4 Ways to Improve Chronic Gut Issues

Are you experiencing chronic gut issues? Have you tried every probiotic and gut protocol, treated parasites, and still can’t seem to resolve your issues? In this blog, we’ll explore four effective ways to truly heal your gut.

First and foremost, it’s essential to believe in your body’s innate capacity to heal. No supplement or external remedy can fix you entirely; the true power of healing lies within you. Understand that you don’t need to depend on someone or something else because you possess this incredible capacity within yourself.

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4 Ways to Improve Chronic Gut Issues

1. The Nervous System

Living in a constant state of fight or flight, where you’re perpetually worried about food and its effects, keeps your body in survival mode. This state slows digestion, reduces motility, and weakens your immune responses. Healing your nervous system is crucial.

Transitioning from a fight-or-flight state to a state of connection, rest, and digestion is essential. This process varies for each individual. For some, it may involve therapy or counseling; for others, it could be somatic work, breathwork, meditation, or social connection. 

Understanding your nervous system and how to shift it to a healing state is key. Check out my other blogs on the nervous system, mapping your nervous system, and the polyvagal theory for deeper insights. Remember, healing starts in a safe place.

2. Digestion

When in a fight or flight state, blood flow diverts from the digestive tract, leading to maldigestion. This results in decreased stomach acid, pancreatic enzymes, and bile production, causing poorly digested food and potentially leading to bacterial or fungal overgrowth and leaky gut.

To optimize digestion:

  • Limit water or fluids around your meals (15 minutes before and after, and during).
  • Focus on breathing: take three diaphragmatic breaths before eating to enter a parasympathetic state.
  • Chew your food 20-30 times.
  • Take a short walk after eating to aid digestion.

3. Testing

Understanding the root cause of your gut issues is imperative. While nervous system dysregulation is often a factor, deeper issues may also be present. Testing can reveal:

  • Chronic colonization of a pathogen
  • Presence of H. pylori
  • Dysbiosis (imbalance of bacteria)
  • Digestive efficiency (pancreatic elastase, fat in stool)
  • Gut immune system health (secretory IgA)
  • Antibodies to gluten or other potential allergens
  • Leaky gut

Comprehensive stool testing, SIBO testing, and other diagnostic tests can provide definitive answers and guide a systematic treatment approach. Working with the right provider ensures this process is not overwhelming.

4. Nutrient Repletion

Eliminating certain foods and considering a therapeutic food plan for a short period might be necessary, but the goal is always to optimize nutrient intake to support healing and thriving. Eliminating too many foods can signal a core issue, often increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut).

Instead of focusing on what to eliminate, think about adding more good things to your diet:

  • Essential nutrients (water, vitamins, minerals, macronutrients)
  • Gradually incorporate these nutrients to fuel your body and support day-to-day life.

Approach this with a mindset of adding more good things rather than removing everything.

The Bottom Line

These four tips might seem daunting if you’re experiencing chronic gut issues, but take a step back and view this with a beginner’s mind. Recognize that your body is designed to heal and sometimes needs the right input to do so. Start with the nervous system, then move to mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and give your body what it needs to nurture itself.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment for functional medicine or holistic physical therapy. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

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Gut Health and Chronic Pain: Strategies for a Pain-Free Life

Recipe for success: 7 ways to improve your gut and mental well being

Chew Your Food To Heal Your Gut

7 Ways to Achieve Healthy Skin from the Inside Out

Are you struggling with acne, dermatitis, rosacea, or dry, itchy skin? Have you tried countless topical solutions and creams without success? Read on, as we’re about to dive into a different approach that might just be the answer you’re looking for. Here’s how to achieve healthy skin from the inside out.

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Why Focus on Internal Health for Skin Treatment?

Often, we rely on topical solutions without addressing the root causes of our skin issues. Today, we’ll explore the importance of looking inward to improve skin health. The gut-skin connection, detoxification, and hormonal balance are key factors to consider. Many patients, frustrated with ineffective topical treatments, find success by addressing these internal aspects.

Ways to Improve Your Skin from the Inside

Here are some effective strategies to enhance your skin health from within:

Avoid Processed Foods and Refined Sugars

These can promote inflammation and lead to various skin conditions. Limit their intake to see improvements.

