Detoxification… it’s not what you think

Have you seen on social media the latest detox diet? Three days to detox your body? Unfortunately, it is not that simple. We want to take into consideration our toxic burden, our total toxic load, and how this affects our overall health. 

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What you need to know about toxins

We are exposed to so many toxins on a day-to-day basis.

For example, before a woman leaves the house in the morning, she puts on an average of 168 different chemicals on her body. When it comes to men, it’s 86, according to the Environmental Working Group. For female teenagers, it’s even greater because of all the extra products that they might be using. Not to mention the glyphosate that is in many of our crops, GMOs, pesticides, cleaning chemicals, and all of our personal care products.

We are exposed to many toxins in and around our environment. Let’s not forget things that we’re putting in our bodies. The foods that we’re eating can have processed ingredients, chemicals, heavy metals, etc. Rice, for example, has very high amounts of arsenic. Although not all of it is within our control, some of it is.

A toxin, by definition, is a poison made by a human organism. A toxicant, on the other hand, is synthetic and manmade. Our total toxic load equals our total toxic exposure minus the ability to bio-transform and excrete toxins or toxicants.

In essence, if you have an increased toxic burden, and you are constipated, you’re not able to excrete. If you are not drinking enough water, you’re not excreting through your urine, and therefore will have an increased total toxic load on your body. 

How toxins affect each individual

Everyone’s ability to detoxify is unique. This is very important because that is why certain people can be exposed to things their whole lives, smoke, drink, and not have anything happen to them. Then other people make all the right choices and unfortunately they may end up with chronic health conditions.

We have to factor that into our equation of how toxins will affect each person. This means that when you are not able to excrete and biotransform and have high toxic exposure, this could lead to chronic illness.

Who can be susceptible?

This could be anyone who has nutrient deficiencies, increased exposure to toxicants, and/or has some type of intestinal dysbiosis, imbalance of beneficial and bad bacteria. Also, someone who is undergoing a tremendous amount of stress, getting inadequate protein, eating a lot of highly refined carbohydrates, and genetics can be at risk.

The other thing that we want to mention as it relates to detoxification is that our liver is our major detoxification organ. We have two phases of our detoxification, phase one and phase two.

Sometimes when people try to detoxify, they may upregulate phase one detoxification, but if they are not supporting phase two with specific nutrients, managing stress and sleep, and so on, then they could feel much worse. 

We want to remember that there are different phases of detoxification and there are specific nutrients that support phase one and phase two. So, if you are not supporting those detoxification pathways, you can become much worse and feel very sick. Whether you are trying to detox from heavy metals or from foods, doing this with a qualified health practitioner is recommended.  

So, what are some things that you can do to promote healthy detoxification? 

1. Reducing Toxic Burden

Start with going to the Environmental Working Group and begin to evaluate some of the products that you use such as your cleaning chemicals and personal care products.  Determine the rating and if they are rated high, begin to search for how you can replace those maybe one by one. Keep it slow and steady, so it doesn’t seem overwhelming. You can’t detoxify if you still have a high toxic load. 

2. Choose Organic

You can use the clean 15 Dirty Dozen guide that is also on the EWG website to use as a reference to determine what foods are more important to get organic than ones that aren’t.

3. Addressing Constipation

If you are constipated, meaning you are not going to the bathroom at least once a day, and t looks like a snake, address this immediately! You want to make sure that you have healthy bowel movements consistently because that is one of our main ways to detoxify. 

4. Drinking Water

Is this the only thing that you should do? No, but I do want to emphasize the importance of this because we also excrete through our urine. If you’re well-hydrated, you’re going to be urinating more frequently, which is going to contribute to healthy detoxification. 

5. Eating a Rainbow

This is perhaps one of the most important things and the reason for this is that eating the rainbow is actually an art and a science. Each specific color of the rainbow is contributing to very specific phytonutrients. These phytonutrients are supporting the phase one and two detoxification pathways.

If you are just consuming a multivitamin, you are getting some of it possibly, but not to the extent that you will be getting if you’re eating whole foods. The detoxification program that I use for patients offers many therapeutic foods and colors. Eat a rainbow every day

6. Cooking Preparation

High heat cooking can contribute to AGE’s, advanced glycolytic end products. This can contribute to oxidative stress and inflammation. Cooking with olive oil, for example, is not the best for high heat cooking oil. Therefore, it can contribute to inflammation. Olive oil has so many health benefits so consider putting that on a salad and using avocado oil for high heat cooking.

In summary, you may need to be toxify for various things. My advice is to seek out a professional that can help guide you and support you.

