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Health Benefits of Butter

My clients love when I suggest they include butter in their diets. The only requirement is that it must be grass-fed butter or better yet, grass-fed organic butter.

Butter is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) produced in the colon. SCFAs are important biomarkers and protectors of colon health.

Contrary to popular belief, fat from butter, grass-fed organic meats and coconut oil isn’t what’s harming our health or causing the diabetes and obesity epidemic. The real villains: excessive amounts of sugar and starchy carbohydrates, super-sized sodas, fructose, factory-farmed hormone- and antibiotic-injected frankenmeats, artificial sweeteners, GMOs, trans fats and fast, fake, processed and packaged foods.

A diet deficient in fat, and eating low-fat and nonfat items (that are loaded with chemicals and sugar) increases risk of depression, mood disorders, dementia, intensify cravings and is linked to hormone imbalances, weight gain, dry skin and hair, infertility and reproductive problems.

As many of you know, my philosophy regarding food is to eat a variety of nutrient-dense, real foods, and that includes a variety of healthy, healing fats such as butter, clarified butter (ghee), avocados, full fat organic grass-fed yogurt, grass-fed meats, pastured (not pasteurized) eggs and poultry, fatty fish (wild salmon, sardines), coconut oil, coconut butter, olives and extra-virgin olive oil.

Fat is a necessary nutrient for healthy brain function, fat loss, hormone balance, energy, satiation, nixing cravings, beautiful skin and hair, healthy cholesterol and heart health, a healthy nervous system, immune system, gut health and cell membranes. Saturated fats found in coconut oil, grass-fed meats, pastured eggs and grass-fed butter are actually healthy for you.

"Reasons to Eat More Butter & the Health Benefits of Butyric Acid"

  • maintains the integrity of the mucosal lining of the gut
  • promotes colon health (increased butyric acid levels are associated with a lower risk of colon cancer)
  • feeds the good microbes; encourages growth of beneficial bacteria like Bifidobacterium
  • increases insulin sensitivity
  • lowers triglycerides
  • helps probiotics adhere to bowel wall and proliferate
  • boosts immunity
  • aids digestion
  • an energy source for cells
  • anti-inflammatory properties
  • beneficial for gut disorders (Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, colon polyps, leaky gut, IBD)
  • anti-microbial properties; enhances anti-Candida activity
  • modulates serotonin release
  • helps loose bowel function; regulates abnormal bowel movements
  • useful for ADHD (decreased butyric acid levels are linked with ADHD)
  • blocks the growth of bad bacteria in the gut
  • loaded with healthy fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)
  • butter is a rich source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potent anti-cancer agent, muscle builder, metabolic and immunity booster. Grass-fed butter contains 5 times more CLA than butter from grain-fed cows.
  • it’s delicious. Everything tastes better with a little butter.

Take home message: Go ahead and indulge in healthy doses of grass-fed butter.

Quality matters! Toss the inflammatory-promoting margarine, rancid, genetically-modified vegetable oils, canola, corn, cottonseed & soybean oils, fake butter sprays and frankenfats. Stick with the real thing: butter from grass-fed cows such as Kerrygold butter is a much healthier and more nutritious choice. Even better is organic grass-fed butter.

Schedule a free-15 minute consult. I consult with men and women around the world and with clients locally in the Phoenix area. I will identify the root cause of any underlying health issue and design a healing plan specific to your unique biochemistry so you can heal, experience vibrant health, and look, think and feel better than ever.

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Copyright © Paula Owens. All Rights Reserved.

This article is copyright material and may not be reproduced or copied without permission. Reproduction of this article may be shared and is permissible only when the instructions found at the bottom of this blog are followed. Thank you.

Vitamin L ♥ ♥ ♥ the Love Vitamin

Vitamin L ♥ LOVEVitamin L is commonly known as the “universal” or the “love” vitamin, as coined by humanologist, Bethany Argisle. One of the most important nutrients for optimum health is a daily dose or more of vitamin L. This vital human emotion, expression and experience is necessary for the optimal functioning of people and all of their cells, tissues and organs. It is found in most of nature — in foods, domestic animals, friends, and family — and is used to heal a wide variety of diseases. There are no toxic effects, but deficiency can cause a wide range of ailments.

Sources: As stated, vitamin L is found in a great variety of sources but must be developed and nurtured to be available. Fear, anger, worry, seIf-concern, and many other human emotions can destroy vitamin L. It is found readily in most mums and dads, and is very highly concentrated in grandmothers and grandpas. Vitamin L is also found in cats, dogs, and horses, in flowers and birds; and in trees and plants. In food, it is especially found in home-cooked or other meals where vitamin L is used consciously as an ingredient. It is digested and absorbed easily and used by the body in its pure state, being eliminated almost unchanged; in this, it is unique among the vitamins.

