Do you want to avoid getting sick this cold and flue season? Here are 10 steps you can take to avoid getting sick. Natural remedies, home remedies, and tips to prevent getting sick this year.
5 preventative steps:
These are good to do over the cold and flue season to keep your immune health up and prevent getting sick.
- Increase Vitamin C intake, a daily dose of 500-2000mg.
- Keep sugar intake down, sugar compromises immune function.
- Take your vitamin D depending on your vitamin D levels 5000IU to 10,000IUs daily, ask your doctor.
- Get your 8 hours of shut eye, lack of sleep weakens your immune system.
- Enjoy ginger, garlic, onions & bone broth in soups or tea.
At first signs of getting:
When you have that tickle in your throat, feeling a bit under the weather, or that sick co-worker looks in your direction, this is the time to act! Don’t wait until your knocked on your a$$ to start these powerful natural therapies. Although, if you do miss the window, these tips help to shorten the duration of misery. And the great thing is they work for bacteria and viruses that cause the cold or flue.
- Echinacea tincture or herbal blend
- Vitamin A 100,000IU
- Vitamin D 50,000IU every other day for 7 days
- Zinc – if it’s a sore throat 15mg as lozenges, otherwise oral 30mg
- Dress warm, pile up the blankets, sweat- infrared sauna
Some good products to have on had at home include Wellness Formula by Source Naturals (found at Wholefoods and other healthfoods stores) or EHB by Integrative Therapeutics, chewable vitamin C and zinc lozenges. And for kids some Elderberry syrup.
Not all of these remedies are suitable for all people, you should always consult your Naturopathic doctor before taking them, especially if your trying to get pregnant, are pregnant or breast feeding.
What is hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?
The use of exogenous hormones to achieve physiologically active levels in the body. What the heck does that mean?! It means using hormones from an external source to top up your own hormone levels. There are two main types of hormone replacement, classic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (bHRT). Bio-identical hormones are hormones that have the same chemical structure as the hormones our bodies make naturally. They act the same way in the body as our own hormones, easily binding to the same receptors and activating the same pathways. They can be derived from nature or they can be made in a lab. Classic hormone replacement therapy is the use of synthetic non-bioidentical hormones. Examples are Premerin, Progestins, and hormonal birth control. The traditional model mostly uses the synthetics non-bioidenticals, with a few exceptions such as Synthroid. Hormones I commonly prescribe and their ideal forms are as follows:
- Thyroid -oral Liothyronine, Levothyroxine, natural desiccated thyroid
- DHEA- sublingual, micronized, & topical
- Testosterone – injections, creams & gels
- Progesterone- creams & oral
- Estrogen- vaginal suppositories, creams, patch
- Oxytocin- nasal spray, sublingual
- Cortisol- cream, oral
- Pregnenolone – cream, oral
Today we will largely discuss estrogen and progesterone replacement therapy, their health risks and benefits.
Does taking hormones cause cancer?
This is a huge concern for patients, and for good reason, we hear it from our primary care physicians all the time, “oh your taking hormones, you know that causes cancer!”
This idea was perpetuated after the Women’s Health Initiative study came out in 2002. This study enrolled over 160,000 healthy post menopausal women to investigate the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). They found an increase risk of breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. So yes, taking oral synthetic estrogens and progestins is linked to an increased rate of cancer. This does not mean taking bio-identical hormones or having healthy hormone levels causes cancer. Here is what you need to know about this study:
They used synthetic oral estrogens- Conjugated Equine Estrogens (CEE) similar to Premarin, and oral synthetic progestins (NOT PROGESTERONE).
Now lets keep this in mind as we review the facts.
Bio-identical hormones are not the same as synthetic hormones
Conjugated equine estrogens (CEE) like Premarin and progestins like Prempro, or other oral synthetic hormones like the birth control pill are not bio-identical. They don’t fit into the receptors the same, they are not metabolized in the body the same, and as a result they create more inflammation and other negative side effects. Synthetic hormones waste energy by giving incomplete messages to cells which then fail to produce a balanced hormonal response.
If natural hormones caused cancer then every man and women in their prime would be riddled with cancer. As you know most of us feel the best in our prime, young men in their 20s with peak testosterone levels, women in their menstruating years with healthy amounts of estrogen and progesterone cycling through our bodies the way nature intended. Unless of course you’re on hormonal birth control then you do not have natural hormonal rhythms. It’s when hormones get out of balance that we see a rise in prostate cancers (increased rate in men over 50), breast cancers (increased rate in menopausal women), and decreased quality of life, lower libido, hot flashes, night sweats, moodiness etc.
We feel the best when we have healthy hormones, and have better markers for health. Why is this? Because our natural hormones have very beneficial effects in the body. Bio-identical hormones mimic our bodies natural hormones, and there are no studies that link bHRT to any kind of cancers. But this is not to say they are not with out risk, or that more research is not warranted. The type of hormone, the mode of delivery, and your bodies way of processing all influence the risk/benefit profile. Lets dive a bit deeper to discuss this.
How you Break Your Hormones Down Matters
When looking at getting hormone replacement therapy the form of estrogen makes a difference in its safety and efficacy profile. Also how your body naturally breaks down estrogens plays a role in your risks for osteoporosis, estrogen sensitive cancers and dementia. Our body produces three different types of estrogens that have different effects in the body, both protective and carcinogenic.
