subconscious with positive beliefs. Relaxing slows your brain waves, making it easier to replace any negative beliefs held deep in your mind. Relax and visualize to overwrite negative, limiting subconscious beliefs (while putting
positive ones in their place).

4) Learning new skills (MUCH faster).
Visualizing a skill stimulates the same regions of your brain as actually performing the skill. This
boosts your learning speed by building the same neural networks as actual practice.

Seek support and accountability.
It can be helpful to enlist the help of a trusted health care practitioner to guide you on your health journey so that you can minimize setbacks.. Having someone to share your progress with and seek guidance from can be a powerful motivator.

If you want to learn more about how our team can support you, sign up for an initial consult.

8 Healthy Holidays Tips

The season of over indulgence is HERE!

I know it’s extra challenging to stay healthy during the holidays. I don’t blame you – the temptation can be intense with all the holiday parties and peer pressure.

Let’s be honest with ourselves – we’ve all experienced a food hangover after overeating at a holiday party.

The image of the “perfect” holiday season comes with celebrations, friends, family…and a lot of food.

Does over indulging bring up a feeling of guilt? Try focusing on the bigger picture:

It’s extremely easy to get caught up in doing everything “perfectly”, but the truth is, what you do everyday matters more than what you do once a year

No matter what your health and fitness goals are, I’m here to tell you that you can achieve them.

Even through the holidays.

By ditching the diet mentality and creating healthy habits, not restrictions, we can then focus on the bigger picture. The picture that paints out healthy living as a lifestyle, not just a temporary fix.

Focus on your health and your happiness. The decisions you make on a daily basis are what matter. Make the majority of those habits in line with your goals, and I’ve got no doubt you’ll get there.

That’s why I put together a few tips on how to stay healthier during the holiday season:

Before we dive into the actionable tips, first know this:

>>> In order to achieve the results you want, you must BELIEVE it’s possible.<<<

You must believe that you can trust yourself to navigate the holidays.

I want you to take a moment and close your eyes. I want you to first imagine yourself symptom free:
● Who would you be?
● What would you do?
● What would you have?

Okay do you have that image in your mind?

Now, I want you to imagine yourself navigating the holiday season with ease.
● How would you confidently show up to events?
● How would you prepare for holiday events?
● What is your plan for different “traps” that you fall into? How can you bypass them this
year?
● What would it feel like to end the holiday season, feeling proud of yourself?

Now do you have those images in mind? Let’s dive into the tips!

  • Take a walk after any large or rich meal. Taking a walk can minimize the blood sugar spike that can leave you feeling tired and sluggish after a big meal.
  • Focus on the 80% of meals outside of the holiday gatherings. While it seems like holiday parties are all around, by eating a clean and anti-inflammatory diet the rest of the time (even if you indulge in those holiday meals) can help offset and balance out the indulgences.
  • Pay attention to HOW you eat. How you eat is almost just as important to WHAT you eat. If possible eat slowly, chew your food well, and sit down to eat to minimize digestive upset after rich meals.
  • Prioritize sleep. When we are well rested, our bodies are able to handle stress much better. So even if you eat a food that doesn’t sit well with you, your body is more resourced to deal with it.
  • Try the “one plate” rule. If you want to indulge at a holiday meal, feel free to choose whatever you want, as long as it fits on one plate and avoid going back for seconds.
  • Come up with a list of common “roadblocks” that you hit when it comes to the holiday season. Make a game plan of how you will navigate each event, and especially how you will handle your particular kryptonite.
  • Fill up on protein and fiber. Before diving into the snacks or sweets, make sure to fill up on foods rich in protein and fiber so you won’t be as ravenous.
  • Enjoy the holidays, sans guilt. If you want to indulge, make it a conscious CHOICE and let go of the guilt. Truly enjoy it.

Already know that you want to hit 2023 running with your health goals? Sign up for an initial consultation to work on your wellness and health goals!

27 tips to support your immune system

The cold & flu season is here! And it’s projected to be an intense one this year.

One of the best ways to support your immune system is through HOW you live your life.

There are many things you can do to support and fortify your immune system to prevent or reduce the intensity.

Here are 27 tips to support your immune system this season!

Foods That Support The Immune System

Focus on including these immune supportive foods into your diet. Aim to include these as part of your daily routine:

Fermented foods.
Including kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Fermented foods all contain helpful bacteria, and consuming them is the first step in promoting a healthy environment for your gut to carry out its virus-fighting functions.

Garlic.
Garlic is both prebiotic and highly antioxidant, acting as “fuel” for healthy bacteria in the gut. However, in order to benefit from these properties, it must be consumed raw. Add garlic to your salads or dips.

Citrus fruits.
Vitamin C is amazing at reducing the length and intensity of the common cold. Eat a lot of citrus fruits to get your daily dose! This includes grapefruit, clementine, lemon (add to tea) and orange.

Turmeric.
Fresh turmeric is renowned for its potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial effects. Studies have found that countries where curcumin (the active compound) is consumed regularly by the population had lower rates of some cancers. I’d recommend adding turmeric to your meals and teas! For better absorption, make sure to take it with black pepper and/or healthy fats!

Oily fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in abundance in oily fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel, are substances that aid the body with fighting inflammation. Chronic inflammation can increase your risk of getting sick.

