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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8 Antiviral Nutrients To Prevent Colds

Do you feel like you get colds too often? You would think after your first exposure that your immune system would be able to detect and fight it off the next time without a problem. The truth is, there are over 200 different viruses that can cause a cold including influenza, rhinovirus, and Epstein Barr.   For ongoing protection from cold-causing viruses, try incorporating these 8 antiviral nutrients to prevent colds from getting you down.

Encountering viruses is an everyday occurrence and a normal part of life.  However, some people adapt well to the stress of a virus and fight it off while others struggle with this form of stressor.  Using these 8 antiviral compounds will help improve your bodies resilience and give you the immune power to adapt strong!!

The Challenge With Viruses

Unlike bacteria, fungi, and parasites; viruses are not living organisms. This means they do not contain the cellular machinery necessary to grow and reproduce on their own. Instead, they make their way into the cells of living organisms and use their infected host as a copy machine. They essentially hack the reproductive mechanisms of living organisms in order to replicate and spread.

The huge downside about viruses from a medical standpoint is that they cannot be killed. However, a strong and healthy immune system is well equipped to stop viruses in their tracks. Additionally, there have been several natural compounds that have shown to help fight off viruses.

The Advantage Of Herbs

Unlike traditional medical treatments of viruses, nutrient-based therapies are typically very safe and create little side effects. Additionally, they tend to work against viruses in multiple ways by boosting the immune system and directly inhibiting viral reproduction.

This combination of safety and broad-spectrum efficacy gets my pick every time. There are 8 that come to mind when someone asks me what they can do about their cold.

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a great first step for viral defense. Not only does vitamin C boost the immune system, but has shown tremendous non-specific antiviral support. Non-specific means that it works against a broad range of viruses.

For daily preventative support, I would suggest about 1000mg per day. For acute support after you are already experiencing symptoms of infection, you can go up to 4000-6000 mg until symptoms begin to dissipate.

Zinc 

Another common cold remedy you can find in most grocery stores is Zinc in the form of lozenges. Zinc is a powerful immune support compound yet it is estimated that 25% of the world’s population is deficient. For optimal immune protection from cold-causing viruses, you need to ensure you are getting enough zinc (in a form you body can actually use) on a daily basis.

Your body produces a protein called human cytokine interferon alpha whose primary role is to inhibit the replication of viruses. Zinc boosts your immune defense against viruses by potentiating this crucial protein.

Beta-Glucan

Beta-glucan has emerged as a power player for cancer conditions due to its ability to modulate the immune system. For this same reason, it provides powerful immune support in the case of viral infection. When the body is overburdened by infection, the immune system can become dysregulated. The result is systemic inflammation and further contribution to the many unpleasant side effects of infection.

Beta glucan helps balance the immune system so that it can focus on targeting the virus present in the body. Beta glucans also help in the fight against infection by binding to virus-targeting white blood cells called macrophages. By doing so they improve the ability of macrophages to seek out foreign pathogens.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf is a less commonly known but powerful anti-microbial compound. It possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. This means that not only will it help target your cold virus, but will help rid of other underlying infections that may be distracting your immune system.

Olive Leaf Extract is one of my go-to compounds for colds. In fact, this is why I formulated Immuno Charge. It combines Vitamin C, Beta Glucan, and Olive Leaf extract for powerful immune support.

Monolaurin

Monolaurin is a compound that has broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties. It is this reason that coconut oil is a great antimicrobial for the gut lining. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is converted into monolaurin in the body.

Monolaurin has been studied and found to be particularly helpful in disrupting lipid-coated bacteria and viruses. This includes HIV-1, influenza, rubeola, and the herpes family (1).

Echinacea

According to a meta-analysis of 14 different studies, Echinacea may reduce your risk of contracting a cold by over 50% (2). Echinacea has also been shown to help reduce the recurrence and complications of respiratory infections, which can be a progression of a cold-causing virus (3).

For daily support, you can consume Echinacea tea. This would be a great way to keep your guard up against cold-causing viruses.

Ginger 

Ginger is a warming herb that boosts circulation and immune activity. At the same time the effects of ginger help to prevent the accumulation of toxins that make you more susceptible to infections of the respiratory tract (4). Additionally, regular ginger consumption will help lower inflammation which will allow the immune system to function for effectively.

I would recommend either consuming a drop or two of a high-quality ginger essential oil in water or consuming fresh ginger ground into recipes on a daily basis.

Yarrow

Yarrow is an herb with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral benefits. Additionally, it can help improve fever symptoms by helping the body induce perspiration. This is important because it is supporting the body’s own response to fighting off the cold-causing virus.