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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Vagus Nerve Hack | Ileocecal Valve Release | Visceral Release

If you are experiencing any kind of gut issues like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, SIBO, leaky gut, or even upper GI issues like GERD then you should give this vagus nerve hack a try, the ileocecal valve release.

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What is the ileocecal valve?

The ileocecal valve connects the small intestine to the large intestine and prevents any backflow of nutrients and undigested food into the small intestine. The large intestine is where we have most of our beneficial bacteria. So, we don’t want to have a backflow of toxic material moving into the small intestine where it is not supposed to be. This can cause a whole host of issues such as SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The small intestine is where we’re supposed to be absorbing the nutrients from our food. Issues around this ileocecal valve can typically cause a lot of tenderness around the area.

How does the vagus nerve fit into this?

The vagus nerve modulates digestion through the migrating motor complex. This migrating motor complex is located in our small intestine and helps to move things through towards the large intestine. It can also affect the ileocecal valve. In essence, the vagus nerve influences our small intestine and ileocecal valve. 

How do you perform the release? 

While lying down, find your hip bone. Then, orient yourself to your belly button. From those hip bones, move 1/3 of the way up towards your belly button and that is called McBurney’s point. When you get to that area, sink your fingers nice and easily into the tissue. First, assess to see if it is tender? Does it feel restrictive? Once you’ve assessed the tissue on your bare skin, gently compress the tissue inward and then traction the tissue up towards the belly button. Try to hold gently anywhere from two to four minutes. You may feel a decrease in tenderness and/or some motility. Sounds are common and normal. This is a great technique to do right before bed. Try to perform on a daily basis for eight weeks. 

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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Is intermittent fasting for you?

Have you heard about intermittent fasting? Maybe you’ve had a friend or family member who’s been successful with it and you are wondering if you should, too? Let’s dive into what intermittent fasting is, the types of fast, its potential benefits and adverse effects, and how you can incorporate it safely into your life.

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Intermittent fasting is a broad term defined as periods of feeding and restricting. This can include many different forms. Think of intermittent fasting as an umbrella term.

Here are four common ways to intermittent fast:

1. Time-Restricted Feeding

This involves prolonging the amount of time that you’re not eating and shortening the time that you’re feeding. The most common example of this is a 12 hour fast from night until the next morning. For example, eating dinner at 7:00 p.m. and then eating breakfast at 7:00 a.m. If you were prolonging that further, you could fast up to 16 hours. A 12 to 16-hour fast is most common, although more is an option as well. 

2. Alternate Day Fast

This involves eating your normal calories on one day and on the next day you have a decreased caloric intake of approximately 600 calories.

3. Modified Fasting

This could involve reducing your caloric intake by about 10 to 20% on a day or multiple days a week. You could go as little as 600 calories. 

4. Fasting Mimicking Diet

This is typically done one time per month for five days. During the five days, you would consume a ketogenic diet, which is high in fat, low in protein, and very low in carbohydrates. This would be done on five consecutive days once a month as a means of a cyclical fasting-mimicking period. 

Benefits

The next big question is what the benefits of fasting are, and there are quite a few. It is important to recognize that there are a lot of mice studies and some human studies, so there needs to be more research with greater human subject samples.

Additionally, restricted eating, intermittent fasting, carbohydrate restriction, and caloric restriction can all have similar effects on the body. Autophagy, our natural cell recycling program, can be improved through all three of these.

Shorter-term studies on mice and humans show that there can be a positive effect on insulin resistance, blood pressure, blood sugar, lipids, as well as inflammation, weight loss, and even brain health. There’s no doubt that longer-term studies on humans are needed to support the long-term benefits of sustained weight loss. 

Who should use caution?

Now, who should use caution with intermittent fasting?

First, I believe that you should work with a health practitioner to guide you and coach you to make sure that this is the right time and the right plan for you. Anyone that is frail, pregnant, has a previous eating disorder, has disordered eating should not fast.

If you have low blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, or insulin-dependent diabetes, you also should not fast. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that is overlooked is if you have an HPA Axis dysfunction, hypothalamic pituitary adrenal dysfunction. This is our main stress pathway in our body.

If you’re under chronic stress, it is not a good idea to do intermittent fasting. This perhaps may be the sole reason why I choose to not put many of my patients on intermittent fasting because. It can be yet another stressor on their body that they can’t tolerate at this time. I’m also very cautious to do intermittent fasting with women, especially if they are dealing with existing hormonal issues, such as cortisol dysregulation, estrogen dominance, or low progesterone.

