Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
6:57 am

15 Vitamins and Herbs that Help Lower Stress and Improve Nervous System Function

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SHOP YOUR HERBS!

Long-term stress comes at us from a variety of sources: family struggles, financial difficulties, job worries or pressures, relationships, worry about health, the economy, etc. Continuous or repeated activation of the stress response process takes a toll on the nervous system and can lead to burnout, i.e. emotional and nervous exhaustion. We can’t very easily change the world around us. But we can take steps to give our bodies the protection and nourishment they need to help handle stressors before they create anxiety.

Important VITAMINS for the Nervous System
B vitamins are food for the nervous system. In times of stress, the body rapidly uses up these nutrients. And, along with Vitamin C, they are water-soluble and must be replenished daily.

B1 (thiamine) optimizes cognitive activity and brain function.
Folic acid is considered brain food by some. It helps with depression and anxiety and helps prevent neural tube defects in unborn children.
B6 (pyridoxine) is needed for normal brain function.
B12 (cyanocobalamin) prevents nerve damage and helps maintain the fatty sheaths that cover and protect nerve endings. It is linked to the production of acetylcholine (a key neurotransmitter that aids memory and learning).
Biotin helps B-complex vitamins be utilized properly in the body.
Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) is necessary for the development of the central nervous system, for proper adrenal function, for the conversion of fat and sugar into energy, and for the maintenance of normal growth and tissue replacement. Pantothenic acid is needed to make steroid hormones and the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. The body needs extra amounts of this vitamin when under physical stress.
Choline is the precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control. It helps nerve impulses travel from the brain through the nervous system. Choline aids brain function and memory.
Vitamin C aids in the production of anti-stress hormones.
Inositol has a calming effect.

Key HERBS for Stress and Anxiety
Passionflower provides natural support to the relaxation centers of the nervous system and has been used historically to help with restlessness. Calming and soothing, it doesn’t affect mood.
Fennel seeds have long been known to strengthen the digestive system, where emotional stress is most likely to center.
Feverfew, an aromatic herb, helps the body deal with muscular tension, which may lead to head and neck pain.
Hops (flower) is a tonic herb. It promotes sleep and helps the body deal with occasional restlessness.
Chamomile flowers are known for supporting nerve health and mental alertness. This soothing herb also aids digestion and supports circulation.
Schizandra fruit—allows the body to respond quickly to stress, thus increasing our capacity to work. Its bitter compounds also support circulation.
Zembrin® (Sceletium tortuosumextract)—harvested in South Africa and used by locals for centuries, this herb supports the nervous system as it facilitates feelings of calm and supports a positive mood. This standardized patented extract represents the full, unaltered phytochemical profile of the plant.

www.steepedinhealth.mynsp.com

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
1:37 pm

Essentials for everyone!

 
One of the most common questions I’m asked is “should I be taking daily supplements and if so, which ones?” In a perfect world, your diet would be perfect and your gut would be in perfect shape to digest and absorb all the micro and macro nutrients you need to stay healthy.

Our Western diet is filled with nutrient-poor and calorie-dense processed foods We are constantly exposed to toxins in our food, water, air, and even personal care and cleaning products. Our stress levels have skyrocketed and many people are dealing with gut issues. This combination of a decrease in nutrients in our food and an increase in stress, toxins, and gut issues like leaky gut is why we can no longer get all of the vitamins and minerals we need from food alone. Supplementation helps you maintain healthy levels of nutrients. You don’t however need to take too many. We are all unique individuals and unique physically, so not everyone needs to supplement the same way, however, there are some essential supplements that I recommend for everyone to take.

1. Omega 3

The benefits of omega-3 fatty acids are widely publicized. They reduce inflammation and may help lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. And, because they are highly-concentrated in the brain, omega-3 fatty acids are also important for memory, cognition, and behavior.

For auto-immunity they are super powers. Of all the fatty acids, the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) have the greatest effect on the immune system and the inflammatory response. This is important for autoimmune disease sufferers. Studies examining the use of omega-3 supplements (usually taken as fish oil) have demonstrated benefits for people with chronic diseases, including autoimmune conditions such as lupus, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. These benefits include reduced pain and inflammation, with a consequent decreased need for medications designed to combat inflammation, which can have their own negative side effects.

