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:


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.


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).


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.


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!


Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition, How We Recharge, Practitioners We Trust, Uncategorized

Natrium Halotherapy (salt therapy). Breathe easier!

I’m excited to announce that my personal trainer has opened his own Halotherapy room in Columbus!

What is halotherapy?  

Put simply, it’s salt therapy. 

Halotherapy is a method of inhaling pure, dry, micronized salt particles dispersed into the air from a halogenerator. For more than 40 years researchers have shown that this type of therapy helps with multiple health issues including  acne, eczema, psoriasis, neurodermatitis, allergies, asthma, COPD, eczema, depression and other mental health issues.

I can tell you from my own personal experience that hanging out in the salt room clears my sinuses every time. In addition, I get a 45 minute nap…it’s like being at the beach…complete with zero gravity chairs and relaxing music for sleeping or meditating. The floor is covered with 3 inches of Himalayan salt.   Salt panels, dim lighting, and beach décor complete the illusion and give you a calm, comfortable feeling.  Pharmaceutical grade sodium chloride is pumped into the room with a halogenerator to saturate the room with negative ions to help alleviate stress and give you an overall sense of well-being.  Some of the most common comments following a halotherapy session are: “I can breathe”, “That’s so relaxing”, “I could stay in there for hours”.  

Interested? Check them out at or follow them on Facebook and Instagram to receive specials and discounts. They open on June 3rd and are running a special for the month of June for $15 a session (regularly $30). Tell them we sent you and enjoy!

Continue reading “Natrium Halotherapy (salt therapy). Breathe easier!”

Food Lists, Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition

Corn Allergy Food List

This list is intended for patients who are sensitive or allergic to corn and/or corn derivatives.

* Most common items that might not always contain or be derived from corn. Be informed and proceed with caution!


  • Acetic acid
  • Alcohol
  • Allulose
  • Alpha tocopherol
  • Artificial flavorings
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Ascorbates
  • Ascorbic acid (synthetic vitamin C)
  • Aspartame (Artificial sweetener)
  • Astaxanthin
  • Baking powder
  • Barley malt* (generally OK, but can be contaminated)
  • Bleached flour*
  • Blended sugar (sugaridextrose)
  • Brown sugar* (generally OK if no caramel color)
  • Calcium citrate
  • Calcium fumarate
  • Calcium gluconate
  • Calcium lactate
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
  • Calcium stearate
  • Calcium stearoyl lactylate
  • Caramel and caramel color
  • Carbonmethylcellulose sodium
  • Cellulose microcrystalline
  • Cellulose, methyl
  • Cellulose, powdered
  • Cetearyl glucoside
  • Choline chloride
  • Citric acid*
  • Citrus cloud emulsion (CCS)
  • Coco glycerides (cocoglycerides)
  • Confectioners sugar
  • Corn alcohol, corn gluten
  • Corn extract
  • Corn flour
  • Corn oil, corn oil margarine
  • Corn starch
  • Corn sweetener, corn sugar
  • Corn syrup, corn syrup solids
  • Corn, popcorn, cornmeal
  • Cornstarch, cornflour
  • Crosscarmellose sodium
  • Crystalline dextrose
  • Crystalline fructose
  • Cyclodextrin
  • DATUM (a dough conditioner)
  • Decyl glucoside
  • Decyl polyglucose
  • Dextrin
  • Dextrose (also found in IV solutions)
  • Dextrose anything (such as monohydrate or anhydrous)
  • d-Gluconic acid
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Drying agent
  • Erythorbic acid
  • Erythritol
  • Ethanol
  • Ethocel 20
  • Ethylcellulose
  • Ethylene
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Ethyl lactate
  • Ethyl maltol
  • Fibersol-2
  • Flavorings*
  • Food starch
  • Fructose*
  • Fruit juice concentrate*
  • Fumaric acid
  • Germ/germ meal
  • Gluconate
  • Gluconic acid
  • Glucono delta-lactone
  • Gluconolactone
  • Glucosamine
  • Glucose*
  • Glucose syrup* (also found in IV solutions)
  • Glutamate
  • Gluten
  • Gluten feed/meal
  • Glycerides
  • Glycerin*
  • Glycerol
  • Golden syrup
  • Grits
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Hominy
  • Honey*
  • Hydrolyzed corn
  • Hydrolyzed corn protein
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose pthalate (HPMCP)
  • Inositol
  • Invert syrup or sugar
  • Iodized salt
  • Lactate
  • Lactic acid*
  • Lauryl glucoside
  • Lecithin
  • Linoleic acid
  • Lysine
  • Magnesium fumarate
  • Maize
  • Malic acid
  • Malonic acid
  • Malt syrup from Cornu
  • Malt, malt extract
  • Maltitol
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltol
  • Maltose
  • Mannitol
  • Methyl gluceth
  • Methyl glucose
  • Methyl glucoside
  • Methylcellulose
  • Microcrystaline cellulose
  • Modified cellulose gum
  • Modified corn starch
  • Modified food starch
  • Molasses* (corn syrup may be present; know your product)
  • Mono and di glycerides
  • Monosodium glutamate
  • MSG
  • Natural flavorings*
  • Olestra/Olean
  • Polenta
  • Polydextrose
  • Polylactic acid (PLA)
  • Polysorbates* (e.g. Polysorbate 80)
  • Polyvinyl acetate
  • Potassium citrate
  • Potassium fumarate
  • Potassium gluconate
  • Powdered sugar
  • Pregelatinized starch
  • Propionic acid
  • Propylene glycol*i
  • Propylene glycol monostearate*
  • Saccharin
  • Salt (iodized salt)
  • Semolina (unless from wheat)
  • Simethicone
  • Sodium carboxymethylcellulose
  • Sodium citrate
  • Sodium erythorbate
  • Sodium fumarate
  • Sodium lactate
  • Sodium starch glycolate
  • Sodium stearoyl fumarate
  • Sorbate
  • Sorbic acid
  • Sorbitan
  • Sorbitan monooleate
  • Sorbitan tri-oleate
  • Sorbitol
  • Sorghum* (not all is  bad; the syrup and/or grain CAN be mixed with corn)
  • Splenda (Artificial sweetener)
  • Starch (any kind that’s not specified)
  • Stearic acid
  • Stearoyls
  • Sucralose (Artificial sweetener)
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar* (not identified as cane or beet)
  • Threonine
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • Treacle (aka golden syrup)
  • Triethyl citrate
  • Unmodified starch
  • Vanilla, natural flavoring
  • Vanilla, pure or extract
  • Vanillin
  • Vegetable anything that’s not specific*
  • Vinegar, distilled white
  • Vinyl acetate
  • Vitamin C* and Vitamin E*
  • Vitamins*
  • Xanthan gum
  • Xylitol
  • Yeast*
  • Zea mays
  • Zein

