Natural Solutions for Osteoporosis

Let’s straighten out a few things about bones…

Bone are alive and they have a part in your body physiology just like the rest of your organs!  Your diet impacts them, your childhood impacts them, your hormones impact them! We don’t usually talk about them unless one is broken or you get a bone loss diagnosis like osteoporosis.  However, if you get a diagnosis like osteoporosis, you must consider WHY.

There are two main cells keeping your bones in balance: osteoblasts (who are building) and osteoclasts (who are degrading).  When they’re in balance, all is good.  When you are degrading more than building, you see loss of bone density. You have the most bone density that you’ll have for your entire life around the age of 35…a little longer for men and a little shorter for some women.  You’ve accumulated 80% of your bone mass by the age of 18!  When you consider that up to 30% on people who have a hip fracture will die within 1 year, this is a topic you should care about ESPECIALLY SINCE YOU CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

I’d say there are 4 main things to consider when preventing or treating osteoporosis or bone density issues in general:

  1. Hormones: Women’s loss of estrogen in later years contributes to bone loss and the loss of testosterone in men does the same thing.  Always aim to optimize hormones, even thyroid, which also impacts bone density.  Even high stress hormones like cortisol fuel bone degradation.
  2. Inflammation: In the presence of inflammation, you see a lot more activity from the cells breaking down bone (osteoclasts).
  3. Nutritional intake: If you don’t have adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals and collagen, you can’t expect the outcome of the final bone product to be any good.
  4. Exercise: The single best thing someone can do for their bones is do weight-bearing exercise, even fast walking is helpful.  The stress of gravity and impact actual signal to build bone.

The solution, therefore, isn’t really a supplement per se, but an entire lifestyle that supports health for any condition!  Supplementing with nutrients necessary for bone health can support areas of need and help intervene on cases of poor DEXA scans, but they won’t be a magic bullet without the lifestyle components, too.

When considering supplementation, the following nutrients are your best bet:

  • Vitamin D3: make sure your Vitamin D levels are between 40-70 because the conventional ranges don’t reflect what’s optimal. 
  • Vitamin K2: To compliment your vitamin D, you’re going to want some Vitamin K, too.  This was discovered to be crucial in Weston A. Price’s work when studying tooth health around the world.
  • Minerals:  like Calcium, magnesium, and zinc.  Minerals are required for bone formation, and our diet and soil is depleted of these important compounds. 
  • Collagen: Bones are brittle if they can’t adapt, which makes them prone to breaking.  Collagen in bone keeps it flexible, and with more ability to respond to stresses on the bone structure.

Having said that, fat soluble vitamins and minerals are most abundant in animal products and when considering collagen, it’s not different.  Therefore, if you favor a plant-only type of diet, supplementation may be absolutely necessary to keep your teeth and bones strong over a lifetime!

Some of the worst offenders to bone density are:

  • PPIs: heartburn medication has a severe impact on bone density and considering there are natural ways to address this successfully, try and avoid proton pump inhibitors
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Lack of movement
  • Soda
  • Glyphosate

You don’t have to accept the diagnosis without any control of the outcome.  The lifestyle part of osteoporosis is extremely important and there’s no pill that can mimic those results!

Beer: Could It Be a Healthy Part of Life?

Beer the most widely consumed fermented beverage in the world.  Let me repeat: The most widely consumed fermented beverage in the WORLD.  And when you come from a functional medicine perspective, the word fermented is like gold.  Fermented foods and beverages have been around as a method of preservation for food since before refrigeration and using bacteria and yeast to turn food into probiotic powerhouses makes them healthy for us.  That probiotic content is something people pay big money for in the world of supplements because of the profound impact it has on the health of their gut microbiome, and in turn, many disease processes like Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, anxiety disorders, and even obesity. 

Beer is simple, but the art is in crafting something tasty out of essentially water, starch, brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), and hops.

{Side note: The starch listed above is where the grains come in.  Glutinous grains are traditionally used and trying to accomplish the same outcome with gluten-free options is a very difficult task. Tip your hat to your local brewers if they’re able to make your gluten-free beer dreams come true, because it is a next-level art.}

And here we are, back at the table, talking about how we have more bacteria in our gut than cells in our body and the health and diversity of those communities of bacteria are how we stay healthy as a human species.  Undeniable at this point, but where does beer fit in?  It’s a fermented beverage and tons of people drink beer, but many of them are NOT healthy.  Does it have a place in this conversation?  What parts of beer are the healthiest?  Does beer really help breastfeeding and hormones?  Did you know they’re even talking about this in the cancer world?  Isn’t alcohol unhealthy?  Are there better beers to choose than others from a health perspective? Can you overdo it….I’m asking for a friend.

