Strengthen The Body
Recovery, Relaxation, & Sleep Are All High-Energy States
Energy, Circadian Rhythm, & Nutrition
We often don’t realize just how much we can do to strengthen the body via light, sleep, nutrition, gut health, and exposure to nature.
We improve the energy levels in the body by receiving lots of daily infrared light, as well as frequent UV light, and grounding as much as possible. This can be incredibly powerful when the body is struggling to extract energy from food.
The circadian rhythm is the primary regulator of all vital functions, and without it, health recovery is extremely limited. When following proper circadian principles, the body’s strength can steadily climb — even in the worst of situations.
Nutrients are required for immunity and turning food into energy. However, two common denominators are true in most chronic illnesses:
- Nutrients do not reach cells properly
- Nutrients are used too-rapidly fighting infection and toxicity
Poor gut health is a primary player in these two problems.
Combatting this wisely can make a huge difference in the speed of your improvement, and in how you feel along the way.
Strengthen The Body
Light — Grounding — Nature
Essential daily habits.
Light is energy. Water is an incredible “chromophore” (absorber of light) and heat-sink. Photons drive the ‘photoelectric effect.” The body takes electrons from food (oxidative metabolism). Electrons are electricity. Grounding provides electrons. The energy available to us via light, water, and electromagnetism is remarkable.
One of the most restorative therapies available: Infrared and red light.
Infrared Is Restorative, Yet Entirely Missing In Modern Life
Infrared light is invisible and makes up around half of sunlight. It is mostly felt as heat. Red light is visible, and makes up around 15% of sunlight.
Between the two, about 65% of sunlight (at noon) is restorative red and infrared.
We need large amounts of red & infrared to regulate our thyroid, digestion, immunity, circadian rhythm, enzyme activity, and more.
Modern light technologies remove infrared light from emissions to improve energy efficiency. Seeing that most people are indoors most of the day, modern humans receive very little of these restorative frequencies from our environment.
By contrast, throughout history, it’s nearly certain that humans received large amounts of infrared and red throughout the day and night — from sunlight and fire.
Getting daily infrared & red light is a critical step for recovery from chronic illness. Because our environments do not provide these spectrums of light, we must provide them ourselves.
Fortunately, supplementing infrared and red light isn’t too difficult.
Best Sources Of Infrared & Red
1 — Sunlight
Over 50% of sunlight is invisible infrared light. In the morning, the ratio is even higher (because blue and UV light are reduced by particles in the atmosphere).
2 — Infrared Heat Lamps
When sunlight isn’t available, for any reason, heat lamps have been my go-to source of light for many, many years.
Heat lamps are about $3-8/ea at local stores or Amazon.
3 — The Sauna
Traditional saunas are the gold standard. Modern “Far-Infrared” saunas are inferior, because most do not emit the best, most healing frequencies of infrared.
4 — LED Red Light Products
There are lots of fancy & expensive LEDs to provide infrared (& healing red) light. I do not recommend you invest in these expensive items unless you have money to burn. Narrow wavelengths are not optimal — and LEDs tend to flicker, which could be disruptive to cellular/brain metabolism.
I’ve had clients use multiple heat lamps for several months — and then buy a very expensive, high-quality red light product. The red light product? Returned a few weeks later. Heat lamps are superior.
Sweating Is Restorative (Infrared Is Heat)
If you’re sweating, chances are you’re getting a copious amount of infrared light. It’s either hot outside, or very warm inside your tissues — or both.
When infrared light (heat) is coursing through your veings, good things happen: metabolically, nutritionally, for your immunity.
Sweating itself has all sorts of benefits to our health, too. It’s a great idea to get warm enough to sweat every single day — especially when trying to recover from illness. Be sure to replace minerals (especially sodium and potassium) after you sweat.
Remember: You need exogenous (environmental) heat on your body every single day. Even healthy people need this.
Infrared light behaves in the body like thyroid hormones, boosting metabolism (and detox as a result). Renowned thyroid specialist and PhD, Ray Peat, has long spoken of needing 75% less thyroid hormone in summer due to the presence of more environment infrared light (heat).