Functions: This vitamin acts as the “universal” vitalizing energy. Vitamin L helps to catalyze all human functions and is particularly important to heart function and the circulation of warmth and joy. Digestion is very dependent on appropriate doses of vitamin L, as is the function of the nervous system. Adrenaline, the brain endorphins, natural tranquillizers and other hormones are enhanced by vitamin L as well.

Uses: The list of uses is even longer than that of the functions. Vitamin L is an important nutrient in all human relations, domestic to international. We should definitely put it in the drinking supply! It is a vital ingredient in all health practitioners, doctors, clinics, and hospitals. Besides being referred to as the “universal” vitamin, Love is also known as the “vitamin of healing.”

Deficiency and Toxicity: There are rarely any serious problems from excess intake of vitamin L. Side effects, however, may include swooning, a strange feeling in the chest, goose pimples, and staring blankly into space. Usually, though, amounts many times the minimum requirements offer no difficulty and are often helpful. Abrupt withdrawal from regular vitamin L use could be hazardous, as the love vitamin is somewhat addicting. Most people more easily tolerate increased amounts of vitamin L though huge increases should be taken slowly to prevent the side effects mentioned previously.

Requirements: The requirements may vary from person to person according to a wide range of factors. There are no specific RDA’s (Recommended Daily Allowances) for vitamin L, although infants and small children usually require fairly large doses. The suggested minimum from the Chinese culture is four hugs per day to maintain health. Recently though, the International Hug Association (IHA) has changed its guidelines and suggests that a minimum of four hugs daily is needed to prevent vitamin L deficiency, six hugs a day for maintenance and ten hugs per day for growth.

The best medicine ---- a daily dose of vitamin L.

Red heart        Red heart       Red heart

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” - 1 Corinthians 13:7 (NLT)

The above is an excerpt from Staying Healthy with Nutrition, written by Dr. Haas.
Staying Healthy With Nutrition – The Complete Guide to Diet and Nutritional Medicineby Elson M. Haas, M.D.

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Tips for a Healthy Brain, Better Memory, Less Anxiety & Reducing Risk of Dementia & Alzheimer’s

Do you have trouble concentrating, forget things, experience brain fog, notice that your memory’s deteriorating, feel depressed for no reason, have trouble sleeping or always feel stressed out? Do you want to optimize your brain function and do whatever you can to prevent memory loss and dementia? If so, the info in this article is for you!

According to studies, dementia, brain inflammation and brain disease including Alzheimer’s disease is affecting more people under the age of 55, and has risen 92 percent in the last 31 years in people under 74 years old! Alzheimer’s disease (AD) rates as the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and one in three seniors currently dies with some form of dementia

The good news is your brain has the ability to regenerate, repair and change structure and function, meaning you can change your brain. This is known as neuroplasticity. Just because your Dad, grandma or any other family member had (has) heart disease, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, depression or Alzheimer’s does NOT mean you’re predestined to follow in their footsteps. Genes are plastic based on environmental epigenetics, which means we can alter which genes turn on and which genes turn off based on our environment and lifestyle choices including what we choose to eat and drink, lifestyle habits such as sleep, stress, exercise, environment, chemical exposure and toxicity, activity level, social circle, behaviors, thoughts, beliefs and level of consciousness. “Neurons that fire together wire together.” – Donald Hebb

Prevention is the best way to combat memory problems and mental decline, reduce risk of neurocognitive disorders and stimulate production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that supports memory and learning by stimulating the growth of new neurons and preserving existing brain cells. Diet, exercise, inflammation levels, gut health, lifestyle modifications and other aspects of our daily interaction with the environment have the potential to slow cognitive decline and alter our brain health and mental function. According to an analysis in the Lancet Journal of Neurology, more than half of Alzheimer's cases worldwide can be attributed to diet and lifestyle risk factors.

Following are tons of tips and helpful pearls to protect and prevent your brain from aging, s-l-o-w down age-related brain atrophy and degeneration, induce BDNF, improve memory and build a healthy, active brain with the four powers: Diet (Nutrition), Lifestyle, Exercise and Supplements

