Stress and 4 Tips to Hack It

Find your balance with adaptogenic herbs.

How many people can say today that they live a life free of stress? Running from errand to errand, sitting in traffic, raising children, getting married, college, changing jobs and even getting older.

All of these things can cause us to feel more than a bit overwhelmed. Even though some stress is necessary  to produce the hormones we need to survive, it can also have serious effects on your health.  Stress has also been known to disrupt your hormones and accelerate the aging process. Let’s take a look at the phases of stress and some ways that botanicals can help us moderate the stress response.

The Three Phases of Stress.

Stress like grief, has phases. There are three to be exact. The first two are acute and short-lived. The third is chronic and persisting.

  1. Acute, mild response, not- recurring: This is when we have stress for a short time, but it does not affect you after it is over. A good example would be sitting in traffic. It does not affect you long term. You need to find a way to wind down , but you do recover and return to normal functioning after the event.
  2. Acute, recurring and poor recovery: In the second phase, your stress is recurring, and you may take longer to recover. A good example would be like sitting in traffic every day but also perhaps having a job you dislike. Your sleep can become affected, and you may be feeling a bit of anxiety you just cannot seem to shake. Sleep does not come easy and coffee is an absolute must have throughout the day to keep up energy from that loss of sleep.
  3. Chronic, prominent symptoms and poor recovery According to Dr. Tori Hudson, N.D. “by the time you reach this stage, your stress has become chronic. Your symptoms are prominent, and it takes you a long time to recover because your adrenal glands are most likely exhausted. You may also have unusual sleep patterns, sleep apnea, and excessive fatigue. Chronic stress can also impair your short-term memory and lead to chronic stress could to serious diseases – including heart disease and depression.”

Determining Cortisol Levels.

If you can relate to steps two or three, you can ask your doctor for lab tests to evaluate your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Serum blood cholesterol testing is a good start, but the best way to determine issues with the adrenals is to do a saliva test.   http://www.zrtlabs.com With this test you would spit into a few tubes and send it off to the lab. The name of this test is salivary cortisol testing

. This test measures cortisol throughout the day since you spit into the tubes several times a day. This method is much more accurate at determining what is going on with cortisol. A trained physician must interpret it.

Cortisol should be higher in the morning and gradually lower as night falls. When cortisol is low at night, we can sleep well. If cortisol elevates at night, we then find ourselves waking up throughout the night, leading to sleep that is not restorative. Cortisol can plummet in the morning, which is the opposite of what should happen to cause us to be fatigued during the day. Most of us reach for sweets and coffee.

Dr. Sara Gottfried outlines her protocol for adrenal issues in her book “The Hormone Cure” available here:

Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Fast track hormone cure

Here are the top 4 herbs to hack your stress.  These are the top picks of doctors who use these therapies with their patients.  Dr. Tori Hudson, N.D. shares some of her favorites here and according to Dr. Hudson “For phase 1, ashwagandha and Rhodiola are good choices. For phase 2, consider these two herbs plus passionflower and holy basil. ”

Let’s dive in!

1) Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) *

Ashwagandha is part of a group called adaptogens which means it can help the body to adapt to stress and so are appropriately nicknamed. If cortisol is too high, it can help to lower it. If it is too low, it has been shown to reduce it.

These herbs appear to adapt to the body’s need for cortisol release or, in some cases, to withhold its release. “* For example, it decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol; maintained pulse, blood pressure, and blood sugar already within normal limits, and improved markers of liver and heart health” as Dr. Hudson states.

According to research done by www.greenmedinfo.org, it is clear that Ashwagandha has been in clinical trials with positive outcomes for everything from lowering blood sugar, attenuating withdrawal-induced anxiety due to chronic ethanol consumption. Even chemo-protective properties against skin cancers have been noted! You can access all of these studies here: Ashwagandha | GreenMedInfo | Substance | Natural Medicine    

My go-to resource for herbs such as this is Gaia brand. From the way these herbs are grown in their extraction method, this company does herbs like no one else. Gaia has complete traceability meaning you can research each bottle you purchase back to the day it was grown or “seed to shelf” as they call it.

Dosing this herb according to Dr. Hudson
“Ashwagandha is recommended in the following dosages”:
• 3 to 6 grams of the dried root per day
• 6 to 15 ml of a 1:2 fluid extract per day
• 300 to 500 mg of an extract standardized to contain 1.5% withanolides per day.”