Optimize Protein Intake

Aim for 25 to 30 grams of protein per meal, preferably from hormone-free animal sources. If needed, use supplements like hydrochloric acid and pepsin to aid protein digestion.

Emphasize Omega-3s and Omega-9s

Include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines in your diet for Omega-3s. Add almonds and olive oil for Omega-9s. Maintain a balanced ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s.

Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables

Aim for 5 to 9 servings a day to boost your intake of antioxidants and polyphenols, which combat oxidative stress.

Stay Hydrated

Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. Supplement with electrolytes, or add lemon and sea salt to your water to ensure proper hydration.

Avoid Dehydrating Substances

Reduce consumption of alcohol, coffee, certain teas, and caffeine, as these can dehydrate your skin.

Limit Trans Fatty Acids and Mind Your Cooking Methods

Avoid trans fats and be cautious with high-temperature cooking methods like grilling, which can produce harmful compounds that contribute to skin inflammation.

Additional Lifestyle Considerations

Daily Lymph Drainage

Techniques like dry brushing can promote natural detoxification. Check out my other blogs for more on this topic.

Use Safe and Clean Products

The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database is a great resource to check your products for toxins and allergens.

Optimize Your Sleep

Quality sleep is essential for skin restoration and repair. Poor sleep can accelerate aging and inflammation.

Consult with Professionals

It’s crucial to understand the root causes of your skin issues, which can vary from person to person. Conditions like rosacea, gut dysbiosis, and hormonal imbalances can significantly impact skin health. Consulting with an esthetician and other health professionals can help you develop a tailored skincare routine and address underlying issues.

Final Thoughts

The strategies discussed today are easy to implement and can lead to significant improvements in your skin health. Remember, nutrition and lifestyle changes play a crucial role in achieving healthy skin from the inside out.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment for functional medicine or holistic physical therapy. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

How to eat for better sleep

Are you having trouble sleeping? Maybe you’ve tried melatonin, sleep medication, other supplementation, or all of the sleep hygiene tips without success. Have you tried optimizing your nutrition for sleep? Here’s what to eat for better sleep.

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The role of nutrition for better sleep

Nutrition is one of the most overlooked aspects of sleep hygiene. We might follow all the sleep hygiene tips—going to bed early at the same time, trying to get morning sunlight, and trying to downregulate before sleep—but so often, no one focuses on nutrition for sleep, and that is what this blog is about today. 

We need nutrients for every biochemical reaction in the body. For us to truly thrive, feel energized and motivated, feel great about life, and have a great mood, we need proper nutrition to fuel our brains and our bodies. 

As it relates to neurotransmitter production, we need tyrosine, an amino acid that we get from protein sources, to make dopamine. We need glutamine, another amino acid,  to make GABA, which helps to decrease feelings of fear and anxiety. And we need tryptophan to make serotonin. So, we’re going to dive into that pathway specifically because serotonin is a  precursor for melatonin that is necessary for sleep.

What to eat for better sleep: 8 nutrients you need


The nutrients you need for sleep to ultimately produce the appropriate amount of melatonin are going to start with tryptophan. We can get tryptophan through protein sources such as fish and poultry. In order for tryptophan to convert to 5-HTP, we need calcium foods. This could be something like dairy, or if you’re dairy-free, it could be something like flax milk. 

B3 (Niacin)

We also need B3, which is niacin. This could be beef, chicken, poultry, or fish. 


We need B9, folate, which comes from dark leafy vegetables, citrus foods, and even eggs. 


We also need copper, which includes oysters, and if that’s not feasible, then something like shellfish, beans, or nuts. 

Vitamin C

Once tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP, which is 5-hydroxytryptophan, we need to convert it to serotonin. Foods high in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, strawberries, or potatoes, will provide the nutrients needed for that. 


We also need magnesium, such as pumpkin seeds. 


We need zinc, such as oysters or pumpkin seeds. 

Once 5-HTP is converted to serotonin, then we need to convert serotonin to N-acetyl serotonin. That’s going to require magnesium again. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of this. Zinc, which could be oysters and pumpkin seeds as well. 

Vitamin B12

Once it is converted to N-acetyl serotonin, we need to convert it to melatonin. In order to do that, we need Vitamin B12, which could be organ meats, fish, eggs, and beef. B9 is our folate, which can be dark leafy vegetables, citrus foods, and eggs. And there we have melatonin. 

