Something happens to your soul when your bare feet are buried in the sand while the ocean waves crash nearby. This same feeling can also be found as your feet walk over fresh soil, through a wild meadow, and over the river rock rubbed smooth from decades of moving water. The truth is that your body experiences a connection to the earth when you walk barefoot, and this connection may be an essential element to our health that most people are lacking.
‘Environmental medicine generally addresses environmental factors with a negative impact on human health. However, emerging scientific research has revealed a surprisingly positive and overlooked environmental factor on health: Direct physical contact with the vast supply of electrons on the surface of the earth.’
Our society’s current lifestyle naturally pulls us away from such contact with the earth. As a whole, we are grossly sedentary, overly shoe-wearing, and unadventurous. Research has found that this disconnect may be a major contributor to physiological dysfunction and unwellness. Reconnection with the earth’s electrons has been found to promote physiological changes and an overall healthier well-being.
What is Grounding?
Grounding, also called ‘Earthing,’ is the act of putting the body in direct and uninterrupted contact with the earth. Grounding refers to contact with the earth’s surface electrons by ‘walking barefoot outside or sitting, working, or sleeping indoors connected to conductive systems that transfer the energy from the ground into the body.’
You can accomplish grounding through:
- Sleeping on a conductive mattress pad
- Sleeping with a conductive sheet
- Using a small conductive pad for your feet while sitting
- Walking barefoot outside on the earth (the most official and easiest)
The direct transfer of the earth’s electrons through grounding has the potential of neutralizing electrical voltage the body absorbs through the immense exposure that we are living our lives in. One study showed that when the body is grounded, its electrical potential becomes equalized with the earth’s electrical potential through a transfer of electrons from the earth to the body.
Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman said that when the body’s potential is the same as the Earth’s electric potential (being grounded), it becomes an extension of the earth’s gigantic electric system. This means that the energy of the earth can work to cancel, reduce, or push away electric fields from the body.
Utilizing thermography, researchers have been able to find fascinating links to lessening inflammation with grounding. The natural process of metabolism produces what most people know as ‘free radicals’ in the body. Free radicals play a large role in healing the body, as they trigger inflammation, which is needed during the recovery process. However, too many free radicals are linked to low levels of inflammation throughout the body and cause chronic pain and discomfort.
There has been an increase in the number of people suffering from autoimmune diseases, which are caused by inflammation throughout the body. Fifty million people in the U.S (at least) are suffering from diseases including:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammatory bowel disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
How does grounding effect free radicals, you may be wondering?
Free radicals lack the electrons needed to neutralize their effects in the body. Researchers have discovered that through grounding, the earth’s electrons attach to the free radicals and produce the spark of energy to cause balance. Could grounding then positively effect those suffering daily from pain and autoimmune diseases? Absolutely.
Being grounded immediately impacts you in the following ways. It makes you feel:
- Less tense
- Less stressed
How often do you feel overwhelmed? Work, family, friends, health, and life in general has a way of throwing your mind down the rabbit hole. Taking time to reconnect with yourself and the earth will help you refocus and reprioritize – keeping yourself above the demands of life.
About 30% of the adult population complains of sleep disruption, while about 10% have symptoms of daytime functional impairment consistent with the diagnosis of insomnia. Insomnia often pairs with major depression, generalized anxiety, substance abuse, dementia, and a variety of pain and physical problems. Research has found that grounding the body at night during sleep positively affects morning fatigue levels, daytime energy, and nighttime pain levels. Investing in a conductive sheet may change your life.
Grounding the body to the earth substantially decreases red blood cell clustering, resulting in a reduction of blood viscosity. The association between earthing and the immune response has been documented by several studies, all of which provided accounts of positive impacts. These impacts include:
- Reducing inflammation
- Lessening depression
- Lessening irritability
- Reducing or eliminating chronic pain
- Improving sleep
- Increasing deeper sleep
- Relaxing the nervous system
- Increasing energy
- Increase happiness
- Reducing stress
- Reducing anxiety
- Promoting calmness
- Normalizing biological rhythms (including circadian rhythm)
- Normalizing blood pressure and blood flow
- Relieving muscle tension
- Relieving headache
- Improving menstrual cramps
- Speeding healing
- Healing and preventing bedsores
- Protecting the body from effects of EMFs
- Shortening recovery time from injury
- Speeding recovery from athletic activity
- Reducing snoring
- Reducing jet lag
- Helping to support adrenal health
Evidence shows that being outside barefoot or indoors connected to grounding conductive systems creates a contact with the earth that is a natural, easy, and extremely effective way to lead a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps it’s time for us to join our kids outside and regain the freedom, confidence, and happiness that a healthy life provides.