Food is Medicine for a Healthy Brain

  • The value of nutrient-dense foods and the impact on brain health is crucial. A Mediterranean-type diet is linked to lower levels of cognitive decline. Improve memory, brain function and mood with anti-inflammatory, nutrient-rich, powerful brain foods particularly dark leafy greens, broccoli and cruciferous veggies, asparagus, choline-rich egg yolks, cold water fish, sardines, wild (not farmed) salmon, cocoa, walnuts, turmeric, ginger, garlic, coconut oil, green tea, bone broth, and flavonoid-rich berries, especially blueberries.
  • Manage insulin and stabilize blood sugar. Hypoglycemia, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes impact brain health. Studies have shown a direct correlation between high blood sugar and brain shrinkage, brain inflammation, and an increased risk of dementia. High sugar diets are correlated to increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  In fact, those with diabetes are twice as likely to succumb to dementia, and insulin-dependent diabetics have four times the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
  • The brain is 60-70 percent fat and make up the structure of the nerve cell walls. Consume healing, healthy fats such as coconut oil, wild salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, butter, avocado, egg yolks and walnuts. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk for cognitive impairment or full-blown dementia is 42 percent lower in those who eat a diet higher in fat and lower in carbohydrates.
  • Studies show that coffee can delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, even in those who already have some form of mild dementia. Caffeine blocks inflammation in the brain and prevents the formation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrulary tangles.
  • Nourish and fuel your brain with protein at every meal. Protein contains amino acids that provide the necessary building blocks for optimal brain function. Amino acids derived from protein are precursors to brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Insufficient intake of protein is common in the elderly, those with depression and mood disorders.
  • Avoid offending foods that are detrimental to the brain, damage and kill neurons, promote brain inflammation, shrinkage, brain ageing, cognitive decline, degeneration and reduce levels of BDNF. These include sugar, HFCS, wheat, gluten, soda, casein, artificial sweeteners, chronic alcohol use, rancid vegetable oils, trans fats, soy, factory-farmed meats and dairy, GMOs, glyphosate, MSG, food additives, dyes and processed foods.
  • Hydrate! Brain matter is 77-80 percent water. Anything that dehydrates it (insufficient water intake, extreme heat, too much caffeine or alcohol) impairs memory, mood, performance, mental health, thinking and judgment. In fact, just a two percent loss of body fluid affects cognition and short-term memory. Invest in a water filter to remove chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals from your drinking water.
  • Spice it up for brain health! Turmeric may reduce plaque in the brain. Cinnamon, garlic and oregano increase blood flow to the brain. Rosemary, thyme and sage boost memory.
  • Choose organic as much as possible. Pesticides, antibotics, glyphosate and GMOs disrupt brain health, increase oxidative stress, risk of leaky gut, and neurological disorders, ADHD, autism, dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Fast 12 hours each night, including three hours prior to bedtime. Close up the kitchen and stop eating by 6:30 – 7:30pm. Wait until the next morning to eat. When your stomach is empty, a hormone called ghrelin is released in the memory centers of the brain. Ghrelin causes new connections to form between brain cells.

Lifestyle Tips for a Healthy Brain

  • The health of your gut has a profound impact on the health of your brain. Taking care of your gut is taking care of your brain. Digestive problems inhibit absorption of nutrients thereby causing nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances, anxiety, depression, mood disorders and brain dysfunction. The second brain is through the gut (gut-brain axis). The gut has more neurons and produces more neurotransmitters than the brain. Your brain is connected to your gut and vice versa.

An inflamed gut is an inflamed, irritated brain, which increases risk of depression, bipolar, mood disorders and dementia. Matter of fact, Parkinson’s disease actually starts in the gut! Most common early symptoms of neurodegenerative disease, especially Parkinson’s is lack of motility and constipation. David Perlmutter, MD, Board-Certified Neurologist and author of Grain Brain says if his patients have brain problems, he always looks to the gut first. He believes no organ is more susceptible to the damaging effects of inflammation than the brain.  

