How To Test Zinc Levels At Home

Zinc, much like magnesium, is one of those nutrients that is critically important in hundreds of processes in the body. It is estimated that around 25% of the world population is actually deficient in this critical mineral. If you want healthy hormones, a strong immune system, and healthy tissues, you absolutely need to make sure your zinc levels are adequate. Not enough people know this, but there is actually a very simple method to test zinc levels in the comfort of your own home.

Another great way to start to tell if you may not be getting enough zinc in your diet, is by understanding its functions and how someone could become deficient in the first place.

Benefits Of Zinc

The benefits of optimizing your zinc levels are vast. Zinc is involved in so many processes from modulating the immune system to supporting healthy hormone production. These are foundational human processes that must be supported if you want to attain optimal health.

Boosts Immunity

Zinc modulates the immune system by balancing the Th-1 and Th-2 branches of the immune system. This is important for coordinating the immune system in cases of imbalance such as autoimmunity and cancer.

Zinc also assists a protein called human cytokine interferon alpha that is responsible for inhibiting the replication of viruses within the body (1).

Reduces Inflammation

An imbalanced immune response is one of the number one causes of chronic inflammation in our society. By helping to balance and coordinate the immune system, zinc also helps to drastically lower inflammation for many people.

On top of this, zinc plays a critical role in the production of one of the body’s most important antioxidants, superoxide dismutase (SOD). SOD protects genes from becoming damaged, helps to detoxify the body, and further assists the immune system by protecting against viral infection.

Anti-Cancer

It is a natural consequence that by reducing inflammation and improving immune coordination, zinc also improves the body’s ability to fight off cancer cells.

In addition to this, zinc actually plays an important role in regulation of the expression of the P53 gene. The P53 gene plays an important role in monitoring the cell division cycle and preventing cancerous growth (2, 3).

Chronic oxidative stress can cause damage to the p53 gene that renders it useless and leads to an inability to protect the genomic stability. In order to be active, p53 needs to bind zinc while other metals such as copper can displace zinc leading to p53 unfolding.

Low zinc levels or excessive copper and other heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, cadmium and mercury can damage the p53 protein (45).

Reasons For Zinc Deficiency

Before we can even think about using supplemental zinc or consuming more zinc-rich foods, we must understand what causes our zinc stores to deplete.

Addressing these factors will make the zinc you do consume go much further in exerting its benefits in the body.

Leaky Gut & Poor Digestion

A commonly overlooked reason for poor zinc levels in the body, is that you are just not digesting your foods as well as you should. If you have a leaky gut or poor stomach acid production, it is likely you are deficient in several nutrients.

Zinc is also extremely important for healing and sealing the gut.  So if you are deficient, it becomes a viscious cycle of inflammation and the gut lining will never heal.

Medications

Medications that damage the gut or inhibit stomach acid production can be another overlooked factor in poor zinc levels.  Most prescribing doctors are unfamiliar with the long-term ramifications of these medications and how they deplete key nutrients and cause a number of health problems.

If you currently use or have a history of using things like prescription antibiotics, NSAIDS (Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.), proton pump inhibitors, or antacids; you will definitely want to take additional steps to support digestion.

Poor Diet & Blood Sugar Imbalance

If you are simply not consuming nutrient dense foods, and instead rely heavily on processed foods, you are most likely lacking in several nutrients.  Consuming zinc-rich foods and balancing blood sugar are critical strategies for ensuring you retain adequate levels of nutrients like zinc.

Finally, consuming a lot of grains, nuts, and foods containing phytic acids can quickly deplete the body’s zinc stores. Limiting your intake of these foods or at least sprouting them before consuming is important.

Chronic Stress

Zinc is important for a large number of biological processess and stress speeds up biological function.  During times of elevated stress, zinc is utilized at a much more rapid rate, increasing your dietary need for zinc.

If you are noticing that you are experiencing high amounts of overwhelming emotions like anxiety, this could be due in part to low zinc levels. Of course several other nutrient are involved such as magnesium and B-complex vitamins.

Exposure To Toxins

Exposure to toxins like pesticides and heavy metals in the environment can interfere with zinc absorption and increase stress within the body. This depletes your zinc levels while simultaneously increasing your need, not a good combo.

Also, consuming high levels of copper can lead to an imbalance in copper:zinc ratios.  This is not uncommon as copper is a common byproduct of industrial manufacturing and is often high in our city water.  Additionally, high copper can come from drinking water from copper pipes and women having a copper IUD.  Additionally, foods such as grains, nuts and seeds are high in copper and also contain phytic acids that reduce zinc absorption.

Copper and zinc work against each other to regulate certain functions in the body. Having high copper levels in relation to zinc can create many problems and you can read more about that in this article.  Consuming a clean, healing diet, getting good water filtration and lowering your intake of copper-rich foods, and increasing your zinc intake are all powerful for rebalancing this ratio.

Signs Of Zinc Deficiency

After reflecting on your daily life and seeing if any of the causes above align with you, it is important to observe your own health for common symptoms of zinc deficiency.

The following is a list of common symptoms seen with zinc deficiency or copper:zinc imbalance:

How To Test

There are several ways to test your zinc levels. One that I am a fan of due to its simplicity and cost-effectiveness is the zinc sulfate taste test. All you do purchase a bottle of zinc sulfate liquid (this a good one), place a capful in your mouth, and observe the sensations in your mouth.

Below are the possible outcomes and indications:

You Notice No Metallic Taste: Zinc Deficiency

You Notice A Delayed Metallic Taste: Slight Zinc Deficiency

You Notice Slight Metallic Taste: Zinc Levels Are Adequate, But Could Be Higher

You Notice Very Strong Metallic Taste: You Likely Have Optimal Zinc Levels

Optimal Levels

If you notice that you are expressing signs of slight to complete zinc deficiency, you will need to be intentional about the foods you eat to drastically increase zinc intake. You will also need to avoid dietary habits that deplete zinc levels like consuming high amounts of sugar, grains, and processed foods.

Zinc-Rich Foods

Consuming plenty of zinc-rich foods is a great start to optimizing your zinc levels. The following graphic outlines some of the best sources of zinc you can consume.

You will notice that various seeds made the list which seems counterintuitive since I mentioned phytic acid containing foods lowering zinc levels. However, these foods contain really high amounts of zinc that may counteract this effect. Buying these in their sprouted forms is ideal.

Supplemental

When it comes to quickly balancing zinc levels in the body, supplementation is very helpful. Just as with many supplements, zinc comes in many forms. My favorite is Zinc Glycinate because it is what’s called a chelated form. This is important because it is very easily absorbed by the body unlike many other forms.