Key Takeaway

So, as you can see, it is a complex biochemical process that requires nutrients each and every step of the way. That process starts with protein, which plays a huge role in neurotransmitter production.

One of the best things you can do if you’re not already doing it and you’re not sleeping well is to begin to eat more protein throughout the day. But also, let’s factor in all of those key vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins, because all of those are going to influence each and every step in that biochemical process. So, before just grabbing your melatonin supplement, think about what you can do to produce your own melatonin in addition to darkness, of course.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment as it relates to the physical pain that you might be having and any emotional issues that you’re dealing with, such as anxiety or depression. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

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How to Nourish Your Body From Trauma

Have you experienced trauma? Whether it was a specific childhood event, a recent experience, or an ongoing situation, you might be in therapy and practicing somatic techniques. You’re doing everything you can, but progress feels difficult. Dissociation, feeling stuck, or numbness might be present. You might even procrastinate because it all just feels so hard. You know what you should do, but taking action is incredibly challenging.

Today, we’ll discuss how to nourish your body after experiencing trauma. This topic is particularly important to me for several reasons. In my practice, I see many clients struggling with frustration. They know the right steps to take, but following through feels impossible. Despite therapy and professional support, they find it difficult to maintain progress.

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Understanding Trauma

Trauma can affect us both physically and emotionally. It can leave us feeling stuck, numb, and overwhelmed. This is because trauma can deplete our resources, leaving us with nothing left to give. 

This is where I find it to be really important to look at it through this functional medicine lens, but quite frankly, even on a more basic level, is looking at it from a physical perspective.

4 Ways to Nourish Your Body From Trauma

What do we need to do to nourish our body physically so that we can address the emotional component? 

Water Intake

Often, when someone has experienced significant trauma and struggles with anxiety and depression, I begin by focusing on something simple: water intake. If they’re not drinking enough fluids throughout the day, getting them to drink adequately becomes our first step.

But there’s more to it than just water. True hydration involves electrolytes as well. Water carries nutrients to our brains, and if we’re constantly foggy or overwhelmed, it might be because we’re not getting enough water or proper hydration to our brains. Electrolytes help water reach the brain and deliver those essential nutrients. Without them, we become depleted.

Adding Protein

Protein plays a critical role in forming neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. These neurotransmitters help reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. Protein also supports hormone health and production.  Therefore, getting enough protein and other nutrients in your diet is crucial for proper neurotransmitter and hormone production/conversion.

Inconsistent protein intake not only impacts brain function (feeding the brain), but can also decrease cravings for sugary carbohydrates. These carbohydrates can further disrupt your blood sugar levels. So, protein helps you feel fuller and maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. 

Meal Timing

Meal timing can vary depending on the individual, but for those recovering from trauma, I generally recommend eating every 3-4 hours. This helps to avoid blood sugar crashes, which can further stress an already overwhelmed system.

People who have experienced trauma often struggle to manage additional stress because their nervous system is compromised. We want to promote a state of resilience, where the nervous system can handle some fluctuations without becoming overly stressed. However, when dealing with the aftermath of trauma, even minor stressors like hunger or dehydration can be tipping points. Therefore, consistent meal timing (every 3-4 hours) and balanced meals are crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system.


Once our basic needs are met, I like to take a holistic approach to nutrients. This allows for a deeper dive into what will make you truly thrive. The food we eat impacts every aspect of our biochemistry and how we function. It’s not just about survival; it’s about thriving.

By understanding how food affects everything from mood and energy to performance and beyond, you can appreciate the power of food to rebuild your body and support its natural healing ability. When you feed your body what it needs, you can see a real difference.

Key Takeaway

Once these basic needs are addressed and we take a systematic, step-by-step approach, your body will gradually start to feel better. This improvement translates to better input for your brain, as so much of how we function relies on sensory information. With better sensory information from your organs, you’ll experience improved interoception or a heightened awareness of yourself.

This improved state can make it much easier to connect with your therapist and discuss your challenges. You’ll be in a better position to utilize the strategies you’ve tried before, and hopefully, they’ll have a more significant impact now.