For more information about the studies covered, please read through Earthing: Health Implications of Reconnecting the Human Body to the Earth’s Surface Electrons
In a positive turn of events, the Food and Drug Administration has recently released a ‘rule’ to declare mineral sunscreen ingredients as safe, specifically zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The FDA said 12 other chemicals used in common sunscreens need more research to determine if they can be officially listed as safe. If these chemicals are deemed unsafe by the FDA, our U.S. regulations will be more in line with European rules about sunscreen, which would ban about 90% of the sunscreen products available here.
The EWG assessed over 13,000 SPF products and found that two-thirds contain potentially toxic ingredients or offer inferior protection. 84% of the over 800 sunscreens the EWG studied did not pass health and environmental testing. Many contained potentially harmful chemicals like oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate, which are known to copy naturally occurring bodily hormones, throwing the body’s systems off balance. Some sunscreens also contained Padimate-0 and parsol 1789 (also known as avobenzone), which are linked to DNA damage when exposed to sunlight. The EWG also discovered that over half of the sunscreens available in the U.S. are potentially lying about their product claims on longevity, water resistance, and UV protection.
Two of the twelve chemicals being called into question include oxybenzone and octinoxate, which many of us have known for years to be unsafe and actually dangerous to our bodies and the environment. There have been people championing the fight against these chemicals for over a decade now. However, a recent study has found that the chemicals in sunscreen can be absorbed not only into the skin, but through to the bloodstream. The most common of these two sunscreen chemicals, oxybenzone, was found in 96% of the population by a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This is especially alarming since oxybenzone is considered an endocrine disruptor, can reduce sperm count in men, and may contribute to endometriosis in women. It’s scary to think that it is being rubbed on anyone’s body, especially a body belonging to a baby, toddler, child, or pregnant/breastfeeding woman.
These hormone disruptors, toxins, carcinogens, and preservatives can negatively impact people, corals, aquatic, and marine life. In fact, they are so dangerous to our ocean life that Hawaii passed a ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate that goes into effect in 2021. Do you know what is frustrating though? The FDA is allowing these chemicals to still be available until more research has been performed. Instead of recalling these sunscreens and taking them from the shelves, they will still be sold to the masses for pennies.
Sunscreen use has risen in the past decade, as people are trying to protect themselves against sunburns and skin cancer. While usage is on the rise, so are skin cancer rates. These new reports are presenting the probable link between the two. Sunscreen increases risk of overexposure to the UV rays produced by the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is made up of 90% Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays that are not absorbed by the ozone layer and penetrate deep into our skin – and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which are partially absorbed by the ozone layer and stick to the top layers of our skin, causing sunburns. Both types of UV rays are thought to cause skin cancer. Most sunscreens claim to block some UVB radiation, but many don’t screen UVA rays at all.
A 2019 study has verified that “mineral-based skincare products provide environmental protection, are ecologically safe, and can replace chemical-based sunscreen ingredients.” The EWG has recognized only two ingredients as being adequately tested for safety and efficacy: zinc oxide and titanium oxide. It is vital to choose a mineral-based sunscreen when applying to yourself or your family.
Best Mineral Sunscreens According to EWG:
- Badger Mineral Sunscreen
- Babyganics Sunscreen
- All Terrain KidSport SPF30 Oxybenzone-Free Natural Sunscreen
- Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen
- Bull Frog Sunscreen
- Burt’s Bees Sunscreen Stick
- California Baby Hypoallergenic Sunscreen
- JASON Mineral Sunscreen
- Naked Turtle Mineral Sunscreen with Aloe
- Sunology Natural Sunscreen
- Raw Elements Sunscreen
- The Honest Company Sunscreen
- Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen
Something to consider:
Even though mineral-based sunscreens are safe to use, they (as well as chemical-based versions) prevent Vitamin D production, especially when used daily. I have previously discussed the importance of Vitamin D, and you understand the need for your body to naturally produce it. By creating a barrier, you prevent the one true benefit that the sun’s rays provide. This is one of the reasons our society has become completely deficient of Vitamin D, which in turn increases the risk of the most common cancers today. It can then be said that we are utilizing sunscreen in hopes of preventing one type cancer, while we are increasing our risks of developing numerous other types of cancer.
Perhaps instead of avoiding sun without being slathered in sunscreen, we should concentrate on non-burning sun exposure, granting us the benefits of the sun without the cancer risks. This can be done by being “sun smart” with our clothing, time of day exposed, consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, and staying in the shade.
As gardening season is now in full swing, and you are wondering how to keep pesky weeds and bugs from invading your harvest before you can enjoy it, I’m writing to have you think twice before grabbing pesticides. Yes, they stop the weeds and kill the bugs, but at what cost to your health?
Pesticides were created to increase the yield of fruits, vegetables, and other crops by eliminating their common predators. They are chemicals and they are not limited to one specific name. Because there are many kinds of pests, there are many kinds of pesticides.