For this, I recommend Cold Care tea. It contains yarrow, ginger, elder flower, and many other traditional cold-fighting herbs for daily support.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Preuss, H. G. (n.d.). A Review of Monolaurin and Lauric Acid, 310–314. (Link)
2. Shah, S. A., Sander, S., White, C. M., Rinaldi, M., & Coleman, C. I. (2007). Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infectious Diseases. PMID: 17597571
3. Schapowal, A., Klein, P., & Johnston, S. L. (2015). Echinacea Reduces the Risk of Recurrent Respiratory Tract Infections and Complications: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Advances in Therapy. PMID: 25784510
4. Chang, J. S., Wang, K. C., Yeh, C. F., Shieh, D. E., & Chiang, L. C. (2013). Fresh ginger (Zingiber officinale) has anti-viral activity against human respiratory syncytial virus in human respiratory tract cell lines. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 145(1), 146–151. PMID: 23123794

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7 Natural Remedies For Epstein Barr Virus

Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), also known as mononucleosis or mono, is a virus that is transmitted from human to human through body fluids. EBV is commonly referred to as the kissing disease but can be spread through many different types of contact including through the blood and seminal fluid. Although many people are carriers of this virus, some experience moderate to debilitating symptoms that can make life difficult. In this article I cover symptoms, causes, and my top remedies for Epstein Barr Virus.

Although EBV can affect anyone, it seems that those who are younger (especially college age) and up to 40 years old are at higher risk (1). Other factors that may put a person at higher risk of contracting EBV are weakened immunity and intimate contact with varying partners.

Symptoms

If you have been infected with EBV, it can sometimes be weeks before you have any symptoms. The initial stages of symptoms may resemble those of a cold or flu and include: fatigue, fever, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and general lethargy.

Although these initial symptoms may diminish within a few days, many experience a nagging fatigue that just won’t seem to go away. Some may also experience chronic pain throughout the body and in more rare cases, a swollen and painful spleen.


Causes

Just like any virus, you become a carrier of EBV by coming in contact with it. In the case of EBV this is commonly through saliva from kissing, sharing drinks, or sometimes picked up from shared surfaces like toys.

In rare cases, EBV can be contracted from blood transfusions, organ transplantation, or oral exposure to seminal fluids.

The extent to which you will experience EBV symptoms depends on the strength and coordination of your immune system. An intact immune system should be able to handle viral exposure with minimal or no symptoms but those who are immunocompromised will likely experience lasting symptoms.

How To Detect EBV

Being able to detect the presence of EBV is the first step in employing specific strategies to help your body heal it.

The first major sign to look for is a sudden onset of the flu-like symptoms described above, followed by a residual feeling of chronic fatigue. This residual fatigue that is sometimes accompanied by sudden onset of chronic pain is very indicative of EBV.

For my patients that have experienced this phenomenon I recommend having a Complete Blood Count and functional lab work done to look for specific indicators of EBV.

Complete Blood Count

A complete blood count (CBC) is a commonly used blood draw test that looks at the distribution of an individual’s blood cells. In a healthy person, there is an expected balance of the different types of blood cells. Many people understand that there are both white and red blood cells; white blood cells regulate the immune system, while red blood cells carry oxygen to our tissues.

Because white blood cells are responsible for a huge proportion of immunity, they can be observed clinically through a CBC for signs of elevated immune activity. In the case of mono, you would likely see elevated lymphocytes and monocytes.

Lymphocytes include natural killer (NK) cells, T cells, and B cells. Residing in the lymph fluid, these three regulate the body’s short-term and long-term immune responses. An elevated level indicates an increase in immune activity likely due to viral presence.

Monocytes play a similar role in immunity by forming macrophages. Macrophages are immune cells that reside in specific tissues and protect them from infiltration of foreign materials (such as viruses).

In a complete blood count, a proportion of white blood cells are observed and represented as a proportion out of 100 (as a percentage). A lymphocyte proportion of over 40% and a monocyte count of over 7% are indicative of viral infection.

Comprehensive Viral Panel

While the CBC is great at detecting abnormal immune system status, it doesn’t do much for telling what exactly is causing it. After seeing elevated lymphocytes and monocytes on a CBC, a viral panel can be used to determine the presence of specific viruses in the body.

My Comprehensive Viral Panel looks at 5 different indicators of EBV in addition to cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, human herpes type 6, varicella zoster, and rubeola.

Upon detection, targeted strategies such as the ones listed in this article can be used to help your body fight off EBV and free yourself from the nagging symptoms.

Natural Remedies

Conventional treatment of EBV is very much focused on the mitigation of symptoms and little else. Common approaches include prescription steroids and pain medications to help the individual cope with fatigue and pain.

The common understanding is that there is very little we can do to get rid of a virus. By supporting the body through these 7 natural remedies, you can speed up the time it takes to overcome EBV.

Vitamin C

We all know and love Vitamin C as a traditional cold and flu remedy, but this vitamin can actually have a powerful impact on EBV. A 2014 study observed the effects of high-dose IV vitamin C on EBV and found that it both lowered the presence of the virus in the body while also reducing the duration of symptoms (2).

The doses used within the study are hard to obtain in the diet, ranging from 7.5-50 grams. While small amounts of vitamin C can be obtained from the diet, you may look into supplementation with encapsulated or IV vitamin C from a qualified professional.

Zinc

Zinc has long been known as an effective anti-viral compound. Commonly found in lozenges marketed to speed healing from cold or flu, it is thought that having optimal zinc levels in the body inhibits the replication of viruses.

This is because zinc potentiates human cytokine interferon alpha which is a protein whose primary role is to inhibit viral replication (3). Zinc also supports the production of a powerful antioxidant call superoxide dismutase which protects your cells from the damaging effects of viral pathogens.

Finally, zinc helps to downregulate the inflammatory response of the body which can help keep the immune system functioning properly. It is estimated that 25% of the world’s population is zinc deficient so this one is important!

