How many of your patients complain of fatigue and lack of energy? These symptoms may be indicators that your patients might benefit from a metabolic detoxification program. Metabolic detoxification is the body’s natural ability to metabolize, neutralize, and excrete potentially harmful substances while temporarily reducing incoming potentially harmful chemicals or pollutants. A metabolic detox program supports this natural process when the body is unable to keep up with its toxic load.
Why detox? It’s not just a fad. Metabolic detoxification supports liver function and can help patients shift poor dietary habits, and since they may feel an immediate difference, it can help improve compliance.
Setting up a group detox connects patients with similar needs and desired outcomes, and it may benefit the practitioner as well: Since group sessions allow for cost sharing, it’s more affordable for the patients, which can inspire more patients to participate.
Get started. You can determine which patients will benefit most from a detox by having them respond to a detox screening questionnaire. This could be used as a subjective review of the patient’s systems along with your physical examination to determine to what extent detoxification support may help and the ideal duration of detoxification. You’ll also be able to use the responses as a baseline to evaluate progress following the detox protocol.
Based on the number of patients who express interest in learning more, set a date and location for your presentation. Create a flier to hand to patients or leave at your front desk. Print out a sign-up sheet for patients to register immediately before or after a clinic visit. Promote the session on your social media and sharing sites. Suggest that your patients invite their spouses or friends if they feel they would be interested or may be good candidates. As an incentive, you might consider waiving the registration fee for patient partners.
Finally, order enough detox kits to have on hand for purchase based on the number of attendees who register. Remember, people will be more likely to participate in the group detox if they can start quickly and don’t have time for their excitement to wane.
Create your presentation. As you pull your presentation together, there are several elements that should be included:
After the event. Create a group email list or a social media site where patients can regularly “check in” with you (and one another) for added support during the detox process. This added social support and encouragement is helpful for successful outcomes. Follow up with patients several times during the process as well as afterward to get feedback on their progress and to get feedback for future group detox events.
Additional event tips. In addition to guidance provided throughout this post, here are a few additional tips to help you and your patients get the most out of the event:
Ready to get your group detox started? Follow these guidelines to help ensure it’s a success!
Submitted by the Metagenics Marketing Team
There’s been plenty of buzz in recent years around the word “detox,” but your body is not the only thing that can be exposed to toxins. Your whole way of life might be exposing you to emotional toxicity, too.
We take the trash out from our homes on a regular basis. This allows us to discard what’s no longer useful and keep our living spaces clean and pleasant. If we neglect this responsibility, the consequences are hard to ignore: overflowing waste baskets, unpleasant odors, and possibly the invasion of pests!
Unfortunately, emotional garbage is not so easy to detect. Bad habits, negative thoughts, toxic people, and unhealthy situations can overwhelm your personal space and accumulate clutter in your mind. Over time, both internal and external stressors cause your mental waste bin to become full. If you aren’t careful to filter out what you don’t need, that waste bin can overflow—and lead to a very unhealthy life!
There are plenty of ways to minimize toxicity in your life. Consider these nine steps to start reducing stressors today.
1. Change your self-talk
What are you thinking about right now? What did you think about when you first woke up? Believe it or not, your answers say a lot about you and your health.1 Your thought patterns are an integral part of your overall well being. Over time, repeated thought patterns influence behavior and beliefs.1 When your thoughts are mostly negative, it can feel like you’re stuck on a “not-so-merry”-go-round.
Remind yourself, too, that you can’t always trust your own thoughts to be impartial. Sometimes you have to hit the pause button, take some deep breaths, and talk yourself off the ledge. And that’s okay. To break free from a negative thought spiral, try a relaxing, rejuvenating activity (e.g., read a book, practice yoga, tend to your garden, or listen to a favorite record) to lift your spirits and get your mind focused on something new.
2. Reevaluate your habits
We all have bad habits. Some habits are relatively benign, like biting your nails or smacking your lips when you chew. But others, like hitting the snooze button, comparing yourself to other people, and picking fights with friends or partners, can actually be toxic to your well being.
The first step toward improvement is self-awareness. To start, make a list of your habits and mark an X next to the not-so-good ones. As you build your self-discipline, remember to be patient with yourself. Studies say it can take about two months (not 21 days) to make or break a habit!2
3. Walk away from bad relationships
Good friendships matter. In fact, research conducted over a ten-year period found that individuals with a stronger network of friends were 22% more likely to outlive their lonelier counterparts.3 But where good friendships can support your health, bad ones can do just the opposite.