Fungicides: Important for protecting harvested crops and seeds from fungal rot.
Insecticides: Reduce destruction and contamination of growing and harvested crops by insects and their eggs.
Herbicides: Weed killers used to improve crop yields.
Rodenticides: Important for controlling destruction and contamination of crops by vermin and rodent-borne diseases.
While these chemicals do yield more crops, they also leave a layer of pesticide residue on every crop harvested. This residue is then included as the crops are processed into ‘shelf-life items’ or transported to the stores in which you purchase them from. Yes, this includes your backyard garden crops and those found at your local farmer’s markets.
Pesticides can enter the body:
- through the skin (dermal),
- through the lungs (inhalation)
- by mouth (ingestion)
Because pesticides are placed on the ground, any rain water can potentially transfer them to the nearest waterway and supply them to your general water exposure. This means that you could be showering and cooking with water contaminated with pesticides. It pairs well with the food coated in the chemicals, doesn’t it? It’s quite scary.
Current agricultural practices include the wide production and extensive use of chemicals known for their ability to cause negative health effects in humans and wildlife and to degrade the natural environment.
It is important to understand that there are two types of pesticides: Synthetic and Organic. While organic is generally a label that you should reach for, know that organic pesticides are still pesticides. “Natural” does not mean “non-toxic;” organic pesticides can also be harmful to your health and the environment. Organic refers to specialized kinds of pesticides that occur in nature and are used instead of synthetic pesticides, which are produced in a laboratory. Both types of pesticides can be created with low-volumes of toxins, but still can impact your health; the organic version, hopefully less so.
Mild Pesticide exposure is linked to:
- irritation of the nose, throat, eyes or skin
- loss of appetite
- weakness or fatigue
- changes in mood
Moderate exposure is linked to the above plus:
- excessive salivation
- feeling of constriction in throat and chest
- abdominal cramps
- blurring of vision
- rapid pulse
- excessive perspiration
- profound weakness
- muscular incoordination
- mental confusion
Severe exposure is linked to the above plus:
- inability to breathe
- extra phlegm or mucous in the airways
- small or pinpoint pupils
- chemical burns on the skin
- increased rate of breathing
- loss of reflexes
- uncontrollable muscular twitching
“Some health effects from pesticide exposure may occur right away, as you are being exposed. Some symptoms may occur several hours after exposure. Other effects may not be noticed for years, for example cancer.”
EPA’s human health risk assessments for many pesticides are available via Chemical Search. Search for the pesticide of interest and look in the regulatory actions or tabs.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should never handle pesticides, as it can cause birth defects, or be passed through the breastmilk. Round-up has been found in all breastmilk tested for research, and researchers are calling for action to be taken because of the health risks that are going to become unavoidable soon.
What Can You Do?
- Declare your yard a “pesticide free zone” with visible signage. This may allow neighbors to start educating themselves on the dangers in their yard or on their foods.
- Talk with the farmers at your market and ask them about their practices.
- Wash your produce before consuming it.
- Buy organic and still wash it.
- Skip processed foods all together.
I was asked an interesting question the other day during an appointment. I had a client ask me if Epsom Salt baths were something she should be taking regularly. Before even blinking, I told her that they were a wonderful addition to life, and that they were a great way to relax, detox, and soothe muscles. I moved on with my day without much of a second thought. However, I realized that, while Epsom Baths are typically recommended, and that the magnesium has to be helpful for all logical reasons, I had never done the research myself.
So here I sit, telling you how disappointed I am in the lack of scientific evidence that has been performed on this great product for the bath tub (and in other aspects of life). I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that researchers do not have the funding or the interest in such a small wives’ tale. That does not mean that it is not worth including in your life, though. Plenty of evidence backs its use for overall health!
While my writings won’t be based purely on Epsom Salt Bath studies, they will include research on magnesium and how the skin absorbs and delivers to the blood, cells, and tissue of the body.
Why I Recommend Epsom Salt Baths
‘Epsom salt is different from traditional salt in that it’s actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, and is technically known as magnesium sulfate. It’s composed of tiny, colorless crystals that look like table salt, but it’s actually a completely different thing, as table salt is made up of sodium chloride. Magnesium sulfate is a mineral that many of us are lacking in, as levels have been decreasing over the last three to four decades around the world.’
While we know magnesium is needed in order to increase our health statistics, there is also research showing its powerful anti-inflammatory benefits and exfoliating capabilities.
Epsom salt baths have many well-documented benefits:
- They should help improve circulation and possibly prevent cardiovascular illnesses by decreasing inflammation and protecting the arteries. Healthier arteries means less risk of blood clots, plaque build-up, and damage to arterial walls.