L-Lysine

Lysine is an essential amino acid that plays important roles in building muscle, production of hormones, and antibody formation. It has also been found that lysine supplementation may lower the severity and frequency of outbreaks in cases of herpes.

It is thought that because EBV is a strain of the herpes virus that it has similar benefits.

Arginine is another amino acid that has been shown to promote the growth and survival of viral pathogens in the body. It has been proposed that lysine provides an antiviral effect by directly opposing the effects of arginine (4).

Beta-Glucan

Beta Glucan is a powerful immune-regulatory agent. This means it can stimulate or inhibit immunity depending on the needs of the body. In the case of an infection like EBV, the immune system can become overwhelmed.

Instead of a swift eradication of the virus, you get immune discoordination and systemic inflammation.

Beta Glucan activates both short and long-term immune responses to allow a more efficient activity of the immune system and increase the chances of fighting off infection. One way it does this is by binding to macrophages and boosting their ability to target and destroy foreign pathogens.

Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf is a powerful herb with a long history of use. It has been shown particularly helpful for supporting the immune system due to its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral effects.

The effects of olive leaf are beneficial for many reasons. First, addressing other underlying bad bacteria and fungi is crucial for freeing up the immune system to fight EBV. Additionally, it has been shown that olive leaf extract inhibits viral reproduction.

Finally, using olive leaf extract along with other immune support agents like beta-glucan and vitamin C provides multi-faceted support for fighting off an infection.

This is exactly why I developed Immuno Charge. It has a therapeutic combination of all three to optimize your immune response from many different angles. It is a key component of my EBV protocol (which I outline at the end of this article).

Berberine

Berberine is a powerful antimicrobial compound isolated from many plants found in nature. A 2017 study looking at nasopharyngeal cancer found that berberine was able to inhibit cancer formation that is commonly associated with EBV.

This is due to the inhibition of a specific gene called EBNA1 (Epstein-Barr Nuclear Antigen 1). What is significant about this is that this gene also plays a primary role in the replication and survival of the EB virus (5).

Berberine also acts in the GI tract to fight off other unwanted pathogens that may be distracting your immune system from fighting off EBV.

Echinacea 

Echinacea is a powerful traditional herb for immunity. Commonly used in cold and flu remedies, Echinacea also has strong anti-viral and immunomodulation effects (6).

Echinacea may enhance healing from EBV due to its specific antiviral activity while also supporting macrophage activity.

Echinacea has also been shown to control the body’s pro-inflammatory responses to viruses. This helps lower systemic inflammation in the body and keep the immune system properly coordinated.

My Personal Protocol

Once I have seen that a patient’s CBC shows elevated lymphocytes and monocytes in addition to the presence of EBV on the comprehensive viral panel, I recommend the following protocol:

Super C:  Take 4-6 grams daily by taking 6-8 caps – 3x daily away from meals

  • If you get diarrhea, lower the dosage
  • If you have low iron, take with meals

Immuno Charge:  Take 2 caps – 3x daily (w/Super C)

  • Contains Beta-Glucan & Olive Leaf

GI Regulator Take 2 caps with each meal

  • Contains Berberine along with other immune supportive compounds

Zinc Charge:  1 cap – 2-3x daily

L-Lysine:  1 cap – 2x daily

Probiocharge 30 Billion:  1 cap in morning upon arising and 1 cap at night before bed

  • Proper microbial balance in the gut is absolutely critical for optimal immune system function

Additionally, I would recommend consuming 2 cups of Echinacea w/Elderberry tea daily for a week and then 2 weeks on this Everyday Detox tea and continue to cycle like that – 1 week Echinacea and 2 weeks Everyday Detox.

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Hjalgrim, H., Friborg, J., & Melbye, M. (2007). The epidemiology of EBV and its association with malignant disease. Human Herpesviruses: Biology, Therapy, and Immunoprophylaxis. PMID: 21348109
2. Mikirova, N. A., & Hunninghake, R. (2014). Effect of high dose vitamin C on Epstein-Barr viral infection. Medical Science Monitor, 20, 725–732. PMID: 24793092
3. Ohio State University. “Zinc helps against infection by tapping brakes in immune response.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily (Link)
4. University of Maryland Medical Center: Lysine (Link)
5. Wang, C., Wang, H., Zhang, Y., Guo, W., Long, C., Wang, J. … Sun, X. (2017). Berberine inhibits the proliferation of human nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells via an Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1-dependent mechanism. Oncology Reports, 37, 2109-2120. PMID: 28259949
6. Hudson, J. B. (2012). Applications of the phytomedicine Echinacea purpurea (purple coneflower) in infectious diseases. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology. PMID: 22131823
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5 Reasons You May Have an Amino Acid Deficiency

5 Reasons For Amino Acid Deficiency

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, many of us learn that in biology growing up. To paint a more in depth picture, amino acids are actually involved in many critical body processes from building muscle to synthesizing important neurotransmitters like GABA and dopamine.

When you digest any food with protein in it, you are breaking it down into these important amino acid compounds. Amino acid deficiency is something that too often gets overlooked, so in this article I’m going to cover the top 5 reasons that someone could become deficient.

