Curebiome Naturopathic

5 Supplements You Need To Know About

Fish oilThere are nutrients that we can all benefit from especially if we bump up the dosage to therapeutic levels. Here are five nutrients that you should absolutely know about and most can benefit from (of course talk with your doctor and make sure they are appropriate for you as an individual). These supplements are a good multivitamin, EPA/DHA (aka Fish Oil), Vitamin D, Probiotic and N-Acetyl Cysteine. These all have broad actions and benefits in the body, help repair deficiencies and boost function in many areas. Let’s dive in.

Multivitamin

Whats in it?

A good multi contains the basic vitamins and minerals (listed below). The difference between a multivitamin that is OK vs really helpful depends on the form and amounts of nutrients. Not all forms are absorbed easily or provide the same benefits. Someone with a common genetic mutation (MTHFR) benefits more from the “L-5 MTHF” form of folate vs the usual “folic acid”. This can go for many of the nutrients, ones to focus on are in bold.

Vitamins/Minerals and average dose

A (mixed carotenoids and/or retinol) 5000 iu

Calcium 200 mg

C (ascorbic acid or ascorbate) 500 iu Selenium 200mcg

Selenium 200mcg

D3 (cholecalciferol) 600iu Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

Magnesium (citrate, malate or glycinate) 200mg

E (mixed tocopherols) 100 iu Zinc 15mg

Zinc (sulfate or picolinate) 15mg

B1 (thiamine) 25mg

Chromium 200mcg

B2 (riboflavin) 25mg

Boron 1mg

B3 (niacin) 25mg

Iodine (potassium iodide) 100mcg

B5 (pantothenic acid) 25mg

Vanadium 1mcg

B6 (pyridoxine) 15mg

Copper 2mg

B12 (methyl or hydroxy-cobalamin) 1000mcg

Manganese .5mg

Folate (L-5 MTHF or folate) 400mcg

Molybdenum 35mcg

Biotin 10mg

Potassium 900mg

 

How can it help me?

Regardless of how good your diet is you probably don’t track every nutrient in every piece of food, it’s likely there are some nutrient gaps day to day. A multi is a great way to cover yourself with the basic nutrients. They contain nutrients shown to improve immune, cell, mood, brain and digestive function they can prevent birth defects, and much more. We’re not always deficient enough to show obvious or life-threatening symptoms, but we could be functioning a few percentage points less. How can you tell the difference between your body functioning at 80 or 90% vs 95 or 100%? I sure can’t tell except in the few rare experiences where I was deficient enough to have a complete symptom turnaround in less than a day with supplementation. A good multivitamin improves function on a cellular level. That translates to feeling sharper and preventing diseases or problems from deficiencies down the road.

How to choose a good one?

Look for:

Optimal forms: (noted above in parentheses)

Optimal dose: for a good multi this tends to be 4-6 capsules a day because you just can’t fit in high enough doses to make the big difference below that.

“Other ingredients”: should be minimal or non-existent. Things you specifically want to avoid: shellac, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated (soy) oils, titanium dioxide and artificial colors and anything you’re not sure about what it is.

Looking for an awesome multi? Find one that meets the minimal criteria of vitamins and minerals with some bonus nutrients. Possible add ins like CoQ10, EGCG, curcumin and Alpha Lipoic Acid are great nutrients that improve cellular and mitochondrial function.

Note: Some multis also have herbs in them, I recommend caution and researching each herb to know if it can cause any undesired side effects and decide whether it’s beneficial to you or not.

Top 3 picks

Pure Encapsulations: Polyphenol nutrients 

ITI: Multiplex 1 without Iron 

Klaire Multivitamin Complex

Omega 3 fatty acids (EPA/DHA)

Whats in it?

Omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These are two essential fatty acids that we make but our body really just can’t make enough on it’s own. We can get EPA and DHA from fish, algae like spirulina, grass-fed meats, and to a lesser extent eggs and some from veggies and plants.

How can it help me?

Everyone has heard that fish is healthy, and the benefits come from the Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s benefits cardiovascular health, cell function, mental function, decrease inflammation and increase mood and energy. There’s a laundry list of how omega 3’s can benefit you.

How to choose a good one?

Rule 1) Fish oil – pharmaceutically/molecularly distilled. This keeps metals and contaminants at the lowest level possible.

Rule 2) It says how much EPA and DHA per dose on the bottle. Ideally you want to get 1 gram or more (combined) of DHA and EPA per day. You can factor in with how much good fish (like wild caught salmon, anchovies or sardines) you eat a week.

Rule 3) Not rancid: if it smells fishy, or unpleasant at all it’s a bad sign.

You can find good forms in both liquid and capsule.

Top 3 picks

Nordic Naturals ProOmega capsules

Pure EPA/DHA 

Now Ultra Omega 3 

Vitamin D3

Whats in it?

Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol. Naturally made in our body with the help of sunlight.

How can it help me?

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common in anyone who works indoors. Correcting this deficiency can improve immune function, bone strength, inflammation, allergies, depression and more.

How to choose a good one?

Just make sure it’s Vitamin D3, which is the form our body can actually use. You can take it to a bonus by finding a supplement that includes and balances Vitamin D with Vitamin A and K2.

Top 3 picks

ARG Vitamin D3 complete

Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion 

Now Foods Vitamin D3

Probiotic

What’s in it?

Live beneficial bacteria usually different strains of Bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus. These are the same bacteria that live in a healthy gut.

How can it help me?

1) Improve digestion: Bacteria support the breakdown of food and increase nutrient availability.

2) Improve immune function, decrease inflammation: Bacteria help train and regulate a major part of the immune system, this means you’re less likely to react to normal foods and more likely to react to pathogenic bacteria.

3) Prevent infection: Crowd out bad bacteria, no room for bad ones when you’ve got so many good ones there already.

4) Help excrete toxins: Certain strains of “bad” bacteria can prevent the excretion of chemicals. Prevent this by supplementing your good bacteria.

5) Help support healthy weight (find out more here)

How to choose a good one?

1) Multiple strains: preferably 5 or more different strains of different Lactobacillus and or Bifidobacteria.

2) High dose: generally you want to take at least 20 billion CFU (colony forming units) per day, you can’t really do that with a capsule that only has 10 million CFUs.

3) Powder or capsule based on personal preference.

Note: In general it’s recommended to refrigerate all probiotics as it improves the shelf life and potency.

Top 3 picks

1) Klaire therbiotic complete

2) Innate response Flora 20-14

3) NOW foods Probiotic 10

N-Acetyl Cysteine

What’s in it?

N-Acetyl Cysteine is a specific form of one of the non-essential amino acids.

How can it help me?

Research shows NAC can increase cellular levels of glutathione, our major antioxidant. Glutathione helps protect from, process and excrete environmental chemical toxins. We can’t avoid everything that isn’t healthy for us (think air pollution while driving in traffic) but we can make sure our body has the raw materials to manage any exposures.

How to choose a good one?

Specifically want the N-Acetyl form, it shouldn’t cost too much and you want 400-500mg per capsule. Standard dosage is up to 1500mg per day.

Top 3 picks

No major difference between brands with this one, go with what’s available and affordable!

The Microbiome 101

microbiome, gut bacteria

microbiome, gut bacteria

Maybe you’ve been hearing this word flying around, and you’re wondering what it is or what it has to do you with. “Microbiome” is a term that came out of the Human Microbiome Project, a major research initiative started by the National Institutes of Health. The purpose was to understand the how changes in the microbiome affect human health. But what exactly is it?

The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that inhabit every surface, nook and cranny that we have. Microorganisms include bacteria, fungi, viruses and other teeny tinies that live on and in us. These microbes inhabit our skin, mouth, lungs, genitals, and most important our gut.

As the initiative went on and study results came back it was clear that there is a lot more microbes than human to us. It’s estimated that for every 1 human gene there are 100 microbial genes. Many have gone to calling us a super-organism because of this, and for good reason.

So what does this mean for us? Most important is the discovery that we rely on our collective microbiome every day. Functions like digesting food and making neurotransmitters that affect mood and mental function. It also trains the immune system and fends off infectious diseases. There are many other benefits and plenty yet to be discovered.

One of the biggest things that comes from this research is that we can’t go on with killing microbes indiscriminately. Whether in the environment or our bodies with antibiotics. Disruption of the microbiome is a major contributor to health problems that we face in developed countries. These same health problems are often nonexistent in undeveloped countries. Diabetes, obesity, allergies and autoimmune diseases all have connections to a mistreated microbiome.

New connections are made every day with one thing clear, our microbiome works for us in countless ways when it’s healthy. If an imbalance in our microbiome occurs we risk problems like diabetes, autoimmune diseases, obesity and infections like the cold, flu or worse.

