Common Causes of PMS

Do you experience these symptoms like clockwork, every month?

● Mood swings
● Food cravings
● Irritability
● Anxiety/depression
● Bloating
● Excess fatigue
● Difficulty sleeping
● Breast tenderness
● Headaches/migraines

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:

Chronic stress

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

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

Birth Control Pills are often NOT the Solution to Irregular or Painful Menstrual Cycles

Question: do you look forward to your menstrual cycle every month? Or do you dread it and count down the days until the next?

Whether you look forward to it or not, your menstrual cycle is a key sign of health and vitality. Irregular or painful periods can indicate various things such as:

● Hypothyroidism
● Sex hormone imbalances
● Infections
● Nutrient deficiencies
● Infertility
● + so much more

Many women spend their whole lives feeling that their cycle is ‘normal’ when it’s actually indicative of something deeper going on within the body.

Common signs of an irregular period:

● Menstruation arrives 2+/- days than normal
● No period
● <25 days or >35 days
● Spotting 3-4 days before period
● No clear end to period
● Spotting throughout cycle
● Heavy bleeding (needing to change tampon, pad, or cup more than every few hours)
● Clots present
● Very light bleeding or spotting

This is why I always recommend tracking and keeping note of your cycle and what’s normal for you. There are several apps that can help you do this! By tracking every month you will be able to notice patterns within your monthly cycle, in addition to being aware when someone is amiss.

If you notice any of the above symptoms of an irregular period, in addition to symptoms such as:

● Acne
● Fatigue
● Severe PMS
● Migraines
● Low libido
● Hair loss
● Anxiety/depression

…I highly recommend finding someone to find and address the underlying root causes. More often than not, the traditional approach to addressing irregular and/or painful periods is to prescribe hormonal birth control, often an oral contraceptive.

Birth control does NOT treat the unwanted symptoms… it only masks them. Many women find that as soon as they go off the birth control, their symptoms come roaring back.

Birth control pills only suppress the symptoms of heavy/painful or irregular periods, rather than treating the root cause…here’s HOW:

The developing egg produces estrogen. After the egg is released during ovulation, the shell of the egg produces progesterone.

Estrogen & progesterone are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle—estrogen causes the building of the uterus to build up, and progesterone causes it to thin out. Rinse, lather, repeat.

The synthetic hormones found in oral contraceptives tell the ovaries not to release an egg. Because the ovaries are not producing estrogen & progesterone, the body is forced into a withdrawal bleed so periods can become regular.

Since the ovaries aren’t allowed to produce estrogen, there is a reduction of the uterine lining build up, so periods are less heavy.

Long term effects

Studies have shown risks of using birth control pills (BCPs) for long term. Birth Control Pills may:

● Dramatically decrease testosterone levels, which can lead to low sex drive, vaginal dryness, and painful intercourse.
● Lower levels of several nutrients within the body, including vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9(folate), B12, vitamins C and E, copper, magnesium, selenium, and zinc.
● Increase the risk of blood clots by threefold or greater.
● Increase the risk of breast cancer.

So what do you do to balance unwanted symptoms of hormonal imbalance without the Pill?

The more natural option is to measure the hormones through lab testing to see where the imbalance occurs.

Natural methods of hormone balancing, like supplementation, seed cycling, and other lifestyle factors like diet and exercise can provide relief without having to put young girls who aren’t sexually active on birth control and unnecessarily expose them to higher cancer risk.

While I recommend non-hormonal forms of contraception like the copper intrauterine device (IUD), cervical caps, diaphragms, and condoms, I understand they may not be for everyone.

For those of you who choose to remain on BCPs, I urge you to take note of any symptoms of hormone imbalance and work with a practitioner to address the underlying root causes.

Do you want one-on-one support regulating your cycles without birth control? Schedule here

6 Ways Functional Medicine is Transforming Health Care

Tired of taking drugs that not only don’t help you, but they also make you feel even worse?

The standard model of care for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, low thyroid, acid reflux, and autoimmune disease is inadequate. Conventional Medicine is failing us.

The good news? Functional medicine is transforming healthcare.