2) Rhodiola  (Rhodiola Rosea) *

Rhodiola is another adaptogen that can help your body adapt to occasional stress.* Rhodiola has substantial research for enhancing immunity, increasing the capacity for exercise, enhancing memory and weight reduction.

Read more here: http://Rhodiola Benefits & Information (Rhodiola Rosea)

As described by Gaia Herbs (R), “The fragrant Rhodiola Rosea root, also known as roseroot, has been used throughout history in Iceland, Sweden, France, Russia, and Greece. Popular with the Vikings to enhance mental and physical endurance, this revered adaptogen was included in the first Swedish Pharmacopeia. It has been used to elevate mood, counter stress-induced fatigue, and increase mental performance, according to studies.”

Recommendations from Dr. Hudson’s article for Rhodiola

“Rhodiola is recommended in the following dosages:

To support a positive mood: 170 mg or 340 mg twice per day for six weeks

To energize: 200 mg three times per day

To promote healthy sleep: 600 mg per day.”

3) Passionflower (passiflora incarnate) *

It seems Native American healers and 19th-century herbalists traditionally used Passionflower to help induce restful sleep. According to herbalists, Passionflower even shows safety for children. Of course, you would always check with your pediatrician prior to giving any herbal remedy to a child. You can find many other uses for this extract here:

Passion Flower Delightful Benefits | Native American Herbalism

Research in Pub Med suggests that” Passiflora extract is an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, and the low incidence of impairment of job performance with Passiflora extract compared to oxazepam is an advantage.” It works so well that they claim “A large-scale trial is justified.”*

Passionflower has the following dosage recommendation by Dr. Hudson:

• Dried herb: 2 grams, three to four times per day

• Infusion: 2 grams in 150 ml of water, three to four times per day

• Fluid extract, 1:1 or 1:2 (g/ml): 2 ml, three to four times per day

• Liquid Phyto-Cap form (Gaia): Two capsules, three to four times per day

• Tincture 1:5 (g/ml) extract, three to four times per day

4) Holy Basil (ocimum tenuiflorum) *

The botanical name is Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Sanctum, or Album. This herb is considered “sacred” by Hindus and Holy Basil has even planted around Hindu temples. Another name it has been given is Tulsi which means “the incomparable one.”

It is used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine for supporting stress responses. Holy Basil should not be confused with the Basil used for cooking. According to one study from Pub Med, the results indicated” a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels during treatment with holy basil leaves compared to during treatment with placebo leaves.*

Since stress modulates the blood sugar response, we can easily see the benefits that herbs with these properties can have. It appears to affect not only “corticosterone (a hormone involved in stress response), but also in creatine kinase (a marker of heart health.)”

Holy Basil dosages used by Dr. Hudson:

300 to 600 mg per day in divided doses (does not need to be taken with food)

Other Elements Affecting the Stress Response.

Our bodies respond to stress by activating the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-axis (HPA axis). This activation allows for the release of stress hormones. Adrenaline causes an increase in heart rate, and norepinephrine raises blood pressure, metabolism, and respiration rate.

The body shuts down what it considers to be “non-essential functions” like digestion and delivering blood to our muscles. Can you see why even your everyday stressors can have so many harmful effects on your health?

Your Best Medi “ZEN”

It is sitting down while eating, especially with others, which benefits our digestion. This is due to the stimulating action of the parasympathetic (rest and digest ) mode of the body. Also of benefit is the practice of saying grace or expressing gratitude for our food. These things can activate the calming, parasympathetic response, and aid in the digestion of food.

Calming practices like Yoga, Qi Gong, practicing mindfulness, crystal bowl sound meditation, binaural beats and, other ancient practices can calm the sympathetic response in favor of a parasympathetic response.

The parasympathetic is stimulatory to the stomach, increases gastric secretion and motility. The sympathetic is inhibitory, decreasing the gastric secretions and motility. It is no surprise then that our digestion is affected by stress. The way that we perceive stress is also crucial to how we will respond to it.

By considering adaptogens in combination with some of the above calming strategies, we can head off acute stress and manage some of our daily stressors. In the end, this leads to a happier, healthier, and more productive life.