  • So what are the best ways to nurture our microbiomes?
    • Diet is the king, and one of the biggest factors in microbiome health. Diet creates a positive shift in hours to days. It increases the number of beneficial microbes and decreases the harmful (less beneficial) ones.
      • A good diet for your microbes contains plenty of fiber especially insoluble fiber – found in garlic, onions, jerusalem artichokes and many others. Some of these insoluble fibers are prebiotics which means they feed our good microbes.
    • Probiotics are also important. Probiotics are the actual microbe that is beneficial usually in a capsule form. You can find natural probiotics in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and others.
      • An easy way is to pick up a quality probiotic supplement which “seeds” good microbes, and works especially well with diet.
    • Get outside. There is a completely different composition of microbes found in indoor air compared to a forest or beach. Spending time in nature gives you a dose of fresh air that’s good for your microbiome too!
  • What are the most common ways we disrupt and harm our microbiome?
    • Antibiotics are the a major culprit, and we’re talking specifically about
      • Unnecessary prescriptions,
        • Avoid these by asking your doctor if antibiotics are completely necessary or if the infection/condition will likely clear up on it’s own. If you need them take them, but antibiotics have no positive impact on viral infections like the flu or cold so make sure you need them.
      • Hand sanitizers, and
        • Avoid these by getting antibiotic free soaps and avoid using soaps you’re unsure about.
      • Agricultural antibiotics used to encourage weight gain in livestock.
        • Buy your foods, meats especially, organic whenever possible.
    • Poor diet
      • Diets that tend to push the microbiome the wrong way are high in processed foods like sugars, refined flour pastas or breads, and low in fiber.
    • C-sections
      • It might seem strange but newborns are seeded with bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. These bacteria are specially adapted to babies first food, milk. Emergency C-sections save lives, but elective C-sections are unethical and set a child up for a rough start.

Review

  • The microbiome is our collection of microbes that bring us many benefits and protect us from numerous diseases.
  • This microbiome outnumbers our human genes 100 to 1 and our human cells 10 to 1.
  • It functions to help us digest foods, train our immune system, discourage infections, and much more.
  • We can encourage a healthy microbiome by
  • Eating plenty of veggies, fiber and fermented foods in place of sugar and other refined foods.
  • Taking probiotics
  • Getting outside
  • Taking antibiotics only when necessary
  • Avoid hidden antibiotics in soaps and in many non-organic meats

Resources

  1. Great video on the microbiome basics

Test your microbiome here

7 tips to sleep like a rock and feel like new

The difference between mediocre sleep and great sleep

hacking sleep, tips for sleep, better sleep

hacking sleep, tips for sleep, better sleep

Sleep is amazing but don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the research, there’s a huge difference between missing just an hour of  sleep and sleeping like a pro for 7-9 hours. The biggest thing we see is how getting the right amount of sleep actually reduces your risk of dying from any cause. I don’t know about you but there aren’t many things out there that have this effect, so I pay attention when I hear that. Beyond that improving your sleep benefits lots of different diseases like obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, mental health, digestive complaints and more. This means that poor sleep is definitely one of the contributing factors of the health crisis today.

I’m all for preventing disease, but it isn’t always enough to get me to try something. What puts it over the top is whether I’m going to be real and noticeable benefits, and good news there are plenty of benefits. There is a mountain of research around sleep improving overall function of the body and especially mental function. In fact there’s a well supported theory that mental health disorders (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, anxiety, etc) are not “diseases” but symptoms of sleep disorders. Mounds of research shows that you’re proven to be smarter with a full nights sleep than if you are an hour or two short or didn’t have restorative deep sleep. There are brain benefits in attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and lots more. Whether you’re playing sports or just trying to be on top of your game at work or school, sleep is clearly a major factor.

This begs the question of what is good sleep, and how much do we actually need. First off let’s start with this concept – everyone is an individual and each individual has slightly different needs. Needs vary in length of sleep, best time to go to sleep (slightly), and behaviors that impact sleep (good or bad). Let start with sleep length, if you are an adult you are going to function best in the range of 7.5 hours to 9 hours of sleep per night. Outside of getting into an intense sleep study to figure out your best length, it’s pretty easy to play around with your alarm clock and figure out what feels best for you.

Next we need to focus on consistency; this means what time you go to bed and wake up AND that you do it a similar way most nights. If I miss out on a couple hours of sleep tonight it creates a sleep debt that usually lasts about 3 days. That means I have to either make up that sleep or I have to get good sleep for the next 3 days to reset my ideal mental state. This alone makes it not worth it staying out late on a weekend when I have a big meeting on Monday. Yet another reason many of us hate Mondays?

So how do we get optimal sleep in length and quality? We realize that sleeping a restless 9 hours isn’t nearly as good as sleeping a deep and restorative 6 or 7 hours so we have to make some changes in our life. Good news most are easy, check out below.

7 ways to Hack Your Sleep

Blot out the light!

light inhibits melatonin

Light inhibits melatonin

There’s a lot of research that shows that light, especially blue light, suppresses melatonin-the sleep hormone. This means we need to dim the lights about an hour before bed, avoid using bright screened mobile devices and computers, and eliminate all light in the bedroom so it’s close to pitch black.

Silence and mask sounds

If you’ve ever been kept up by a noisy neighbor, dog or party you know sounds can disturb your sleep. The worst part is you might not realize that the neighbors dog is barking around 3 am every night and that’s why you are waking up tired. The best solution I’ve found for this is any white noise machine or app, this masks any sounds and decreases the likelihood that you’ll be startled even subconsciously from deep sleep.

