Categories
Detoxification Gut Liver

Liver Health

Foods

for liver health

The Four Functional Liver Foods

Utilize these foods daily for constant liver nourishment.

(1) Olive Oil

  • 1 tbsp per day -OR- eat with a meal

In America, the best olive oil is sourced from California. Look for quality sources that guarantee the olive oil is not cut with cheaper oils, and which is certified ‘virgin.’

(2) Lemon Juice in water

  • One glass of water with one half-lemon, squeezed

Cut washed lemon in half, store unused half in refrigerator. Use a Blender Bottle (amazon) and add a dash of apple pectin (see more below).

(3) Coffee (decaf or caffeinated)

  • Coffee, with or without caffeine, has strong liver protective/restorative effects

While caffeine certainly has liver benefits, it may disrupt blood sugar regulation and energy homeostasis/adenosine sensitivity whenever not drinking — so consider decaffeinated coffee (which still has some caffeine) a wise choice.

“Coffee may represent a valid functional food for liver protection.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622710/

(4) Fiber

  • Traps toxins in the gut for excretion in stool, so they cannot be reabsorbed and cause inflammation and overwhelm the liver.

Without fiber, toxins are reabsorbed into the bloodstream where they burden the liver again.

First, find the fiber that works best for you (soluble fiber in vegetables –versus– insoluble from whole grains).

Then, eat two meals per day with low-to-moderate fiber content.

NOTE: Restrictive diets often fail to provide the total nutritional support required by the liver.

Supplements

for liver health

Consider supplementing any of these 1-2x/week, if well tolerated.

TUDCA and apple pectin are gentle enough for daily use, while the rest should be cycled.

Gut Health

for liver health

Improving gut health is critical for restoring an overburdened liver.

In fact, much of our liver’s stress results directly from the microbes/pathogens in the gut.

FIRST, ENDOTOXIN

First, when gut pathogens release toxins into the bloodstream after a meal, it stimulates an immune response and on-going inflammation — which burdens the liver.

THEN, REABSORPTION

Secondly, liver toxins dumped into the gut should be excreted in a healthy bowel movement.

But in poor gut health they are re-absorbed into the bloodstream – to burden the liver again.

Therefore, it is imperative that gut health improve either before or alongside steps to support liver function. Otherwise, toxicity can pile up in the sluggish gut and be reabsorbed.

Keep in mind, further, that most liver-boosting steps have an inherent antimicrobial effect on microbes in the gut — either directly or by boosting liver function and bile production. This may create the need for repopulation via probiotics.

Probiotics for the Liver & Gut

LIFE EXTENSION LIVER RESTORE Probiotic

A new probiotic product providing 7 liver-friendly strains of bacteria.

  • Clincially demonstrated to help improve C-reactive protein, a marker of liver health.
  • I’m currently trialing this product.

(amazon)

Regular Bowel Movements for Liver Health

  • Fiber traps toxins in the gut for excretion in stool, so they cannot be reabsorbed and cause inflammation and overwhelm the liver.

Gut Symbiosis for Liver Health

  • Bad pathogens in the gut release toxins whenever you eat, causing systemic inflammation and burdening the liver.

Now, let’s put it all together into a workable plan.

Getting Started

for liver health

With your liver health, where do you begin?

It always makes sense to begin with steps that are:

  • Gentle (not too disruptive to systemic balance)
  • Effective (they effect change)
  • Foundational (they work at the root causes of health)

Favorites

The steps that best meet these three criterion are my personal favorites:

The Four Functional Foods

for liver health

(daily)

Olive Oil
Lemon Juice
Coffee
Fiber

Apple Pectin

A gentle, powerful prebiotic binder

(daily)

(iHerb)

Remember: Start slow, back off with any negative side effects, and use small doses. With health, consistency is key — not brute force. These supplements are powerful.

Nutritional Support

Don’t forget, the liver cannot heal without adequate nutritional support.

And unfortunately, a sluggish liver and gut means nutrients are not well-absorbed from food — leading, potentially, to broad deficiencies.

Therefore, I highly and fully recommend the single best multivitamin I’ve found on the market, the Naturelo 1-a-Day, which is bringing excellent results for so many clients and members:

(amazon)

(Naturelo on iHerb.com)

Two More Considerations…

Movement, Exercise & Your Liver

Movement is necessary for proper liver function.

What is movement? Is it exercise?

Basically, yes — however, the term ‘movement’ can embrace more balanced and restorative activities than are typically thought of as exercise.

Whereas exercise usually focuses on reps, weight, and heart rate (BPM) — and specifically, pushing those things to their limit — movement focuses on nourishing the entire body, with an eye on recovery from disease and restoration of youth and vitality.