Mushrooms.
Mushrooms are excellent at supporting the immune system. They contain plenty of immune- boosting antioxidants as well as beta glucans which help support a weak immune system. Shiitake, maitake and reishi are great choices.

Foods That Weaken The Immune System

Reduce your chances of getting sick this winter and AVOID these immune-weakening foods:

Fried foods

A group of molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are abundant in fried foods. AGEs are believed to damage the immune system in a number of ways, including:
● Cellular malfunction
● Inflammation
● And harming gut microbes.

Processed foods.
Sorry to break it to you, but that does include processed meats, cereals, cakes and biscuits. Highly processed foods promote inflammation, increase gut permeability, and alter the balance of bacteria in the gut, all of which have a negative impact on immune function.

Foods with added sugar.
Your production of inflammatory proteins increases when consuming foods that dramatically raise blood sugar levels, such as those high in added sugars. Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks and support a healthy immune system!

Foods high in omega-6 fats.
Diets high in omega-6 fats appear to stimulate the production of pro-inflammatory proteins which can weaken the immune response. Reduce your intake of foods high in omega-6s such as sunflower canola, and corn oil.

Alcohol.
Alcohol can impact and weaken the body’s natural immune response. One way it does this is by harming beneficial gut bacteria that support the development of T cells.

Teas to Support The Immune System

Many teas are full of antioxidants and contain properties that combat viruses and bacteria within the body. Some of the top immune supportive teas include:

Ginger.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory qualities, making it a valuable spice for therapeutic purposes. Ginger tea is amazing for immune support as well as lowering blood sugar levels and assisting in digestion.

Peppermint.

Research has shown that peppermint contains antibacterial and antiviral properties which help prevent disease. Peppermint tea can offer a high dose of antioxidants as well as a healthier immune system.

Chamomile.
The polyphenols in chamomile tea may be responsible for the stronger immune responses seen in regular tea drinkers. Drinking a few cups a day may help you build a stronger immune system!

Green tea.
Green tea shields the body from oxidants and radicals, which in turn, boosts the immune system. It includes the potent antioxidant epigallocatechin (EGCC), which also aids in preventing cell damage.

Licorice root.
This age-old herbal remedy contains glycyrrhizic acid, providing the body with anti-inflammatory properties, strengthening the immune system and aiding in the relief of digestive issues.

Lemongrass.
Due to its high mineral and vitamin content, lemongrass tea is an amazing choice for the immune system. Vitamins C and A help boost immunity and ward against diseases.

Lifestyle Tips to Support The Immune System

Implement these lifestyle changes this season to support the health of your immune system.

Use a neti-pot / gargle with sea salt water.
Sea salt works wonders as an anti-inflammatory, and a neti-pot can prevent viruses from entering through the mouth or nose, as well as balancing the various nervous systems of the body.

Get outside.
Ever heard of open-air therapy? During both day and at night, fresh air is believed to help ward off bacteria and viruses more effectively than indoor air, boosting the immune system.

Sleep a little longer.
It’s normal to need more sleep during the winter. An additional 1.75 to 2.5 hours each night are typical, but just ensure that you’re limiting your sleep to 7–10 hours total per night.

Reduce stress.
Too much stress can weaken your immune system. Whenever you are feeling stressed…stop and engage your senses:
● See… what are 5 things that you see.
● Hear…what are 5 things that you hear
● Taste…what taste(s) do you notice (applicable only if eating ��)
● Smell…what do you smell?
● Touch…what are 5 textures can you feel in your environment?

Immune Supportive Supplements

When life feels overwhelming, sometimes your immune system needs all the support it can get. Support your immune system with these supplements.

Multivitamin/Mineral.
A multivitamin is a great way to ensure that you’re getting all the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs on a daily basis. Look for a high-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement that contains active B vitamin forms like methylcobalamin and methyltetrahydrofolate.

Vitamin C
It’s well-known that vitamin C can greatly support the immune system. It’s recommended to take 500 to 1,000 mg over the course of the day with meals and snacks.

Vitamin D3.
According to studies, those who are vitamin D deficient are 11 times more likely to contract a cold or the flu, while those who take vitamin D supplements have a 42% decrease in these illnesses. For correct dosing, it is best to have your 25-OH vitamin D levels evaluated.

Zinc citrate/orotate/sulfate.
There are many ways zinc helps the immune system, but the most powerful way is by activating enzymes that break down bacteria and viral proteins, which makes them less contagious. It’s recommended to get 15mg of zinc per day.

Antiviral herbs.
Many herbs have immune-boosting and antimicrobial effects. Some of my favorites include astragalus, green tea extract, andrographis, and monolaurin to support immune function.

Arctic cod-liver oil.
An age-old remedy for many diseases, cod liver oil contains plenty of omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and D which lower inflammation along with your risk of blood clots.

NOTE: Always consult with your practitioner before starting or stopping any supplements.

Know someone who could benefit from these tips? Share this article with them!

The Ovarian – Adrenal – Thyroid (OAT) Axis

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
  • Thyroid
  • 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.

Thyroid
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.

Testosterone
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!

Get sunlight
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.

Stress management.
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:
● Walking
● Meditation
● Journaling
● Exercise
● Yoga
● 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
● Carbohydrates
● 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.

Sleep
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.

Use adaptogens
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
● Ashwagandha
● Holy Basil
● Maca
● Reishi mushrooms
● Ginseng
● Rhodiola
● Eleuthero

(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.

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