Here are 6 ways how:

1. We aren’t ok with the decline of our collective health

No matter what we do, our population is getting sicker. We want to fight the increase of
● Heart disease
● Metabolic disorders
● Autoimmunity
● Cognitive decline
● Hormone imbalances
● + so much more

2. We fill in the missing gaps

In functional medicine, we spend time creating customized wellness plans depending on someone’s unique biochemistry. We spend adequate time with each patient to help them, help themselves.

We understand that SO MANY things can influence the course of a disease and treatment including:

● Environment
● Health history
● Genetics
● Diet
● Sleep
● Movement

You won’t find standardized treatment plans here — only plans customized to the individual!

3. We know medication deficiency isn’t the reason why people are getting sick

More than 100k die each day because of the side effects from drugs.

Functional medicine is NOT anti-medication, however, for any person with any health issue, we look for the most effective option that causes the fewest side effects. Sometimes that doe mean medication, most often it means supporting the body so that it doesn’t need medication.

4. We realize genetics are not the problem

Did you know that 90 percent of our longevity is determined by the choices we make – not by genetics?

Even if we have genetic predisposition for certain diseases, it’s the interaction between our genes and:

● The foods we eat
● Stress levels
● Sleep
● Physical activity
● Exposure to toxins

…that determines our health

5. We believe the best medicine is at the end of our forks

“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.” – Hippocrates

How far have we come that the words of the founder of modern medicine are considered to be threatening to modern medicine?

6. Functional Medicine personalizes health care

Functional medicine practitioners treat each patient as an individual and design customized healing plans for each client.

There’s no ‘one size fit them all’ treatment protocol – every case is different.

Imagine this:
You and your best friend suffer from the same problem let’s say acne! She went to the doctor and was prescribed loads of creams, face washes, tonics and even the pill – so you think: why go to the doctor myself, I’ll just ask her the name of the products and BAM! That’s solved, we will both have smooth healthy skin.

A few months later you realize that: the face wash makes your skin red, or that the face cream makes you itching and the pill – well you don’t even want to talk about how bloated you feel.

Different people might have the same apparent problem and symptoms, but they don’t
necessarily need the same treatment.

Now what?

So if you want to:

● Wake up energized every single morning
● Have an abundance of energy throughout the day
● A calm, centered mind that can handle any stress that comes your way
● Move your body without aches and pains
● Feel like you can connect deeply with your loved ones

Then the way I see it, you have 3 options to achieve that:

  1. Spend hours and hours trying to figure it out yourself. Getting few results.
  2. Do nothing and be in the exact same place 6 months from now. Still sick & frustrated.
  3. Invest in someone who is a health expert with a proven track record in helping people just like you overcome their health issues to help them lead a vibrant life full of the above.

I say, you are worth the investment!

If you choose option 3️ — I’m here to support, you!

I create customized wellness plans with accountability and support to help you reach your health goals.

If you’re curious to know more about what that might look like, sign up for an initial consult here to discuss your health concerns and goals!
Schedule here

The Cortisol – Inflammation Connection

The flight or fight hormone…can you guess what it is?

>>> Cortisol! <<<

Cortisol is a major hormone in the body. Responsible for waking us up every day and the hormone associated with stress, cortisol plays a very important role in our daily lives.

When cortisol levels are high, it can lead to excess levels of inflammation.

Symptoms of inflammation:

● Slow metabolism
● Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
● Irregular periods
● Anxiety
● Irritability
● Body aches
● Stiff muscles
● Headaches
● Fatigue
● Digestive problems
● Skin breakouts

Inflammation plays a role in nearly every modern disease, such as cancer, heart disease and all autoimmune diseases, as well as:

● Dementia
● Arthritis
● Allergies
● And digestive disorders

To lower your levels of inflammation, and therefore be one step closer to healing, you must first determine how much inflammation you have, where it is, what kind of inflammation it is, and what your body’s triggers are.


This is where testing comes in!

Functional medicine testing has made significant advances in the treatment of chronic conditions such as the ones named above, however, there’s a problem…

In addition to testing your cortisol levels through saliva testing, you can also test levels of inflammation within the body.