Movement understands that too much exercise can be just as bad for a recovering body as too little, and that imbalance in motion creates imbalance in the body.

How does exercise, generally, help the liver?

In the liver, exercise increases fatty acid oxidation, decreases fatty acid synthesis, and prevents mitochondrial and hepatocellular damage through a reduction of the release of damage-associated molecular patterns.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5954622/#:~:text=In%20the%20liver%2C%20exercise%20increases,to%20improve%20fatty%20liver%20disease.

It doesn’t take much exercise to improve liver health. In fact, if you’re moving on a daily basis — no matter how little — you’re taking steps in the right direction to improve the health of your liver.

What Types of Movement Are Best?

Any movement is great for the liver, but some are better than others.

Among the best movements is jumping. The up-and-down motions move lymph throughout the lymphatic system so it can be detoxified by the liver. Gentle jumping — or even bouncing — has nearly all the benefits for the lymphatic system seen in rebounding.

Keep your lymphatic system clear — by any means — but especially via movement.

Read more:

Environments & Your Liver

Remarkably, our living and work environments appear to have a great — and ever-increasing — effect on the health of our liver.

The common threats from the environment appear to be from:

  • Air Quality (chemicals, mold, and pests)
  • EMF (especially in hot zones near cell towers and smart meters)

If your environment is, in fact, causing inflammation via these factors, it will dampen your efforts to recover health anmd liver health to some extent.

This is not a reason to worry or stress — but instead, to become informed.

Not all information on the internet is wise or helpful concerning environmental factors. There’s a lot of fear-mongering and product hyping.

So keep your wits about you, grow your awareness, and proceed forward with your health journey.

Whatever you do, don’t pause your health adventures simply because your environment isn’t perfect. No environment is, and the wisdom you gain — even in a subpar environment — will serve you later when your environments do improve.

Read more:

Articles

August 22, 2019
Why does fasting help some people? Because there’s an inherent problem with eating food: When…
August 22, 2019
Categories
Big Picture

What I Do

Here’s what I’m currently doing to improve my health.

Updated: 7-28-19

Some Rules I Follow

  • Try one new idea at a time. Problems almost always arise from trying too many things in too-short of period.
  • Understand how each component of my health regimen fits together. If I don’t understand it, it’s more risky for me.
  • Never do something (especially long-term) just because another person is doing it. That person could easily be harming themselves, or doing things that only work given their personal challenges.
1

Current Areas of Emphasis

What really seems to be working.

I’m always trying new things — each and every week. Sometimes I find things that definitely help.

  • More gut supplements (taking throughout the day).
  • Early to bed, early to rise.
  • Daily vitamin A & copper (w/extra vitamin A after sun).
  • Meal timing (w/bigger breakfast/lunch).
  • More movement, daily.
  • Heat lamps while working.

2

Gut health needs constant attention, even when healthy — to protect the progress I’m making.

If you’re struggling with chronic illness, gut health likely needs to be a major focus for your recovery.

Prebiotics

  • Apple Pectin (daily)
  • Colostrum (2-3 pills/day)

Probiotics

4 pills/week
3
The Light Section -- Learn about light and its effects on human health.

Therapeutic light keeps my thyroid humming, weakens pathogens, and syncs my circadian rhythm.

Heat Lamp

  • 2-4 lamps
  • Background light (2-5 hours/day)

Sunlight

  • 2 hours/day (1 hour morning, 1 hour afternoon… or so)
  • (Obviously only available on drier days. I still get outside in cloudy weather for sunlight.)

Sauna

  • 1-2x/week
  • 15 minutes/session
4

My circadian rhythm is impacted by elements that I can control.

Blue Light

  • Blue light-reducing glasses.
  • F.lux on screens.
  • Adjust TV monitor for warmer color temperature.

Heal The Gut

  • Pre’s
  • Pro’s
  • Killers
  • (see above)

Bedroom

  • Dark, dark, dark
  • EMF — turn off wifi. No cell phone in bedroom. Turn power off to bedroom at night.
  • Fresh Air
  • Clean
  • Temperature
  • Firm mattress

Morning Sunlight

  • 10-15 minutes/day
  • Sunlight or heat lamps.
5

The food I eat is balanced: carbs and protein and fats — and digestible.

  • I am now eating food with virtually zero food restrictions.
  • I do avoid artificial sweeteners and flavors.
  • I eat mostly whole foods, although I don’t restrict added sugar. I do eat refined grains — in fact, starch is essential for me to feel my best, sleep well, and stay regular.

Macro Ratio

  • Roughly a 2:1:1 ratio (by calories).
  • I eat intuitively (I don’t measure calories or macros anymore, although I did for some time). I generally get a feel for where “2:1:1” probably is. If I want a little more protein, or carbs, or fat… I’ll add more. After years of paying attention to this, I can figure out what I want/need.
  • I think about what my gut will need to digest well… not just what my taste buds want.
6
The Thyroid Section -- Learn about how the thyroid affects human health, as well as what to do to restore it to proper function.

I have been able to restore my thyroid without the use of thyroid hormones.

  • Eat early.
  • Moderate-to-high calories.
  • 2:1 Carb to protein ratio.
  • Lots of light.
  • Protect sleep.
  • Clean environment (especially mold/EMF).
7
The Nutrient section -- Learn about how nutrient balance, absorption, and interaction affect human health, recovery from illness, and longevity.

I’ve gotten myself into endless conundrums with nonsensical, extreme nutritional supplementation.

Therefore, it’s become a core concept for me to never find myself lost and confused about nutrients, ever again.

Fat Solubles

1-2x/week. I seem to need more Vitamin A than the other Fat Solubles. Therefore, I take this less frequently.

  • Vitamin A — 1x/day (at night)
  • Vitamin D — from sunlight, daily.
  • Vitamin E — 1x/week
  • Vitamin K — 2x/week

B-Vitamins

The Naturelo multivitamin is an excellent source of balanced B-vitamins.

  • B1 — 1x/week (allithiamine)
  • B2 — 1x/week
  • B6 — 1x/week
  • Choline — 1x/week
  • I don’t seem to need more B12 than this supplement provides.

Minerals

  • Sodium — Moderate intake.
  • Potassium — Lowish intake (what’s in the Ultima powder and veggies).
  • Calcium — Moderate/high intake. Mostly from dairy.
  • Magnesium — 3-6x/week.
  • Zinc — I avoid zinc. It makes me feel bad. (UPDATE Fall 2019: When I stopped visiting a moldy environment regularly, zinc tolerance improved, and supplemental zinc gave noticeable energy and calmness).
  • Copper — 1-2x/day. Chlorophyllin. Has long balanced out my high zinc. Consistently makes me feel great.
  • Iodine — Not needing much right now.
  • Selenium — About once per week.

  • Lithium — 1x/week
  • Strontium — 2x/month
  • Molybdenum — 1x/week (to lower high sulfur)

Amino Acids

  • Glycine — currently not taking/(is present in magnesium glycinate)
  • Lysine — currently not taking
  • Proline — in colostrum
8
The Mold section -- Learn about mold illness and how your environment can affect your health, longevity, and recovery from illness.

Sick buildings completely wrecked my thyroid, my gut, my brain function, and my sleep.

Therefore, this is now a daily thought for me: What can I do to improve my environment?

Awareness

  • I am always aware of the health of the buildings I am in — especially my own home.

Clean

  • Keep things clean.
  • Dust a lot.
  • Keep the floors dusted and wiped down.
  • Change sheets a lot.
  • Shower frequently.
  • Keep car very clean.

Minimize

  • Don’t own many possession I don’t use frequently.
  • Always looking to throw things away.

Protect

  • I “de-contaminate” when I return from buildings I suspect/know were “sick buildings.” (Or, even borderline “sick buildings”).
9

Final Thoughts

What might be even more important than the actions I take each day? How I think about my health.

Organizing my thoughts — into important topics — is one of the most important habits I developed as I came back into health.

I stopped viewing everything through a single lens — whether it be the thyroid, the gut, mold, or something else (various diets, perhaps).

Instead, I came to understand these essential topics — each its own standalone pillar of health that matters deeply and universally for all people.

That means I couldn’t simply focus on one area — gut health, or light, or sleep — and expect to recover.

Of course, there’s so much overlap between each area — so envisioning these clearly defined “essential topics” helped me delve into health zones without becoming lost in the weeds.

These days — and for many years now — I don’t worry about doing a million health activities each day. I just think of these essential topics: light, sleep, the gut, food, nutrients, etc.

I often make sure I’m doing something for each pillar every day.

I take stock — how I’m doing lately — for each topic. For example: “What’s my therapeutic light been like recently?”

From time to time, I’ll focus more on one area than another. I’ll also take a break from certain areas periodically — to see how doing less affects me.

Viewing these as “essential topics” also allows me freedom from health-group dogma. I know a given essential topic is important, and I can maintain my focus on it, even as I explore various approaches to that subject — exploring advice from various sources. I can take or leave advice about, say, the circadian rhythm without changing my appreciation for the topic, itself. I know it’s important.