- Strains, sprains, and swollen areas can be aided with an Epsom soak.
- It can help to repair muscle damage and offset delayed inflammation.
- Magnesium is a natural stress reliever, and a bath improves the mood.
- Epsom Salt baths are known for relieving tension, pain, and cramping.
- It aids in many enzymatic functions, helps to regulate fluid retention in cells, and facilitates the body’s use of calcium to transmit chemical signals throughout the nervous system.
- An Epsom salt bath can promote detoxification all over the skin.
- For women, an Epsom bath can positively impact PMS, hormonal migraines, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Epsom salt helps you sleep because the magnesium relaxes muscles, improves digestion, balances blood pressure, and in turn, gives you more energy after more restful sleep.
- According to Dr. Joe Matusic, a pediatrician in Charleston, W.Va., and an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Charleston division of the West Virginia University School of Medicine, Epsom salt can help soothe common summer ailments that itch or burn the skin. This includes mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn, poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. To apply, either create a compress with a washcloth, cold water and Epsom salt, or take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt works by drawing the moisture out of lesions caused by rashes, and reducing the swelling caused by bites or stings.
Even if it’s a placebo effect, I have never heard of someone not finding benefits with 1-2 cups of Epsom Salt mixed in with their warm bath water. I highly recommend adding this relaxing (and inexpensive) ritual to your life!
Cloth diapers are not what our grandmothers once used- a cloth towel held together by pins. Gone are the days of hand-washing and line drying cloth diapers, too. (Unless of course, you choose to do so.)
We are entering a more environmentally friendly generational wave right now, and one trend is coming back with a new style. Keeping disposable diapers out of landfills can help to lessen your carbon footprint, and it can have significant health benefits for your baby. Choosing cloth diapers over conventional diapers is an easy decision when you understand just what it can mean for your baby.
The Benefits of Cloth Diapering
Keeping the chemicals from disposable diapers off of your baby’s skin should be a priority. Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl Tin, Phthalates, and Dioxin are only a few of the most common chemicals found in disposable diapers. These are all linked to lifelong health risks such as endocrine disruption, obesity, and cancer.
By choosing cloth diapers, you also lower the risk of diaper rashes and UTI’s because you will be changing your baby more frequently.
9 in every 10 American babies use disposable diapers. This adds up to 27.4 billion diapers in landfills each year.
- Just for the disposable diapers U.S. babies will wear, over 200,000 trees are cut down every year.
- In one year, 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil will be used to manufacture disposable diapers.
- Disposables generate over 3.5 million tons of waste each year.
- Those diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Earlier Potty Training:
Because cloth diapered babies can feel when they are wet, they want to potty train earlier than those in disposable diapers. They tend to have less bed wetting issues as they potty train and grow, too. It is easier to notice your baby’s bathroom cues when wearing cloth diapers, making the transition to underwear smooth and easy.
Your Bank Account:
Purchasing disposable diapers will cost you over $800 a year per child, but (depending on how many cloth diapers you purchase) cloth diapers can be bought for $5-20 a piece. You can survive with about 25-30 diapers, easily. (It’s even cheaper if you use prefolds and a cover!) These diapers can be reused on siblings, too.
The Selection of Cloth Diapers
It is an overwhelming world to jump into these days! You can choose between:
But don’t shy away because of the choices, you’ll find your favorites as you start trying them out. The easiest will always be an all-in-one, hybrid, or pocket diaper. They require the least amount of work, but all cloth diapers are pretty easy!
Perhaps the pattern options may sway your choice, too. Whales, monkeys, plaid, stripes, ice-cream cones, you name it and you can find it on a cloth diaper. Ruffles and bows? No problem. An attachable dragon tail? Yep. You may just find yourself starting a new obsessive collection!
How to Clean Cloth Diapers
If you are breastfeeding, there is literally nothing to do but toss your diapers directly into a diaper bag, and then wash the contents of the bag every other day (empty and toss the bag in, too). You’ll rinse the diapers on a cold cycle, wash them on a hot cycle with minimal soap, and then rinse them again on cold. You can hang them to dry or toss them in the dryer for convenience.
If you are using formula, or after solid foods enter the picture, you can knock the poop into your toilet before throwing the diapers into the wash.
Learn More About the Risks of Disposable Diapers:
Parents are also not aware of the adverse effects of disposable diapers being in contact with their baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for more than two years and the long-term effects it causes.
Disposable diapers have been implicated by diapering proponents like leak proof polymers, super absorbent polymers, and some scented chemicals which are the key factors for everything from chronic diaper rash, respiratory problems like asthma, liver damage, skin diseases, infertility, and even to cancer.
Continue the research:
In a recent article on USA Today, it was announced that “young people are far more likely than senior citizens to report being lonely and in poor health.” After a study including 20,000 Americans was published, the results are causing quite the stir.