- Higher amounts after menopause
- Some metabolites are carcinogenic
- Estrone metabolites include:
- 4-OH Estrone: very carcinogenic, damages DNA, Premarin/CEE increase this one! May be associated with fibroids.
- 16a-OH Estrone: is both carcinogenic & important for bone preservation, high levels associated with obesity
- 2-OH Estrone: very protective
- Most biologically active
- Primarily produced during menstruating years
- A small amount converts to estrone
- In men it’s converted from testosterone
- Has positive effect on cardiovascular system (increases HDL, lowers LDL/TG)
- Helps to maintain memory
- Increases absorption of calcium, magnesium, zinc (all good for your bones)
- Increases happy hormone serotonin
- Safest and weakest form
- Protective against breast cancer
- Produce in high levels during pregnancy, helps to maintain pregnancy
- None converts to estradiol or estrone
- Maintains vaginal lining (prevents thinning/tearing), healthy pH of vagina
- Improves menopausal symptoms
- Good for gut bacteria
Our liver metabolizes and breaks down our hormones through a mechanism called methylation. How well a person methylates can influence their risks for cancers. There is a methylation enzymes called COMP that neutralizes the carcinogenic estrones. In some people this enzyme doesn’t work very well, which means they have probably gone most of their life not metabolizing/neutralizing their hormones very well. Studies have shown an increase risk for breast cancer in women with a COMP enzyme mutation.
Ideally when a practitioner is prescribing hormones they are giving you 70-80% of the cream as estriol (the safest most protective form) and 20-30% estradiol for the bone, brain and heart protection. You will get some conversion to the estrone for the bone protection and ideally minimal to 4-OH. To further protect against carcinogenic metabolites we support COMP by including:
- Methyl-B12, B6, B2
To increase protective 2-OH Estrone include:
- Consume brussel sprouts, broccoli and cabbage which are rich in Indole-3-carbinol & DIM
- Moderate exercise
- Add flax and organic soy
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- B6, Methyl B12, and Methyl-folate
- Rosemary & Turmeric
- Lose weight
- High protein diet
What else can you do to support healthy metabolism of your estrogens and hormones:
- Avoid Xenoestrogen found in pesticides, meat products (choose hormone free, grass fed and finished, pasture raised or organic), avoid plastics- water bottles, food containers, kerig coffee cups, and cosmetic. For more info on this see EGW.org
- Consume less than 3 alcoholic drinks per week
- Antibiotic free animal products (meat, poultry, diary)
- Have your estrogen metabolite tested, even get your SNPs tested to see what your COMP & MTHFR activity is like.
If you’re a patient of mine more then likely you have done a urinary test, and know exactly how well you are breaking down your hormones. We use urinary metabolites to measure all these estrogens and their metabolites to asses potential risks for cancer and evaluate how well you methylate.
In summary, estrogens have the good, the bad, and the ugly, how well your body detoxifies your hormones plays an important role in your risks for making potential cancer causing estrogen metabolites. A good practitioner will give you the safest forms of estrogens with the lowest risk for conversion to problematic estrogens, and will measure and monitor how your breaking them down which further mitigates your risks. They will educate you on healthy eating and lifestyle modifications, and include nutrients to improve your health.
Oral Estrogens are not Safe
The second risk that came up in the WHI study was the cardiovascular risk, mostly relating to clot formation- strokes, embolism, and other forms of clots. Oral estrogens (synthetic or not) have a long list of side effects that are very hard on your health and cardiovascular system including increased clotting. For more information in this see my blog on Cardiovascular health.
Other Health Benefits of Estrogen
When women hit menopause and estrogen takes a dive they often experience:
Oh but menopause is a natural part of life you say?! Sure sure it is, but we also used to die in our 40s! Now women are spending half their lives in post-menopause, I don’t know about you but I don’t want to spend half my life with a quarter of the complaints on that list! Estrogen is involved in over 400 functions in the body including:
What about Progesterone:
First make lets make a very clear distinction between progesterone and progestins. They are not the same, progesterone is naturally produced by the body in the second half of the cycle after ovulation and can be taken as a bio-identical form made from wild yam. Progestins are a synthetic non-bioidentical compound and some of the common side effects of progestins include:
Natural progesterone either endogenously produced or as bio-identical replacement therapy have the following effects in the body:
Bio-identical progesterone is very safe, and can be taken orally or topically. Orally it’s great for helping with sleep and reducing anxiety. Topically it has many of the other beneficial effects listed above.
Estrogen and Progesterone over a Lifetime
It’s important to understand that hormones are like a symphony, they work together in synchronicity to create balance, vibrancy, and good health. In a woman’s body estrogen and progesterone fluctuate up and down over the cycle of a month. When we take birth control- oral, hormonal IUDs, patch, pellet, shot- we stop our bodies natural rhythms and can interfere with our long term health. When we take bio-identical hormone replacement we want to be sure we mimic the bodies natural rhythms the best we can. Always giving estrogen and progesterone together, and ensuring other hormones in the body are balanced will optimize health. A lifetime of hormonal imbalance also increases your risks for hormone sensitive cancers, infertility, mood disorders, cardiovascular and other diseases. If your still cycling and having menstrual symptoms I highly recommend your get a full hormone panel done. If your peri/menopausal and either taking hormones or not, I highly recommend you get your hormones tested (ideally a urinary panel with metabolites) to evaluate how your doing and where you need to go to reach and maintain optimal health long term.