For men, however, I have found that it can be very helpful, but there are some things to think about even beyond the things I just mentioned. It depends on your specific goal if intermittent fasting will help you achieve your goal. For example, if you are lifting to build muscle mass, you have to eat more calories. Intermittent fasting may not be the best fit because it may be very hard to get in all the calories that you need in a condensed period of time. It is important to think about what your goals are, your current health conditions, or the concerns that you’re working with. 

Tips for successful fasting

If you decide to give it a try, track how you’re feeling for at least one month. If fasting is helping you meet your goals, stick with it. If it’s not, stop. It’s that simple. If it’s a way of life for you, fantastic, but it’s not and your body’s not responding the way you thought, it’s okay to change gears and move in a different direction. 

  1. Make sure that you’re drinking a lot of water. 
  2. Clean your gut and health up first. 
  3. If you are waking up and drinking bulletproof coffee with ghee and MCT oil, you have already broken the fast. If you put creamer in your coffee, you’ve broken the fast. 
  4. Build up tolerance slowly. Start at 10 hours, 11, 12, and so on. For women, I would recommend no more than 14 hours and for men up to 16. 
  5. If you feel unwell at any point, stop the fast and reconsider if this is the right approach for you? 

Having metabolic flexibility, being able to fast and feed is very powerful and is evolutionary in nature.  If you decide to, make sure you are taking all the necessary steps and track your journey.

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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Vagus nerve hack: visceral sympathetic release | celiac plexus, superior/inferior mesenteric plexus

Did you know that stress can inhibit the vagus nerve? When we are stressed, we are activating our sympathetic nervous system, our “fight or flight” system.

We can access the sympathetic nervous system through our viscera. We can do specific visceral techniques on ourselves that can down-regulate the sympathetic nervous system so that we can upregulate the vagus nerve, which is the cornerstone of our parasympathetic nervous system, or “rest and digest” system.

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How stress affects our viscera

Stress can affect us in so many ways, but let’s specifically speak to how it affects our viscera.

Stress inhibits or turns down the vagus nerve, which is what innervates our entire digestive tract. If we are stressed, blood flow moves away from the digestive system. If we’re in a sympathetic state, we are not able to digest, assimilate, and even eliminate our food as well as we should.

Additionally, if we have a high vagal tone, then we will have good protective epithelial or gut barrier function. If we are in a constant fight or flight system, then, unfortunately, we don’t have that protective barrier that can contribute to things like leaky gut, IBS, and even inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). 

So what can you do about it?

The visceral sympathetic release technique is something you can do on yourself that can downregulate your sympathetic nervous system. You can target the celiac plexus, the superior mesenteric plexus, and the inferior mesenteric plexus, which are all nerve bundles part of this system

While you’re lying down, you want to assess each of these three areas. 

  1. You will start about an inch under the xiphoid process, which is the bone right under your sternum. That is your celiac plexus. 
  2. Then, move down to halfway between your xiphoid process (bottom of your sternum) and your belly button to your superior mesenteric plexus. 
  3. About one inch above your belly button is your inferior mesenteric plexus. 

Assess for a temperature, edema, or tenderness in each of these areas. Wherever you notice any kind of restriction, decreased elasticity, swelling, or soreness, then that’s the area you want to address. As with any type of release, you want to have a very gentle approach, especially with the viscera. You are manipulating fascia, which does not need to be aggressive. You want to be very intentional about your technique and your pressure.

This is a great opportunity for you to tune in to your own body and viscera. As you move through the technique, you’ll find the key areas that you want to release and proceed to hold each spot. You can use both fingers, one on top of the other, to sink into the tissue until you feel one of those shifts in what you’re assessing.

Is there a decrease in tenderness? Does it feel like there’s less swelling around the area or is it more elastic?

You can assess for any change in the tissue or does it feel like a sense of relaxation?  That could feel like a sigh, swallow, yawn, or just a sense of calmness in your body. 

After you perform the technique, reassess to see how that tissue feels. You can reinforce that with diaphragmatic breathing to up-regulate your parasympathetic nervous system even more. This can be a great technique to do before you go to bed or before you eat, especially if you have gut issues. 

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

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

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Are you suffering from food intolerances?

Did you know that 15 to 20 percent of people suffer from some type of food intolerance? It is important to understand the differences between food sensitivity, food allergy, food intolerance as well as what specifically you can be intolerant to.

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There are three different types of adverse food reactions that you can have.

The first is a food allergy which is considered an immunologic IgE mediated hypersensitivity. Essentially, this causes a fairly immediate immune response. The second is considered a food sensitivity, which is an IgG-mediated response, also causing an immune response. This is a different antibody, which has a much longer half-life, an average of 23 days, compared to IgE, which has a very short half-life.  Lastly, food intolerance is what we’re going to focus on today. This is a non-immunologic reaction that causes an intolerance to a specific component of a food. 