Pay attention to how you feel after hanging with certain people. If you’re always left feeling distressed in one way or another, it may be best to start distancing yourself from them. Don’t feel obligated to keep up friendships (or romantic partners) that cost you your mental and emotional sense of peace.
4. Disconnect from social media
Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it helps us stay connected with friends and family. On the other hand, it’s a hotbed of competition, comparison, and drama. Taking a break from social media can clear mental clutter and help you focus on the here and now.
Evaluate your feelings after using Facebook, Instagram, or any other social network, then ask yourself why you feel this way. It’s a good idea to delete or un-follow highly negative people or those who stir up bad feelings whenever you visit their pages or see their posts. Doing this can spare you those negative emotions and allow you to focus your energy on more positive things.
If nothing else, social media can be a real time killer. The time you save on scrolling could mean more time spent on hobbies or with loves ones.
5. Downsize your wardrobe
Clothes are a necessity and a fun way to express personal style. Unfortunately, they are also an easy thing to hoard. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter. If sartorial clutter has taken over your bedroom, you may be in need of a closet purge.
The clothes you wear can affect your mood and your confidence, so it’s important that you feel good in them. Are any of your duds, well…a dud? Find out by doing a quick survey of every item in your wardrobe. Ask yourself: Would I feel good wearing this tomorrow or to an upcoming event? If the answer is no, it may be time to let it go. If you choose to donate, you can feel good knowing that your preloved apparel might work equally well for someone new.
6. Reorganize your work space
While the importance of keeping a clean home seems like a no-brainer, your work area can be an easy thing to neglect—until you find it’s covered in “organized” piles of paper and old business cards. According to science, a clean, organized work space can boost productivity. In fact, a Harvard study found that students who worked in a tidier environment remained focused for 7 ½ minutes longer than messier students, who were more likely to experience frustration and weariness.4
Giving your desk or work space a weekly once-over means you are less likely to be invaded by dust bunnies and more likely to check items off your to-do list.
7. Turn off the TV
It’s easier than ever to get hooked on television. The average American adult watches five hours of TV per day (wow!), and about 50 percent of Americans use some kind of streaming service—a number that’s been steadily rising.5
As statistics show, what we spend much of our free time doing is more passive than active, and that mindset may spill over into other areas of life. Although entertainment is not all bad, moderation may be the best approach to screen time. Increased television watching is associated with lower physical and mental vitality and may be linked to chronic health conditions.6,7
If this feels relevant for you, consider cutting your quality time with the tube by a small amount each day. Replace that time with a physical activity or creative hobby, which—according to research—can promote overall well being 8.
8. Reassess your diet
The benefits of a balanced diet go beyond your physical body. It can also make you feel good mentally. Eating foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can protect your brain from oxidative stress, support brain function, and help stabilize your mood.9 There’s also plenty of evidence showing that when your body is low in certain essential nutrients, such as vitamin D and omega-3's, it can negatively impact mental health.10,11 If you’re stuck in a funk, your diet may be playing a role.
To help combat those blues and support your health, start by incorporating wholesome snacks into your day, like nuts, fruit, or string cheese, and eat plenty of nutrient-dense greens whenever possible. Stock your fridge or pantry with things you enjoy that won’t make you feel guilty. And to set yourself up for success, rid your kitchen of sugary, greasy snack foods so you won’t be tempted to indulge.
9. Keep a journal
Had a bad day? Feeling low but you don’t know why? Write about it! Reading what you wrote a few days later may give insights on things that can be reduced or eliminated to avoid future bad or unhappy days.
Writing is one of the best ways to release bad feelings. Writing down your thoughts can feel just as good as venting to a friend. And because your thoughts are recorded in one place, it’s much easier to pick up on patterns in your thoughts and behavior—helping you prioritize problems, identify triggers, and work through anxious feelings.12 Anyone can do it!
When life gets too complicated, well being silently suffers. And though we all have different thresholds for toxic overload, most of us could benefit from taking some steps to detox our lives as well.
Add These Detoxifying Foods to Your Shopping List
Detox is a hot topic nowadays. Many detox programs promise to cleanse your body harmful compounds, and others tout weight loss and additional health benefits. Unfortunately, many of these detox methods involve a major dietary overhaul or giving up solid foods altogether, which may actually be harmful to your body.1 Because your body is in constant detox mode, you can encourage this process, correctly and effectively, by simply eating the right foods.