Naturally Reduce Your Risks for Cancer
Women’s risks for breast cancer have tripled in the last 40 years, having a first degree relative who had breast cancer is considered an increased risk, however about 1 of 10 cases are in women who have a genetic predisposition. With more then 100,000 synthetic chemicals in use in the US currently, we know environmental factors play a big role. Along with a life time balance of hormones, our bodies ability to metabolize hormones and toxins. This means that what eat, how we treat our liver, and maintaining healthy hormones play a big role. Here is what you can do:
- Keep alcohol intake to 3 drinks or less per week
- Exercise at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity per day
- Maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D
- Drink green tea
- Maintain a health weight
- Eat healthy: organic, plenty of fruits and colorful veggies, whole food diet. Limit processed meats, processed foods, packaged foods, sugars. Overall a Mediterranean diet is a good guideline.
- Avoid smoking tobacco- cigarettes and e-cigarettes
- Get your regular screening done
- Support your liver- lemon water in the morning, annual liver cleanse
If you want to get your hormones tested, balance your hormones, inquire about hormone replacement therapy, do a liver cleanse, get some support around the right type of diet or nutrients for your health Dr. Escobedo can help. Call today for your free 15 minute phone consult 650-271-9453 or book online here.
Obesity is on the rise in the U.S with numbers at 20% on the west coast in 2012 and now over 25%. The west coast is in much better shape then some of the other states. With that diabetes has been skyrocketing since the 50s. In 1958 1.58 million people in the U.S had diabetes in 2015 23 million, and this year looking at over 100 million people who have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a reversible condition (here is more about how to reverse diabetes) caused by insulin resistance, being overweight, toxic burden, and a diet high in carbohydrates, sugar, and refined foods. There is strong link between insulin resistance and obesity, and difficulty losing weight. Today we will discuss how to identify if you have insulin resistance, if it’s interfering with your weight and what you can do about it.
What is Insulin
Insulin is a metabolic hormone released from the pancreas into the bloodstream where it binds to muscle, fat, liver, and other cells to activated a variety of functions in the body such as:
- Signals muscle to to take up sugar for energy to build protein
- Signals the liver to store sugar as glycogen for use later
- Signals adipose cells (fat cells) to take up sugar and make fat
- Signals adipose cell to keep fat as storage
- Once glycogen stores in the liver are full, it signals the liver to make fat to be stored in adipose cells
Essentially when you eat carbohydrates & sugar your body releases insulin which tells your body to store fat and keep fat. Resulting in your body being primed to increase your weight and becomes a barrier to losing weight. Once insulin resistance sets in, it will be very hard to lose weight until you address this underlying cause.
What is insulin resistance?
Well as I often say we are adaptable creatures, and when our body is exposed to a stimulus over and over and over it adapts by turning down the volume. The example I often use with my patients is; imaging you have a neighbor who comes over, knocks on your door and says “hey can you watch my kid for an hour?” It’s the first time this has happened so sure why no?! Then the next day he comes over knocking, and again a few hours later, then again the next day. Eventually you might find yourself closing the blinds and ignoring the knock on the door, so he knocks even harder.
This is what happens with insulin and high carb/sugar diets. This is you:
- AM: you have your coffee with sugar > insulin is released moves sugar from the blood into the cells.
- Breakfast: you have OJ and a bagel > insulin is released and moves sugar from the blood into the cells
- Lunch: you have pasta > insulin is released and moves sugar into the cells
- Afternoon crash: pick-me-up time comes and you’re drinking your double mocha frappinccino, and a whole lot more sugar is dumped into the blood and more insulin is released to move sugar into cells
- Dinner, dessert.…you get the idea.
This goes on day after day and your cells are getting really tired of insulin, so the cells start to ignore insulin, and sugar starts to rise in the blood, so your poor pancreas pumps out more insulin to do the same job. Eventually the cells are so tired of insulin, it barely works. Insulin is rising, the cells are not responding, as a result sugar is stuck in the blood. And insulin resistance has arrived!
How to tell if you have insulin resistance?
- Do you have belly fat? Not sure? If you walk up to a wall does your belly touch before your nose?
- Do you feel tired or sleepy after meals?
- Does your energy drop after lunch?
- Are you a snacker?
- Do you get hangry between meals? Not sure ? ask your partner, friends or colleges 😉
- Do you consume high fructose corn syrup? are you sure? go read the label of your ketchup bottle!
- Are you experiencing increased thirst and urination?
- Darkening of the skin around the neck, groin or armpits
- Skin tags
- Weight gain, difficulty losing weight (approx 70% of people with a BMI >30 have insulin resistance and 10% of people with normal BMI)
What to do
Lab Tests: (Optimal levels):
- Fasting lipid panel – elevated Triglycerides (<100) and low HDLs (>55)
- Fasting insulin (5-10) and C-peptide
- HbA1C (<5.6)
- Fasting glucose (80-95)
- TSH (1.50-2.00), Free T3 (3.0-3.4), Free T4 (1.1-1.4)
- Blood pressure (120/60)
- Body temperature (98.0F-98.6F)
Foods to Avoid
- Fruit juice and dried fruit
- High fructose corn syrup
- Refined foods – pasta, bread, cereal, baked goods, pastries, packaged food
- White foods – white rice, white bread, white potatoes, white sugar
Foods to Enjoy:
- All vegetables (except white potatoes)
- Free range chicken, fish- salmon, grass fed lean meats 1-3x week, eggs.