While we can eventually delve deeper into topics like inflammation, it’s crucial to start with the fundamentals. This is what I’ve repeatedly seen as most effective in my practice, and it’s why I wanted to emphasize it today.

Hopefully, you’ll have the opportunity to look at many of the vagus nerves and some somatic exercises that are on our website and YouTube channel. You can see how much of an impact they have on giving us a more regulated nervous system state. 

If this was helpful, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

You can always join us in our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have lots of challenges every other month—everything from movement to the nervous system, nutrition, and so on. And we have a great community of people. 

You can also reach out to us for an individual appointment as it relates to the physical pain that you might be having and any emotional issues that you’re dealing with, such as anxiety or depression. If you really want to get to the root cause, please reach out to us.

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4 Considerations for Your Best Nutrition Plan

Are you constantly searching for the next best diet? Maybe you’ve tried keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, or you’re looking for the right fit this time. If that’s you, read on for four things to consider when planning your personalized nutrition.

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Why nutrition plan should be personalized

I truly believe that nutrition should be personalized for you. We can’t just look at what our friends or relatives are doing because there are many things to consider. Today, we’re going to discuss four key categories.

Key categories of a nutrition plan

1. Current health status and clinical symptoms

For example, are you experiencing cardiometabolic issues like hypertension, diabetes, or high cholesterol? Are you dealing with inflammatory bowel disease or IBS symptoms? Do you have an autoimmune condition? 

First, look closely at your current health conditions because you may need a specific therapeutic plan for you. Additionally, examine clinical symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, mood issues like anxiety or depression, and inflammatory issues in your immune system. With various symptoms in play, all these factors must be considered to determine the best plan for you at this time.

2. Lab work

We aim for objectivity here. It’s not about labeling the carnivore diet as bad or the vegan diet as good; it’s about understanding how your chosen diet affects your body. Consider your gut health and microbiome and check for low vitamin levels like D, B12, and iron. A nutrient panel can reveal what your diet provides or lacks, eliminating the need for guesswork. Making this process more objective is crucial. 

If you’re feeling great, with good energy and no health issues, and your labs show positive results, your diet is likely working well for you. Conversely, if subjective feelings conflict with objective information, it’s essential to be open-minded and delve deeper into what’s happening.

3. Environmental factors

Now, let’s consider environmental factors. What are your food preferences, likes, and dislikes? Any food aversions? Explore your genetic predispositions, such as the MTHFR gene, impacting B vitamin metabolism and detoxification, and genetic deficiencies, like the DAO (diamine oxidase) enzyme, which may necessitate a tailored approach. Addressing mold exposure, candida, and other specific issues becomes crucial when considering clinical symptoms and health status. 

Environmental exposure is vital to factor in; for instance, if someone is exposed to mold. We also need to consider if there’s a genetic deficiency in breaking down histamines. In such cases, a low histamine diet might be necessary, distinguishing it from perceived sensitivity. 

Proactively addressing exposure through nutrition is vital. Consider incorporating more phytonutrients and antioxidants to reduce oxidative stress if your body is under environmental strain. By understanding and addressing these environmental factors, we can proactively mitigate their effects through dietary choices.

4. Adverse food reactions

Lastly, we have adverse food reactions, which fall into three categories. First, there’s food sensitivity—an IgG and IgA-mediated reaction—which can be delayed. This means a reaction might occur on day two, three, or even four after consuming a potentially sensitive food. 

On the other hand, a food allergy, an IgE-mediated reaction, results in an immediate response, varying from mild to severe—ranging from itching in the mouth to an anaphylactic reaction. 

Additionally, there’s food intolerance, where the body lacks enzymes to break down specific food components.

To create a personalized diet plan, we must consider these reactions. For instance, one person might avoid a certain food due to sensitivity, intolerance, or allergy. However, it doesn’t mean you should avoid it too. Testing methods, elimination diets, and allergy tests can provide objective insights. It’s crucial not to eliminate foods solely based on assumptions, making the process more objective and informed.

Key takeaway

We consider all these categories, acknowledging numerous other variables. My biggest takeaway for you is to avoid blindly following a specific diet merely because it’s popular among influencers, friends, or family. 