More on Heartmath how the app works here:

How Heart Math Works

Heart Math-Inner Balance

Reference Materials courtesy of Pub Med.

 *Rhodiola Rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: a study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. – PubMed – NCBI

*Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind, randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. – PubMed – NCBI

 * Randomized placebo-controlled, single-blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. – PubMed – NCBI

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition and should not be taken for medical advice. Consulting with one’s physician prior to taking any herbal supplement is strongly encouraged

Reference Materials courtesy of Pub Med.
*Rhodiola Rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: a study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. – PubMed – NCBI
*Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. – PubMed – NCBI
* Randomized placebo-controlled, single-blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. – PubMed – NCBI

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition and should not be taken for medical advice. Consulting with one’s physician prior to taking any herbal supplement is strongly enc

How many people can say today that they live a life free of stress? Running from errand to errand, sitting in traffic, raising children, getting married, college, changing jobs and even getting older.

All of these things can cause us to feel more than a bit overwhelmed. Even though some stress is necessary  to produce the hormones we need to survive, it can also have serious effects on your health.  Stress has also been known to disrupt your hormones and accelerate the aging process. Let’s take a look at the phases of stress and some ways that botanicals can help us moderate the stress response.

The Three Phases of Stress

Stress like grief, has phases. There are three to be exact. The first two are acute and short-lived. The third is chronic and persisting.

  1. Acute, mild response, not- recurring: This is when we have stress for a short time, but it does not affect you after it is over. A good example would be sitting in traffic. It does not affect you long term. You need to find a way to wind down , but you do recover and return to normal functioning after the event.
  2. Acute, recurring and poor recovery: In the second phase, your stress is recurring, and you may take longer to recover. A good example would be like sitting in traffic every day but also perhaps having a job you dislike. Your sleep can become affected, and you may be feeling a bit of anxiety you just cannot seem to shake. Sleep does not come easy and coffee is an absolute must have throughout the day to keep up energy from that loss of sleep.
  3. Chronic, prominent symptoms and poor recovery According to Dr. Tori Hudson, N.D. “by the time you reach this stage, your stress has become chronic. Your symptoms are prominent, and it takes you a long time to recover because your adrenal glands are most likely exhausted. You may also have unusual sleep patterns, sleep apnea, and excessive fatigue. Chronic stress can also impair your short-term memory and lead to chronic stress could to serious diseases – including heart disease and depression.”

Determining Cortisol Levels

If you can relate to phases two or three, you can ask your doctor for lab tests to evaluate your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Serum blood cholesterol testing is a good start but the best way to determine issues with the adrenals is to do a saliva test.   http://www.zrtlabs.com With this test you would spit into a few tubes and send it off to the lab. The name of this test is salivary cortisol testing. This measures cortisol throughout the day since you spit into the tubes several times a day.   This method is much more accurate at determining what is going on with cortisol. It must be interpreted by a trained physician.

Cortisol should be higher in the morning and gradually lower as night falls. When cortisol is low at night, we can sleep well. If cortisol elevates at night, we then find ourselves waking up throughout the night leading to sleep that is not restorative. Cortisol can plummet in the morning which is the opposite of what should happen causing us to be fatigued during the day.  Most of us reach for sweets and coffee.  Dr. Sara Gottfried outlines her protocol for adrenal issues in her book “The Hormone Cure” available here:

Dr. Sara Gottfried’s Fast track hormone cure

Here are the top 4 herbs to hack your stress.  These are the top picks of doctors who use these therapies with their patients.  Dr. Tori Hudson, N.D. shares some of her favorites here and according to Dr. Hudson “For phase 1, ashwagandha and Rhodiola are good choices. For phase 2, consider these two herbs plus passionflower and holy basil. ”

Let’s dive in!

1) Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) *

Ashwagandha is part of a group called adaptogens which means it can help the body to adapt to stress and so are appropriately nicknamed.  If cortisol is too high, it can help to lower it. If it is too low, it has been shown to lower it. These herbs appear to adapt to the body’s need for cortisol release or, in some cases, to withhold it’s release.  “*  For example, it decreased levels of the stress hormone cortisol; maintained pulse, blood pressure, and blood sugar already within normal limits, and improved markers of liver and heart health”  as Dr. Hudson states.