Scientific research has found that the nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants found in certain whole foods can help support the liver’s detoxification pathways, prevent the buildup of toxins, and support overall health.2-4
Chemicals and toxins are everywhere, but your body is built to fight back. Here are six of your top nutritional allies:
1. Cruciferous vegetables & leafy greens
Spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are among the folate- and chlorophyll-richgreens that support the body’s detoxification process by helping to detoxifythe blood and cleanse the intestines.2,4-7 All the more reason to go green!
Broccoli deserves some special attention for its high concentrations of glucoraphanin, which is converted in the body to sulforaphane—an active compound associated with many positive health benefits, including its role in inducing phase II detoxification enzymes and support for overall liver health.8-10
Used in many anti-inflammatory and detoxifying recipes, turmeric contains a powerful substance called curcumin, a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Science has found curcumin to play a role in modulating cellular response to oxidative
stress—demonstrating hepaprotective and therapeutic effects on liver health.11,12
Commonly used in bread products, oils, and dressings, sesame is flowering plant that maybe beneficial for detox. Sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine—both of which are found at high levels in sesame—are precursors to the production ofglutathione, a key antioxidant in the detoxification process.4
These pretty-colored veggies contain betanin, which can help repair liver cells and help support detoxification processes in the liver.13,14 It’s also great for digestion. Tell toxic chemicals to “beet” it!
No party spread is complete without it! Avocado has high concentrations of the antioxidant glutathione, which has been found to neutralize free radicals to support and protect the liver—i.e., your detoxification powerhouse.4,15,16
Why guacamole? Avocado in this form often uses other healthful ingredients, like cilantro. Also known as coriander, cilantro contains oils with antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidative properties.17 Pass the guac, please.
Alongside its knack for warding off vampires, garlic may be beneficial for clearing out toxins. The sulfur-containing compound allicin, which gives garlic its unique and strong-smelling aroma, may enhance antioxidation and detoxification capabilities18,19 and has also demonstrated hepatoprotective effects against heavy metals in the liver.20
Incorporating more of these foods into your diet can help support detox processes. Add them to your shopping list today!
It is not a myth that men can lose weight faster than women.1 The inherent physiological differences between the sexes play a big role when it comes to losing weight, especially in the initial stages.2 Men possess characteristics that may favor greater weight loss as compared to women.3 To understand the reasons behind this, we must consider the sex differences in energy metabolism, hormonal profiles, and behaviors that may contribute to the differences we see in the ability of the sexes to lose weight.
Body composition—women have a higher fat percentage Men and women show significant differences in the amount of body fat and lean muscle tissue they carry, with men having more lean tissue and women having greater fat mass.3,4 Lean tissue is more metabolically active than fat; thus more lean tissue contributes to a higher resting metabolic rate.3 This means that in general, men burn more calories than women, even at rest. Higher levels of testosterone in men are largely responsible for the variance in body composition, since testosterone is critical for building and maintaining muscle mass.5 On the other side of things, estrogen also contributes to the gender differences in body composition, namely fat mass.6 From the onset of puberty through to menopause, women maintain a higher percentage of body fat, which was evolutionarily there to support the ability to reproduce.6 Evidence shows that estrogen acts on the liver and adipose tissue, preferentially promoting postprandial conversion of fuel into fat tissue—and which may make fat loss more difficult for women.3
Fat distribution—men “appear” to lose more weight Not only is there a difference in the percentage of body fat and lean mass between genders, there is also a difference in the distribution of body fat.2 This relates back to the differing hormonal profiles of men and women and the locations of receptor sites for these hormones.3 For example, estrogen receptors are higher in the subcutaneous tissue in the buttock, hip, and thigh regions in women, which explains why women hold excess fat in these locations.3 Men, on the other hand, have a pattern of central obesity, where the fat tissue is mainly visceral, abdominal fat.2 When weight loss is controlled between the sexes, it has been found that men lose more intra-abdominal fat than women, whereas women lose more subcutaneous fat.7 Fat loss around the abdomen is generally more noticeable, so even if weight loss is similar, it appears that men are losing more weight, even if they are not.
Emotional eating—women are more likely to turn to foodAlthough both men and women struggle with overeating, women are more likely to turn to food to cope with stressors than men, which is thought to be due to the greater intensity of expressed emotions by women.8,9 This may present as another challenge for women to lose weight. Women are more likely to report eating in response to emotions like anxiety, anger, frustration, and depression.10 Interestingly, even the stress caused by the desire to be thin and dissatisfaction with body size is positively correlated with emotional eating.11 Women who experience higher levels of emotional stressors have more episodes of binge eating, resulting in weight gain and further impairing self-esteem, adding to the existing emotional strain.8 Since women, in general, are more prone to experiencing more intense emotions, emotional eating may be contributing to the inability to lose weight as easy as a male counterpart.