  • The gut-brain axis involves intestinal microbiota that are important in normal healthy brain function and have a powerful impact on the brain. The delicate balance of your gut ecosystem determines how you look, think, feel and function. The flora in your gut helps maintain brain function and has a profound influence on risk of psychiatric and neurological disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar, dementia, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Rule out gut infections with a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA). Underlying infections (bacterial, Candida, parasites, H.pylori, SIBO) and bacteria imbalances have a direct impact on brain function. Contact my office to order the CDSA test kit.
  • Make sure vagal tone via the vagus nerve to the stomach is stimulated. The vagus nerve is the longest of all our cranial nerves and creates a direct connection between our brain and our gut. This nerve provides vital information between the brain and the gut on how the body is digesting food. Those with low vagal tone are more sensitive to stress and disease, and tend to have challenges such as difficulty swallowing, increased heart rate, constipation and weak digestion. One of the best ways to naturally and effectively activate the vagus nerve is to gargle. Slow, deep diaphragmatic breathing and various relaxation techniques also activate the vagus nerve. 
  • Get plenty of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep deprivation, interrupted sleep and chronic insomnia is associated with brain shrinkage, memory loss, depression, cognitive decline, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Balanced hormones are critical to the well-being of your brain and cognitive function, specifically insulin, cortisol, thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA and testosterone.
  • Nothing is more damaging to the brain than stress, whether it be stress from processed, inflammatory foods, trans fats, fructose, sugar, food sensitivities, infections, oxidative stress, GI dysfunction, hypertension, smoking, poor digestion, autoimmune disease, excess alcohol, heavy metal toxicity, mental & emotional stress or sleep deprivation. These stressors cause brain cell death, cellular aging, impaired memory and learning. A study in the journal Neurology reported that women who were the most easily upset by stress and experienced excessive worry, jealousy or moodiness were two times more likely to experience brain dysfunction and develop Alzheimer’s disease. Stress was defined as anything stirring feelings of anxiety, irritability, nervousness, tension, fear or sleep disturbances. Turn off your stress genes and turn on your bliss genes modulate epigenetics. We are what we see, act, think, believe and feel.
  • Protect against oxidative damage and reduce oxidative stress (an overproduction of free radicals that damage cells, mitochondria and DNA). Oxidative stress has been linked to environmental exposures that have also been implicated in Alzheimer’s and cognitive issues. The brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. Think of iron or metal oxidizing; this is what happens on a cellular level as a result of a number of things including physical, mental, environmental, electromagnetic and emotional stress, immune dysfunction, chronic low level inflammation, high toxic load, heavy metal toxicity, BPA, PCBs, glyphosate, underlying infections, mycotoxins and excessive exercising. 
  • Rule out heavy metal toxicity. High levels of lead, mercury, aluminum, arsenic and iron present no discernible symptoms in the early stages. Toxic metal body burdens are neurotoxic, inflammatory and oxidative causing adverse symptoms that negatively affect the brain, psycho, neuro, immune and endocrine systems.
  • Balance body chemistry through a functional blood chemistry analysis to detect nutrient deficiencies, excesses and any underlying health issues. For example: cholesterol is an essential building block that’s necessary for optimal brain function, a healthy nervous system and immune function. A low HDL and low total cholesterol <160 is associated with memory loss, dementia, depression, stroke and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. High lab values including iron, ferritin, insulin, glucose, hemoglobin A1C, C-reactive protein and homocysteine are red flags that cause brain inflammation, accelerate brain aging and increase risk of dementia and heart disease. Other markers for example, high serum calcium levels is associated with faster cognitive decline. Low selenium levels are associated with lower cognitive function.
  • Avoid pesticides, GMOs, glyphosate, fluoride (a neurotoxin), flu shots, vaccines, non-stick Teflon cookware, obesogens, antiperspirants, mercury fillings, plastics and chemical toxins that are known to disrupt neurological function, brain health, hormones and cognition whether one is exposed in utero, childhood or adulthood.
  • Heavy drinking, alcoholism, drug use and smoking destroy brain cells, diminish brain function, shrink the brain and damage neurons.
  • Depression has been associated with an increased risk for dementia. Brain inflammation increases risk of memory loss, depression, anxiety and mental disorders. A common symptom of brain inflammation is brain fog.
  • Avoid pharmaceutical and OTC drugs. Anti-anxiety meds, antidepressants, antibiotics, sleep meds, statin drugs, blood pressure drugs, PPIs, pain killers and anticholinergic drugs like Benadryl are just a few of the drugs that negatively affect brain function and memory, change brain plasticity and increase risk of dementia.

Commonly prescribed meds for heartburn set the stage for later degenerative diseases by interfering with digestion and absorption of protein, vitamins and minerals. Taking benzodiazepines (the most popular ones being Xanax, Ativan, Valium & Klonopin) used to treat anxiety and insomnia is associated with memory problems and a 51 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease!

Excess calcium increases risk of ischemic stroke risk, heart disease and may have a direct neurotoxic effect on the brain causing brain lesions.

  • Prevent, treat and reverse lifestyle diseases: diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are not only risk factors for cardiovascular disease, but also increase the risk of dementia.
  • Lose belly fat. The bigger the belly, the smaller the brain. Obesity is associated with cognitive decline, lifestyle diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Take care of your teeth and your gums. Tooth loss, infections in the mouth and gum disease increase inflammation, heart disease and risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Support and optimize kidney and liver function. A liver that is congested, sluggish and burdened with toxins is unable to do its job filtering toxins causing memory problems and a higher risk of brain diseases. Viral, bacterial and Candida infections, OTC and Rx drugs, constipation, chronic alcohol consumption, fructose, and repressed emotions are just a few things that burden and compromise liver function.
  • Spiritual connection and a positive mindset. The brain can change its function and structure (neuroplasticity) creating positive neural pathways in the brain in response to positive emotions, experiences and thoughts, a positive outlook, gratitude, regular prayer and meditation.
  • Meditation is more than just a way to calm our thoughts and lower stress levels. Our brain processes more thoughts and feelings during meditation than when simply relaxing. Meditation has been shown to diminish age-related effects on gray matter in the brain and reduce the decline of cognitive function, improve memory, focus and creativity.
  • Challenge your mind and train your brain. Continue learning. As we age, not only do muscles atrophy without the appropriate stimulus placed upon them, the brain also atrophies. Play a musical instrument to engage both sides of the brain. Sing. Learn a new activity. Play games: chess, crossword puzzles, cribbage, word games.
  • As neuroscience expert and psychologist Dr. Rick Hanson says, “the mind and the brain are a unified system. As the brain changes, the mind changes. As the mind changes, the brain changes.” This means that you can use your conscious mind to change your thoughts and make lasting changes to your brain to bring about greater well-being, inner-peace and happiness in your life.
  • Music has a profound impact on the brains of humans, animals and even on plant development. Listening to classical music specifically releases neurons in the brain that help the body to relax. Music stimulates the left and right hemispheres of the brain at same time and enhances spatial IQ by increasing short and long-term memory and learning ability.
  • Essential oils such as rosemary, vanilla, sandalwood, lavender, frankincense, peppermint, sage and cedarwood boost brain function, increase circulation within the brain, stimulate concentration and memory.
  • Grounding. Spend time in nature…..natural medicine for the body, mind and soul. Outdoor activities alleviate symptoms of dementia, stress, anxiety, depression, and improve cognitive function, sleep and hormone balance.  
  • Unplug! Time for a digital detox from electromagnetic stressors. Less screen time minimizes EMF exposure that causes negative changes in energy levels, sleep, mood and reduces brain activity.
  • Other therapies to consider for the brain: chiropractic adjustments have a positive effect on the central nervous system. Acupuncture. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
  • Restore neurotransmitter balance. Neurotransmitter imbalances have been linked to Parkinson's, depression, anxiety, insomnia, addictions, ADHD and memory loss. Inflammation, poor blood sugar handling, nutrient deficiencies and hormone imbalances are just a few factors than can sabotage neurotransmitter function.