Get comfycomfy-bed

This is common sense, but I have to say it. If your mattress is uncomfortable, your sleep is suffering. You want to wake up refreshed and without any aches or pains, and you probably know if your mattress is too old or doesn’t work for you. Find a knowledgeable mattress guy and have him help you select the right one for you.

Wind down

When I was a kid I used to stay up late playing video games or watching action movies, and then I would try to go straight to bed after. Bad idea, I was exhausted but completely wired on the excitement I had just come from. Now I make it a point to never watch action movies or play video games after 7pm. I even take it to the next level, about an hour before bed I start to unwind by journaling or writing out 10 good things that happened that day and then read light fiction for 30-40 minutes. I also brush my teeth and wash my face before this so I’m not stimulating myself before laying down. That way when I climb into bed I’m relaxed and usually drift off within 15 minutes. Before I started this routine I would usually lay in bed at least 30 minutes before falling asleep.

Be coolroom_icehotel_jukkasjarvi_2012

I lived in Phoenix for awhile, and one of my apartments had really bad Air Conditioning. I could never get to sleep because it was so hot in the summer. Which brings up the point that even research shows us that most people sleep better at a temperature of 68 degrees, so keep it cool in your bedroom.

Consistency

We are creatures of habit, and our body knows what time we usually eat lunch and go to sleep. If you’re going to sleep at 8 one night, 9 the next and 11 the next then back to 8 your body has no idea what’s going on. Be consistent with what time you lay down and what time you wake up in the morning, this lets our body get into the rhythm which only helps you in the long run.

Eat dinner for better sleepgetty_rf_photo_of_three_different_portions

Sometimes I have a special dinner with family and friends, and the food is really good and there’s plenty of it so I end up eating more than I normally do. What tends to happen is when I go to bed my stomach is still really full, and I’m uncomfortable. I could live with that except shortly after I lay down I start to notice I’m having heartburn. Go figure, I overfilled my stomach then took away the assistance of gravity to keep everything in there. Big surprise that on nights like that I don’t sleep well. Keep your dinner on the light end and you’ll sleep easy.

There are plenty of ways to make an impact, but I challenge you to take just one of these tips and put them in action consistently for a few days. You can probably figure out which ones are most likely to help you, so what’s stopping you. Get smarter, be better and sleep well!

Resources

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/

http://sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Sleep and mortality: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3882397/

Sleep and brain function: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/pdf/NDT-3-553.pdf

Sleep and appetite: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010062

Sleep debt: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1365-2869.2003.00337.x/full

Can your gut bacteria help you burn fat?

Can your gut bacteria help you burn fat?

How the balance of your gut flora is a missing link in weight loss.

In case you don’t know the microbiome is our collection of normal bacteria, yeast, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that live on and in our bodies – most of which are in our gut. The microbiome contributes to normal digestion, immune function, brain function and even has the ability to impact weight gain through fat storage. The good news is that there’s a way to correct an imbalanced microbiome and reverse symptoms like weight gain.

How the microbiome affects digestion and fat storage

What we see with the microbiome and weight gain is interesting lets look at a normal, ideal situation for a natural shift in the microbiome, pregnancy. Pregnancy creates a shift that results in a much higher efficiency of microbe digestion of food. This means that a pregnant woman’s gut flora are helping her to access more calories(energy) out of the same food. A natural result of this is weight gain and food cravings, which is actually a good thing for a mother growing a baby. There’s even studies showing when you take this new composition of gut flora and implant it into another host, the new host will then gain weight (they did this in mice). This shows there is a clear link with the microbiome and weight gain. This is a normal part of pregnancy but it’s not necessarily normal or healthy outside of pregnancy.

What’s most likely happening is that this shift has a big effect on blood sugar, and can lead to bigger spikes of increased blood sugar and even insulin resistance. This might be why gestational diabetes is a common condition with pregnancy, and it’s certainly a contributor in weight gain. Insulin is one of the hormones in our body that signals our cells to build and store fat, which is why any blood sugar issues have weight gain as a common symptom.

When things go wrong, possible sticking points

There is of course the question of how this happens in non-pregnant individuals. There are some very common things that can shift the microbiome into it’s fat storage mode. A few things that definitely disrupt our microbiome are poor diet, antibiotics, pharmaceuticals and even stress. Poor diet causes a microbe shift due to processed foods, refined sugars and carbohydrates levels that are too high and create an overgrowth of yeast and/or bacteria in the small intestine alongside overall changes through the entire digestive tract. Between the lack of fiber and the refined carbs all of the microbes at the front end get lots of food but the microbes lower down are being starved.