Other contributing factorsBody weight is predominately controlled by diet and physical activity, but there are underlying factors that can also contribute to enhanced weight gain or difficult weight loss.12 For women struggling to lose weight, it may be important to explore some of these other potential factors.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is one of the most common endocrinopathies affecting 6-18% of reproductive aged women.13Of these women, approximately 50% are overweight or obese, specifically carrying excess weight in the abdominal region.14 Due to the underlying insulin resistance found in most women with PCOS, it can be a challenge to lose weight effectively, even after appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes.15
Thyroid hormones play a critical role in the regulation of body weight through controlling energy expenditure.16 It is well known that thyroid dysfunction, namely hypothyroidism, leads to a lower resting metabolic rate, and weight gain is a primary symptom of the disorder.17 When considering the prevalence of hypothyroidism in men and women, women are 4-6 times more likely to be affected, and the incidence continues to rise.18,19 This means that an underlying thyroid disorder should be considered in a woman who is unable to lose weight. Furthermore, if a thyroid disorder is identified but a woman still has symptoms or is not losing weight, an alternative management strategy may be needed; many patients are underreplaced with levothyroxine therapy or do not receive the expected results.20 Interestingly, it has been found that improving TSH levels are not associated with weight loss; rather it is the free T3 and total T3 that are the most significant predictors associated with the greatest changes in body weight and resting metabolic rate.21 Unfortunately, most practitioners test TSH only. This may suggest that a simple TSH measurement may not be enough in a women struggling to lose weight, and more comprehensive testing may need to be done in a woman with suspected hypothyroidism.
Combined hormonal contraceptive use
It is very common for a woman to be using combined hormonal contraceptives, like the pill, vaginal ring, and the patch.22 Although their effects on weight and weight gain is debated, there is some evidence that suggests combined hormonal contraceptives may contribute to weight gain in some women by causing fluid retention and increasing storage of body fat.22 However, weight gain and weight loss are both noted as side effects of hormonal birth control, and not all women are effected.22If a woman is using hormonal contraceptives and is struggling to lose weight, this should be explored as a possible cause.
Fluctuations in the menstrual cycle
Female hormones are much more complicated than male hormones; the fluctuations in luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, and progesterone throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle influence her caloric intake, cravings, exercise performance, and ability to build lean muscle mass.23,24 It has been found that in the second half of a woman’s cycle, her luteal phase, women are more likely to have dysregulated eating habits, with an increase in binge-like episodes.23During this half of the cycle, woman also have greater cravings for sweet foods.23 Moreover, these hormonal variations influence the ability of a woman to build lean body mass.24 Prior to ovulation, muscle strength is increased, and this phase of the cycle favors a gain in muscle mass, which contributes to a higher metabolic rate and further weight loss.24 Fluid retention that also can occur at times in the menstrual cycle can create the illusion that a woman is carrying more body fat.25
As reviewed, there are many physiological differences between the sexes that contribute to the ability to lose weight. Body composition and fat distribution clearly differ between genders, but one must also consider the effect of emotions, hormonal variances, and certain underlying conditions that may make it more challenging for a woman to lose weight compared to a man. Now, although it is true than men can lose weight faster than women, research shows that after about six months of a weight-loss program, the results even out and become similar between the sexes.2
This content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare professional for advice on medical issues.
Bronwyn Storoschuk, ND
Bronwyn Storoschuk, ND is a board-certified naturopathic doctor trained at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to attaining her ND, Dr. Storoschuk completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Kinesiology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. She currently works in private practice in Toronto, Ontario. One of her practices is located within an integrative fertility clinic, where she provides naturopathic care to individuals undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART). Dr. Storoschuk integrates evidence-based medicine with the understanding of the body’s natural physiology and innate healing wisdom. She is passionate about empowering women to take control of their hormonal health and has a clinical focus in hormone balance, reproductive health, and fertility.Dr. Storoschuk is a paid consultant and guest writer for Metagenics.
Golden Fusion is a modern take on the centuries-old golden milk recipe that is both great-tasting and convenient. Golden Fusion features CurQFen - a highly bioavailable form of curcumin with fenugreek, along with grass-fed collagen peptides.
What is Golden Milk?
Popularized across social media, golden milk is a cross-cultural drink originating in Asian countries and consumed for its anti-inflammatory properties and pungent flavour. Also known as “golden milk latte” or “turmeric tea”, golden milk is made with freshly grated or ground turmeric, a pinch of freshly ground pepper, honey or lemon to taste, and hot water, milk, or dairy alternative. The addition of freshly grated or ground ginger adds extra flavour and additional anti-inflammatory characteristics, with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg rounding out the flavour.