2. Probiotics

The future of medicine is turning toward your microbiome, the ecosystem of bacteria and other microbes that live in your gut, to prevent and reverse many diseases. We now know that nearly 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, and up to 95% of your serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood) is produced in your gut.

This means that if the balance of bacteria in your gut is thrown off, it can lead to a whole host of problems, including autoimmunity, depression, anxiety, and leaky gut, to name a few. Taking a probiotic every day can help keep your microbiome in balance, which promotes a healthy GI tract, relieves digestive discomfort, promotes a normal bowel pattern, and supports overall wellness.

3. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is unique in a couple of important ways. First, your body can make its own vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Second, vitamin D3 is converted into a hormone in your body. Hormones are your body’s chemical messengers, they travel through your blood to your tissues and organs activating chemical reactions that control everything from metabolism to growth and development to mood. Over 50,000 of the chemical reactions in your body require the presence of adequate amounts of vitamin D3 in your blood. The vitamin contributes to bone strength, heart health, and cancer prevention. Vitamin D3 also plays an important role in your immune system, and can be a determining factor in whether or not you develop an autoimmune disease.

FUN INFO:

Interesting Facts About Mushrooms

If you read the nutritional information on a package of mushrooms, you’ll notice that some contain vitamin D and some don’t. When exposed to sunlight, mushrooms produce an active form of vitamin D. Most commercially grown mushrooms are raised indoors, in the dark, and lack the nutrient. Some growers expose their mushrooms to artificial ultraviolet light to induce vitamin D synthesis.

Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D. Meat is the only other food source of vitamin D.
Mushrooms contain the same form of vitamin B-12 as meat.
Mushrooms have umami—a meaty, savory flavor and one of the five basic tastes. If you have a craving for meat and salt, try a mushroom dish. It might satisfy those cravings.
Mushrooms are a terrific source of copper, potassium, folate, and niacin (B3).
Foraging for mushrooms in the wilderness, also known as mushroom hunting, is fun but it’s important to exercise caution. Many poisonous mushrooms are nearly identical to safe varieties.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
6:12 am

Why should you give up gluten?

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Do you have autoimmune disease? If so, I can say that gluten may be what sparked the start of your disease, and continuing to eat it is simply adding fuel to the fire.

Gluten, a protein naturally found in certain grains, is now found nearly everywhere in our modern world. It’s in flour-based foods such as pasta and bread, but it is also used as a filler in medications and supplements, it’s the glue that holds meat substitutes together, it’s in body products such as shampoo and toothpaste, and, thanks to cross-contamination, it’s even in grains that are marked gluten-free.

Modern-day gluten is not the same gluten that came from grains when our grandparents were eating them. Today there are new hybrid strains of wheat that contain entirely new forms of gluten not found in any of the original plants, and this is what makes our muffins and bagels bigger and fluffier. Scientists were also able to re-formulate gluten which allows it to be dissolved into liquids and other products that didn’t previously contain gluten, like lunch meat and shampoo. These two factors mean that we are not only eating a different kind of gluten than our ancestors ate, we are eating and being exposed to much more of it.

This causes problems with both your gut health and your immune system, creating a perfect storm for the development and progression of inflammatory and autoimmune disease

1. Gluten Causes Leaky Gut

When you eat gluten, whether via a piece of bread, the filler in your lunch meats, or one of many hidden sources, it travels through your stomach and arrives in your small intestine, where we know that it triggers the release of zonulin. Zonulin is a chemical that signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open up, creating intestinal permeability, also known as leaky gut.

You can think of your gut lining kind of like a drawbridge. Teeny tiny boats (micronutrients in food) that are meant to travel back and forth are able to go under the bridge without a problem. But, when gluten releases zonulin, it causes the drawbridge to go up, allowing bigger boats (large proteins like gluten) to cross over that aren’t meant to travel through. In the case of your gut, it’s microbes, toxins, proteins, and partially digested food particles that are passing under the drawbridge and escaping into your bloodstream.