Another culprit, antibiotics, kill bacteria and in the case of our gut targets some species and leaves others alone. This means imbalances and overgrowths, which leads to the fat storage microbiome imbalance if not corrected. Other drugs that have an impact on the gut flora are heartburn medications, specifically proton pump inhibitors. This class of drug lowers the acidity of the stomach, which makes it hard for the normal stomach bugs to live as it creates new competition from other microbes that can tolerate the less acidic stomach and compete with the normal acid loving stomach bugs.

Stress can inhibit digestion in different ways, being high stress for long periods inhibits normal peristalsis – the muscle contractions that move food from your stomach down to your colon. When this happens there is too much time for food to hang out and microbes to grow, leading to imbalance. Chronic stress also inhibits acid production in the stomach and digestive enzymes from the pancreas and liver. Overall this means you’re not digesting your food or moving it through your body quickly enough to cultivate a healthy gut flora.

There are actually very few things in our lives that don’t have some effect on our gut flora. Even simple things like travelling, your spouse, kids, pets and water sources have the ability to nudge our microbiome in one direction or another.

How to identify and correct the problem

There are some common signs of microbiome imbalance, most commonly gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and digestive symptoms in general. It’s helpful to know there are integrative lab tests that analyze the stool for the composition of gut flora which are fantastic to get a read on the good and bad microbes present in what levels. The best way to identify this problem is to work with your doctor, specifically one who’s integrative and is knowledgeable on the microbiome. Once you know what’s out of balance the next step is to fix it.

One of the fastest ways to reliably shift the microbiome, for good or bad, is diet.We already talked about poor diet for the microbiome so an example of a good diet is one that has minimal (ideally none) processed foods and refined sugars. It should be high in raw and cooked organic vegetables and legumes with good amounts and varieties of fiber and organic meats raised without antibiotics. Diets higher in raw plant foods are shown to have a major impact on correcting the blood sugar imbalances of diabetes, which is a great thing to focus on if the goal is weight loss. Going 100% raw is difficult for most of us, but incorporating more raw vegetables like salads, nuts, seeds, sprouts etc is completely achievable and an excellent step in the right direction.

If there are high levels of opportunistic microbes, there are many options for natural or prescription antimicrobials that can lower them. But killing them isn’t enough, there needs to be a rebalance of the other microbes through proper digestion and diet including probiotics, prebiotics, and fermented foods.

Understanding the microbiome, and specifically working with a doctor who understands can make a big difference in your health, especially if you’ve dealt with weight issues. Integrating things like healthy diet, fermented foods and probiotics into your life is an easy way to support your gut flora and prevent or work towards correcting an imbalance. This is just one more simple way to support your health and longevity, I hope you all find it useful and please post any questions or comments below.

Resources

The microbiome and obesity http://www.discoverymedicine.com/Gabriel-A-Al-Ghalith/2015/02/the-guts-of-obesity-progress-and-challenges-in-linking-gut-microbes-to-obesity/

How (and where) your body stores toxins

How (and where) your body stores toxins

The real reason some toxicities are more dangerous than others

Most of us are well aware we are exposed to a number of different chemicals that are harmful to our health during the course of our day, although you probably don’t realize just where these chemicals go. You might think that if it gets on your skin  you can wipe it off or if it enters your body you just pee it into the toilet in a few hours. The reality is it’s rarely so clean and simple, and our body will protect itself to an extent and the natural properties of some toxins mean they tend to be stored for long periods.

 

Fat soluble toxins

Let’s start with the place that is the most likely to be toxic – your fat. The thing about many toxins is they don’t dissolve well in water because they are lipophilic – which means they dissolve in oil a.k.a. fat. This can be a blessing and a curse – it can lock these toxins away where they might not do as much damage. We can think of belly fat and the toxins stored there as (relatively) low harm, since there is distance from our vital organs and central nervous system. More worrisome is the other place we see fat stored – directly around the organs in our visceral fat which is found on and surrounding our liver, pancreas, kidneys, GI tract and other organs. Toxins stored in visceral fat exposes our organs to different toxins, subjecting sensitive glands like our pancreas to toxins. There is a lot of research showing clear association with PCBs (a fat soluble toxin) and an dramatically increased risk of diabetes. The other downside of fat stored toxins is proximity to our extremely sensitive nervous system. The brain is estimated to be made of 60-80% fat, fat also wraps around our nerves in the form of myelin. This means certain toxins are very, VERY close to our nerves which is why symptoms like brain fog, mental impairment, headaches, tingling, numbness and mood problems are very common with this type of toxicity.

Some common toxins that are fat soluble.

