Amy Timmerman, RN, BSN

Preventing Food Allergies and Sensitivities

5 Things I Wish my Patients Knew About Prevention of Food Allergy/Sensitivity

-by Amy Timmerman, RN, BSN

  1. Do a GI Map stool test. This test looks at overall gut health, including the presence of viruses, parasites, fungi and bacteria, immune response, inflammation, levels of normal flora and digestive efficiency. An imbalanced gut can be the root cause of allergies. Knowing where your gut is out of balance takes the guesswork out of treatment.
  2. Get rid of inflammatory foods (dairy, gluten, soy, sugar, etc). Increased inflammation can dysregulate the body’s immune response.
  3. Rotate the foods you’re able to eat. The more you overeat the same foods, the more likely the body will develop an allergy to that food. Rotation also allows for more nutrient and gut bacteria diversity.
  4. Add digestive enzymes. These help to break down fats and proteins in your food. Poorly digested food is more likely to cause an immune reaction.
  5. Boost low stomach acid. Stomach acid is critical for digestive enzyme production.
Corona virus, COVID-19, Education and Newsletters, Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition

Sleep your way to Better Immunity

I would argue that sleep is THE most essential thing you can do for a healthy immune response, yet insomnia is one of the biggest issues I see in practice, and it often derails even the best efforts to achieve weight loss and other health goals.

The optimum 7-9 hours of sleep can be broken down into 5 stages:

  • Light sleep, which is actually divided into two stages, and transitions the body into
  • Deep sleep, which is also divided into two stages, and finally,
  • REM (rapid eye movement), the stage where most dreaming occurs

Deep sleep is when a lot of crucial processes take place:

  • Waste is flushed away from the brain
  • Bones, tissues and cells grow and are repaired
  • Hormones, such as growth hormone, are released from the pituitary
  • Blood pressure drops
  • Blood flow increases to the muscles, promoting energy restoration
  • Brain glucose metabolism increases, supporting short and long-term memory and learning
  • The immune system releases cytokines, some of which promote sleep
  • Infection-fighting antibody production is enhanced by deep sleep

These things are skimped on when you don’t get sufficient amounts of deep sleep.

Because the body is most vulnerable during deep sleep, it prioritizes this stage of sleep early in the night so you can get to a rested place sooner, should danger arise. This is why you’ve heard you can’t “catch up” on sleep; deep sleep stages decline in frequency and length of time as you move into early morning hours.

A common issue I’ve seen in practice is ignoring the fatigue that sets in around 9- 9:30pm.  Most patients find they don’t sleep as well when they delay bedtime in order to “get more done.”  This is because the adrenals must respond with cortisol output to give you that “second wind.” Cortisol should be at its lowest at bedtime, allowing for more restful sleep; once cortisol has been released into the system, it has a half-life….this means it will take a few hours to completely clear the system, interfering with the deeper, more restorative stages of sleep.

During REM sleep, the brain is very active, yet the body is very inactive. Sufficient REM is critical for:

  • Robust immune response
  • Forming new memories
  • Stimulating/balancing the central nervous system
  • Restoring brain chemistry to a normal balance

REM sleep loss is associated with:

  • Higher susceptibility to viruses and other infections
  • Increased inflammatory responses
  • Increased risk for obesity
  • Short and long-term memory problems

Sleep apnea,often associated with a complete or near-complete loss of REM, is associated with an increased risk for CVD, diabetes, obesity and depression.

So how can you improve sleep, and therefore immunity, among other aspects of vibrant health?

  • Make sure you exercise. But do it in the morning as the resulting endorphin rush can interfere with sleep.
  • Limit caffeine or cut it out altogether. At the very least, limit consumption to morning since many of us are slow metabolizers of caffeine.
  • Stage some white noise (fan, soft music or other) if noises inside or outside tend to wake you during the night.
  • Have a calming routine 1-2 hours prior to bedtime. Dimmer lights, relaxing music, a hot bath, whatever you can be consistent with.
  • Avoid blue light after 8pm.  Blue light from screens (TV, computer, tablet or cell phone) suppresses melatonin production.  Many devices now have a feature that allows you to schedule blue light to turn off at a specific time, or you could consider purchasing blue blocker glasses, easily found online.
  • Avoid simple carbs and sugar just before bed since this can boost energy, soon followed by a drop in glucose levels, which triggers cortisol release. (Some healthier ideas are below.) Remember the half-life issue with cortisol from earlier in this article.
  • The sleep/wake cycle is important too. Try to stay consistent with your bedtime as this improves sleep quality.
  • Lastly, supplements can help.  A few of my favorites, with dosing, are below.

Ideas for a balanced snack before bed:

  • Sunflower butter and 1/2 apple
  • Hummus and raw veggies
  • Portion of protein bar or protein shake
  • Whole grain crackers w/sunflower butter, hummus or guacamole
  • Guacamole and celery or other veg for dipping

Dosing info on our favorite sleep supplements:

Melatonin

3-6 mg for most, though dosing up to 20 mg is safe (higher doses are commonly used with cancer)

Melatonin has antioxidant effects and blocks inflammatory cytokines, two reasons it has been shown to reduce the severity of COVID. It’s usually my first recommendation at this time for these reasons, as well as affordability.

Normally produced by the pineal gland in response to waning daylight, melatonin readies the body for sleep.  Bright lights and blue light from TV, phone, iPad, etc can interfere with production, as can traveling to different time zones.  Taking too much melatonin, or taking it too late in the evening, can result in morning grogginess, so adjust your dose and/or timing accordingly.

Alpha GABA PM

Take 1-2 capsules near bedtime

Each capsule contains 3 mg melatonin, 400 mg l-theanine (naturally calms brain waves by boosting GABA), valerian, lemon balm and 5HTP (precursor to melatonin and calming to the brain).

L-Tryptophan

500-1500 mg near bedtime, on empty stomach or with a small snack.

This amino acid is a precursor to 5HTP and serotonin, both of which support healthy sleep.

Perfect Sleep (available in drops and tabs)

Take 10-30 drops or 1-3 tabs at or near bedtime. Some people get their best results if they begin dosing with dinner and get 2-3 doses in before bedtime.  This gets ahead of cortisol production that takes hours to clear from the bloodstream.

Magnesium glycinate

500-1000 mg taken at bedtime (this form should not impact bowels)

Cerenity PM

2-4 caps at or near bedtime

Cerenity PM is a blend of vitamins, minerals and amino acids that support sleep.

CBD

At Leaves of Life, we’ve been using CBD with our patients for over 4 years, and what we’ve learned is that different plant profiles affect people differently.  While some companies producing CBD products utilize the leaves and stalk, some utilize the leaves and flower, or the flower only, each of which produces a different plant profile.  The message here is that if you’ve only tried one brand of CBD and it’s been unsucessful, you should certainly give CBD another try.

For information about dosing for different goals, as well as an in-depth dive into how CBD works, click here to read our previous blog series.

I hope this information soon has you sleeping soundly!