If you’re a science geek, I’m going to make you cry by skipping over all the details and references because at the end of the day, it takes hours to cover all that, and if you’re like me, I really just want know I can trust the assessment and then give me the conclusion.  So, that’s where we’re at: my opinion based on the hours of going down the rabbit hole for fun.

There are 3 things to consider when talking about beer for health:

  1. The influence on the microbiome
  2. The method of production and consumption
  3. The interaction with hormones

Is Alcohol Healthy?

No.  But there are interesting data around blue zones showing moderate consumption contributes to health and longevity.  So, it begs the question: Is it the type of alcohol or the way it’s consumed?  My opinion is that unpasteurized, fermented beverages like traditional wine, beer, and ciders are better for you than other options, in moderation, and consuming them WITH people complicates the benefit around what we know about community, conversation, friendship and the physiological and biochemical changes that come with that alone.  Red wine has been shown in studies to have the least detrimental impact on inducing leaky gut, and unfortunately, we can’t say the same for my spirit of choice: gin.

Nutshell: traditionally fermented options are best, in moderation, WITH friends

Now that we have the elephant out of the way, let’s have some beer…

What makes beer healthy?  {because I would love to tell my doctor}

I want to focus on one component of beer here: hops.  Hops are plants which contain compounds like polyphenols.  These may sound foreign, but it’s some of the same stuff you know about wine! Resveratrol is the polyphenol in wine that has gotten all the love over the years, boosting wine sales significantly after the research was published.  Hops have up to a 14% polyphenol concentration in the dried cones and while that encompasses phenolic acids, catechins and proanthocyanidins, I’m mostly obsessed with the flavonoids. 

{If you ever read my article on UTI’s, then you know it’s the proanthocyanidin content (PAC) in cranberries that work some magic on E.coli. Read here.}

In terms of flavonoids in hops, xanthohumol is where it’s at.  It contributes to the bitterness in taste but it is probably more important that when that compound hits your gut, your microbiome takes it and transforms it into a different compound.  Here’s the kicker, the genus responsible for this is Eubacterium.  This kind of bacteria is one of the largest butyrate producers in your gut, which for those that don’t know, butyrate is a short chain fatty acid that acts as fuel for your intestinal cells to thrive, keeping leaky gut at bay. You may have heard of them when talking about PREbiotics; the stuff that you get when you eat fibers to feed healthy bacteria in your gut.  Polyphenols do the same thing to some extent!  If you or your doctor have done a stool test on you, you may be more familiar with these bacteria being in the phylum of Firmicutes. 

{Side note for clinicians: If you see absent Firmicutes, you are not only likely seeing low diversity in your patient, low butyrate production, etc, but you are also seeing someone who may be deficient in their ability to benefit from polyphenols that require that bacteria to transform them into other compounds for a health outcome!  This area is something that I feel strongly about in terms of personalized and precision medicine in the future.  We are already studying the differences in drug metabolism based on someone’s age, sex, genes, and MICROBIOME, but we should be exploring the same principles to herbal medicinal interventions, too.  It does no good to provide someone a compound that they lack the ability to transform if transformation is necessary for the health outcome. Back to regular scheduled programming…}

They have done studies to watch the microbiome shifts using alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions of wine to try and determine where benefits are coming from, and sorry guys, they see more benefit in the microbiome shifts of people drinking polyphenol-rich beverages WITHOUT the alcohol. 

Nutshell: Wine and beer have these healthy polyphenols, but if you were trying to be perfectionistic, you’d prioritize non-alcoholic versions to have healthy impact on your microbiome. 

What are the best options to choose?

Prioritize the following:

  • Craft beer may ensure more traditional methods of production
  • Buying from smaller brewers locally, on tap, may improve the health aspects due to lack of pasteurization
  • Consider choosing non-alcoholic hop beverages for all the polyphenol benefits without the alcohol down-sides
    • I’m not sponsored in any way, but I am obsessed with HopTea, which is a tea brewed with hops and carbonated to give you all the feels of a beer, without the hangover

Beer and hormones?

I didn’t even get the fact that hops are considered a galactogogue, which basically means, helps breastfeeding moms with milk production.  They are also a phytoestrogen, which means they have estrogenic influence.  Yes, estrogen is so important that even plants make them.  This is often used in menopausal women to retain hormone balance to help hot flashes and brain neurodegeneration.  