Continue reading “Corn Allergy Food List”

Education and Newsletters, Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition

Got Bloat? It might be SIBO.

The small intestine… ground zero for SIBO

So what is SIBO?

Everyone experiences gas and bloating at some point, right? But what if it just doesn’t go away? The embarrassing rumble in your stomach, uncomfortable distention in your abdomen , and unpredictable trips to the bathroom… it’s all frustrating and painful… and it might actually have a name – Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth, or SIBO. Simply put, SIBO is a chronic overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.  These bacteria normally live lower in the gastrointestinal tract but can migrate into the small intestine given the right set of conditions. Once these bacteria migrate, they feed on carbohydrates, which causes a fermentation, which in turn releases a gas – hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. This is what causes gas and bloating after meals.

Symptoms of SIBO

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain and discomfort
  • Abdominal distention
  • Abdominal bloating after meals
  • Unusually loud rumbling noises
  • Flatulence

What Causes SIBO?

The cause of an individual case of SIBO can be hard to determine. SIBO is not an independent diagnosis, because something causes it (most commonly IBS).  Causes can include:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Nerve damage
  • Sloppy ileocecal valve,
  • Dysfunctional migrating motor complex (MMC) – chief contributor to SIBO
  • Certain infections such as food borne illness or H. pylori
  • Antibiotics
  • Acid reducing drugs
  • Opioid use
  • A variety of problem foods – including foods that are high in refined carbohydrates or inhibit carbohydrate digestion
  • Insufficient fasting time between meals
  • Low thyroid function
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Lack of exercise
  • Improper sleep habits

MMC – The Body’s Conveyor Belt

Our gut relies on nerves, muscles, enzymes, and neurotransmitters to properly digest food. Enzymes mainly break down our food while the nerves, muscles and neurotransmitters physically move the food through our digestive tract from the stomach to the small intestine and on to the colon. This movement is referred to as migrating motor complex (MMC). One of the chief contributors to the onset of SIBO is dysfunctional MMC. MMC can become dysfunctional for a variety of reasons, including nerve or muscle damage, bowel disorders such as IBS, scarring, physical obstruction, or even the influence of certain medications.

Dysfunction on the conveyor belt = pileup!

It’s important to understand how central healthy MMC function is to correcting SIBO. Think of MMC as the baggage carousel at an airport. When it’s working as designed, bags are loaded up, continue down the conveyor belt, and move on to the carousel . That’s where we pick them up and take them where they need to go. But we’ve probably all seen what happens when something in the system malfunctions – bags come out too fast, the belt slows down or stops moving all together, then baggage piles up, there is confusion, and no one gets what they need. The same thing is true in the case of dysfunctional MMC. The body’s conveyor belt slows down or stops, food and bacteria pile up in the wrong place and bacteria overgrows in the small intestines where it doesn’t belong . Just like at the airport, the body’s “baggage” doesn’t move on to where it’s needed – resulting in very unhappy, confused intestines.

Testing for SIBO

When SIBO is present, hydrogen and potentially methane are created as a result of the bacteria feeding on carbohydrates. Both gasses are excreted in the breath. which makes a breath test an accurate tool for SIBO screening. The test kit used by Leaves of Life allows patients to gather breath samples at home and results are usually confirmed within a week.

Treating SIBO

As with most conditions, it’s important to consult a trained professional to diagnose and treat SIBO. Treatment plans are unique to each patient and have a variety of components including probiotics, fermented foods, fiber, biofilm disruption, antibacterials, and even prescription antibiotic therapy. Francie Silverman, Lifestyle Coach and Wellness Educator, has developed a SIBO treatment protocol that can be customized to patient needs and adapted as the symptoms of SIBO improve.

Continue reading “Got Bloat? It might be SIBO.”

Education and Newsletters, Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Top 10 Diet Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Do you start out with good intentions for weight loss only to quickly plateau after your first few pounds?

Frustrating, right?

The most commonly uttered sentence in my office is, “I know what to do – I just don’t do it.”

I find that many people are less knowledgeable than they realize when it comes to eating healthy. Whether we realize it or not, some of our “knowledge” comes from subliminal messaging on TV or online ads… or even what we overhear from co workers or in line at the grocery store.

As we begin the new year, I thought it made sense to publish a quick top 10 list so that we can all start on the same page. Obviously, everyone has individual quirks and needs that might arise, but in my practice, here are the top 10 mistakes I see people making when it comes to diet and weight loss:

1. Skipping breakfast. 

Truthfully, my most overweight patients are the most frequent offenders here. It’s better to tell your body: “Food is plentiful. No need for more storage. Burn baby, burn!”

Eat within 30 minutes of rising for the day to fuel your metabolic fire and burn fat.

2. Skipping meals.

(Notice a theme?) I refer to meal-skipping as the “Sumo Wrestler Diet” because skipping meals leads to overeating at the end of the day—a great strategy if you’re a sumo wrestler. And this still doesn’t take into account the blood sugar imbalances (and other hormonal shifts) that result from meal-skipping.

Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks to avoid the highs and lows of blood sugar.

3. Denial about what (and how much) has been eaten.

Write it down! People often don’t take into account the hundreds, if not thousands, of calories that are consumed after dinner or in sweetened drinks (mocha latte anyone?).

4. Eating in front of the TV or while reading/working.

Studies show distracted eaters consume more calories. For optimal digestion and to avoid overindulgence, it’s best to focus on the flavors and textures of your food, and chew thoroughly.

5. No balance.

There should be a combination of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates at every meal. Too much of one type of calories will throw blood sugar off. Think veggies (carbs), some extra virgin olive oil (fat) and chicken (protein). Half of your plate should be veggies.

6. Worrying about too much fat.

Good, quality fats don’t make you fat—coconut oil (a medium chain triglyceride) actually helps in the fat burning process. Extra virgin olive oil for salad dressing as well as flaxseed oil are also good examples of healthy fats.

So then what does make us fat?

This brings me to #7 and #8…

7. Eating too many grains

Let’s face it. Most of us are eating grains with every meal and snack  (bread, pasta, cereal, rice, cereal bars, etc). These foods are full of carbohydrates and some are even downright harmful, creating an inflammatory cascade in the gut, as well as systemically, and uncontrollable cravings (especially gluten—but that’s a topic for another day).

Try cutting back on grains and increasing vegetables and see what happens to your waistline!

8. Eating too much sugar

Too much sugar = an increase in body fat stores, cravings, hormonal imbalance and mood disorders. Are you addicted? Take it out completely for 3 days and cravings should disappear (yes, you are actually detoxifying from an addictive substance).

The longer it’s out, the less likely you’ll go back to it. If cravings persist after 3 days, consider micronutrient testing. You likely have specific nutrient deficiencies that impair your cells’ ability to use glucose for energy. The most common deficiencies here tend to be chromium and zinc.

9. Drinking diet sodas.

Believe it or not, the artificial sweeteners in diet sodas do impact blood sugar/insulin levels. They are also extremely toxic and create digestive distress in many people.

10. Not enough deep, quality sleep.

We detoxify and repair at night while sleeping, We also create hormones that tell us when to eat and when we’ve had enough. You make more of the hormones that drive hunger when you’re sleep deprived. Aim for 8 hours nightly to improve metabolism and hormone function.

Need more answers? Schedule some time with Francie to start your year off right. Call Leaves of Life at (614) 888-HERB (4372) and reserve your time today!

Continue reading “Top 10 Diet Mistakes & How to Avoid Them”

Francie Silverman, Master of Science in Nutrition, Leaves of Life Practitioners

Francie Silverman

The moment I knew that food was medicine was about 10 years ago when I dramatically changed my diet to attempt a life free of migraines. And it worked! Almost immediately. I thought, “Wow. I need to learn how to help others feel as amazing as I do. And I want to learn more!” Thus began my career in the nutrition field.

I am a certified lifestyle educator and have been a wellness coach since 2005 in New York City and Columbus. I earned a Master’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. I am certified through Metagenics in First-Line Therapy, a plan designed for those with concerns about obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and other conditions related to aging, inflammation or degeneration. Lifestyle choices play an important role in these common issues and many others.

Continue reading “Francie Silverman”

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