Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

Garden Herbed Crust-less Quiche

I used what vegetables and herbs that I had on hand. Feel free to use the ones you prefer in this recipe as it is very versatile.

This makes a great make-ahead recipe to use for weekday morning breakfast or take to work for lunch.

Gluten, soy and dairy free

crustless quiche 2

Ingredients

  • 1 t. avocado oil and 1 T. avocado oil separated
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 cups greens of your choice. (kale in spinach work well but I have made this with mixed dark greens and came out great)
  • Other veggies: here is what I used but play around with this: 1 c. sliced mushrooms, 4 mini bell peppers chopped, 4 broccolini stalks chopped.
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast (optional but gives it a protein and nutrient boost and has a cheesy taste)
  • Mixed Herbs: I used what I had in my garden and did not measure. Here is what I used.  Rosemary, basil, green onion, chives.  Feel free to use fresh or dried and add according to your taste.
  • s/p to taste.
  • ¾ c. milk alternative (I like pure coconut milk as most of the boxed milk alternatives on the store shelves are filled with so much added “stuff”. I don’t use cow dairy as large organic farms have been getting through loop holes and these big dairy organizations have found to not be following true organic practices.) 
  • 5 pasture raised eggs
  • Organic cheese (optional) I did not add any

Directions

  1. Grease a 9- inch pie dish with the 1 t. avocado oil. Set this aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heat the 1 T. avocado oil in a large skillet. Add in the onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in the peppers, mushrooms, broccolini and the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Add in the leafy greens and sauté until they have wilted. 
  3. Add in the s/p and the fresh or dried herbs of choice
  4. Whisk the milk and the eggs together and cheese if using. Add in the nutritional yeast and stir. 
  5. Blend the veggie mixture with the milk and pour into the pie dish (to save one step, I measured out the milk in a large measuring cup and added in the eggs and yeast. Then I poured this and the veggie blend right into the pie dish and give it a good stir in the dish.)
  6. Bake for 50-60 minutes (mine in a convection oven took 45) until top is lightly browned.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

 

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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Natural Versus Organic Chicken and Which Should You Choose?

“Natural” Chicken Versus Organic: How to Decide Which to Purchase

Use this as a guide to help you make the best decision for you and your family

chicken

  1. Organic chicken is obviously more expensive. If you cannot afford organic chicken, look for local farms. Many use organic practices but do not pay for the certification since they are small operations. If you eat a lot of meat and poultry, you may want to consider buying these foods organic due to the high GMO and antibiotic content. 
  2. No chicken in the US can be given hormones legally. This is all chicken, organic and non-organic. 
  3. Antibiotics are added to the feed of non-organic chicken’s b/c of the close quarters they live in and thus the risk of them spreading infection and disease. Have you ever seen how these chickens live and the inhumane environment they are in? Keep in mind “you are what you eat and you are what your food eats”.   Go to http://freefromharm.org/animalagriculture/chickens-facts-industry-doesnt-want-know/
  4. Because non-organic chickens are given antibiotics in the feed, this can lead to drug resistant bacteria which can become an issue when you have a bacterial infection and your antibiotic won’t work. This can also lead to drug resistant bacteria in the chicken.
  5. Organic chicken contains more omega 3 EFA’s (essential fatty acids). This is because of the vegetation/insects that they get to eat. A grain based diet is higher in omega 6 EFA’s which leads to systemic inflammation in your body. (we need omega 3’s and omega 6’s and we need to get them from food or supplementation but balance is important.)  Most people tend to get too many omega 6’s in the diet and too little in the way of omega 3’s-you want to reverse this ratio.
  6. Organic chicken gets to eat insects and vegetation. Organic chickens eat a diet of organic feed and due to access to pasture also get to eat bugs and insects. Chicken that is non-organic is typically fed a GMO grain based diet and does not get these other natural foods into their diet. This GMO grain based diet in turn can then affect your health when you consume these foods on a regular basis. 
  7. Natural: This word is essentially meaningless. Most meats qualify for this such as beef, poultry and eggs. It is a meaningless adjective that just means that the product is minimally processed and no artificial flavoring, color or preservatives are added AFTER slaughter.  (The harm is done when the chickens are alive by adding in GMO feed, antibiotics and in the case of beef, hormones). 
  8. Outdoor space: Organic chicken is required to have a space. Free range a meaningless term here as the chickens may just have outside access of a small slab of concrete.  Organic chicken must have pasture access.  More than likely your small local farmer is going to be able to provide more pasture access than the large organic famer.   Either way, this is better for the chicken and results in a less stressed and healthier bird.  The confined chickens do not have room to roam, do not get sunlight, fresh air, and are stressed due to the living conditions and treatment.  They are also often injured due to the over- crowded space.