The amino acids have been specifically studied for important roles they play in the body. For example, the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) are important for muscle synthesis (1). The amino acid glutamine plays important roles in maintaining gut lining health while also promoting a relaxed mental state.

There are 20 standard amino acids derived through the diet that all serve their own important roles in the body. 11 of these amino acids are considered “non-essential” meaning they are synthesized within the body. The other 9, however, are considered “essential” and must be acquired through the diet.

Poor Diet

One of the more obvious reasons for amino acid deficiency is the simple lack of proper nutrition. If your diet lacks the right foods with all essential amino acids, then you will not have them in your physiological arsenal.

One such diet that I often see amino acid deficiencies is a vegetarian or vegan diet. Because most foods on these diets are not complete proteins (not containing all essential amino acids), they require a little more planning to ensure adequate amounts of amino acids are absorbed into the body.

Also, a diet that relies on the chronic consumption of sugary and starchy foods and damaged fats (such as the standard American diet) can inhibit the ability of the pancreas to release proteolytic enzymes. Proteolytic enzymes are responsible for separating proteins into their individual amino acids.

Leaky Gut & Malnourishment

The lining of the gut is one layer of cells thin. This makes it very delicate but also very good at performing its function of regulating the absorption of nutrients from food. The spaces between these cells are tightly regulated to only allow certain things to pass while keeping the rest out.

When we damage these cells by consuming GMOs, foods with pesticides, chlorinated water, processed foods, taking antibiotics, or even from low-grade food sensitivities, the spaces between these cells are loosened. This is problem because larger food molecules get through into the bloodstream and the body mistakes them for foreign pathogens. This ultimately manifests in the body as sudden food allergies, autoimmunity, systemic inflammation, and malnourishment.

With a damaged gut comes poor digestion. At this point, even someone eating a clean healthy diet may not be extracting all of the important nutrients from their food.

Low Stomach Acid

A huge misinterpreted symptom in the body that I often encounter is heart burn. The traditional approach to correcting heart burn is to take something that neutralizes your elevated stomach acids levels. But what we know now is that heart burn is actually a sign of low stomach acid.

Stomach acid is what signals the esophageal sphincter (connecting the esophagus to the stomach) to close and prevent heart burn. So, the best way to mitigate heart burn is actually to support stomach acid.

Adequate stomach acid production is also critical for proper protein breakdown and amino acid absorption. Along with proteolytic enzymes from the pancreas, stomach acid must be present for proper digestion. Unfortunately, amino acids are also involved in enzyme synthesis so low stomach acid will typically also deplete digestive enzymes.

If you have acid reflux then this should be a huge indication that you need to start supporting your stomach acid production. If you do not have acid reflux but want to test your stomach acid levels, an easy at home test can help with this. Try the baking soda test outlined below and take necessary action steps depending on the outcome.

Blood Sugar Imbalance

Blood sugar imbalances lead to massive fluctuations in insulin and cortisol. When blood sugar spikes too quickly, insulin also spikes to shuttle sugar out of the blood and into the cells. This leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar and a spike in cortisol.

When your body is exposed to a stressor, cortisol will typically increase for a short period. Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it is responsible for breaking things down. After the stress has subsided, a healthy person would have a decrease in cortisol and the body would adapt and grow stronger during this rest period by repairing the damage that was done.

When cortisol is constantly spiking due to blood sugar fluctuations you get continued breakdown of tissues, chronic inflammation, and lowered ability to make important protein digesting enzymes.

The low blood sugar that occurs shortly after a high-sugar meal stimulates the body to shift into a state of gluconeogenesis (the body makes sugar from proteins). When in this state, the body rapidly degrades stored amino acids in the body, resulting in a potential deficiency much quicker (2).

Adrenal Fatigue

Adrenal fatigue manifests in several stages but ultimately disrupts many key processes in the body. First of all, adrenal fatigue leads to cortisol dysregulation which further exaggerates detrimental effects of blood sugar imbalance. As mentioned above blood sugar imbalance can often lead to gluconeogenesis which depletes amino acids.

Furthermore, adrenal fatigue often throws off key sex hormones that regulate anabolic processes in the body. Because cortisol shares a production pathway with the sex hormones, when adrenal function is hampered and the body’s stress response is dysregulated, the body favors cortisol production.

As mentioned above, chronically elevated cortisol leads to catabolism (breakdown) of body tissues and rapid degradation of amino acids. When sex hormones are compromised, the problem is only made worse.

Solution: Supplemental EAA’s

Essential Amino acids are those which must be consumed through the diet. Whenever I have a patient who has any of the conditions outlined above or I suspect an amino acid deficiency, I recommend taking these in supplemental form.

As I mentioned, amino acids are involved in several key processes in the body. Just as one example, because of their involvement in neurotransmitter production, amino acid deficiency can really throw off your mood. This is one case where supplementing with additional EAA’s can provide powerful relief.

Although not a long-term solution, supplemental EAAs can provide very effective relief while working on the underlying issues.

Additional Benefits of EAA’s

In addition, to their therapeutic benefits, essential amino acids can actually be supplemented for additional health benefits.

Muscle Development

Proper development of muscle tissue relies on amino acids. The branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine have been specifically studied in depth for their role in muscle formation (3).

Not only does this apply to normal growth of the body throughout life, but in other muscle development special cases. One such case is when muscle breakdown occurs due to resistance exercise. Amino acid supplementation can speed recovery and support muscle growth.