8 Food Intolerances You May Be Experiencing

Let’s dive into eight different food intolerances that you may be experiencing. Let’s use lactose as our example. 

Lactose is referred to as a FODMAP (Fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.) If you have lactose intolerance, it will draw in osmotic pressure in the intestine, which means that it can create bloating, diarrhea, and cause pain because it is a poorly absorbed fermentable carbohydrate. 

Essentially, someone with lactose intolerance does not have the enzyme lactase to break down the food. Now let’s discuss the different types of food intolerances.

1. FODMAPs

FODMAPs can be different carbohydrates. Oligosaccharides, for example, include things like onions, garlic, and wheat. Disaccharides can include yogurts and cheeses. Monosaccharides can be things such as honey, apples, fructose, etc. 

Polyols can include different types of sugars. All of these can attribute to poor digestion in the gut. If we are not able to break down FODMAPs then that means that there’s probably something going on with our gut like dysbiosis, leaky gut, SIBO, and so on. 

2. Histamine

As I mentioned with FODMAPs, there’s typically a reason why someone is having some type of histamine intolerance. It is often due to dysbiosis in the gut, GI inflammation, and/or SIBO. There also could be a genetic predisposition to histamine intolerance, which means someone may not have the enzymes to break down the histamines.

Diamine Oxidase (DAO) is the enzyme that is required for the metabolism of histamines. This can cause sensitivity to things like wine or age cheeses. 

We’ve all had histamine responses, whether you’ve found a bug bite or you’ve had an allergic reaction; this is a normal response. However, some people can be very intolerant to histamine foods. 

Addressing the gut is number one and a DAO enzyme can be helpful. It does not necessarily fix the entire problem, but it can be helpful if you’re consuming histamine foods and you have an intolerance. 

3. Tyramine

This is a naturally occurring trace amine that’s derived from the amino acid tyrosine. It can be found in plants, animals, fermented, and even foods such as aged cheeses, smoked fish, cured meats, and so on. Just like the other foods, you can eliminate them for a period of time including things like leftovers. Any kind of spoiled food or leftovers can be rich in tyramine.

Once again, you want to try to uncover any potential root causes. Medications like antidepressants or antibiotics can make you more sensitive. 

4. Lectins

Lectins are found in most plants, meat products, and legumes. Although many people eliminate these, research doesn’t fully support this as key food intolerance. Lectins are such an important food group because it is in most of our plants, so we have to be careful when eliminating them.

5. Nightshades

Nightshades are comprised of many healthy foods like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes. This is also somewhat of a controversial food intolerance. There are people who definitely report that nightshades can make them feel worse and present with general inflammation, specifically joint inflammation. It’s also something that is often included in an autoimmune protocol like the Autoimmune Paleo (AIP) diet. Some elimination diets are focused on eliminating nightshades as well. The evidence here is definitely lacking in showing that this can cause a problem. It can be worth exploring if this is suspected for you, however.

The good thing about nightshades, among some others, is that you can eliminate them for a very short amount of time to be able to assess. If it’s something you’re eating regularly, you can eliminate them for a few days and then reintroduce them and see how you do. 

6. Oxalates

Oxalates are also a common one that you see in a lot of different diet protocols and this can come from oxalic acid. Ultimately, it could come from three sources: your diet, fungi, and possibly Candida. If there’s a candida overgrowth, that can increase your oxalic acids. It can also come from your metabolism. Vegetarian diets tend to be higher in oxalates. If Candida overgrowth is present, which is very common in that population, there can also be a higher oxalic acid content. 

We normally hear about high oxalates with kidney stones. That is one of the biggest drivers of a kidney stone. So how can we treat this? Hydration is critical, so make sure that you’re drinking a ton of water. You can increase things like citrate foods such as lemons and limes. You can also focus on potentially decreasing oxalate foods, but just remember that those are very healthy foods, such as our berries and spinach. Most importantly, address your gut and systemic inflammation, especially if there is Candida.  

7. Food Additives

This could include things such as MSG, gums, and nitrates. These are all things that don’t have enough literature to support them. That does not mean at all that they don’t exist. Some people can determine just through their experimentations with food that they are sensitive to very specific ingredients in these foods.

8. Salicylates

This can be naturally found in many fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, gums, and cosmetics. These can cause a whole host of symptoms such as asthma, gastric issues, tinnitus, headaches, and nasal and sinus polyps. This is something that is found in foods as part of our essential fatty acid breakdown. We can have a dysregulation of arachidonic acid metabolism, which can be inflammatory. 