Evaluate your individual needs: your activity levels, interest in food, cooking preferences, and the feasibility of meal prep based on your schedule. All these factors are crucial in designing a healthy and sustainable meal plan tailored to you. It’s not about pursuing perfection but finding what works for you and allowing it to evolve over time. You may not start with a perfect diet, but gradually develop habits and broaden your perspective on food – not just as fuel but as information, medicine, a means to connect, and a way to heal your body. Nutrition is powerful and influences every reaction in your body. To function optimally, we must eat optimally.

If you found this helpful, please give it a like, share it, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Feel free to reach out if you’re seeking an individualized approach to your nutrition plan – we’d love to hear from you and schedule a discovery session. Also, check out our fantastic community on The Movement Paradigm app, which is available on Apple or Google. Join us for various programs and abundant information. It’s a great community to support you on your journey. Hope to see you soon!

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How Undereating Can Sabotage Our Health

Are you wondering why you’re working so hard at the gym but you’re not getting the results that you want? Did you ever think that you may be undereating and how that is sabotaging your health?

Today, we will talk about four ways you could be sabotaging your health and fitness goals by not eating enough.

I see patients day in and day out, and I look at their nutrient intake and see that so often, people aren’t eating enough to fuel their bodies. They’re not eating enough macronutrients for energy; they’re not eating enough micronutrients for overall health and well-being. This can be a big factor for improving your performance in your fitness or life or sport and your overall health.

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4 ways you could be sabotaging your health (by not eating enough)

1. You need enough calories to meet your metabolic rate

When considering our resting basal metabolic rate, think of it as the energy required for basic bodily functions such as digestion, excretion, breathing, and blood circulation. For most people, this amounts to a minimum of 1200 calories per day, factoring in age, gender, and activity level. Prolonged periods of calorie deficit or restrictive eating can cause your basal metabolic rate—essential for survival—to decrease. Ideally, we want our metabolism to improve over time, especially through exercise, so that we can consume more calories, including carbohydrates.

Continuing in a chronic diet cycle, whether intentional or unintentional and obsessively focusing on restrictive eating can unfortunately lower our set point, leading to inadequate fueling and hindering any changes in body composition.

2. Your brain and your body need energy to thrive

Every cell in your body requires energy. When discussing metabolism, we’re referring to mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells, and much more. We should consider consuming nutrients as fuel to truly optimize every aspect of our well-being, including immune system function, gut regulation, hormone balance, nervous system health, and providing glucose for our brain’s energy needs. 

If we deprive ourselves of carbohydrates, for instance, we can expect to experience symptoms such as brain fog, memory issues, and difficulty concentrating.

3. You’re not getting the results that you want in the gym

I see this over and over again,  and it not only impacts your metabolic rate, as we discussed earlier, but it is often associated with inadequate protein intake. Muscle protein synthesis requires an optimal amount of protein. This typically means around 30 to 40 grams of amino acids per meal, ideally approaching one gram of protein per pound of body weight as a general recommendation. Of course, this can vary based on your starting point and the type of physical activity you engage in. Instead of merely aiming for survival, as the current Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) suggests, we should focus on protein to promote thriving.

To truly build muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus, not a deficit. Achieving this may take time, but if we genuinely want to alter our body composition, particularly when it comes to weight training and increasing muscle mass, we must prioritize providing our bodies with the necessary fuel.

4. You’re undereating or lacking in macronutrient and micronutrient content

Think of our macronutrients as our proteins, our carbs, and our fats, and our micronutrients as our vitamins and minerals. 

All of these essential components are derived from the food we consume. In my approach with patients, as well as for my own well-being, I prioritize finding ways to increase nutrient intake throughout the day. It is important to replenish our bodies with what they may be lacking and ensure that we optimize all these functions before considering supplementation or medications. It’s crucial to first evaluate what our bodies require from food in terms of health and well-being before considering any other interventions.

Key takeaway

Try to ensure that you have a healthy protein amount in every meal, a healthy fat, and a fiber source. 

Second, have a variety of nutrients, focusing on diversity.

Now, if you are starting from a low caloric intake, you’ve either been intentionally chronic dieting for years and years, you’ve been yo-yo dieting, or you’re unintentionally just not eating a lot, but your weight has not changed, then reverse dieting may be necessary

In this case, you have to go very slowly. A reverse diet is where you’re increasing your calories very slowly, approximately 250 calories. Also, having a focus on some aerobic activity can help to make you more metabolically efficient. Activities such as biking can be a suitable starting point. This approach can positively impact our mitochondria, thereby influencing our metabolism.

