The truth about salt

Have you been told over and over again how bad salt is? Usually, salt is portrayed as an evil thing that you must avoid in order to live a healthy life.

Let’s discuss this amazing electrolyte that actually has a ton of health benefits, and that may be, per research, not something you need to be so scared of.

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What is sodium?

What is sodium? Sodium is an essential electrolyte that is very important for human nutrition. About 60 to 70 percent of our sodium is found in extracellular fluid, about 30 to 40 percent is found on the surface of the bone, and then about 10 percent can be found in the muscle and nerve tissue. Sodium is absorbed in our small intestine and the proximal part of the colon.

Benefits of salt

Salt has so many benefits, and we want to think about salt being a priority in our bodies’ osmotic balance or fluid balance. It is crucial for activity, especially if you are sweating in a hot, humid environment. This essential electrolyte needs to be maintained and replenished while we’re exercising.

In addition to reducing muscle fatigue, it also helps with nerve transmission and promotes good vascular health. In essence, salt is good for you.

What research says about salt

For decades salt has been demonized as being one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. For example, one study in the Journal of Hypertension showed that in over 6,000 subjects, reducing salt intake made no difference in the risk of heart disease or in people with normal blood pressure and high blood pressure.

In 2003, a Cochrane review of over 53 studies showed that reducing salt intake really had little to no benefit on health outcomes. Another review of over 11 studies showed that reducing salt intake can reduce the systolic number by one and diastolic number by 0.6; that would be like going from 120 over 80 to 119 over 79.

What types of salt should you consume, or should you not consume?

As you can see, the research on salt intake does not prove that high salt intake contributes to heart disease or hypertension. We really need to shift our focus and identify more of the root causes of why someone might have those issues, which often may be associated with inflammation or underlying issues, toxins, gut issues, etc., as opposed to blaming salt.

Most often, we consume processed foods and packaged foods. In fact, all of them contain a large amount of salt, but it has been shown that these forms of salt can contain microplastics.

When possible, aim for more sea salt. It is okay to even add salt to your food, especially if you’re exercising, when you wake up in the morning, and when you’re dehydrated. Many people can feel so much better when they begin to add salt to their diet.

Now here’s what I always say, it is individualized to you. You need to understand your medical conditions and what you feel best about. Explore it, and you can see how you feel. Sometimes, people feel worlds different.

The take-home is that we don’t need to put so much emphasis and energy into decreasing salt in our diet. There are plenty of other things we can focus our time on because at this point, the research does not prove for this to have a negative impact on our health.

Check out some of our other videos on gut health, vagus nerve, and movement.

I hope this was helpful. If it was, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement.

If you need help with your nutrition plan, or if you really want to look and feel better this year, please reach out to us; we would love to help you. Reach out for a free discovery session so we can figure out if we’re a good fit for you.

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10 Best Biohacks for 2023

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10 Best Biohacks for 2023

Biohacking is all the rage right now. But what’s it really about? Essentially, biohackers are people who are interested in the best ways to live healthier, happier, and more productive and purposeful lives.

Here are ten of my favorite biohacks that you should consider using for the new year 2023 to help you gain greater health, vitality, longevity, and well-being.

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If you’ve watched my videos, you know that these are some of my favorite things, but not only are they my favorites, these are things that are evidence-based and proven over and over again to be effective for your overall mental, emotional, and physical health and longevity.

So yes, you may want to look better and feel better, but ultimately you want to be able to do the things in your life that you want to do, right? You don’t want to be held back, and therefore, we cannot take our health for granted. All of the things that I’m going to mention today are so easy to integrate that there’s really no excuse not to do them.

I’m not asking to spend hours a day, rather, focus on these simple strategies that you can easily integrate into your life and make huge improvements in your health.

10 biohacks you should try this 2023

1. Track your heart rate variability

Track your heart rate variability. Essentially, this you’re tracking your vagal tone. There are many options: Whoop, Oura, Fitbit, or an Apple Watch, just to name a few.

One of my favorites is the app Elite HRV, which I use along with a chest monitor. When you wake up in the morning, you can assess your heart rate variability, resting heart rate, and readiness for the day. This allows you to make very intentional changes in your life. Did I sleep well? Did I eat well? How much stress am I under?  You can track the trends of your overall health and how it is affecting your resiliency day to day. This is one of the best objective measures that we can use to assess vagal tone, track your overall health, and be able to ultimately make changes accordingly.