  • Mercury
  • PCBs
  • Solvents (benzene, xylene, gasoline, etc)
  • Dioxins

 

Blood (Water soluble toxins)

The other main place where toxins are found is in the blood, which is the shortest “storage place” in the body and easiest location for our body to eliminate toxins from. This is because our blood is purified constantly all day every day mainly by our liver and kidneys, where any toxins are quickly addressed and eliminated (given the required nutrients). The real problem of water soluble toxins comes from near constant exposures. If a toxin lasts in the blood for 30 minutes to a couple of hours before and then is completely eliminated, that’s usually fine. What happens when you re-dose yourself everytime you take a drink of water from a plastic bottle (BPA) or eat food contaminated with pesticides? It becomes a cycle of constant re-exposure to many toxins that act as hormone disruptors or worse causing damage throughout the body. Your blood washes over essentially every part of the body, and may even allow certain chemicals to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier.

A few common water soluble chemicals.

  • Numerous heavy metals (arsenic, thallium, cadmium, lead etc)
  • Chlorinated pesticides
  • BPA

 

Bone

The next storage place, bones, tends is more insidious. It generally protects us from lead, the main toxin stored there. You probably know that calcium is important for bone health, well on a chemical level lead and calcium look and function similarly enough that lead often displaces calcium in many functions and is often stored in our bones because of this. One problem comes when there is trauma that breaks the bone or when pregnancy and osteoporosis cause breakdown of our bones. In all of these cases the lead that has been stored in the bone is mobilized into the blood in much higher levels. This puts many different tissues and organs at risk, and especially harmful to a developing fetus in pregnancy. This is why addressing any lead exposure is very important to do long before pregnancy or osteoporosis enter the equation.

Main toxin stored in bone

  • Lead

 

Connective tissues/lymph/joints

The next place where toxins tuck away is actually the second most easy to remove them from. These are the nooks and crannies of our body like our joints, connective tissues, and lymphatic system. The main reason toxins hang out here is a lack of movement and exercise. As a society we are increasingly more sedentary with desk jobs, driving, tv and computers. The fluids are pumped through all of these tight areas by the movement of joints and muscles. Exercise and simple movement helps move these toxins and supply better oxygen and nutrition to the areas. Once the toxins are moved into the blood the liver and kidney take over. This is even more support for the new and popular catch-phrase “sitting is the new smoking.”

The bad news is that we all have some pretty nasty chemicals from the recent industrial revolution trapped in our bodies. The good news is with the right steps you can address and start reversing this toxicity. With optimal nutrition and lifestyle you can protect yourself from the negative effects of most of these chemicals and even support elimination and detox more toxins than you store. Step one is to minimize and avoid toxins, step two is to make and support our natural ability to detox through diet, optimal water intake and exercise.

  • Avoid
    • Plastics in all forms especially containers marked PC or #7.
    • Conventional (non-organic=pesticides) produce and meats.
    • Dental amalgams (silver fillings=mercury).
  • Increase
    • Organic vegetables, wild caught fish, organic/grassfed meats.
    • 70% or more vegetarian diet.
    • Antioxidants: great sources are berries fresh or frozen.
    • Brocolli, mustard, cabbage, etc: this family of plants (the brassicas) all upregulate our ability to detox so include them in your meals often.
    • House plants: a few years ago NASA funded a study on the ability of plants to clean the air of numerous toxins, take advantage of this and make your home and office healthier.

11 Ways to drink more water

11 Ways to drink more water

Step 1 to lose weight, feel great and be healthy

 

You know that water is massively important to health, so here’s a quick laundry list of how it benefits us followed by 11 ways to drink more water, today!

  • Prevent sunburn and dry, cracked lips
  • Good for your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Better regulate temperature
  • Healthy skin
  • Flush out toxins
  • Healthier cells and muscles – water transports nutrients in and out of cells
  • Prevent overeating
  • Stay regular
  • Reduce stress
  • Helps joints
  • and on and on and on

1. Lemon and warm water first thing

If you haven’t heard of or tried this before it’s a really great way to start your day. The lemon is very alkalizing and rich in minerals and nutrients like Vitamin C, and the warm water helps prep the stomach and GI tract for the day. Just be careful not to overdo the lemon or too much heat – usually ¼-½ a lemon in a cup of warm-hot water is perfect. If you want to get fancy grate some raw ginger or add a few drops of Bitters to your hot lemon water.

2. Start with good clean water

This is really important, because a good water filter/purifier can save the day by improving the taste and quality of the water you drink. Around the bay we are pretty lucky to have some relatively good tasting tap water, but whenever I travel to Phoenix or Texas I have a really hard time because the water tastes awful. There are a lot of good options, if you want a real filter you need to at the very least invest in an over or under the counter unit. The pitcher based filters do very little to pull out undesirable (and common) contaminants like heavy metals or microbes.