Here are the top 4 inflammation markers you should ask for that aren’t on standard lab testing:

  1. C-reactive protein (CRP) test.
    CRP is a blood test that determines how much inflammation is present in your body. Ideally, you want less than 1.0 mg/L on this test.
  2. Liver function test.
    This test determines the extent of liver damage caused by insulin resistance-induced inflammation. High liver enzymes equate to liver cell death, which is most commonly caused by elevated insulin resistance due to a fatty liver.
  3. Fibrinogen test.
    Fibrinogen is a type of blood clotting agent that rises in response to inflammation and insulin resistance. For this test, you’ll ideally want less than 350 mg/dl.
  4. Ferritin test.
    This is a metric for extra iron storage, which rises in conjunction with inflammation and insulin resistance. Lower than 200 ng/ml is ideal for this test.

How to reduce inflammation

If you suspect excess inflammation within the body, it is extremely necessary to decrease stress and support your body. You can do this by following these steps:
● Get enough quality sleep. Sleep is when your body rests and repairs itself. It’s perhaps the number one thing to work on when dealing with stress and inflammation.
● Stop eating processed foods and drinking caffeine the entire day as it can lead to fatigue, sugar crashes, and excess inflammation.
● Focus on eating vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats throughout the day to keep you energized the whole day by supporting healthy cortisol levels.
● Use aromatherapy to help decrease stress and improve the quality of sleep. Lavender is a potent remedy for a good night’s sleep.

● If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, you can also use adaptogens that reduce symptoms of stress. Adaptogens help the body to become more resistant to stress and decrease the overall sensitivity to various stressors. Ashwagandha has shown incredible
results for lowering cortisol and reducing stress and anxiety. ​​PMID: 32021735. Rhodiola helps to also reduce stress and fatigue. PMID: 29325481. Work with your practitioner to see which supplements are best for you.
● Develop a personalized relaxation routine where you choose your favorite relaxing activities such as meditating, journaling, yoga, deep breathing, etc.

How do you focus on decreasing stress in your life?

How to support your mitochondria through lifestyle

Mitochondria, which are tiny organelles found in every cell in the body, create 90% of the energy we need!

They do this by taking the nutrients from the food you eat, break the nutrients down, and transform the byproducts into ATP (energy!).

They are essential to how energized we feel on a daily basis!

Increase energy levels by supporting your mitochondria with these lifestyle tips!

Get moving!

Exercise is key to improving mitochondrial health. Muscle cells tend to have a large energy expenditure so there are more mitochondria associated with them. However, don’t head out to get an extended cardio session in. The best types of movement to support the mitochondrial include interval training and strength training. However, when you are recovering from poorly functioning mitochondria, it’s important to start slow and build up your endurance and strength over time.

Don’t overeat

Too much “energy” in the body from overeating (and inactivity) can lead to oxidative stress that damages the mitochondria. Aim to stop eating when you feel 80% full.

Intermittent fasting

Time restricted eating or intermittent fasting has been linked to preventing and restoring damage to mitochondria. If you’re new to fasting, I always recommend starting with a basic 12 hour fast overnight and customize it from there.

Minimize environmental toxin exposure.

Various environmental toxins like pesticides, cigarette smoke, heavy metals, and more have been associated with a decrease in enzymes that help the mitochondria produce energy. These toxins can also lead to excess oxidative stress in the body which also impacts mitochondrial function.


While you sleep is when your body takes out all the junk. If you’re not getting enough quality or quantity of sleep, the waste removal system can’t properly clear out the toxins. This toxic build up can reduce the function of the mitochondria. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep /  night between the hours of 10pm – 6 am.

Cold exposure

Cold exposure has been shown to promote mitochondrial production. This could look like ending the last 30 seconds of your shower with cold water, jumping in a cold body of water like a lake, or taking an ice bath.


Infrared sauna use can potentially support mitochondrial health. One study found that frequent exposure to the heat stress from a sauna increased the function of mitochondria.


Alpha-lipoic acid

Alpha-lipoic acid is an important cofactor of many mitochondrial functions. In addition it can act as an antioxidant which reduces inflammation that can damage mitochondria cells.


Magnesium is essential for 300+ processes within the human body, so it’s no surprise that it can also support mitochondria. It’s thought to support the mitochondria in two ways:

  • as an antioxidant that helps to reduce overall levels of reactive oxygen species.
  • as an important cofactor for many cellular reactions. In fact, ATP (the energy that mitochondria produce) needs to be attached to a magnesium ion to “biologically active” in the body!