 

 

 

Organic Chicken

Non-Organic Chicken

(aka “All Natural”)

Higher in Omega 3 EFA YES NO
Hormones added NO NO
GMO Grain based diet NO YES
Antibiotics in feed NO YES
Outdoor Space provided YES NO
Cost Costs more

(chicken per pound on average cost $2.69 to $4.99)

Costs less

(chicken per pound on average  $1.50 to $2.48)

 

 

Sources

http://infectoncontrol.tips/2015/11/18/6-factors-that-have-caused-antibiotic-resistance/

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/benefits-organic-freerange-chicken-79319.html

https://paleoleap.com/just-cows-pastured-pork-poultry/

https://consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/03/cost-of-organic-food/index.htm

 

 

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

sugar

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

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.

Sources

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2015-12-23/5-signs-youre-suffering-from-candida-overgrowth-and-what-you-can-do-about-it

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

woman-holding-face-in-hands

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

kefir

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

sauerkraut

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.

Supplementation

 

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.

 

 

Sources

  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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Roasted Red Potato Salad

Roasted Red Potato Salad

roasted potato salad

Makes about 8 cups

Gluten, dairy and Soy free

Roasting the potatoes first gives this added flavor and is a nice twist from the traditional potato salad. This recipe can also be egg free if you use an egg free mayo. 

Ingredients

  • 12-15 small to medium size Baby red potatoes (not the large ones) or baby gold potatoes or a mixture (buy organic white potatoes)
  • 3 T. avocado oil
  • Dash sea salt and pepper
  • 2-3 stalks celery
  • 1 c. chopped carrots
  • ¼ c. chopped red onion
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T. fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/3 c. mayo (I like Primal Kitchen Avocado Mayo)
  • 1 T. ACV

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut up the potatoes into cubes and place on parchment lined baking tray. Drizzle with the avocado oil and season with s/p.
  2. Bake 20-25 minutes or until they are soft and browned. Let cool
  3. While they are cooking, mix together the celery, carrots, red onion, parsley and rosemary. Add in the cooled potatoes.  Mix in the mayo and the ACV. Serve as is or chill for one hour. 

Note: you can mix up this recipe by trying different herbs, using sweet potatoes, adding chopped sweet peppers or adding in hard boiled eggs.

 

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 and to sign up for the Tru Foods monthly newsletter 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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Medication Tapering What you Need to Do First

Tapering off Your Medications

What you Need to Do First

pills

Many people are anxious to get off their cocktail of medications as they end up not liking the side effects and/or they don’t like the way the medications make them feel.  I have heard numerous times “I tried to come off my meds and I felt worse.  I guess I just need them.” 

As a nutrition professional, I cannot tell you to go on or off medications since I do not diagnose, treat or cure. But that does not mean I cannot help you with your goal to go off or reduce your medications. 

Here is What You Need to Know Before You Taper Off Any Medication

basket of veggies

 You need to address root health causes first, not after you go off your medications. If you attempt to taper and still don’t know why you have the mental health symptoms that you do, then once you go off your meds you are left with not only the same feelings you had prior and the same unaddressed root causes, but may also now have nutrition deficiencies (some meds can cause nutrient depletion of certain vitamins or minerals) that can exacerbate your condition.

 

You need to support your body with a healthy diet (one that is best for you) first. This does not mean change your diet one week and then attempt to taper off medications the next week.  This does not mean to follow a generalized diet in some book.  Depending on your health issues and how long you have had them, you may need to restore balance to your body and be on a whole food, supportive diet for 6 months to a year before you should consider the taper process.  Your diet (and supplement) plan should be individualized based on your needs. 

 

You need to taper very, very slowly. By this I mean, you may need to use a razor blade to shave off portions of your medication instead of cutting it, so that you do the process gradually and slowly under the guidance of your prescribing doctor.  Yes, it does mean the taper process will take longer, but your odds of remaining off the medication instead of going back on will be greater.

 

When you are ready to taper under your doctor’s supervision, let your nutritional professional know ahead of time-she can create a supportive protocol for you during the taper process to help ease into the transition.

Why Changing the Diet First Is So Important in the Taper Process

Look at the chart below to see what the Standard American Diet is doing to your moods and what effect it has on your neurotransmitters.

fast food burger

Food/Substance

What it Does
Skipping meals Lowers serotonin
Refined carbs Lowers serotonin and dopamine
Low protein diet Lowers all amino acids neurotransmitters (NT’s)
Low B complex status Lowers most NT’s
Low EFA status Lowers serotonin
Stimulant use Lowers serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine
Alcohol, metals, other toxins Lowers most NT’s
Artificial sweeteners Blocks production of serotonin
Glyphosate (Roundup sprayed on plants you eat) Disrupts gut microbiome (thus will affect serotonin production since over 80% made in gut)
Cigarettes

The paper contains cadmium which damages the brain, also raises free radical status in body which is significant risk factor for dementia

 

Medications and Nutrient Depletion

pills in hand

Do your homework on the medications that you are taking. If the drug depletes certain nutrients make sure you are getting it from food and/or supplementation. Don’t forget to include the other medications that you are on such as antibiotics, acid blockers or cholesterol lowering drugs as all of these can effect nutrient status as well. 

For instance

Lithium (used to treat Bi-polar): Depletes folate and inositol

Prozac, and some other antidepressants such as Paxil and Zoloft (used to treat depression and anxiety): Depletes magnesium, CoQ10, B vitamins and melatonin. (These drugs may not deplete B vitamins but B’s are needed to make serotonin and dopamine and thus you should make sure you are getting adequate amounts)

Benzodiazepines (used for anxiety): Deplete melatonin, B12, Folate,

Antipsychotics: Some can deplete CoQ10, melatonin, B2, B6, B12, Folate,

Bottom Line: Work with a holistic nutrition professional to get to your root causes, address them, support your body and get it to a “good” place for you. Then have the taper discussing with your doctor.  Be patient.  Depending on how long you have been suffering, how long you have been on medications and how many you are on, this process can take months to years.  Be kind to yourself, give your body the time it needs to get through this process. 

 

 

Sources

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

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

Gaby, A.(2006) A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. NY: Three Rivers Press

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9155210

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10896698

 

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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Zinc Deficiency Signs and Symptoms and What to Take

Zinc deficiency and its Role in Mental Health

steak-1445122_640-1

By now you are familiar with a deficiency in B12 here, Vitamin D here  or  low magnesium and how it can have an impact on mood and behavior such as its role in depression, anxiety and ADHD.  But you may not realize that over 2 people billion worldwide are deficient in zinc and this mineral deficiency also plays a role in your mental health. 

It has been shown that a zinc deficiency leads to changes in the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex of the brain.  A zinc deficiency also leads to excessive amounts of glutamate activity in the brain.  This leads to brain inflammation and excessive free radicals and oxidative stress. 

View the symptoms below to see if this sounds like you. With a zinc deficiency, you may not only exhibit anxiety or depression but there are other tell-tale signs such as lack of taste or a skin issue.  

Zinc Deficiency Symptoms

woman-with-acne

I did not go into detail on each of the symptoms but I did address some of the mental health issues associated with a zinc deficiency in more detail. 

  • Weak immune system: When you first come down with a cold, take zinc acetate lozenges to reduce the duration of the illness. I like and use Enhanced Zinc lozenges by Life Extension.
  • Acne/adult acne: Zinc has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Research has shown that those with acne have lower zinc levels. 
  • Eczema, psoriasis: Rats and mice deficient in zinc develop a skin condition that is similar to psoriasis.
  • Hypothyroidism: Zinc is a cofactor mineral needed for thyroid hormone function. With decreased zinc levels, the thyroid can become underactive.  It also plays a role in converting T4 to T3 and is needed to bind active thyroid hormone to DNA cells. 
  • Depression: While it is known that B vitamins can make an impact for those with depression, it is not as well known that a zinc deficiency can also affect one’s mental health. A study found that rats fed a zinc restricted diet had depression, poor motivation and withdrew from social behavior. Zinc is also involved in the pathway for the body’s production of neurotransmitters.  Zinc is also necessary for B6 to be converted into its active form which in turn plays a role in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin.   
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of taste/impaired sense of taste: This along with the decrease in appetite can often be the first clue that brain inflammation related to a zinc deficiency is present.
  • ADHD: Zinc assists with the production and regulation of melatonin. Melatonin is an important factor in the pathophysiology of ADHD due to its modulation of dopamine. There have been numerous studies looking at zinc levels and the relationship to ADHD.  These studies have shown that those with ADHD have significantly lower zinc levels.  Four studies have shown positive results for zinc in the treatment of ADHD. 
  • Aggression issues
  • Brittle nails, white spots on nails
  • Body odor
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue
  • Slow wound healing
  • Sensitive to strong smells/strong odors
  • Anxiety: too much copper and too little zinc
  • Adrenal fatigue: uses up a lot of zinc
  • Psychiatric disorders in the elderly (65 and older) such as dementia, psychotic disorders, bipolar. One study found a high prevalence of zinc deficiency in the patient group versus the Control group.

Who is at Risk

  • Vegans/vegetarians: These diets tend to be high in copper and low in zinc.
  • Elderly
  • Athletes who sweat a lot
  • Pregnant women
  • Those with chronic digestive disorders (i.e.: low HCL, Acid reflux, GERD, IBD, IBS)
  • Chronic stress
  • During trauma, surgery, burns (to aid in healing)
  • Those with cataracts, macular degeneration
  • Those with celiac disease
  • Those who consume a lot of grains (the Phytates content blocks zinc absorption)
  • Those who eat the SAD and don’t get enough of zinc rich foods.