 

Leaves of Life Practitioners, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Bolstering Immunity by Optimizing GI Health

About 10 years ago, I contracted a GI infection, accompanied by chronic diarrhea that took over a year to fully resolve. In the first few months, I lost 14 pounds, putting me at 108# at my lowest (I’m 5’9″).  This infection came after years of struggling with perioral dermatitis and asthma, which I came to realize were all related to microbiome imbalance (think of how the mouth, lungs and GI tract are all connected). What finally helped me resolve these issues was a DNA-based stool test that I collected at home.  After approximately 18 months of treatment, coupled with diet and lifestyle changes, I was able to resolve salmonella as well as several chronic infections, and gain enough weight to be in a healthy BMI range for the first time in my life.  (WAIT! Before I lose you, balancing the GI tract helps normalize weight, so most patients see weight loss. 🙂

Because so much of our body’s immune response originates in the gut, optimizing its function is one of the most impactful things you can do to enhance immunity. At Leaves of Life, we know firsthand that many of you may have the time, interest and need to focus on this type of regimen, but may prefer a DIY approach, so that’s what this blog post is all about.

It’s rare that a new patient doesn’t need to address their GI tract as one of the first and most important foundational pieces of their care, so even if you opt not to test, I feel confident that addressing the most common imbalances we see on stool testing reports would significantly boost your immune response.

Why DNA Stool Testing?

Parasites, bacteria and other invading microbes don’t LIVE in the stool – most burrow into the gut lining, snagging nutrients from food passing by, and expelling their metabolic waste in exchange (akkk!–their poop!). However, they still shed cells, and DNA stool testing picks up the presence of non-human cells and identifies their microbial origin. This type of testing is much more sensitive than conventional stool testing.

Some microbes can cause or contribute to disease, but at the very least, “unfriendly” microbes:

  • Contribute to chronic, ongoing toxicity
  • Deplete nutrient levels
  • Weaken immunity by crowding out “friendly,” beneficial flora
  • Cause chronic, systemic inflammation
  • Create or worsen leaky gut, which can lead to food and environmental sensitivities
  • Can be an underlying cause of insomnia and mood disorders (anxiety, depression, irritability)
  • Make it difficult to attain or maintain an ideal weight
  • Can trigger acute or chronic skin conditions
  • And more!

As you can see, eradication of unwanted microbes can be pretty critical to overall health.  Below, we’ll discuss what to use and how to dose it, but first things first

Leaky Gut Lining

The gut lining is fragile, at just one cell thick, and is protected by a mucosal barrier.  We’ve learned over years of practice that healing the gut lining and associated mucosal barrier needs to come firstThis keeps die-off-generated debris and toxins from crossing over into the bloodstream during the eradication phase.

More than 90% of our stool tests come back with indications of a leaky gut lining, and most patients feel noticeably better with just this first step. We typically have patients begin GI lining support 2 or more weeks before an eradication regimen begins.

There are three stool test markers we use to evaluate the integrity of the GI lining:

  • Secretory IgA (immune response at the mucosal barrier)
  • Levels of normal flora (the protective sentries along the GI lining)
  • Calprotectin (indicating levels of inflammation)

Here are some of our favorite products and dosing:

GI Revive by Designs for Health (contains a small amount of prune powder): comes in powder and capsules

If having less than 2 BMs per day, take 1 tbsp/7 caps at bedtime, mixed to taste with water or nut milk

If BMs are 2-3/day and formed, ease in at 1 tsp/2 caps, then 2 tsp/4 caps, then 1 tbsp/6-7 caps per night over 2-5 days

Intestinal Restore by DesBio (can be used with any type of bowel pattern – contains bonus colostrum, though for some, additional mucosal barrier support may be indicated, as with Glutashield below).

1 scoop at bedtime, mixed to taste with water or nut milk

Glutashield by Orthomolecular (the chocolate is delicious – we often recommend for kids and adults with sensitive palates – some need additional mucosal barrier support such as aloe juice 1/4 cup or slippery elm powder – 1tsp)

1 scoop at bedtime (with optional aloe or slippery elm), mixed to taste with water or nut milk

Typically, we keep patients on GI lining support until their protocol is complete, and for some patients, it’s necessary for them to take it for a longer period of time before beginning eradication.  Heartburn, oral or digestive ulcers, if present, should be resolved before moving ahead with eradication.

Digestive Weakness

The most common cause of weak digestion is Helicobacter Pylori infection (H Pylori for short). If present, this microbe requires a 3-4 month treatment regimen, which I’ll cover in more detail in a separate blog post (coming soon).  H Pylori lowers stomach acid, which  leads to the following problems:

  • Acid triggers enzyme production by the pancreas and bile flow from the gallbladder, and when it’s deficient, malabsorption results
  • Proteins don’t break down into amino acids needed for tissue repair (think leaky gut and achy joints), and neurotransmitter production (why mood disorders can stem from GI dysfunction)
  • Minerals and fat-soluble vitamins are poorly absorbed (we can often identify weak digestion by looking at a patient’s micronutrient status)
  • Microbes that are present in much of the food we eat are able to survive digestion and set up camp in the intestines, impacting overall immunity (Hydrochloric acid sterilize food and water as part of a healthy body’s defense system)
  • Depending on the person, as the immune system becomes dysregulated, it may begin attacking body tissues (auto-immunity) or flounder in its ability to fight off infections such as cold and flu

Here are some of our favorite digestive aids with dosing:

OrthoDigestZyme by Orthomolecular (blend of enzymes and hydrochloric acid for broad spectrum support) or Proactazyme by Nature’s Sunshine (blend of pancreatic enzymes that work in various pH ranges, but containing no stomach acid for those who may be intolerant at treatment onset)

1-3 per meal, at the beginning of the meal, dose is based on level of digestive weakness and size and complexity/richness of meal – I recommend increasing starting at 1-2 per day and slowly increase per tolerance, continuing until you notice improved digestion

Metagest by Metagenics (contains betaine HCl and pepsin that stimulate bile flow and pancreatic enzyme output

Start with 1 per meal, mid-meal and slowly increase to 2-3 per meal, as tolerated. If stomach acid deficiency has been longstanding, the stomach may no longer be producing a sufficient mucosal barrier as protection, and this takes time to build back, so starting slow allows for this to take place. Most often, heartburn when beginning simply means more mucosal barrier support is needed before starting or increasing.

Because stomach acid triggers the next steps in digestion (bile flow and pancreatic enzyme output), hydrochloric acid (betaine HCl) is the workhorse of digestion. If I can only choose one product for digestion, I choose HCl (Metagest) because it will stimulate the patient’s own digestive functions.  I think of stomach acid as the bouncer at the door of a party. It won’t do much good to eradicate infections already present if you don’t take away the welcome mat that would allow new exposures to settle in.

Pathogenic and Opportunistic Bacteria

There are nuances when addressing microbial overgrowth, dependent on what all is present and in what amount, but in general, after 2-3 weeks of intestinal lining support, we typically shift into broad-spectrum antimicrobials (alongside probiotics–see below).