Resveratrol is a polyphenol that acts as an antioxidant in the body. It has been found to support the growth of new mitochondria and enhance overall function.


CoQ10 is the star nutrient for mitochondrial health. CoQ10 is typically produced by your body and then the mitochondria stores it. It then helps the mitochondria in making ATP (energy). In addition, it also acts as an antioxidant and can bind to free radicals. Excessive free radicals in the body can negatively impact mitochondrial function. By supplementing with CoQ10, this can support your mitochondria to function better.

N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)

In some animal studies, NAC was found to support mitochondria by decreasing levels of oxidative stress within the body.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Research has found that omega 3’s have a positive impact on the membranes of mitochondria and can help to reduce mitochondrial dysfunction.

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

Eat mitochondrial supportive foods


The antioxidant anthocyanin found in blueberries can help protect mitochondria from oxidative stress.

Brassica vegetables

Veggies like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower support your body’s ability to produce glutathione which is the body’s master antioxidant and can help protect mitochondria from free-radical damage.

Grass fed beef

Grass fed beef is rich in CoQ10, and helps the mitochondria in making ATP (energy).


Avocados are rich in healthy fats which help to protect and repair mitochondria.


Salmon is rich in omega 3’s and b vitamins which support mitochondria.

Green tea

The polyphenols in green tea have been shown to protect, enhance the function, and repair damage in mitochondria.


The compounds punicalagins and ellagitannins found in pomegranates have been found to help rejuvenate mitochondria and prevent damage due to oxidative stress.

AVOID these foods

Certain foods increase inflammation in the body which can damage mitochondria. These foods include things like sugar, foods covered in pesticides, refined grains, processed foods, and alcohol.

A daily routine to support your mitochondria:

How to do you put all those tips into action? Follow this daily plan!

Wake up and break a sweat. Do a short high intensity workout (~10 minutes).

Take a shower and end with 30 seconds of cold water.

Get ready for the day using “clean” hygiene and beauty products free of environmental toxins.

Eat a protein rich breakfast after a minimum of a 12 hour fast from the night before. Scrambled eggs with vegetables is a great mitochondrial supportive breakfast.

Take your mitochondria support supplements with or after breakfast.

Boost oxygen levels in your mitochondria by taking a mid-morning 2-5 minute deep breathing break.

Sip on some green tea while you are working.

For lunch, have a salmon salad with leafy greens, red cabbage, seeds, pomegranate seeds, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

Boost oxygen levels in your mitochondria by taking a mid-afternoon 2-5 minute deep breathing break.

For dinner, make a stir fry with grass fed beef, broccoli, cabbage, and bell peppers.

Feel like dessert? Grab a handful of antioxidant rich blueberries.

Aim to go to bed by 10 pm and wake up at 6 am for a full 8 hours of sleep.

If you feel like you may need support to get your mitochondria healthy, schedule a free introductory call with us to see if we can help you. (add link to schedule)



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Mitochondrial Dysfunction: The REAL reason you’re so tired

Are your energy powerhouses zapped?

Mitochondria, which are tiny organelles found in every cell in the body, create 90% of the energy
we need!

They do this by taking the nutrients from the food you eat, break the nutrients down, and
transform the byproducts into ATP (energy!).

Fast facts about mitochondria

Did you know that mitochondria have their own DNA and it’s more similar to bacterial DNA?!

While most of our DNA is stored in the nucleus of the cell, mitochondria also have their own and
a child always receives their mitochondrial DNA from their mother!

The highest concentrations of mitochondria are in high-energy demanding places within the
body such as the brain, liver, muscles, heart

When the energy demands of the body exceeds the mitochondria’s ability to produce energy,
this can lead to chronic disease.

However, your mitochondria do more than just produce the body’s energy! They also play a role

● Metabolism
● Storing calcium in the bones
● Heat production
● Immune support
● Gut health
● Cell death
● Stem cell regulation
● Aging
● Appetite

Signs & Symptoms of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Common signs of distressed mitochondria include:

● Skin looks “old”
● You’re more forgetful than usual
● Your body just hurts.
● It feels like you’re a lot older than your biological age
● You feel like you don’t have energy for life
● You’re gaining weight despite not changing anything.
● You struggle to recover from exercise
● You’re appetite has changed
● Heartburn
● Get sick frequently
● Have one or several autoimmune conditions
● Dull skin and/or hair
● You feel more forgetful than usual

Hmmm, you might be thinking that all those signs and symptoms could possibly be due to other
things as well…and you’re right!