- Fresh or frozen Berries, bananas, apples in moderation 1 serving 3-6xwk
- Good fats: olives, olive oil, avocados, coconut, nuts and seeds, nut butters like almond butter.
- Fermented foods- like Kimchi
- Make breakfast and lunch your largest meal
- Keep dinner light
- Intermittent fasting: 12-16hrs of fasting in 5 days per week, this can be done by not eating after dinner, and keeping dinner 12hrs before breakfast. Or fast 12hrs once per week skip breakfast & lunch, fast from dinner to dinner.
- Avoid snacking
- Eat protein and good fat with every meal
- Avoid carbs and sugar for breakfast, trade in the cereal, bagels and oatmeal for eggs, Chia seed pudding, protein shake, bulletproof latte.
- Under qualified practitioner starting a Ketogenic diet
- Try herbs like:
- Berberine – studies have shown it to be as effective as Meformin at lowering blood sugar, improving lipid profiles, and helping with weight loss. Berberine has low toxicity and other benefits to your health.
- N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is an anti-oxidant that helps to protect the insulin receptors
- Optimize your microbiome with probiotics especially: Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus gasseri, and Lactobacillus casei
- Optimize thyroid function, it controls your metabolism, if your thyroid is functioning optimally (not just “normal”) you burn sugar and fat more efficiently. (Go here to learn more about thyroid & weight).
- Cut out toxins: Phthalate, BPA, Perflurooctane-s/f (flame retardant found in cloths, baby carriages, non stick pans- teflon), PCP, arsenic (high in rice and shrimp), Mercury (high in large fish). To learn about how to clean toxins from your life see the EWG website here.
If you suspect you have insulin resistance, are struggling with your weight or maintaining a healthy shape, Dr. Escobedo can help. She has a wonderful Shape Up program that will identify what’s holding you back, address those barriers and help you get the weight off all in 8 weeks! For more information see her GeOMetric Shape Program or book your free 15 minute phone consult here to learn more.
- Hydrate first! Most of the time when we experience cravings it’s our bodies way of telling us we are thirsty. Reach for water first, if that doesn’t work then go for option 2.
- Protein! Protein gives our bodies essential amino acids that our brain uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is our happy hormone, and when it’s low we crave carbs! Protein also help to activate our satiety hormones, telling our brain we are full. So, if your feeling low, and craving some sugar, go for protein first! Try a handful of salted nuts or a piece of chicken.
- Choose wisely! When you’re standing in line at your favorite coffee shop, staring through the glass case at all the sweets, and the signs are advertising the newest seasonal hot beverage. Take a breath, step back from the glass case! Ask yourself, what’s going to feel good in my body? Instead choose the apple and cheese plate or bag of nuts or even a pre-made salad option or the small dark chocolates. Then when you step up the cashier rather than opting for the vente pumpkin spice late with whip cream- choose espresso, americano, matcha late, chai or hibiscus berry tea instead, add your own honey, cream or dairy alternative. Always ask how much sweeter they add to your drink, and say no thanks!
- Chose a better alternative:
- Stevia is all natural and does not influence your blood sugar at all!
- Xylitol is a natural alternative that tastes great and is an easy 1:1 substitute for sugar, use it for baking, sweetening your favorite hot beverage.
- Cinnamon can helps to lower blood sugar, taste great, and can be used to trick your brain into thinking your having something sweet.
- Tea- there are so many delicious teas out there (Tazo Wild Sweet Orange, Chai, Earl Grey) that can help to provide that little bit of comfort and sooth that sweet tooth.
- Avoid sugar! Sugar begets sugar. Did you know the more you eat the more your brain craves it?! Take a break & reset, go 100% sugar free for 3 weeks, be a real stickler, read ingredient labels, avoid any added ingredient such as sugar, glucose, fructose, dextrose, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and many more (a more complete list here). Keep carbohydrates low, no processed foods, wheat, flour, starches ect. Taking a break can really help your body and brain reset.
If your still struggling there may be something deeper going on, some condition like depression, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, candida, stress, inadequate protein intake, and others can work against you. If your interested in digging deeper and learning more about your carb craving and what to do about it. BOOK your FREE 15 minute phone consult today.
There are numerous reasons why we have difficulties sleeping, which we will discuss today. I can tell you one thing for sure though, it’s not a deficiency of Ambien/Zolpidem or Lunesta or Trazadon or Tylenol PM or what every other sleep medication you grabbed off the shelf in a sleepy haze from your local CVS! Some of these medications can be hard to get off, and can cause rebound insomnia making your sleep worse. Some help knock you out leaving you groggy the next day, and some deplete your body of the hormone melatonin that you need to sleep! If you’re tired of relying on a drug to help you sleep, and your ready to find out WHY you can’t sleep, and fix that, then read on my friend!
Start by identifying your most likely sleep type.
Type 1 Low Melatonin-no-Sleepers:
Normally when the sun goes down, darkness signals our brains to start making melatonin which tells us it’s time to sleep and we start to feel tired. Melatonin is a strong anti-oxidant protecting our mitochondria from oxidative stress aka ageing. Melatonin turns off our stress system at night which helps us to unwind. If your a Type 1 more than likely your sleep troubles are related to your brain not making enough melatonin.