Our favorite antimicrobials:

Candibactin BR by Metagenics (berberine based blend of dry herbs with broad-spectrum action)

GI Microb-X by Designs for Health (berberine-based blend with broad-spectrum action)

Candibactin AR by Metagenics (a blend of aromatic oil-based herbs that can penetrate biofilms)

Oil of Oregano by Designs for Health

Intestin-Ol by Orthomolecular (similar to Candibactin AR)

I typically choose one of these products and one of the parasite remedies below, and dose 1-2 per meal, though some patients may need to start low and build up to the full dose.  As microbes die, they release toxins and bacterial debris into the intestines, so die-off symptoms may occur, though they’re most likely to occur at the beginning when bacterial numbers are highest.  As patients make headway and the numbers drop, they can typically tolerate the full dose.

Parasites

Whether or not parasites are present on the report, I typically like to treat for them. The stool test only looks for the specific parasites that are listed, and there isn’t any way to test for every known parasite, and if they’re present and not addressed, it can be very difficult to eradicate the other dysbiotic microbes, and it doesn’t hurt to treat if they’re not there.

Our favorite anti-parasitics:

Wormwood Complex by MediHerb, MicroDefense by Pure Encapsulations or Artemisia Combination by Nature’s Sunshine

Work up to 2 tablets per meal and take for 1-3 bottles, depending on what parasite is present

Probiotics

Whether or not testing shows low levels of normal flora, they are impacted by anti-microbial treatments and should be supplemented during eradication of “unfriendly” microbes.  Probiotics stand as protective sentries along the gut lining, bolstering the mucosal barrier and helping with nutrient absorption from the diet.  They also produce vitamin K and some of the B vitamins.   No wonder they’re often referred to as “friendly!”

Because they also support respiratory health, we’re currently favoring these probiotics:

Ultra Flora Immune Booster by Metagenics, Ultra Flora BiomePro and Ultra Flora Balance by Metagfenics

1-2 per day on empty stomach

I prefer dosing at bedtime when peristalsis slows and GI lining support can be paired with the probiotic as comprehensive support.

Diet

Refined carbohydrates and high-glycemic foods are the favored nutritional source for many harmful microbes, so continuing to consume them will prevent successful eradication. Fiber is the preferred food for the friendly flora (think vegetables, low-glycemic fruit and whole grains).  You can see why most Americans are in need of a GI detox plan.

Click here to read Caitlin’s recent article on eating for optimal immunity.  It covers all the basics in supporting a GI detox plan.

Rehabbing the Gut in a Nutshell:

  1. Heal and seal the GI lining (GI Revive, Intestinal Restore or Glutashield – if using either of the latter 2, consider additional mucosal barrier support if indicated: slippery elm, aloe juice or Intestinal Soothe & Build capsules if powders won’t work for you)
  2. Digestive Support (Metagest and/or OrthoDigestZyme)
  3. Broad-spectrum antimicrobials (Candibactin AR/BR, Intestin-Ol, Oregano oil, Wormwood Complex or MicroDefense)
  4. Probiotics (Ultra Flora Immune Booster , UltraFlora BiomePro or Ultra Flora Balance)
  5. Avoid sugar and refined carbs and include plenty of fresh veggies and low-sugar fruits.

I hope you find this article helpful.  I’m available for consultations, with or without GI stool testing, if DIYing isn’t your thing or you need additional help. Alternatively, you can schedule with Caitlin Pfeil, my lifestyle coach, who works in lockstep with me helping patients.

Remember: The Road to Health is Paved with Good Intestines!

Corona virus, COVID-19, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Bolstering Immunity: Nourishing Spirit

I used to be an avid runner. When I was in college, I’d run everywhere. I guess that’s the beauty of an open college campus with sidewalks that never end.  I’m not really sure why I stopped running, other than learning to appreciate the comradery of group fitness, however with everything happening in the world lately, group anything, just isn’t an option. Over the last few weeks there has been this heaviness in my chest, and while I’ve debated, “Is this COVID-19 paying me a personal visit?” what I’ve realized is that this pandemic has a much bigger burden than just physical illness. So, in all fairness to my mental health, I decided to pause the research and lace up my running shoes.

Despite my favorite playlist blaring, the world was quiet. I saw folks fishing at the pond by themselves, others walked their dogs, a few flew kites with their family, while neighbors talked amongst themselves from their front lawns. I began to appreciate that despite the distance that has been wearing on all of us, we stand together.

There IS something beautiful about a shared struggle.

Even though the heaviness was still there thinking about all of my friends and colleagues on the front lines, everything else slowed down. I could appreciate the collective efforts being made to win this battle.  So, while most have been inundated daily, with emails and news updates on our current global pandemic and as we, at Leaves of Life, have worked together to sort through the rapid developments and new information daily, today I felt the need to step away from the details of COVID-19, and focus on the effect that this has had on our mental health and well-being.

For most of us, life today looks much different than it did just a few weeks ago. There is an uncertainty that has left us all wondering what the next few weeks and months will hold. We’ve been asked to make changes that have never been asked of us before. We are a social species and this physical separateness seems very unnatural. For many, this change means homeschooling children and trying to balance multiple work schedules from home. (I for one have never been so appreciative of our teachers!) For others, that means working around the clock to serve in some capacity in this crisis, or perhaps leaving a job, without knowing when the next paycheck will come. No matter how this has affected our day to day, collectively we are all carrying the burden of these shifts in our economy, our healthcare, and certainly in our stress levels.

What I do know, is that despite what we are faced with, we are growing every day. We’re mobilizing resources in ways most of us have never imagined. We’re witnessing the most innovative movements in medical history. We’re being called to stand up or stay home, BOTH of which have a significant impact. There CAN be clarity in chaos.  In all of this, it’s equality important to support one another in optimism, resiliency, and nourish our physical and mental health.

Follow along, as we offer ideas on how to keep calm and carry on, in these uncertain times, and remember, some of the best things in life are not canceled.

