Have You Tried “Everything” For Your Autoimmune Disease and Still No Results. Then Read This!

Autoimmune Disease and Your Immune System:

This is Important to Know if You Have an AI Condition

Why You Should Know About T Helper Cells if You Have an Autoimmune Condition

T helper cells are part of your immune system.  These cells are lymphocytes and lymphocytes are part of your white blood cells.  Their job is to recognize foreign invaders or as in the case of an autoimmune condition they mistakenly see self as the invader.  They respond to this invader by producing cytokines which are hormonal proteins that are responsible for the biological effects of the immune system.  Think of cytokines as chemical messengers that “make things happen”. 

You have two groups of T helper cells but both groups should work together in harmony.  It is normal for one side to become more active to eliminate a threat, but then should return to a balanced state once the threat is gone. This issue arises when one side remains more active than the other. 

In the case of an autoimmune condition, there is always a genetic component. However, just because you have the gene for a specific autoimmune condition, does not mean you will get it. The gene needs to be “turned on” by something, whether it is a food sensitivity, stress or other dietary factors, for example.

There are varying opinions as to if you can turn the gene off once it is turned on.  My own opinion is that I think in some cases the gene can be turned back off but in most cases, it is critical to support the immune system, restore balance and reduce inflammation so that you can put the AI disease into “remission”. 

Th 1 Pathway

This is your immediate response pathway. This is your body’s firsts line of defense against a pathogen.

If you are Th 1 dominant, this means that you are producing too many natural killer cells and cytotoxic T cells.  The cytotoxic T cells are also called killer T cells and can kill body cells that are infected with a virus or other agent. 

Typically, Th 1 cells are more active when there is a virus, bacteria or other microbe that is the invader.  Your Th1 cells should be more active during an acute illness and when there is acute inflammation.  However, when Th1 cells are in excess, they can give way to AI conditions and can create low Th2 levels. 

Some AI conditions that are associated with an overactive TH1 pathway include Type 1 diabetes, MS, Hashimotos, Grave’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Psoriasis, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Celiac Disease, Lichen Panus and RA. Please note that while an overactive TH1 pathway is more common in these conditions, it is not always the case and may not be for you! 

Th 2 Pathway

If you are producing too many B cells, the ones in charge of tagging the intruder so that it can be identified, then you are Th 2 dominant. 

Typically, you will see Th2 cells produced in excess in conditions such as asthma, eczema, rhinitis, allergies and in chronic inflammation.  Other conditions that are most often associated with an overactive Th 2 pathway include Lupus, Scleroderma, IBD, cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, and multiple chemical sensitivity.

When you have one pathway dominant, it means that the immune system is out of balance and this can lead to an AI condition if it has not done so already.  In the case of thyroid disease, Th1 and Th2 cytokines can affect thyroid function and not just the AI portion of the disease.  They can block the thyroid receptor sites and this will prevent the hormone from getting into the cells where you need it to start feeling better. 

It can be tricky to deduce which helper cells you have an issue with as both can be overactive or you can have both underactive as well. 

What Can Cause Your Immune System to Become Unbalanced

  • A diet of excessive refined carbs and sugar
  • An unknown food sensitivity
  • Excessive, ongoing stress (too much cortisol production suppressed the immune system)
  • Having a digestive disorder
  • Alcoholism
  • Exposed to heavy toxic metals (these suppress antibody production)
  • Pesticides and other toxic chemical ongoing exposure
  • Over use of NSAIDS
  • Too much exercise
  • Gut imbalances (poor microbiome health)
  • Too much fish oil supplementation-best to stay at 5 grams or below (depending on the health condition some people may need 2 grams to 4 grams per day)
  • Chronic Antibiotics
  • Cancer


Balancing Your T Helper Cells

The first step, according to Dr. Kharrazian in “Why do I still have thyroid symptoms when my lab tests are normal” is to support the T regulatory cells.  It is believed that the T regulatory cells may help to keep the other T cells under control, but it is not very clear how they do this.  T regulatory cells are thought to monitor the situation but can start behaving erratically and when this happens they may command the production of too many T helper cells and this process can ultimately destroy body tissue. 

The goal is to bring balance back to the T regulatory cells since their function is to maintain homeostasis of the immune system. 

Support Your T Regulatory Cells

Start here before moving on to addressing either pathway 1 or 2!

  • Vitamin D: work with a health professional to determine the best dose for your AI condition and based on your blood work D levels. (My favorite brand is Bio Tech.
  • DHA/EPA: Higher than average doses may be warranted but not above 5 grams total. (for instance, high doses have been shown to be needed to optimize thyroid function within the cells) (My favorite brands are Nordic Naturals and Xymogen).
  • Glutathione: this is considered your “master antioxidant”
  • SOD (Superoxide Dismutase) which is an antioxidant

There are nutrients that can stimulate each pathway. It is best to get tested to know which pathway you have an issue with, but I know some people are willing to use trial and error. Be aware that if you end up over stimulating the wrong pathway, your symptoms of your health issue may flair up and this is an indication that you need to discontinue use of these nutrients. 

Dr. Kharrazian states, that while not always the most accurate tool, you can use coffee as a guide.  If drinking coffee or caffeine causes a flair up of your health condition, then you may be Th 2 dominant since coffee stimulates the Th 2 pathway, thus you need to support Th 1.  If coffee/caffeine makes you feel better and lessens your symptoms then you may be TH1 dominant and will need to support your Th 2 pathway. 

Below is a list of what to use to support your pathways. Always work with your health professional when adding these in and work with them to find the rights amounts for you. 

Try only one supplement at a time to know what is and isn’t working for you. 

Support Th 1 Pathway

(You want to stimulate this side if Th 2 is dominant)

  • Astragalus
  • Echinacea
  • Beta-glucan mushrooms
  • Maitake mushrooms
  • Glycyrrhiza from licorice (Avoid if you have high BP)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Ginseng


Support Th 2 Pathway

 (You want to stimulate this side if Th 1 is dominant)

  • Caffeine
  • Green Tea extract
  • Grape Seed extract
  • Pine Bark Extract
  • White Willow Bark
  • Lycopene
  • Resveratrol
  • Pycnogenol
  • Curcumin

Th1 and Th2 Modulating Compounds

These can be used if you are not sure which pathway needs to be addressed and like mentioned above, both pathways can be dominant or under active.  Use these to help balance Th1 and Th2. 