“The overall national loneliness score was alarmingly high at 44 on a 20-to-80 scale, but the prevalence of social isolation among those ages 18 to 22 raises even more concern. The younger people, part of Generation Z, had loneliness scores of about 48 compared with nearly 39 for those 72 and older.”
This is predicted to effect overall mortality rates, as loneliness impacts health and increases suicide risks. Loneliness is tied to chronic stress and depression, which both trigger chronic inflammation and risks to numerous diseases. It is a sad and disheartening truth that needs to be talked about.
We want to place blame on social media and technology, which does play a large role. Although, this study discovered that all young Americans felt lonely – not just those attached to screens and online relationships. What if I told you that the root problem was far deeper than this?
The truth is that our society is lacking human touch.
It starts at infancy when parents utilize products to hold or soothe their babies instead of wearing them skin-to-skin or feeding them on demand. From there, the human touch factor continues to dwindle. Throughout childhood, families have the weight of the world on them to keep up with Jones’. There are countless sports, camps, clubs, and activities to somehow schedule into daily life. There is too much homework, not enough sleep, and expectations that are too high. This all leads to very small intervals of actual family time. The constant struggle of going and going restricts the amount of time children receive emotional and comforting interaction.
This trend continues throughout the teenage years and with the pressures of college applications, financial aid worries, and lack of true friendships due to the impending doom that is social media, young adults enter college and the real world as alone as ever.
When was the last time friends hugged one another, or teachers patted students on the back, or coaches high-fived their players? We live in a world where adults are scared to be seen using physical contact on minors and parents are too busy to get more than a handful of hugs in over an extended period of time, and in turn, this world has produced a generation full of under-touched humans.
Why We Need Human Touch
Human Touch Promotes Confidence. One study discovered that students are 3 times more likely to participate in class discussions after a teacher proudly pats their shoulder during class.
Physical connection through touch produces oxytocin. Oxytocin promotes happiness and health.
Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate mood as well as help the body relieve stress and anxiety.
Physical touch is known to improve the function of your immune system as well as reduce diseases such as those associated with the heart and blood. One study found that receiving more hugs from partners led to lower heart rates and blood pressure.
Less touch as a child leads to greater chances of violence later in life.
Touch helps to bond people together, creating and fostering trust and happiness.
Economic benefits can be linked to physical touch because of the connections and trust it forms. (An example: professional sports teams whose players touch more often -hugs, holding hands in prayer, touching arms, pats on the back- win more games than teams who do not practice such actions.)
Interpersonal touch has a powerful impact on emotions, and it can increase chances of love, connection, and happiness.
How To Increase Physical Touch
See Your Chiropractor. No other doctor connects with patients in such a ‘hands-on’ way. It is one of the reasons there is such a high success rate that comes with included chiropractic care in your life. Physical touch can lead to happiness, but it can also be the key to wellness.
Hug. Hug friends and family and even a stranger if the opportune moment presents itself. (Aim for 8-12 hugs a day, especially with your children!)
Shake Hands. When you meet someone, shake their hand. When greeting someone, shake their hand!
Slap on the Back. Don’t be afraid to do the work-version of a hug and motivate a coworker with a ‘Good Job!’ Pat on the back.
Current research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and both physical and mental health. Take time to reach out and physically connect with those around you.
Estrogen dominance is understood by most women to take place throughout (and after) menopause, but the truth is that we are seeing a rise in the condition at a much younger age – and not only in women. What could be causing this steady increase in hormonal disruption in both genders?
You don’t have to look far for the answer. Research is placing blame on numerous unhealthy environmental factors:
1. Poor Diet: A diet full of chemicals from commercially raised meat, pesticides, produce containing herbicides, and processed foods drastically raises the levels of xenoestrogenic molecules and puts the body into an estrogen dominant state.
2. Obesity: Fat cells have an enzyme that converts adrenal steroid hormones into estrogen. The greater the percentage of body fat one has the more this conversion takes place.
3. Heavy Metals: Mercury, lead, aluminum, and other heavy metals block the liver and lead to poor toxin filtration and increased estrogenic molecules. (Consider your dental fillings and braces as sources)
4. Nerve Stress: The spine and nervous system can be blocked or interfered with, causing elevated cortisol levels. This steals pregnenolone which leads to lowered progesterone levels. (A chiropractor can help!)
5. Liver Issues: The liver is in charge of neutralizing and filtering xenoestronic molecules, but cannot due so when estrogen levels are lowered.
6. Blood Sugar Levels: Poor blood sugar control leads to elevated insulin and cortisol. These factors encourage estrogen release and lead to deficiencies in key nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and B6 which neutralize bad estrogen metabolites in the liver.