According to research done by www.greenmedinfo.org, it is clear that Ashwagandha has been in clinical trials with positive outcomes for everything from lowering blood sugar, attenuating withdrawal-induced anxiety due to chronic ethanol consumption.   Even chemo-protective properties against skin cancers have been noted! You can access all of these studies here: Ashwagandha | GreenMedInfo | Substance | Natural Medicine    

My go-to resource for herbs such as this is Gaia brand. From the way these herbs are grown in their extraction method, this company does herbs like no one else. Gaia has complete traceability meaning you can research each bottle you purchase back to the day it was grown or “seed to shelf” as they call it.

Dosing this herb according to Dr. Hudson
“Ashwagandha is recommended in the following dosages”:
• 3 to 6 grams of the dried root per day
• 6 to 15 ml of a 1:2 fluid extract per day
• 300 to 500 mg of an extract standardized to contain 1.5% withanolides per day.”

2) Rhodiola  (Rhodiola Rosea) *

Rhodiola is another adaptogen that can help your body adapt to occasional stress.* Rhodiola has substantial research for enhancing immunity, increasing the capacity for exercise, enhancing memory and weight reduction.

Read more here: http://Rhodiola Benefits & Information (Rhodiola Rosea)
As described by Gaia Herbs (R) ” The fragrant Rhodiola Rosea root, also known as roseroot, has been used throughout history in Iceland, Sweden, France, Russia, and Greece. Popular with the Vikings to enhance mental and physical endurance, this revered adaptogen was included in the first Swedish Pharmacopeia. It has been used to elevate mood, counter stress-induced fatigue and increase mental performance, according to studies.”

Recommendations from Dr. Hudson’s article for Rhodiola
“Rhodiola is recommended in the following dosages:
To support a positive mood: 170 mg or 340 mg twice per day for six weeks
To energize: 200 mg three times per day
To promote healthy sleep: 600 mg per day.”

3) Passionflower (passiflora incarnate) *

It seems Native American healers and 19th-century herbalists traditionally used passionflower to help induce restful sleep. According to herbalists, Passionflower even shows safety for children. Of course, you would always check with your pediatrician prior to giving any herbal remedy to a child. You can find many other uses for this extract here:
Passion Flower Delightful Benefits | Native American Herbalism
Research in Pub Med suggest that” Passiflora extract is an effective drug for the management of generalized anxiety disorder, and the low incidence of impairment of job performance with Passiflora extract compared to oxazepam is an advantage.” It works so well that they claim “A large-scale trial is justified.”*

Passionflower has the following dosage recommendation by Dr. Hudson:
• Dried herb: 2 grams, three to four times per day
• Infusion: 2 grams in 150 ml of water, three to four times per day
• Fluid extract, 1:1 or 1:2 (g/ml): 2 ml, three to four times per day
• Liquid Phyto-Cap form (Gaia): Two capsules, three to four times per day
• Tincture 1:5 (g/ml) extract, three to four times per day

4) Holy Basil (ocimum tenuiflorum) *

The botanical name is Ocimum Tenuiflorum or Sanctum, or Album. This herb is considered “sacred” by Hindus and Holy Basil has even planted around Hindu temples. Another name it has been given is Tulsi which means “the incomparable one”.

It is used heavily in Ayurvedic medicine for supporting stress responses. Holy Basil should not be confused with the Basil used for cooking. According to one study from Pub Med, the results indicated ” a significant decrease in fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels during treatment with holy basil leaves compared to during treatment with placebo leaves.*

Since stress modulates the blood sugar response, we can easily see the benefits that herbs with these properties can have. It appears to have an effect on not only “corticosterone (a hormone involved in stress response),but also in creatine kinase (a marker of heart health.)”

Holy Basil dosages used by Dr. Hudson:
300 to 600 mg per day in divided doses (does not need to be taken with food)

Other Elements Affecting the Stress Response

Our bodies respond to stress by activating the sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamic-pituitary-axis (HPA axis). This activation allows for the release of stress hormones. Adrenaline causes an increase in heart rate, and norepinephrine raises blood pressure, metabolism, and respiration rate. The body shuts down what it considers to be “non-essential functions” like digestion and delivering blood to our muscles. Can you see why even your everyday stressors can have so many deleterious effects on your health?