The recommended daily allowance for zinc is between eight to eleven milligrams for most adults. However, for functional health most progressive nutritionists and doctors recommend between 20-40 mg/daily. You can use your results from the Zinc Sulfate taste test to determine how much supplemental zinc to consume.

If your results indicate a slight or complete zinc deficiency, 40 mg daily is likely more suitable for you while 20 mg daily may be more suitable for someone who is trying to maintain optimal levels.

Summary

Zinc is critical for overall health and quality of life. It is important to assess your daily life and physiological wellbeing to determine whether or not you are getting enough of this vital mineral in your diet.

The Zinc Sulfate test is an incredibly simple and cost-effective way to determine your zinc levels at home. If you are showing signs of zinc deficiency, than it is important to follow a blood sugar stabilizing healing diet and improve your stomach acid, enzymes and overall digestive function.  You will also want to reduce your exposure to some of the higher copper foods such as nuts and seeds and increase zinc rich foods (fish and grass-fed meats) and take additional zinc supplements.

Sources For This Article Include

1. Ohio State University. “Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response.” Science Daily.
2. Lane, D. P. (1992). Cancer. p53, guardian of the genome. Nature. PMID: 1614522
3. Adimoolam, S., & Ford, J. M. (2003). p53 and regulation of DNA damage recognition during nucleotide excision repair. DNA Repair. PMID: 12967652
4. Phatak, V. M., & Muller, P. A. J. (2015). Metal toxicity and the p53 protein: an intimate relationship. Toxicol. Res., 4(3), 576–591. Link
5. Tokumoto, M., Fujiwara, Y., Shimada, A., Hasegawa, T., Seko, Y., Nagase, H., & Satoh, M. (2011). Cadmium toxicity is caused by accumulation of p53 through the down-regulation of Ube2d family genes in vitro and in vivo. The Journal of Toxicological Sciences, 36(2), 191–200. PMID: 21467746


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7 Ways To Reduce Food Sensitivities

If you feel like you have all of a sudden developed an allergy to certain types of foods, or even just feel a little less like yourself after your meals, you may have a food sensitivity. A food sensitivity is a low-grade reaction to certain types of foods that causes an inflammatory reaction within your body.

Over time these foods can damage your gut and dysregulate your immune system, opening the doors to many health problems. Food sensitivities are one of the first factors I address with my patients, so in this article I am going to break down 7 ways to reduce food sensitivities in your own body.

The Damaging Impact of Food Sensitivities

You may be familiar to the idea of a food allergy. This is when someone has an outright and obvious negative reaction to a certain food. We all know someone who has an allergy to peanuts or dairy for example.

A food sensitivity however is an inflammatory reaction that can occur on a systemic level over time without you knowing it. Left unaddressed, it can eventually develop into an outright allergy due to leaky gut and possibly even auto-immunity.

Common Symptoms Of Food Sensitivities

A food sensitivity is a low-grade inflammatory reaction to a food. Typically, the longer you have been consuming a food you are sensitive to, the more you begin to experience symptoms. Common symptoms of food sensitivities include:

Moodiness

Brain Fog

Food Cravings

Headaches

Fatigue

Heart Burn

Joint Pain

Gas/Bloating

Acne or Eczema

Autoimmunity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, you will likely want to take steps to remove common reactive foods and strengthen your body’s resilience against sensitivities.

Allergy Vs Sensitivity

There are currently three main explanations for the negative reactions that occur in the body from specific foods. These reactions are classified as IgE, non-IgE, or IgG-mediated. The “Ig” in these abbreviations stand for “Immunoglobulin”. Immunoglobulins are important regulatory proteins in the immune system that regulate inflammatory reactions to strategically focus the immune system on specific targets such as viruses and foreign bacteria.

In a classic allergic reaction where consuming a certain food, such as peanuts, can lead to a life-threatening reaction, you are looking at an IgE-mediated process. Non-IgE-mediated reactions are typically isolated to the gut and result in damage to the GI tract, gas/bloating, and potentially diarrhea. Non-IgE mediated reactions are thought to be largely influenced by the makeup of your gut bacteria (1).

Finally, there are IgG-mediated reactions which are thought to be the primary culprit in food sensitivity development. Continued exposure to foods that elicit an IgG-mediated reaction can are now thought to cause systemic problems in the body over time and oftentimes develop into full-blown allergies if not addressed.

The steps in this article are meant to help prevent this progression and strengthen your body’s defenses against these unwanted reactions to foods.

Get Rid of Inflammatory Foods

The first step you want to take is to remove common inflammatory foods from the diet. How reactive you are to certain foods is heavily determined by the health of your gut. By removing common reactive foods for a period of time, you lessen the burden on your gut and allow it time to heal.

Some of the most common food sensitivities include:

  • Wheat (and most other grains)
  • Soy (and most other beans/legumes)
  • Eggs & Dairy
  • Fish (especially shellfish)
  • Peanuts
  • Conventionally Raised Meats
  • Corn

You will definitely want to make sure you at least remove the foods listed above from your diet. If you want to take it a step further, I recommend following an elimination diet program.

Follow An Elimination Diet

An elimination diet follows the initial principle outlined above by removing common reactive foods from the diet for a period of time. The next step, however, is to reintroduce these foods one at a time to identify which ones you are specifically reactive to.

If you have a sensitivity to a food, your body will produce a stress response to it when you consume it. This will activate your sympathetic nervous system and drive your heart rate up. By reintroducing foods back into your diet and performing a pulse test, you can identify your unique food sensitivities for free!

Check out my video below on how to perform a pulse test on yourself.

Strengthen Stomach Acid Production

If you want to strengthen your resilience against food sensitivities, you need to support your stomach acid. One of the big reasons you can get a reaction to a food is that you have a damaged, leaky gut. When you have leaky gut, undigested food particles get into your system. Once there, the immune system treats them as foreign invaders.

Those larger molecules become stored in your immune system’s memory and every time you eat that food in the future you have an inflammatory response and this is oftentimes how someone can develop new food allergies (2).

Unfortunately, the relationship between stomach acid and food sensitivities is actually a downward spiral. This is because inflammatory foods inhibit stomach acid production over time and low stomach acid inhibits your ability to fully break down those same foods. The result is continued damage, inhibited digestive processes, and continued release of undigested food particles into the blood stream.

In addition to following the steps already mentioned, you may find it advantageous to use a stomach acid support supplement. This will help you fully digest your food while relieving stress from the digestive tract, assisting it in rebuilding.

Meanwhile, you will want to support your own intrinsic formation of stomach acid by following the steps illustrated below.