Exercise Tips for a Healthy Brain

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve memory, brain function, increase IQ, build new brain cells, and protect your brain. Researchers have found that exercise improves learning and memory and boosts the growth of new nerve cells.

  • Nature walks improve brain health, reduce depression and lower stress. Walking outside for just 20 minutes a day releases BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which increases the growth of new cells in the hippocampus, and protects and repairs neurons in the brain helping to improve memory. Studies have found that walk-friendly communities result in better outcomes for physical health, cognition and better memory.
  • Strength train. Researchers found that just 20 minutes of weight training improves long-term memory.
  • A study conducted at the University of Adelaide in Australia found that one 30-minute session of vigorous exercise makes the brain more plastics, improves memory and motor skill coordination.
  • Practice yoga, Qi gong and Tai chi to improve cognition. Research published in The Journal of Psychiatric Practice suggests that yoga helps people manage bipolar, mood and anxiety disorders. Yoga improves cognition, memory and balance. Inability to balance on one leg for longer than 20 seconds was associated with early pathological changes in the brain and functional decline. 
  • Your brain needs downtime! Take a mental break every day (nature walks, meditation, deep breathing, gardening, a nap or just daydream). As little as 10, 20 or 30 minutes does wonders to increase productivity, performance, memory, attention, creativity, motivation and relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

Nutritional Supplementation Tips for a Healthy Brain

Memory loss, mood disorders and cognitive dysfunction are linked to nutrient deficiencies. Clinical studies have shown that particular nutrients have a definitive link to cognition, mental disorders, learning disorders and brain function. A deficiency in just one single nutrient can alter brain function and lead to anxiety, depression and other mental disorders.

  • It’s critical to get an ample amount of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA, a potent anti-inflammatory and DHA, enhances communication between neurons and is a key component of all cell membranes found in abundance in the brain and retina. Even a slight omega-3 deficiency affects intelligence, attention, mood and behavior. EPA and DHA are used by the body to modulate inflammatory pathways. EFAs are essential for proper fetal development and healthy aging. Those with higher omega-3 levels have less brain shrinkage, neurodegeneration, inflammation, body fat, healthier hearts, and a lower risk of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. 
  • Vitamin D is essential for healthy brain function. Higher vitamin D status is associated with a 77 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease! A study in the journal Neurology reported that those who were moderately deficient in vitamin D (<50 ng/ml) had a 53 percent increased risk of developing dementia, and the risk increased to 125 percent in those who were severely deficient (<20 ng/ml).
  • B vitamins: folate, B12, B6 and thiamine are essential for healthy brain and nerve function. Folate deficiency can lead to neurological disorders, depression and cognitive impairment.
  • Magnesium is essential to maintaining healthy brain function and hundreds of other functions for optimal health. Magnesium enhances brain plasticity and increases the number of synapses, thereby boosting the speed of brain transmissions by 160 percent and increasing memory recall by 56 percent. Magnesium deficiency is a conributing factor in dementia and Alzheimer’s. Magnesium also plays a critical role in happiness. Magnesium threonate powder or capsules and magnesium glycinate are two of my top magnesium picks for brain health.
  • Curcumin, a compound from turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that lowers blood sugar and inflammation, both of which are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline. Curcumin protects the brain from lipid peroxidation, inflammation, free radicals, oxidative stress and neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Probiotics reduce brain inflammation, support proper brain development and function, have a positive influence on gut health, the microbiome, and can actually change brain chemistry. There is a close connection between healthy gut flora and a healthy brain. Certain strains of bacteria have the ability to stimulate the production of BDNF and normalize the gut-brain-microbiota axis.
  • N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) is a powerful free radical scavenger and potent antioxidant that is necessary for glutathione production. Studies have shown that NAC reduces depressive and manic symptoms in those with bipolar disorder and is beneficial for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), ADHD, addictions, autism, schizophrenia, depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (R-ALA) has been shown to reduce cognitive decline, neutralize free radicals and improve memory in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine supports energy function in the brain, helps improve memory, mood, cognition, learning, and reduces oxidative stress.
  • Coenzyme Q10 levels are inversely associated with risk of dementia. Studies have found that CoQ10 is helpful in preventing and treating neurodegenerative conditions related to environmental toxins.
  • Phosphatidylserine minimizes brain aging, helps maintain memory function, and prevents cognitive decline and early onset dementia.
  • Other powerhouse nutrients that are helpful for healthy brain function: resveratrol, astaxanthin, HCL, phosphatidylcholine, ginkgo biloba, Neuperzine, vitamin E, vitamin K2, SAMe, Neuro Medulla, GPC, progesterone, glutathione, adaptogens (ashwagandha, rhodiola, ginseng, holy basil), melatonin, DHEA, Honokiol, bacopa, niacinimide, selenium, choline, taurine and other amino acids.