7. Hormone Replacement Therapy: A prescribed hormone replacement is simply a synthetic toxic estrogen that damages the DNA and increases risk of cancer.
8. Caffeine: Caffeine consumption increases estrogen secretion and leads to depletion of key nutrients like magnesium, vitamin C, and B vitamins that are necessary for the process of neutralizing bad estrogen metabolites in the liver.
9. Chemicals: Plastics, cleaners, makeup, lawn fertilizer, pesticides, hygiene products, etc… all can cause an increase in estrogen.
10. Poor Sleep and Stress: These increase adrenal burn-out.
Estrogen and progesterone are the two main sex hormones that women have. Estrogen is responsible for female physical features and reproduction. Men have estrogen, too, and are at risk for estrogen dominance, especially with the SAD (Standard American Diet), exposure to estrogen in water, and other environmental possibilities.
Estrogen is produced mainly in the ovaries and progesterone is produced predominantly by the corpus luteum, which is the outside lining of a mature egg after ovulation. As egg quality declines in perimenopause, so does the quality of the corpus luteum, leading to lower progesterone levels and relative estrogen dominance. Likewise, many perimenopausal women are periodically anovulatory, which means that estrogen goes unopposed during those cycles. This is why many women associate estrogen dominance with menopause.
For many reasons though, your body can make too little or too much estrogen. Or, you can take in too much estrogen – through birth control pills.
Estrogen dominance can be identified with the following:
- Abnormal menstrual periods
- PMS symptoms
- Mood swings
- Loss of sex drive
- Sluggish metabolism and/or weight gain
- Poor concentration
- Hair loss
- Thyroid imbalances
- Sleep disturbances
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Fuzzy thinking
- Loss of ambition
- Water retention
Cancer is one of the scariest outcomes of estrogen dominance. The American Cancer Society estimates one in three women will develop some type of cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer rates have increased from one in 20 in 1960 to one in eight today, though the rates have slowed since the 1990s. The connection between excess estrogen and certain cancers is clear.
Harmful estrogens are difficult to detoxify and are stored in fat. Obesity is linked to breast cancer. Women with a higher body mass index have elevated hormone levels.
By reducing BMI, a woman can lower her estrogen levels, along with most other troublesome hormone levels.
To restore proper balance to the hormonal system:
- Eat a diet full of organic whole foods and fiber and get at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Decrease any chronic stress.
- Support adrenal and thyroid glands.
- Restore digestive imbalances.
- Decrease exposure to xenoestrogens.
- Decrease use of alcohol and nicotine.
Within men, low testosterone levels are triggered by increases in estrogen levels. Men will gain weight, experience moodiness and irritability, and get bloated. Men also need to feed their bodies well, helping to increase their testosterone levels.
When trying to rebalance hormone levels, there are many things to consider. Working with a natural-minded doctor may help you reach your desired end goal without medical intervention.
You may want to consider the following:
- Reduce stress levels
- Lose excess weight
- Increase water intake
- Use clean/organic/natural personal care and beauty products
- Avoid hormonal birth control
While on this journey, your meal planning will also change. The foods you want to include are:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Napa cabbage
- Bok choy
- wild caught fish
You should avoid the following:
- Soy & soy products – These include tempeh and tofu.
- Foods high in pesticides
- Meat and dairy where hormones are used.
- Wheat and grains
- Food additives
- Tap Water
- Birth control pills
Supplements to consider:
- Milk thistle
- Alpha lipoic acid
- Diindolylmethane (DIM)
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin B6, B12, Folate
Apple Cider Vinegar is among the most healthy things you can drink daily to support your body and help with your overall health. While it makes for a great salad dressing, it’s uses reach far passed the kitchen. If you aren’t currently ingesting 1-2 tablespoons of an organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar each day, you may want to start. Research worldwide supports the amazing properties of this natural vinegar.
I was working with a patient awhile ago when the topic of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) came up. It has been around for centuries and was used to treat illnesses like Croup well before our days. We talked about why ACV is not a more well-known remedy or household supplement anymore. Over the years, new and expensive medicines stepped in and brainwashed our society against all the natural home remedies that had been working wonderfully to that point. ACV then became a secret of the grandmothers.
However, tides are changing, and people of all ages and stages of life are looking to better their lives through diet and natural supplements. Apple Cider Vinegar is reentering the spotlight, and with great reasons.
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider – with the naturally occurring yeast and bacteria included in the end result. The resulting liquid has converted the sugars first to alcohol then to acetic acid. The fermentation process means that apple cider vinegar ends up full of health-promoting probiotics and enzymes. It contains pectin, acetic acid, malic acid, live enzymes, amino acids, and many other beneficial nutrients.