Consider Digestive Enzymes

If you haven’t noticed so far, a lot of healing the gut has to do with removing as many stressors as possible. Removing reactive foods and taking steps to support proper digestion are critical here. On top of supporting stomach acid production, supplementing with a high quality digestive enzyme complex can be especially helpful in breaking down a variety of foods.

Consequently, one of the common symptoms of low enzyme production is an increase in food sensitivities. Additionally, your immune, detoxification, as well as many other systems in the body rely on enzymes to carry out normal functions. Getting a broad range of enzymes into your body on a daily basis will help aid in rebalancing these processes.

SuperDZyme is my personally developed enzymatic complex that I use for this purpose. For gut support, I would recommend consuming 2-4 capsules with each solid-food meal. Enzymes are also great for ongoing digestive support for everyday wellness and they are something I even use on a daily basis for the benefits outlined below.

Improve Immune Tolerance

The damage that occurs in the gut over time due to inflammatory foods eventually leads to leaky gut. As I mentioned earlier, this allows large food molecules into the bloodstream that distract the immune system from real pathogenic threats.

This means a lot of the inflammation caused by food sensitivities is actually due to unwarranted immune reactions. With this in mind, one of the best ways to increase your resilience against food sensitivities is to take steps to strengthen and coordinate your immune system.

The top nutrients I have found for this purpose include: Quercetin, Curcumin, Zinc Glycinate, L-Glutamine, Ginger, and Pea Protein.

Gut Healing Support Supplements

You can purchase these ingredients individually; however, I have formulated a gut healing protein blend containing all of these nutrients that is specifically designed for restoring gut health and improving detoxification systems in the body that also serves as a powerful source of nutrition.

As an additional strategy, colostrum is powerful immune support for the gut. Colostrum is a compound found in high concentrations in mother’s milk of most mammals. It contains important immunoglobulins that act to balance gut flora, reduce GI inflammation, and aid in healing the gut lining. For a concentrated source of gut healing immunoglobulins, I recommend Gut Defense.

Take Gentle Anti-Microbials

If you have unbalanced gut flora or have harmful pathogens in your gut, it is going to be difficult to reduce food sensitivities. When pathogens are present in the gut, you will have continued inflammation and distraction of the immune system.

My recommended strategy for this is to utilize gentle anti-microbial compounds on a daily basis to rebalance and maintain the microbiome of your GI tract. This includes things like: garlic, onions, fermented foods, Italian herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary), lemon & lime juices, and apple cider vinegar. Essential oils such as oregano can also be very powerful for this.

Alternatively, you could supplement with an anti-microbial supplement such as GI Regulator on a regular basis. This formula is a gentle and simple way to help rebalance your gut flora on a daily basis.

Take Specific Probiotics

There has been some interesting research showing that the microbiome of your gut can either potentiate or protect you from experiencing food sensitivities (3, 4). This makes sense as the microbes in your gut interact with every bite of food that you eat.

Things like antibiotic use, exposure to damaging chemicals, processed foods, spending too much time in a sterilized environment, and even being formula fed as a child can all alter the microbiome in a way that increases your likelihood of suffering from food allergies.

The presence of specific strains of bacteria in the gut such as: Lactobacilli, Saccharomyces boulardii, Bacillus coagulans, and L. acidophilus have all shown to play some role in reducing food sensitivities and restoring a healthy microbial environment in the gut (5, 6). At the same time, probiotics have been shown to help restore the integrity of the gut lining which is also an important step for reducing sensitivity (7).

Our SBO probiotic is a great source of these sensitivity-reducing probiotic strains. For those intolerant to probiotics or are having severe digestive issues, I would recommend beginning with our Prescript-Assist. Prescript-Assist is a great low-dose soil-based probiotic that does a great job of laying a foundation for a healthy gut microbiome. For many of my patients I will recommend beginning with Prescript-Assist for 1-3 months before introducing SBO and this gets great results.

Bonus Strategies

Reduce FODMAP Sensitivities

FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligo, Di- and Monosaccharides and Polyols. While this sounds complicated, these are just compounds that occur in specific types of foods. If you are someone with an imbalance in your gut bacteria, especially in the small intestine, you will likely react negatively to FODMAP foods.

If you have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), I would recommend eliminating FODMAP foods for a short amount of time to help restore balance in the small intestine. Take a look at the chart below. If you notice that after consuming any of the following foods that you consistently get diarrhea and flatulence, it may be advantageous for you to remove FODMAPs from your diet.

During this time, it would be a good idea consume anti-microbials, probiotics such as Prescript-Assist, and nourishing foods like bone broth.

Reduce Histamine Sensitivities

Allergies can often be potentiated or caused by elevated histamine in the body. Histamine is an important inflammatory molecule that plays a role in regulating immunity. In some individuals however, elevated histamine or improper histamine metabolism can lead to exaggerated reactions to different environmental factors, such as food compounds.

These people will usually know whether or not they are histamine intolerant. They are often very reactive to things like fermented foods and some even report being allergic to the sun!

In this case, it is very important to reduce your exposure to histamine-raising foods while also taking steps to improve your metabolism of histamines. Many of the steps outlined in this article will help improve your histamine response. You can read more about histamine intolerance here.

Complete Digestive Health Analysis

While following an food elimination diet along with strategies in this article is a great way to reduce your food sensitivities. The most efficient and targeted strategy is to use functional lab testing to quickly identify your sensitivities and current health of your gut.

We use the Food Sensitivity IgG test to look at specific food sensitivities, an Organic Acid test to look for nutrient deficiencies and microbial biomarkers and a stool test to look at the makeup of the microbiome.  We combine all 3 of these labs in our Digestive Health Analysis, which is one of the best ways to quickly identify the health of your microbiome, signs of a damaged gut, and pinpoint your specific food sensitivities.

With this information, we can develop a personal plan specifically aimed at the results we see on your lab work. If you are feeling severely inhibited by your digestive health, this would be a great package to get in order to find the root cause of your problems and get a well-designed plan to get well.

You are likely hosting one or more parasites–which can enter your body through food, drink, contact with infected persons–and can live within you for years!

At The Parasite Summit, our experts will help you determine if parasites are silently impacting your health–they’re FAR MORE COMMON than you think!

WHY ATTEND?

Parasites aren’t just found in third-world countries, millions are already infected in industrialized countries–they’re far more common than you realize and could be silently hampering your health.

Fortunately, with awareness and appropriate care, parasites can be prevented and treated, once detected.

The Parasite Summit is online and free from September 11-18, 2017!

Do You Have Any of the Following?