2. Optimizing your sleep

Sleep should be a non-negotiable, but I’m going to give you my quick tips for optimizing your sleep.

  • Number one, get blue light blockers. You want to wear them after 7 PM because, realistically, you’re going to be using your phone or your TV, so get blue light blockers to eliminate the blue light at night. The blue light is ultimately stimulating the receptors in your eye to signal that it is morning.
  • Number two, when you wake up in the morning, you either want to get 20 minutes of natural sunlight within the first 20 minutes or if you can’t do that and that’s not realistic, get a SAD  light that has at least 10,000 lux and set it up as you’re getting ready in the morning or brushing your teeth. You want to optimize your natural cortisol peak in the morning and, ultimately, your melatonin production that night.

This is really important for sleep optimization, and of course, there are many other sleep tips, but these are critical.

3. Vagus nerve stimulation

When it comes to vagus nerve stimulation, you can look at all of my different videos. I have over 50 different vagus nerve exercises, but I will perhaps come back to my favorite — the one and only diaphragmatic breathing.

When we are breathing diaphragmatically, we are stimulating the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve runs right through the diaphragm, and we release a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, creating a relaxation response.

You can tap into breathing anywhere, anytime, and for most people, it is a very effective tool in regulating your nervous system. However, please check out all my other videos on vagus nerve exercises because there are countless exercises that you can do that are extremely effective. Nonetheless, you want to think about how you can regulate your nervous system in the New Year.

4. Lymphatic drainage

This is one of the easiest things you can do because you can basically do it anywhere, including in the shower. You can do it right before or after you get out of the shower. It’s such a gentle and quick technique.

You can check my other lymph blogs or videos for more specific details on how to do that.

5. Strength training

This is something that I will say repeatedly; strength training is the best aging-gracefully strategy you can do. We want to think about how our muscles are influencing our longevity because as we get older, we lose muscle mass; that’s called sarcopenia.

Strength training and optimal protein intake are what allows us to maintain that muscle mass, optimize bone density, and be able to generate force, and adapt to life’s demands without injury. It is one of the most important things that I suggest and doing so in a safe program that includes mobility, strength, and stability all wrapped up in one so it doesn’t take a lot of extra time.

6. Walking

Walking always gets overlooked. It is one of the best forms of exercise that we can do. It is a low-intensity exercise that is great for fat loss, aerobic capacity, and emotional regulation because of its rhythmical nature. It’s what we’re designed to do from a movement perspective.

Work towards a movement mindset. Figure out how many steps you’re taking a day right now. Get your baseline and try to work towards getting 8,000–10,000 steps a day.

If you’re working out of the gym in between sets, take a few laps. If you are parking at the grocery store, park farther away. There are many ways to increase your steps, movement, and overall activity and stimulate your fascial tissue.

There are so many amazing things about walking. It’s often overlooked, but it is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your body.

7. Xlear

This is one of the best things that you can have in your toolbox, especially if you’ve suffered from more immune issues this year. This is such a great preventative and treatment that you could use.

I recommend the Daily Rinse, which you would do twice daily. If you are exposed to someone that’s sick, you’re in larger crowds, or if there’s some for a particular reason why you may need a little bit more of a boost — you’re at an airplane or you get sick, then you want to use the Rescue. Saline alone can actually dry out the nasal cavity so where the xylitol helps to kill bacteria and moisten the nasal passages.

Mutes

I also recommend Mutes. They are fantastic for opening the airway; they can open the airway up to 38 percent to improve nasal breathing, which of course, we know is so important for everything in your body: your core function, nervous system, and your sleep. You can get a trial pack to determine the best size for you.

8. Naboso

Naboso is a specific technology designed to stimulate the small nerves in your hands and feet. It helps to improve balance, gait, and movement efficiency. We need sensory information to create optimal movement.

You can use the ball, the splay, recovery socks, or the mats. I highly recommend this, so please make sure you incorporate this into your life so that you can enjoy improved movement.

9. Protein

I talk about this all the time, but it is so important to have the optimal amount of protein per day, to increase muscle mass, prevent sarcopenia, help with bone density, and help with lean body composition.

We want lean muscle versus increased fat tissue because fat tissue is actually inflammatory. Almost every patient I’ve ever worked with is undereating protein.

We want to think about getting that protein from ethically sourced animal sources that contain all of your essential amino acids. To calculate your protein goal on your own, you would use your ideal body weight.