Poorly functioning mitochondria have many overlapping symptoms with other conditions such

● Hypothyroidism
● Neurological disorders
● Hypertension
● Blood sugar dysregulation
● Gut imbalance
● + more

Even if you have any other of those conditions, supporting your mitochondria regardless can be

When your mitochondria are happy and working properly in the body!

The benefits of supporting your mitochondria

When your mitochondria are functioning well, this can lead to:

● An increase in metabolism
● An increase in energy levels
● An increase in lean muscle mass an a decrease in body fat
● A decrease in risk of many types of cancers
● An increase in exercise performance
● More youthful looking skin
● Better memory
● A decrease in risk for many chronic diseases such as Alzheimers, autoimmunity,
diabetes, etc

Mitochondrial dysfunction can be due to both:

  • A decrease in efficiency of the mitochondria
  • A reduction in the overall number of mitochondria

Things that impact mitochondrial function negatively include:

Lack of sleep

Many studies have found that disrupted sleep can have a negative impact on mitochondria
function. If you consistently get less than seven hours of sleep can impact your mitochondria.

Microbiome dysbiosis

Research is finding that there seems to be bi-direcational communication between the
microbiome and mitochondria. By-products of digestion such as short chain fatty acids help
support energy production and mitochondria help support the integrity of the intestinal wall.
When the microbiome is disrupted, this can impact mitochondrial function.

Mental stress

Chronic mental/emotional stress can impact mitochondria by making the cell membranes swell
and become distended. In addition, the chemical byproducts of the stress response in the body
can also impact the structural integrity of mitochondria, which then impacts overall function.


When the body produces an inflammatory response, macrophages (immune cells that “respond”
to an “invasion” or inflammation in the body) switches the mitochondria function from producing
energy to producing reactive oxygen species (ROS) — which further increases inflammation
levels. While this is a necessary AND beneficial response to acute sources of inflammation,
when chronic inflammation is present, the excess ROS can damage cells.

Processed foods

A diet full of processed foods full of carbohydrates can put a strain on mitochondria.

Sedentary lifestyle

The largest amount of mitochondria are found in muscle cells. If there is low muscle mass, the
amount of energy being produced by the mitochondria is smaller.

Environmental toxins

More and more research is finding that toxins, everything from environmental pollutants to
certain pharmaceuticals impact mitochondrial function.

Insulin resistance

Insulin resistance and mitochondria dysfunction is thought to have a bi-directional relationship
meaning that insulin resistance can lead to mitochondrial damage and mitochondrial dysfunction
can lead to insulin resistance.

How to test for mitochondrial dysfunction

How do you know if you have mitochondrial dysfunction or something else?

When you read about the “signs of mitochondrial dysfunction” and the root causes of

mitochondrial dysfunction you might be left wondering…

“Well… if it mimics the symptoms of so many other conditions, how do I know if it’s my
mitochondria or not?”

One of the best tests to identify mitochondrial dysfunction is the NutrEval test from Genova

They have a specific section called “Need for Mitochondrial Support” where they test for key
nutrients and enzymes that are essential for healthy mitochondria.

These include:

● Glutathione
● CoQ10
● Magnesium
● Manganese
● Formiminoglutamic Acid
● Methylmalonic Acid
● Glutaric Acid
● Lactic Acid
● Pyruvic Acid
● Citric Acid
● cis-Aconitic Acid
● Isocitric Acid
● a-Ketoglutaric Acid
● Succinic Acid
● Malic Acid
● Adipic Acid
● Suberic Acid

For each one of those substances, it gives if a score of:

● Minimal need for support
● Moderate need for support
● High need for support

In addition, it gives an overall score for whether or not your body needs more mitochondrial
support or if things are functioning properly!

If you feel like you may need support to get your mitochondria healthy, schedule a free
introductory call with us to see if we can help you.


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