You want to think initially of having a lower carbohydrate diet as you’re transitioning. And then, as you get more metabolically efficient, especially if you can begin to add in weight training, then you can start to slowly add more carbohydrates in. 

The ultimate goal is that we don’t have to count calories. We can eat a higher calorie plan, enjoy food, and enjoy all of the nutrients that food provides us to feel our best.

If you found this information helpful, please like, share, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. If you want to join our app and join our community, please make sure to check out the Movement Paradigm app on Google or Apple. Get a 7-day FREE trial!

If you’d like to learn more about how we can assist you on your journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out for a discovery session. We look forward to helping you on your path to wellness.

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Nutrition Nail Exam

Did you know that your nails can be a great indicator of your nutritional status? Examining your nails will allow you to identify some preliminary nutrient deficiencies before you might even see it on lab work.

Let’s discuss the basic nail exam that you can perform to identify any potential nutrient deficiencies. That way, you can discuss this with your doctor, functional medicine practitioner, or dietitian, to make sure that you are assessing properly and getting potential lab work to confirm any findings.

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What You Need to Know About Nails

Nails take approximately six months to regenerate specifically the fingernail and approximately a year for the toenail. This is a living tissue that can provide a lot of pertinent information.

We’ll keep it fairly simple and we’ll look at things like the shape, color, lunula, texture/rigidity, strength, and capillary refill of the nail. For example, if there’s a postmenopausal woman who has brittle nails, it would be important to check for bone density because this can be a preliminary finding that we see.

Here is how to perform the nail exam.

6 Ways to Perform Nail Exam

1) Shape

When performing the nail exam, we will start by looking at the shape of the nail. We ideally want this to be a nice round shape. This can be different based on the individual choice of the person as well. Koilonychia, soft nails that spoon out, can be associated with iron deficiency anemia, hemochromatosis, zinc and sulfur deficiency, lupus, and Renaud’s. 

You also want to look for any clubbing in the fingers as this can be indicative of some type of systemic issue like cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel disease, mercury alcohol toxicity, etc.

2) Color

Next, you want to look at the color of your nails. You want to see a nice pink hue. When it’s a little bit paler, it can indicate an iron deficiency or anemia. If there are any brown lines that can be indicative of some arsenic toxicity. If there are any bluish hues that can be indicative of some copper toxicity. 

3) Lunula

Next, we’ll look at the lunula which is the little white, round part at the base of the nail bed. That should be present on all of the nails, but may be very small or absent on the pinky side and that is okay. The lunula is indicative of protein status, so you do want to see that on all the nails.

4) Strength

We want to check the strength of the nails. You can do this by feeling and testing how firm the nail is. Does it feel like it is easily breakable? Strength is also indicative of protein status. 

5) Texture

Is there any vertical ridging?  That is common as we age, so you do want to take that into consideration. If it is a little bit more severe that can be related to protein, iron, B12, or folic acid deficiency as well. 

6) Capillary Refill

Lastly, we will look at the capillary refill. Press down on the nail bed and release, and it will turn white. In one to two seconds, the blood flow should refill, and it should return to its pink color.  If it takes longer than three seconds, then that’s indicative of a circulation issue. That could also play into any type of related issue to alcohol, stress, gluten, protein deficiency, and/or zinc deficiency. 

This of course is just scratching the surface of a nutritional physical examination.  However, it is a start and it is a way for you to begin to assess your nails. There are lots of signs and symptoms that we see in our nails that we might not be totally aware of.

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

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Is your anxiety or depression coming from your gut?

Is your anxiety and/or depression coming from your gut? So many people are suffering from anxiety and/or depression, so it’s important to look at the connections between the gut and the brain, and the gut’s influence on mood and behavior. This is an important aspect of looking at mental health and addressing some underlying physical causes. 

The gut-brain connection is fascinating, and it is essentially our bidirectional communication between our gut and brain. It has multiple pathways, including the hormonal, immune system, and nervous systems. For the purpose of today, let’s focus on two aspects: the hormonal and nervous systems.