The water in your cells is capable of trapping the Infrared light and using it as energy — the same sort of energy your body extracts from food (electrons) and turns into heat (infrared light).
Whether via sunshine, heat lamps, or the sauna, regularly get enough infrared light on your body to break a sweat.
There may be no better foundation for your health than getting lots of infrared light, daily.
Sunlight is the single best source of healing UV light.
UV Light Is Beneficial?
UV light is actually extremely good for you in moderate doses.
Struggling with immune problems? UV light boosts immunity and sterilizes pathogens on the skin, and — to some extent — the bloodstream.
Obviously, UV light is the only natural source of proper Vitamin D levels (there isn’t very much vitamin D in food).
But there are loads of benefits to UV light that go far beyond Vitamin D.
UV light spurs hormone production and the digestive process, while balancing brain chemicals. UV even helps the circadian rhythm.
In fact, UV light in winter time directly improves the gut microbiome — separate and apart from the effect of Vitamin D.
UV light also works with infrared light using the “photoelectric effect” to essentially provide electrons to the body. UV frequencies seem to build up an electric charge in the body.
Vitamin D Is Made By UVB Light
Obviously, Vitamin D is created in the body when receiving UVB light exposure.
Vitamin D is critical to nearly every aspect of health. If your levels are low, you are sacrificing your health unnecessarily.
When you go outside, take a peak at your weather app on your smartphone. Look at the UV Index (above UV Index of 5 makes Vitamin D quite well). If the UVI is below 5, you’re not making very much Vitamin D at all — if any.
Get as much sunlight as you can! The only rule: Don’t burn.
Vitamin D must be balanced by other nutrients: You may want to take vitamin A (my favorite cod liver sourced supplements), and magnesium. Vitamin C 200-400mg/daily is also good idea when getting lots of UV.
UV In A Winter Climate
Get UV Light from a “mid-level” tanning bed (this will have a better balance of UVA/UVB light). START SLOW: 3-5 minute sessions are advisable if you’re unaccustomed to UV light exposure.
The Best Home UV Product
The Sperti is the best UV product I’ve come across. The FIJI is the best model Sperti makes because it contains a better balance of UVA to UVB. That said, this product still supplies less UVA than sunlight.
You need to be outside every day.
Fresh Air, Real Light
Nature is a respite from the plague of sick buildings. Fresh air, natural light, grounding, negative ions in the air all cleanse and energize the mind and body — and facilitate better sleep later that night.
An hour per day in natural spaces can do wonders for your healing. Two to four hours/day outdoors is even better.
Grounding Is Real
Grounding on the earth is not essential, and likely is not a foundational aspect of recovery. However, it can certainly augment your recovery. Wherever your health is now, it will be better the more you ground.
Typically, grounding is performed outside.
The term refers to “receiving electrons” from the earth due to contact with the earth’s constant (very weak) electrical current. Anytime your skin touches the ground, concrete, or grass, a very small amount of electrons jump from the earth to your body. These electrons are essentially free energy.
However, grounding on “land” is not the best way to receive electrons — as we’ll see.
(If you this all sounds strange, check this out: Oxidative metabolism is how we extract energy from food. Oxidation means “taking an electron.” Yes, we use electrons — electricity — from our food for energy). The body does not discriminate as to the source of its electrons.
The more skin that touches the “ground,” the better.
- Rocks and dirt are *sort of* conductive.
- Grass is a little better.
- But water is — by far — the best.
The best way to ground? In water.
Getting ALL of your skin in a body of water means you’re maximizing the electrical supply to your body. Your skin will take the electrons if they’re available. Getting in water (with its high dielectric constant and) with lots of surface area (skin) exposed is by far the best way to ground.
In my opinion, twenty minutes of grounding in a pool is the equivalent of hours spent standing on grass, barefoot. Some people say grounding in a concrete pool is better than a vinyl pool. Natural bodies of water are certainly the best. The ocean is certainly ideal. (Try it — you’ll notice how good you feel!).