This could be an entirely different blog for an entirely different time.  For now, I just wanted to share what I was learning about hops and the microbiome as my obsession for research in autoimmunity and my love of HopTea grows.  Until next time!

Antibiotics? Now What?!

Let’s face the facts. Despite the best intentions, the healthiest lifestyles, and the desire to stay as natural as possible, sometimes antibiotics creep into the equation because it was an emergency, it was life-threatening, someone didn’t know better, or it was presented as the only option. I get it. I also get the uncertainty moving forward for those who know just how detrimental that round of antibiotics may have been to their precious microbiome (aka all the healthy bacteria living in your body making you healthy!). So, let’s jump over the guilt trip because you can’t change it now! Let’s get down to what you can do today, and for how long to put yourself in the best position possible for the future of you microbiome moving forward.

I want to start by saying, while not ideal, many people have been on antibiotics and gone on to live a life full of health if they take their body ecology seriously. So, it’s not the end of the world, but it does put ownership in your court. To me that can be a blessing in disguise because I’m sort of a control freak. I do better with things I CAN control then things I can’t. So, consider this moment a blessing in disguise.

The post-antibiotic plan:

  • Take a probiotic with 20 billion CFU and S. boulardii during and after antibiotics daily for 4-6 months. Giving your bacteria a crutch will be helpful despite the fact that probiotics are transient. I also know there has been some research suggesting that probiotics are not beneficial after antibiotic treatment, but clinically, I see otherwise, and there were some questions that I have regarding that study data. Although I do agree that a fecal transplant would likely be ideal and better! But unless you have a C. diff infection, you’re not likely going to have that option at your finger tips. I digress.
  • Eat a variety of fermented foods daily. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, kevita, plain kefir, plain yogurt, and even some brands of pickles (Bubbies) are the bees knees when it comes to probiotics in foods. Not only do you get the benefit of the food nutrition, but those probiotics are abundant and essential to everyone, whether you’ve taken an antibiotic or not! Shoot for at least one of these options daily, and ideally you’d continue this habit forever!
  • Cut the sugar, alcohol, and processed foods. Opportunistic organisms can quickly become pathogens and overgrow quickly if the competition has just been wiped out! That means, in order to give the good guys a fighting chance to hold their own, you need to starve the potentially bad guys. They love sugar, alcohol acts like sugar, and processed foods are full of chemicals that kill good guys and sugars that feed bad guys. This, you guessed it, is probably a habit that should last a lifetime, too! I would say for 2 weeks following treatment, try to cut alcohol completely and keep your carbohydrates less 50g a day. Even some healthy carbs can act as a simple food source for pathogens. That can be short-term.
  • Go outside. Eat from the garden, put your hands in the dirt, and try not to be too clean. I know, I sound crazy, but sterile isn’t good. We want nutritious foods without chemicals, fresh air and sunlight, some sample of soil-based organisms to help our ecology. You’re a glorified plant.
  • Eat lots of organic plants and cook with coconut oil and grass-fed butter. Plants contain probiotics that feed your health bacteria, and getting them without chemicals that kill bacteria will tip the scales in your favor. Shoot for at least one big salad a day, and 2 non-starchy veggies as sides at dinner. Do this continuously throughout your life, but be diligent for at least 2 weeks. Use coconut oil and grass-fed butter to cook, as they are anti-microbial.
  • Manage stress. Stress creates chemical changes in your body that isn’t great for gut health and it actually causes leaky gut. That can predispose you to bad bugs or foods getting into your system because they aren’t staying in the gut. That’s why yoga, meditation, prayer, or walks can help your gut environment stay tip top!

Most of these things aren’t rocket science and should be a part of a healthy lifestyle for a lifetime! The difference is being slightly more strict for the first month following antibiotics by restricting carbs, sugar and alcohol, in addition to being sure to get as many probiotics in as many ways as possible. It will take you potentially 4-6 months to restore your microbiome and some studies suggest it will never be the same. So, staying on the probiotic and fermented food bandwagon could be essential. What we do know, is that now is not the time to throw caution to the wind if we want to set ourselves up for a future of health despite an antibiotic mishap. Do your best and let go of that which you can’t control.

*If you’re interested in my post-antibiotic probiotic suggestions, feel free to check out the “store” and sign up for an account, which will give you access to that template in my online dispensary, since some of my suggestions are not available through retail channels.