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The hormonal connection is based on neurotransmitters which are essentially chemical messengers; we also refer to them as hormones. They are signaling from the gut to the brain and the brain to the gut. We have 90% of our serotonin, which is our hormone that provides feelings of happiness, located in our gut. 50% is the dopamine in our gut, which is our feel-good hormone. We also have GABA, gamma amino butyric acid, which decreases feelings of stress and anxiety. All of these are located in our gut! Therefore, gut issues, infections, inflammatory diets can influence our mood and behavior. 

Our gut bacteria form these neurotransmitters, so different strains of bacteria will influence these different neurotransmitters. For example, Streptococcus and Enterococcus produce serotonin. Escherichia produces norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin. Bacillus species also produce norepinephrine and dopamine. Bifidobacterium produces GABA. Lactobacillus species influence our acetylcholine, which is important for relaxation response, and GABA. 

The nervous system pathways of the gut-brain connection, on the other hand,  primarily exist through the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve originates from the brainstem; it’s the 10th cranial nerve, and it’s actually a pair of nerves. It innervates muscles of the face, throat, heart, respiration, digestion, and our entire elimination track. It is one of the most important nerves of our digestive system. Therefore, we are influencing this gut-to-brain connection when we are either stimulating the gut from a viscera and/or probiotics or vagus nerve stimulation exercises such as breathing. 

It is imperative that we begin to look more closely at these powerful connections and that we look beyond the genetic and environmental components to see why someone may be experiencing anxiety and depression or other mental health issues. Things such as leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), systemic inflammation, inflammatory foods, and the standard American diet will undoubtedly influence these neurotransmitters and the vagus nerve. This attributes to changes in our serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels, thereby impacting our mood and behavior. 

What can you do about it? Find a functional medicine provider to help you navigate the physical causes of anxiety and depression. You could also start with testing: leaky gut, SIBO, stool testing to look at your microbiome. 

You can also start by making small changes. Focus on eating an anti-inflammatory diet, optimizing your sleep, and working on stress reduction connections.

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Why you should consider eliminating gluten and dairy | Elimination Diet

If you haven’t considered eliminating gluten and dairy and you have health concerns, then read on. They may be contributing to your emotional, mental, and/or physical health issues. I’m sure you’ve heard a friend or family member say they’ve gone gluten-free or dairy-free, and they feel much better. Well, you simply don’t know if that will be the same for you until you eliminate it for yourself. And, doing a full or modified elimination diet versus doing a food sensitivity test can be way more valuable. Let’s discuss the different categories of adverse food reactions that you can have and how you could properly eliminate and reintroduce gluten and/or dairy.

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Food triggers are one of the most overlooked things that can be a major contributor to many different health concerns that you may be experiencing. Some common symptoms of gluten and/or dairy can be things like puffiness, bloating, digestive issues, joint pain, dark circles under the eyes, and general inflammation. Of course, these could be associated with other things, but this would be why you’d want to explore if them to see if they’re an issue for you. There are three adverse food reactions. 

1) Food Allergy

This is something you most likely would know that you had. This would be an immune reaction that could be mild to severe and it would happen immediately after you’ve consumed the food.

2) Food Intolerance

This could be something like lactose intolerance, for example, where it’s a non-immune reaction, but it means that your body does not have sufficient enzymes to be able to break down the food. 

3) Food Sensitivity    

This can happen from hours to days after you’ve consumed food that you might be sensitive to. This is where the GI system then impacts the immune system, causing all kinds of issues in your body from pain, sleep disturbances, puffiness, and so on.

How to do an Elimination

Foods stay in your system for different periods of time. Dairy stays in your system for approximately two weeks. Gluten stays in your system for approximately three weeks. So, the best way to do a modified elimination diet of gluten and dairy is to eliminate them both for three full weeks. That means not even a bite of bread or a beer or creamer in the coffee; zero of each of those foods for the entire three weeks.

How to Reintroduce

Then you will begin the reintroduction process which is the most important part. This is the part that most people forget, and it should be very intentional and be very structured. You would start with introducing one food at a time. Say for example you are going to reintroduce gluten, you would have a piece of bread in the morning and a piece of bread in the afternoon. Make sure to keep the ingredients very simple so it’s a clean source of whatever you’re reintroducing. Now you’ve had that twice on your first day, you’re going to wait an additional three days without having any more gluten. You will track all of your symptoms for the next three days; everything from digestive issues to pain and inflammation to sleep to mental and emotional health, and urinary complaints. That is going to tell you if you are sensitive to gluten or not.