Healthy Weight/Belly Fat
One of the compounds found in ACV is acetic acid, which helps suppress the buildup of body fat, keeping the stomach from feeling and looking bloated. This can also help you feel fuller, causing you to eat fewer calories and lower your overall Body Mass Index (BMI).
Healthy Gut/Happy Stomach
Organic, unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar retains the ‘mother’ which makes the vinegar have a cloudy appearance. The mother is the natural occurring pectins and proteins which aid in helping break down food in the digestive tract by stimulating the natural gut enzymes. The high acetic acid content of ACV balances pH within the body.
Many gastrointestinal symptoms including gas, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea can be lessened with the help of the antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antimicrobial properties of ACV. These same properties have also been proven to combat food poisoning.
Diabetes (Type 1 and 2)
Hyperglycemia (raised blood sugar levels) is a common symptom of diabetes. The anti-glycemic effect of acetic acid decreases blood sugar levels. One study found ACV improved fluctuation of insulin levels in people with both type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance.
If you suffer from a known autoimmune disease, ACV may help you reclaim your daily life. While there is no known cure for AI Diseases, reducing inflammation is key to reduce the pain and symptoms, and ACV contains antioxidants that can do just that.
Sore Throat and Illness
Most germs can’t survive in the environment ACV creates. A simple mix of 1/4 cup ACV with 1/4 cup warm water can be gargled every hour or so to fight off a sore throat.
Consuming ACV daily boosts the immune system, too.
Acetic acid can be used as an alternative to antibiotic cream. Bacterial infections have been shown to be fought off by ACV in a healthier manner than utilizing antibiotics.
ACV has the ability to reduce acne. Using it as a toner will allow the anti-fungal and antibacterial properties to cleanse the skin and prevent future breakouts.
Ways to Utilize Apple Cider Vinegar
Drink 1-2 tablespoons a day. Diluting your ACV with water will help cut the acidity and prevent any ware on your enamel.
Using a cotton ball, apply ACV topically twice a day. To prevent irritation, use an oil with the ACV— such as coconut oil or olive oil — and massage it into your skin whenever needed.
Add ACV to your bath before bed. Add one cup of the vinegar to your evening bath and sit in the warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the skin to absorb the solution.
We all have a tendency to breathe through our mouths when our mouths are open. This, however, should never be how we receive the majority of our oxygen. Typically, adults only breathe through their mouths when there is inflammation or blockage (due to illness or sinus pressure) and it ends as the inflammation ends. There are the exceptions; those who are born or become mouth breathers in toddlerhood. These individuals tend to have problems throughout their lifetimes that can all be linked back to how they breathe.
Structurally, the tongue no longer supports the maxilla (the upper jaw) if mouth breathing occurs. With the removal of this support, the roof of the mouth behind the maxilla will rise and cause congestion to the nasal passages. Mouth breathing can quickly dry out the mouth and decrease saliva production, even increasing the overall pH. Saliva is extremely important for neutralizing acid and helping to wash away bacteria, without it, the chance of tooth decay and cavities increases.
If braces have already been put in place on a mouth breather, the overall treatment plan will take longer and be more difficult. The spaces between the teeth will be more difficult to close and the stability of the alignment of will be compromised once the braces are removed.
Not only does mouth breathing impact teeth, but it is linked to attention and focus deficiencies, behavioral issues, and speech impediments. When children breathe from an open mouth, they are more likely to struggle with certain speech sounds. The most commonly associated speech problem is a lisp, or the inability to say “S” sounds correctly. The type of swallowing pattern to produce this sound causes the tongue to protrude during speaking and swallowing.
Mouth breathing has the ability to cause neuro-cognitive deficits and cardiovascular problems. It also impacts the facial growth and development. A child who breathes this way has a high chance of growing into an adult with flatter facial features, less prominent cheekbones, a longer face, droopier eyes and lower facial muscle tone, a narrower palate, and even a smaller and lower jaw than what she was originally designed to develop.
The most well-known side effect though is sleep disordered breathing. It can be defined as an upper airway resistance syndrome to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with secondary growth impairment, but in common terms it is known as a form of sleep apnea, snoring, or just plain open-mouth breathing during sleep. Less oxygen is taken in during the night by a mouth breather, and when less oxygen is able to reach the brain, the ability to focus throughout the day becomes a problem, as does learning. This can also lead to chronic fatigue, tiredness, and brain fog.
What if Your Child is a Mouth Breather?
If you are noticing that your young child’s mouth is always open throughout the day and/or over night as she sleeps, it is a red flag to stop and dig a little further into the situation. If she is not sick and this is her normal sleep habit or every day breathing method, you will want to bring it up with your pediatrician, chiropractor, or doctor of choice.