Increasing Testosterone Naturally

It’s super interesting to me that women speak so freely about their hormone issues and eagerly seek out solutions, but men tend to be more protective of the symptoms that they may be experiencing.  Trust me, I get it.  No one wants to talk about symptoms that impact their sexual performance or masculinity.  However, this topic is one that needs to be addressed because of 2 things:

  1. Women and men want men to feel good about themselves and function optimally.  It keeps everyone happy.
  2. Low testosterone impacts more than sexual function and traits of masculinity, it increases the risk of prostate cancer.

So, we are putting all embarrassment aside for the moment, and we are going to talk freely here. 

Healthy testosterone levels in men require a few things:

  • Proper enzyme function
  • Management of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
  • Leydig cell health (the cells in the testicle that make testosterone)
  • Optimal Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis function

If any of those things are not present, and a man is not producing enough testosterone, he may experience the following symptoms:

  • Breast tissue development
  • Small testes or penis (yes, there are measurements for what is normal)
  • Spattered hair growth patterns
  • Low libido
  • Decreased energy
  • Lack of spontaneous erections
  • Decreased muscle mass and increased fat mass
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Joint and muscle pain post-workout

Why would someone’s testosterone levels be low?

  • Certain drugs such as spironolactone, corticosteroids, alcohol, and opiates all decrease testosterone production
    • Even hair growth (Propecia) or prostate growth (Cialis) medications that are alpha reductase inhibitors can loss of sexual functionality.  So, you end up keeping some hair, but losing some testosterone.  Pick your poison.
  • Endocrine disruptors in hygiene care products like lotions, creams, and fragrance
  • Age: Men start to lose testosterone production starting at age 30; 10% of men in their 40s and 25% of men in their 70s have definitive diagnoses for low testosterone
  • Decreased levels of SHBG due to hypothyroidism, liver disease, or obese men due to higher insulin levels.  It’s not uncommon for men with thyroid problems to gain weight, call me, and in the consult confess to having symptoms of low testosterone.  If SHBG is too high, you can see bone density loss.  You want SHBG to be not too high or too low.
  • Use of licorice or stinging nettles supplements
  • Stress: Stress causes the release of cortisol and cortisol is the enemy of testosterone production.  According to one expert, “cortisol castrates.”  Come on.  That’s pretty catchy.

What can someone do to optimize testosterone production or increase libido?

  • Optimize their blood sugar with diet.  Low carbohydrate is a good place to start.
  • Exercise.  Specifically lifting weights for big muscle groups (think squats and deadlifts) and NOT doing prolonged cardio activity.
  • Supplement with Horny Goat Weed.  It’s a PDE-5 inhibitor just like Viagra. (message me for a link to a brand I like)
  • Use adaptagens like maca, rhodiola, ashwaghanda to help balance cortisol levels
  • Sleep!  Sleep increases testosterone production and is a major player in the world of hormone balance in general.
  • Optimize vitamin D levels with supplementation, liver intake, and/or sun exposure.  You want your Vitamin D levels to be between 40-70ng/dL, and normal testing ranges allow for less than that.  Look at the test and do something if it’s less than 40ng/dL.

In all seriousness, this is an issue that many men experience at some point in time, and it doesn’t need to be something that they try to manage.  It can be corrected, and should be corrected not only for quality of life purposes, but to minimize the risk of prostate cancer.  I’m always here to help, and feel very strongly about demystifying sensitive topics!

Urinary Tract Infections: Natural Solutions

Urinary tract infections are not something we sit around the dinner table discussing, but google searching on the internet, that’s another story. Believe it or not, this topic is one of the most highly searched health terms. That means, you are not alone, and let’s hope there’s valuable information out there. When I asked my audience on media the other day what conditions they wanted information for, this was what they decided! I had NO CLUE that so many people were interested in UTI solutions, but considering that if many people get them, especially women, elderly, and men with BPH, I shouldn’t be surprised. The other thing to take note of is that if you get them, they often reoccur, which means antibiotics over and over again if you go a traditional treatment route and are unable to prevent them.

Let’s get down to business.

What causes Urinary Tract Infections?

The short answer? E. coli getting into the urinary tract, penetrating the cell lining and taking up shop. This is just another case of infection due to bacterial overgrowth.

How do you treat or prevent Urinary Tract Infections?

This is where visiting a doctor who can diagnose the infection and evaluate the severity is important. If there is a severe active infection, you may want to consider antibiotics as the treatment option that is needed because no one wants it to progress into a kidney infection! However, if it is somewhat early and benign, you may be able to get away with an antimicrobial combo like Uva Ursi and Berberine to get the job done.