Gastrointestinal: pain/cramps, excess gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea

Infertility and hormone disorders

Skin issues: acne, itching, rashes

Mental health: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Challenges with autoimmune disease recovery

If you are dealing with any of these issues than you MUST ATTEND this free online event!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Jyonouchi, H. (2012). Non-IgE mediated food allergy – update of recent progress in mucosal immunity. Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets, 11(5), 382–396. PMID: 22680623
2. Fasano, A. (2012). Leaky gut and autoimmune diseases. Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology, 42(1), 71–78. PMID: 22109896
3. Stefka, A. T., Feehley, T., Tripathi, P., Qiu, J., McCoy, K., Mazmanian, S. K., … Nagler, C. R. (2014). Commensal bacteria protect against food allergen sensitization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 111(36), 13145–50. PMID: 25157157
4. Cao, S., Feehley, T. J., & Nagler, C. R. (2014). The role of commensal bacteria in the regulation of sensitization to food allergens. FEBS Letters, 588(22), 4258–4266. PMID: 24791655
5. Fosca A, Polsinelli L, Aquilio E (2015) Effects of Probiotic Supplementation in Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity Patients. J Hum Nutr Food Sci 3(5): 1073. (Link)
6. Pandey, K. R., Naik, S. R., & Vakil, B. V. (2015). Probiotics, prebiotics and synbiotics- a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. PMID: 26604335
7. Rao, R. K., & Samak, G. (2013). Protection and Restitution of Gut Barrier by Probiotics: Nutritional and Clinical Implications. Current Nutrition and Food Science, 9(2), 99–107. PMID: 24353483

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5 Nutrients To Heal Autoimmune Disease

 5 Nutrients To Heal Autoimmune Disease

With over 250 million people suffering from this disease worldwide, autoimmunity is becoming a prevalent and concerning health problem. Autoimmunity is when the immune system becomes uncoordinated and begins attacking itself. I have worked with many autoimmunity cases and have found that certain nutrient deficiencies are almost always at play. In this article, I discuss why I think these deficiencies are the 5 key nutrients to heal autoimmune disease.

My desire to help those with autoimmunity comes from a history of personal health challenges that were rooted in my digestive health. After overcoming these health challenges, being on the other side, I realize just how debilitating conditions like autoimmunity can be. I find many similarities between the presence of these conditions including lack of key nutrients in the diet. I believe these 5 to be critical to address in the case of autoimmunity.

1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is arguably one of the most powerful nutrients responsible for modulating and coordinating the immune system. In autoimmune disorders, the immune system has a hard time differentiating self from non-self (foreign invaders). Vitamin D helps the immune system make this important distinction (1).

Vitamin D deficiency is vastly common in our society due to sunscreen use and low amounts of sun exposure. On top of this, the average diet is severely lacking dietary sources of Vitamin D such as organ meats and certain fish.

Boosting Vitamin D

Sunlight is by far and away the most important factor in optimizing your vitamin D levels. Not only does skin exposure to sunlight help produce vitamin D in its sulfated form, which may have unique benefits to the body in addition to supplemental vitamin D. For tips on healthy sun exposure, read this article.

Our ancestors frequently ate organ meats in their diets, such as liver, that were dense sources of vitamin D. Other great sources of dietary Vitamin D are wild fish like sockeye salmon and sardines.

To get Vitamin D levels into the therapeutic range of 60-100 nmol/L, I typically will recommend additional supplementation along with Vitamin K2. For this I will use D3/K2 Power which contains 10,000 IU along with vitamin K2 and I get great results with this.

I will also sometimes use D3/K2 drops for more targeted dosing because it contains 1000IU vitamin D3 per serving. I recommend up to 2000IU for every 25 lbs. of bodyweight in cases of autoimmunity.

2. Zinc

Zinc is another critical nutrient for healthy immune system function. Proper zinc levels help support the thymus gland and the formation of T helper cells, which are vital for coordination of the immune system (2).

Studies have shown that chronically low zinc levels can result in atrophy of the thymus gland which leads to poor T helper cell maturation and an imbalance in the Th1 and Th2 branches of the immune system. It is this immune imbalance that contributes to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity.

Boosting Zinc Intake

The RDA for adult zinc intake is around 12mg per day, but I typically see the best results with an intake of 30-60mg. The top dietary source of zinc is by far oysters with about 29.75 mg per 3.5 ounce serving. The next best would be sprouted pumpkin seeds which have about 7.81 mg of zinc per 3.5 ounce serving. Finally, liver and pasture-raised lamb and beef are other great sources of dietary zinc.

While there are some great food sources of zinc, I usually recommend supplementing with about 20-40mg zinc glycinate per day in cases of autoimmunity. I like zinc glycinate specifically because it is very absorbable while the glycine molecule provides additional anti-inflammatory benefits.

You can find my favorite form here. I recommend supplementing with 20mg once or twice daily with meals to ensure proper absorption.

3. Glutathione

Glutathione is the most powerful antioxidant in the human body. It acts as an antioxidant on its own while also regulating other antioxidants in the body. In addition to antioxidant benefits, glutathione supports healthy detoxification. These actions will help lower inflammation drastically, which is a major factor in autoimmune conditions.

Glutathione has also been identified as playing a major role in white blood cell function and immune system regulation. For these reasons, glutathione has been identified a key nutrient in autoimmunity (3).

Glutathione support should be a part of every autoimmune support protocol.

Boosting Glutathione

Boosting glutathione to optimal levels comes down to three things: diet, lifestyle, and supplementation.

My top foods for boosting glutathione are non-denatured grass-fed whey protein, organ meats, sprouts, sulfurous foods (garlic, onions, cruciferous veggies), as well as herbs like turmeric, ginger, and milk thistle. These foods provide the building blocks for glutathione production in the body.

Next, there are several lifestyle factors that affect glutathione production. These include things like getting good sleep, adequate exercise, healthy sun exposure, and avoiding environmental toxins.

In terms of supplementation, there are things like selenium, N-acetyl Cysteine (NAC), and Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) which have all been shown to boost glutathione production in the body. I make my own supplement containing these powerful glutathione-boosting nutrients called Brain Supercharge. In many tough cases however, it is possible that the body has an inhibited ability to make its own glutathione. In these cases, I will use an acetylated glutathione supplement.

Pure glutathione is destroyed by digestion while the acetylated form does a much better job at passing through the digestive tract and exerting its beneficial effects.

4. Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids play a very important role in autoimmunity. I find that in most cases of autoimmunity, there is a significant imbalance of fatty acids in the body.