Here are some reasons why:
- Screens: Screens (phones, ipads, computers, TVs) blasting our brains with blue light suppresses melatonin production. Avoid all screens at least 1hr before bed, even on the lowest light setting on your phone it’s to bright! And if you wake up at night don’t look at your phone!
External light: Thanks to Mr. Edison we can now defy natures dark-light rhythms, lighting up rooms in the house, street lights, car lights, blazing through bedroom windows, all interfering with melatonin production. Black out your bedroom, turn lights down closer to bedtime.
- Medications that deplete melatonin:
- The SSRI Fluoxitine.
- Corticosteroids such as asthma inhalers, Prednisone, Hydrocortisone.
- Heart medications specifically beta-blockers such as Atenolol, Metoprolol, Timolol.
- NSAID such as Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Diclofenac.
- Shift work & time travel: Our bodies love a consistent rhythm, our brains understand waking up when the sun comes up and going to bed when the sun goes down, in the same time zone. Traveling to different time zones, and working shift work gets our poor brains confused! In these cases you may not be low in melatonin, but taking some can help your brain understand when it’s time to sleep.
Tips for Type 1 Low Melatonin-no-Sleepers: try low dose melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime. After you take the melatonin start to wind down, avoid all screens, and dim the lights. If you are waking up about 4hrs after you go to bed then choose a sleep supplement with Melatonin & 5-HTP (don’t mixing with SSRIs).
Type 2 Stress-no-Sleeper:
Our stress system helps us to adapt to stress and it helps to regulated our sleep wake cycles with melatonin. In the morning cortisol rises which allows us to bounce out of bed rested and ready to take on the day. At night, melatonin turns on signalling cortisol to turn off allowing us to unwind and fall asleep. However, if our stress system is burn out, over worked, over tired, then our sleep gets messed up.
The following are sign cortisol dysregulation is your sleep challenge:
- You feel wired and tired at night, staying up to late.
- You lay in bed with your mind on overdrive struggling to fall asleep.
- You wake up in the middle night, your mind turns on and it’s hard to go back to sleep.
- You wake up after your alarm has gone off 10 times, drag yourself out of bed, and don’t want to see or speak to anyone until you have your morning coffee.
- You dislike those bright-eyed-happy-to-be-alive morning people.
Tips for Type 2 Stress-no-Sleeper you will probably have the most success with the following tools:
- Eliminate all caffeine from your diet! What? I can’t do that! At the very least NO caffeine after noon, drop the coffee and switch to green tea. But no green tea or decaf or other lightly caffeinated beverages or stimulants of any kind, after noon.
- Try a blend of cortisol lowering support such as phosphatidylserine, glycine, inositol, Ashwaghanda, Magnolia and melatonin.
- Avoid working out and working to close to bed, allow a good 2hrs to wind down in between.
- Try stress reduction techniques in the evening enjoy a hot magnesium bath with lavender oil, meditation, listening to a super boring sleep story on the Calm App or a sleep meditation on the Insight Timer App.
- Have your adrenals tested with a four-point cortisol salivary test, and get your stress system back on track. Ask your Naturopath.
- Lower stress in your life or improve the way you cope with stress.
- Increase daily exercise – keep it to mornings or mid-day.
- Get out into nature.
- Talk to a qualified friend or therapist.
- Get a hobby and make time for it.
- Try yoga and/or meditation.
- Move work closer to home.
- Say no, do less.
Type 3 Magnesium-Deficient-sleepers:
If you’re falling asleep and staying asleep more or less through the night, but feel restless, you are low in magnesium. If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, or clench your teeth, then you will benefit from some magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the human body including muscle relaxation, bone building, and energy production and approximately 30% the population is deficient (1).
Signs you might be deficient in magnesium:
- Anxiety & irritability
- Muscle cramping & weakness
- Ringing in the ears
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Restless leg syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Craving chocolate 😉 It’s true!
Tips for they Type 3 Magnesium-Deficient-Sleepers:
Increasing magnesium rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, Brazil nuts, tofu, chocolate (careful it can be stimulating and keep you up), cashews, and avocados.
Have magnesium glycinate or citrate at night before bed, note some forms of magnesium can cause loose stools. Magnesium glycinate is well absorbed and easy on the digestion. One of my favorite supplements is Natural Calm by Natural Vitality.
Type 4 REM-Deprived-Sleepers:
If you are going to bed fine, sleeping through the night more or less, and waking up feeling unrefreshed you are not getting enough restorative REM sleep. REM is when we do most of our dreaming, it benefits memory, learning and mood. You don’t want to miss out on that. There are a few possibilities as to why this might be happening for you:
- Sleep Apnea: get checked, honestly if you have sleep apnea nothing is going to help unless you address it. Best way to find out is to do a sleep study. Ask your partner if you snore, or if you stop breathing momentarily in your sleep, or choke or cough. This is common with people who are overweight, on testosterone replacement therapy, or have sinus conditions. Sleep apnea is hard on your heart, ask your general practitioner for a referral.
- HPA Dysregulation aka adrenal fatigue causes low am cortisol, which results in you just not feeling overly refreshed in the am even after good nights sleep.
- Drugs & alcohol: A joint and 1/2 a bottle of wine will conk you out, but it won’t help you wake up refreshed. Alcohol reduces the amount of restful REM sleep, and I think THC does to as many of my patients who use THC report less dreaming and less restful sleep. Other medications like anti-depressants, stimulants like Ritalin and caffeine, decongestants, and over the counter sleep aids can also reduce REM sleep.