3. “Earth Juice” Infusions

I was at the park with my daughter Arianna a few weeks ago talking with a nanny who asked me if Arianna was a good water drinker. She then told me about how she the boys she cared for to drink more water with “Earth Juice.” The name was new to me, but the concept is a classic. With  berries or another fruit you essentially let the water extract some of the nutrients and flavor just by cutting up or putting some whole pieces in and letting sit for a few minutes to a few hours.

My favorite is a few frozen blueberries in a glass of water to give a nice blue tinge and very mild flavor. This is a great way to experiment to find a flavor that you like. Other ideas: raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, lemon, orange, apple, etc

4. Get fizzy

While I’m not a fan of soda for many reasons I do on occasion enjoy some carbonation. At my house we started making our own special cocktail with grated ginger,

5. The old jug and a mug trick

If you’re the type of person who gets distracted and wrapped up in what you’re doing to the point where getting up to refill your water is too inconvenient this is for you. Keep your glass or mug and a gallon jug of water at your desk or work area. Easy access refill and if you fill the jug to how much water you want to drink for the day then you can track how well you’re doing.

6. Stay glassy

Ever notice when you have a fancy glass, cup or water bottle that you really like you find yourself reaching for it more often? It’s marketing, and it works. So help yourself by making your water look more appealing in a fancy glass or cup thats nice and clean and shows just how clear and refreshing that water looks. Don’t believe me? Try it and you’ll see.

7. Set reminders

If you’re like most of the world these days you carry around a cell phone, that cell phone has the ability to set alarms, and lots of them. Set yourself a “drink water” alarm whether it’s once an hour and you chug a glass or every 2-3 hours so you finish and refill a larger water bottle, you’ll hit half your weight in ounces of water in no time.

8. Break a sweat

Make sure you are doing things to make yourself thirsty and getting a good workout is a fantastic way to get thirsty and trigger your body to want to drink more water. It only takes 20-30 minutes of the right exercise and you should be sweating and drinking more water because of it.

9. Be the little girl in “Signs”

By this I mean leave glasses of water everywhere as a safegaurd to an alien invasion from aliens who’s only weakness is water. Just kidding, we’re in a drought don’t dirty up those dishes for no reason. What I really mean is to always carry water with you in a bottle or jug. Ideally you want a glass or steel water bottle to reduce your intake of toxins from plastics (like BPA/BPF/BPS).

10. Eat some water

Celery, cucumber and melons are all great examples of foods that are high enough in water content they actually help hydrate you. Great snacks to incorporate, especially if you have kids that don’t drink enough.

11. Citrus/berry ice cubes

Try this, peel a lemon, lime or orange and separate the sections then freeze. Next time you have a glass of water toss in one of the sections and you have a citrus ice cube. Fancy and tasty. Another alternative I like is frozen berries from the store as ice cubes.

It’s as simple as this, drinking water is required for us to function -especially if it’s at a high level. Use the ideas above or get creative and come up with your own. Regardless the method if the result is more water intake then you are a winner, feel free to share with us any of your tips or tricks to drink more water.

Naturopathic Medicine, Hormones, environmental toxins and more!

Naturopathic Medicine, Hormones, environmental toxins and more!

In this interview conducted by Rob Arthur (find out more about Rob here) we discuss Naturopathic Medicine, the microbiome, environmental toxins, hormones and more. Check it out and let us know what you think!

10 Tips For Your Healthier Home

10 Tips For Your Healthier Home

Make sure you’re doing these 10 things to protect your family and yourself from the most common harmful toxins.

1. It starts at the door

Take those shoes off at the door, the EPA recommends this because of it’s the most likely way kids get lead exposure. What? The dirt and dust on the bottom of shoes often has high levels of lead, due to the history of lead being an additive in automobiles. Beyon

d lead there is the concern that you might be tracking in other harmful substances in small amounts. Think of cars with oil or antifreeze leaks, animal poop or anything else you really don’t want in your house.

2. Ventilate

Fresh air and sunlight can make an impact on your health and wellbeing. Good air-flow is helpful because we all have something in our house that off-gasses. Off-gassing is what happens when glues, solvents, flame retardants and other chemicals used in furniture or flooring are released in the form of gas. These levels are often low, but they can build up and become another obstacle on the path to optimal health.

Sunlight in the home can play two important roles, first sunlight is the best natural alarm clock and

helps set your biological clock to be awake. Another great benefit is that sunlight stimulates the natural production of Vitamin D in our body. Correcting low levels of Vitamin D can improve symptoms from depression to osteoporosis and more.

3. Purify your air

 

Since we can’t leave the windows open all the time, particularly on hot summer and cold winter days, what are our options to keep the indoor air clean of toxins and allergens?

High quality air filters

  • A good air filter is more expensive than you would expect, and bigger too. They are fantastic for keeping the air clean consistently, especially at night when you’re sleeping when it can be important for many with chronic diseases, allergies or asthma.