  1. Friends and family time: Stop looking at the calendar…soccer is still canceled! Put your phone down and embrace the quiet.
    • Play a board game
    • Write a hand-written letter to someone
    • Plan a “movie-marathon” of oldies but goodies
    • Plan a scavenger hunt for you family on your evening walk
    • Create your own “talk show” or YouTube channel with your family
    • Make a meal together or try out one of these healthy desert recipes
    • Read a new book together
    • Have a “camp-out” in your living room
    • Do an impossible puzzle together
    • Build a camp fire on a nice night
    • Go for a family bike ride or hike
    • Build a scrapbook together
    • Plan and plant a garden together
  1. Togetherness: Even though we are all practicing physically distancing, we are still united in cause and can interact socially. So, put your nice shirt on and grab a glass of wine when you are camera ready.
    • Get your zoom on with a virtual gathering (Zoom Cloud Meetings)
    • Share your afternoon funnies or inspirational quotes on social media
    • Kids can use Flip-grid (school) https://info.flipgrid.com or kids’ messenger to connect with one another
    • Meet your friends at an empty parking lot and chat from your cars
  1. Community:
    • Organize a neighborhood event from your front yards; (for ex; every day there is a themed craft to display in your window)
    • Write a letter of gratitude to Governor Mike DeWine, Dr. Amy Acton, Lt. Governor Husted or other first responders.
    • Buy a gift card or even just a greeting card to thank a delivery team, janitor, waste management crew, grocery employee, etc.
    • Share some of your favorite recipes with neighbors
    • Chalk some inspirational driveway quotes
    • Utilize deliveries or pickup and support local businesses
  1. Optimism:
    • Identify acts of heroism and heroes of optimism
    • Have a positive start to your day
    • Set short term goals
    • Embrace creative outlets
    • Start a gratitude journal. My favorite; https://www.amazon.com/Five-Minute-Journal-Happier-Minutes/dp/0991846206
    • Add value and positivity to someone else’s life
    • Move your large muscles
    • Reframe your negative experience into a more positive one
  1. Cultivating Joy: We’re most joyful, when we’re helping others.
    • Volunteer where you can
    • Drop off groceries to an elderly neighbor
    • Tell someone you love them
    • Give someone a hug
    • Commit a daily act of kindness
  1. Personal Growth
    • Exercise
    • Gardening
    • Cooking and baking
    • Listening to music
    • Reading
    • Dancing
    • Learning a new skill or language
  1. Mindfulness and Meditation

I know these are challenging times and our days ahead will not always be taken with ease. I myself am not immune to this worry and at times have found myself tangled in the fog of this uncertain beast. We have to be forgiving. You will ponder, “How many days CAN I wear these sweats?” “Why is common core even a thing?” “Is it that hard to change the toilet paper roll?” To which I respond, “three days, just carry the one, and be lucky you even have it.” You will worry about bills, the health of a loved one, our essential workers, and on and on. But in those times, remember, we are in this together. If we do it right, getting back to normal will look different.  We’ll rise up and do better. For now, hold your loved ones tight, embrace the quiet, share your gifts any chance you get, appreciate those who are working tirelessly in this fight, and maybe…lace up those running shoes.

In good health,

Kelli

Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCAA Personal Trainer, Corona virus, COVID-19, Education and Newsletters

Bolstering Immunity by Eating Well

             Eat a rainbow!

The immune system is an incredibly complex network of cells, organs, and tissues that work together, and what you eat directly impacts your immune system’s ability to fight. Eating whole, unprocessed foods is one of the most significant ways to support a healthy immune system, and the more variety you have in your diet, the better.

Once upon a time, I got sick with some type of infection twice a year, in the spring and fall…allergies that often led to a bad sinus infection, or the flu.  Looking back now, I can see the connection to my diet: I was eating artificial and processed foods — mostly simple carbs and sugar, ie, the Standard American Diet.

When I began learning about the importance of good nutrition, I changed my diet to whole unprocessed foods, and I stopped getting sick. I’m happy to say I haven’t been sick in over five years! I take charge of symptoms right away with immune-boosting nutrition, dramatically decreasing the time it takes to fight off infection.

Below are my top evidence-based tips to help strengthen your immune system through good food!

Sip on bone broth. Chicken soup when you get sick isn’t just an old wives’ tale! It’s great for prevention, too. Real bone broth (not bouillon cubes) helps heal and seal the lining of our intestines which is important since 70-80% of the immune system resides in the GI tract. It may also reduce the overgrowth of harmful microbes while providing tons of bio-available nutrition that is readily and easily absorbed by the body, like protein, collagen, and gut-building glutamine. Want to learn more? Check out a previous post on bone broth here.

Increase natural, whole-food Vitamin C, like rosehip tea, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and sweet or bell peppers (particularly yellow, which have double the amount found in green!). Though there are vitamin C supplements available for purchase, getting all vitamins from our food – if possible – remains best.

Eat more fresh, whole foods and less processed, sugary foods. Vitamin and mineral-rich whole foods provide your body with an array of nutrition needed to build a robust immune system, whereas processed and sugary foods weaken your immune system and lead to health problems. These may include increased inflammation, reduced control of infection, increased rates of cancer, and increased risk for allergic and auto-inflammatory disease.

Prioritize protein. It’s very important to consume enough high-quality protein because it breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks needed for tissue repair, building muscle, and antimicrobial activity. Lysine and cysteine are two notable antiviral amino acids. The antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC) has been shown to help respiratory conditions and inhibit virus replication and virus-induced pro-inflammatory responses. NAC has also been shown in vitro to limit lung inflammation and damage associated with viral growth. Foods that readily contain these important amino acids include chicken, turkey, eggs, sunflower seeds, red meat, fish, and spirulina.

Eat more nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are rich in powerful immune-supporting antioxidants. They contain healthy fats that help to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D, which is incredibly important to immune health. It’s easy to add nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts to your favorite salads, or as a healthy snack.  We suggest avoiding peanuts because of their mold content, and rotating which nuts you’re consuming so you don’t develop sensitivity.  For instance, we’re seeing almonds showing up quite frequently now as a sensitivity because they’re being over-consumed (almond milk, almond flour, almond butter, almonds)!!

Eat fermented foods for probiotic support. The good bacteria found in fermented foods stand strong like soldiers to crowd out and fight off pathogenic microbes. Fermented foods include raw sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, low-sugar kombucha, and beet kvass. However, if you have an overgrowth of bacteria like SIBO or other GI issues, fermented foods may exacerbate symptoms. This does not mean they’re harmful, they just may not be the right probiotic strains to address that particular imbalance.

Increase antiviral and antimicrobial foods and herbs — fresh ginger, oregano, sage, basil, and fennel. Raw crushed garlic is known for it’s potent antiviral and antimicrobial activity. If you can’t eat two garlic cloves straight up, try making a chimichurri, where it’s balanced with EVOO and fresh green herbs like parsley, cilantro, and sage.  Chimichurri is delicious as a topper for veggies or minimally processed gluten-free crackers. Another way to incorporate garlic is to chop and mix it into salad dressing (shallots, garlic, EVOO, fresh lemon juice, S&P is one of my go-to’s). Coconut Oil is another great addition: it contains lauric acid and monolaurin, both known for their antiviral activity.

Drink more water! Hydration plays a vital role in your health in general and especially your immune health! Drinking water helps your blood carry oxygen to all of your systems. It also allows your kidneys to do their job of removing toxins that would otherwise build up and weaken your immune system. Water also helps to digest and assimilate foods. Another huge perk of hydration is keeping your eyes and mouth moisturized — this helps repel dust, phthalates, nanoparticles, and other harmful things that can cause infection.

I know that’s a lot of information! As a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, I’m here to help educate and to work with you to create sustainable change in your day-to-day life. I suggest taking two or three of these and building them up until they slowly become second nature. I used to set alarms to drink more water, but now my body lets me know. So go put a pot of bone broth on, curl up with a cup of rosehip tea, and eat well to stay well!