Why Golden Fusion?
The Golden Milk: Turmeric
While turmeric is the star of the show with its golden colour and unique flavour, golden milk is a purposefully designed elixir including ingredients that aid in the absorption and delivery of turmeric’s polyphenolic compound, curcumin, the primary curcuminoid found in turmeric. Curcumin is a poorly absorbed compound on its own, but the addition of piperine, the active ingredient in black pepper, increases the absorption by approximately 2,000%. Another well-designed feature of the golden milk beverage involves the use of whole fat milk or added fat (such as coconut milk or oil) to facilitate improved bioavailability of the fat-loving (lipophilic) curcuminoid phenols; leveraging a lipophilic design has been shown to allow for greater bio-accessibility of curcuminoids.
How To Enjoy Golden Fusion:
Mix one scoop with 150ml of hot water or your favourite milk (cow's, coconut, or almond) for a great-tasting and comforting way to supplement your diet with curcumin and collagen peptides.
Frequently Asked Questions...
What’s the Ancient Secret of Golden Milk?
With roots in traditional Chinese and Indian recipes, golden milk dates back thousands of years, and is used within the ancient branch of Indian medicine known as Ayurveda as a nourishing, delicious tonic that supports the mind and body in several ways.
The main ingredient in golden milk is turmeric, which gives it a beautiful yellow colour and healing benefits. Traditionally used to impart colour and flavour to Indian curries, the health benefits of turmeric are well-documented and researched. These include anti-inflammatory properties and support of detoxification, as well as the potential to improve cognitive function, blood sugar balance, joint health, and more.
What is the source is of our golden fusion collagen?
The source is grass-fed bovine collagen.
What is the type of collagen used?
Why does Metagenics list “Predominantly Grass-Fed” Collagen Peptides?
Grass-Fed designation is often desirable because some experts believe that these cows may deliver greater nutritional benefits. However, labeling grass-fed without qualifying with “predominantly” would be is false and misleading. The majority of cows are not exclusively grass-fed because they often eat other food, such as grain, when weather is bad and there is no grass to eat. Many other companies and suppliers do not disclose this information.
We pride ourselves on quality and transparency and will continue to set the standard for clear and accurate labelling.
by Deanna Minich, PhD
As you read through health magazines or blogs, you probably see all kinds of articles or ads promoting the next great miracle product: a detox or cleanse. The influx of products—many of which have no scientific evidence backing their promised efficacy—has led many to think that detox is just a scam or a fad. However, that is not the whole truth.
Although some of these products might be ineffectual, there are also many reputable items and programs out there that actually do work. It is these that will withstand the test of time and demonstrate that true metabolic detox is not merely a fad.
Not convinced? Read on and find out why you should give it a shot!
We Live in a Toxic World
The industrial, chemical, and technological revolutions greatly benefited us in many ways, but they have led to a highly toxic world. Environmental exposure to pollution, chemicals, and other toxins is linked to a variety of noncommunicable diseases,1 including cancer, asthma, neuro-development conditions, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.2
Everyone is exposed to a number of toxins through their water, food, air, personal care products, and other elements in the environment. These include:
It Requires Support
Your body has its own detoxification process, which in the scientific and medical community is often referred to as bio transformation. There are three steps to this process: bio transformation, conjugation, and elimination.
During the first stage, toxic molecules, which might come from the outside world or from metabolites of your own body processes, get molecularity transformed into a different molecule. Sometimes it becomes less toxic, but many times, it actually becomes more toxic! Luckily, the next step mollifies it into a less toxic molecule. In this phase, the molecule combines with another molecule to create something that the body can eliminate. The third step is elimination, which in some discussions on detox is excluded but is just as important as the other two steps. Once your body has transformed the toxic elements into a benign molecule, it must be excreted through your urine, feces, or sweat.
All of these processes occur whether you are on a metabolic detox regimen or not, but they often need help! Each phase requires certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other nutrients. If you have more toxins, then you will need more of these nutrients to handle the increase in the processes while your body tries to remove them from your system.
Some people have genetic differences that alter their detoxification pathways. In some instances, it speeds up either stage one or stage two. In others, it slows a stage down. Certain foods, medications, and other factors also might impact the efficacy either positively or negatively. In these instances, you might also require additional support to handle the detoxification process.