It is important to know what we are eating and how it may be affecting us. 

If it was helpful please give it a share. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

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

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Muscle is the organ of longevity

Did you know that muscle is your organ of vitality and longevity, and we need a lot more of it?

As we think about optimizing our health and our longevity, we have to critically think about our muscle mass and strength. In fact, it can start declining in our late 30s and 40s. There’s so much opportunity to be able to build and maintain muscle mass as we move into our older years. You can even gain muscle mass after 50 and 60.

We want to think about preventing sarcopenia, which is a loss of muscle mass. That is one of the biggest predictors of poor recovery from falls as we get older. Let’s dive into why muscle is your organ of longevity, what are some things that can happen with poor muscle mass, and what you can do about it.

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Quite simply put, increased muscle mass will have improved health outcomes, not only from a physical standpoint but from a metabolic standpoint. Conversely, low muscle mass is associated with fatigue, injuries, frailty, falls, and even death.

Why is muscle mass important in the body

Now let’s go through why muscle is so important for our body. 

1. Provides Structure 

Perhaps one of the most obvious things is that it provides us with a structure and integrity to allow us to move dynamically through the world.

2. Reduces Systemic Inflammation

Increased muscle mass decreases inflammation. Conversely, increased adipose tissue or fat tissue is inflammatory in nature, especially coming from the visceral fat. Visceral fat will increase inflammation as well as insulin resistance. So you can see how increased muscle mass will decrease those factors and optimize our blood-sugar metabolism and hormonal function. 

3. Regulates Our Metabolism

It is necessary for fat oxidation, glucose metabolism, and detoxification. This is, quite frankly, one of the most important functions of muscle.

4. Whole-Body Protein Metabolism

It plays a central role in whole-body protein metabolism. This is where protein synthesis occurs. Think of it as this reservoir that contains all of our amino acids. We have to consume proteins to be able to optimize our amino acid intake, as well as muscle metabolism. 

How to preserve our organ of longevity

As I mentioned, we are all losing muscle mass as we age. When we’re younger, we rely more on things like testosterone, insulin, and growth hormone to optimize our muscle mass. As we get older, we have to rely more on things like nutrition, training, and perhaps for some, supplementation. Now to get into what we need to preserve our organ longevity. 

1. Consuming Enough Protein and Essential Amino Acids

As it relates to protein synthesis, we have to consume enough protein. But what does that mean? That’s always a big question.

Consuming enough protein means that for women you are consuming at least 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal and for men 30 to 40 grams per meal. That is assuming that you are eating at least three meals a day.

Now if we want to get a little bit more specific, you can say 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Now, the next aspect of this is that we have to consume all of the essential amino acids. There is some controversy over this. That means that if you are a vegetarian, you have to think about combining protein sources.

For example, brown rice and peas will make a complete protein. Chicken, fish, or turkey is already a complete protein. We want to think about having all of these essential amino acids consistently throughout the day so that we’re feeding this positive nitrogen balance, which is ultimately our amino acid balance. 

2. Progressive Overload Training

You have to have some form of training with progressive overload. That means that it is a structured program where you are consistently changing either the intensity, duration, volume, or weights.

We have to be able to constantly break down protein and build protein. It is a beautiful cycle that changes every day based on what we’re doing.

Essentially, your muscles need to be constantly stimulated. If they’re not stimulated, there’s no way for us to increase or shift our muscle to fat ratio.

Regardless of age, if we take a 20-year-old for example, we know that a 20-year-old is going to be able to build bigger and stronger muscles than an 80-year-old. However, an 80-year-old with proper resistance training and progressive overload is still going to be able to develop larger muscles. We want to consider that age should not be a factor in this and wherever you are right now is a great opportunity to start.

3. Supplementation

Last but not least, there’s supplementation. Supplementation does not work alone, and it is absolutely necessary to have an optimal diet with enough protein as well as a proper training regime. There is enough scientific literature to prove that creatine is a promising supplement that can help with building muscle mass. Essentially, it’s bringing water into the muscle cell to enlarge it which will develop more muscle force and mass. 

There you have it… all the reasons why muscle is your organ of longevity. It is so important to think about how you can live into your older years the way that you want and to feel strong and healthy from a metabolic, hormonal, and physical standpoint. My entire career, I’ve been trying to get anybody that will listen to me to strength train because I think it is so valuable. I hope that you consider this if you’re not already.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

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Optimize your testosterone

Did you know that testosterone in men can decrease at the age of 30? However, that does not necessarily mean that you need hormone replacement. Today we are going to talk about the science of low T, the causes, and what you can do about it.