  • For women, the ideal body weight is a hundred pounds for the first five feet and five pounds per every inch after that. So if you were 5’3”, it would be 115 pounds. (115 g Protein/day)
  • For men, it’s 106 pounds for the first five feet and six pounds per inch after that. So, if you were 5’10” as a male, your ideal body weight would be 166. (166 g Protein/day)

This will vary among people depending on their goals and their activity, but this is a really good start.

10. 1st Phorm Micro Factor

Most often, of course, people need supplementation because we’re not getting the nutrients from our food as we once did. Additionally, most people aren’t consuming all the nutrients they need on a regular basis.

So Micro Factor has been awesome for me and for my patients. Essentially, it has a multivitamin, antioxidant, CoQ10, fruits and vegetables, essential fatty acids, and probiotics, and it comes in a handy little packet. It makes it easy to travel and to be able to grab everything you need without having tons of bottles of supplements.

This can be a great addition to your routine. If this is appropriate, sometimes I have people take the probiotic out if they’re having certain gut issues, and they might have to use a specific probiotic strain, but if you’re just looking for general wellness and health, this is a great pick. You can check it out here.

I hope you found at least one tip that you can apply in the New Year.

Follow us at The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Have you been trying all of these different vagus nerve hacks, and they just don’t seem to be doing the trick? You’ve tried breathing, meditation, humming and cold showers, but you still feel like you’re dysregulated?

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How vagus nerve issues present

As many of you know, vagus nerve issues can present very differently for each person.

For one person, it may present as heart rate and blood pressure dysregulation. Another person may experience dizziness, headaches, or digestive issues, even something such as gastroparesis. Some may have increased anxiety or depression.

Even if you’ve tested your vagus nerve, such as the uvula or gag reflex test, and it’s shown that there has been some dysfunction of the vagus nerve, it is important to ask why there is vagus nerve dysfunction.

Why you may be having vagus nerve issues and how to address them

Although vagus nerve dysfunction may cause a whole host of different symptoms for each person, it is really imperative to figure out why that is happening. I know that many of you have heard, “getting to the root of the issue.” Many times, there is more than one underlying cause.

You may have had a predisposition in addition to a triggering event such as an infection, toxin exposure, vaccine, or even a stressful event.

And we also have some kind of, you know, triggering event or perpetuating factors that might be contributing to this ongoing process. So it’s really important to look at all of those.

If, for example, you have a gut issue like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, candida, or even a parasite, this will largely impact your gut-brain connection. Your gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve.

Eighty percent of the information from the vagus nerve goes to the brain from the viscera. Conversely, if there is any type of structural pathology, such as airway dysfunction (deviated septums, small nasal valves, enlarged turbinates, jaw issues, tongue tie, etc.), these will influence the vagus nerve, as the vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm.

If we are breathing from our neck and shoulders 25,000 times a day, that will affect how that nerve functions.

The last is a lymphatic issue. Our nerves are bathed in our lymph system. If there’s any congestion from systemic inflammation, perhaps stemming from the gut originally,  or myofascial restrictions, these will impact the vagus nerve. Our vagus nerve passes right through the left supraclavicular region, where we have the majority of our lymph draining here. If it’s congested, it will affect the rest of the system.

I hope you can appreciate that there are many reasons to delve into to be able to understand why you have vagus nerve dysregulation.

We offer integrative vagus nerve therapy to be able to help you, through this journey to be able to identify what these causes are and really help you take the next step forward, It’s important to continue to do all of the suggested vagus nerve hacks, all while determining the underlying causes of why you have it in the first place, emotionally and physically.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

If it was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement thank you as always.

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5 inflammatory triggers

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5 inflammatory triggers

Have you been dealing with some type of chronic health condition, autoimmune disease, skin issues, or even sinus issues that just don’t seem to be resolving? Here are five different categories of inflammatory triggers that you should consider exploring if you’re experiencing any or all of these things.

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What do you need to know about inflammation?

We want to remember that ninety percent of all chronic health conditions are associated with excessive or persistent inflammation.

What is inflammation?

We want to think of inflammation as our normal defense and repair mechanism.

Let’s take, for example, an acute injury such as an ankle sprain. We may have swelling, redness, pain, loss of motion—this is exactly what’s supposed to happen in the first four to five days of your inflammatory process.

White blood cells infiltrate to help the area heal. However, if, for example, we have poor sleep, stress, and we’re eating inflammatory foods, then this could lead to more systemic inflammation. It could lead to a loss of tolerance where the ankle just doesn’t seem to improve.