If two stages are not in sync, problems might arise. If you churn out more toxic molecules from stage one without being able to handle stage two at the same rate, then all of a sudden you have a backup of potentially troublesome molecules in the body. Similarly, if you finish stage two but cannot eliminate the toxins, they might get recycled, causing issues.
Good detox programs provide you with the food, nutrients, and herbs that support your body’s own natural detoxification system to ensure it works smoothly, in sync, and at the speed you need.
Nutrients Needed for Metabolic Detoxification
You want to ensure that you have the nutrients necessary to support the bio transformation and elimination process to get rid of the toxins in your body. You can also incorporate foods known to support the process,6 such as green tea, curcumin, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, and dandelion. Additionally, you want to support your liver, your kidneys, and your gut, the three systems most heavily involved in detoxification.
First and foremost, the process needs energy to undergo the different stages of detox! Phase one requires antioxidant support, since it typically releases a lot of free radicals. Nutrients to ensure you consume to support your phase one include:
Creating a Metabolic Detox Diet
Many of these nutrients are found in a generally healthy diet made up of primarily plant foods and whole foods. Thus, an essential step in providing your body with these nutrients is replacing calorie-dense foods with little to no nutrition, such as the highly processed foods rampant in the typical Western diet, with nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and healthy fats. Furthermore, switching to an organic diet has been shown to significantly lower the level of pesticides in the body even in a short period of time.
To take it a step further, you want to incorporate a detox diet that emphasises certain foods, nutrients, and herbs known to provide support for the pathways. A good detox diet not only provides you with the nutrients your body needs to process and eliminate the toxins you face every day, but it also should have the nutrients you need for all the other processes your body undertakes, as well as your daily activities!
Don’t forget to mitigate your exposure to environmental toxins as much as possible through using air and water filters, consuming organic foods, limiting your plastic use, and more.
So, is detox a fad? NO!In the highly toxic environment in which most people live, our body requires support to do its natural practice of eliminating toxins. In fact, it is essential not just to do a metabolic detox or a cleanse as a one-off, but to adopt a detoxifying lifestyle that provides a defence against the toxins to which you will be inevitably exposed.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.References:
About Deanna MinichGuest blogger Dr. Deanna Minich is an internationally recognized health expert and author with more than 20 years of experience in nutrition, mind-body health, and functional medicine. Dr. Minich holds Master’s and Doctorate degrees in nutrition and has lectured extensively throughout the world on health topics, teaching patients and health professionals about nutrition. She is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Currently, Dr. Minich teaches for the Institute for Functional Medicine and for the graduate program in functional medicine at the University of Western States. Her passion is bringing forth a colorful, whole-self approach to nourishment called Whole Detox and bridging the gaps between science, soul, and art in medicine.
View all posts by Deanna Minich →
Eat, drink, and be merry—and still feel good on January 1? If you make it a priority, you can enjoy the holidays without sabotaging your health and waistline. All you need are some realistic goals, thoughtful planning, and smart choices. Check out these 10 tips for healthy holiday eating to be ready for an energetic 2019.
What’s Eating You?
Feeling overly tired, bloated, or achy? When dealing with these often stress-related concerns, there are a few questions you should ask yourself: Am I eating well? Am I getting enough sleep? Do I drink enough water and get enough exercise?
A healthy body handles daily stress better while an unhealthy lifestyle and daily stress can contribute to a deeper issue—chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to fighting off potential health threats, but unhealthy lifestyle choices can stunt the resolution of your immune response. In fact, chronic low-grade inflammation is often related to common chronic illnesses. But here’s the good news: There are a few ways you can help resolve your body’s inflammation response—starting today!
1. Ditch That Diet
Unfortunately, many of us do not receive our fair share of nutrients from food. You may feel tired and overworked, and rather than taking the time to prepare a healthy, well-balanced meal, you may often resort to convenient inflammatory trigger foods that are lacking in nutrients: refined starches, high-fat and processed red meats, fried foods, dairy, etc. These may cause an activation of the innate immune system and lead to excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
It’s time to break the cycle by incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your day. A Mediterranean-style diet, for example, typically has a high ratio of monounsaturated fatty acids as compared to saturated fats, and more omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. It’s also rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, which have shown anti-inflammatory effects in observational and intervention studies.
2. Stay Hydrated
This one is obvious. It’s always important to drink enough water throughout the day and ensure you are properly hydrated. Water makes up a large percentage of our bodies to keep all our physiological systems working together smoothly, and it helps flush out toxins and unwanted chemicals we may pick up from the environment.