That said, standing on grass has plenty of non-grounding benefits too: Fresh air, sunlight, relaxing natural environment, and stimulating the bottoms of the feet.
Grounding: Take A “Both-And” Approach
A “both-and” mindset is essential to recover lost health. Looking for “that one fix” is almost never the right approach.
Therefore, ground as much as you can — on land and especially in water. The best benefits, though, will come from water and from extended periods of time spent grounding.
Strengthen The Body
Light Cycles — Meal Timing — Movement — Your Bedroom
Your Circadian Rhythm Is Everything.
Possibly The Most Important Step For Recovery
Going to bed late and waking up late will severely limit the speed and scope of your recovery.
There may be nothing more important — in your entire health journey — than getting your circadian rhythm on track.
Not Sleeping? Your Recovery Is Being Delayed
Don’t Wait To Follow Proper Sleep Hygiene
When your circadian rhythm is out of balance, your entire body is out of balance.
Your digestion will suffer. Your caloric needs will rise. Your inflammation will rise. Your pathogenic load will rise. Your hormones balance will deteriorate. Your gut microbes are affected.
Poor sleep — alone — takes the average NBA player’s testosterone levels from the 88th percentile (preseason) to the 36th percentile (5 months later) — increasing risk of injury and harming health. Poor sleep is certainly harming your health, as well.
There are few things worse for recovery than staying up late and sleeping in — even for an NBA player. If you’re recovering from illness, it’s all the more important.
On the other hand, improving your sleep is powerful enough to be considered a “performance-enhancing drug.”
You can take advantage of fixing your circadian rhythm — at any point on your health journey — by fixing your sleep habits. Don’t delay.
If You Have Insomnia
Your own habits can improve your sleep quality by 50% or more — in any situation.
The worse your insomnia, the more important it is to improve sleep via proper sleep hygiene.
Even if it takes several months to retrain your sleep cycle, following a proper daily schedule will help your body synchronize its internal clocks. Ongoing sleep disturbances may take a while to subside, but your body will already be enjoying the benefits. It will make the most of your situation — even as you slowly improve your health.
Great Sleep Means Controlling Your Light
- Avoid bright light before bed, especially blue-rich light from screens and devices, LEDs and fluorescents.
- Blue light directly lowers melatonin for hours — and it doesn’t take very much.
- Get bright sunlight in your eyes (indirectly) in the morning before 10am to set your circadian rhythm in stone.
- The earlier — and more– morning light you get, the better. Looking to optimize your recovery? Go all-in on morning light.
Eating For Sleep
Low Calories? Bad.
Most folks with chronic illness simply don’t eat enough calories to enable the body to sleep.
This is due to poor digestion (big meals are poorly tolerated) and restrictive diets (diverse foods are poorly tolerated). This is made worse by doctors and health gurus advocating extreme diets.
Many restrictive diets harm thyroid function — and sometimes make sleep very, very difficult. This effect can take months or even years to take root.
Hormones and brain function depend on glucose — which is derived from carbs. If your gut health is poor, you may have trouble digesting carbs, but ultimately you need to improve your GI health to allow you to eat carbs. Even just meeting a 1:1 carb-to-protein ratio can help sleep tremendously. A 2:1 ratio is more optimal.
When you eat is just as important than what you eat — for weight loss, for gut health, for immunity, for blood sugar control and for recovery from chronic illness.
There’s something extremely relevant and restorative about eating three meals per day. When you eat them, matters, too:
- Breakfast — 7:00 am
- Lunch — 11:45 am
- Dinner — 6:00 pm
These times do not need to be perfect, but there’s ample science and a wealth of anecdotal success stories from eating this way.
I spent almost a decade not worrying about my meal timing. If I’d known its importance sooner, I would have recovered much faster.
Movement is a strong signal to the brain that “It is daytime!” Therefore, movement synchronizes the circadian rhythm.
You’ve got to move daily — at least a little bit — if you want to ensure a deeper sleep.
An optimal bedtime is around 9:30 for adults.
Ideally, we rise with the sun, seeking bright morning light, eat, and move early to restore the circadian rhythm.