- Lack of sleep: we are suppose to cycle through REM sleep every 90 minutes with each cycle lasting longer as the hours go on, thus our most restful sleep happens in the 7th & 8th hours of sleep, if your getting less then 7hrs per night, you are sleep deprived!
- Discomfort: Maybe your mattress is uncomfortable, or your body is in pain and you’re just not able to get comfortable enough to get into a restful sleep.
- Trauma: are you waking up with nightmares? Afraid to sleep in the dark? Have you experienced some trauma and think it might be interfering with your sleep? You’re not alone and there is hope. I have a wonderful support network I am happy to refer out to for anyone suffering from trauma. Please don’t hesitate to ask me.
Tips for Type 4 REM-Deprived-Sleepers:
- Get checked for sleep apnea. Try using Sleep Cycle App to monitor how restless you are during the night.
- Establish healthy sleep routines, go to bed around the same time every night +/- 30 minutes, aim for 7-8hrs of sleep each night. Catching up on the weekends does’t work.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs, re-asses your medications with your doctor. Ask your Naturopath about healthier alternatives.
- Asses the comfort of your bed, maybe it’s time to replace your mattress.
- Get your adrenals checked by your Naturopathic doctor.
- Try R.E.M Maintenance by Metabolic Maintenance at night before bed along with the above recommendations.
Type 5 Sweaty-Sleeper:
Besides the obvious….your room is to warm! Why are you sweating at night? Are you hitting menopause? Is your thyroid running high? Are you catching a cold or flue? Or maybe the beers you had after dinner have turned into sugar, and are now fueling your internal thermostat! If you’re a women 45 or older and your cycles are getting irregular, your sweating at night, call me! I can help you breeze through menopause, sleep through the night, your whole family will thank me 🙂 If you notice you only sweat part of your cycle you bet your hormones are to blame. I can help with that too!
If your having troubles sleeping, don’t suffer, book an appointment with me. I have helped hundreds of my patients improve their sleep. Book online here.
Happy ZZZZZZs Dr. E!
DiNicolantonio, J.J., O’Keefe J.H., Wilson W. Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis. Open Heart BMJ. 2018; 5(1): e000668.
Last month, we went into detail about the basics of adrenal fatigue. This month, we want to dive into treatment options. Not everything can be fixed with allopathic medicine- we like to take a more natural approach here at GeOMetric Health. If you believe you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue, read more below on the next steps that you can take.
What are Common Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue?
Here are some- but not all- symptoms of adrenal fatigue:
- Low mood or mood swings
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Dizziness upon standing
- Lack of mental alertness
- Tired in AM, Wired in PM
- Salt cravings
- Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Feeling of being mentally and emotionally overstressed
- Need for caffeine to get started or through the day
- A tendency to startle easily
- Easily overwhelmed by stress
- Eyes sensitive to bright light
- Low libido/sex drive
For an informational FAQ on adrenal fatigue, click here.
There are many treatment options that you can explore if you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue. From hormone-replacement therapy to nutritional supplements, it all depends on the individual’s degree of adrenal fatigue. Here, are some strategies to help you recover.
Mild Adrenal Fatigue:
Vitamin C – Your adrenal glands hold the highest concentration of vitamin C in your body. So when your glands are acting up due to high amounts of stress, taking vitamin C has been proven helpful to some individuals by leveling out their levels. 500-1000mg daily.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) – In some individuals, supplementation of pantothenic acid helped to maintain fluid balance- suggesting that it may enhance secretion and the action of adrenal hormones. Because the majority of pantothenic acid is lost in the processing of our foods, it may be beneficial to take a supplement to boost your pantothenic acid levels.
Magnesium – Magnesium has several health benefits, and aiding in curing hypoadrenalism is on the list as well. It’s known for helping to relieve anxiety and headaches & migraines, both symptoms of adrenal fatigue. A magnesium supplement would be suggested (400-600 mg/day).
Adaptogenic Herbs: increase resilience to stress, rebalance body, don’t interfere with body normal functioning anymore then to restore balance. They guard against disease caused by stressors on the body. They are really amazing medicines!
- Eleutherococcus senticosis: stimulates resistance to stress improving stamina and is a great tonic to be used during times of high stress. Also protects the immune system, good to help prevent illness and recover from chronic illness.
- Rhodiola roscea: Some studies indicated it can improve mental performance during stress, it can increase energy, reduce fatigue, and help with anxiety from stress, as it can balance high cortisol levels.
- Withania Somnifera (Ashwagandha) a wonderful Ayurvedic can help to restore vitality from overwork or nervous exhaustion, encourages rest and relaxation.
Moderate Adrenal Fatigue: (include the above nutrients and the following)
Licorice Root: acts like anti-inflammatory in the body similarly to how cortisol works, it also slows the breakdown of cortisol. This is good if the body is not producing enough cortisol, stimulates the adrenals to make more. This herb is not recommended if you have high blood pressure.
Adrenal Glandulars: these come from animal source, and provide the body with the building blocks your adrenals use to rebuild. Glandulars can be stimulating, so I don’t advise taking them if you are feeling amped up.