Since all of the toxins, microbes, and food particles such as gluten now flooding your bloodstream aren’t supposed to be there, your immune system marks them as dangerous invaders and creates inflammation to get rid of them.

2. Gluten Causes Inflammation

If you have an autoimmune disease, then that means that somewhere along the way, your immune system went haywire and began attacking your body’s own tissues. This change from healthy to autoimmune isn’t instantaneous, it happens over years.

Inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to anything it perceives as dangerous, whether that’s a cut, a virus, or the gluten that you ate in a piece of birthday cake that slipped through your leaky gut. It’s estimated that one percent of the population has Celiac disease and one in 30 people have a gluten sensitivity–and eating gluten causes inflammation every time they eat it. What’s more, an estimated 99 percent of people with gluten sensitivity are undiagnosed, so they are fanning the flames of their inflammation without even knowing it.

The only way to give your immune system the break it needs to regain its precision so that it can stop mistakenly attacking you, is to remove gluten entirely.

3. Gluten Looks Like Your own Tissues

Beyond creating a leaky gut, gluten poses a serious risk for those of us with autoimmunity because of a phenomenon called molecular mimicry, which is a dangerous case of mistaken identity.

Every time your body is exposed to an invader (in this case gluten), your immune system memorizes its structure so that it can develop the perfect defense to that pathogen and recognize it in the future. Unfortunately, the immune system’s recognition system isn’t perfect; as long as a molecule’s structure is similar enough, the immune system registers it as an invader and attacks. Gluten, which is a particularly large protein, happens to be structurally similar to a number of your body’s tissues, particularly your thyroid. Remember, if you have an autoimmune disease, you have a leaky gut and when your ‘drawbridge is open’ large proteins like gluten get into your bloodstream where your immune system detects and attacks them.

In those with autoimmune thyroid disease, every time they eat gluten the immune system sends out antibodies to detect and destroy the gluten, but since the gluten and thyroid gland looks so similar some of those immune cells end up attacking the thyroid by mistake.

How to Heal the Damage Caused by Gluten

If you have an autoimmune disease or are anywhere on the autoimmune spectrum, the single best thing you can do for your health is to ditch the gluten 100% as soon as possible. If you don’t, the gluten will keep your tight junctions open and your gut leaky, your body may mistake your own tissues for gluten by way of molecular memory, and your body will remain in a chronic state of inflammation.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
7:24 am

Sluggish, tired, overweight? What is going on?

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Otherwise known as auto-immune thyroiditis.  You or someone you know probably have some form of thyroid disorder.  At the moment, thyroid disease has reached epidemic proportions and it’s only getting worse. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common thyroid disease. It’s characterized by chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, hindering it’s ability to function normally.  Reduced thyroid function is called hypothyroidism and is often associated with weight gain, lethargy, and inadequate growth in children.  Yes, children.  This used to be a disease that mostly affected aging women.  So, what happened.


What Causes Hashimoto’s Disease?

Hashimoto’s occurs when the immune system deviates from its normal function and begins to attack healthy cells in the thyroid as if they were foreign invaders. The immune system attacks the thyroid by producing antibodies, slowly deteriorating the gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. The aggregation of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, propels the process behind Hashimoto’s disease.

Compared with men, women are 7-9 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. It is estimated that 20 million people have been diagnosed.  It seems that estrogen dominance in women reduces iodine absorption in the thyroid, possibly contributing to the increased risk in the female population.   Genetic predispositions are a key factor in Hashimoto’s disease.  Then the gene can be activated through too many toxins entering the body, food sensitivities, parasites in the gut, and most importantly and common, chronic stress.

Signs and Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease

As the disease progresses, the thyroid gland may enlarge, giving the appearance of a swollen neck. Known as goiter, it’s commonly associated with hypothyroidism, a symptom related to Hashimoto’s disease. An underactive thyroid associated with Hashimoto’s disease usually results in:

  • Fatigue
  • Listlessness
  • Weight gain
  • Sluggish metabolism
  • Lethargy
  • Cold intolerance
  • Paleness and puffiness in the face
  • Joint and muscular aches
  • Constipation
  • Dry, brittle, thinning hair
  • Irregular periods
  • Depression
  • Shallow/slowed heart rate
  • Difficulty conceiving


With many of these symptoms, it isn’t uncommon that some patients are diagnosed with depression before they are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. For some individuals, Hashimoto’s disease may present little to no symptoms, making it harder for doctors to diagnose or treat crucial thyroid issues.