Of now, all of a sudden, you experience shoulder pain or get a cold. When things keep jumping around from one to the next and it just seems like you have bad luck, that’s a perfect example of systemic inflammation. That’s when you want to look deeper to figure out what those things are.

If we want to simplify this in terms of your exploration, you can look at five different categories of potentially inflammatory triggers.

What triggers inflammation?

1. Food

This is one of the most common areas, and it’s also the easiest to explore.

We have essentially 14 different potentially inflammatory foods that are more common such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, etc. We also have different foods and food properties that you could be sensitive to as well—something like histamines, oxalates, or nightshades.

There are a lot of different categories of foods that could be potentially inflammatory, but I always like to start with some of the basics. The two most common inflammatory foods for people potentially inflammatory can be gluten and dairy.

It’s always a good starting point for assessing. We do want to remember with food that there are three different types of adverse food reactions—allergy, food sensitivity, and food intolerance. Any or all of these can contribute to essentially some type of inflammatory process in the body, so it’s important to investigate what those are for you.

2. Bugs

This could be something like a tick—a tick-borne illness, or a parasite, which we can see on a stool test.

If there is some kind of underlying infection that you are unaware of, this could exacerbate many of your potential symptoms. If you are evaluating all the things causing your inflammation, you definitely want to at least keep this in mind as a possibility. Also, if you’ve been traveling overseas, to other countries, and so on, you’ll want to factor that into a potential root cause.

3. Toxins

We have internal and external toxins. We are exposed to an exorbitant amount of toxins on a daily basis—that could be things from clean chemicals to plastic water bottles to mold exposure; the list is endless.

Internal toxins, like yeast or bacterial infections, can also act as toxins in our bodies. Of course, things that we might be injected with, like alcohol, are also toxins.

In this category, we can assume that we are all exposed to them. It may be to a different level for each person, and everyone’s ability to detoxify is unique. This is going to be based on a genetic predisposition, early childhood exposure, or their lifetime exposure to toxins.

We want to keep in mind that one person may be surrounded by smoke and mold their whole life but not have an issue and another person might have cancer and autoimmune disease and be unable to get out of bed. We want to really respect and appreciate the differences the individual differences between people.

4. Trauma

As it relates to trauma, we can have previous childhood trauma, emotional trauma, physical trauma, chemical trauma, or simply ongoing stress. All of these things can be explored, and really this is, to me, one of the most important aspects of addressing inflammation.

We know that ongoing stress, for example, can shift the colonization of the bacteria in the gut. This can cause dysbiosis or ongoing inflammation. We want to remember that our gut is 70 percent of our immune system. When we’re talking about immune health and inflammation, we have to talk about gut health.

5. Hormones

This can range from a whole host of issues, from thyroid issues to sex steroid issues (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.) to insulin, ghrelin, leptin, and much more.

For example, if we have a thyroid issue, eating inflammatory foods, have chronic stress, and are exposed to toxins, then we will likely have a greater inflammatory response.

The more of these things that you are experiencing, the greater the likelihood that something (or some symptoms) will become worse.

As you begin to explore your own health, try to consider these factors. This is not an end-all-be-all list, but this helps to get an idea of what might be driving some of your symptoms and also where to begin to explore so you can feel your best.

If you would like to make an appointment with us, we see people all over the world, so please make sure to reach out. We would love to set up a discovery session so that we can help you feel your best. If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

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All About Vitamin B12

Are you curious about your vitamin B12 status? Learn why you may have a deficiency, how to evaluate it, and why vitamin B12 is so important in your body.

Vitamin B12, i.e., cobalamin, is essential in nutrient metabolism and energy production. If you are somebody that’s experiencing mood issues or chronic fatigue, this is something you absolutely want to evaluate.

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Why is vitamin b12 important?

B12 is essential for metabolizing homocysteine (an amino acid), DNA synthesis, and preventing anemia. Without enough red blood cells, you don’t have enough oxygen and so what can happen is your heart rate may increase, you can have neurological symptoms, you can have chronic fatigue, and have trouble walking.

Why understanding the digestion of b12 is important?

Understanding the digestion of B12 is very important because that can be one of the drivers of vitamin B12 deficiency.

First, we want to understand that when we’re breaking down foods that contain B12, such as meats or higher protein foods, that digestion begins in the stomach—we have hydrochloric acid and pepsin to help break down vitamin B12. Then that moves into the small intestine, and it will bind to an intrinsic factor, which is a glycoprotein. As that continues to move down into the intestine, where we have the absorption of our vitamin B12.