Additionally, amino acid supplementation may be helpful in cases of muscle wasting such as severe adrenal fatigue or during cancer treatment.

Bone Strength

The amino acid arginine plays an important role in bone formation and may reduce your risk of osteoporosis.

Arginine supplementation increases growth hormone and IGF-1 which both play a role in bone formation. Supplementation also increases nitric oxide in the body which is important for slowing the breakdown of bone (4). The action of these two mechanisms together act to increase bone density.

In addition to all the essential amino acids, you want to ensure you also get plenty of minerals and the vitamins D and K to ensure proper bone health.

Fat Burning

Essential amino acids can aid weight loss in a few different ways.  The amino acids arginine and lysine have been shown to support the production of growth hormone in some cases. Growth hormone has been known for some time to improve fat burning.

Additionally, lysine and methionine interact in the liver to form carnitine, an important transport molecule that moves fat into cells to be used for energy (5). This action literally improves your ability to burn fat.

Immune Health

Glutamine, arginine, and cysteine work to coordinate and support the immune system.

Glutamine interplays with lymphocytes and macrophages to coordinate necessary inflammatory reactions related to adaptive immunity. Arginine and cysteine both play roles in proper T-cell function (also important for adaptive immunity).

Adaptive immunity is the branch of your immune system that helps you build long-lasting defenses to pathogens like viruses and foreign bacteria. This is why most people only get the chicken pox once, their adaptive immune system has built defenses against it after the first exposure.

Deficiencies in these critical amino acids can contribute to significant immune suppression.

Cardiovascular Health

Circulation problems can lead to many health issues. Particularly organs that contain lots of tiny blood vessels, such as the brain, can be heavily impacted. Distal structures of the body such as the hands and feet will also be negatively impacted by poor circulation. Finally, sex organs will typically be impacted.

The amino acids arginine and citrulline may be able to boost circulation by supporting the production of nitric oxide (6). Nitric oxide is responsible for dilating blood vessels and allowing a greater amount of blood to flow through. This effect also helps to lower blood pressure.

Best Sources of EAAS

As I mentioned, amino acids come from foods with protein in them. In my opinion, the best sources of protein are sources that are low in toxins and contain a full array of amino acids.

Pasture-Raised Meats

Pasture raised meats are one of my top choices for getting a full range of amino acids while avoiding toxins that occur in conventionally raised meats. For example, beef from pasture raised cows is not only a great protein source, but also contains anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.

Whenever buying the meat from an animal, always look for pasture-raised and organic. For beef particularly, look out for the 100% grass-fed signification. The pasture-raised certification also goes for poultry.

Whey Protein

Whey protein from grass-fed dairy is a great source of important amino acids. This source is particularly great for building and maintaining muscle because of its high amounts of the branched chain amino acids.

In addition to coming from grass-fed dairy, you also want a cold-processed, non-denatured whey protein. The heating and processing that a lot of whey proteins go through makes it harder for our bodies to digest and absorb.

Bone Broth

Bone broth has hit the mainstream hard the last few years and for many great reasons. Bone broth is a great source of amino acids along with gut healing nutrients like collagen and glutamine that are naturally occurring. Another huge benefit of bone broth is that most people tolerate it quite well with very little potential for allergies.

I think anyone could benefit from adding bone broth to their diet. It just has so many benefits.

You can buy already made bone broth at many grocery stores now, but there is question about quality variance between brands. You can also make your own using bones from pasture-raised animals. This method obviously requires a quality source of bones and the time needed to slow-simmer your bones.

The greatest bone broth solution to hit the market so far is bone broth protein powder. This bone broth has been dehydrated into a powdered form that contains 20 grams of protein per serving. Also, it tastes amazing. This is a great and economical way to include benefits of bone broth into our fast-paced lifestyles.

Vegan Proteins

There are a few complete sources of protein for vegans such as hemp and quinoa. As someone who doesn’t recommend a lot of grains in the diet, this can be tricky. Additionally, some of my patients have dairy sensitivities that make meeting dietary protein needs difficult.

For these cases I usually recommend a high-quality pea/rice protein. I made my own formula containing pea and rice protein along with several anti-inflammatory nutrients like ginger and l-glutamine. On top of the gut healing nutrients, this protein also serves as a powerful multivitamin source.  Check out the Gut Healing Protein here

In a lot of the cases that protein absorption is compromised, such as in the case of leaky gut, this combination of pea protein and gut healing nutrients can’t be beat. I use this one for many of my tough cases where digestive issues are present. After digestive issues have been resolved, I usually recommend my SuperDigest Protein for my vegan and vegetarian patients.

Amino Strong

When it comes down to it, one of the best ways to get amino acids into the body is to ingest them in their purest form. This way, there is very little energy that goes into breaking down the protein and your body absorbs them quite readily.

I formulated Amino Strong to provide a powerful source of all essential amino acids in specific ratios for therapeutic benefits.  Over 20 human trials have been conducted to arrive at this specific, patent-pending combination of amino acids in the most effective, anabolic ratios. The high absorbability of these amino acids also means greater support for the benefits mentioned above.