There is hope though.  Through the right nutrition, diet and lifestyle changes, this can be put into full remission without the use of medications.  Health comes from not only what you put into your body, but from within as well.  Look inward to nourish your soul, your emotions, your life.

Affirmation:  Now is the time to envision your life the way you want it to be and to take action in that direction. —Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine

Have you ever experienced these symptoms or had problems with your thyroid? What were some of the things you did to contribute toward your health? Where are you emotionally? Leave a comment and share your experience!


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Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
6:04 am

Hashimotos?

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Most people who have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s will have some or all of the symptoms of acid reflux, nutrient deficiencies, anemia, intestinal permeability, food sensitivities, gum disorders and hypoglycemia in addition to the “typical” hypothyroid symptoms such as weight gain, cold intolerance, hair loss, fatigue and constipation.

This is because the body winds up stuck in a chronic state of immune system overload, adrenal fatigue, and gut dysbiosis (permeability).  This leads to impaired digestion, inflammation, and thyroid hormone release abnormalities.

This cycle will continue causing more and more symptoms until it is disrupted and something intervenes and breaks the cycle apart.

Unfortunately, simply adding thyroid supplement to the mix will not result in full recovery for most thyroid patients. Additionally, supporting just the thyroid may weaken the adrenals and immune balance, which will in turn perpetuate the vicious cycle.   A new diet and certain lifestyle changes have to occur. 

We need to start with removing triggers, and follow with repairing the other broken systems to allowing the body to rebuild itself. If you have Hashimoto's, you may have noticed that stress is particularly difficult to manage. For example, what may have been stressful but manageable five years ago, now leaves you in bed for a week. When we are out of homeostasis our stress response is much more amplified and it takes longer to return to a healthier state. When Hashimoto's is triggered into action in our body, we have it for the rest of our lives. The first step to managing Hashimoto's and becoming more resilient is calming down our over-reactive physiology to reduce the amount of stress and destruction.

By the time someone has developed Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, the body has been out of whack for quite sometime and cannot get back into balance by itself.

So a plan…  Nourish your body the right way, nourish your soul, manage your stress.

 

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:23 pm

2017 - Year one!

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Odds are that you or someone you know is making a New Year’s resolution to be healthier in 2017. While many people make this promise to themselves each year, it seems that many of us don’t succeed. How do we change that?   Well let’s see…I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I believe in constant manifestation of positive energy, thoughts and goals.  I believe in the universe and the “law of attraction.”  I do think setting goals, having a start date, (and maybe an end date) are always good guidelines to having or manifesting a happy, healthy, life. 

When practicing manifestation, make sure to stay committed to the goal of feeling good first and attracting stuff second. Continue to remind yourself that when you feel good you energetically attract goodness into your life. When your primary function is to be happy or at peace, then whatever comes to you is irrelevant. Happiness and or peace is your first goal.  The real meaning behind your manifestation.

Clarity is of the utmost importance when it comes to manifesting your desires. You must have clear intentions for what you want to call in; otherwise, you can manifest a lot of what you don’t want. Focus on what you desire, then make a list of all that goes along with it. If you’re getting clear about the job you want, make a list of all the things about the job that make you happy: the office, the people, the salary, etc. If you want to manifest a healthy relationship, get clear about what this looks like to you.  It’s okay to want what you want. 


Take your clear intention and spend time every day sitting in the feeling of what it is that you desire. You might access the feeling through meditation or doing a form of exercise you love. Let the thought inform the feeling and let the feeling take over your energy. The more you feel the feeling of what you desire, the more you believe it's on the way. From a metaphysical perspective, if you believe it, then it's already here. So, make time for contemplating, thinking,

Through practice you will get clear and feel happier, more at ease and the process will be healing and powerful.  It will lead to a deep inner knowing that you're right where you need to be. In time, the Universe catches up with your energy and your desires come into form. This process of allowing the manifestation to follow your internal faith is the true process of co-creation. 