Natural air filters

  • A lot of easy to find house plants reduce the level of common indoor air toxins like formaldehyde and ammonia. Here’s a few good starter plants that aren’t too difficult to care for.
      • Pothos (Devil’s Ivy)
      • Spider plant
      • English ivy

4. Cleaners and chemicals

What are you using and why?

Take a quick look under your sink, or wherever you store your cleaning products for your home. Are there many things that you don’t know what’s actually in them? Are there any that you wouldn’t want to inhale or spill on you? There are some good options for simple non-toxic cleaners.

Where are they stored

That being said, sometimes you know the right tool for the job and it’s nice to have around. Store these somewhere with ventilation and avoid getting hit in the face with an intense chemical vapor when you open that cabinet. It’s going to be better for your entire household if there are minimal harsh cleaners, and that they’re in a place that can circulate and remove the gases from the house.

Basic Natural cleaner

Part of getting rid of harsh chemicals is finding a better alternative. There are 3 basic cleaners that can take care of almost any job.

Baking soda and vinegar

    • In combination or alone these two food items do a great job in cleaning surfaces. Vinegar can make a great multipurpose cleaner for the kitchen and bathroom.
    • Baking soda is a good scrubbing agent, and can give an extra boost if scrubbed in then sprayed with vinegar before wiping off.

Peroxide

    • Hydrogen peroxide is better for more than causing pain and cleaning cuts and scrapes. Hydrogen peroxide is great for cleaning moldy corners of showers, sinks, tile and  grout.

Essential oils

    • These are nice additives to your cleaners, they can increase the antimicrobial action and leave behind a great smell. Be careful because some are quite strong, can be toxic to kids and animals if ingested.

5. Pure water

A lot of us have water filters, for a number of reasons. Knowing you have a quality water filter (I’ll give you a hint, most pitcher filters don’t do much) and making sure you change/clean the filter as often as recommended. Old water filters can grow bacteria or fungi that can create health problems.

6. The food zone

Plastic free: many plastic containers contain chemicals that leach into foods and liquids and which disrupt hormones – the most commonly known is BPA, which has estrogenic effects on the body. More than this there is no hard evidence that any plastics are “safe” and even those labelled as “BPA-Free” tend to contain BPS or BPF, which are chemically very similar to BPA and have been shown to cause (big surprise) the same and possibly worse problems than BPA. Win this by switching over to glass and stainless steel containers for your food storage and water bottles.

Clean: It’s common sense these days that you want kitchen surfaces to be clean. Specifically cutting boards and any places that come in contact with raw produce and/or meat.

Food placement: One of the best things we can do to limit our intake of junk foods is to place these foods in places that are harder to get to. Top shelf in the cupboard or in the back behind other things. Increase the difficulty of accessing junk foods and make it easier to just grab the healthier snack (carrot or piece of fruit and nut butter) can make a bigger difference than you think.

7. Support your sleep

Three tips for better sleep

    1. Sound: Silence is blissful when you’re trying to sleep, since this isn’t always possible or perfect another great option is a white noise machine or app that can make a huge difference.
    2. Light: Did you know that light, especially blue light, can actually suppress your body’s chemical signals to go to sleep. Making sure your bedroom is as dark as possible creates more restful sleep.
    3. Temperature: Ever notice how hard it is to fall asleep if it’s too hot, most people find it most comfortable to sleep in a room around 68 degrees fahrenheit.

8. Healthy bathroom

Clean: One of the most common things to find in a bathroom is mold, because this is a room with high moisture due to showers and all of the water usage. Cleaning out mold in the bathroom with baking soda and peroxide usually does the trick. A great shower spray to prevent mold recurrence is plain hydrogen peroxide which prevents any mold from taking hold.

Ventilation: This further helps preventing any mold, as well as makes for a clean smelling bathroom.

9. Check those nooks and crannies

Clean and dry: Think about places in your house you don’t visit too often. It could be the back of a closet, a basement, or attic. Make sure to keep an eye on these spaces especially during and after any major rain or snow melts. Catching any leaks, mold or pest growth early will make a huge difference in cost of repair and prevent aggravation of allergies and asthma common from mold and fungal invasions.

10. A better work/play space

Create an office or relaxing space that encourages focus and movement: Having the room encourage standing, movement and good posture is one of the most helpful things you can do. Some great options are using something like the pomodoro technique when you’re working/playing on the computer or watching tv – have an egg timer or app that goes off every 45-90 minutes to signal you to stand, stretch, move around or get a drink of water. Another favorite of mine are standing and walking desks, which help improve focus and overall health.

We hope you enjoyed some of our tips for making your home a healthy one. If you have any questions, comments or want to learn more get in touch at (415)385-2621!