Tip: Bored with plain water? Add in fresh fruit slices to liven up your H2O. Antioxidant-packed green tea is also great for afternoon sipping.
3. Put Stress to Rest
In our fast-paced modern culture, you may find yourself working too much and not getting enough rest. The initial stress response can be positive, but when left unchecked, it can lead to chronic stress and become pro-inflammatory. This is when getting extra sleep, practising yoga, or taking on leisurely activities you love can make a world of difference.
Catching those Zs at night is especially important because it’s your body’s time to rest and recharge. Lack of sleep can make you feel sluggish, unmotivated, and irritable, which only compounds a stress problem; and increased stress disturbs the quality of your sleep. Research has also linked higher levels of inflammatory proteins to getting fewer hours of sleep at night.
In addition to getting proper rest, taking time to move and exercising are helpful stress relievers, as they release “feel-good” endorphins and can reduce your body’s levels of adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormones).
It’s never too late to make positive life changes!Eating a nutrient-rich diet, ensuring proper hydration, and taking time for relaxation, exercise, and healthy sleep habits are some simple ways you can support your body’s best health today.
If you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight, counting sheep may be as important as counting the carbs on your plate or weight repetitions at the gym. Because, while physical activity and a balanced diet are key factors, sleep may be the most overlooked aspect of your weight management plan.
Can you sleep your way to your dream body? Perhaps not. But if you are sleep deprived, more sleep may help you reach your weight goals. Here’s what you need to know about the sleep-weight connection.
Are you sleep deprived? The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults 24-64, slightly more for younger adults and a bit less for those older.1 But due to electronic gadget lights, chronic stress, habitual caffeine, shift-work, and many other reasons, few folks get their target rack time. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, insufficient sleep is a public health problem2 with serious concerns for our productivity, safety, and health—including your waistline.
It’s not just when you’re sleep deprived and find yourself battling the bulge, you’re in good company. Studies have found consistency in the sleep-weight connection; sleep deficiency is linked to weight gain. The largest study of its kind involved over 200 participants and simulated a sleep-restricted workweek. It compared the effects of restricting sleep to only four hours per night compared to unrestricted sleep, up to ten hours per night.3 After only five days, the sleep-restricted subjects had gained about 2 pounds. In contrast, the control group, allowed to sleep for up to 10 hours a night, gained virtually no weight.
If sleep restriction can cause you to gain two pounds in just five days, what can happen on the scale long-term?A lot, according to women tracked for 16 years in The Nurses’ Health Study. Women reporting six hours of sleep per night were 12% more likely to gain at least 30 pounds during the study compared to the women who slept seven hours per night. But those women who were even more sleep deprived, reporting no more than five hours per night, were 28% more likely to gain at least 30 pounds during that same period!4 Apparently, with the sleep-weight connection, every hour counts.
How does less sleep = less svelte? There are several underlying factors behind the sleep-weight connection. But a common thread is our own chemistry, which almost seems to revolt when restorative sleep is intentionally or unintentionally withheld. It’s you against them—and it’s not a fair fight.
Getting to know your hunger chemistry. There’s more than your sensation of fullness and stomach-brain communication involved. Rather, when it comes to hunger regulation and sleep, we have several chemical messengers at play. And when it gets complicated between you and the sandman, those messengers are not on your side. So get to know them:
As you can see, proper balance of ghrelin and leptin is very sleep-dependent. And for the caveman, perhaps these hormones were key to survival during the shorter, sleep-heavy but food-poor days of winter. They also played a part in the ability to capitalise on the longer, lighter sleep and more food-abundant days the rest of the year.
Today, our sleep-deprived bodies are prone to having too much ghrelin and not enough leptin. The result is that the body doesn’t feel satiated, thinks it’s hungry, and needs more calories—and squirrels away those calories for the long winter. In short, ghrelin and leptin kept the caveman alive, but they may be making you heavy.
What to do?
That depends. There are two main reasons behind sleep deprivation. Either you have a sleep hygiene issue (trouble falling asleep or staying asleep), or you have a scheduling issue, in that your lifestyle is interfering with adequate sleep.
For sleep hygiene issues, the typical recommendations always merit consideration: limiting caffeine, avoiding blue light before bed, creating a cool and dark environment, etc. But, when you have a scheduling challenge, getting adequate sleep requires some lifestyle restructuring. It’s worth the time to re-engineer your schedule to slowly go to bed earlier or rise later to increase your sleep time. But in the meantime, can you catch up on sleep on the weekends?