This is important now because in numerology, the year 2017 is back to year one.  Meaning, the universal years go in 9 year cycles.  2016 ended a 9-year cycle.  Who felt that this was a bad year?  Was it a year of letting go?  Cleaning house?  Change?

This…today… is a new beginning.  The seeds you plant now will grow your harvest for the next 9 years.   Whatever your beliefs are,  “what you sow, you reap.”  Think about what you want, how you want it to feel and start manifesting!

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
12:49 pm

Is There a Link Between Nutrition and Autoimmune Disease?

http://www.usanahealth.net/en_US/diet/digestion--detox-pack.html  usana detox pack           breakfast-cucumbers-dinner-2215


Should you follow a Paleo gluten-free diet or a vegan diet? Should you take omega-3 or turmeric supplements to fight inflammation?  Millions of people in the United States who suffer from autoimmune diseases face these questions every day. The Internet is teeming with books, websites, and blogs offering advice on how to eat to prevent or treat autoimmune conditions. Unfortunately, much of it is based on private research, trial and error, and hope instead of solid scientific evidence.

What Is Autoimmune Disease?

When everything goes right, your body’s immune response is a marvelous defense system, protecting against foreign invaders, injury, and infection through a complex communication system between your body’s cells and the chemical signals they produce. In a healthy immune system, this communication is clear and specific; the body can tell the difference between a foreigner and itself. But in autoimmune disease, the immune response is flawed, and the communication system breaks down. The body’s immune system takes aim at its own tissues. Either the immune system can’t distinguish the body’s tissues from foreign cells and begins to attack itself, or it’s unable to regulate the intensity of the immune response. Regardless, the result is damage to the body’s tissues and the development of an autoimmune disease.

Role of Inflammation

There is a constant debate in the world of autoimmune disease and that is defining the role that chronic inflammation plays in many autoimmune diseases and its development. In rheumatoid arthritis, the damage to tissues is caused by an inflammatory reaction to the presence of antigens. Which recalls the old “chicken and the egg” question: Which comes first, inflammation or autoimmunity? “In rheumatoid arthritis, is it caused by inflammation and autoimmune disease comes secondarily, or is it caused by autoimmunity?  Autoimmune disease is not an inflammatory disease at its core.

Dietary Treatment Strategies
One thing most people in the autoimmunity field agree on is that there’s a lack of evidence-based information about dietary treatments for autoimmune diseases. There isn’t good evidence in the medical world, that a healthy diet for the immune system, is any different from any other diet. However with experience and success, the best I can suggest is to follow the same good diet and exercise program to attain general health.  Eat whole foods, limit ingredients, add lots of green nutrition to your daily diet.

It’s important, however, to consider nutritional red flags that may arise during the management of autoimmune conditions.

The nutritional management of autoimmune diseases usually emphasizes controlling pain and inflammation, slowing the progression of the disease, and boosting the immune system. And a few promising foods and nutrients are emerging as potentially beneficial or not.

These would be:   Vitamin D3, Omega 3 fatty acids, Probiotics (healthy gut flora), eating gluten and other inflammatory foods. 

Let’s start here and over the next couple of weeks we can cover the other aspects of healing.  YOU GOT THIS!

Eliminate Permanently:

Processed Food
Emulsifiers and Thickeners (guar gum, carrageenan, etc.)
Refined Oils
Refined Sugars
Grains (including corn)
Dried Legumes (including soy and peanuts)
Stevia (and other non-nutritive sweeteners)

Eliminate for a Minimum of 30 Days and Reintroduce

Gluten foods:  Bread, pastas, any grains

Eggs
Dairy
Nuts (including nut-based oils)
Seeds (including coffee and cocoa and seed-based oils)
Nightshades (both vegetables and spices)
Fresh Legumes (green beans and green peas)
Alcohol
Fruit-based and Seed-based Spices




Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
8:33 am

Are you getting enough magnesium?