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Let’s first start with this — testosterone can affect men and women. However, we will focus mostly on men. The signs of low T in a man can be anything from low mood, low energy, erectile dysfunction, low libido, fatigue, poor sleep, decreased strength, and muscle mass among other things. This is something that most people associate testosterone with, but it’s important to recognize all of the other symptoms that correlate with low T. It can also lead to things like brain fog and irritability.

Many things can affect low T and it is important to dig deep to see if this is a possibility for you and how you can improve it. 

Causes of Decreased Testosterone

Now we are going to get into things that decrease testosterone. 

1. Chronic Opioid Use

One of the biggest drivers is chronic opioid use. This happens in up to 74% of chronic opioid users. That means if you are going to go play golf or work out and you pop a couple of Advil’s, remember that could be associated with your low T.  

2. Insulin Resistance

Increased visceral body fat (belly fat) is inflammatory in nature and drives insulin resistance. This can cause elevated blood sugars and lipid issues. Also, obesity, diabetes, and hypertension can all be associated with low T. 

3. Poor Sleep

This is what I see the most in my men with low T; they are experiencing poor quality sleep. That might mean not getting enough sleep, watching TV before bed, sleeping with the TV on, using their phone right before bed, or drinking alcohol right before bed. All of these things are going to tank your testosterone. 

4. Inflammatory Diets

The Standard American Diet is what many men consume. High-fat, high-sugar, and processed foods. All of these things often drive food sensitivities, inflammation, and then begin to spiral into affecting our sex hormones. In this particular case, your testosterone. 

5. Stress

Stress is what drives high cortisol. Whenever we’re thinking about how our sex hormones are affected, we want to think about adrenals first. This produces our stress hormones and an imbalance can affect the thyroid and then sex hormones. If you have high levels of stress, this may be an area to focus on. A lot of times I’ll see men that are in their 30s to 40s that are experiencing high-stress lives that have low T simply because of their lifestyle. 

6. Low Protein Diets

Men need to have at least 30 to 40 grams of high-quality, essential amino acids in every meal. This is key for optimal hormone health. We also need healthy fats!

What You Can Do About It

So, what do you do about it? First, you should get properly evaluated by a functional medicine practitioner, a hormone specialist, or a professional that can guide you and coach you through this journey. With that said, if you decide to pursue hormone replacement, you want to make sure that your lifestyle factors are dialed in.

If you are experiencing high stress, poor sleep, inflammatory diet and you decide to start hormone replacement for low T, I can assure you it will not be as effective. It is so important to address the basics first so that you can optimize your natural T before approaching your potential hormone replacement. So what other things can you do?

1. Moderate Intensity Strength Training

You want to be performing over 200 minutes a week of exercise, most importantly coming from your strength work. Strength training will naturally boost your T. It’s such an easy way to do it, but it has to be consistent just like anything else. 

2. Proper Sleep

Addressing sleep is so imperative. This requires a journey. It can be starting by just looking at your sleep hygiene and picking one thing that you could change such as blue light blockers after seven o’clock, having a set time that you go to bed and wake up, and turning the TV off 30 minutes before bed. There are lots of things that you can do to begin to shift your natural circadian rhythm so that you are optimizing your repair and restoration.

Ultimately, we want to think of testosterone as a growth and repair mechanism. When you have rotator cuff injuries, stenosis in your spine, or degenerating discs, you want to be thinking about testosterone, especially when that’s happening in your 30s, 40’s, and 50’s. Sleep can optimize your natural repair process. 

3. Intermittent Fasting 

This has been shown to be very helpful for optimizing testosterone in men. This can be done in a 16-8 window; fasting for 16 hours and feeding for eight. This has to be highly individualized to the person and their activity level. This is not for everyone. However, just know that it is something that could be explored to see how that works for you and be objective when you’re able to; look at blood work or saliva when you are testing your hormones.

4. Essential Fatty Acids

Essential fatty acids are key to helping you optimize inflammation and supporting other functions in the body. One thing you could do is eat fatty fish at least two times a week if not more. Also, things like walnuts and flax seeds are great sources of omega 3’s. For a therapeutic dose of EFA, you want 3-6 g of EPA/DHA in a supplement. 

5. Zinc and Vitamin D 

These are key for low T. So please make sure that if you’re not getting enough in your diet that you are supplementing as well.

6. Botanicals

Botanicals can be very valuable in supporting natural testosterone. 

There are a lot of things that you can do to address the basics in terms of lifestyle to naturally support testosterone before you explore testosterone replacement. I think there’s a continuum and you want to make sure that you’re doing things at the right time for the right reasons and with the right guidance. I cannot stress that enough.