Modify Your Bedroom
Your sleeping quarters need to be cool and extremely dark for best sleep. Do not underestimate how important it is that your room be very dark. The more you want to improve your health, the more important it is to ensure that light is not affecting your melatonin levels at night.
Do NOT sleep with technology nearby: EMF seems to be very disruptive to sleep, especially when the body is trying to heal.
If you’ve got mold exposure in your home, it can worsen sleep all by itself. Mold problems must not be ignored.
The basic formula for quality, nightly sleep.
(click to navigate)
Gut Health — Nutrient Balance
Food Is Often Inadequate For Nutrition
Unfortunately, food does not provide enough nutrition to stay optimally healthy.
To make matters worse, the chronically sick will need nutrients even more desperately than healthy people, because they are already depleted.
We need all the nutrients that are missing in food and, in particular, we need nutrients that we are lowest in.
What’s more, even the purest, cleanest diet will not be properly absorbed when gut health is compromised.
Additionally, many “pure, clean” diets avoid certain foods that are necessary for health. Examples: Carbs may be necessary for thyroid health. Animal products may be necessary for certain people with other issues. Dietary fat may be best for others.
How Do I Begin Balancing Nutrients?
First, we need to really have an awareness of the main nutrients. The most important nutrients are typically found in a multivitamin.
So pick up a multivitamin with moderate doses of nutrients (I like this one: https://amzn.to/2LZF3En) and look at the label.
You’ll see the main nutrients that matter.
Think of them like this: Minerals (first), B-vitamins (2nd), and Fat-solubles. — along with Vitamin C.
In the Nutrients page, you’ll see them visually:
Which Nutrients Matter Most?
To begin, folks with chronic illness need ALL nutrients. However, tolerance is low: The body is struggling to balance these nutrients and maintain homeostasis. This is why a low-dose multivitamin is a fantastic place to start.
Here are the nutrients to really concern yourself with:
Sodium — Potassium Balance
Many folks with hypothyroidism need extra salt. The body wastes salt in hypothyroidism.
Salt your food to taste… or a little more.
Most folks need potassium. Bananas, coconut water, and a potassium supplement are essential if you need extra potassium.
Sodium and potassium balance each other. You can cause harm by going too far in either direction.
Calcium — Magnesium Balance
Calcium and magnesium oppose each other, just like sodium/potassium.
Most folks need both of these. Magnesium is hardly present in food. Calcium is somewhat scarce outside of dairy and dairy alternatives (which are. fortified with subpar forms of calcium). Magnesium is virtually absent from all foods and requires supplementation.
Calcium and magnesium will both reduce sodium levels for folks in hypothyroidism. These folks should monitor this and be ready to take in more sodium.
If you don’t sunbathe or supplement Vitamin D, your levels are likely low.
Vitamin D supplementation is inferior to sunlight, which has many benefits outside of Vitamin D.
Get your D from light — either summer sunshine or a wise tanning regimen: (weekly for 5-6 minutes in a medium-level bed).
In poor gut health, B-vitamins are neither absorbed nor produced by friendly bacteria.
It is imperitive that low doses of a B-complex be taken to replace lost nutrients.
In addition, most folks respond well to infrequent single doses of B1, B2, and B6.
Some respond well to B-3 (niacinamide).
I recommend taking the low-dose multi 4-5 days per week, with the individual pills once per week (or so).
Full recommendations here.
Zinc — Copper Balance
Zinc and Copper oppose each other, just like sodium/potassium.
It doesn’t take as much focus on zinc and copper to balance these. Taking each a few times a week is usually enough.
The best Zinc product is this one: https://amzn.to/2M28PrZ
In my opinion, there’s really only one good form of copper to take, and that’s in the form of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll has many amazing benefits and safely binds toxins without harming the gut — but its best function is as a source of bioavailable copper.
Copper supplement (chlorophyll):
Take these nutrients separately.
Iodine — Selenium Balance
Iodine and Selenium oppose each other, just like sodium/potassium.
Some folks are fond of megadosing iodine, but I don’t recommend it for most people. Too much can can thyroid problems just like too-little can.