Meet Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCCA Personal Trainer

Corona virus, COVID-19, Education and Newsletters, Patty Shipley, RN, Naturopath

Bolstering Immunity: Updated Info on COVID-19

Natural Treatment and Prevention of COVID-19

Updated Nov 24, 2020
While we’re NOT experts in treating this virus, we’ve had many years of experience working with patients to treat a variety of infections, as well as more recently, patients and loved ones who have contracted COVID-19.  We’ve decided to turn this post into a “living blog” that is updated as we continue learning about this novel virus.

ACE2 Receptors Key to Viral Entry

This virus utilizes ACE2 receptors on cells to gain entry. Different substances interact with these receptors, including Vitamins A and D, Zinc, ibuprofen and anti-hypertensive drugs.  Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension are associated with worse outcomes, as they can increase the number of these receptors/entry points on the cell surface.  Sites for these receptors are especially abundant in the epithelia of the lung, small intestine, kidneys and blood vessels, giving rise to some of the common symptoms associated with COVID-19.
There is now evidence that Vitamin D increases soluble ACE2, which would not increase viral access to cells, but instead act as a decoy, as described in this article from the journal Clinical Science.

A Look at Vitamin D and Other Supplements

Vitamin D

If you’ve been living north of Georgia for the past 6 months, and you’re not taking vitamin D, you’re likely deficient, and should consider taking enough supplemental vitamin D to achieve a sufficient serum level to support overall immunity (60-80 ng/mL, which usually requires 3000-5000 IU daily).  If just starting vitamin D, it may make sense to double the suggested dosing range for 3-4 weeks to achieve sufficiency more quickly.  Some patients do better with higher dosing less often. For instance, taking 50,000 IU every 10-14 days, since vitamin D is fat-soluble and stored in the body.  We offer emulsified liquid and capsules ranging from 1000-50,000 IU per serving to allow for individualized dosing.  We’ve learned that taking 50,000 IU daily for the first few days of infection can effectively bump up immune response, lessening symptoms and shortening duration of illness.
Recent small group studies have shown decreased cases of severe illness, duration of hospital stays and death rates in those with higher levels of vitamin D.  Larger studies are needed, but optimizing your vitamin D levels is inexpensive and has a litany of other health benefits.  Here is a link that summarizes the most recent emerging science on vitamin D.
Vitamin D Supreme 5000 IU, 60caps by Designs for Health: $30
Bio-D-Mulsion Forte 1 fl oz, 2000 IU by Biotics Research: $21

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is important for the health of the respiratory tract and mucus membranes, both of which play a central role in overall immune response However, in practice, we only see vitamin A deficiency in maaaaybe 5% of the nutrient tests we review, and vitamin A has as yet unknown interaction with ACE-2 receptor sites, so aside from what’s in your multivitamin, we don’t recommend taking additional vitamin A unless there is a proven need.
Vitamin A 10000 IU, 100 gels by Carlson: $7.50

Zinc

It appears zinc can benefit in two ways: by lowering the virus’s ability to enter cells through ACE2 receptors and also inhibiting replication once it’s gained access. (Read about these important roles here.)  We recommend 30-50 mg/day, increasing the dose to 100-200mg daily at the first classical signs of illness (shortness of breath, cough, loss of taste and smell).
Zinc Supreme 30mg, 90 caps by Designs for Health: $17
Zinc Lozenge 60 loz, 23mg by Davinci: $11.50
Reacted Zinc 60C 54mg by Ortho Molecular: $18

Probiotics

Our favorites here for coronavirus prevention (Ultra Flora Immune Booster and Ultra Flora BiomePro) include specific strains that benefit the respiratory system, the system that is of utmost concern in severe cases.   Take 1-2 per day, preferably away from food.
Ultra Flora Immune Booster, 1 billion live organisms, 30 caps by Metagenics: $34
Ultra Flora BiomePro, 105 billion CFU, 30 caps by Metagenics: $70

Vitamin C

Because vitamin C is water-soluble, it’s important to divide your dosing up into 2-3 doses minimum per day.  Liposomal vitamin C can be dosed twice daily for round-the-clock vitamin C protection.  Vitamin C helps stimulate production and function of white blood cells, and helps your body produce important proteins that bind invading microbes (antibodies) to neutralize them.  If you experience loose stools or diarrhea when taking vitamin C, you should back the dose down.
Of note: In Wuhan, doctors have been using high dose intravenous vitamin C for those who are sick as well as for those in the hospital. Nearly all patients with symptoms received 50-100 mg/kg/day for mild symptoms and 100-200 mg/kg/day for severe forms.  Many hospitals in the US are now using intravenous vitamin C in the ICU.
Liposomal Vitamin C 1000 mg, 60C by Mercola: $19
Ultra Potent-C 1000 90T by Metagenics: $32
Stellar C 600mg, 90 caps by Designs for Heatlh: $30
Chewable C 250mg  90T by Nature’s Sunshine: $22.50
Power Pak Tangerine 30 packets, 1200mg each by Trace Minerals: $19

Astragalus Max by Douglas Labs

Astragalus stimulates white blood cells to engulf and destroy invading organisms and cellular debris as well as enhance the production of interferon (a key natural compound produced by the body to fight viruses).  We recommend 1 daily for prevention and in cases of infection accompanied by fatigue, shortness of breath or spontaneous sweating, to increase the frequency of dosing to 2-3 times daily.
Astragalus has been shown to have additional benefits of lowering blood sugar with type 2 diabetes, improving blood flow to the kidneys, promoting apoptosis in various types of cancer cells and acting as an adaptogen during times of stress. In China, it’s one of the most frequently used herbs for management of diabetes.
Astragalus Max-V 60 vcaps by Douglas Labs: $27.75

Andrographis Plus by Metagenics

Over the years, we’ve trialed other brands of andrographis without the same success, so this is the only andrographis we typically stock. Patients often report that if they’re able to start taking this immediately at the first sign of infection, after 3-5 hourly doses, symptoms are completely resolved.  This is one I keep in stock at home since it’s most effective in the earliest stages of infection.  When I’m able to start this as soon as I feel the symptoms of an infection, I can knock it out. Every. Time.
Andrographis Plus 30T by Metagenics: $24.75
Essential Defense 30T by Metagenics: $19.75

NAC

Used in hospitals to treat acetaminophen poisoning, NAC is also used as a mucus thinner that targets the lungs, improving respiration.  Dosing is typically 600-3000 mg 1-3 times daily, and in hospitals, if available, it can be administered as an IV or taken orally, as an aerosol spray.
N-ACETYL-CYSTEINE 900mg 120T by Designs for Health: $36.50
NAC 600mg 90C by Pure Encapsulations: $30