In the standard American diet, there is a high consumption of omega 6 fats from processed oils while omega 3 fatty acids are virtually absent. While all omega 6 fatty acids are not necessarily bad from the right sources, it’s important to increase omega 3 consumption to create a balanced ratio in the body.

An elevated omega 6 level relative to omega 3 is highly associated with the kind of systemic inflammation that is indicated in most autoimmune disorders (4).

Another really important dietary aspect to focus on is getting healthy fats in general. The Standard American Diet is full of problematic fat sources that are highly inflammatory. The following graphic is a good summary of which fats are best to include in your diet.

Boosting Omega-3 Levels

When it comes to boosting your omega 3 levels there are really 2 ways to do this, through omega 3-rich foods and with a high-quality supplement.

I really like to emphasize focusing on DHA and EPA omega 3’s because they have the most profound impact on the healing from autoimmunity. My top food sources for these fatty acids are wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, sardines, and anchovies. These are my top choices because the high omega 3 content without many of the heavy metal concerns of other fish.

For supplementation of omega 3, I recommend a purified fish oil from smaller fish such as sardines and anchovies. My favorite fish oil brand is Nordic Naturals because they purify their oil and third party test to ensure the absence of mercury.

In more advanced cases, such as with autoimmunity, I have found this Pro Omega CRP fish oil extremely helpful. It contains curcumin extract, NAC, and glutathione to provide additional anti-inflammatory benefits.

5. Probiotics

Another huge common denominator I find with my autoimmune patients is that they almost always have some kind of bacterial imbalance in the gut. Having a healthy bacterial balance is key to having a healthy digestive tract and proper immune function. Dysbiosis is also heavily associated with inflammation that can directly promote autoimmunity.

The microbiome connection to autoimmunity is even being investigated for clinical treatment of autoimmunity (5).

Unfortunately, modern day we have many things that really destroy the good bacteria in our gut. These are things like municipal tap water, pesticides in crops, artificial sweeteners, antibiotics, processed foods, alcohol, and the list goes on. So the first priority is to really work on getting this microbiome destroying toxins out of our lives, then to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria.

Incorporating Probiotics

Probiotics can be delicate in autoimmune cases because I find that many of my patients can be pretty reactive to many foods. This is why I recommend starting with a supplemental probiotic over fermented foods.

For these cases I really like to start with a broad-spectrum probiotic like Prescript-Assist because it works really well for setting a solid foundation of microbiota in the gut. This probiotic can be used for 1-3 months before cycling to a another lactic-acid based probiotic like my ProbioCharge.

I see best results when cycling probiotics every 1-3 months as it helps maintain a diverse microbiome full of many different strains of good bacteria.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Maruotti, N., & Cantatore, F. P. (2010). Vitamin D and the immune system. Journal of Rheumatology. PMID: 21527855
2. Hojyo, S., & Fukada, T. (2016). Roles of Zinc Signaling in the Immune System. Journal of Immunology Research, 2016. PMID: 27872866
3. Perricone, C., De Carolis, C., & Perricone, R. (2009). Glutathione: A key player in autoimmunity. Autoimmunity Reviews. PMID: 19393193
4. Fenton, J., Hord, N., Ghosh, S., & Gurzell, E. (2013). Long chain omega-3 fatty acid immunomodulation and the potential for adverse health outcomes. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids, 1–26. PMID: 24183073
5. Rosser, E. C., & Mauri, C. (2016). A clinical update on the significance of the gut microbiota in systemic autoimmunity. Journal of Autoimmunity. PMID: 27481556

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10 Ways To Improve The Gut Microbiome

10 Ways To Improve The Gut Microbiome

Not too long ago it was common practice to write off mood or neurological disorders as a poor mentality. Chronic headaches and inflammation were thought of as normal parts of life. There are more conditions like this that we just didn’t fully understand for a long time.. until we took a deeper dive into the complexity of the gut microbiome.

As more evidence comes out and our understanding of what goes on in the gut gets deeper, it has become very apparent that the health of our gut, to a pretty huge extent, determines many other aspects of overall health. What I’m saying is, looking for ways to improve the gut microbiome may just change your life.

The Role of the Microbiome

The digestive tract isn’t just where food is digested and passed through the body. In addition to this role, the digestive system actually plays a vital role in mental health, immunity, and metabolism. The way that our gut can have such an impact on so many areas of our health comes down to the gut microbiome. The gut is filled with a diverse community of different types of bacteria that some say outnumbers the cells in your body by a 10-to-1 ratio!

When it comes to taking control of your microbiome for better health, the key is diversity and proper balance. The tips outlined in this article are geared toward improving these aspects of the microbiome based on what we currently know scientifically.

Avoid Microbiome Destroyers

While there are many things you can do to actively improve your microbiome, the first thing you need to do is take care of anything that is damaging it. These include things like antibiotics, artificial sweeteners, sugar, non-organic produce, GMOs, and overly sterilized environments.

It is now widely understood how antibiotics destroy both good and bad bacteria in the gut which can lead to dysbiosis or opportunistic infections. Perhaps what is less commonly known is how sugar and artificial sweeteners (Splenda, nutrasweet, etc.) tend to support an overgrowth of unwanted bacteria that can lead to sugar cravings, brain fog, increased risk of obesity, and more.

Non-organic and GMO foods are damaging for having notoriously high levels of glyphosate. Glyphosate is an extremely problematic pesticide with a long list of adverse reactions in the body. In terms of the microbiome, glyphosate has been found to damage the gut lining, loosening the gap junctions between cells (leading to leaky gut), and contribute to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria (1).

Another commonly overlooked source of microbiome destroying chemicals is your municipal water supply. Tap water often contains many problematic chemicals like chlorine, fluoride, and aluminum. I would recommend buying a home water filtration system that removes these things like the Big Berkey or Aquasana.

Finally, it is important not to overly sterilize everything around you. You pick up a lot of microbial diversity from the world around you and this helps your body regulate itself within its environment. I will cover this again later in this article.

Cut The Sugar

Although I already mentioned sugar, it is probably worth mentioning again. It is very difficult to achieve a healthy microbiome while consuming large amounts of sugar or sugary foods (like fruit) on a regular basis.

Fast digesting sugars when consumed actually starve your beneficial bacteria while feeding things like candida. Candida is typically present in small amounts but an overgrowth can lead to sugar cravings and brain fog.

The best thing to do here is really focus on lowering your consumption of sugar from all sources, including grains and fruits. Opt instead for foods in the next section.

Increase Fiber Intake

Instead of eating lots of sugar-rich foods, opt instead for foods that are high in fiber.  Fiber is a prebiotic because your beneficial gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria actually feed on fibrous foods. Supporting the growth of your beneficial bacteria will also help control the growth of harmful bacteria.