In the case of prevention, my preference in practice is the use of cranberry extract that contains at least 36mg PAC (proanthocyanidins). These plant compounds found in cranberries have the ability to attach to E. coli and PREVENT them from attaching to the lining in the urinary tract. Having said that, that’s why we use this in folks who have the tendency to get them over and over. You know you want prevention for these patients, and cranberry extract supplements tend to be a great solution! Studies show that if you combine a cranberry extract with 36mg PACs with a broad spectrum probiotic, that it has even slightly better prevention rates (which were already great!) I’m pretty transparent about the supplement industry and what is pretty standard across the board and what you need to be intentional about in terms of quality, and this is one that is notorious for not having many PACs when tested. Be sure to ask your doc for a good cranberry extract!

In addition to antimicrobials for treatment or cranberry extracts for prevention, whether they be prescriptive or natural, you want to make sure to do implement the follow lifestyle habits:

  • drink plenty of water because hydration will help drive urination, flushing out the urinary tract
  • urinate after intercourse
  • wipe front to back, ladies. You don’t want anything bacterial from the back entering the front.
  • steer clear of too much sugar and simple carbs in your diet, because that tends to be a fuel source that bacteria thrive on!
  • take a probiotic or eat fermented foods to help keep your internal environment balanced

Implement these simple solutions, and you could avoid a trip to the doc, another round of antibiotics, and all of the time you waste not being able to pee, having burning during urination, or pain in the back and pelvis!

Patient Journey: Graves’ Disease

  1.  What health issues were you struggling with when you began to work with Dr. Angela?

I had just gotten diagnosed with Graves’ disease, and I also just had an open surgery to remove a benign tumor the size of a cantaloupe, as well as one of my ovaries.  My symptoms were fatigue, racing heart, high blood pressure, hand tremors, excessive sweating, and more!

2.  What treatment methods had you tried prior to Dr. Angela’s program?

I had just started on an anti-thyroid drug after seeing an endocrinologist.

3. What health benefits did you gain from working with Dr. Angela?

I feel like a completely different person than I did before starting this program.  I feel so much better when I ate real whole foods compared to processed foods I was eating before. (Also, got pregnant of first try even when the medical doctors told me it would be a problem for us. ;) )

4. What did you find most beneficial to you in the program?

Dr. Angela does a really good job of educating her patients.  It’s easier for me to follow through with something when I know the “why” and not just instructed to do it.

5. What was your biggest struggle during the transition to a healthier lifestyle?

Wanting to have cheat meals!!

6. Did you food options taste good?

Yes! There are so many good meals we could make and most were more satisfying than our previous meals.

7. Did you have an ah-ha moment that helped you commit to the change?  If so, what was it?

I know that if I didn’t try this, I would have to most likely have my thyroid removed or destroyed, and I did not want to have to do that.

8. If you were going to give a piece of advice to someone on the fence of following a program like Dr. Angela’s, what would you say to them in order to help them decide?

Anything is worth a try, especially before taking medications with harmful side effects, or having a definitive surgery.  Dr. Angela really cares about her patients and devotes everything to help them heal naturally.  I would recommend her to anyone!

Dr. Angela side comments:

Graves’ disease is a very serious condition, and this patient speaks about food and natural healing, but there were also components of medications and supplementation that played a role, too.  These patient journeys are for me to help anyone trying to make decisions about their health get answers to the questions from a patient perspective.  I have every patient do this voluntarily, and I do not alter any of their words.  I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this person’s health journey, and wish her all the abundance moving into motherhood!

Cholesterol, Heart Disease, and What You Should Do

Coronary Heart Disease is our single most common cause of death and it is caused by something called atherosclerosis.  Atherosclerosis is a fancy term for “your vessels get more narrow due to plaques and that reduces the blood flow to whichever organ that vessel is going to.”  IF you have atherosclerosis of the coronary artery, then you have obstruction of blood flow to the heart…..hello, coronary heart disease: the number one killer.  Most people people are familiar with the most common form of coronary heart disease known as a HEART ATTACK!

Symptoms of the early stages:

  • During physical activity, people may experience chest pain that may go into the neck and left arm.  The pain goes away after rest in the early stages.
  • Fatigue during normal activities.  This is due to the lack of blood supply to the heart, so you feel fatigued doing normal activity.

Symptoms of heart attack:

  • Severe chest pain not connected to physical activity.
  • Fear, cold sweats, nausea

Given the fact that autopsies show that by the age of 60, 100% of people have some signs of atherosclerosis, it’s not surprising that people want to know what to do when the doc starts talking about this when they go in for their exam!