If you have any kind of reaction, then you know that your body’s having a low level of immune response to that particular food. After you have finished that, then you would move to dairy. You would have it twice in one day, wait the three days, and determine if it is appropriate for you.

By doing this experiment of one, you are finding out the information yourself and know if these things are an issue for you. I think assessing food triggers is one of the most fundamental things that we should all do as part of evaluating what we’re putting in our body and how it’s impacting our health.

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Understanding Your Pain

What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

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What Should You Eat For Chronic Pain? | Nutrition for Chronic Pain

Do you suffer from chronic pain? Perhaps you’ve had pain for greater than three months, and you’re not sure how you can support nutritionally? Fortunately, there is so much high-quality evidence to support how diet therapy can make a profound difference in chronic pain.

Chronic pain is associated with pro-inflammatory states which are linked to peripheral and central sensitization. This is when the brain perceives that there’s pain, and even a heightened sense of pain with very little stimuli, yet there is no tissue damage.

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Additionally, the mitochondria, which is essentially the powerhouse of our cells, are also associated with chronic pain. The damage to the mitochondria can be driven by how we eat. Consuming pro-inflammatory foods, such as the Standard American Diet—the Western Diet—which is rich in sugary foods, alcohol, processed meats, and enriched grains, can contribute to inflammation and even damage the mitochondria. Therefore, with the Standard American Diet, there becomes an imbalance between our essential fatty acids, which we need for optimal health, and pro-inflammatory markers. That’s where a specific diet therapy comes in.

The first thing we want to do is address the inflammatory markers. The Mediterranean diet is one of the best and well-researched diets that has been shown to decrease inflammation. Think of a diet comprised of fish, legumes, olive oil, low in grains, and high in vegetables – also referred to as an anti-inflammatory diet.

5 ways that you address your chronic pain through diet

1) Decreasing Inflammation

The best way to do this is through an elimination diet. Eliminate the potentially pro-inflammatory foods for at least three weeks and then slowly reintroduce them, one at a time. These include gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, coffee, tea, corn, soy, processed meats, red meat, chocolate, tea, coffee, and shellfish. If you don’t want to do a full elimination diet, you can do a modified version—eliminate gluten and dairy, for example. These two definitely can play a role in inflammation, and specifically chronic pain. If you’re eating a lot of sugar, this is also a great place to start. Sugar is a massive pro-inflammatory agent, so decreasing sugar in your diet would be very beneficial.

 2) Calorie Reduction

When we are consuming fewer calories than required by our basal metabolic rate, then we can not only increase our brain’s ability to generate new neurons by decreasing free radicals, but we can also increase ATP, the energy source of the cells, and we can increase our number of mitochondria. These all could play a huge role in inflammation and pain.

3) Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting, an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating, can help turn on genes that help cells survive by reducing inflammation. There are many different ways to include intermittent fasting in your life. Fasting from seven o’clock at night until seven o’clock in the morning would be a 12-hour fast. You can slowly increase that to a 16 hour fast, or you can do 24-hour fast two days a week. There are many options to suit your lifestyle and it is strongly recommended to start slowly.

4) Specific Nutrient Supplementation

Omega 3’s, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B-12, and magnesium have all been shown to impact chronic pain. There are other nutrients that also help specifically with chronic pelvic pain, such as vitamin E, B1, and B3. 

5) Gut Health

Seventy percent of your immune system is in your gut. If there is an inflammation issue, we should start in the gut. So, do you need to include prebiotics, probiotics, or do you need a specific gut health protocol? If you are not managing gut health properly, then you are not managing chronic pain and inflammation well, either. 

These are just a few of the ways that we can use diet to influence chronic pain.  When we have that central sensitization of the nervous systems, our brain still perceives that there’s pain, yet there is likely no tissue damage. Our nervous system is heightened, and we can begin to associate chronic pain with pro-inflammatory markers. We can use diet to decrease inflammation and optimize our micronutrient, antioxidant, and phytonutrient profile to begin to bring our body back into a state of balance and healing. 

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

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