A healthy fiber intake will also help keep your digestive tract healthy by improving the passage of waste in a timelier manner. Food that sits in the digestive tract too long can begin to putrefy, create harmful toxins, and feed unwanted bacteria in your gut.

Some of my favorite high-fiber foods include avocados, berries, coconut meat, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, chia seeds, and leafy green vegetables. Many fruits are also high in fiber but tend to contain lots of sugar. My favorite high fiber fruits that are less likely to feed unwanted bacteria in the gut are green apples and berries.

There has been some recent research showing that diets low in fiber can not only starve healthy bacteria in the gut, but also contribute to a degrading of the mucosal barrier along the gut lining. This is problematic because this is the kind of change that often precedes leaky gut and more severe imbalances in intestinal bacteria (2).

Fermented Foods & Probiotics

After you have addressed the basics like removing microbiome destroyers and getting lots of healthy fiber to actually feed your good bacteria, it may be helpful to begin introducing fermented vegetables or a high-quality probiotic supplement into your diet.

After following the first few strategies here, introducing dietary or supplementary bacteria will accelerate healthy bacterial growth and promote a flourishing and diverse microbiome. Some of my favorite fermented foods include grass-fed milk kefir, coconut water kefir, sauerkraut, pickles (fermented not pickled), and kimchi. These foods actually have a very diverse set of bacteria that is far beyond what most probiotics can give you.

Challenges with Fermented Foods

Many people that I work with, however, have some pretty serious issues going on in their body that causes histamine intolerance and reactions to fermented foods. If you find you do not react well then it is probably best to avoid them momentarily.

In these cases I typically recommend a broad-spectrum probiotic like Prescript-Assist™. I have found that this probiotic works extremely well for people who are having a lot of intestinal issues. If you are considering introducing probiotics into your system, I would recommend starting with this one to lay a solid foundation of bacteria before trying a lactic-acid based probiotic (which is most of them) or fermented foods.

Intermittent Fasting

Fasting isn’t typically looked at as a method of improving the microbiome but I think it may be a powerful strategy. I have found that those people with bacterial imbalances in their gut often have gut inflammation and low immunity. This often also accompanies leaky gut.

During fasting you allow your digestive tract to heal any damage that has been done while boosting immunity. During this time, you can consume lots of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar to further improve gut health or consume some nutrient-rich bone broth.

Doing a bone broth fast can be one of the most powerful therapies for a damaged gut. Bone broth contains collagen-rich gelatin and the amino acid L-glutamine which have both been shown to heal and support the gut lining. As was mentioned earlier, a healthy gut lining is key to a healthy microbiome.

Get Rid Of The Bad Guys

When you have a bacterial imbalance in your gut your ability to fight off pathogens is lowered. This opens the doors for opportunistic bacteria, viruses, and parasites to move in. Once they are situated, they can damage the gut, release toxins, and crowd out healthy bacteria.

It is important to make sure any foreign pathogens have been addressed specifically or creating a healthy microbiome will be much more difficult.

Using the probiotic I mentioned (Prescript-Assist™), fasting, and using anti-microbial herbs will all help with this to an extent. My favorite antimicrobial herbs include rosemary, oregano, basil, thyme, and uncooked garlic.

Some more stubborn pathogens may need a more targeted approach. In cases when unwanted pathogens are present, I use GI Regulator. It contains berberine, bayberry extract, grapefruit seed, and zinc. Together, these ingredients are powerful for helping get rid of most of the common problematic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that I encounter in my patients.

Fortify The Mucosal Barrier

Alluded to in some of the strategies already mentioned, supporting the health of your mucosal barrier is absolutely critical for a healthy microbiome. The mucosal barrier is actually where many of your gut bacteria live, so making sure it is intact will help ensure a proper environment for them to thrive (3).

In addition to housing your microbiome, the mucosal barrier also acts as a protective barrier from pathogens, toxins, and stomach acid.

To heal and fortify your mucosal barrier, there a number of strategies to follow. First of all, to limit damage, it is important to eat an anti-inflammatory diet that limits toxin exposure and that excludes common food sensitivities.

For additional support, sipping on bone broth throughout the day can be very beneficial. You can make your own, buy it at many grocery stores, or try a bone broth powder. Some other great nutrients for supporting a healthy gut lining are aloe vera, L-glutamine, and deglychrrhizinated licorice. I have a specially formulated gut healing formula that combines all of these things that has helped many of my patients with severe digestive issues.

Get Dirty

Getting out in nature is good for you for many reasons. Studies show that getting barefoot contact with the earth can actually improve mood, boost creativity, and help you get better sleep at night.

When it comes to your microbiome, your outdoor surroundings play a key role. Animals, plants, and dirt all harbor their own bacterial microbiome. By coming in contact with soil and animals, we actually acquire unique and diverse bacteria that improve the health of our microbiome.

Just getting skin contact with the earth can be beneficial. If you get fresh organic produce from local sources, simply rinse them in water before eating to leave behind some of the beneficial soil based organisms. Another great way to reconnect with the earth and your food is to start a garden. Contact with dirt isn’t as dirty as you think!

Finally, having a pet can greatly benefit your microbiome. Studies have even shown that kids who are raised with pets actually have lower rates of allergies and obesity (4, 5).

Boost Your Home’s Microbiome

Like I said before, we live in a world obsessed with keeping everything clean and sterilized. The standard household is cleaned using harsh chemicals that have their own health risks. What if I told you that your home has a microbiome too?

Yes, it’s true, and you can create a healthy home microbiome that is healthier to live in without using harsh cleaners.

The air inside most homes gets circulated and becomes stale quickly. Try placing plants around the house to filter airborne toxins while providing some fresh oxygen (6). Next, make sure to periodically open your windows and allow fresh air to circulate.

Having animals in the home can change the microbiome of your home as well, which then improves your microbial diversity.

Finally, ditch the harsh chemicals and opt instead for some natural cleaning products like Mrs. Meyers or Seventh Generation.

Don’t Stress Over It

Take some time to mind your stress. If you find that you are chronically stressed then you are likely harming your microbiome. Research has shown that exposure to high levels of stress can actually alter the composition of your gut bacteria in a negative way (7). Take some time every day to meditate, pray, and express gratitude in some form. Also, it is important to embrace making healthy changes in your life.

In today’s society, it’s not very realistic that someone be able to avoid every little toxin we’re exposed to on a daily basis. There’s some really good news though. Some new research suggests that a healthy microbiome can help protect you from environmental toxins like pesticides (8)! I think that’s pretty cool. So do the best you can to avoid toxins while following the other strategies in this article and you’ll be more resilient than you think!