This is one of the primary supplements I used in my 20s when I was suffering from debilitating digestive issues and adrenal fatigue. It truly made a difference in my energy and performance and that’s why I have chosen to formulate this powerful blend.

I continue to use it today as a pre-workout powder and notice a huge difference in my strength, energy and muscle tissue development.

Mental health struggles are slow, silent killers sapping us of energy and happiness.

Whether challenged by depression, anxiety, stress, addiction or another manifestation, every single person is impacted and affected–you, your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers–either directly or indirectly every single day.

This Mental Wellness Summit Will Empower You Too: 

Overcome the silence, isolation and fear of your struggle

Transcend outdated, prescription-based healthcare systems

Find holistic practitioners and natural solutions for your pain

Implement expert practices, tools and tips into your daily routine

And so much more!

You can register for this event for free here

You will want to listen to my presentation on Friday, September 29th as I go through how to apply a ketogenic diet to reduce inflammation in your brain and improve your mood, memory and mindset!!

Sources For This Article Include:

1. Zhang, S., Zeng, X., Ren, M., Mao, X., & Qiao, S. (2017). Novel metabolic and physiological functions of branched chain amino acids: a review. Journal of Animal Science and Biotechnology, 8(1), 10. PMID: 28127425
2. Schutz, Y. (2011). Protein turnover, ureagenesis and gluconeogenesis. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research, 81(2–3), 101–107. PMID: 22419202
3. Tamanna, N., & Mahmood, N. (2014). Emerging Roles of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation in Human Diseases. International Scholarly Research Notices, 2014, 1–8. PMID: 27351005
4. Visser, J. J., & Hoekman, K. (1994). Arginine supplementation in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. Med Hypotheses, 43(5), 339–342. PMID: 7877530
5. Stephens, F. B., & Galloway, S. D. R. (2013). Carnitine and fat oxidation. In Nestle Nutrition Institute Workshop Series (Vol. 76, pp. 13–23). PMID: 23899751
6. Stone, A. V, Vanderman, K. S., Willey, J. S., David, L., Register, T. C., Shively, C. A., … Ferguson, C. M. (2016). Impaired nitric oxide production in children with MELAS syndrome and the effect of arginine and citrulline supplementation, 23(10), 1780–1789. PMID: 26780180

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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

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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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5 Phases to Heal UTIs Naturally

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5 Phases to Heal UTIs Naturally

A urinary tract infection is most common in women occurring in only 1 male for every 8 females (23). It affects millions of children and adults annually and is the second leading cause of infection in the body (9).

Some individuals are susceptible to reoccurring infections which not only is frustrating but weakens total health and well-being. Fortunately, there are several measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of UTIs and combat an infection naturally with these 5 safe treatment remedies.

Causes of Infection

Any organ which urine passes through is susceptible to infection from pathogenic bacteria. E. coli related infections are commonly to blame accounting for 90% of infections in the bladder, urethra, ureters, and kidneys (9). Escherichia coli reside in the colon and near the anus but can generally take up route following the opening of the urethra where they migrate and populate within the urinary tract.

Bacterial infection causes acute symptoms such as the need to urinate frequently, painful urination, pressure in the pubic area, and fatigue. If left untreated it can lead to more serious complications like kidney infection.

Elevated Risks

Children are at a greater risk of developing UTIs and are more susceptible to kidney trauma because symptoms may go unnoticed (19). In pregnant women, UTIs pose a special concern because they are not only common but they increase the threat of preterm delivery.

Other risk factors include diabetes, birth control, sexual activity, menopause and any problem that causes an obstruction to the urinary tract such as kidney stones or enlarged prostate (16).

Conventional Medicine Concerns

Antibiotics are prescribed for 33% of women to combat a UTI before the age of 24 but these synthetic antimicrobials are not without both short and long-term consequences (23). Urinary tract infections were once easily treated with antibiotics in the 1980s and remain the most excessively used medicines for UTI care today. However, emerging evidence reveals how antibiotics damages our health and is no longer the most effective approach.

Microbial Imbalance: Conventional medicine may have its place in the world but treating every case of urinary tract infections with antibiotics is not a proper solution. Antibiotics disturb the total microbial balance that resides in the human body. Rather than isolating the harmful bacteria causing infection, antibiotics kill beneficial bacteria which are critical components of an optimally functioning immune system.

Secondary Infections: Approximately 25% of individuals treated for a UTI will experience a reoccurrence 6 to 12 months later (15). Bacteria are not the only micro-organisms affected by antibiotics. When the balance of the microbiome is upset, Candida albicans and other fungi are less inhibited to grow and may lead to yeast infection.

Antibiotic Resistance: High rates of antibiotic use is contributing to the increasing numbers of resistant bacterial strains and loss of antibiotic efficacy. Greater than half the number of individuals who receive antibiotics for UTIs in other countries see no benefit as a consequence of antibiotic resistance (7).

The WHO (World Health Organization) released a report siting that the treatment of urinary tract infections with antibiotics is one of the top causes for an increase in antimicrobial resistance worldwide (7).