Your body needs an amount it can handle and utilize.
Both are essential for immunity, and selenium is essential for glutathione production, which is needed for detoxification.
Kelp is the simplest source of iodine, and works well for many people. https://amzn.to/2LW75k3
Selenomethionine is the best source of selenium.
It’s also important to take a good Vitamin C supplement. 400mg, every other day (or so), is a nice low-dose for those with severe intolerances. You can work up slowly, but don’t go too high.
Megadosing vitamins is always risky — because each nutrient interacts with many others.
Discussion: More About Important Nutrients
To balance nutrients, it’s best to start with the 1st four minerals: sodium, potassium, calcium & magnesium — and then begin to address Vitamin D levels, if they’re low.
As mentioned earlier, low-dose Vitamin C (400mg/day or so) is also a good idea for most.
If you are getting these nutrients wrong — it almost doesn’t matter what else you do, you will be limiting your recovery, potentially in a big way.
Many observe immense improvement in “how they feel” day-to-day when big mistakes are cleared up in the “first four” minerals.
These 4 minerals (plus Vitamin D and low-dose Vitamin C) are also intricately linked to fluid balance in the body, which is a key component of our body’s “homeostasis.” Homeostasis is critical for health, and also how we feel.
When we address these four minerals (and Vitamins D & C), we can see immense improvements in quality of life, even at the beginning of our journey healthward.
The Second Four Minerals
It’s very common for folks recovering from chronic illness to require the second four minerals:
It’s extremely important not to take massive doses of any of these. Chances are, you need small amounts of each to slowly bring levels up over time. Very few people need to take high amounts.
Instead, slowly keep taking these several times a week, keeping them all somewhat balanced with each other. Megadosing almost always leads to imbalances.
(If you’ve already caused problems with megadoses, stop taking said nutrients, and find their cofactors — especially their main partner nutrient. Proceed carefully).
The Fat Soluble Vitamins
There are only four of these, one of which is Vitamin D — which we’ve already addressed (get UV light).
The other three (A, E, K) will need to be supplemented because they are extremely rare in foods.
Vitamin A is particularly important because it needs to be balanced with Vitamin D. As D levels rise, so will A.
In healthy people, carotenes are converted to A. In chronic illness, this process seems to be stymied; therefore, take real, “preformed” A.
My absolute favorite Vitamin A product: https://amzn.to/2RZN7sy.
If you get weekly Vitamin D and take the other fat-solubles 1-2x/week, you’ll be putting yourself in a position to slowly bring up these nutrient levels in a way that’s tolerable, even in tough situations.
In the Nutrients section, we take a potentially complicated subject — and make it simple, clear, and digestible… for anyone.
Last thought: We cannot resist infection and other “dangerous and debilitating” diseases when our micronutrient levels are low.
These nutrients are needed to help you sleep, digest food, fend off pathogens, and have more mental clarity as you recover.
Your nutrition depends on your ability to absorb your food, first.
Is Your Gut Holding You Back?
It may not matter how well you balance your nutrients — if you aren’t absorbing them well, or if your gut is making you sick.
You’ve got to improve your gut so you can
- Begin to absorb nutrients effectively
- Remove toxins from the body
To heal the gut, you need to create a protocol for yourself incorporating multiple “killing supplements” taken daily, with probiotics. You’ll likely need to take prebiotics to safely feed the probiotics.
Some prebiotics also behave as “binders” — binding toxins inside the gut so they can be safely transported out of the body (pectins do this).
Ultimately, many people need simple, digestible carbs (like honey, fruit, or sourdough bread) for the gut (and thyroid) to heal, making carb avoidance counter-productive — although there are exceptions to this rule. Each person is certainly different.
READ MORE: The Gut Section
Undereating is a sign of poor gut health and hypothyroidism.
Ultimately, you’ll need to eat adequate calories to provide enough energy to the body to recover. To do this you will likely need to restore gut health.
Further, don’t let a desire to “lose weight” or “be skinny” interfere with getting sufficient calories and diverse foods to support your body, your sleep, your thyroid, and your gut health.