What Causes you to Lose Zinc

person smoking

  • Those who sweat a lot/athlete
  • Sugar/SAD
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Too much copper in the diet
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Infection
  • Puberty
  • Nutrient deficient diet/vegetarian or vegan diet

Foods that Contain Zinc

eggs

Many of your vegetarian sources of zinc are only as nutrient rich as the soil that it is grown in.  Our soil is depleted which means your food has less nutrients.  Plants sources due to the phytic acid may also not be bioavailable as zinc sourced from non -vegetarian sources such as seafood and beef. 

  • Beef/red meats
  • Eggs
  • Seafood (crab, shrimp)
  • Legumes
  • Spinach
  • Oysters
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cooked split peas
  • Sesame butter
  • Lima beans
  • Pecans
  • Brazil nuts
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts

*Phytates in legumes and nuts may inhibit absorption. For this reason, soaking is always a good idea!

What to look for in a Supplement

Vegetarians may want to consider zinc supplementation due to the difficulty absorbing zinc from non- meat sources such as from plants, legumes, nuts and seeds.  According to the Institute of Medicine’s report, vegetarians require 50% greater intake of zinc given that the major source in the diet is grains and legumes which contain high amounts of phytic acid. 

It is best to choose a high- quality supplement that says zinc glycinate, zinc picolinate or amino acid chelated zinc.  For general health, take 15-20 mg of zinc per day and take it with food as otherwise it will cause an upset stomach.  Therapeutic doses are higher and depending on the need, range from 30-75 mg. per day.  This range is typically safe for several months or longer but use therapeutic dosing under the guidance of a professional. 

If you are using zinc for general health, it is best to take it within your multivitamin/mineral supplement since minerals are interconnected and balance amongst them is important.  If you are taking zinc for therapeutic reasons, be sure to look at how much is in your multi (and what form it is in) and then add in a supplement to get into the therapeutic range.

Zinc must be in balance with copper due to competition for receptor sites.  The ratio should be 15:1 of zinc to copper. The foods that contain more zinc in a bioavailable form and less copper are oysters, beef, lamb, crab, shrimp, sesame seeds and macadamia nuts.  Copper is much easier to get from the diet than zinc and you can find some supplements that are copper free. 

Many Americans are too high in copper and too low in zinc.  For instance, this unbalanced ratio has been linked to schizophrenia, anxiety, learning disabilities and autism.  Copper can come from copper IUD, copper pots, copper pipes, dental amalgams, pesticides and medications such as oral contraceptives. 

Copper is also stored in the liver so it is also beneficial to provide liver support such as with dark bitter greens, beets and lemon water. 

Bottom Line: If you are struggling with a mental health issue, hypothyroidism or a skin concern, look at your diet to see how much zinc you are getting from your foods. If you have digestive issues, take into consideration that this impacts the assimilation of your nutrients, including zinc.  In the end, zinc may help you but most likely your issue is multifaceted and zinc is playing a role but is not the only component of your health issue.  For instance, if you are a vegetarian, zinc may not be the only nutrient that you are deficient in. 

Sources

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

Hoffer, A, Walker, M. (1978) Orthomolecular Nutrition. Keats Publishing. 156-7.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25290638

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25940914

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0082793

https://www.ncbi.mlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3796297

http://www.mdpi.com/2227-9067/1/3/261/htm

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15569527.2013.808656

 

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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Paleo Dinner Party and Secrets to Maximize Your Health

 A New Twist for Your Next Dinner Party!dinner-party

Chef Matt Curry will prepare a tasty Paleo meal while Nutritionist, Karen Brennan, will share her 4 secrets for Maximizing your health.

Let us do the work for you and your guests. Enjoy a delicious healthy meal and at the same time learn how to take charge of your health.

This will be a fun yet informative nutrition discussion with handouts and sample foods for all your guests.

You can host at your home in the Denver, CO metro area (and down to Monument, CO) or we will host the night at the Tru Foods home kitchen in Castle Rock, CO. 

This is for a minimum of 8 people and max 20 attendees. 

Cost $49 per person

This includes

  • Appetizer, dinner and dessert

  • Sample booster foods

  • Handouts

  • Nutrition Talk on my 4 Secrets to Maximize your Health

 

To reserve your date and for the details contact Karen

 at trufoodsnutrition@yahoo.com or 303-522-0381

 

For more information on who we are go to:

www.trufoodsnutrition.com

www.chefcurryscuisine.com

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Fluoride’s Impact On Your Health

Fluoride and It’s Impact on Your Health

glass of water

 

Myth: Fluoride is Safe

 

On January 25, 1945, Grand Rapids Michigan became the first community in the US to fluoridate the drinking water to prevent tooth decay.  What was not realized by citizens at the time is that fluoride is now considered a neurotoxin and can have many negative health effects from ingesting it. 

Fluoride is found in water, processed beverages, toothpaste and some medications.  Many of us are led to believe not only that fluoride is harmless but that we also need to consume it.  Fluoride is found naturally occurring in some areas and can lead to naturally high fluoride levels in some water supplies. However, just because fluoride may be there naturally, does not mean it is safe. Fluoride is for the most part added to the water supply and is not a naturally occurring ingredient.

Most countries do not add fluoride to their water, including 97% of western Europe.  In the US, more than 70% of the water is fluoridated.

Findings

toddler boy

Research is showing that children being exposed to fluoride can have various health effects.  Fluoride is now being associated with ADHD and other mental disorders.  A study looked at 4-17-year old’s and data was collected in 2003, 2007 and 2011.  They found that water fluoridation in 1992 significantly positively predicted the prevalence of ADHD in 2003, 2007 and 2011. The states that have heavily fluoridated water also have high ADHD levels. 

Not only may it be causing ADHD in your child.  But it is impacting our health in many other ways as well. 

There is evidence that fluoride impacts the thyroid gland.  It has been found that there are higher rates of hypothyroidism in areas of fluoridated water.  Fluoride has been shown to block the uptake of iodine which is necessary for adequate thyroid function.

Fluoride has been shown to have lack of effectiveness in preventing tooth decay. The CDC claimed that dental caries declined in the second half of the 20th century but they did not mention that this happened in all western nations, regardless of whether they had fluoridated water or not.  Most of these countries they looked at did not have fluoridated water. Dr. Mercola, in his article “You’re still told fluoridation prevents tooth decay, but science proves otherwise” sites various examples of countries that have eliminated fluoridation yet rates of cavities continues to decline. 

What Fluoride Can Do to Your Health

 

  • Linked to the lowering of IQ in children
  • It accumulates in the body over time so even though you may ingest small amounts, this builds up over years and can contribute to health issues. (think of that small amount of toothpaste that gets swallowed, not just one time…)
  • Kidney disease
  • Cause calcification of the pineal gland (pineal gland is responsible for melatonin production) hint: sleep issues?
  • Arthritis
  • Bone disease
  • Ulcers
  • Infertility
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Hypothyroidism (can block iodine uptake)
  • Disrupts the immune system
  • Uterine cancer
  • Cause ADHD symptoms

Where Fluoride is Found

toothpaste-

  • Toothpaste
  • Fluoride mouth rinse
  • Fluoride treatment from dentist office, applied topically to teeth (this may be the only benefit to using fluoride)
  • In your water
  • Medications such as Cipro (antibiotic), Flecainide (used to treat arrhythmia), Niflumic Acid (used for joint and muscle pain), Voriconazole (for fungal infections). These meds contain organofluoride which metabolizes into fluoride.
  • Processed drinks (that use fluoridated water to make their products) such as sodas, juice, sport drinks and some beers
  • Some dry infant cereals (more info at www.fluoridealert.org)
  • Teflon pans
  • Canned soups

Ways to Minimize Fluoride Exposure

cooking pot

  1. Switch to different cooking pots and pans such as cast iron, ceramic, glass, stoneware and stainless- steel cookware.
  2. Look for a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Just because it is a “natural” brand, does not mean it does not contain fluoride. The two that I like (no affiliation) are Revitin www.revitin.com  and Earth Paste www.earthpaste.com
  3. Use a fluoride filter system. I like the Berkey as it is cost effective and easy to use. (you will need to purchase the fluoride filter). (again, no affiliation) www.berkeyfilters.com
  4. Cut down on the processed drinks. You don’t need these drinks in your diet for many other reasons but this is one more good reason to avoid juices, sodas, plastic bottled waters and sport drinks. As for the beer, I will leave that one up to you. 

How to Flush out Fluoride

sushi roll

Dr. Mark Sircus states that chelation will not work to remove fluoride from the body and that the only method is to load the body with iodine as this will displace fluoride from cell receptors and will flush the fluoride out in the urine.  You can get iodine from seaweeds such as nori, wakame, kelp or dulse. Seafood such as salmon, lobster, scallops, cod and shrimp are also good sources of iodine. Foods that contain iodine, but in lower amounts, include cranberries, potatoes, strawberries and navy beans. 

If you decide to detox from fluoride, you should work under the care of a holistic professional as the detox may trigger some symptoms such as headaches, agitation and heart palpitations as the fluoride is being released.  In addition to that, most during the detox will also need additional liver support and nutritional support. 

If you are not sure if your water is fluoridated, request a water report from http://www.ofmpub.epa.gov

 

Bottom Line: You do not need to consume fluoride and in fact should avoid it as much as you can. If you have ADHD or hypothyroidism (or any of the above-mentioned health issues for that matter), consider the fluoride in your diet as a contributing factor. Minimize your exposure and detox safely under the guidance of a professional. 

 

Sources

http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laneur/articles/PIIS1474-4422(13)70278-3/fulltext

https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-015-003-1

http://www.newsweek.com/water-fluoridation-linked-higher-adhd-rates-312748  

www.fluoridealert.com

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/01/20/fluoride-denialism.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3890436

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/tswj/2014/293019/

http://drsircus.com/medicine/iodine/iodine-protects-fluoride-toxicity#_edn3

 

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 owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! 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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How to Know if You Have Hypothyroidism

Your Thyroid: Did your Test Results Come Back Normal?

(But you still feel like crap)stressed person

 

 

An underactive thyroid is not always the easiest thing to pinpoint when you have so many symptoms that seem random to you.  And only more recently are doctors starting to recognize that an unbalanced thyroid can have an impact not only on your physical health but your mental health as well.  The symptoms of hypothyroidism can also look like symptoms of other health issues, thus getting the proper diagnosis can take a long time.  If you see your doctor and share your symptoms of stress, fatigue, anxiety or depression, she may place you on antidepressants.

This may occur even after the blood work with the TSH test done. 

Stress, depression, anxiety, tiredness, and other emotional and mental states can mask a thyroid imbalance.  Depression is now the number one mental illness (it used to be anxiety) but are we not looking deep enough to find out what may be causing the high rate of these mental health issues?  Not to say that hypothyroidism is at the root of all mental health issues but it should be looked at thoroughly and from a functional range standpoint before  it can be ruled out.

 If you had your thyroid tested you ideally want your TSH levels to be in the range from 1.8-2.8 mIU/L.  (others state that most feel better when their TSH is in the range of .8-2.5) 

Normal TSH lab results are considered in the range of .50-5.00. Some labs have updated this and set the upper limit to 3.0 mIU/L.  What if your levels fall into this range yet you have many of the low thyroid symptoms?  Hopefully your doctor did a complete panel to look also at your T4 and T3 ranges.  It is possible to have signs of hypothyroidism when your TSH  levels are within what is considered the “normal range”. 

The issue most often arises when your doctor only tests TSH and this is in the “normal” range. The worst part is when you hear the doctor say “Your blood work is great.  You are fine”.  Yet, you don’t feel fine.  Instead they tell you it is in your head and prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.

Reference ranges on lab work may differ from one lab to the next and from one geographic location to the next. Experts recommend testing 120-200 patient samples for establishment of a statistically significant reference interval.  What I don’t like about these ranges provided on standard blood work is that it is there to diagnose disease for the most part, not to prevent disease. The other issue I have is that these ranges are based on the patient samples. Look at the average American nowadays. Does the image of health come to your mind or one of an unhealthy overweight person?

Functional ranges look at a smaller range so that health issues can be addressed before it turns into a full -blown disease.  

Make sure all parts of the thyroid get tested. You can have normal TSH and still have low thyroid.  Your T4 converts into T3 which is the active form of thyroid hormone and this conversion happens in the liver and needs an enzyme group  and selenium to make this conversion. Some doctors test TSH and T4 and still all looks good. You want to see the T3 test results too!  Essentially you want all the pieces to the puzzle not just a few. 

 

Functions of the Thyroid

  • Supports hair and skin health
  • Supports bone density
  • Controls respiration rate
  • Supports conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A
  • Maintains body temperature and tolerance to extreme heat or cold
  • Helps maintain muscle tautness
  • Controls metabolism-it controls the speed of every chemical reaction in all cells
  • Controls the rate at which cells burn fuel for energy
  • Supports mental acuity and memory
  • Supports serotonin synthesis
  • Sets heart rate tempo
  • Regulates cholesterol

 

  What Causes Hypothyroidism?

millet stalks

  • Most common cause is auto-antibodies such as in Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune condition)

o   Hashimoto’s is 7x more common in women, age of onset is usually 40-60 but 1-2% of school age children can be affected.

  • Genetics can play a role in autoimmune hypothyroid
  • Those with Hashimoto’s also have a prevalence for celiac disease
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Medications such as lithium, excess estrogen (i.e.: birth control pills), estrogen dominance
  • Cofactor deficiencies such as iodine, zinc, c, selenium, iron, vitamins A and B complex (can be caused from excessive dieting, anorexia)
  • Stress/elevated cortisol
  • Excess halogens (i.e.: chlorine/chloride, bromide, fluoride)
  • Leaky gut syndrome
  • Food sensitivity
  • Candida

The Difference Between Hypothyroidism and Hashimotos

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that effects the thyroid gland. The antibodies react against the proteins in your thyroid gland causing gradual destruction of the gland itself.  This makes it unable to produce the thyroid hormones your body needs.  It is essentially attacking self and seeing self wrongly as an invader. If your thyroid issue turns out to be Hashimotos than you have an autoimmune disease (AI).  All AI diseases need immune and gut support from a holistic perspective. 

With Hashimotos disease, you can have periods where your thyroid is functioning properly or even over active and you may have temporary hyperthyroid symptoms and then you return to hypothyroidism symptoms.  This cycling back and forth is common with Hashimotos. For instance, you may feel for a period, anxious, can’t sleep, have diarrhea, and weight loss and then followed by a period of depression, fatigue, constipation and weight gain.  Eventually, as the attack continues, the gland will over time have less ability to function.

Hypothyroidism is not a disease but is a condition.  It is a state of a sluggish thyroid.  With hypothyroidism, you have a problem with your gland. With Hashimotos you have a problem with your immune function. 

How Do I Know if I Have Low Thyroid/Hypothyroidism?

person sleeping

Symptoms Include:

  • Loss out outer 1/3 of eyebrow
  • Yellow bumps on eyelid
  • Chronic constipation
  • Depression, moodiness
  • Fatigue/chronic
  • Excess hair loss/thinning hair
  • Weight gain/slow metabolism
  • Cold hands and feet
  • PMS
  • Cry easily
  • Dry flaky skin
  • Nervousness
  • Slow heart rate and/or heart palpitations
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feel better post exercise
  • Can’t breathe deeply enough
  • Poor memory/brain fog
  • Low body temperature
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Trouble getting up in the morning
  • Increased number of infections
  • Dizziness/vertigo
  • Lack of sweating when exercising
  • High cholesterol
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Digestive issues (GERD, acid reflux, upset stomach, bloat, gas )

If you suspect low thyroid, see you doctor and ask for a hormone panel that looks at not just your thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) but your T4 and Free T3 and an antibody test as well to look for autoimmune hypothyroid. If your doctor does not want to do a complete thyroid panel you can get the test done yourself from  www.directlabs.com. Here you can order the free T’s, TSH and antibody panel for $159.  Most holistic nutritionists and ND’s can interpret and explain the results to you.  (note: testing is available in most states but not all)

                                             

Thyroid Dysfunction Causes

glass of water

Insulin imbalance: This can happen when you are eating a diet filled with processed, refined carbs and sugar along with weight gain.  This poor blood sugar control can also contribute to dysbiosis which is when the gut microbiome is out of balance.  This impaired gut health can lead to poor immune function, can stress the adrenals, slows your body’s natural detox process and can lead to hormonal imbalances.  These health issues can also contribute to poor thyroid function.

Stress: Not just one stressful event, but the daily chronic stress can place a burden on the adrenal glands and can alter the brains communication with the thyroid.  Stress can slow the conversion of T4 to the active form, T3, can slow the detox process of the liver, and can contribute to leaky gut syndrome.  This can lead to immune dysfunction which contributes to an increased risk of Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid condition. 

If you have adrenal fatigue, your thyroid gland can eventually wear out and lead to sluggish thyroid function. 

Gut infection: It is possible that correcting a gut infection such as H pylori can have a positive impact on the thyroid, especially for those with Hashimotos.  There is not a lot of research in this area but a study of ten patients did show this to be effective.  In order to heal a gut infection one must support gut health first with diet and nutrition and then address the gut infection.  If you address the infection first without supporting your body it is possible that it will be difficult to rid the body of the infection. 

Toxins: Research is showing that toxins may be responsible for changes in thyroid function.  This research focused on flame retardant chemicals.  Living in a home with a high amount of flame retardant chemicals has been shown to be linked to an increased rate of thyroid cancer.

Fluoride: A British study found a strong correlation between the areas where fluoride content was highest with a higher risk of developing hypothyroidism.  It was found that areas that had fluoride levels above .3 milligrams per liter (mg/L), the risk rose by 30%.  In the US the minimum standards for drinking water fluoridation are set at .7 mg/L. This means that if you live in the US your risk of hypothyroidism may be even greater.  If you want to know if fluoride has been added to your water, get a water report at http://www.ofmpub.epa.gov

Support Your Thyroid with Nutrition

balanced meal

  • Go gluten free: based on surveys many have found that a gluten free diet is one of most helpful interventions when dealing with hypothyroidism. Check your thyroid medications to make sure they are gluten free as most are but some are not! Visit glutenfreedrugs.com to check your medications.
  • Go Casein Free: Some people also find they do better without dairy in the diet as well. Dairy sensitivity testing is an option or remove dairy for several weeks and note how you feel.  Check packaging for hidden dairy.  Go to enterolab.com for stool testing 
  • Check your gut health: gut disorders such as celiac and h-pylori can interfere with the absorption of thyroid medications. If you want to know more about the gut and thyroid connection read “Hashimoto’s- the root cause” by Dr. Wentz.
  • Balance your blood sugar: Include protein and fat with every meal, eat every two to three hours at first and then as blood sugar balances you can go longer without eating; avoid fruit juice and processed foods; eat within one hour of wakening; don’t fast and if you eat carbs add some protein and fat to them.
  • Get your adrenals checked for adrenal fatigue: Questionnaires are available online, read Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. Wilson or take an adrenal salivary index test from direct labs. (Most doctors will mention this saliva at home test) Support your adrenals by reducing caffeine, add in relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation, include Adaptogenic herbs, get plenty of rest and balance blood sugar!
  • Include iodine rich foods for thyroid support such as sea vegetables and sea food, shellfish, iodized salt (switch out table salt for Himalayan or Celtic sea salt). Iodine’s main function is the synthesis of thyroid hormones. (note: test first, if you have Hashimoto’s you may not need iodine and may want to avoid iodine supplementation)
  • Water Filtration System: Fluoride in the water can block the uptake of iodine. Purchase one that also removes chlorine. The one that I use is the Berkey (www.berkeyfilters.com)
  • Tyrosine which can be found in cottage cheese, beef top sirloin, turkey and eggs
  • B complex: to get more of your B’s in the diet include nutritional yeast, organ meats, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts seeds, mushrooms and avocado and leafy greens (animal products are the only natural source of B12)
  • Selenium: low selenium correlates with low thyroid. Add in brazil nuts, crimini mushrooms, garlic, beef, fish, seafood, turkey and chicken (celiac malabsorption can cause selenium deficiency)
  • Zinc: pumpkin seeds, seafood, meat, eggs, lamb, peas,
  • Essential Fatty Acids: salmon, sardines, mackerel, canned white tuna, chia seeds, walnuts, pastured eggs, flax oil,
  • Ashwagandha: This Adaptogenic herb is known to help you adapt to stress and can help to balance hormones, including the thyroid. It can be useful to balance cortisol, promote insulin sensitivity, and stabilize your mood.
  • Guggul: This herb may enhance the conversion of T4 to T3.  
  • Vitamin A: butter, egg yolk, whole milk, shrimp
  • Vitamin D3: cod liver oil, seafood, eggs, liver, shiitake mushrooms, oysters, salmon, sardines, herring,
  • Vitamin C: yellow bell peppers, strawberries, oranges, limes, broccoli, kale, snow peas, watermelon, cabbage and white potato
  • Iron: iron supplementation is not recommended for postmenopausal women or adult males as too much iron can be toxic. Iron is a competitive nutrient competing with 10 other vitamins and minerals and thus iron should be taken away from your multivitamin/mineral.  Iron rich foods include liver, oysters, mussels, beef, fish, poultry, kidney beans, lentils, potato with the skin on, cashew nuts and tofu.
  • Thyroid Supplementation: use natural whole thyroid products as you need all parts of the thyroid, not just T4 and/or T3. If you have Hashimoto’s then start with a T3/T4 medication and then while supporting the body,  switch to a natural whole thyroid supplement-the reason being that for some the whole thyroid product may initially cause more antibody production. 
  • Eat balanced meals throughout the day, add color, variety to your plate, eat whole living foods!
  • AVOID: Bromine. This is found in pesticides, plastics, commercial baked goods, soft drinks and fire retardants. Bromine may play a role in poor iodine uptake and may lead to iodine insufficiency.
  • AVOID: processed soy products. Avoid sulfa drugs or antihistamines unless necessary. 

A Word of Caution: Please note that a holistic nutritionist will address hypothyroidism and Hashimotos differently. For instance, you may need to reduce goitrogenic foods in the raw state for hypothyroidism but not for Hashimoto’s. For AI, you will need to support the immune system.  Work with a professional who can help you feel better.  If your test results do determine low thyroid, it is still very important to rule out an AI thyroid condition! 

 

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 owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC. 

For more information visit  www.trufoodsnutrition.com

Get her Food Swap Guide here to get started on your health journey today! 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.

Sources:

Arem, R. (1999) The Thyroid Solution. NY: Ballantine Books

Balch, P.  (2012) Prescription for Herbal Healing. NY: Penguin Group

Bauman, E., & Friedlander, J. Therapeutic Nutrition. Part 1.  Pengrove, CA: Bauman    

   College. 

Gaby, A. (2006) The Natural Pharmacy. NY: Three Rivers Press

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

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

Marz, F. (1999) Medical Nutrition. OR: Omni Press

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/05/31/screening-thryoid-drugs-often-fail-to-relieve-symptoms.aspx?

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23378454

http://fluoridealalert.org/issues/health/thyroid/

https://news.kent.ac.uk/app/uploads/2015/02/Flouride-research.pdf

https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm

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