It is now proven that sitting down while eating especially with others benefits our digestion. this is because it stimulates the parasympathetic (rest and digest ) mode of the body. Also of benefit is the practice of saying grace or expressing gratitude for our food. These things can activate the calming, parasympathetic response and aid in digestion of food.

Calming practices like Yoga, Qigong, practicing mindfulness, crystal bowl sound meditation, binaural beats and, other ancient practices can calm the sympathetic response in favor of a parasympathetic response. The parasympathetic is stimulatory to the stomach, increases the gastric secretion and motility while the sympathetic is inhibitory, decreasing the gastric secretions and motility. Its no surprise then that our digestion is affected by stress.The way that we perceive stress is also crucial to how we will respond to it.

By considering adaptogens in combination with some of the above calming strategies we can head off acute stress and manage some of our daily stressors. In the end, this leads to a happier healthier and more productive life.
More on Heartmath how the app works here:
How Heart Math Works
Heart Math-Inner Balance

Reference Materials courtesy of Pub Med.
*Rhodiola Rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: a study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. – PubMed – NCBI
*Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam. – PubMed – NCBI
* Randomized placebo-controlled, single-blind trial of holy basil leaves in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. – PubMed – NCBI

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any medical condition and should not be taken for medical advice. Consulting with one’s physician prior to taking any herbal supplement is strongly encouraged.

BIOhacking Detox

Is Your Detox Working?

Acd how would you know?

Perhaps you are embarking on your first. It’s usually all the rage right after the final hangover of the prior year has worn off. I had dabbled in some less than successful detoxes before I understood what it meant to detox. I also want to clear up the confusion between a detox and a cleanse as this may also help you.

It seems like many professionals out there today recommend detoxifying the body at reasonably frequent intervals, and rightfully so. At a minimum, twice a year.

We are breathing polluted air morning, noon, and night. To complicate matters, the very food we eat even if organic, can become contaminated by things in the air beyond our control. Products we use in our homes and workplaces add their toxic burden.

Flame retardants in furniture, flooring, and cabinets, and even the new car smell I hold so dear all emit or “off-gas” toxic fumes. Now add to the numerous other chemical exposures we face daily; our chemical burden on this planet is very high.

You can even detox just a little every day or take 12 hours or more for more severe cases of toxicity. To each his own really. What is truly important is for you to know what your body is holding onto first.

There is even a way you can detox mildly each and every day.

 Entering the Detox Zone. 

According to Dr. Alejandro Junger, the author of CLEAN and CLEAN GUT Diet, “When the body gets confronted with this huge load of demands, the body has to prioritize, redistribute and reorganize.” If you add the energy demand of digestion to all of that, it appears detoxification gets put on the back burner.

Dr. Junger states “Since these extra toxins are irritants, the cells coat them with mucus to tone the irritation down while they anxiously wait for the signal from the body’s central bank that the energy is available for detoxification and it is okay to release these toxins back into the circulatory system.

Junger claims that “a good detoxification program will be designed to trigger this signal more intensely than normal so if digestion is stopped long enough and frequently enough, the signal to detox gets “switched on more often.” A good rule of thumb is to stop eating by 8 PM and have nothing but water for a minimum of 6 hours. 8 is better. Dr. Junger also claims that “cooked foods delay the detox signal further because heating food above 118 degrees Fahrenheit destroys the enzymes contained in it.”

Dr. Junger “CLEAN PROGRAM” book

Detox Occurs in Steps.

It is critically essential for toxins to be neutralized and eliminated once they get released back into circulation. Since different toxins can interfere with cell division and gene expression, it is of utmost importance to not allow these toxins to circulate for any length of time. Man-made toxins are “lipophilic,” meaning that they are “fat lovers.”

Circulating toxins that have not been “neutralized” will find a fatty tissue and take up residence, and where do we find an organ that is primarily made up of fat? The human brain fits that bill and is a prime target. Neurological disturbances are born out of accumulated toxicity.

Here is where your liver comes in. It’s a filter for everything. Cells of the liver contain a group of enzymes called the “cytochrome P450, and their job is to neutralize these toxins and transform them from fat-soluble to water-soluble. There is a two-phase process that occurs. In phase 1, the detox process turns the structure of the toxic substance into an immediate metabolite.

Phase Two.

Phase 2 of this process turns toxins into something more water-soluble. The toxic agent then gets sent through the blood-stream for the kidneys to filter and with any luck, we pee it out. We need the appropriate nutrients for this to happen completely.