What causes atherosclerosis?

People have been led to believe that cholesterol and dietary fats are the root of all this nonsense. We’ve all had someone we know quit eating meat and eggs and opted for non-fat products in attempts to correct the cholesterol issues on their labwork. This is a myth you need to get comfortable rejecting, so keep an open mind here.  Atherosclerosis is an INFLAMMATORY condition! The plaques on the wall of arteries are not cholesterol stuck; it’s actually more like a damaged portion of the artery wall that is covered with a bunch of stuff, but the main component is actually tissue trying to repair that is mostly made from collagen.  The fat part of the plaque is mostly UNSATURATED FATS. This is complex, but the gist is:

  • Something in the bloodstream attacks the artery tissue
  • Immune cells come to the rescue to destroy whatever is attacking the artery tissue
  • Those immune cells call for more help by sending out the bat signal known as inflammation
  • As the body is trying to repair the damage, it grows more collagen and creates a cap on top of the plaque
  • When the inflammation stops, it becomes hard and calcium may take up shop there.  This is like a scar. THIS WOULD BE NORMAL AND WE ALL HAVE SOME SCARS IN OUR ARTERIES.
  • In atherosclerosis, the inflammation doesn’t stop and it forms something similar to puss in a wound.
  • Inflammation is driving the production of enzymes that break down collagen and if the cap over the area gets weak? Boom. Rupture.
  • Within second, the blood tries to thicken to stop bleeding, a clot forms, and the artery is blocked or a portion of it can break off and float downstream and stuck in another location.  This is what we all really fear.

Why avoiding cholesterol isn’t helpful:

The body uses fats and cholesterol as the building blocks for creating new cells and tissues in any healing process.  This is because a huge part of a cell is the membrane and it acts sort of like your skin.  Without it, what would hold in your insides?!  Those membranes are made out of fat and cholesterol and if you want to get geeky, many cells in the body have 50% of the membrane made from cholesterol. THE REASON WE SEE CHOLESTEROL IN AREAS OF PLAQUING IS BECAUSE THAT IS YOUR BODY’S ATTEMPT TO REPAIR THE DAMAGE TO THAT TISSUE!  It’s like saying umbrellas must cause it to rain, because every time it rains, I see all these people holding umbrellas.  Cholesterol is the umbrella.  It’s there BECAUSE OF THE TISSUE DAMAGE, not causing it.

Ok, so let’s cut to the chase.  You understand what I’m saying, so now you want to know what causes that arterial damage that starts this whole thing in the first place.  Without further adieu, let’s look at a list…

  • Chemicals: chemicals in your beauty products, medications, home cleaning products, cigarettes, pesticides, water, processed food.  I bet you had no idea that even what you slather on your skin goes straight to the bloodstream and could be contributing to heart problems!  Stay woke. (If you don’t know what that means, it’s ok, just keep reading)
  • Infections: if you have issues with the barriers between the outside world and inside of your body like gum disease, leaky gut, sinus infections, etc, then you basically have a highway for pathogens to get into your bloodstream and wreak havoc wherever they see fit, which means not just your arteries.  This is also a huge problem with autoimmune diseases and cognitive issues.  I bet you didn’t have any idea your oral hygiene could be a part of your heart disease.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: in order to repair, your body needs adequate building blocks and deficiencies in things such as b-vitamins, vitamin c, vitamin D and amino acids set you up for failure.  If you have b-vitamin deficiencies, you may see elevation in markers like homocysteine on your labs.  If your doc runs complex labs, you may also see vitamin C deficiency pop up as elevated Lipoprotein A. (you have a 70% greater chance of having a heart attack if you have elevated lipoprotein a!)

So, let’s simplify this into some actionable things you could do to help yourself:

  • Eat a healthy diet including lots of plants and good sources of healthy fats
  • Stop eating processed foods and excessive amounts of sugar
  • Clean out your beauty drawer from all the chemical crap (check out this website for information)
  • Work with a physician to get off as many medications as possible.  This is ironic when it comes to statins because statins cut off your ability to produce cholesterol, ultimately lowering your cholesterol numbers.  Knowing what you know now, is cholesterol trying to help heal or trying to hurt your vessels!  Bye, Felicia.
  • Take B-Vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids (1g for prevention or 3g for someone with active conditions), CoQ10 (100mg for those taking statins and want to prevent issues or 500mg if you are experiencing issues of statin use like forgetfulness or muscle/joint pain).  (If you want specific recommendations for the products I prefer, feel free to email me at for links to those)
  • Stop smoking.
  • Start exercising.