Weekend catch-up sleep: Is it a real thing?Of course, you can get extra sleep on the weekend. But can it potentially reverse your Monday-Friday sleep deprivation? Perhaps. In a study of over 2,000 people participants, those who slept longer on the weekends, nearly two hours longer on average, had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI) than those who didn’t. Further, it appears that the sleep:BMI relationship was dose-dependent in that every extra hour of weekend catch-up sleep was associated with a significantly lower body mass.8 So catch-up sleep can indeed be a good strategy. That is, if your overall average sleep for the week puts you out of the red and into the black, as in you’ve paid back your sleep debt.
Sleep more. Weigh less. Not convinced? Sleep on it…
By Nilima Desai, RD
If you have ever experienced hot flashes, night sweats, etc., due to menopause, you are not alone. About 80% of menopausal women suffer from hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety, and vaginal dryness,¹ which can significantly affect their quality of life. Menopause is characterised by a decrease in estrogen levels, which triggers these uncomfortable symptoms. Most women report hot flashes to be the most bothersome symptom and the reason for starting hormone therapy.²
Symptom Relief OptionsIn addition to lifestyle recommendations, such as following a plant-based diet, increasing physical activity, and minimising smoking and alcohol intake, the addition of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been most effective in reducing vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes, night sweats) commonly associated with decreased estrogen levels.²,³*
However, current recommendations from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest limiting HRT to the lowest effective dose for the shortest amount of time possible.⁴ As a result, 40-50% of women choose to use practical alternative options, such as plant-derived solutions to address menopause-related symptoms.³ Various plant-derived solutions including phytoestrogens such as isoflavones, lignans, and other Chinese and herbal remedies such as ginseng, black cohosh, etc., have been studied for the relief of menopausal symptoms.*
Plant-Derived SolutionsPhytoestrogens are a group of nonsteroidal plant-derived compounds with estrogen-like properties. The chemical structure contains a phenolic ring that enables them to bind to estrogen receptors in the body.⁵ They bind to both types of estrogen receptors, Erα and Erβ.⁵ However, research suggests that majority of the phytoestrogens have a higher affinity to bind to Erβ as compared to steroidal estrogens.⁵ Therefore, they may exert their actions through different pathways and may potentially induce different beneficial responses.*
There are four classes of phytoestrogens: isoflavones, lignans, coumestans, and stilbenes.⁶
Results from 21 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the association between different phytoestrogens and menopausal symptoms (frequency and duration of hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.) included in a meta-analysis concluded that there was an association of overall phytoestrogen use with a decrease in the number of daily hot flashes and in vaginal dryness scores.³ However, the use of phytoestrogens was not associated with significant changes in 24-hour night sweat episodes.³*
ERr 731® is a standardized extract of Siberian rhubarb root, a plant-derived, nonhormonal therapy designed to alleviate menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes.*
In a confirmatory RCT involving 119 perimenopausal women, compared with perimenopausal women receiving placebo, those receiving ERr 731® experienced a median 83% decrease in daily hot flashes over the course of 12 weeks.⁷ Compared to placebo, perimenopausal women who received ERr 731® (the extract found in Estrovera) experienced a decrease in symptoms (as indicated by an average [mean] reduction) of up to 83% in individual Menopause Rating Scale scores.⁸ Clinical benefits of ERr 731® appear to be related to selective binding of Erβ and lack of affinity for Erα.9,10*
Black cohosh is an herb that has a long history of use for the relief of menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and night sweats. Results from four RCTs examining the association between black cohosh with menopausal symptoms included in a meta-analysis concluded that black cohosh was not associated with changes in the number of hot flashes and night sweats within a 24-hour period.³ Therefore, although black cohosh is a popular herbal remedy to address menopausal symptoms, research has shown no significant association between black cohosh supplementation and relief in menopausal symptoms.³*
Other herbs: There aren’t many studies conducted on the associations of Chinese and non-Chinese medicinal herbs with menopausal symptoms. The few RCTs conducted on the various herbs were not consistent and in general didn’t show any association with symptom relief.³*
Although many RCTs have been conducted on phytoestrogens and herbal remedies in relation to menopausal symptom relief, further studies are needed to determine potential long-term adverse health effects.*
Next StepsUse of HRT needs to be evaluated carefully, and the clinician should assess the risks and benefits associated with prescribing HRT for each individual woman based on her symptoms and personal and family medical history. For women who choose to avoid or have contraindications to HRT, plant-derived therapies in conjunction with a patient-centered approach may potentially provide an alternative in relieving certain symptoms associated with menopause. To determine the best options, patients should always consult with their healthcare provider.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.References: