Functional Medicine

Black women harmed by toxins in hair relaxants

Chemicals to straighten and relax hair are a part of life for many black women, for reasons that range from societal expectations to ease of care. But our society’s discomfort with black women’s natural hair comes with a cost — these products contain chemicals associated with early puberty, obesity, asthma, and increased cancer risk. True, the majority of hair, body, and makeup products aimed at all women contain multiple toxic compounds. However, researchers believe the health disparities that exist between black and ... Read more

Integrating ancient fiber needs into a modern diet

Although the produce section at the grocery store may look vast, it only represents a fraction of edible, nutritious, and tasty plant foods. It’s estimated there are more than 20,000 species of edible plants, and that we only eat about 20 to 50 of them. As a result, this may be playing a significant role in the rapidly declining health of westerners. Our gut bacteria, or gut microbiome, is a foundation to our health, and healthy gut bacteria depend on a ... Read more

Staying thin is harder for young people than in the past

If you feel like you have a harder time staying slim than your grandparents did at your age, you are right. We are about 10 percent heavier than people in the 80s, even when we eat the same foods and exercise just as much. This may be due to changes in lifestyle and environmental factors that impact our BMI, or body mass index. Recent research by York University’s Faculty of Health shows it's harder to maintain the same weight at a certain ... Read more

How to support optimal stomach acid for good digestion

When we go to the doctor with symptoms of acid reflux, gas, bloating and heartburn, typically the diagnosis of high stomach acid is based purely on symptoms — not a lab test for stomach acid levels — resulting in a prescription for antacids, histamine type 2 receptor agonists (H2 blockers), Proton Pump Inhibitors (PPIs), or even surgery. For many people, these drugs only worsen the problem. Antacids reduce stomach acid temporarily, then more acid is automatically produced to bring the stomach back to ... Read more

Pregnancy or postpartum can trigger hypothyroidism

For many women, the onset of their hypothyroid symptoms began either during pregnancy or just after. Most of these women went on to be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. Pregnancy often triggers Hashimoto’s due to normal shifts in immunity that cause an already beleaguered immune system to tip out of control and begin attacking the thyroid gland. Factors that can contribute to developing Hashimoto’s around pregnancy or childbirth include shifts in immune function during ... Read more

Gut bacteria play a role in anorexia; eating disorders

People with eating disorders such as anorexia simply do not experience hunger and satiety in the same way people who have a healthy relationship with food do. New research suggests that the composition of gut bacteria, or the gut microbiome, may play a role in the behavioral aspects of anorexia and eating disorders. For instance, previous research shows a connection between mood disorders such as depression and poor gut microbiome diversity. Less than half of people with eating disorders fully recover, ... Read more

How to support your brain’s “happiness” chemical

Many people take SSRI antidepressants for depression. However, it’s important to ask why you are feeling depression in the first place. Many important research strides have been made linking chronic inflammation, poor gut health, gut bacteria, and general brain health with depression. However, we still need healthy serotonin activity, the target of SSRIs, to feel good. Do you have these symptoms of low serotonin? No longer finding joy, pleasure, or enthusiasm in life Rage and anger Depression Depression related to lack of sunlight No longer enjoy hobbies, favorite foods, ... Read more

Is chronic stress damaging you? Take an adrenal test

Many of us are too stressed out these days and this can have negative consequences on our bodies and brains, promoting chronic disease and rapid brain degeneration. If you’re concerned about the effects of stress on your body and how to manage it, an adrenal salivary test is an important ally. It can show you whether your stress hormone cortisol is too high or too low and whether this has affected your sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm. Symptoms of low adrenal hormones Fatigue Slow ... Read more

Test for gluten intolerance if you have Hashimoto’s

Numerous studies show a strong link between gluten intolerance and Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism. This is because gluten has a molecular structure that closely resembles thyroid tissue — gluten sensitivity triggers an attack on the thyroid gland. Gluten (technically, the correct term is gliadin), is the protein found in wheat and wheat-like grains, such as spelt, kamut, rye, barley, triticale, and oats. One of the immune system’s primary jobs is to protect the body ... Read more

Don’t overlook the necessity of vitamin D cofactors

Sufficient vitamin D levels requires more than a healthy diet and taking supplements—good vitamin D levels need the right cofactors too. A shocking three-quarters of the US population has too little vitamin D, even in sunny locales. Vitamin D is necessary to dampen inflammation and tame autoimmune diseases. Some people with autoimmunity may even need extra vitamin D due to a genetic variation that affects the ability of their cells to absorb adequate vitamin D. In addition to supplementing with fat-soluble vitamin ... Read more
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