You can appreciate that if you have any kind of maldigestion, perhaps low stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, or you have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), or leaky gut, they all can impair digestion and absorption of B12.

Diagnosing vitamin b12 deficiency

It can be difficult to diagnose a B12 deficiency, so it is very important to look at a lot of different factors. We can’t simply look at serum B12 alone because, unfortunately, that will not be the best marker. We have to actually assess homocysteine and, ideally, methylmalonic acid, as well, when we’re looking for B12 status.

If either one of those is elevated and you see a low vitamin B12 status, then it will be more indicative of a deficiency. When we’re looking for a general range of the serum value, we’re looking for around 800, but again we want to ensure that we’re looking at a full picture, not simply the serum value. You also want to look for other signs, such as anemia, paleness, shortness of breath, and other factors indicative of a potential deficiency.

It’s important, as always, to look at the full clinical picture; you want to match your testing with how you’re your symptoms. Make sure that you have a qualified professional to be able to help you navigate that process and to be able to make sure that you’re making the best decisions for your own health.

If you need help, please make sure to reach out to us. We would love the opportunity to help you on your journey.

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your gut health, hormones, toxins, etc.? Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

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Root causes of eczema

Are you experiencing eczema, or you know someone who is? Do you know how intimately connected the microbiome is to eczema and how you can begin to look at the root causes of eczema instead of just treating the symptoms?

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What is eczema?

If you have it, you know it all too well, but essentially, it’s atopic dermatitis. It can contribute to dry, itchy, red, bumpy, and scaly skin patches.

What causes eczema?

1. Altered microbiome

Research shows that there is a link with an altered microbiome in infancy that contributes to eczema. This can be dysbiosis, an imbalance of good and bad bacteria, as well as leaky gut, i.e., intestinal permeability, that can contribute to this inflammatory condition.

What are some things that could cause an altered microbiome early on? Were you born via C-section or vaginally, breastfed or bottle-fed? Now, of course, those things you can’t change, but you want to know if that contributed to an altered microbiome right from the beginning. How was your mother’s overall microbiome? Were you exposed to antibiotics early on? When you were introduced to complementary foods? Also, did you have any other illnesses, antibiotics, or medications that could have contributed to that early on in life?

2. Food allergies

About 30 percent of children with eczema have food allergies. This could be things like soy, eggs, cow’s milk, nuts, shellfish, or gluten — all of these things can potentially be food allergies. It’s worth testing for those to really understand if that could be a root cause.

3. Nutrient deficiencies

Another root cause is nutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids, zinc, vitamins A, B, C, D, and E can contribute to eczema.

4. Other conditions

Other conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, celiac disease, and secondary infections, can be associated conditions. It’s worth exploring if there’s something else other than leaky gut and nutrient deficiencies that are contributing to this inflammatory condition.

What are the other triggers of dry skin?

We can think about things like low humidity, UV radiation, chlorine, detergents, and other skin products that might be irritants. There are a lot of other things that could contribute. Let’s not forget emotional stress, too!

Emotional stress is one of the biggest inflammatory drivers. In working with patients, although I’m still trying to get to the root cause of what might be happening in their gut and microbiome, I am also absolutely addressing the stress component, which tends to exacerbate symptoms.

In summary, if you or someone you know is experiencing eczema, instead of focusing on topical solutions, it is imperative that you really begin to dive into the root cause(s).

If this is you or it’s somebody you know and love, make sure that you share this information with them. Make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your gut health, hormones, toxins, etc.? Schedule your evaluation here:https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

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How to optimize your Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical vitamin and hormone that is essential for preventing many chronic conditions and improving overall immune health.

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What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is considered a hormone. After we are exposed to sunlight, our bodies synthesize Vitamin D and then activate it in the liver and the kidneys. The activated form of Vitamin D helps to regulate the metabolism of calcium.

Deficiencies in Vitamin D can contribute to many chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, preeclampsia, and muscle and joint issues. More recently, research is showing that low Vitamin D levels are associated with poor recovery from COVID-19.  Vitamin D is very essential, and it is extremely overlooked in our normal blood work panels; thus, we should have our Vitamin D levels checked yearly.

How to optimize your vitamin D

What is the first thing that you can do?