If you need help, please make sure to reach out. I will make sure that we take great care of you, educate you, and make sure to get you in the right direction. We also have a great support team that can also help you depending on what you need.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

Other things that may interest you:

6 ways to improve your sleep

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

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Change your life in 20 seconds

Did you know that you can change your habits and your life in as little as 20 seconds a day?

As it relates to neuroplasticity, neurons that fire together wire together. This means that the things that we do day in and day out, and the thoughts that we have will feed into more behaviors and more thoughts — that can work for us…or against us.

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Our thoughts and behaviors can be what we refer to as habitualized or automatic. The habitualized mind is often the suffering and struggling mind. It’s when we are comparing, contrasting, condemning, complaining, or competing with ourselves and other people.

The concept of ‘habitualized’

Ultimately, what we’re trying to do is move from this habitualization to cultivating calmness, clarity, creativity, and compassion. To do this, we have to think about how these neurons are firing and wiring together. 

So, now for the fun part. Our neuronal pathways are not our destiny. We can make such profound differences in our lives because our nervous system is plastic, meaning we can make changes.

No matter where you are in life, whether you are trying to make healthier habits, pursue a different career, and/or improve your relationships, you can make small tangible habits that will change your wiring. 

It only takes 20 seconds of focus on a new habit or some type of change to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is what helps us to create new wiring.

Let’s say, for example, you want to begin to work out. You believe that you “should” work out at least four times a week:  strength training, cardiovascular activity, and stretching. That task seems very overwhelming for the nervous system because that means that your conscious mind, 1% of your total mind, is suggesting a specific goal. However, your subconscious mind — filled with all of your behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, and daily activities — is the other 99% that is not quite ready. 

How you can change your life in 20 seconds by increasing your BDNF

If you want to make this successful, start with doing 20 seconds of activity per day, like 20 seconds of squats for example. Now, to make it a habit, do this for 30 days. Do you really want to make it stick? Do it for 45 days. So, 20 seconds a day for 45 days to build new neural pathways. To me, that sounds like a win. 

If we can begin to look at our health and our life from a different lens and realize that we all can change and these neuronal pathways are not our destiny, we can create new wiring. Whether we have experienced trauma in the past, we have stressful lives, or unhealthy habits, we can make a difference. If we think of this from a neuroscience perspective, we have the power within us and can do so in as little as 20 seconds a day for 45 days. I think that we can all be much happier and healthier.

Give this a shot. Let me know how it goes. If this was helpful, make sure you give it a share. Also, subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

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

Other things that may interest you:

6 ways to improve your sleep

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

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6 ways to improve your sleep

I am going to start with a bold statement: sleep is more important than exercise and nutrition combined. Whether or not you are one of the 50 to 70 million Americans that suffer from some type of sleep disorder, snoring, waking up feeling not well-rested, trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep, then this is definitely for you.

What are some indications that you may not be getting the most optimal sleep that you can? You could have memory issues, mood changes, yawning during the day, irritability, heart disease, or high blood pressure. All of these can be associated with poor sleep, both quality and/or quantity.

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Sleep is a naturally reoccurring state of the mind and body. We have decreased use of our voluntary muscles, inhibition of sensory activity, and ultimately reduced interactions with our surroundings.

Here’s the take-home – sleep is one of the most overlooked and undervalued methods to recovery, overall health, and well-being.

We want to think about sleep as our time to rest, restore, and recover. If we are not doing those things, how could we possibly have a great workout? How can we have the energy to go work out? How can we have the desire to want to eat healthily and not crave carbohydrates or sugar-rich foods?

We have to sleep well in order to make optimal health decisions. Additionally, all of our systems are restored when we sleep. Our immune system, skeletal system, and hormonal system are all affected. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, memory and mood issues, depression, and/or anxiety then sleep is imperative. This is when all of our tanks are filled. While your REM sleep is helping with your brain, think of your deep sleep as helping with your body. 

Now let’s talk about six of my favorite sleep hacks. 

1. Blue Light Blockers

Put these on at seven o’clock if you are using any type of electronics: TV, phone, or iPad. Make sure to turn your electronics off at a minimum of 30 minutes before you go to bed if not an hour. Also, when you go to bed if your phone is in your room, put it on airplane mode, Wi-Fi off, and place it at least eight feet from you. Here’s a link to my favorite blue light blocker.

2. Foot Recovery

Check out Naboso technology for their splays or socks to stimulate and help recover your feet. These will stimulate the small nerves in the feet and optimize circulation, which is a great way to restore and recover before bed. 