I cannot stress the importance of identifying your personal and unique nutrient deficiencies and excesses. Realize that just because your husband, sister, friend or co-worker is deficient in a particular nutrient or takes a specific supplement, does not mean it’s the ideal one for you. Hence, the value in Balancing Body Chemistry through a Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis.

Schedule a free-15 minute consult. I consult with men and women around the world via telephone and Skype and with clients locally in the Phoenix area. I will identify the root cause of any underlying health issue and design a healing plan specific to your unique biochemistry so you can heal, restore health, and look, think and feel better than ever.

Sources provided upon request.

Copyright © Paula Owens. All Rights Reserved.

This article is copyright material and may not be reproduced or copied without permission. Reproduction of this article may be shared and is permissible only when the instructions found at the bottom of this blog are followed.

The Best of 2014: Top 12 Articles of 2014

Here are 12 of your favorite and most read articles of 2014. Thank you for your support, dedication and sharing this life-changing information with those you love and care about. I applaud your decision of being an active participant in taking responsibility for your health and your commitment to feel better, look your best and live a healthier lifestyle.

Many of you have given me the inspiration for the content I write about and share with you. My intention is that the info in these 12 articles and the information on my blog, facebook page, and in my books, The Power of 4 and Fat Loss Revolution have inspired and empowered you to heal, restore your health, and live a happier, healthier and more vibrant life. Thank you!

The Best of 2014: Top 12 Articles of 2014

  1. A Healthy Gut = A Healthy Person
  2. 12 Natural Solutions for a Happy, Healthy Menopause
  3. Smart Detox Tips for Health, Vitality, Longevity & Fat Loss
  4. 10 Tips to Lose Belly Fat…..for good!
  5. Is Candida the Reason You’re Depressed or Struggling to Lose Weight
  6. Alcohol: Diet & Nutrition
  7. Do You Have a Magnesium Deficiency?
  8. Tips to Boost Testosterone Naturally
  9. Love Your Liver & Keep Your Gallbladder
  10. Hair Loss: Reasons & Remedies
  11. Safe & Effective Methods to Detox Heavy Metals
  12. Estrogen Dominance, Man Boobs & How to Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

   ► More articles on nutrition, functional health, fitness, fat loss and healthy living.

Wishing you happiness, health, inner peace, an abundance of blessings and unlimited possibilities in 2015. Happy New Year! Red heart

5-Step Healthy Gut Formula: Heal Leaky Gut Naturally

A healthy gut is a healthy person…..“All disease begins in the gut.” –Hippocrates

During the last fifty years, the average person’s health has been significantly challenged and weakened due to unhealthy food choices, poor food quality, depleted soils, antibiotic overuse, GMOs, NSAIDs, sleep deprivation, chronic stress and altered gut bacteria. Many individuals are completely unaware that intestinal permeability, Candida, underlying bacterial, fungal or parasite infections, an altered microbiota, dysbiosis and an unhealthy gut is the root cause of their health problems.  

Symptoms of Leaky Gut. Intestinal permeability aka leaky gut syndrome can be the very reason why you’re feeling fatigued, anxious, depressed, have so many food sensitivities, Candida, struggling to get rid of excess belly fat, experiencing weight loss resistance, skin problems (eczema, acne, hives), bloating and digestion problems, joint pain, malabsorption issues, nutrient deficiencies, thyroid dysfunction, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disorders, and many other chronic health complaints and complicated diseases. 

What is Leaky Gut? Leaky gut is a modern epidemic and a major cause of disease and dysfunction. The intestinal lining has tight junctions and acts as a barrier to prevent foreign particles from passing into the bloodstream. The health and integrity of this mucosal lining is crucial to immune function and overall health. 