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Symptoms of poor magnesium intake can include muscle cramps, facial tics, poor sleep, and chronic pain. It pays to ensure that you get adequate magnesium before signs of deficiency occur.

But how can you know whether you’re getting enough?

According to population studies of average magnesium intake, there’s a good chance that you’re not.

The following may be a good way to assess your intake of magnesium by answering a few questions your lifestyle, and watching for certain signs and signals of low magnesium levels.

1. Do you drink carbonated beverages on a regular basis?

Most dark colored sodas contain phosphates. These substances actually bind with magnesium inside the digestive tract, rendering it unavailable to the body. So even if you are eating a balanced diet, by drinking soda with your meals you are flushing magnesium out of your system.

The average consumption of carbonated beverages today is more than ten times what it was in 1940.

2. Are you regularly eating pastries, cakes, desserts, candies or other sweet foods?

Refined sugar is not only a zero magnesium product but it also causes the body to excrete magnesium through the kidneys. The process of producing refined sugar from sugar cane removes molasses, stripping the magnesium content entirely.

And sugar does not simply serve to reduce magnesium levels. Sweet foods are known by nutritionists as “anti-nutrients”. Anti-nutrients like sweets are foods that replace whole nutritious foods in the diet, yet actually consume nutrients when digested, resulting in a net loss. Because all foods require vitamins and minerals to be consumed in order to power the process of digestion, it’s important to choose foods that “put back” vital nutrients, and then some.

The more sweet foods and processed baked goods you have in your diet, the more likely you are deficient in magnesium and other vital nutrients.

3. Do you experience a lot of stress in your life, or have you recently had a major medical procedure such as surgery?

Both physical and emotional stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency.

Stress can be a cause of magnesium deficiency, and a lack of magnesium tends to magnify the stress reaction, worsening the problem. In studies, adrenaline and cortisol, byproducts of the “fight or flight” reaction associated with stress and anxiety, were associated with decreased magnesium.

Because stressful conditions require more magnesium use by the body, all such conditions may lead to deficiency, including both psychological and physical forms of stress such as surgery, burns, and chronic disease.

4. Do you drink coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks daily?

Magnesium levels are controlled in the body in large part by the kidneys, which filter and excrete excess magnesium and other minerals. But caffeine causes the kidneys to release extra magnesium regardless of body status.

If you drink caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and soda regularly, your risk for magnesium deficiency is increased.

5. Do you take a diuretic, heart medication, asthma medication, birth control pills or estrogen replacement therapy?

The effects of certain drugs have been shown to reduce magnesium levels in the body by increasing magnesium loss through excretion by the kidneys.

6. Do you drink more than seven alcoholic beverages per week?

The effect of alcohol on magnesium levels is similar to the effect of diuretics: it lowers magnesium available to the cells by increasing the excretion of magnesium by the kidneys. In studies, clinical magnesium deficiency was found in 30% of alcoholics.

7. Do you take calcium supplements without magnesium?

Too much calcium supplementation without magnesium may reduce magnesium absorption and retention from foods. However if you are taking magnesium, magnesium supplementation actually improves the body’s use of calcium.

Though many reports suggest taking calcium to magnesium in a 2:1 ratio, this figure is largely arbitrary.  Studies are now supporting a 1:1 ration.

8. Do you experience any of the following:

  • Anxiety?
  • Times of hyperactivity?
  • Difficulty getting to sleep?
  • Difficulty staying asleep?

The above symptoms may be neurological signs of magnesium deficiency. Adequate magnesium is necessary for nerve conduction and is also associated with electrolyte imbalances that affect the nervous system. Low magnesium is also associated with personality changes and sometimes depression.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
10:34 am

Natural Herbs for Allergy Relief

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50% of Americans suffer from allergies, so you're not alone if you've been sneezing, coughing or wiping your watery eyes.   There is no cure-all for springtime allergies, however there are remedies.  If your preference is to avoid prescription drugs, or in addition to, you may  want to consider natural supplements to combat the season. There are many natural supplements that you can take to help ease allergy symptoms. Here is a list of some  well-reviewed supplements for allergy support. Just like OTC and prescription treatments, health supplements can cause side effects or can react with medications you’re taking so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before you start taking any natural health herbs.