Take away points:

  • Prevention is key, so don’t wait until you have heart disease to take your diet and lifestyle seriously.
  • You MUST be on CoQ10 if you are going to continue to take statins.
  • Cholesterol is not the enemy, so do not go low fat in attempts to correct the problem.

Believe it or not, these cases are some of the easiest patient cases I take on!  It doesn’t take much time to see drastic changes in someone’s labwork in these cases, and the solutions are pretty simple when you compare them to more complex issues like cancer and autoimmune diseases.

5 Practical Tips for Creating Health

I don’t think it’s a secret that health comes from lifestyle changes rooted in food, exercise, sleep, and stress management.  What I do think people get stuck on is HOW to implement these lifestyle changes successfully.  Let’s face it, we live in a world where health is inconvenient.  So, there are 5 tips I have for you to create a successful environment for implementing a healthy lifestyle.  The underlying theme in all of these tips is making it MORE CONVENIENT to do the right thing than the unhealthy thing.  That means creating obstacles for yourself if you’re going to choose an unhealthy option.  We are wired for convenience and ease over anything else, so the more you can create convenience and ease for healthy choices, the more successful you’ll be.

5 Practical Tips for Creating Health

  1. Don’t buy it.  It’s a fact that if it’s there, you’ll be tempted.  Am I right?  If all you have in the house are healthy options, it creates an obstacle to choose unhealthy options.  You may STILL choose the unhealthy option on occasion because the desire outweighs the cost.  However, most times, you’ll be too tired to go making special trips just to eat something bad.  Have lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand, and you’ll never starve.
  2. Meal prep.  I am not a prepper.  I love cooking.  That means that I often will buy what sounds good and come up with imaginative combinations throughout the week.  If you are unfamiliar with cooking or just find it stressful, then you’re more likely to make a good decision when mentally fatigued if it’s made for you.  Making meals and having them available ensures that when you get home from a busy day, and you can’t muster one more decision to come out of your brain, you do what’s convenient.  As long as that convenient thing is prepped healthy meals, then you’re golden!
  3. Hang out with good influences.  Friends are friends no matter what, but you’d be lying if you said it’s easy to hang out with friends on a different agenda when you’re trying to make healthy choices.  There are likely friends that also want the same goals.  Make plans to hang out with them and choose food options that propel you both toward positive goals.  Don’t have any friends interested in turning around their health? Then ask them to join you!  Having company in the process can force you to make good decisions even when you don’t want to.
  4. Force yourself to create all junk food from scratch.  Yup.  Think about it.  French fries. Mmm.  Not so yummy if you have to make them from scratch.  They just became a lot more inconvenient.  Cake.  My mouth is watering.   Not so appealing if I have to bake the dang thing.  I’m not saying never indulge, but it’s the same principle as having to leave your house to make a bad decision.  If you have to bake or cook these indulgences from scratch, you will likely just say “no thanks” more often than not.  Who has time to do all that baking anyway?!
  5. Find easy ways to incorporate movement.  Make it a rule for yourself to park at the back of the parking lot.  Schedule hangout time with friends that involves movement…dancing, walking, paddle boarding, biking, yoga.  You will have the best of both worlds: time with friends plus getting in your activity.


These are simple and may seem like things you’ve heard 100 times, but how many times have you tried to implement them.  Maybe just choosing ONE would have a huge impact.  Heck, I know that if many people had to cook junk food from scratch, they would never go to the effort.  The key is to create an obstacle between you and the unhealthy decision.  That also means creating a convenience factor for the healthy decision.  The more you can do that, the more successful implementation you will see.  Try it and let me know how it goes!

Raynaud’s: Natural Solutions

Raynaud’s.  What the heck is that?!  Well, you either clicked to read this article because you have the diagnosis, or you related to the picture, which essentially tells you what Raynaud’s is, visually.  In a nutshell, it’s the lack of blood flowing to the finger tip(s), most commonly.  There can be other areas involved, too, like toes or the tip of your nose;  however, most people who experience the garden-variety version have it happen to a finger tip or two.  When something happens to cause the vessels to the finger tips to constrict, they spasm and don’t open back up as quickly as they should.  That is why you will see white tips when the rest of the finger is red.  The cold is the most common reason for this to happen, but it could also be due to stress.  When the finger tips lose blood flow, they become numb, and the person can’t feel things with those fingers that they would normally.  Typically, it returns to normal in a short time, but it can be rather annoying.