The most common reasons for chronic mouth breathing include:
- Anterior tongue tie
- Posterior tongue tie
- Tongue placement habits
- Enlarged tonsils
- Enlarged adenoids
- Food allergies
- Environmental allergies
- Underdeveloped facial and cranial bones
- Neuromuscular disease
An infant’s facial and cranial development during pregnancy plays a large role in their breathing method. Undesirable positioning in utero, birth trauma, or nutritional deficiencies created in utero, can impact development of the cranial and facial bones in a negative manner. With 85% of the nasal airway in the maxilla, this underdevelopment can be the root of a mouth-breaker’s issues. Working with therapists and utilizing chiropractic care together can provide a foundation for a lifetime of better breathing.
Depending on the cause of your child’s mouth breathing, one of the following may be suggested:
- Tongue tie clip
- Rapid maxillary expansion
- Distraction osteogenesis
- Continuous positive airway pressure
However, before agreeing to surgery, contact a local Myofunctional Therapist. The specialized therapist can retrain your child to breathe properly through her nose with exercises and routines, preventing surgery and a lifetime of chronic problems.
It is important to note that research has found that children who lead a life at an obese weight are more prone to experiencing an onset and reoccurrence of mouth breathing and the effects it can cause. Help your child lead her healthiest life by providing high quality foods and ample time to burn energy.
Chlorine is a necessary evil; it is a needed chemical to keep swimming pools ‘clean.’ But at what costs?
It is basically unavoidable this time of year, and with months of heat left, the pools will still beckon us.
Summer is upon us, and I am seeing more and more families come in for adjustments in their swim gear, either to or home from the pool. I have also had several patients complain of more frequent headaches, body aches, fatigue or a summer cough that they can’t shake. I immediately assume it’s dehydration and recommend increase water intake, more sleep, and less time in the sun. But then I started thinking a bit more. The lingering smell of chlorine on my own child, and within my office sent me researching. The results: Chlorine could be doing more damage than we ever realized.
We know that chlorine is toxic. It is a poison. I preach about drinking and cooking with filtered water, and no one I know would ever purposely drink chlorinated water. But yet, we swim in it without a second thought. What is a parent to do?
Obviously, we cannot ensure that all pools we enter are saltwater pools, although that would be ideal. We also cannot avoid the pool altogether. Children are drawn to water, and it is a hot summer out there. But that chlorine smell that seems to overwhelm the nose and sting the eyes, it is linked to quite a few scary things:
- Breathing Problems
- Skin Rashes
- Eye Irritation
- Nausea/Upset Stomach
- Sinus Problems
- Dry Skin/Hair
- Cancer* (rectal and bladder cancers): The heightened risk is linked to exposure to a contaminant found in chlorinated water called Trihalomethanes (THMs) which forms when chlorine reacts with organic material. THMs are a widely recognized carcinogen.
*After 40 minutes of swimming, swimmers show an increase in markers of DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
Sunscreen, sweat, and urine, along with other fluids mix with the chlorine to cause over 100 different types of chemical byproducts (known as chloramines), many of which are extremely toxic. Chlorine’s chemical byproducts can get into the body through the skin. Exposure also comes from breathing air at the surface of the water, where chemicals become volatile. While swimming, individuals breathe faster and harder ending up with even more exposure to the chemicals and toxins.
Chloramines can be breathed from outside of the water too, especially at an indoor swimming pool.
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both recognize the dangers that come from chlorine and chloramine exposure. It has been found that children with chronic health issues, such as asthma, autism, adhd, and other daily struggles, tend to feel the effects of the chloramines faster and more intense than those without these struggles, but absolutely anyone can be affected.
BUT IT IS SUMMER! IT IS HOT! THE KIDS NEED TO SWIM!
I hear you loud and clear. I am not saying to avoid the pool. There are ways to help neutralize the effects of chlorine on the body and detox from exposure:
- Vitamin C Powder/Tabs: Vitamin C is proven to neutralize and undo the damage of chlorine and chloramine exposure. Mixing a high quality powder version of the vitamin into a glass of water to drink will help the body detox from the inside out, while adding the powder to a spray bottle of water and applying to the skin immediately after swimming neutralizes the toxins and encourages the body to detox them quickly.
- Vitamin C Powder is Sunscreen: While sunscreen will not protect from chlorine, it can act as a slight barrier. With Vitamin C mixed into it, sunscreen can act as a protectant. This can be an important step if swimming is happening often!
- Epsom Salt Bath: Filling a bath tub with warm water and adding Epsom salts help to relax the muscles and pull toxins from the body. Sitting in the water for 15-30 minutes is all the body needs to feel like itself again.
- Take a Supplement: Take 1 capsule of a high-quality Taurine (I recommend Thorne brand) the morning before swimming. As an amino acid, taurine helps to bind and detoxify chlorine. Taurine should remain in your system for 48 hours.
Enjoy your summer!