If the liver is to do its job it needs quite a steady supply of antioxidants says Junger “To neutralize the free radicals and specific nutrients to “feed the chemical reactions of the two phases of the detox process.” If for whatever reason, the liver does not get the nutritional support, it needs, then the whole process is compromised.

LEARN  How PROTANDIM decreases free radicals

Do’s and Don’t of Detox

Sweat near infrared saunasReduce the workload of the digestive system. Although one does not need to drink liquids strictly, this will ease the digestive load. Perhaps one or two liquid meals and one very light solid for the first few days can accomplish this. Limit animal protein.  You cannot rely on juicing alone for any length of time. Juicing raises blood sugar and will slow down the detox process.

If you are having a liquid meal, you should skip or go easy on fruit juices and stick with veggie juice. There is too much sugar in the juice of fruits, and this is counter-productive in a detox. ½ a green apple should be sufficient if necessary for sweetness.

Dr. Junger’s approach is:

  • Use caution with the amount of raw cruciferous veggies: Cabbage, collard, kale, broccoli and, bok choy are goitrogens. Aside from being goitrogenic (meaning they can disrupt the thyroid and cause a goiter) when raw, they also may cause gas and bloat. These veggies are essential to good health, but we don’t want to go juicing bushels of them.
  • Restore the 12-hour window. Make your last meal around 12 hours before you plan to have breakfast. The body needs an absolute minimum of 4 hours to detox deeply, so that means NO SNACKING AFTER YOUR LAST MEAL!  You may know this as “Intermittent Fasting.”
  • Eat at least one solid meal daily. Include plenty of leafy greens both raw and lightly steamed which makes them more digestible. For meats use wild-caught game or wild-caught fish (Canadian or Alaskan waters are cleanest) or if you do not have access to fish from these waters, eat wild-caught fish and avoid farmed.  Better yet, stick with fish as it is the easiest to digest.
  • You can always take a few chlorella tablets and juice some cilantro and parsley to help move heavy metals through the body. After all, we are trying to detoxify. Heavy metals may be easier eliminated using both of these.
  • Enhance the elimination system. The juice of a lemon in warm water is a great way to start clearing mucous from the alimentary canal.  Better yet, essential oil of lemon contains more of the active constituent called d-limonene. Make sure you get a quality oil for ingestion like DoTerra or Young Living.
  •  Get plenty of fiber. Adequate fiber assures that things we are trying to eliminate do not get stuck in the colon and get reabsorbed by the body. My favorite is Renew Life Acacia fiber, or you can use apple pectin. You can find the Renew Life product here: Buy Renew Life Acacia Fiber.

Then combine some of the above suggestions with those below.

  • Techniques that enhance elimination through the skin.  Dry skin brushing (see the method here): http://www.naturalhealthmag.com.au/content/body-brushing-essential-guide . Dry skin brushing not only helps with lymphatic drainage that requires movement or manipulation but also helps to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation assures that the toxins eliminate quickly.
  • Sweat it out. Near-infrared saunas are another method that is super for removing toxins from the body if you have access to one. Some spas offer this service. Exercise like rebounding that is great for the movement of lymph can also be beneficial along with massage. Another way to eliminate through the skin is with a bath cocktail that consists of 1 cup of Epsom salt, ½ cup of sea salt or pink salt, and 2 tbsp. of bentonite clay. For a mood uplift or to relax muscles, add a few drops of essential oil.
  • Connect to the Earth: Grounding is an age-old technique, and all you need is some grass or sand and lack of shoes. It is as simple as walking barefoot on the ground, grass, or sand. Also called “earthing,” this simple practice
    Connect with mother earth!
    • Earthing/grounding induces favorable physiological and electrophysiological changes that promote optimal health. Earthing helps reduce the toxic human load we get from EMFs (electro-magnetic frequencies), from our computers, cell phones, TV’s microwave ovens and, home electrical wires.
    • Or, try this :  GROUNDING WITH A SPOON)  
    • Support the liver: Milk Thistle has been clinically studied for its beneficial effect on the liver, but other bitter herbs can also be used like the dandelion (tea form is excellent), Oregon grape root and Gentian root have positive effects on bile production and have been shown to stimulate digestive enzymes. Remember that when enhancing liver function FIBER is of utmost importance to guide toxins out of your system.
    •  One of my favorite liver support products is called TMG or “trimethylglycine.” I use this one by BULK SUPPLEMENTS because it is pure, and it is inexpensive. TMG has benefits that reach far beyond liver support.
    • TMG
    • For more on the benefits of TMG check out Dr. Wilson’s article here:
    • http://www.drlwilson.com/ARTICLES/TRIMTHYLGLYCINE.htm

    Of course, the best advice :

You can have a functional medicine or naturopathic physician interpret the results and provide a treatment plan.  Alternatively, you can consult with Wendy who will provide expert guidance.  She is trusted by leaders in the functional medicine space.

Coffee WHERE?

Perhaps not as common but a definite favorite of mine is coffee enemas. Even the most effective alternative treatment centers for cancer use coffee enemas. Dr. Max Gerson used this method and made it popular as it was beneficial for his cancer patients. It is explained that the components in coffee stimulate your liver to produce Glutathione S Transferase, a chemical in your body that is the master detoxifier. It binds to toxins.

Then the toxins are released through your colon. It also causes the liver to “puke” as some describe it. Dr. Gerson claims great results using coffee enemas with his patients, as long as they also included a change of diet and lifestyle.

And a few more pointers:

  • Don’t consume soda or carbonated beverages. Also, you should eliminate fruit juice, sports drinks, decaffeinated or regular coffee or tea. Stick with clear water or herbal teas.
  • Don’t exercise heavilyA light rebounding workout or a walk should be fine but keep activity light. Some of the milder forms of Yoga or Pilates, or Qi Gong, are fine also.
  • Don’t consume anything packaged. Steer clear of GMO and if possible stick with organic veggies if you are eating their skin. Avoid wheat, dairy, and, all irritants to the digestive system after all; it is not a detox unless you REMOVE potential irritants.
  • Avoid using “all in one” product. Avoid products like the master cleanse (lemon juice, cayenne pepper, maple syrup) as a detox by itself. It does not allow for real nutritional foods that the body needs while detoxifying.

Do not do a detox if you are:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • You have type 1 diabetes
  • Suffer Adrenal fatigue or burnout
  • You are in the process of cancer treatment and are losing weight.
  • You are taking a medication that needs a stable blood concentration, including medicines for preventing blood clots (like Coumadin or Warfarin), anti-arrhythmic (such as Tikosyn) or anticonvulsants (such as Tegretol) as absorption rates of these medications could be altered.

Check out these professional resources below

Wendy Myers http://www.myersdetox.com

Detox Bootcamp Webinar
Chemo Cleanout
Detox with Detox Specialist Judy Seeger!

Always consult your physician before undertaking a detox method.
Supplements mentioned are informational in nature and not intended to treat or cure any disease or illness. The content above is not intended to take the place of medical advice by a qualified physician.

Beware of the Sun (Screen)

How Toxic Is Your Sun Screen?       

Ahhh, that sunscreen time of year when we trade our sweaters and jeans for tank tops and shorts, exposing many body parts that had not seen the light of day in months. If we are smart, we use some practices to keep ourselves safe from some of the sun’s damaging rays. Don’t get me wrong; there are lots of great things about the sunshine. It’s one of my favorite bio hacks ever. But, better safe, than sorry does apply. 

Benefits of the SUN.

Nothing feels better than the sun on our skin and racking up our Vitamin D points goes a long way towards:

  • Strengthening immunity.
  • Upregulating the uptake of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
  • Decreasing your chance of developing heart disease, according to 2008 findings published in Circulation
  • Reducing your risk of multiple sclerosis, according to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Helping to reduce your likelihood of developing the flu, according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  • Contributing to lower blood pressure

We can see the many benefits of the sun and elevating Vitamin D can have on our health. For the safest and best results, we need exposure to the largest surface areas of the skin for about 15-20 minutes a day. Heeding this guideline will go a long way toward getting our daily dose. We also know that the sun can have some devastating consequences and that protection is a must beyond the 20-minute mark.

Even one blistering sunburn in childhood doubles your melanoma risk. Not only must we prevent sunburn burn, but most people would agree that they also want to minimize the aging effects the sun has on our skin.

Slather on the Sun Screen – SAFELY.

While sunscreen is an essential defense against prolonged exposure, there are a few other things to keep in mind. Sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, and light, long-sleeved clothing can help. It can be tough to make the right choice for sunscreen. The marketing prowess of the makers of some of these products is top-notch.

SPF is another confusing issue that tricks consumers every time. It’s part of their marketing strategy.

Let’s clarify precisely how SPF (skin protection factor) works. The information below is courtesy of http://www.badger.com:

  • SPF measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays, the kind that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer. SPF does not do measure how well a sunscreen will protect from UVA rays, which are also damaging and dangerous. Dermatologists recommend using an SPF15 or SPF30 sunscreen. Higher SPF’s don’t give much more protection. An SPF of 50 blocks 98% of the sun’s rays.
  • If your skin would usually burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying an SPF 15 sunscreen would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer). This rough estimate given depends on skin type, and intensity of sunlight and, amount of sunscreen used. SPF is a measure of protection from the amount of UVB exposure.

How Sun Screens Work.

  • Chemical blockers: Block UVB rays (think of “B” for burn) Octocrylene, Homosalate, Octisalate, Cinnamate, Octinoxate, Padimate A, and Padimate.
  • Chemical blockers for UVA: Mexoryl and Avobenzone.
  • Physical blockers: Block UVA rays (think “A” for aging) Titanium Dioxide and Zinc oxide (inorganic)

Chemical blockers provide a chemical barrier to the UVA rays. They may be water “resistant” for up to 80 hours, but they are NOT waterproof.

Physical blockers do as the name implies. Anyone remembering lifeguards with their white noses can relate to physical blockers such as zinc oxide.

Are These Chemicals Safe?

Remember, anything put ON the skin gets absorbed into the body. Of particular caution here is to unborn babies who are already bombarded by chemicals in their mothers’ bodies.

Here are the ones to avoid.

Beware of the sunscreens to avoidOXYBENZONE: This chemical can cause an eczema- like reaction. Experts suspect that it can disrupt hormones by mimicking, blocking or disrupting the natural hormonal balance that can throw off the endocrine system.
Beware of the sunscreens to avoidOCTINOXATE and HOMOSALATE: Increases free radical damage to the skin. Hormone disruption of humans and wildlife. Hormonal disruptors which can cause serious problems in sexual development and sexual function. Disruptive to the thyroid. Dangerous to wildlife. Banned in Europe.
Beware of the sunscreens to avoidOCTOCRYLENE and AVOBENZONE: the Strong free radical generator that can cause damage to the skin and can cause DNA mutations. Accumulates readily in the body. Dangerous to wildlife.
Beware of the sunscreens to avoidRETINYL PALMITATE (Vitamin A Palmitate): This is a combination of Vitamin A and palmitic acid. When exposed to suns’ rays can lead to DNA damage or even cancer. FDA studies show retinyl palmitate may speed the development of malignant cells and skin tumors when applied before sun exposure. Thins the skin layer.

Scarily, all of the above are FDA APPROVED!

Paraben Preservatives: Namely (butyl-, ethyl-, methyl-, and propyl-) can induce allergic reactions, cause hormone disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity. Associated with both acute and chronic side effects. These parabens and other chemicals also lurk in underarm cosmetics. They may contribute to the rising incidence of breast cancer. Aim to avoid any crème/lotion that contains parabens.

Safe List

For blocking UVA (aging) rays, you can be safe with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that are naturally occurring. They will block both UVA and UVB because they put up a physical block that deflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them as the chemical blockers do.

Zinc oxide is insoluble in water. Keep away from the mouth and eyes. One great thing about zinc oxide sunscreen is that you can see where you put it and know when you need to reapply. All sunscreens require reapplication – about every two hours. You should use enough to fill a shot glass for each area except the face. Less can be used here.

European sunscreens appear to protect against UVA rays better than the ingredients that have been FDA approved. Four European sunscreen ingredients merit close consideration for inclusion in U.S. products. Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M UVA-filters, developed by the German chemical company BASF, appear to be much stronger and more photostable than Avobenzone without the toxicity.

Being safe in the sun just took on a whole new meaning. For a list of sunscreen that makes the grade see the Environmental Working Group guide below:
EWG’s Sunscreen Guide | EWG’s 2015 Guide to Sunscreens
* Sourced through www.healthline.com