What’s a person to do about this?!

The key to dealing with Raynaud’s is addressing the cause: lack of blood flow.  Sometimes, this can be a side effect of a more serious condition, such as an autoimmune disease (especially scleroderma), medication use impacting blood flow, or certain thyroid conditions.  However, most of the time the key is addressing the spasm of the arterioles.

Here are some easy tips to address to problem: 

  1. Wear warm gloves when in cold temps.  Duh.
  2. Exercise regularly.  Exercise forces blood to pump and keeps your arteries responsive.
  3.  Stop smoking.  It’s well-known that nicotine damages vessels, which is why smokers don’t heal from injury or surgery as well as non-smokers.  It’s all about blood flow to tissue when we are talking about healing.
  4. Address medication use.  Finding and correcting the need for certain medications that impact blood flow, like beta-blockers and even OTC meds for sinusitis!  The reason they stick chemicals in meds for sinusitis is to reduce the blow flow in order to decrease pressure.  Makes sense, right?  But the pressure is not the cause of sinus issues.  Many times, the best option is to address the reason someone is experiencing allergies, stop the release of histamine, or correct the underlying issues impacting recurrent infections.  That could mean taking a different approach to the nutrients you take for these issues.  I digress.
  5. Consider supplements that increase blood flow and oxygen while you are addressing lifestyle factors.  Nutrients such as niacin have been used for a very long time to increase blood flow, and if you have ever used it, you know there’s something called “niacin flush.”  You could also consider nutrients that increase nitric oxide, like l-arginine.  Often times, people with Raynaud’s have low nitric oxide levels.
  6. . Get massages and adjustments regularly.  Adjustments will make sure your nervous system is functioning in tip-top shape, and massages will enhance blood flow to all the areas of your body. I personally think a monthly adjustment and massage is what works best for me!
  7.  Use saunas.  Heat increases blood flow!  It’s not rocket science.  Use saunas regularly throughout the winter to enhance blood flow to tissues. In the winter, I will use a sauna a couple times a week, but I would do it more frequently if my schedule permits!

While many people experience this issue, traditional medicine approaches aren’t that successful.  Try these simple lifestyle changes to address Raynaud’s or heck, just move to the sunny states!  You have to admit, it’s not a bad idea.


Bras: Bad for Our Health?

Let’s just get the point.  I’ll keep this short and sweet.  When you travel to other parts of the world, many countries don’t wear bras!  I remember being in Africa with the Peace Corps and culturally, knees are way more taboo.  So, women would need to cover their knees, but breasts were fair game, often out, and certainly without a lift.  When you compare the rates of breast cancer in the U.S. to those in other nations, you notice a trend in higher rates among Americans.  At one point, this correlation was made to the fact that we wear bras and the nations with lower statistics do not.  That led to the hunt for clues as to what bras could be contributing to the matter.  It was postulated that bras restrict lymph drainage, causing toxins to get trapped in the tissue, and this leads to cancer.  However,  I want to debunk this for a second.

Lymph for breast tissue actually drains in an upward direction.  This means that idea that toxins in breast tissue can’t drain out because of the underwire is somewhat perplexing if you understand physiology.  I may even argue that this correlation is similar to that you may have learned in college when learning that more murders occur in the summer.  More people also eat ice cream in the summer.  So, ice cream consumption must cause people to commit murders.  Hate to burst the bubble.  Correlation doesn’t mean causation.  I think the missing piece of this bra puzzle is really that our lifestyles are very different among countries and those that have less breast cancer rates NOT ONLY wear bras less, but they have less stress, less chemicals, better food quality, and just plain better epigenetics.  Epigenetics are the lifestyle factors that change the environment around your genes.  The better your epigenetics, the better your gene expression.  This can be the difference between getting cancer and not despite holding the gene in the cards you were dealt.

So, on a closing note, I may even argue that bras are good for our health.  The more you work with women who are ill, you know it’s not about the breasts.  It’s about the whole body, their life, their quality of life.  Bras make the girls look perky, they help women look great in clothes, they can boost a woman’s confidence.  These things have a positive physiological effect on our epigenetics.  It’s true.  So, shamelessly wear those bras, ladies.  Take them off at night, and rest in peace knowing it’s ok to wear it again tomorrow. The one pictured is from Third Love. I received some Third Love bras for Christmas, and who knew that I’m actually a half cup person!  Since we only sell bras in full cup sizes, I had missing out on the perfect fit all these years!