Be Well: Addressing Auto-Immunity

shield-1595963_1920With cold and flu season approaching, a strong immune system would seem to be all one could wish for, but for the increasing number of individuals battling autoimmune disorders, robust immunity seems rather to pose quite a problem! Dr. Mark Hyman explains autoimmunity like this,

“Your immune system’s job is to defend you against invaders or foreign microbes, toxins, or abnormal cells like cancer or foreign food proteins (allergens). Imagine your immune system as an army that must clearly distinguish friend from foe.

Autoimmunity occurs when your immune system gets confused and your own tissue gets caught in the crossfire. Your body is designed to fight off harmful things like infections, toxins, allergens, or a stress response. Sometimes and for reasons not fully known, that immune army directs its hostile attack on your joints, brain, skin, and sometimes your whole body.

Conventional medicine accepts this problem, but stops there, without LOOKING for what might be causing the body to be out of balance and attacking itself.

Instead, conventional medicine invents pharmaceutical drugs to inhibit, block, or anti-something, and fails to answer one simple question: Why is the body out of balance to begin with, and how do we help it regain the proper balance?”

Finding the root of the problem is the focus of Lake Pointe’s Functional Physical. A properly working immune system isn’t beyond reach when you address the underlying cause of the altered immune response. Don’t suppress the immune response… address the immune response! Heal your body through functional medicine. Start by scheduling at 612-922-8100.

For an interesting case study from Dr. Hyman’s article on autoimmunity click here.

Be Well: The Microwave Mindset

herbal-tea-1410565_1920Instant messaging, instant coffee, instant relief, instant gratification. We’re a culture and a generation unfamiliar with the merits of delayed gratification. We want it yesterday before we even know what we want. This approach has unfortunately filtered into nearly every aspect of modern American life de-meriting the value of everything from long-lasting relationships to saving up for big-ticket purchases. To wait is to lose. That such a falsehood should be so prevalent is an injury to our society. Unfortunately impatience with life in general hasn’t been quarantined to express lanes, drive-throughs, and technological advances, but has spread into the broader concepts of health and healing.

We’ve all heard the phrase “worth waiting for” but many are losing familiarity with the value of something gained through a time-consuming endeavor. When one is not required to put in much effort or delay gratification, the end result can seem much cheapened, and quick fixes rarely result in long-term satisfaction. This is especially true when addressing health. If you’ve spent 38 years accumulating toxins and exhausting your adrenal glands while eating food that was, well… less quality than your body deserved, you will have a difficult time reversing the results overnight. Similarly, if you’ve spent the last 10 days burning the candle at both ends, eating on the run, overextending yourself, and skipping self-care, it seems unfair to expect the cold that resulted from such behavior to be gone after your first dose of EmergenC. Especially when managing health, we have to get back to a mindset that values the time and effort that always back sustainable results.

With a shift in our attitude toward our bodies, recovery truly becomes simpler. Rather than searching for the magic pill that will erase all symptoms and return us to our previous lifestyle (which had probably contributed to the onset of said symptoms in the first place), we can honor the body and healing process by allowing the time, effort, and investment necessary to gain true health. When the cold or flu knock you down, instead of chasing a potent prescription to subdue it, offer your body the rest it needs to fight off the infection and the nutrients and support it needs to replenish. When faced with chronic illness, instead of circumventing the problem or seeking an overnight remedy, find a practitioner who will address the whole body to balance your health needs and set you on a road to healing. The road may seem long from where you stand but gaining new heights is better achieved by a steady climb up the mountain than from a high-jump contest.

So if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, remember that your body was designed to take it. Offer yourself the best care you can and honor the healing benefits of time.

For more inspiration on how to change how you think about catching cold check out this post.

Be Regular: “How to Have a Good Poop”

outhouse-510225_1920Healthy living and balance have as much to do with what leaves the body as what the body allows in.  A healthy body has an efficiently running elimination system  to take out the trash from daily living and any toxic exposure we encounter. One of the primary means of eliminating waste is via bowel movements. If bowels aren’t moving regularly that means trash is piling up contaminating the body! Keep the clean up on schedule with these five simple tips from Lauren of Empowered Sustenance. If you struggle with irregularity, it’s time to schedule a consult with your doctor at Lake Pointe! Find the personalized plan to keep your digestion tuned up and healthy. Schedule at 612-922-8100.

Be Regular: Your Second Brain

watercolour-1336856_1920“Within the human gut lies a “second brain”: a vast network of neurons located along the intestinal lining. It’s called the enteric nervous system—enteric as in “pertaining to the gut”—and for years researchers assumed its sole province lay in regulation of the digestive process. Researchers now know that the enteric nervous system also relays and sends neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, responds to emotions, and has a direct conduit to the brain via the vagus nerve.

The gut is not the site of higher-level cognition. The neurochemical processes responsible for writing emails, doing trigonometry, and reading this blog post occur solely in the brain. But though decision-making and conscious thought happen up top, the gut has a lot of input on how those thoughts and decisions develop. About 90% of traffic along the vagus flows from gut to brain, and it’s not all information about intestinal contractions. The second brain is likely the province of instinct, subconscious response, and emotion. In other words, gut feeling, gut instinct, butterflies in your stomach, and got the guts? aren’t just figures of speech. They hint at real physiological processes occurring along the gut-brain axis.

Emerging evidence is showing that our enteric nervous system, and the gut bacteria, probiotics, and prebiotics that comprise and affect it, have effects on how we think, feel, perform, and respond to the world around us.” writes Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple. (Read more here.)

Mark continues to list a variety of mental and emotional health challenges that have become increasingly common in our society. Each of them is then linked to research and evidence showing that manipulating the microbiome of the gut can drastically change factors and symptoms common to mental and emotional health challenges. Depression, anxiety, autism, cognitive flexibility, and reactivity are all sited in relation to gut health in his comprehensive article on the topic. It would now seem that the answer to many common mental health problems may now begin in healing the gut. Ready to balance the mind? Get started balancing the body. Schedule a Functional Physical with your doctor at Lake Pointe for a personalized protocol to heal the gut.

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Be Regular: Clean Your Gut, Clear Your Skin

water-lily-1540364_1920“What could your gut possibly have to do with your skin, and specifically acne? Far more than you might think, and it makes perfect sense that your skin would be impacted by your intestinal microflora and also your brain once you get a bit of background into how they are all intricately interconnected.

You’ve probably already experienced your “brain-skin” connection; for instance, when your face flushes because you feel embarrassed, or you get an acne breakout due to stress. Well, there’s also a “gut-brain” connection, and therein lies the key to unraveling how the simple action of optimizing your gut bacteria could pave your way to clearer, acne-free skin.”

Research in this article by Dr. Mercola indicates that imbalanced gut flora, high inflammation, and signals from the gut and brain can cause a host of dermatology symptoms to crop up. The the connection might seem unlikely, but as science learns more about how our organs interact and influence one another, it becomes increasingly clear that none of them acts alone.

“Your skin may seem like an entirely separate organ from your brain or your intestines, but they are intricately intertwined. Emotional stress is proven to exacerbate acne, and your gut bacteria are proven to impact your emotions.

Further, your gut microflora may also influence your skin more directly, as signals from these gut microorganisms are sent throughout your body andinteract with organisms in your skin and gut mucosa. Researchers are now looking into how these interactions can help with skin conditions like dryness, improve collagen, or stabilize the microflora on your skin to help with irritations.”

For more information on how the gut, brain, and skin connect click here.

For expert guidance on how to clean up your gut to help clear up your skin, call Lake Pointe at 612-922-8100 and schedule a Functional Physical. You’ll be guided through all the customized steps to cleanse harmful toxins and organisms from your gut, reduce inflammation and its various causes, restore the gut lining to health, and reinoculate with beneficial flora. Don’t be surprised if the benefits are showing up on your smiling face!

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Fertile Grounding Yoga

Thank you Jennifer Colletti for this beautiful guest blog post! You can learn more about Jennifer at her website, jenyoga.net

“Tend and Befriend”

Years ago I studied with an amazing Ayurveda doctor by the name of Dr. Claudia Welch. At that time she introduced me to a concept called “Tend and befriend”. The idea is that, as women, we tend to each other, befriend each other and take care of one another, as women did maybe 100 years ago or so.  As women, we help each other through every day life, our joys, challenges and sorrows. We circle around each other and “Doula” each other through life.

I love this concept, I love the idea, that we as women care for one another in a deep and mindful way, offering support and love that goes deeper than our social media world.  We care for each other as we did when our great great grandmothers were living, or maybe even longer ago, when we had a deeper commitment of time to give back to those around us, and we didn’t have 24/7 schedules.

I have worked with women seeking pregnancy for over 7 years, most of them have had an infertility diagnosis. Many of those women go through my Fertile Grounding Yoga 8 week workshop where together; we practice yoga, we talk, share and commiserate on all the challenges and struggles around getting pregnant, pregnancy loss, the time loss, dis-empowerment, and more. We learn, we cry, we grow, and maybe most importantly of all, we “Tend and Be-friend”.

When I began teaching yoga to women having trouble getting pregnant, I knew I wanted to create a community, I knew I wanted to create a place where women could sit in circle, share, and be there for one another. I had an infertility diagnosis myself, and felt very isolated with that diagnosis. I felt like there was no one to talk to, or share with, and it was a rather taboo subject. I knew there had to be a better way. So I combined my yoga teaching experience, with my fertility journey experience, and created a workshop for women where they could sit next to someone that was going through the same thing they were, a rarity.

As we sat in each of my workshops, what I hoped for happened! The workshop created community, connection, friendship, love, and commitment, it was so beautiful! I was so heart-full and humbled to see this connection happen. I watched women step out empowered, and encircled with life long friendships.

The truly amazingly thing that happened, that I didn’t expect at all, was those women that committed to each other, learned together, practiced yoga together and supported one another, and stayed connected after the workshops ended had a higher pregnancy success rate than those that didn’t. It was astounding to me what affect community had on the nervous system, and healing of the body. I had no idea this would happen. Then one day I recalled Dr. Claudia’s conversation about women “tending and befriending”, and I knew I had witnessed exactly that situation. Each one of the circles of women, were “Tending and Befriending” calming their nervous systems in a deep and profound way, and creating more success than I had even expected.

 

Join Jennifer for class, a workshop or work one on one with her in her Fertility Coaching Program.
Fertility Yoga
Part yoga class, part support group, come and circle with women, share your story in a circle of support, and finish with a restorative yoga class.
7:30-8:45pm every Wednesday
Yoga Center of Mpls, 4200 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/yoga-class-schedule

Fertile Grounding Yoga 8 Week Workshop
September 16th-November 11th
Yoga Center of Mpls, 4200 Minnetonka Blvd, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Join Jennifer Colletti and optimize your fertile health in her sought after 8 week workshop. In each session, you’ll practice yoga, experience a featured educational segment (nutrition, coping, non-toxic living, art, Ayurvedics, holistic therapies and more), meditation, guided journal writing, and conversation. You’ll explore how holistic therapies improve fertility, learn how food can effect your fertility, and find ways of coping with your every day stress, and the stress of this fertility journey. This workshop is both life changing and transformational!
Click the link to find out more and register

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/archives/4154

 

One on one Fertility Coaching

Are you ready for deep one on one healing? Ready to optimize your fertile health?  Jennifer will support you through lifestyle and nutrition changes that you will shift your body, change the stress and amplify the healing in your life. She will support you and help you set achievable goals that improve your fertility, your health, and optimize your well being.   Click on the link below to set up a “Break Through Session”, and begin your healing journey.

http://jenyoga.net/index.php/fertility-health-coaching

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Be Fertile: Gallbladder Health for Hormone Health

hyacinth-1402847_1280What if I told you giving your gallbladder a little TLC could relieve PMS symptoms? It sounds a bit crazy, but Lauren of Empowered Sustenance explains how it plays a crucial role in keeping your hormones in balance:

“You may not have considered the crucial role your gallbladder plays in hormone health. As a matter of fact, a poorly-functioning gallbladder paves the way to PMS and hormone hell.

How does the gallbladder tie into PMS?

  1. The liver synthesizes bile. It packages up old hormones – including estrogen –  and toxins that need to leave the body in the bile. Then it ships the bile to the gallbladder.
  2. The gallbladder stores bile and secretes it into the small intestine when we eat a meal with fat. The bile breaks down the fat, so we can absorb it, and then the old hormones/toxins in the bile exit the body with the feces.
  3. If your gallbladder is not functioning well, the bile become thick and stagnant in the gallbladder. As a result, the body reabsorbs the estrogen it needed to eliminate, contributing to estrogen dominance.
  4. To make matters worse, you can’t properly digest fats with thick, stuck bile. And the body needs to digest fats in order to synthesize hormones.

In a nutshell, poor gallbladder function equals the reabsorption of old estrogen and a deficiency in the building blocks required for new hormones.”

For more on how to eliminate PMS naturally, read the rest of the article here. In the meantime, schedule a Functional Physical to check in on your health and see how you can support your body to properly balance hormones.

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Be Fertile: Ganoderma and Cordyceps

Balancing hormones is a complex project because each one of them is in interplay with other hormones and the difference in ratios can impact the body in a variety of ways. One hormonal ratio important to athletes or highly active individuals is the relationship between testosterone and cortisol. When engaging in high intensity training over longer periods of time, athletes can edge into burnout, evidenced by an imbalance between these two hormones. A study of endurance cyclists supplementing with Ganoderma and Cordyceps showed positive results in preventing this state of burnout:

” The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional red-teaoverreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) PMID: 24799948 Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:979613. doi: 10.1155/2014/979613. Epub 2014 Apr 1. PMID: 24799948 …We report the effects of a brief 3-month trial of two fungal supplements, Ganoderma lucidum and Cordyceps sinensis (3 capsules of O. sinensis and 2 capsules of G. lucidum per day), in 7 healthy male volunteers, aged between 30 and 40 years, who are all amateur cyclists that participate in “Gran Fondo” cycling races. This trial investigated the effects of fungal supplements on the level of physical fitness of the athletes by monitoring and comparing the following biomarkers just before and after physical exertion: the testosterone/cortisol ratio in the saliva and oxidative stress (DPPH free radical scavenging activity). A decrease of more than 30% in the testosterone/cortisol ratio after race compared to before race was considered as a risk factor for nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS). Endurance cyclists taking Ganoderma and Cordyceps: The results show that, after 3 months of supplementation, the testosterone/cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant manner, thereby protecting the athletes from (nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) or the overtraining syndrome (OTS).) NFO and OTS. Antioxidant activity was measured by quantifying the scavenging ability of the human serum on the synthetic free radical DPPH. After 3 months of fungal supplementation, the data demonstrate an increased scavenger capacity of free radicals in the athletes’ serum after the race, thereby protecting the athletes from oxidative stress. PMID: 24799948 [PubMed] PMCID: PMC3995149″

This fascinating PubMed research showed the effectiveness of balancing hormones through natural supplementation and preventing imbalance in hormones. Both of the supplements mentioned, Ganoderma and Cordyceps, are ingredients in Organo’s Red Tea. Pick up a box for your favorite cyclist or athlete and prevent burnout while sipping on a tasty cup of tea containing these two powerful ingredients.

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Be Fertile: Stress and PCOS

relaxation-1082170_1280Many couples struggling with infertility hear the common but often frustrating advice to “just relax” during their fertility journey. While the physical and emotional challenges of infertility can make this advice seem trite or relaxation seem out of reach, it is necessary to acknowledge the hormonal implications of stress and how the chemical stress response can actually play an important role in hormonal imbalances. Women in particular, with delicately balanced hormones at play, can be even more susceptible to the impacts of stress and if you are a woman who is battling PCOS (poly cystic ovarian syndrome), stress responses are even more of a concern.

Dr. Fiona McCulloch BSc ND, shares her thoughts on the interaction between stress hormones and female sex hormones (especially in relation to a PCOS diagnosis) in an article for PCOS Diva:

“As I’m sure you already know, stress is bad for humans, period. That said, for women with PCOS, stress can seriously imbalance the delicate interplay between hormones and can even interrupt the progress you are making as you put in the hard work to change your diet, exercise and balance your hormones with supplements or medications. Firstly, I just want to go through a little bit of anatomy and physiology with you. The adrenal glands are two small, triangular glands that sit right on top of your kidneys.  These glands have a very special job to do: they secrete crucial hormones in response to stress. The outer part of the adrenal gland is called the cortex, and it secretes cortisol and male hormones (androgens) like DHEA. It’s really important to know that the adrenal cortex is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is a small, pea-sized structure within the brain. The pituitary is actually considered the “master gland”, as it controls most of the hormone function in the body, and the connection from the brain to the adrenals is called the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis (HPA axis).” | Read More on PCOS Diva

Dr. McCulloch goes on to explain that these pieces of the hormonal puzzle are more intricately connected than we often realize and can create quite the domino effect if one gets out of balance. She explains what makes women with PCOS so susceptible to imbalances due to stress:

1.    Women with PCOS have low progesterone, a hormone which is “stolen” by the adrenals to be converted into cortisol in stressful situations, causing progesterone levels to sink even lower.

2.    Women with PCOS actually make more cortisol than women without PCOS.

3.    Women with PCOS have higher statistical rates of anxiety, depression, and other emotional disorders.

4.    A primary component in PCOS is insulin resistance, another disruption in hormone interplay.

5.    High cortisol levels interferes with how other hormones are utilized by the body rendering them less effective.

She then lists ten ways to help keep stress levels in check. Find the full article, elaborating on the five points above and including the ten stress reduction tips at http://pcosdiva.com/2013/10/stress-and-adrenal-health-in-pcos/.

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Be Fertile: Puberty

strawberries-828627_1280Puberty… would anyone want to relive those years? For most they consisted of discomfort, embarrassment, and surprise as one navigated the swiftly changing flow of raging hormones. Who was I today? Angry, sad, exuberant? Which face did I have: smooth and clear or riddled with acne? And why don’t my clothes fit right anymore?

Change is hard; it’s especially hard when you’re in your preteens. But the changes don’t have to be so sudden, so drastic, or so dreadful! Functional Medicine can find ways to support a healthy and smooth transition through puberty by maintaining balance in the body even as it changes. Schedule a Functional Physical to get started! Call 612-922-8100.

 

 

 

 

 

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