3. Develop a Routine

You’ll want to focus on downregulating the nervous system and preparing for sleep. If you’re not doing anything, start with five minutes of a pre-bed routine. Diaphragmatic breathing is a great start. If you’re already meditating, that’s fantastic. If you’re not meditating, try breathwork. Start at one minute and then gradually move up until a longer period of time. You could also try taking a bath or reading a book. There are lots of ways that you can begin to downregulate your nervous system and prepare for sleep. 

4. Optimize Your Airway

Whether you snore, wake up with your mouth open, or have a dry mouth in the morning, then you can consider nasal dilators. You can use Mute nasal dilators which is one of my favorite brands. This will help to open up your airway and makes it easier to breathe diaphragmatically. Additionally, if this is appropriate for you and if you are a mouth breather, you could consider mouth taping. There are lots of different tape brands that you could use, I like the Nexcare tape because it is gentle. Mouth taping forces you to breathe in through your nose. If you have some type of structural airway dysfunction, then you might want to start during the day just for a short amount of time such as 30 minutes to test it before you try to go sleep with it. 

5. Not Eating Three Hours Before Bed

Think of digestion as a very complex metabolic reaction. Think of sleep as our time to restore and recover. We can’t do both of those well at the same time, so you want to stop eating and drinking alcohol within that three-hour window. Alcohol is something that destroys the quality of your sleep. You will sleep through the night for sure, but the quality will definitely be affected. This is one of the biggest things to consider if you’re trying to optimize your sleep.

6. Setting up Your Environment 

We want to think about your sleep environment as clean, without distractions, electronics, a dark room, black shades if possible, and hypoallergenic sheets. Make sure that everything is set up to provide a nice environment for you to rest and restore. 

Although there are many different sleep hacks, I would suggest just picking one of these things that might be appropriate for you that you could work on. If you don’t have a routine, start there. If you are not wearing blue light blockers, start there. Find out what resonates with you and give it a shot. Then week after week as your sleep hopefully continues to improve, you can begin to add another layer to your sleep regime. 

We want to try to optimize everything about sleep so that we can heal, recover, and perform at our best. If this was helpful, please give it share with a friend or family member. As always make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Sleep well!

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

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

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10 Best Health Hacks for the New Year

Leaky Gut: The Root of Chronic Disease

Did you know that leaky gut otherwise known as intestinal permeability has been researched for nearly 30 years and is one of the leading causes of chronic disease?

You may be wondering what is leaky gut? We have an epithelial lining of the gut mucosa which functions as a protective barrier. Simply put, it helps to get the good things in and keep the bad things out. 

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In this lining, we have tight junctions. These tight junctions are regulated by a protein called Zonulin and some other proteins. 

In a healthy gut, the tight junctions allow the nutrients to be absorbed by the small intestine but keep the toxins, pathogens, viruses, and bacteria’s out. 

When we have a leaky gut, these tight junctions are altered. Therefore, the pathogens, viruses, bacteria, and so on get into the bloodstream. Once this happens, our immune system is activated.  

Think of our immune system as the detection of strangers and dangers. Once these antigens from the bacteria are crossing into the bloodstream, then our B cells are activated which can in turn attack the body. That is why a leaky gut can cause knee osteoarthritis. It is creating this systemic inflammatory response. It can cause pain, swelling, and inflammation, whether that is localized to a joint or body part or more systemic. This is also what leads to autoimmune disease.

So what are some causes of leaky gut? 

–       Food triggers

–       Food sensitivities

–       Stress

–       Imbalance of the bacteria or bacterial overgrowth

–       Intestinal inflammation

–       Poor digestive sufficiency  (enzymes, low HCL, etc) 

–       Toxins

–       Nutrient deficiencies

–       Medications 

–       Many disease states

This ultimately can contribute to more food sensitivities, malabsorption, and uptake of lipopolysaccharide, which is an endotoxin. This is something that can cause significant disruption in the body. 

What to do if you’re not feeling your best

Whether you don’t feel your best or you’re dealing with some kind of chronic health condition, please know that this could be a possibility for you. Your first step is to reach out to a professional to be properly evaluated and treated. There is testing available, however is not always the most reliable.  We are happy to help you and would love to see you virtually or in person, so please reach out for any assistance. 

Leaky gut can be the root of so many chronic diseases whether it’s elevated cholesterol, osteoarthritis, or autoimmune disease. All of these things are related to systemic inflammation. Ninety percent of all chronic disease is linked to systemic or excessive inflammation. Please make sure that you are not just treating your symptoms and taking more medications which further contributes to intestinal permeability. Rather, seek the root cause. 

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

For more content, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

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