Silver

Silver is an earth element that has broad-spectrum effects when targeting infections.  Most brands taste like water, so it’s an easy thing to add, especially with kids. We’re now using 3 brands of ionized nano-particles of silver with good success: Smart Silver from DesBio, Silver Shield from Nature’s Sunshine and Silvercillin from Designs for Health.  We recommend 1 tbsp twice daily at first signs of infection (none of these brands will cause blue skin – this is a condition associated with colloidal forms of silver taken excessively over prolonged periods of time).
There is now data showing that masks with an ionized silver coating can inactivate the virus completely, a wonderful demonstration of the efficacy of silver against viral particles. I’ve done a lot of searching for any trials using ionic silver spray on your own to increase efficacy of masking, and while that is a tantalizing idea, there don’t seem to be any trials yet done to determine if this would cause the mask fibers to break down in non-cloth masks, and no studies done to determine if applying to cloth masks confers any increased protection, so for now, I’m unsure about taking this approach.  I do see that baking your mask at 150-160 for 30 minutes will inactivate any microbes, but washing with soap and water is still your best option for cloth masks because soap dissolves the fatty envelope around the virus, making it inactive.
We DO recommend spritzing the back of the throat and using ionized silver as a nasal wash for added protection against infection, or during active infection. We carry Silvercillin spray and have $3 nasal spray bottles to pair with the spray.
Silver Shield 4 oz by Nature’s Sunshine: $38
Silvercillin Liquid Spray, 4floz by Designs for Health: $21.50
Silvercillin Liquid 16oz, 75mcg by Designs for Health: $58
Smart Silver 32 oz. by Desbio: $112
Amber Nasal Spray Bottle 1oz: $3

Melatonin

Many researchers now believe one of the reasons younger people are not as affected by this virus is their melatonin status.  Melatonin is a hormone that declines with age, which could explain some of why the risk of death with COVID-19 increases with age.  Melatonin has been used for years as a natural therapy for cancer (dosing is usually 10-30mg) because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties, not to mention that it can help with sleep, the loss of which impacts the immune system.  We recommend using a dose that helps improve sleep, but doesn’t cause drowsiness the following morning, and we offer a variety of doses to allow for this individualization, ranging from 3mg to 20mg.
Melatonin 60T, 3mg by Xymogen: $16.25
Melatonin Time Release 5mg by Bioclinic: $10.25
Melatonin 10 mg, 180T by Bioclinic: $53
Melatonin 20mg 60vcaps byPure Encapsulations : $31.50

Nebulized Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2)

Having now supported several patients through severe respiratory COVID symptoms, we can say with confidence that nebulizing hydrogen peroxide can help significantly.  While updating this newsletter, I’ve also seen where some doctors are recommending this to prevent the virus from moving into the lungs.

H2O2 should first be diluted in normal saline (which can be purchased or made from 1/2 tsp salt to 1 cup purified or distilled water).  We stock 3% food grade H2O2 (don’t use the brown $1 bottles found at drug stores since they contain stabilizers, that when inhaled, can be harmful to the lungs). Dilute the 3% H2O2 in the normal saline at 1/4 tsp to 7-1/4 tsp of normal saline.  This mixture should be refrigerated to help it maintain stability and potency.

Put 1/4-1/2 tsp in the nebulizer cup and nebulize 3-4 times daily.  The mist can be inhaled into the lungs and/or sinuses.

Innospire Nebulizer System $50
Hydrogen Peroxide 16 fl oz, 3% FOOD GRADE: $10

What can you do for a Fever?

Since fevers are your body’s natural response to infection, most functional medicine healthcare professionals wouldn’t recommend treating a fever unless it rises above 103 degrees, though temps up to 107 degrees are not associated with any lasting damage to the body, according to Medline Plus, a service of the Natural Institutes of Health and U.S. Library of Natural Medicine.  Some natural ways to address a fever are: drinking cool water and putting cold packs under your arms, or sitting in a lukewarm bath.

For those in the early stages of infection, drinking hot chamomile or peppermint tea can promote sweating, which works with the body’s natural immune response.

 

 

Ibuprofen

Some observational studies have demonstrated an increase in ACE2 receptors with ibuprofen use, however, additional recent studies have not shown increased negative outcomes with its use during active infection.

Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen depletes a crucial antioxidant: glutathione.  In fact, we feel acetaminophen should be severely limited for any condition because it has a poor safety profile in general.

 

Aspirin

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) found that aspirin takers were less likely to be placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) or hooked up to a mechanical ventilator, and they were more likely to survive the infection compared to hospitalized patients who were not taking aspirin.  Long-term use of aspirin can impact the GI lining, so use with caution beond short-term.

 

What About Cytokine Storms?

When this particular virus gets going in your body, it can create what is called a cytokine storm, which is when your immune system reacts vigorously and releases an enormous amount of chemicals (cytokines) and free radicals to destroy the virus. This is generally a good thing, however, what is concerning is that in some people, COVID19 triggers an extreme cytokine storm, causing (among other things) acute respiratory distress (ARDS) and lung injury.

Until we have firsthand knowledge of what works here, we are leaning on experience from Dr. Nathan Morris, a once-local physician who recently recovered from a severe bout with COVID-19 using Vesisorb hemp, a patented lipid-based delivery system that increases the bioavailability of fat-soluble compounds. Each gel contains 25 mg of full-spectrum CBD, and dosing is 1 gel twice daily while symptoms of inflammation are present.

Hemp extract VESIsorb 30sg by Pure Encapsulations: $80

But what about Quercetin, Vitamin E, Green Tea, Etc?

Many other remedies are worth considering here, but there is no way to make this into an exhaustive list, so we’re including a focused list that prioritizes the remedies we feel are most important.   For The Institute for Functional Medicine’s recommendations that include quercetin, curcumin, PEA, green tea, resveratrol and others covered in this post, click here.

Quercetin 250mg, 120C by Pure Encapsulations: $40

 

 

Wrapping it up

With so many options, many patients have asked me what I do for myself as prevention and how would I address symptoms if they were to appear.  For prevention, I’m currently taking liposomal melatonin since it is essentially time-released, zinc (Reacted Zinc by OrthoMolecular shows superior absorption on micronutrient testing), liposomal vitamin C, vitamin D and UltraFlora BiomePro, a probiotic geared toward respiratory health.
I’ve also begun to nebulize H2O2 once daily since I’m continuing to consult in-office and it’s a bit chilly now for open windows to dilute the air in my office.
Andrographis Plus is the herbal formula that helps me the most and the quickest when I’m fighting infection. At the first sign of infection, I begin taking 1 andrographis hourly, and I pair it with 1 tab of Essential Defense from Metagenics.  For sore throat, and for COVID concerns, I use Silvercillen as well as Herbal Throat Spray (HTS) from Medi-Herb (as often as I think about it when I’m fighting a sore throat or am concerned about COVID, since both are antiseptic and HTS has a lovely numbing effect from the clove oil it contains).  I find vitamin C drinks soothing (I prefer LiquiMins Power Pak over EmergenC because it’s buffered with minerals and electrolytes, tastes great and only contains 1g of sugar, with zero artificial sweeteners and 1200 mg vitamin C).

Treating Severe, Active Infection

Many stories are emerging on natural interventions that may help shorten the duration and severity of COVID19.  We’re including links here to ensure that you’re able to access important information if you or a loved one becomes ill and/or hospitalized with COVID.

The EVMS Medical Group is providing guidance for healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients. This approach to COVID-19 is based on the best (and most recent) available literature and the Shanghai Management Guideline for COVID. Their continually updated article can be found here.