1. Have your levels checked

You want to either ask your medical provider, functional medicine provider, or registered dietitian who could direct you appropriately to getting your levels checked. Then, you want to determine where your serum Vitamin D levels fall:

  • If you’re severely deficient, your level will be under 10 ng/mL.
  • If you are deficient, you are under 30 ng/mL.
  • 30 to 50 ng/mL is suboptimal
  • Optimal is 50 to 80 ng/mL.

Many will find themselves with low Vitamin D levels, such as 30 ng/mL.  If it’s at 30, that means you’re borderline deficient. If you have a higher level of vitamin D, over 100, you can have a risk of hypercalcemia. The risk is low, but it is there. That means you are not metabolizing calcium properly and you can break down your bones.

What we’re striving for is that 50 to 80 ng/mL range. That seems to be best for innate and adaptive immunity because Vitamin D plays a role in both of those. You’re able to fight infections better and tolerate viruses and bacterial infections.

What do you do after you have your levels checked?

2. Supplementation

This is going to determine how/if you need to supplement. For example, if you are extremely deficient (30 ng/mL or under), I always recommend that my patients get a prescription dose of Vitamin D. That’s 50,000 IU once a week for at least four weeks, and then you should reassess your serum Vitamin D level. This helps you get a good idea of how well you’re absorbing your Vitamin D, and simultaneously you can start to work on some of the root causes of why you may not be absorbing this nutrient properly.

Sometimes, it’s simply you’re just not getting enough, whether that be a lack of sunlight or not consuming enough Vitamin D-rich food sources. Other times, low Vitamin D can be related to absorption.

If, after taking a prescription dose of Vitamin D for your deficiency you find your levels are still not optimal, consider the daily doses below:

<10 ng/mL – 10,000 units per day

10–20 ng/mL – 10,000 units per day

20–30 ng/mL – 8,000 units per day

30–40 ng/mL – 5,000 units per day

40–50 ng/mL – 2,000 units per day

It might take you six months to a year to figure out exactly how much you need to take. Also, it may differ during the winter months compared to the summer. However, once you’re able to figure that out with consistent testing, you should be able to maintain an optimal vitamin D level.

Sources of vitamin D

The following are rich sources of Vitamin D:

1. Cod oil

This is something you can supplement with. You can use the liquid version, gel cap version, or cod oil itself. Cod oil is one of your best sources of Vitamin D. Things like salmon, mackerel, and tuna fish are also high in Vitamin-D fish. There are other food sources, such as eggs, dairy products, and fortified foods, but they are lower in Vitamin D than cod oil.

2. Sunlight

Your natural production of Vitamin D is going to come from the sunlight. That occurs from natural pinking from the sun. This is influenced by many factors, such as your age, how much of your skin is covered, and even your skin tone. Somebody with a darker skin tone requires more Vitamin D due to their amount of melanin. Without clothing or sunblock, on average, you’re going to make about 10,000 to 15,000 IUs of Vitamin D in one pinking sun exposure.

Absorption of vitamin D

The last thing you need to consider when optimizing your Vitamin D is your absorption.

Why is it that your Vitamin D levels aren’t budging when you’re already supplementing with Vitamin D, eating the food sources, and exposing yourself to sunlight?

This is where we begin to look at other factors. Is there some kind of malabsorption occurring? Are your liver and kidneys not able to convert Vitamin D? Are you consuming enough fats? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means you must consume adequate dietary fat to help absorb this vitamin. There could be lots of different things affecting your absorption of Vitamin D, such as GI issues, like celiac or Crohn’s disease, IBS, etc. All these things might need to be considered when you’re monitoring your levels.

Vitamin D affects so many aspects of your immune system and overall health. It is necessary that we monitor, supplement as appropriate, and consume foods to optimize our health.

Are you interested in seeing how we can help you with your nutrient levels, gut health, hormones, toxins, etc.? Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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Easiest way to decrease sugar cravings

Do you want to know one of the simplest ways to combat sugar cravings? Protein.

So many of you most likely have some kind of sugar cravings. Well, most often, these can be caused by three different things.

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Number one is blood sugar dysregulation. This can be caused by a high glycemic diet, poor macronutrient balance, or poor timing of meals.

The second is a bacterial imbalance and fungal overgrowth.  The bacteria itself can actually crave carbohydrates. Yeast overgrowth can contribute to sugar cravings as well.

The third is a dopamine response. Sugar can affect us like a drug, cigarettes, or alcohol.

Because of all these three variables, we need to make sure that we are combating these cravings through one very simple thing, optimal protein intake.