  • Astragalus – A traditional Chinese remedy for allergies, buy astragalus to support the immune system.
  • Evening Primrose – This oil works two ways to suppress allergies. First, allergic reactions cause inflammations and evening primrose oil acts as an anti-inflammatory to decrease the reaction. Secondly, it stimulates the white blood cells that regulate the production of histamines and antibodies.
  • Gamma Linolenic Acid – GLA has a long history in folk medicine for treating allergies. People who have allergies may require additional essential fatty acids and have trouble converting LA (Linoleic acid) to GLA. Studies have found that women and children who are prone to allergies have lower levels of GLA.
  • Green Tea – Drink a cup of tea. It delivers EGCG, an antioxidant that blocks production of histamine and immunoglobulin E, both of which trigger allergy symptoms.  
  • Probiotics – Increasing beneficial bacteria may prevent allergies. Probiotics benefit the immune system and could, therefore, reduce allergies.
  • Omega-3s – Scientific studies have shown fish oil can help alleviate hay fever, sinus problems and allergic skin conditions.
  • Quercetin – This flavonoid, found naturally in onions, apples, and black tea, has anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to block histamines or reduce the release of histamine, which decreases symptoms.
  • Skullcap – This herb has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat hayfever. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic properties.
  • Spriulina – Studies suggest this blue-green algae can boost the immune system and protect against allergic reactions.
  • Stinging Nettle – The roots and leaves of the stinging nettle plant (Urtica dioica) have been used to treat everything from joint pain to prostate problems. Some people use freeze-dried stinging nettle leaves to treat allergy symptoms.
  • Vitamin C – This well-known immune-boosting antioxidant lowers histamine levels in the bloodstream, which could prevent the onset of allergies. 2,000 mg of vitamin C can cut histamine levels (which trigger allergy symptoms) by up to 40%, improving breathing and your airway.

Kerry Fleckenstein, Therapeutic Lifestyle Recovery Coach
9:00 am

Gut Flora is Screwing us UP

How modern life screws up our gut and makes us fat and diabetic

What all of this research suggests is that healthy gut bacteria is crucial to maintaining normal weight and metabolism. Unfortunately, several features of the modern lifestyle directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:

  • Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
  • Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
  • Diets low in fermentable fibers
  • Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
  • Chronic stress
  • Chronic infections
  • We also know that infants that aren’t breast-fed and are born to mothers with bad gut flora are more likely to develop unhealthy gut bacteria, and that these early differences in gut flora may predict overweight and obesity in the future.

It’s interesting to note that the diabesity epidemic has neatly coincided with the increasing prevalence of factors that disrupt the gut flora. I’m not saying that poor gut health is the single cause of obesity and diabetes, but it seems that it likely plays a much larger role than most people think.

Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. That’s such a big number our human brains can’t really comprehend it. One trillion dollar bills laid end-to-end would stretch from the earth to the sun – and back – with a lot of miles to spare. Do that 100 times and you start to get at least a vague idea of how much 100 trillion is.

The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. In fact, you could say that we’re more bacterial than we are human. WOW.

Studies have shown that changes in the gut flora can increase the rate at which we absorb fatty acids and carbohydrates, and increase the storage of calories as fat. This means that someone with bad gut flora could eat the same amount of food as someone with a healthy gut, but extract more calories from it and gain more weight.
 
How to maintain and restore healthy gut flora

The most obvious first step in maintaining a healthy gut is to avoid all of the things I listed above. But of course that’s not always possible, especially in the case of chronic stress and infections, and whether we were breast-fed or our mothers had healthy guts.

If you’ve been exposed to some of these factors, there are still steps you can take to restore your gut flora:

  • Remove all food toxins from your diet
  • Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
  • Take a high-quality probiotic, or consider more radical methods of restoring healthy gut flora
  • Eat greek yogurt and Kefir
  • Treat any intestinal pathogens (such as parasites) that may be present
  • Take steps to manage your stress

Next