Jill Carnahan, a well known functional medicine doctor, pulls together information from many sources that illuminate what we are learning about how this virus behaves in the body.  She is also continually updating her blog that can be found here.

Lastly, for now, here is a link to the clinical trials currently underway to determine effective treatments, including MANY natural interventions! It’s exciting to see.

I hope you find this article helpful.  Please feel free to reach out by email, phone, or  below with questions or comments.  And above all, stay safe and well!
Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCAA Personal Trainer, Leaves of Life Practitioners, Uncategorized

Meet Caitlin Pfeil, FMCHC, CPT, NCCA Personal Trainer

Hi! My name is Caitlin and I’m so excited to be part of the incredible team here at Leaves of Life. The kind of world I want to live in celebrates holistic health with a focus on balance, where body positivity is the norm, diet culture is not, and where “bad” foods don’t exist. It’s possible with small but powerful steps, accountability, support, and making it fun!

I’m a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach certified through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy with the Institute of Functional Medicine. I’m also an NCCA Certified Personal Trainer, with a specialization in fitness nutrition. On the Leaves of Life team, I’m a one-on-one Health Coach in partnership with practitioners. Working collaboratively with doctors, nurses, and lifestyle educators offers a clear treatment plan. I also provide laser allergy treatment for patients who need help with environmental and food allergies and other imbalances.

Over eleven years ago, I knew I had to make a change. At my heaviest, I was fifty pounds overweight, tired and moody, with skin issues, environmental allergies, food sensitivities, and frequent headaches. I joined a gym, became certified as a Personal Trainer and my passion for the gym led me to fitness competitions. Most recently I competed in the Arnold Classic. Competing has taught me extreme drive, intrinsic motivation, patience, and discipline, but definitely not balance. Now, I’m an advocate for balancing physical, mental and emotional health, which I’ve seen spill over into and improve all different areas of my own life and in the lives of my family, friends, and clients.

I’ve been working as a part of the holistic health world for about a decade now! I have owned and operated a successful nutrition club and storefront, led many large group fitness classes, taught dozens of nutrition workshops and seminars, managed thousands of supplements as a buyer for a health food store, and I’ve appeared on 10TV Columbus multiple times leading health, fitness and cooking segments. I spend hours every week self-studying to stay up to date in the ever-expanding world of natural health, and I enjoy continuing education conferences and seminars. I look forward to meeting you and working with you to help you achieve your goals and live your best, balanced life!

Corona virus, COVID-19, Dr. Emily Roedersheimer, Education and Newsletters, Karen Bush, NBC-HWC

Bolstering Immunity by Managing Stress

Stress… We use this word so often that we don’t even take it seriously anymore.

Stress occurs when life’s events surpass our ability to handle them. It comes in many forms: rush hour traffic, unexpected bills, your boss yelling at you, your kids fighting, or worst yet, there’s no toilet paper to be found in central Ohio! Add the corona virus to this list and our stress levels are boiling over. During this time in history we need our immune systems to be ready for anything and one of the best ways to help with that is to decrease stress.

Why? Because believe it or not, stress lowers immunity.

Fight or Flight

The immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defend the body against infection. Think of it as an army poised and ready to go to war for you if needed to prevent infections of all kinds – viruses, bacteria – and even cancer cells.  This army works best when we’re in a calm, rested state.

You’ve likely heard of the “fight or flight” response that kicks in when we’re under stress. This system is uniquely designed by our bodies to prepare us to flee or fight if we’re attacked. Now with our modern day “attacks” being more ongoing (work, bills, kids, TP, etc) we tend to stay in the fight or flight state. In preparation to fight or flee, our body shuts down the less important functions (ie, immunity) that aren’t needed in what should be a short-term stress response. Who cares about that cold virus or cancer cell if we’re about to be eaten by a tiger?! Unfortunately, with our current pace of life in America, most of us tend to stay in that fight or flight state all the time. So, we tend to get sick much more easily than our non-stressed friends (if you have any of those!)

Responding to stressors

How we handle our stress will determine the impact it will have on our immune system. Some situations cannot be changed – an ailing loved one, paying taxes – but we can change how we respond to these stressors. If we can consider stress reduction to be something we need to work on daily (like healthy eating, sleep and exercise), then we can help to change our body’s response to stress and maintain a healthy immune system. Given the right information, environment and directions, our bodies will choose healing over disease any day!

My health coach, Karen Bush, has offered some of her wisdom on how to handle stress in our lives.

From Karen Bush:

Often, we don’t even realize what symptoms of stress look like. It doesn’t have to be a significant worried or anxious feeling. It can simply be feeling unfocused with tasks, leaving things half done, going on social media too often during the day, reaching for food when you aren’t hungry or not eating enough, moodiness, procrastination and persistent fatigue. Once we see and recognize it, we can start to create change around us.

Let’s start with daily consistent practices and then move into things you can do right in the moment when you’re triggered into stress, anxiety or worry.

Consistent practices that support your health and well-being around stress should be a daily practice, not just something we reach for when we’re stressed or in a stressful situation.

Here are a few places to start:

Create a morning routine

Create a simple morning routine that starts the day out in a calm, contemplative and intentional way. Here are some examples:

    1. Drink 16 oz of water upon rising to replenish hydration after 8 hrs of loss while sleeping.
    2. Take 5 minutes to do some breathing – in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds, hold exhale for 4 seconds and repeat.
    3. Take 5 minutes to follow a guided meditation or journal. Meditations can be found on apps such as Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace.
    4. Do some sort of movement for at least 10-15 minutes to get your day started: Walking outside, doing a short yoga sequence (on YouTube with Adrienne or “Do yoga with me”), or even going up and down the stairs 3-4 times!

Set a schedule

Now that we’re all home more during this time it is more important than ever to set a schedule around what we are doing to feel more grounded. Even if you aren’t functioning at full capacity at work, set up your day with things you want to accomplish and include time for white space or down time.

    • Schedule times to do work
    • Set up times to be with kids, doing schoolwork and/or play time
    • Plan time for stress relief – breathing, exercise, meditation, prayer, alone time, time outside, mindful walks, walking outside on the grass with shoes off (grounding).
    • Really take a look at your day and take an honest assessment of what you’re spending your time focusing on. What could be contributing to stress? What you give attention to is strengthened. With that in mind, some questions to ask yourself:
      • How much time are you spending reading or watching the news?
      • How much time are you in conversation about anxiety-producing things you have no control over?
      • How often does your mind go to negative or worrying thoughts?

Make a shift

Now that you’ve taken a look at what your day looks like and what your habits may be in a day, you can make a few choices to shift to things that are healthier.

Here is a way to shift your mindset and gather some awareness around your thinking.