Leaky gut is a condition where microscopic holes occur in the lining of the small intestine, which results in undigested food, gluten, bacterial by-products, microbes (fungus, Candida, parasites, viruses), waste and toxins to weaken the tight junctions and actually “leak” into the bloodstream. Over time, these items accumulate and damage the intestinal lining. The immune system views this as a foreign invasion creating antibodies against its own tissues resulting in chronic inflammation and is linked to several diseases including diabetes, IBS, IBD, eczema, chronic fatigue, autism, Alzheimer’s, asthma, heart disease and autoimmune disorders. If the resulting antibodies are attracted to the thyroid, we call it Hashimoto's thyroiditis. If antibodies are attracted to connective tissue, we call it Lupus; to skin tissue, psoriasis; to nerve tissue, MS.

The gut is considered the second brain also known as the enteric nervous system that is located in sheaths of tissue lining the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. Many GI disorders like colitis, leaky gut and irritable bowel syndrome originate from problems within the gut's brain. In fact, most ulcers are caused by a bacterium.

Keep in mind that the brain in the gut has a mind of its own that guides our feelings, moods, certain behaviors and reactions, and plays a major role in our happiness and misery. Approximately 90-95 percent of serotonin made in the gut. When the gut’s inflamed, infected with pathogens, not functioning optimally or there’s a leaky gut, production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters will be impaired leading to depression, anxiety, mood disorders and neurological manifestations because the gut has lost the ability to effectively absorb nutrients or convert them into these vital brain chemicals.

Leaky gut syndrome affects the brain too, and has been linked to psychological disorders such as anxiety, bi-polar and depression. Bear in mind that an inflamed gut or leaky gut equals an inflamed, leaky brain, and an inflamed, leaky brain increases risk of depression and dementia. In a study published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, approximately 35 percent of those who were depressed showed signs of leaky gut syndrome. 

The mechanisms that cause leaky gut are the same that cause leaky brain. The brain communicates with the gut via the enteric nervous system. The intestinal nervous system is wired back to your brain and cellular communication occurs between the two. When there’s communication problems from the gut to the brain or from the brain to the gut, health is compromised – no question.

David Perlmutter, MD, Board-Certified Neurologist and author of Grain Brain says if his patients have brain problems, he always looks to the gut first. He believes no organ is more susceptible to the damaging effects of inflammation than the brain. Although the blood brain barrier protects it to some degree, if you have a leaky gut, you probably have a leaky blood brain barrier, which increases oxidation, chronic inflammation and an overactive immune system (three main killer insults) according to Mark Houston, MD.

Culprits that Weaken the GI System & Increase Intestinal Permeability

1. Gluten is a major cause of leaky gut. Gluten activates zonulin, a protein that opens up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining. Gliadin, the protein found in wheat causes zonulin levels to increase, which results in leaky gut and leaky brain. The more zonulin in the blood, the more permeable the tight junctions of the GI lining become.

Other pro-inflammatory foods that are especially problematic and trigger leaky gut include wheat, unsprouted grains, sugar, processed foods, genetically modified foods, conventional factory-farmed animal protein and dairy, casein, and any particular food an individual may be sensitive to. Alessio Fasano, MD, a GI specialist and one of the world’s leading researchers in gluten and celiac disease says, “every time you eat wheat, you get a leaky gut…..EVERY TIME!

2. Glyphosate, GMOs, genetically-engineered foods, and pesticides

3. Infections (Candida, bacterial, fungal, parasites, viruses, mold, H. pylori, SIBO, HIV)

4. Environmental toxins, heavy metal toxicity, fluoride, chlorine

5. Dysbiosis, an altered microbiome and bacterial imbalances. Physical and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, diabetes, autism, Parkinson’s, IBS, Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis and many other autoimmune disorders are linked to imbalances and abnormalities of gut bacteria. 

6. Chronic physical, emotional & mental stress (adrenal dysfunction & exhaustion)

7. Medications, OTC & Rx drugs (overuse of antibiotics, antacids, PPIs, NSAIDs, aspirin, ibuprofen, pain meds, statin drugs, steroids) Birth control pills

8. Hydrochloric acid (HCL), bile and digestive enzyme insufficiency

9. Disruption of circadian rhythms and sleep problems

10. Poor liver function

11. Hormone deficiencies such as testosterone, thyroid, progesterone or estradiol

12. Underlying causes that drive low level chronic inflammation

13. Heavy drinking, alcohol abuse and alcoholism

14. Essential fatty acid, zinc, magnesium, B12 and other nutrient deficiencies

15. The Standard American Diet (SAD) and poor lifestyle choices

As a functional nutritionist, my philosophy is to determine the root cause of any health complaint or disorder and design a healing protocol with lifestyle modifications unique to each individual and slowly “peel the layers of the onion” to restore vibrant health. Oftentimes, there are many deep layers that must slowly be peeled away one by one for optimal and vibrant health restoration.