How to decrease sugar cravings with protein

We do want to make sure that we clarify the type of protein. If we compare a cup of fish to a cup of rice and beans, the cup of rice and beans has approximately 375 calories, 42 grams of carbohydrates, and only 12 grams of protein, compared to one cup of fish, which has 175 calories and approximately 42 grams of high-quality protein.

So, you can see and hopefully appreciate that the protein content is very important. When comparing animal protein to plant-based protein, you’re going to have a lot more carbohydrates that can contribute to, for some people, more sugar cravings compared to high-quality clean protein sources that are low-calorie.

The key thing to remember about protein is that it provides more satiety — a sense of fullness. Therefore, it’s great to eat your protein first in your meal which is ideally comprised of a protein, a fat, and a fiber source. Eating the protein first will most likely cause you to eat less in volume and calories and also have less cravings.

Eating protein throughout the day in balanced proportions, approximately 30 to 50 grams of protein per meal, depending on your weight, will provide optimal blood sugar regulation. If you’re having, let’s say, white rice or another higher glycemic carbohydrate, by having protein with it, it will decrease the glycemic index of the meal.

How much protein should you have?

Thirty to 50 grams per meal of high-quality protein is key for optimal health, especially preservation of our lean muscle mass, which is necessary for longevity. But if we want to dive a little bit deeper into that, in an ideal world, it would be 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Here’s the take-home message: eating more high-quality protein consistently throughout your day, at least 30 grams per meal, is vital for decreasing sugar cravings.

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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9 root causes of acne

9 root causes of acne

Are you someone who suffers from acne — perhaps on your face, on your back, even on your arms? Maybe you’ve had it since puberty and still have not resolved it.

We’re going to dive into the gut-skin axis today and some of the reasons why you need to look inside as opposed to simply just putting on things on the outside — from a logical standpoint — or even taking medications to reduce it.

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What you need to know about acne

As it relates to the gut-skin axis, referring to the gut microbiome and its influence on the skin, we want to remember that our gut is 70 percent of our immune system. Therefore, inflammatory skin disorders can be associated with dysbiosis in the gut. 

Acne vulgaris presents as follicular hyperkeratinization, increased sebum production, and Propionibacterium.

Now we’re going to dive into nine root causes of acne that are definitely worth exploring in your journey to resolving this.

9 causes of acne

1. Hormonal changes

Acne will often present itself during puberty initially, but it can also present in things like PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. We want to recognize that any kind of hormonal imbalance can contribute to this, so diving into why you are having hormonal imbalances is imperative.

2. Increase insulin and insulin-like growth factor

This can ultimately increase the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris and affect how follicular inflammation occurs. It is important to recognize that things like the regulation of blood sugar and, of course, how we eat throughout the day can influence acne.

3. High glycemic diet

This is often associated with our Western or Standard American Diet or SAD diet. Increased processed foods and increased sugar-rich foods can contribute to an environment where acne can flourish because it increases sebum production.

4. Alterations to the gut microbiome

This can present as intestinal dysbiosis, an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), leaky gut (intestinal permeability), and other conditions, all of which can create inflammation systemically and contribute to acne.

Remember, 70 percent of our immune system is in our gut in the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue), so dysbiosis can drive inflammation anywhere in your body.

5. Increased levels of linoleic acid

When we think about our ratio of omega-3s to 6, we often have way more 6s than the 3s. It’s not that omega-6s aren’t important. We just need an optimal balance.

Vegetable oils like peanut oil, corn, and palm oil in processed foods can contribute to advanced glycolytic end products which increase oxidative stress and inflammation, thereby potentially increasing acne.

6. Whey protein

This is really common! One of my number one things to explore immediately with anyone suffering from acne: whey protein. Whey is found in our dairy products, and whey can be a big trigger for acne. It doesn’t mean it is for everyone, but it is absolutely worth doing a formal elimination diet of dairy at the minimum and then reintroducing it to see if it is one of the drivers for you.

7. Low stomach acid

It’s estimated that approximately 40 percent of people that suffer from acne have low stomach acid. This can contribute to how we are breaking down proteins specifically, which is very common. 

8. Nutrient deficiencies

Deficiencies in essential fatty acids, vitamin A, E, zinc, B6, and selenium can contribute to acne. It’s very important to do a nutrient analysis to determine how much of each nutrient you are getting on a daily basis.

9. Toxins

We are exposed to so many toxins on a regular basis. Dioxin is one of the toxins that is

considered a persistent organic pollutant that can contribute to acne. We do want to factor in other environmental exposures as well. 