  • Probiotics (my favorite is Mega Spore)
  • Vitamin A (get from foods such as butter and eggs-pasture raised)
  • Vitamin E (look for mixed tocopherols or get from egg yolks, avocado, nuts and seeds)
  • Colostrum (this the mother’s first milk). It can be difficult to find a good quality brand for Colostrum but I like synertekcolustrum.com


If you have been working with your health professional and have not gotten results for your AI and are still suffering from symptoms then you may want to ask for the TH1 and TH2 Cytokine Test.  The other option is you can order this yourself (although pricey at $499) from truehealthlabs.com. 


This is a blood draw and results may take up to 6-8 weeks.  But it may be worth it if you have not achieved resolution for your autoimmune condition. 

Bottom Line

If you have changed your diet, know what foods you are sensitive to, have addressed various organ dysfunction such as the liver and the gut (organ’s targeted is based on individual assessment) and are still not seeing results or only minimal results, then it is time to start looking deeper.  It can get really confusion, such as which products are best to use, how often to take and how much-work with someone who can guide you so you don’t have to continue to suffer.  Most people can put their AI disorder into remission. 


Bauman, E & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition. CA: Bauman College

Kharrazian, D.  (2010) Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms? When My lab Tests Are Normal.  CA:

   Elephant Press.

Sompayrae, L. Immunology: How the Immune System Works.  2nd Edition. CO: Blackwell Publishing.




If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Your Liver and Detoxification What You Need to Know

Liver Detox: What You Need to Know 


The liver is the largest organ in your body.  A healthy liver can neutralize 99% of toxins on the first pass through. Yes, toxins can pass through the liver more than once.  If your liver becomes damaged the toxin levels can increase x10!

Your liver goes to work detoxing when you are asleep. If you have difficulty sleeping and wake up always around the same time at night it could mean that your liver is working harder than it should.  

Everyone talks about “doing a detox” or a “liver cleanse”.  Once you read this article you will realize that doing a short- term detox for the liver probably isn’t going to be very effective in the long run. Dietary changes and key nutrients are critical daily.  Your liver filters toxins that will end up as waste via the bowels or the urine but you also have other detox pathways that should be supported as well.  You need all of them to function properly. 

The Two Phases

A toxin is anything that creates harmful effects to your body.  Your liver disassembles toxins and does this in a two- stage process.  Most toxins are fat soluble and they need to be in a water- soluble state to be eliminated from the body.  It is important that both detox phases are working.  For instance, phase 1 may break these toxins down but if phase 2 cannot bind these toxins to other things to make then inert and then eliminate them then these broken-down toxins can be harmful. 

 Your liver’s two phases of detox can detox chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides, heavy metals, food additives, toxins from the GI tract, drugs/medications, metabolic waste products and used hormones and neurotransmitters. As you can see some of these toxins are endogenous and others are exogenous.

What Can Impact the Liver Detox Pathways

  • Stress! This alone can shut down detoxification
  • Aging: Decreases detox enzymes
  • Meds such as benzodiazepines, antihistamines and stomach acid secretion blocking drugs inhibit phase 1.
  • Grapefruit juice inhibits phase 1. (some medications should not be taken with grapefruit juice for this reason)
  • Heavy alcohol use/abuse
  • Long term medication use
  • Standard American Diet-a diet filled with hormones, antibiotics, rancid oils, excess sugar etc..
  • toxins from water, cleaning products, skin care products, plastics 
  • lack of fiber in the diet 

Signs Your Liver Isn’t Working the Way It Should


  • Sensitivity to chemicals, tobacco smoke, perfume, cleaning products
  • Pain between shoulder blades
  • Stomach upsets when eat greasy foods
  • Greasy, shiny stool or see oily droplets with stool
  • Motion sickness, morning sickness
  • Light or pale colored stools
  • Headaches over the eyes
  • Gallbladder attacks
  • Bitter taste in mouth after meals
  • Sick easily after drinking wine
  • Easily hung over
  • Pain under right side of rib cage
  • Varicose veins, hemorrhoids
  • Artificial sugar consumption esp. NutraSweet/aspartame
  • Chronic Fatigue or fibromyalgia

Phase 1 of Liver Detoxification

  • Phase 1 is called the Cytochrome P450 pathway. This is made up of a group of over 50 detox enzymes that are induced when there is exposure to a toxin.
  • These enzymes will then convert these toxins from fat soluble to water soluble.
  • Issues can arise if you have either an over active or under active phase 1.
  • If your phase 1 is underactive, your risk of liver disease increases
  • Phase 1 will always create some free radicals.

Signs You Have an Under Active Phase 1

You have an intolerance to caffeine, perfumes or environmental chemicals. For instance, you can’t tolerate more than a cup of coffee or you feel jittery. You are sensitive to chemical and perfume smells and they may give you a headache, skin rash or affect your breathing.  Some people who smoke may not be as affected as those with an underactive phase 1. These people who smoke may have lung issues much sooner than those with a healthy phase 1. Part of this is due to genetics, but diet and lifestyle also play a large role.

These are signs that you may have a weak phase 1, meaning that you are not fully breaking down your toxins.  Those with an underactive phase 1 may also have issues detoxifying alcohol. 

Signs You Have an Over Active Phase 1

These are the people that tell you they can drink caffeine all day and are not affected. They may even have coffee right before bed and can still go right to sleep.  These people tend to have an over active phase 1 and an underactive phase 2.


Foods to Eat to Get a Sluggish Phase 1 Moving

  • Cruciferous vegetable such as broccoli, Brussel Sprouts and cabbage.
  • Oranges, tangerines
  • Dill seed and caraway seed
  • Foods that contain B vitamins (or take a B complex), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Iron and magnesium
  • glutathione (best source is grass fed why protein powder) which is a potent antioxidant
  • SOD (Superoxide dismutase) an antioxidant enzyme in the body but you can also consume foods rich in copper, zinc, and manganese to help boost SOD. These foods include crimini mushrooms, steel cut oats, green beans, white basmati rice, asparagus, sesame seeds, strawberries, and pineapple.
  • Flavonoids-think eat a rainbow of colorful fruit and veggies

If your phase 1 is over active, you can use calendula and turmeric to slow it down. 

Phase 2 of Liver Detoxification

This phase joins the toxins into pairs with a compound for it to be excreted by the body.  What it joins with depends on the pathway of which there are 6.  The methylation pathway, sulfation pathway, glucuronidation pathway, glutathione pathway, acetylation pathway and the amino acid pathway. 

Typically when problems occur in phase 2, it is underactive and it is not common for this phase to be overactive.

1. Methylation Pathway

This pathway detoxes estrogens, some neurotransmitters, histamine and some toxic metals. 

To support this pathway, opt of a methylated B complex product, along with foods such as eggs, beans, fish, onions, garlic, grass fed dairy and grass fed organic meat, leafy greens.  Also include adequate amounts of protein and magnesium.  (Majority of people will need to supplement with magnesium)

Having a poor functioning methylation pathway can lead to degenerative diseases such as dementia, cancer and CVD.

2. Sulfation Pathway

This pathway detoxes bile acids, some neurotransmitters, some medications and chemicals and some hormones such as estrogens, testosterone, and thyroid hormone. 

To support this pathway, consume egg yolks, onions, garlic, cruciferous vegetables and grass fed, organic dairy

3. Glucuronidation Pathway

This pathway detoxifies some common medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), morphine and diazepam (Valium) as well as food additives and some hormones.  Fluoride, aspirin and a medication called Probenecid (used for Gout) can suppress this pathway.

Support this pathway by adding in SAMe and calcium D-Glucarate

4. Glutathione Pathway (GSH)

GSH is a powerful antioxidant found in the mitochondria of every cell and is a powerful detox agent.  In the liver it conjugates up to 60% of the toxins in the bile. High toxin levels and/or extensive fasting can deplete your GSH levels.  If you are deficient in zinc, selenium, B2 or B6, this can inhibit this pathway.

GSH will help to detoxify the body from some medications, nicotine, bacterial toxins, toxic metals, ethyl alcohol and more. 

Add in grass fed whey protein powder, sulfur rich foods such as egg yolks, onion, garlic and cruciferous vegetables, and vitamin C rich foods such as peppers and citrus.     

5. Amino Acid Conjugation

This pathway detoxes aspirin, nicotinic acid, plant fatty acids and Benzoate.  This pathway can be inhibited by a low protein diet.  This pathway may function poorly if you have alcohol related liver issues, hypothyroidism, chronic arthritis, excessive chemical exposure, hepatitis, or carcinomas. 

Support this pathway by increasing the amount of protein you consume. Ideally sources that contain glycine, taurine, glutamate and arginine. Grass fed Whey or bone broth are good options to add in. 

6. Acetylation Pathway

This pathway detoxes sulfa drugs, other medications, serotonin, histamine, choline, caffeine and tyramine. 

This pathway is dependent upon Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B5.


How do you know which pathway you should address?  The odds are you may have more than one pathway that is being inhibited. It is important to add in the needed supplements and consume a whole food, healthy diet.  There are supplements that contain herbs, vitamins and minerals that support both phase 1 and phase 2. 

Why Detoxification is So Important

Your body is constantly detoxifying and ridding itself of harmful substances.  Your health is so dependent upon the effectiveness of these detox pathways. Just one phase or one pathway not functioning properly can lead to health issues. 

And it can lead to not only physical health issues but mental health ones as well. Your body can accumulate toxins in your fatty tissues for years. This isn’t just that belly or hip fat, but also the fat in your brain and endocrine glands.  Toxin accumulation can lead to brain dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, exhausted adrenal glands, early menopause and premature aging. 

While the body is a detox machine with its various pathways, modern life can place a burden on these pathways causing a toxic overload where the body cannot keep up.  Our bodies were not made to handle the constant attack of toxins coming at us daily from our food, water, air, soil, body and household products. 

The liver is a very important detoxification organ, but remember that it is not the only detox system that you have.  Other pathways include the respiratory system, gastrointestinal systems, urinary, skin and lymphatic system. 

Try to reduce the burden placed upon your liver (and other detox pathways for that matter)d.  Avoid eating and drinking out of plastics and don’t ever microwave food in plastic. Also, don’t put plastic containers in the dishwasher, and instead wash these by hand.  Switch over to a filtration water system for your home and take water with you when you are out and about.  Read labels so that you can avoid many food additives, chemicals, dyes and artificial sugars.  Purchase organic as much as you can and opt for grass fed meats and dairy.  Reduce or eliminate caffeine and alcohol. 

Because it can be expensive and difficult to know what supplements you need, I like a product called Detoxification Factors Phase 1 and Phase 2 by Integrative Therapeutics and this can be purchased via my online apothecary fullscript.com 

Bottom Line: You cannot avoid all the toxins that you are exposed to unless you want to live life  in a bubble, but you can reduce exposure by addressing the toxins you have control of. By getting adequate amounts of exercise and movement into your life, using relaxation and stress techniques, choosing safe products and eating a whole foods diet along with targeted supplementation, you will be supporting all your pathways by limiting the toxic burden placed upon them. 


Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutics in Nutrition.  CA: Bauman College. 





If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.


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5 Ways to Achieve Weight Loss

5 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing the Weight


While I do not specialize in weight loss, I find that weight loss is still one of my client’s top goals.  I’m all about root causes. There is no one right diet for everyone and no one right diet for your entire life time.  I see people that are eating healthy, or eating very little yet they are still struggling to drop weight. Here are some things that could be hindering your weight loss from a root cause perspective

Undiagnosed Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Using Synthetic Thyroid Medication

You can be struggling with thyroid issues for years before your doctor finally diagnosis it.  And that is if she will do the correct thyroid testing.  The thyroid controls metabolism and hence when the thyroid function slows down so does the number of calories you burn up. 

Once you know that your thyroid is not functioning properly, and this includes the autoimmune condition, Hashimotos, work with someone to address your root causes so that you can support proper thyroid functioning and autoimmunity too if need be. While medications may help you, they do not help everyone and some need extra nutritional support.  In addition to that, while medication may be needed, it still does not address the root cause for your hypothyroidism.

Many also don’t get the results they hope for by using synthetic medication since it is made up of T4 which needs to convert into the active form, T3, for your thyroid to function optimally.  Seek out a health professional who supports using natural desiccated thyroid which has some T3, the active hormone in it.  (you may need to call around until you find an MD who has a more holistic view or opt for seeing a naturopath for your thyroid medication). One way to find the right doctor is to call the compounding pharmacy in your area and ask if they will give you the names of local doctors that prescribe natural desiccated thyroid hormone replacement.

Systemic Inflammation

Obesity has inflammation as a root cause.  What can trigger inflammation in the body includes your diet, toxins and food sensitivities to name several.  But let’s focus on how your diet can cause inflammation. 

A diet high in refined and processed foods such as sugar, flour, oxidized oils, and heavy on the starches such as from a diet of pasta and bread can all cause inflammation and lead to weight gain.  Ever see someone with a “puffy” face?  That is usually a sign of inflammation. 

Many people think that because they are “paleo” or “vegan” or “vegetarian” that they must be eating a healthy diet.  This is not always the case.  A paleo diet too high in meats (and not grass fed or organic), a vegan diet high in grains and a vegetarian diet high in dairy can all cause inflammation. 

Any diet, whether you are vegetarian, vegan or a meat eater, should be plant based.  Think 70-80% of your meals should be leafy greens, herbs, spices and crunchy vegetables.  Then you can add in your beans or your grass- fed meat along with healthy fats from avocado, EVOO or coconut.  If you want to reduce inflammation and lose weight, these changes need to be made. 

Avoid oils such as canola, soy bean and vegetable oil.  These are high in omega 6’s. While we need some omega 6’s in our diet, we are getting too much, and this leads to inflammation.  On top of that, by the time you use these oils, they are rancid, which contributes to free radical damage in the body (and again leads to inflammation).  Choose healthier options such as coconut, avocado or “real” extra virgin olive oil (avoid the fakes which are blends of olive oil mixed with cheaper oils such as canola). 

Hormone Imbalances

Having too much estrogen is more common today than people realize and if there is an imbalance of estrogen with your other sex hormones, this can cause weight issues.  This is not only an issue in women but is occurring in men with more frequency (i.e.: “man boobs”).


 Too much estrogen can be caused by our diet and lifestyle.  Too much sugar and excess alcohol

can lead to estrogen dominance.  Xenoestrogens, which come from plastics, are also hormone disruptors, and can create unbalance.  Foods sprayed with chemicals (GMO crops) are also a contributing factor.  If your weight gain is caused by excess estrogen, you will typically have the weight gain in the hips, thighs and upper arms.


A low- fat diet, which I think more people are now realizing, is not the healthiest diet, can reduce your cholesterol levels into the “too low range”. While western medicine may tell you that the lower your cholesterol, the better for you, studies indicate this is not true and in fact, cholesterol at 160 and below is linked to mental health issues and an increase in suicidal ideation.  We need cholesterol. In addition to this, having cholesterol that is too low can contribute to low testosterone.  Men and women both need testosterone (just in different amounts).  For women, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which is associated with insulin resistance and elevated testosterone, can also lead to weight gain.  This weight is typically around your middle as belly fat. 


Constipation can also lead to hormone imbalances. My mantra is “you are what you do not eliminate”.  This is so important, because excess estrogen gets eliminated via the bowels. If you do not eliminate, it recirculates and makes its way to fatty areas of the body. 


Balance your hormones if you want to lose weight. Get rid of the plastics (and do not microwave plastic containers), eat plenty of fiber rich foods such as fruit and vegetables and reduce the alcohol and refined foods in your diet.  Avoid foods that contain added hormones such as beef and dairy that is injected with growth hormones (chose grass fed). Avoid GMO’s and sprayed foods as much as possible and include healthy fats in the diet. 

Poor Gut Health



Studies have shown that those with specific strains of good bacteria in their gut are able to maintain a healthy weight. They also found that those who are missing these healthy strains and have more “bad” bacteria in the gut, tend to be overweight.  Thus, having good bacteria can aid in weight loss and having more bad bacteria and less diversity in the gut can lead to weight gain.  Some bacteria can cause inflammation while others can reduce inflammation. 

Think of your microbiome as a garden. Does your garden have a lot of plants, or just one type or is it filled with weeds?  You want diversity and more plants and fewer weeds!  Add in probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kimchee, kombucha and fermented vegetable. Add in prebiotic rich foods too. Think of this as the rich soil to help your plants grown.  Prebiotics are the food for your probiotics. These foods include asparagus (raw), onion, garlic (raw) and not too ripe bananas. 

In addition to this, food sensitivities that are undiagnosed, can lead to intestinal permeability and this can lead to weight gain.  You can do a trial elimination diet or you can get tested. 

Too Much Stress!

person holding binders stressed

Yes, just by being stressed, you can hinder weight loss.  When you are stressed, the adrenals increase cortisol production to help you manage the extra stress. This is a good thing, in the short term. The problem is that you may have chronic stress.  This leads to constant cortisol production. 

Think about it.  Synthetic cortisol such as prednisone is known for causing weight gain and diabetes.  This is an example of what high cortisol production caused by chronic stress can do to our bodies. 

While we all have stress in our lives, knowing how to control it can help reduce belly fat and elevated cortisol levels and other health conditions associated with stress such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. 

To help manage stress you can add in meditation, yoga, deep breathing, emotional freedom technique (also called tapping), or just setting aside some time for yourself daily. 

Support your body when under stress with nutritionally dense foods (stress uses up nutrients such as your vitamin B’s, magnesium and vitamin C) and Adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic herbs help us to adapt to the stress in our lives.  My favorites are Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. 


Bottom Line: If you feel like you have tried every diet out there and still cannot keep the weight off and don’t want to spend more money on another diet book, diet plan and another exercise program, then work with someone who can address your root causes to weight loss and help you with an individualized plan to help you succeed.


Hoffman, R. 10 Reasons Why It’s Not Your Fault You’re Fat. Health E Times, Issue 2, 2017.





If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Candida, Depression, Brain Fog, Weight Gain and More

Candida and Its Impact on Your Health


Most people are unaware that they have a candida issue.  Candida normally lives in harmony with other gut bacteria but if this balance gets disturbed this is when problems can occur and the candida yeast can proliferate.  It normally resides in the intestinal tract, mouth, esophagus, and genitals. However, it can lead to leaky gut and then it will enter the blood stream and make its way to any organ in the body. Thus, every organ in your body is at risk of damage. To make matters worse, candida emits over 70 different toxins into the body. 

Yeast prefers dark, warm places to grow and thrive such as in your nose, throat, mouth, and intestinal tract and genital area.  It thrives on sugar for growth and development. 

The body will always have some yeast but the goal is to rebalance the body and recolonize the good bacteria in our gut so that there is less of the candida yeast.  At normal levels, candida is harmless.

How an Overgrowth of Yeast Can Lead to Problems

Candida can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome, impacting gut health.  The overgrowth of yeast can take over, dominate the good bacteria in the gut and thus fungal dysbiosis occurs.  This yeast can change into a more invasive form that will secrete enzymes that break down the cell membrane thus causing a leaky gut.  To learn more about Leaky gut syndrome click http://trufoodsnutrition.com/5157-2/

Now that the gut is more permeable, toxins, can leak into the blood stream causing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue and depression.  In addition to this, partially digested food particles can now leak into the blood stream, creating inflammation and possibly food sensitivities.  When the yeast crosses into the blood stream, an area that it does not belong in, the body can trigger the creation of antibodies by the immune system, leading to an autoimmune disease such as celiac disease or Hashimotos since these antibodies can cross react with the skin (psoriasis), joint tissue (rheumatoid arthritis) or even the brain (MS, Parkinson’s disease). While most people would never associate an overgrowth of yeast with an autoimmune disorder, it is something that does need to be taken into consideration. 

While yeast may have been your original issue, now you are faced with a host of ailments, many which your health professional cannot figure out or just gives you a medication for. 

Common Causes of Yeast Overgrowth

fast food burger

(for more information see my article on Candida and ADHD here )

  • Standard American Diet. This refined, highly processed and high sugar diet contributes to yeast overgrowth
  • Antibiotic usage. Even just one round of antibiotics can upset the balance in the gut. Don’t forget the added antibiotics from CAFO (confined animal factory operations) meat. 
  • Elevated hormone levels. This can be caused by medications such as prednisone, birth control pill, pregnancy and chronic stress.
  • Acid Suppressing medications such as Prilosec and Prevacid.
  • Alcohol: If you are a heavy drinker, you automatically consume too much sugar. While the alcohol excess is an issue in and of itself, the candida from the alcohol can make a bad situation worse.

Some of the More Common Candida Symptoms

Please note that many of these symptoms can also be symptoms due to other health issues. Always work with your holistic health professional to get to your root cause.

  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Brain fog, forgetfulness
  • Bloating, gas
  • Diarrhea, constipation
  • Urinary frequency
  • Itchy bottom
  • Sore throat
  • Athletes foot
  • White coating on tongue
  • Cravings for sugar, refined high carb processed snacks
  • Cravings for alcohol
  • Painful cracks at corners of mouth
  • Acne
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic sinus infections

Restoring Balance in the Gut


When addressing gut health and restoring balance, take into consideration other systems that have been affected due to the overgrowth of the candida. This includes (but not limited to) the adrenals, liver, blood sugar and immune system. 

  • Vitamin C: Add in foods rich in this vitamin as it is critical for the immune system. It also assists with the detox process. Foods to include would include broccoli, cabbage, watercress, and citrus fruits to name a few. 
  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s): Essential fatty acids are used in every cell in the human body. Because candida overgrowth leads to leaky gut syndrome and systemic inflammation, it is important to add in foods that are rich in Omega 3’s since they have been shown to reduce inflammation.  They can reduce the cause of the inflammation and reduce the inflammation that exists. Food sources include wild caught Alaskan Salmon, pasture raised eggs and grass- fed beef.
  • Probiotics: These are the friendly bacteria that live in your gut and help to break down your food. They are vital for a strong immune system. There is constantly new research on the importance of various healthy strains that reside in our gut. Healthy bacteria strains have been associated with maintaining a healthy weight, reduces risk of allergies, asthma, depression, anxiety and much more.  Thus, having a healthy gut is vital to all aspects of your health! Add fermented foods to your diet. These are rich in the good bacteria. Fermented foods include raw fermented sauerkraut and other vegetables, kimchee, miso, kombucha, kefir and raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. 
  • Prebiotics: Think of these as the food for your probiotics. For your probiotics to thrive in the gut, they too need their healthy food! This comes from foods that contain resistant starch.  Resistant starches go through the stomach and the small intestine undigested and reach the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut.  Think of resistant starches as food for your gut to keep it healthy.  Resistant starches, also called prebiotics, can come from foods such as raw garlic, raw onion, leeks and chicory root. You can also supplement with products such as FOS or inulin.  These can cause stomach upset, gas and bloating for some.  Another option is to purchase acacia gum which is the resin from the acacia tree.  It comes in a powder.  This is a powerful prebiotic source and one that typically does not cause any digestive complaints. 
  • Caprylic Acid: This is a very effective antifungal. It is one of three fatty acids that are found in coconut oil.  It can kill candida cells and can restore stomach acidity to normal levels.  It is best to combine Caprylic acid with other antifungals during your candida cleanse.  Add in unrefined organic coconut oil into your diet. 
  • Antifungal Herbs: Herbs that have antifungal properties include olive leaf, oregano, Pau D’Arco, allicin from garlic, and grape fruit seed extract. You can start off by adding in raw garlic to your diet. Chop your garlic and let it sit for several minutes to activate the allicin.  Then use it raw such as in your salad dressing.
  • Enzymes: Once candida enters the blood stream and reaches into other parts of the body, such as your sinus cavity, or worse your brain, it can be difficult to eradicate. The candida has a sticky biofilm to protect it from antifungal herbs and medications. Because of the biofilm, the candida can continue to grow and flourish and the biofilm protects the candida from your immune system.  There are enzymes that can break down the cell wall, degrading the biofilm.  These enzymes include cellulase and hemicellulase. Thus, the body can now activate an immune response against the candida overgrowth. 
  • Foods to Avoid: the white stuff-think stuff made with flour and sugar. High simple carb foods convert to sugar in the blood stream, so not only do you need to remove the donuts and cookies but the pasta and the bread too.  While beans and legumes and non- gluten grains are a healthy addition to the diet, it is best to avoid them early on when eliminating candida.  They are high in carbs and should kept to a minimum at the very least.  Avoid and limit foods and meals such as beans and rice, quinoa bowls and non- gluten pastas and breads too.  Keep dairy and gluten out of the candida diet
  • Foods to Add in: Think whole foods! Add in more vegetables and proteins and fats. Limit starchy carbs such as potatoes and squash.  Meals could look like chicken, beef or salmon with a large salad with avocado slices with roasted asparagus or sautéed broccoli or steamed carrots with grass fed butter or ghee with a spoonful of fermented sauerkraut. 


Add in nutritional yeast to make cheesy recipes. Add in lemons and limes for more flavor.  Use spices and herbs. Try nuts and seeds in recipes and use them as a great snack. 


If you need to sweeten things up a bit, try stevia or pure monk fruit (read label as many monk fruit products are mixed with other ingredients)


Bottom Line: If you think you have candida, a health professional can order tests, use assessment and questionnaires and do a thorough health intake to determine if candida is causing your symptoms.  You don’t need to suffer with candida. It does take some time to eradicate, so be patient! Hopefully within a few months you will start to see improvements.



Bauman, E., & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition. CA: Bauman College

Hoffman, D. (2003) Medical Herbalism. The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. VT: Healing

   Arts Press.

Levin, W & Gare, F. (2013) Beyond the Yeast Connection. CA: Basic Health Pub., Inc.

Mars, B. (2007) The Desktop Guide to Herbal Medicine. CA: Basic Health Pub., Inc

Murray, M, Pizzorno, J, & Pizzorno, L. (2005) The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. NY: Atria Books. 

Nichols, T. & Faas, N. (2005) Optimal Digestive Health. VT: Healing Arts Press.



If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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Probiotics Can Reduce Depression

Probiotics and Depression


Gut health is a popular subject lately and for good reason.  As Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the Gut”.  We are only now beginning to understand how true this is, for our physical and mental health. 

Your gut is made up of bacteria.  We need to have a balance between the “good” and “bad” bacteria.  Research is indicating that having more good bacteria in our gut can impact our overall mood.  Using probiotics for depression remains controversial but data is showing that this can have a positive impact on our well-being. 

A study (1) done in 2016 showed that probiotic supplementation had a positive impact on those with depression who were under the age of 60.  (It did not show improvement in those over 65).  We need to face the fact that our brain and our gut is linked and if one is not working properly, the other is most likely not either.  A small study done in 2017 showed that probiotics reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.  (2)

Probiotic’s may also be helpful for depression associated with bipolar. In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, they looked at the microbiome of those with bipolar and those without bipolar.  They found that those with bipolar had significantly different microbiomes than those without bipolar.  They had low levels of two strains that have been associated with overall health.  (4)

Studies show that probiotics should be considered an adjuvant to standard care for depression since it may reduce oxidative stress and thus may also lead to an increase in brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF). (5) BDNF, a protein, is found abundantly in the brain and is found in both human serum and plasma.  Stress can reduce BDNF expression in the hippocampus. Recently BDNF has been shown to play a vital role in depression. This topic is still quite controversial and some research in this area differs. (6) There is a connection between low BDNF and depression but the verdict is still not in as to whether low BDNF is a contributing factor for depression.  At this time, we know we need to know more about BDNF and its role in depression. 

What to Take/What to Eat


Don’t stress out about the specific strains in your probiotics.  While we may see in the future, specific probiotic products made specifically for certain health issues such as depression, IBS, bipolar, anxiety or IBD, right now it is good to get a probiotic that contains a variety of strains.  You want diversity in your gut. 

While you may think you can swap out your antidepressant for a probiotic, this may not be the case.  Just taking a probiotic may not be enough to bring balance to the microbiome. (and please just don’t go off your medications. See my article on medication tapering here )

Just taking a supplement is usually not enough. It can be a good start but odds are, if you have depression, there is more you must do, including finding an individualized diet that is right for your body.

 The simplest way of doing this, is to slowly remove junk food categories from your diet. For instance, start by removing candy, and junk food that contains sugar such as donuts, pastries, and cookies.  Swap these out for healthier options such as avocado pudding, chia seed pudding, or nut butter with dark chocolate.  Then move on to another category such as salty snacks such as all the different chips and processed snacks.  Try not to replace with what may seem like healthier options (for instance, while Non-GMO corn chips are a better option, they still typically contain canola oil which is a refined, oxidized oil that contributes to systemic inflammation.  (depression can have inflammation as a root cause)

By removing the processed junk food from your diet, you will also be removing a bulk of GMO foods from your diet.  Glyphosate, the chemical that is sprayed on GMO crops has been shown to disrupt the gut and cause inflammation. By reducing the amount in your diet, you are improving gut health and reducing inflammation, both which are implicated in depression.  (3)

Probiotic Rich Foods


Adding in a variety of probiotic rich foods will be very supportive for your gut health.  Any type of food sensitivity should be addressed first by working with a nutrition professional and removing these foods since these will disrupt the gut causing leaky gut syndrome. 

Fermented foods will be rich in probiotics.  You can look up easy recipes to make your own but there are so many fermented products on the market now, that you don’t have to do this.  Look for raw fermented sauerkraut, Bubbies pickles, other fermented vegetables, raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar such as Braggs, kombucha, goat milk kefir, goat milk yogurt, kimchee, miso, tempeh.  Click here  for more information of fermented foods.



Look for a product that has a variety of strains. You can find most probiotics in the refrigerator section of your health food store. There are now also soil based and spore probiotics.  I personally use (and recommend for many of my clients) a spore based one such as megaspore.  You can mix and match. For instance, have some days with fermented foods and then days with supplementation.  You may need to work up to the probiotic dose as for some it can cause at first some digestive distress.  Even for those with sensitive stomachs, you may need to start off with fermented foods very slowly. You typically do not need a lot.  A dose of megaspore is typically 2 capsules per day and with probiotic foods, for most, 1-2 tablespoons per day of fermented veggies will suffice. 

Bottom Line

Adding in a quality probiotic supplement and probiotic rich foods is a good idea if you have depression. It is best to get tested for any food sensitivities first and to remove these foods from the diet.  Either way, dietary changes should be made instead of just adding in a couple of capsule of a probiotic daily If you want results.




  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27509521
  2. https://fhs.mcmaster.ca/main/news/news_2017/tie_between_probiotic_and_depression.html
  3. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/06/22/probiotics-depression-aspx?
  4. https://www.medicalnewsbulletin.com/bacteria-mental-health-gut-bacteria-linked-bipolar-disorder/
  5. http://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306987704004967
  6. https://www.nature.com/aps/journal/v32/n1/aps2010184a.html


If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.

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7 Herbs and 6 Supplements to Help You With Your Anxiety

Anxiety: 7 Herbs and 6 Supplements to Calm the Mind




It is normal to have anxiety in certain situations from time to time such as with public speaking or when on a job interview.  It becomes a concern when it starts to interfere with your everyday activities and relationships with other people.  While there can be many root causes for anxiety, while you are trying to find out what those root causes are and begin to address them, herbs and supplements can offer a welcome support. 

If a supplement helps you, you need to ask why?  Are you deficient in this nutrient and again, why are you deficient?  Work with a holistic professional to help you get to the very root of the anxiety. 

Herbs are a bit different.  Herbs can be thought of as helping the body to return to a place of homeostasis. The herb does not necessarily do the work for you, but supports the part of the body that was not functioning properly and helps that body system get back to doing it’s job. 

There are numerous natural remedies you can try to ease your anxiety.  Always let your doctors know about your supplements and especially if you are on any medications and/or are pregnant.  Speak with your practitioner before adding in any new supplements as they may interact with your medications. 

Don’t try everything on this list at one time!  Try one supplement or herb to see how your body reacts to it.  Give it time such as a month and if you do not see any results then discontinue usage and try something else. Not everything will work for you.  So if it works for your friend, it doesn’t mean it will work for you-remember our root causes are different. 


7 Herbs to Ease Anxiety

While there are many more herbs than the 7 listed here, these are well known and effective herbs that should not be difficult to find.

(this is a picture of lemon balm below. While not talked about here, it is another great herb for anxiety and depression)



Ginkgo Biloba: it has shown to be significantly more effective than a placebo for reducing anxiety. It can be useful if you aniety is combined iwht depresion and if you also have concentration issues.  Speak to your doctor prior to use if you are on blood thinners.  If you are prone to headaches, this can make them worse or increase frequency. Dose: 240 mg. to 480 mg of Ginkgo extract for 4 weeks. 

California Poppy:  use this at low doses for anxiety as at high doses it is best for pain and insomnia.  If using at high doses, do not drive due to its sedating effect.  California poppy can have an enhanced effect when used in combination with passionflower, chamomile and lemon balm.  Dose: .5-1 ml. of tincture 4 times per day.

Kava: many studies document the benefits of this herb for mild to moderate anxiety. It is not sedating.  Do not take if you have liver disease.  It is rapidly absorbed and thus can take effect quickly.  That being said, it may take using it a few times to get the full benefit from Kava.  Kava can also be used 30- 60 minutes before bedtime if you have difficulty sleeping due to a racing and anioius mind. Dose: 3-5 ml of tincture 3 times per day. Some people also like to use Kava root in a tea.  I think it tastes awful but that’s me….Or use in dried root at 200 mg.

Passion flower: this has been shown to be as effective as an anxiolytic drug for general anxiety disorder.  It is known to be useful for nervous tenstion, and when you feel restlessness and stress and anziety from overwork and feeling of being overwhelmed. It should be noted that because it is a gently herb, this one is best combined with other herbs for anxiety (even though I said to try one at a time!).   It is synergistic with Kava and might be best to use Passion flower in combination with Kava.  Dose:  3-5 ml. in tincture 3 times per day. You can use 1 teaspoon in hot water for a tea three times daily or use in whole herb extract capsules.  This herb is safe to take up to three times daily as needed.  It is a gentle herb so can be one to use with young children and the elderly. 

Valerian: this will help to decrease restlessness and can improve sleep. This herb is best used when getting ready for bed and to slow down a racing and anxious mind. Do not use this her when driinvg.  All herbs work differently for different people. I say this becauses I know some people who love valerian to help with sleep.  For others, it can keep them up all night!   Dose: 400-900 mg. per day of whole valerian.  This is often combined with lemon balm for an increased affect. 

Rhodiola: this promotes calmness.  Rhodiola is considered an adaptogen which helps the body to adapt to stress of daily life.  It also optimizes the immune system and hormonal balance. Dose: 500 mg. in a.m. on empty stomach of 3% standardized extract. 

Ashwagandha: this is another herb in the Adaptogenic herb family.   Taking 450 mg. in the morning can aid with energy, alertness and help you adapt to stress and anxiety.  Taking another 450 mg. before bedtime can aid for a restful night sleep.  For some, it may take a month before you notice the benefit so be patient because this is a wonderful Adaptogenic herb for anxiety and for supporting the adrenals during times of stress. 