5-Step Formula for a Healthy Gut: How to Heal Leaky Gut

  1. Remove
  2. Repair
  3. Restore
  4. Replace
  5. Revolutionize

1. Remove inflammatory items that irritate and damage the gut and contribute to leaky gut syndrome. These include gluten, wheat, sugar, conventional factory-farmed animal protein, artificial sweeteners, dairy, soy, alcohol, pesticides and GMOs, carrageenan, lectins, antibiotics, NSAIDs, food sensitivities, contraceptives, antacids, vegetable oils, chronic stressors and heavy metal body burdens. Permanently avoiding these items as part of a healthier lifestyle works best for gut restoration and long-term health.  

Of primary importance is identifying the root cause so that healing and repair can occur. Rule out Candida, SIBO, fungal, parasite, bacterial and viral infections, H. pylori, heavy metal toxicity, and removing these infections from the body is crucial for the healing process to occur.

I recommend a Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis and Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) with Parasitology. The CDSA is a test that provides an extensive look at the health and function of your gut. It evaluates microbiota, levels of healthy gut flora (bacteria balance & imbalances), detects underlying pathogens, parasites, fungi, Candida, bacterial, maldigestion and malabsorption, inflammation, immune function (sIgA), short chain fatty acid status & other biomarkers of GI health. Contact my office to order the CDSA.

2. Repair. Critical to the success of healing leaky gut is repairing the intestinal mucosa. Omit the irritating and inflammatory factors (see list above under “Remove”). 

Supplemental nutrients to support, repair and heal the gut may include L-glutamine, hydrochloric acid (HCL), bile salts, pancreatic or digestive enzymes, probiotics, licorice root (DGL), N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC), curcumin, bioflavonoids such as quercetin, essential fatty acids, slippery elm, marshmallow, cat’s claw, aloe vera, Butyric Cal:Mag, alpha lipoic acid (R-ALA), N-acetyl gucosamine and zinc carnosine. If an infection is identified, a specific diet and healing regimen must be followed for a specific length of time.

3. Restore. Choose organic foods as much as possible. This especially applies to all animal protein and the EWG’s “dirty dozen” fruits & veggies. Restore gut function with homemade bone broth, coconut products, grass-fed and pastured-raised meats, organic non-starchy veggies, cruciferous veggies and leafy greens, healing fats such as grass-fed butter and coconut oil, fermented veggies, probiotics, and nutrients specific to the individual. 

Minimizing stress is crucial in gut restoration. Some of my favorite ways to lower stress include yoga, dantian Qi gong, breathing exercises, meditation, music therapy, nature walks, biofeedback, spending time with animals, journaling, setting healthy boundaries, aromatherapy, or using the Inner Balance App, which helps you change your reaction to stress, gain insights into your shifting moods and create a more positive outlook on life. More Stress-LESS Solutions

4. Replace. Eat nutrient-dense real foods and drink clean water. Supplement appropriately with Probiotics, hydrochloric acid (HCL), bile salts, pancreatic or digestive enzymes. Correct nutrient deficiencies or excesses (unique to each person), which can be identified through a functional blood chemistry analysis and functional health assessment.

Physical and mental health problems including depression, anxiety, diabetes, autism, Parkinson’s, IBS, Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis and many other autoimmune disorders are linked to imbalances and abnormalities of gut bacteria and gut pathogens and infections (Candida, parasites, fungi, bacterial, H.pylori, SIBO, etc). Once again, identify the root cause!

5. Revolutionize. Of primary importance, and often neglected in healing leaky gut is addressing the underlying causes, prioritizing a healthy gut as a lifestyle (and, not reverting back to unhealthy dietary and lifestyle habits), and managing and minimizing various sources of stress (emotional, physical, mental, lifestyle, environmental, spiritual and climate exposure). Making dietary and lifestyle changes that support a healthier gut must be an ongoing permanent lifestyle change. 

You can eat the healthiest, organic foods, move your body and meditate every day, and take all the supplements in the world, but if you’re in a miserable, unfulfilling relationship, have a negative, doom-n-gloom, victim mindset, or there’s deep underlying emotional pain that has not been dealt with healing, inner peace, happiness, a healthy gut and vibrant health will evade you. “Doing your work” to heal, surrender and release the deeper components of underlying stress is a must for gut restoration, cellular healing, and optimal health.

The holistic, functional and integrative healing process for gut health can take as little as 6 weeks or as long as a few months or ongoing for life for those with an autoimmune disease or compromised immune system. As the layers of healing unfold, unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices are replaced with healthier options, and health is restored, the amount of toxins dumped into the bloodstream lessen, toxic load decreases, nutrient absorption improves, organ function improves, the integrity of the intestinal lining heals, energy levels increase, mood is light and lifted, and vibrant health and quality of life is inevitably experienced. Thumbs up

Schedule a free-15 minute consult. I consult with men and women around the world and with clients locally in the Phoenix area. I will identify the root cause of any underlying health issue and design a healing plan specific to your unique biochemistry so you can heal, restore your health and look and feel better than ever.

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