Severe Adrenal Fatigue (include the above and the following)
Hydrocortisone is bio-identical cortisol, and in low doses can be used to help the adrenals catch up, when cortisol production is to low. These must be used under the supervision of a qualified medical/naturopathic doctor. Hydrocortisone can make a big difference in how you feel when you are burned out.
Taking supplements and nutrients are an important part of helping your adrenal glands and stress system recover. However, continued stress poses a challenge for your long term health and learning to managing how you respond to daily stressors is essential. Taking adaptogenic herbs can improve resilience and I encourage you to go deeper as well. Here are some suggestions:
- Mindfulness– mindfulness based meditation and techniques help you come into the present moment, and can be very helpful when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Among many other benefits. Check out The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, the Calm App.
- Connecting to your breath, deep belly breathing massages the vagus nerve and can flick your nervous system out of the Flight or Fight response into Rest and Digest state. This is easy, accessible to anyone anytime. See my video on Belly Breath for instruction.
- Spending time in nature– When we spend so much time in the concrete jungle surrounded by constant buzz of traffic, sirens and cell phones, construction, and noise, it’s overstimulated for the nervous system. Getting out into the trees, walking by the river or ocean, breathing in the fresh air, getting your bare feet on the ground, is undeniable therapeutic. It brings your nervous system back down to a calm relaxed state
- Grounding- walking barefoot on the earth, grass, along the beach, has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve wound healing, improve the immune system and is just good for you well being. Don’t believe me? Give a try! I walk barefoot every chance I get and love every moment of it. Start somewhere soft!
- Meditation practice- meditation lower blood pressure, improves cognition, slows heart rate, and creates a feeling of inner calm, peace and well being. Ideally 20-60 minutes daily, but even just taking a time out for 5 minutes to close your eyes, connect to your breath, and connect to your body is great! It’s a powerful tool that has been used for over three centuries and across many cultures. Some great Apps: HeartMind by BeHereNow foundation, InsightTimer, Calm. Other tools: Oprah & Deepak 21 Day Meditation Challenges are great for beginners and people with limited schedules.
If you want to be tested for hypoadrenalism or suspect it’s contributing to your health concerns, I can help. Please feel free to book your free 15 minute phone consultation to learn more. I am a great resource to utilize and can point you in the right direction of how to take back control of how you feel. For more great resources, links, and good reads join my Newsletter and like GeOMetric Health Facebook page. Looking to set up a consultation? Visit our website or give us a call at 1-650-271-9543.
Stress is a common factor that most people share without even realizing it. The obvious stressors are the busy schedules, paying bills, caring for family, maintaining our relationships, and balancing our lives. Less obvious stressors include: physical stress such as that intense spin class or 6 mile run, physical illness, too little sleep, not enough down time, or working in a toxic environment. Many of my patients tell me “I don’t feel stressed” but it’s important to remember we are adaptable creatures. It’s amazing the level of stress and go-go-go that becomes normal after a while. Remember just because we have adapted to a hectic life doesn’t mean it’s not affecting our health. Let’s talk about how stress affects our bodies, our health and what symptoms to watch out for.
What are Adrenal Glands Anyway?
Your adrenal glands are two small but potent glands that rest on top of our kidneys. They communicate with every cell, organ and gland in the body during times of stress to help maintain balance and ensure survival. They do this by secreting the hormone cortisol to help us adapt in stressful situations. These little glands influence many processes in the body from the immune system, hormone production, weight, and blood sugar. Cortisol turns off processes we don’t need in stressful situations and turn on processes we do. For example, if we are faced with a snarling bear we need to run, we need blood going to our legs, and heart, we don’t need to be digesting food or fighting off that cold you caught last week.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal Fatigue, also known as hypoadrenalism or adrenocortical insufficiency, happens when your body is not secreting sufficient amounts of cortisol and other adrenal hormones to meet your physiological needs. In other words, you’re overexerting and stressing yourself out so much that your body cannot keep up with your lifestyle demands.
We are not meant to be in a constant stress state, our adrenals are meant to help us adapt to stress in acute situations. Not to be pushing out cortisol day in and day out as we fight traffic, rush to pick up the kids, work late, then down coffee because we are sleep deprived. This push-push-push fast tracks us into adrenal fatigue, and stimulants like coffee and energy drinks not only mask our bodies signals telling us to slow down but push the adrenals further into fatigue. Essentially our little adrenals can only keep up for so long, before they can’t, and then we begin to feel it.
What are the Symptoms?
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Waking up at night worrying
- Difficulty losing weight
- Waking up feeling unrefreshed even after sufficient sleep
- Feeling wired & tired at night
- Craving salt
- Low blood pressure
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin/malasma
- Feeling exhausted after workouts or work days
- Poor tolerance to stress
While mild adrenal fatigue is more common than severe cases, you may recognize the name Addison’s Disease, which is an example of severe hypoadrenalism. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms, you’re are most likely experiencing adrenal fatigue.
What are Typical Stressors?
Each person reacts differently to stress, and different situations in life stress people out in different ways. These are considered to be the top 10 most stressful events:
- Death of a spouse/child
- Marital separation
- Jail time
- Death of close family member
- Personal injury or illness
- Fired at work
- Marital reconciliation
Other major stressors:
- Change in health of a family member
- Sex difficulties
- Business adjustment
- Change in financial state
- Death of close friends
- Changing jobs
- Son or daughter leaving home
- Addition of new family member
- Change in living conditions
- Kids starting school/changing schools
- Change in sleeping and eating habits
The stressors above are sometimes situations that you cannot control, but you can help yourself to adapt better to them. There is a risk that the stress in your life is causing more harm than you realize, and it is pertinent that you develop a self-care routine. To learn more about what you can do read my next blog.