Note:  If you have issues with alcohol, avoid tinctures and get in capsule/dried herb form instead.  It may be best to avoid Kava if you are a heavy drinker. 


6 Vitamins/Minerals to Help with Anxiety

fish oil supplement


Magnesium: a deficiency is associated with anxiety.  The average U.S. diet only provides 40% of our magnesium needs.  Because of our depleted soil, even the best eaters can be deficient in this master mineral.  Dose: I  like magnesium l threonate as this has the ability to raise magnesium levels in the brain.  The bottle may also be labeled as Magtein.  Follow directions on the bottle.  In addition to that, continue to eat magnesium rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, spinach, black beans, avocado and almonds

B Vitamins: these offer stress support and can improve anxiety.  Take a B complex to get all the B vitamins that you need. Stress and anxiety will use up your B vitamins so it is best to supplement this in addition to getting your B vitamins from food sources.  Dose: Depending on the brand and amount of B’s in the product, take two capsules per day and if under a great deal of stress take 2 capsules 2 times per day.  It is water soluble so you can’t over do it on the B vitamins.  If you are a vegan or vegetarian, you may also benefit from additional B12 support as B12 is only bioavailable for us via meat, poultry and fish. Work with someone who can recommend a good B vitamin for you that has the B vitamins in bio-available forms. Many B supplements have cheap forms that you may not absorb. So while it may say it is providing you with over 100% of the daily value, you may be only absorbing a very small fraction of that. Combine this with gut related issues and you may just be wasting your money. I personally like Thorne or Emerald Labs brand.

Probiotics: many animal studies demonstrate the benefit for anxiety.  Probiotics will help to replenish the good bacteria in the microbiome. Having a healthy microbiome is critical for mental well being.  It has been shown that our neurotransmitters originate in the gut and travel to the brain via the vagus nerve.  So if you want your GABA (your calming neurotransmitter) to be at optimal levels, you need to support your gut health.  Dose: In order to get the full benefits choose a multi strain probiotic and take one that has 20-50 billion organism.  Best results when taken with food. I personally like Mega Spore and use this one personally and with my clients.  Add in fermented foods as well.

Omega 3 Fats:  low DHA intake is associated with anxiety.  Studies show that low Omega 3 intake is associated with higher rates of anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. In countries where higher amounts of fatty fish is consumed, there are lower rates of depression and anxiety.  Dose: 1-2 g. per day of a fish or krill oil with high DHA.  Do not dose fish oil over 5 grams. Work with a professional who can guide you as to how long you need to stay at a therapeutic dose and when you can reduce the gram amount. For more info on DHA/EPA go to http://trufoodsnutrition.com/5095-2/

Lactium: this supplement contains a peptide similar to protein that is naturally found in dairy products.  Studies have shown that it can reduce stress induced anxiety. It does this by supporting the GABA receptors in the brain. It can also be useful if the anxiety impacts your sleep. Dose: From lactium.com, it advises to start with 150 mg per day for one month.  Use 300 mg. for 2 weeks for faster action during a particular period of anxiety and stress.  Use 600 mg. per day as needed, say for example, one day before an exam and on the exam day for immediate action.  Lactium can be difficult to find.  In the US you can try using the Life Extension Brand.  For outside the US, go to www.lactium.com to find products in other countries.

GABA: there is some debate over the use of GABA. Some say that if GABA is effective for your anxiety then it means you have a leaky BBB (blood brain barrier). Until I have more research, I recommend Source Naturals GABA Calm.  Your local health food store should carry this brand.  Ideally you want to support your gut health so that your own body can produce the GABA that you need but in the short term, you may benefit from a GABA supplement.  Food sources to support GABA include green tea, fermented foods, almonds, broccoli, spinach, oats and walnuts. 

Other Tips to Help Ease Anxiety


  • Avoid or greatly reduce the amount of caffeine you consume (reduce slowly to avoid headaches) Try green tea instead. This has less caffeine but also has stress reducing L Theanine in it.
  • Eliminate sugars, refined carbs
  • Eat more protein and healthy fats
  • Eat high fiber non-starchy vegetables
  • IBS and low blood sugar are associated with panic attacks
  • There is a connection between a healthy digestive tract and anxiety-fix digestive issues to support a calm mind
  • Include fermented foods in your diet
  • Anxiety can be associated with a copper/zinc balance with copper being too high and zinc levels being too low. (ask your nutritionist to do a zinc tally test with you)
  • For herbal support you can start out by trying teas that include a variety of the herbs mentioned above. Look for teas that say calm mind, stress reduction etc.…Sleepy time teas also contain some of these herbs as they help to calm the mind to help you sleep. (even though you may want to try one herb at a time to see how you react, many herbs that are used for anxiety have a synergistic  effect and can work well together).  I create blends for my clients and I have been told my “calm blend” has worked better than medications!
  • For situational anxiety such as during test taking or public speaking, Rescue Remedy may be helpful. It comes in a spray, lozenge or gum.

Bottom Line

If you do not address root causes, these are not much better than medications as symptom management (except not addictive and none of the side effects). If your anxiety is interfering with your life, work with someone who can help you.  There are many root causes for anxiety, such as low blood sugar, food sensitivities, thyroid issues, head injuries, systemic inflammation, contraceptive use and much more.  In addition to that, there are other compatible supportive therapies such as EMDR (if related to something that happened in your past), EFT (aka tapping), nuero-feedback or nuero-sculpting to name a few. 



Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2014) Therapeutic Nutrition.  Pengrove, CA: Bauman College. 

Bongiorno, P. (2015) Put the Anxiety behind you.  CA: Canari Press

Challem, J. (2007) The Food-Mood Solution.  NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Haas, E. & Levin, B.(2006)  Staying Healthy with Nutrition. CA: Celestial Arts

Mars, B.(2007) The Desktop Guide To Herbal Medicine. CA: Basic Health Publications

Walsh, W. (2014) Nutrient Power.  NY, NY: Sky Horse Publishing




If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need. 

Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Want more information, like her fb page here

As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.


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