Concerns with Diuretics: Diuretic medication is often prescribed to increase urination and support the elimination of bacteria from the urinary tract. Unlike natural diuretics, prescription diuretics cause unwanted side effects ranging from nausea and dizziness, decreased blood circulation, electrolyte imbalance, glucose and insulin resistance. Some individuals may suffer more severe and life threatening consequences relating to diuretic use. (1)

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5 Phases to Healing UTIs

Healing UTI’s is not as simple as taking a prescription or a supplement.  There are 5 phases one must apply in order to truly heal the UTI and not just cover up the symptoms.  I explain all of this in detail below.

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1)  Flush Out Bacteria

Natural diuretics are one of nature’s best ways you can maintain the health of your urinary system. Cleanse and disinfect your urinary tract to prevent and treat a UTI in the following ways.

Cranberry: The traditional home remedy to treat UTIs with cranberry juice has withheld its popularity for good reason. Cranberry concentrate reduces the incidence of recurrent UTIs because it prevents pathogenic bacteria like E. coli from adhering to a surface along the urinary tract. The primary flavonoid responsible for this antibacterial effect is proanthocyanidin-A.

Proanthocyanidin-A assists in regulating urine pH, relieves discomfort associated with urination, and boosts the immune response by activating macrophages to improve wound healing and reduce inflammation (3). It also decreases the risk for asymptomatic bacteriuria which can cause the presence of bacteria to go unnoticed due to a lack of symptoms later wreaking havoc on the kidneys. (2)

Drink 1 oz of organic cranberry juice in 8 oz of water with 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar every 2 waking hours until you knock out the infection.

Apple Cider Vinegar: Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar to your glass of water is a simple strategy that you can do to prevent and treat a UTI.

Apple cider vinegar contains the powerful antimicrobial compound acetic acid. Acetic acid is one of the best natural disinfecting compounds that kills resistant bacteria and creates a favorable environment for healthy bacteria to thrive (25). It also strengthens the immune system by boosting your body’s detoxification pathways (24).

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D-Mannose: Researchers suggest that the use of D-mannose along with cranberry and probiotics are of the best treatment options to prevent and treat UTIs (16). In a clinical study consisting of 308 women with a history of recurring UTIs, researchers learned that the supplementation of D-mannose significantly prevented the reoccurrence of an infection (26).

Compared to those administered antibiotics, D-mannose patients also reported much fewer, and milder side effects if any. D-mannose works by adhering to E. coli so that the bacteria cannot cling to the bladder wall in a force similar to static cling (27). The harmful bacteria is then readily able to be excreted with urine.

We recommend Jazzee D-Mannose – take 2 caps (1 gram) every 2-3 hours until you knock out the infection.

Optimal Hydration: Super hydrate your body with purified water to strengthen the health of your immune system and fight infection. Remaining well hydrated naturally supports the removal of bacteria from the urinary tract and enhances detoxification pathways in the body to aid in healing.

Although you may already feel the urge to urinate frequently from having a UTI, drinking fluids often will provide the pressure required for a forceful stream of urine to flush bacteria away.

Other Diuretics: If the taste of apple cider vinegar and cranberry juice isn’t to your liking, there are plenty of other natural ways you can flush bacteria out of your system. Choose a few strategies from the options below: (4, 16, 17)

  • Juice parsley to increase urine flow.
  • Prepare an herbal tea with dandelion leaf, burdock root and nettle leaf to reduce inflammation and cleanse the urinary system.
  • Snack on raw celery for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and total antioxidant effects on the urinary tract.
  • Add celery seed to pickled veggies, dips, dressings and more to increase urine output.
  • Supplement with juniper berry concentrate to prevent the proliferation of bacteria and eliminate microbes in urine.

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2)  Strengthen Immunity

Zinc: Zinc is one of the top immune boosting micronutrients that many individuals are deficient in. It can become further depleted with use of medication and anti-inflammatory drugs. Without zinc, more than 200 enzymes that rely on this mineral cannot function causing immune dysfunction and metabolic disturbances (19).

Zinc is vital to immune support helping protect us from infection in numerous ways. Zinc boosts the surveillance of the immune system inhibiting bacterial infections by: (13)

  • Increasing activity of antioxidant compounds like superoxide dismutase (SOD),
  • Providing protection against oxidative damage; and
  • Suppressing inflammation and pain.

In children diagnosed with a UTI, zinc supplementation was significantly shown to reduce frequency of urination and pain in clinical testing. Treatment of UTI with zinc was further shown to enhance the recovery process of damaged tissue and prevent kidney problems. (19)  I recommend 10mg every 2 hours until you knock it out.  I usually have my clients get it in the GI Regulator that we discuss in the anti-microbial section.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the nutrient that probably first comes to mind when you think about improving your immune system. Vitamin C fights infection by upregulating biological agents that seek to destroy pathogenic invaders, increases the absorption of bioflavonoids in our diet, and equips the body to handle tissue trauma and stress. (11, 12)

Add more vitamin C to your diet by eating red or yellow bell peppers, citrus fruits, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, spinach, leeks, chives and tomatoes.  I also recommend supplementing with 2 grams of vitamin C every hour until you knock out the UTI.  The best supplement for this is Super C.

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3)  Anti-Microbials

Antimicrobials offer an affordable and safe alternative remedy to treat UTIs without the risk of increasing resistance to antibiotics. Use the following antibiotics that nature has already provided to find relief from symptoms and reduce the possibility of secondary infections.