You are likely hosting one or more parasites–which can enter your body through food, drink, contact with infected persons–and can live within you for years!

At The Parasite Summit, our experts will help you determine if parasites are silently impacting your health–they’re FAR MORE COMMON than you think!

WHY ATTEND?

Parasites aren’t just found in third-world countries, millions are already infected in industrialized countries–they’re far more common than you realize and could be silently hampering your health.

Fortunately, with awareness and appropriate care, parasites can be prevented and treated, once detected.

The Parasite Summit is online and free from September 11-18, 2017!

Do You Have Any of the Following?

Gastrointestinal: pain/cramps, excess gas, bloating, constipation/diarrhea

Infertility and hormone disorders

Skin issues: acne, itching, rashes

Mental health: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Challenges with autoimmune disease recovery

If you are dealing with any of these issues than you MUST ATTEND this free online event!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Samsel, A., & Seneff, S. (2013). Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance. Interdisciplinary Toxicology, 6(4), 159–84. PMID: 24678255
2. Desai, M. S., Seekatz, A. M., Koropatkin, N. M., Kamada, N., Hickey, C. A., Wolter, M., … Martens, E. C. (2016). A Dietary Fiber-Deprived Gut Microbiota Degrades the Colonic Mucus Barrier and Enhances Pathogen Susceptibility. Cell, 167(5), 1339–1353.e21. PMID: 27863247
3. Vindigni, S. M., Zisman, T. L., Suskind, D. L., & Damman, C. J. (2016). The intestinal microbiome, barrier function, and immune system in inflammatory bowel disease: a tripartite pathophysiological circuit with implications for new therapeutic directions. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 9(4), 1–20. PMID: 27366227
4. Ph, D., Brodie, E. L., Havstad, S. L., Zoratti, E. M., Woodcroft, K. J., Bobbitt, K. R., … Lynch, S. V. (2011). Man’s best friend? The effect of pet ownership on house dust microbial communities, 126(2), 410–412. PMID: 20633927
5. Tun, H. M., Konya, T., Takaro, T. K., Brook, J. R., Chari, R., Field, C. J., … Kozyrskyj, A. L. (2017). Exposure to household furry pets influences the gut microbiota of infant at 3–4 months following various birth scenarios, 1–14. PMID: 28381231
6. Berg, G., Mahnert, A., & Moissl-Eichinger, C. (2014). Beneficial effects of plant-associated microbes on indoor microbiomes and human health? Frontiers in Microbiology, 5(JAN), 1–5. PMID: 24523719
7. Bailey, M. T., Dowd, S. E., Galley, J. D., Hufnagle, A. R., Rebecca, G., & Lyte, M. (2012). Exposure to a Social Stressor Alters the Structure of the Intestinal Microbiota: Implications for Stressor-Induced Immunomodulation, 25(3), 397–407. PMID: 21040780
8. Trinder, M., McDowell, T. W., Daisley, B. A., Ali, S. N., Leong, H. S., Sumarah, M. W., & Reid, G. (2016). Probiotic lactobacillus rhamnosus reduces organophosphate pesticide absorption and toxicity to Drosophila melanogaster. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 82(20), 6204–6213. PMID: 27520820

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How to Test Your Thyroid Function at Home

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Test Your Thyroid Function at Home

Over 27 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.  Unfortunately, a whopping 60% do not even know they have this condition.  This is because most doctors are not testing for it or they are not doing the full thyroid panel that is necessary to diagnose a thyroid condition.  In this article, I will show you how to test your thyroid function at home for free.

If you are a woman, you have a 75% greater risk of developing a thyroid problem than if you are a man!  80% of these thyroid conditions are thought to be autoimmune in nature, where the body’s immune system is attacking the thyroid tissue (1).

Unfortunately, most people struggle with poor thyroid hormone expression and are never properly diagnosed or treated to improve their quality of life and overall functionality.  The purpose of this article is to give you an easy to perform home test you can do to tip off a possible thyroid problem and get the proper testing from your doctor.

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Thyroid Hormone and Body Temperature

Thyroid hormone plays a major role in the metabolism of every cell of the body.  It helps to increase the metabolic activity of the vast majority of cells and helps to regulate the body’s temperature levels.  When thyroid hormone expression is dysregulated, body temperature will be altered.

In addition, the individual may experience a number of other unwanted symptoms such as unexplained weight gain, menstrual or fertility problems, fatigue, dry skin and hair, high cholesterol and more.  I go over these symptoms in detail in this article.

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Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

One of the major clinical signs of hypothyroidism is low body temperature.  Analyzing the bodies basal body temperature (BBT) through axillary (underarm) testing is a fantastic way to assess your thyroid function in a low-cost, non-invasive way.

This test was popularized by Dr Broda Barnes MD, and has been used by many medical and natural health care practitioners over the years (2).  Some research has been doing on BBT, showing that it is highly correlated with low thyroid activity (3)

While most people are aware that the standard body temperature is 98.6 degrees F, the normal underarm temperature is 97.8-98.2 deg F or 36.6-37 deg C.  If your temperature is consistently under 97.4 deg F or 36.5 deg C, then you most likely have under functioning thyroid activity.  If the temperature is consistently above 99 degrees than you may have hyperactive thyroid activity.

The Importance of Basal Body Temperature

Low body temperature is not only an indication of a possible thyroid or adrenal dysfunction, but it can also create an environment for worsening problems.  Our body temperature is critical for optimal immune function, circulation, enzyme activity and more (4).

A lower than normal body temperature creates an environment that is ripe for pathogens like bacteria and viruses.  The reason we create a high temperature fever when we have a bacterial infection or a flu is that the high temperature is inhospitable for the bacteria and viruses and it activates powerful immune activities within the body.

Additionally, enzymes are temperature dependent and won’t function well at lower than optimal temperature ranges.  A low-body temp will reduce overall enzyme activity which slows the bodies intracellular metabolism and causes an inability to buffer oxidative stress effectively.  It also leads to poor digestion and sluggish gut and liver metabolism and an inability to deactivate and excrete toxins from the body.

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Instructions for The Basal Body Temp

  1. Get an old-fashioned mercury thermometer or Galinstan and put it by your bedside.
  2. Shake it down to 95 degrees F (35 degrees C).
  3. Upon arising in the morning, before you get out of bed or eat or drink anything, put the thermometer deep in your armpit for 10 minutes and record the temperature.  Be sure to place it against your skin with the tip facing up into the armpit region.
  4. This process allows you to measure your lowest temperature of the day.
  5. The temperature should be taken for 4 consecutive days.