If you’re interested in learning more about adrenal fatigue, or being tested to find out how your adrenals are doing give us a call at 1-650-271-9543 or book your free 15 minute phone consult online.
Telemedicine is a video consult with your doctor on a HIPPA compliant platform. Dr. Escobedo uses doxy.me because it’s simple and easy. She can see anyone anywhere in California, including the busy Bay Area, Sacramento, Redding, Oakland, Nevada City, Grass Valley, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Berkeley, San Francisco, Marin, San Rafael and more.
Why it’s Worth a Try
- Accessible: no traffic, no travel costs of gas, parking, parking tickets! Your meetings are on your computer, tablet, or phone from home or work. Dr. Escobedo can see anyone in the state of California. Great for rural communities with limited access to doctors.
- No need to take time off work: it’s easy to schedule a visit during a break or on your lunch hour. The call can be taken from a conference room or anywhere that offers sufficient privacy.
- Easier for those caring for children and elderly: less time away, and being at home eliminates the expense of finding alternative care.
- Avoid waiting rooms: less exposure to other sick people in waiting rooms, no need to sit around and wait at all. Your doctor is at the click of a button.
- Better options: you’re no longer limited to the doctors in your local area, find the right match for your health and get the best quality care. Great for rural communities and traffic dense areas.
- Cost effective: Save money and time by avoiding travel time, taking time off work, and paying for childcare.
- On-Demand Options: find your labs, treatment protocols, lab orders and refill request all at the tips of your fingers in your patient portal. Easily ask for refills, email the doctor, view your labs, recipes, treatment programs and book appointments any time, any where.
- Less Stress: you don’t have to worry about being late from traffic, transit delays, getting lost or lack of parking availability. In two clicks your signed in and ready to go. Easily message the doctor if your running behind.
How it Works
- After booking your appointment you receive an email with all the instructions you need to access your appointment online. You follow the link, sign in, and Dr. Escobedo starts the appointment when she sees you pop into the virtual waiting room.
- Dr. Escobedo often reviews labs, prescribes supplements, and offers handouts during her consults. You can view all your lab results, treatment protocols and documents in the patient portal during the call.
- When Dr. Escobedo orders labs for you, we utilize saliva, urine and blood testing, our testing is complex but we make it simple for you!
- Take the test at home: urine and salivary test kits are mailed directly to you for home collection. The kit includes complete instructions & has a pre-paid label for easy return via mail. It’s as simple as – collect and ship.
- Blood Draws: we add all the paperwork to your patient portal for you to download and take into LabCorp or Quest or give to the mobile phlebotomist. You can have a blood draw specialists come to your work or home to draw your blood at your convenience.
- Dr. Escobedo will contact you once she receives all your results to review them together.
- Any physical exams that need to be performed will be referred out to your general physician.
- Not tech savoy? Don’t worry we have excellent tech support that will walk you through each step.
- You will need a mobile phone, iPad, or computer with a video and microphone (most are build in, and work great). If not, it all good, we can always do an old fashion phone consult!
Want to give it a try: book your free 15 minute video consult with Dr. Escobedo here.
“Floating on air” always seemed impossible, but as we all know, nothing is impossible when it comes to science and new-age technology. Sensory deprivation tanks offer many positive health benefits to individuals, and can make for great holiday gift ideas. Interested in learning more? Let’s continue.
What are Sensory Deprivation Tanks?
The sensory deprivation tanks, or float tanks, specialize in isolating the individual inside from all the senses. That’s right- sight, sound, smell, and touch all melt away in these tanks. The water in the tanks is made to match the individual’s body temperature as close as possible, mixed with 700-800lbs of Epsom salts. This mixture allows for the individual to stay afloat easily on the water’s surface.
How Do They Work?
So, what’s the science behind these float tanks? Our body’s “fight or flight” stress response is lowered by inducing a deep state of relaxation. For those who struggle with stress, anxiety, and depression, this is a natural way of evoking a natural relaxation response because it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. So while you float (no swimming required!), your cortisol levels are lowered and your nervous system is calmed, helping to bring your hormones and immune system back into balance.
The epsom salts are high in magnesium which helps with muscle relaxation! Not only does the peaceful environment of the tank help you to relax, the water itself is very relaxing and healing. It’s also a great place to integrate, meditate, and float into an altered state.
What are the Health Benefits?
Now that we understand what the sensory deprivation tanks are, we can dive into the actual therapy and the health benefits. There are physical and mental benefits to float tanks, while some claim a sort of spiritual awakeness. Deprivation tanks can help reduce your stress levels and is considered to be a non-invasive treatment method for certain pains and illnesses. Here’s a list that contains (but is not limited to) ailments that float tanks have been shown to aid:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Low energy
- Addiction or Withdrawal symptoms
- Low immune function
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep Trouble
- Athletic performance
If you’re looking for a gift idea this holiday season, we highly suggest a trip to Balance Float in Redwood City. Deprivation therapy is a great resource to gift to someone, and we believe in its healing powers at Wild Women Wellness. For more float tank locations, click the link here. For more information on our services offered at Wild Women Wellness, you can visit our website or give us a call at (650)-271-9453.