Garlic: Garlic has long been known to contain antibacterial properties as attributed to its ability to suppress inflammation and provide immune support. It is an excellent source of the powerhouse antioxidant glutathione and is high in the sulfur compound allicin which enhances detoxification (14).

Treatment with garlic extract is associated with inhibiting the reoccurrence of a UTI within the general 6 to 12 month timeframe that they occur. Its use is also reported to decrease the urge and frequency to urinate as well as pain associated with the pubic region. (15)

Echinacea: Native Americans have used Echinacea as a natural antibiotic for over 400 years. Echinacea stimulates the immune system to overcome infection. Today the German government regulates the use of Echinacea as an approved treatment for urinary tract infections (18). It contains several plant compounds and can be taken in pill form or as an herbal extract in a tincture or tea.

Goldenseal (Berberine): Berberine is the responsible compound found in the plant bark of goldenseal acclaimed to effectively destroy E. coli. Supplementation of berberine is shown to stop diarrhea which contributes to the spread of bacteria, directly inhibits the growth of E. coli and Pseudomonas (P.) aeruginosa and act as an anti-adhesive agent along the urinary tract (16).

Its medicinal use as an antibacterial agent against resistant strains of E. coli coupled with its strong anti-fungal properties makes berberine an effective natural antibiotic.

Grapefruit Seed Extract: Grapefruit seed extract has been found to contain antibacterial properties that resemble synthetic antibacterial drugs. Its effects against a broad range of both gram-positive and gram-negative organisms are so potent that it decreased the growth of pathogenic organisms in urine like Staphylococcus aureus, P. aeruginosa, and Klebsiella species. The extract is shown to destroy pathogenic bacteria within 15 minutes of contact with a diluted solution. (5, 6)

We use GI Regulator, which has therapeutic dosages of berberine, zinc and grapefruit seed extract within it.  We recommend 2 caps – every 2 waking hours until the infection is eradicated.

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4)  Essential Oils

The use of essential oils in natural medicine to treat bacterial infections dates back to historical records from the Chinese, Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. The Chinese historically used myrrh oil for a wealth of benefits including its ability to help reduce pain. Myrrh oil has since been shown to suppress inflammation and prevent infection using a variety of mechanisms to enhance the immune system (22).

A combination of oils from clove and cinnamon were shown to have a synergistic effect on inhibiting the growth of E. coli in study (8). Clove oil contains anti-inflammatory properties which support pain relief while cinnamon oil possesses anti-septic properties inhibiting bacteria overgrowth (20, 21)

Oil extracted from herbs like sage have been shown to produce significant inhibitory effects on the growth of UTI causing bacteria. In one study, sage oil had a 79% inhibition rate on the growth of bacteria. It killed E. coli with 96% effectiveness and destroyed 100% of the more severe bacterial strains of Klebsiella species and Enterobacter aerogenes. (10)

Oregano oil is so combative against inhibiting bacteria proliferation that you will want to avoid taking your daily probiotic at the same time. Oregano oil contains antibacterial properties which inhibits the growth of several bacteria strains including E. coli and P. aeruginosa (28). This plant extract also contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and upregulates cytokines activity to fight infection (29).

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5)  Lifestyle Changes

Good Hygiene: Parents teach their girls during potty training that wiping from front to back is critical for female hygiene. The practice of good hygiene on lower body areas doesn’t end here.

Maintaining cleanliness in your lower body parts doesn’t mean scrubbing your genitals with soaps and spraying deodorants. In fact, feminine hygiene deodorants should be avoided entirely. Certain hygiene steps you should include into your daily regimen are:

  • Gently clean your genitals before and after sexual intercourse avoiding alcoholic wipes and fragrances
  • Avoid holding the urge to pee following intercourse as urination will help remove bacteria
  • Wear cotton underwear that is fitted (not tight) to avoid friction, heat and moisture that can lead to UTIs

Healthy Sexual Life: Sustaining from frequent sexual activity when suffering from a UTI is key in the recovery of injured tissue lining the urinary tract. Frequent sexual intercourse contributes to a higher risk for introducing bacteria from the anus into the bladder and also causes drying and irritation of vaginal tissue.

Just as you shouldn’t avoid the urge to pee following sex, you should also empty your bladder before intercourse. If dryness is an issue during intercourse, vaginal lubrication using gels and creams can help with irritation and prevent increased inflammation.

Having a healthy sex life may also mean talking to your doctor to understand if the contraceptive pills you may be taking are weakening your immune system making you more susceptible to recurring UTIs.

Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Plant based foods are rich in antioxidants and should be added to every meal. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables boosts the immune system so that it is equipped to handle the intrusion of pathogenic bacteria and prevent infection.

Limit carbohydrates and sugar intake. These foods blocks zinc absorption and contribute to weakened immunity, added inflammation and the increased likelihood of bacteria overgrowth.

Adding probiotic rich foods to your diet is also key to maintaining the health of the urinary tract. Drink beverages concentrated with beneficial bacteria like Kombucha and kefir. Eat probiotic and prebiotic foods like pickled vegetables, grass-fed yogurt, raw asparagus and leeks.

Making sure you are taking a high quality probiotic can also give your immune system the backup support it needs when fighting off any infection. Once your UTI is treated, continuing to take probiotics regularly can decrease the likelihood of its reoccurrence.foodpyramid_11_3_16-1024x463

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