In summary, when dealing with acne, look beyond Accutane and topical solutions. Assess your gut-skin axis.

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, give it a share, and make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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10 ways to measure your health that’s not the scale

How much power do you give the number on the scale? Do you know that there are so many other biomarkers of health that you can look at besides the number on the scale?

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10 Biomarkers of Health

1. Waist Circumference

This is one of the most valuable ways to measure your health. Measure the mid-point between your iliac crest, the top of your hip bones, and the bottom of your ribcage. Greater than 35 inches for females and 40 inches for males would indicate that you are at increased risk of health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and other cardiometabolic issues. 

2. Waist to Hip Ratio

The hip circumference is located at the greater trochanter, the bony prominence on the side of your leg. Then, calculate your waist to hip ratio. If it is .8 or greater for females or .9 or greater for males, that would indicate an increased health risk.  

3. Body Fat Analysis

Certain modes of body fat testing are more reliable than others, such as DEXA scans, hydrostatic weighing, Bod Pods, and skinfold testing. If you have a very skilled practitioner at skinfold testing, that can be one of your easiest and more reliable ways to test it. Body fat analysis can tell you how much lean body mass and fat mass you have. It can also determine things like intracellular and extracellular water.

If you have increased extracellular water, for example, that can indicate that you may have increased inflammation. Your muscle is your organ of longevity. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is, the leaner you are, and the less adipose tissue you have. Adipose is an inflammatory tissue. Using body fat as an assessment is an outstanding way to measure your overall health and longevity. 

4. Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index is equivalent to your weight in pounds divided by your height in inches, multiplied by 703. The ideal range should be 18 to 25 for men and women. This is a great overall assessment, especially if you are overweight, however, if you have increased lean body mass then this is not the best measure for you. 

5. Hair Assessment

Is your hair dry? Is it breaking? Are you losing hair or getting premature grays? Things like dandruff and hair thinning can be associated with decreased essential fatty acids. You can have protein deficiencies and/or zinc deficiencies that contribute to things like alopecia. You want to think about what is the quality of your hair. Is it thinning? That can be associated with medical conditions like hypothyroidism. If you notice changes in your hair then you should suspect that something is going on in your body, such as nutrient deficiencies or other health conditions. 

6. Nail Assessment

Are your nails dry? Are they brittle or cracked? Do they have longitudinal lines or transverse lines? Are they spooning? Spooning nails can indicate koilonychia which can indicate a protein or vitamin B12 deficiency. White spots on your nails that aren’t associated with trauma can be associated with a zinc deficiency. Looking at your nails and your nail health can give you so much insight into your overall health. 

7. Mouth Assessment

Are you having any decay? Are you having any discoloration? Something like a Burtons line, a dark line along the bottom of the gum that could be associated with heavy metal toxicity. Are you having periodontal issues that can potentially indicate some type of bacterial overgrowth and also numerous vitamin deficiencies such as A, D, and E? Burning mouth syndrome, which is exactly how it sounds, can be associated with a vitamin B12 deficiency. So, it’s important to monitor your teeth for any changes. 

8. Tongue Assessment

Different fissures along the tongue can indicate digestive insufficiencies, such as central, longitudinal, transverse, and lambda fissures. A lambda fissure, like a zigzag, can suggest an upregulated GALT, gut-associated lymphoid tissue. It can also signify decreased pancreatic elastase enzymes and potentially hydrochloric acid deficiency. You can even see on your tongue if there’s a coating. This can be graded 1 through 4, depending on the number of anaerobic bacteria on your tongue. In summary, there is a lot of information on your tongue.

9. Skin Assessment

Do you have dry skin, eczema, or dermatitis? All these things can be associated with some type of inflammatory driver. They can also commonly be associated with essential fatty acid, zinc, and sometimes vitamin C deficiencies. 

10. Peripheral Nerves

Restless legs and peripheral neuropathy should prompt you to dig deeper. Of course, you can have chemotherapy-induced neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic neuropathy, of course, results from insulin resistance. Many times, it can be driven by vitamin deficiencies. There are many ways to improve nerve health. 

In summary, there is more to health than just the number on the scale. This is just scratching the surface of a physical nutrition examination to help you understand that there are so many biomarkers of health. 

We are happy to help, so please reach out. We do virtual and in-person consultations, so we’d love the opportunity to help you on your journey. If this was helpful, give it a share and make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Need help? Reach out for a 15-minute FREE discovery session to see how we can help you on your journey.

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