*If you are using an oral thermometer in the mouth for this, you must realize that the oral temp is typically about a ½ degree higher.  So be sure to subtract ½ degree from your result to make it closer to your underarm temperature. If using the Galinstan or mercury thermometer in your mouth…leave it in for 5 minutes.

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Menstrual Cycle and BBT

Since women are 75% more likely to have a thyroid problem, we should obviously address the role of menstruation in the BBT reading.  If you are menstruating, your temperature will naturally be higher during ovulation as it makes the egg more fertile.  This increase in temperature will skew the results.

For this reason, menstruating women should not take the test during ovulation but instead should begin on the 2nd day of menstruation and should never get closer to 4 days pre-ovulation for accurate readings.

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Other Factors Involved in BBT Readings

If you have an infection or a fever, do not take the test as your temperature will naturally be skewed.  Infections and fevers drive up body temperature and may cause a false negative.  If you notice the temperature going up and down…with large gaps between days it is a sign of adrenal hormone dysregulation.

As you age, the temperature may be lower which could definitely have to do with the thyroid, but confirmative blood testing is always the best way to know for sure.  If your temperature is high, yet you have hypothyroid symptoms or have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism it may be a sign of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or autoimmunity against your thyroid.

In autoimmune based hypothyroidism, at times thyroid hormones can range and there is an increased amount of inflammation within the body.  Both of these mechanisms can raise the BTT.  High temperatures can also be a sign of anemia or low estrogen levels.

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Confirmation Testing

As a functional health doctor, I do not use the BBT as a definitive test for thyroid function.  But it can be a helpful pre-assessment.  There are other factors that will impact the BBT, such as:

  1. Active Infection in the Body
  2. Ovulation
  3. Getting up and moving in the morning before testing
  4. Adrenal Function – low adrenal output can lead to low temperature while high adrenal output can increase the temperature.

This is why I would follow up the testing with lab testing.  In particular, be sure to test all the thyroid markers including TSH, T4, T3, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, TPO antibodies and TG antibodies.  We have all of these tests and much more in our Total Thyroid panel.   We explain these tests in detail in this article.

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Using the BTT for Thyroid and Adrenals

An individual can use this test to help them find out about their thyroid function as well as adrenals.  In fact, you can see how your supplement or medication dosage is supporting your body.  Here are 5 ways this test can benefit your treatment

  • After several days of taking a thyroid medication or thyroid glandular, you should begin noticing an improvement in the temperature.
  • It can help you change the dosage of your thyroid medication or supplement.
  • It can help you assess your adrenal function, which plays a role in the basal temperature as well.  This is most notable in phase IIIA-IIID adrenal dysfunction.
  • It can help you change the dosage of your adrenal supplements based on the results you are getting.

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Using BTT to Look at Adrenal Function

The adrenals work to increase blood flow throughout the body as cortisol works with its cousin aldosterone, which are both made in the adrenal cortex.  Cortisol helps to maintain blood sugar, while aldosterone helps to retain sodium and maintain blood pressure.  When we retain more sodium, we also retain more water, which increases blood volume and blood pressure.  When we retain less sodium, we also retain less water, which decreases blood volume and blood pressure.

When people have hypertension or high blood pressure, they often take an aldosterone converting enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) to lower aldosterone levels and therefore lower blood pressure.  When the signaling process in the body, called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is dysregulated, we can end up with either high or low cortisol/aldosterone levels.

Low blood pressure (under 100 systolic and 60 diastolic) is a common symptom for an individual with low cortisol, while high blood pressure (over 140 systolic and 100 diastolic) is common for individuals with high cortisol.  Other symptoms associated with HPA or adrenal dysfunction I discuss in detail in this article.

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Testing Your Adrenals with BTT

The way most people experience low morning cortisol would be in an inability to get out of bed.  It just seems so hard to drag yourself out of bed.  If this is the case, it is most likely a low functional HPA axis in the morning.

To test your BTT to analyze cortisol levels throughout the day, follow the following strategy:

  1. 3 Hours after waking
  2. 3 Hours after that (6 hours after waking)
  3. 3 Hours after that (9 hours after waking)
  4. Take these 3 temperatures and add them up and divide by 3 to get your daily average temperature (DATS).
  5. Do this for 5 days and analyze the results of each day. If any of the days temps are more than .2F (or .1C) off from another, it may be a sign of adrenal dysfunction.

We don’t want to test in the evening or at night because cortisol should normally be low at that stage.  Cortisol should be at its highest in the morning and slowly taper down as the day goes on.

If you are using a new adrenal supplement, give it 5 days before you begin testing to give it time to work on the HPA axis before doing a 5 day DATS.  Some other home tests you could do to test your adrenal function include static blood pressure, orthostatic blood pressure and the pupillary constriction test.  I explain these in great detail in this article.

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What is the Best Thermometer to Use?

Most specialists believe that the digital thermometers are not accurate enough and the temp range can vary significantly.  It is recommended to use the old-fashioned mercury thermometer.  The downside of a mercury thermometer is that if it were to break, toxic mercury vapor would be released.

I recommend a Galinstan, which is a liquid non-mercury thermometer that has a great degree of accuracy.  If you are going to use a digital thermometer, this one seems to have the best reviews.

With the Galinstan or mercury thermometer, be sure to shake it down to 95F/35C degrees the night before checking or if doing the adrenal test, right before testing.  Be sure to hold it under your armpit for a full 10 minutes before checking.

While the temperature is recording, you could read a book or website, listen to light music or watch a video.  Be sure not to move around other than the lightest of movements as needed.  For ways to improve thyroid function, read this article and if you are looking to improve adrenal function than you will want to read this article.

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Sources For This Article:

1. Prummel MF, Strieder T, Wiersinga WM. The environment and autoimmune thyroid diseases. Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 May;150(5):605-18. PMID: 15132715
2. Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness com
3. Sehnert KW, Croft AC. Basal metabolic temperature vs. laboratory assessment in “posttraumatic hypothyroidism”. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1996 Jan;19(1):6-12. PMID: 8903695
4. Ruiz MN, García JM, Fernández BM. [Body temperature and its importance as a vital constant]. Rev Enferm. 2009 Sep;32(9):44-52. Review. Spanish. PubMed PMID: 19839238

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How to Properly Test Thyroid Function

How to Properly Test Thyroid Function Hypothyroidism is one of the fastest growing health conditions we are seeing today. Lethargy, depression and weight gain are the most common symptoms (1). It has been estimated that 27 million people in America struggle with some form of thyroid disease and up to 80 percent of hypothyroidism cases […]

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