    • The practice of consistent breath work/meditation/prayer makes you more aware of your thinking.
    • Decide how much time you want to spend paying attention to the news and balance that out with joyful, happy activities.
    • When you catch yourself thinking in a way that produces stress, pause…take a moment to breathe.
    • Take the negative or stressful thought and shift to a thought around gratitude or appreciation.
    • Shift language:
      • Instead of anxious, breathe in CALM
      • Instead of stress, breathe in EASE
      • Instead of Bored, breathe in RESPONSIBILITY
      • Instead of Judgment, breathe in TOLERANCE
      • Instead of Anger, breathe in EASE TO COOL DOWN
      • Instead of Financial worries, breathe in ABUNDANCE/GRATITUDE
      • Instead of Lonely, breathe in CONNECTED and APPRECIATED
      • Instead of self-pity, breathe in DIGNITY

Remember that it takes time to shift behavior, so don’t expect it to happen overnight or even in 21 days! But daily practice leads to overall changes and what better time to start than now!?

To help you along these lines, Karen Bush and I are leading a free online stress support/meditation class this Wednesday, March 25, at 7 pm. Click the link to join us! We hope to see you there!

About Leaves of Life, Karen Bush, NBC-HWC, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Meet Karen Bush

Karen Bush, National Board Certified Health and Wellness coach (NBC-HWC) has the distinction of being among the first coaches in the country to be Board Certified through the
National Board of Medical Examiners, a designation that places her in the top tier of health coaches in the US. Her experience in healthcare began after receiving her Master’s degree in Speech Pathology and working in hospitals and rehabilitation centers around the country.

Realizing that she needed to be on wellness side of healthcare, she trained at Duke University’s Integrative Medicine Health Coach training program, one of the pioneering programs in health coaching. Her training involved extensive work in positive psychology, mind-body medicine, motivational interviewing and the principles of behavior change. Karen is a former health coach at the Center for Functional Medicine at the world renowned Cleveland Clinic, where she worked with an exceptional group of collaborative physician providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and dietitians. She obtained further certification through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) a collaboration with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM).

Karen now works in private practice and in collaboration with Dr. Emily Roedersheimer to help her patients navigate and support the lifestyle changes that are the hallmark of functional medicine. Our goal is to help each patient live their best life, achieve their goals and ultimately find success with a functional medicine approach. She blends integrative and functional medicine to provide a root cause, holistic practice that supports Dr. Emily’s personalized plan for each patient.
On any given day, you can find her rowing on the mighty Cuyahoga river, biking, practicing and teaching yoga, hiking with her husband and dog Jackson, traveling, and cooking plant based meals for her family.

Karen provides virtual coaching sessions as part of the practice, to support you in living your happiest and healthiest life.

Karen says: “In functional medicine we look for the root cause.  Oftentimes, stress is an underlying and not always obvious trigger to symptoms and health issues.  Our awareness around how stress affects our bodies on a deeper level is often pretty low.  One of the tools I use as a Functional Medicine Health Coach is something called HeartMath.  At its most basic level it uses breathing exercises that combine awareness of a heart centered breath and gratitude.  It is a way of slowing down the reaction to stress and allowing it to dissipate so it doesn’t affect our body adversely.  To add more to the breath work, HeartMath also has a simple biofeedback device called Inner Balance,  that can help the user identify areas of stress and how stress feels in the body.  When stress is present chronically, even in small amounts, we tend to habituate to it and after time we don’t notice it at all, but it is still very present.  If you think that stress is an underlying issue for you, maybe considering this as a tool to learn how to respond differently might be a key to your well-being.  Find out more at Heartmath.com or reach out to Karen Bush, health coach at clinicalcoordinator@balancedlivingfm.com

Education and Newsletters, Kelli Cuda, Masters in Science, Family Nurse Practitioner, Uncategorized

Everyone Should Detox!

What does it mean to detox?

We define detox as the body’s physiological process of reducing internal toxicity.

Every day the liver, kidneys, colon and skin are working to eliminate toxins, with the liver being the main driver of detox, via 2 phases of detox pathways. In phase I, the liver uses the cytochrome P450 enzyme system to convert toxic substances into intermediaries that are then fully processed for elimination in phase II. Phase III is the final, crucial step where toxins leave the body via stool, urine or sweating.

There are many critical nutrients needed to run phase I and II liver detoxification pathways. These include B-vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids (which come from protein). A diet high in organic fruits and vegetables as well as clean sources of protein and fiber will go a long way in supporting detoxification. Your healthcare practitioner can also guide you in providing your body with additional, tailored detoxification support.

Although our bodies are continuously working to combat toxins, if our total toxic burden is too great and/or we are lacking the proper support, chronic illness lurks just around the corner.

 Did you know?

  • The average adult carries over 700 toxins in their body
  • The Toxic Control Act, responsible for regulating industrial chemicals, was last updated in 1976!
  • Proper sleep hygiene allows our brain to clear out harmful waste products, possibly helping to reduce risk for developing Alzheimer’s
  • The average newborn baby has 287 known toxins in his or her umbilical cord blood

Common symptoms and conditions indicating a need to detoxify:

  • Digestive issues
  • Ongoing fatigue
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Type II diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Skin issues
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Difficulty losing weight
  • Bad breath
  • Insomnia
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Difficulty managing stress
  • Anxiety/depression
  • Cold sores
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility
  • Behavioral and mood disorders
  • Allergies
  • Neurological symptoms (tremor, headache, brain fog, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s)

Testing to optimize detoxification capacity

Three of the main factors affecting our total toxic burden are:

  • The amount and types of toxins we’re exposed to in our diet and environment
  • Our genetic ability to produce detoxification enzymes for processing and eliminating toxins
  • Whether our diet provides sufficient nutrients necessary for supporting detoxification pathways

For some patients, it can be helpful to understand what types of toxins are present, what critical detoxification nutrients may be insufficiently present and whether there is genetic compromise in the ability to detoxify.  Your provider can work with you to determine what testing would be best in your specific circumstance.

Actionable Steps:

  • Choose organic whenever possible – refer to ewg.org to find the dirty dozen (a list of the 12 most heavily contaminated fruits/veggies that should be avoided)
  • Remove inflammatory foods such as trans fats, refined carbs, sugar and processed foods
  • Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to enable to kidneys to remove toxins
  • Work up a sweat regularly (exercise, hot baths, sauna, etc)
  • Consume plenty of fiber to ensure regular bowel movements to carry toxins out
  • Get rid of plastics as much as possible
  • Work on cleaning up your personal care and other products -the environmental working group has a healthy living app that can help
  • Minimize EMF exposure
  • Work to lower stress levels
  • Eliminate toxic relationships as much as possible
  • Get regular deep sleep – shoot for around 8 hours per night
  • Work with a functional medicine provider if you need more guidance

Beyond detox support, a functional medicine provider:

  • Sees the body as a whole
  • Looks for the root cause
  • Takes a thorough history from birth to present day
  • Focuses on body systems and how they are connected
  • Lays the foundation for health by addressing lifestyle factors
  •  Does targeted testing as necessary
  • Creates an individualized care plan with the client as a partner
  • Is not limited by time constraints imposed by insurance companies

Interested in meeting with one of our providers?  We suggest reading the bios on our webpage to see who would be the best fit for you.

 

 

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