As I work through different approaches, I keep the best ideas — and weed out those that didn’t help, or those that made me feel worse.

Over time, the way I view these essential topics has become only about the universally-good ideas discovered along the way.

Organize your thoughts into essential topics and you’ll be free to rise above the dogmatic traps we find online and, instead, build your own approach — one that resonates with you and thus provides you sustainable results.

Choose a Topic

Clear & Organized.

The Light Section -- Learn about light and its effects on human health.
Start Here

Articles

Start Here

Articles

Start Here

Articles

Start Here

Articles

The Mold section -- Learn about mold illness and how your environment can affect your health, longevity, and recovery from illness.
Start Here
The Nutrient section -- Learn about how nutrient balance, absorption, and interaction affect human health, recovery from illness, and longevity.
Start Here
The Thyroid Section -- Learn about how the thyroid affects human health, as well as what to do to restore it to proper function.
Start Here
Start Here
The Mold section -- Learn about mold illness and how your environment can affect your health, longevity, and recovery from illness.
(coming soon)
(coming soon)

A Path for Your Journey.

Start Here

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a great cause

Travis

What people are saying…

(return home)

Categories
Big Picture Light Nutrients Sleep Supplement Reviews

Basic Immune Checklist

The immune system needs all the support it can get during a crisis.

In this uncertain time, strategies to shore up biological weaknesses and nutritional imbalances are at the very top of the list for boosting immunity.

Everything mentioned in this article has been shown to be effective for boosting immunity against viruses and even past coronaviruses in published studies.

We can strengthen the immune system from the ground up — via two avenues foundational to general health: nutrients and lifestyle.

Adults

Immune function may be improved by restoring deficient micronutrients to recommended levels, thereby increasing resistance to infection and supporting faster recovery when infected. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30336639
1

A Great Multivitamin

A strong multivitamin has A) whole-food based, high-quality ingredients at B) biologically-appropriate, balanced doses — not megadoses, which can create imbalances.

Naturelo’s formulation is well-balanced, absorbable, w/adequate zinc content — the only one of its kind among a vast ocean of subpar multivitamins.

Naturelo MEN’S MULTIVITAMIN

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com

NATURELO WOMEN’S MULTIVITAMIN

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com

Women’s includes iron.
Women’s (50+) is iron-free.

Take a quality multivitamin daily, with or without meals, before 2 pm.

Read more:

The Nutrient section -- Learn about how nutrient balance, absorption, and interaction affect human health, recovery from illness, and longevity.
This page is for members.

Poor nutritional status predisoposes to certain infections.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30336639
2

Vitamins D & A

Vitamin D and Vitamin A are partner nutrients which are central to immune function.

Poorly represented in most diets (D is only available from sunlight and A is only available from liver), they are both critical for metabolism, sleep, and hormone production.

A deficiency in these can make you extra susceptible to illnesses.

D

Vitamin D is a hormone produced when the body receives UVB light.

Vitamin D is perhaps the most important immune nutrient.

Solaray, Soy-Free Vitamin D-3 + K-2, 120 VegCaps
Solaray 5000 IU (with K2)

This is a moderate-to-high dose of Vitamin D3 (the biologically-active form) with a small amount of cofactor Vitamin K2, needed to allow Vitamin D work in the body.

It’s an excellent idea to take absorbable magnesium to support Vitamin D. Magnesium is not readily found in modern food, so it’s a good idea to supplement it daily, anyway.

WHEN SICK, Take 5000IU Vitamin D daily — with a meal.

(Consider avoiding Vit D if supplemented heavily in the past — to avoid overdose).

NOTE — Sunlight is a superior form of Vitamin D, but is only available around midday, in the summer.

A

Vitamin A is the sister hormone to Vitamin D, enabling it to work optimally.

The two must be balanced with about a 1:1 ratio.

Carlson Labs, Vitamin A, 10,000 IU, 250 Soft Gels
Carlson Labs (10,000 IU)

This is the premier form of Vitamin A (preformed, fat-soluble). Does not require the liver to convert from carotenes.

When Sick, Take Vitamin A every Other day — with a meal, before 2pm.

(Consider avoiding Vit A if supplemented heavily in the past — to avoid overdose).

It is well-established that nutritional inadequacy greatly impairs the functioning of the immune system.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6340979/
3

Vitamin C

Along with Vitamin D, Vitamin C is a most critical immune nutrient, because it supports the system’s energy as a whole.

Solaray 1:1 Ratio Vit C
Solaray, Vitamin C Bioflavonoids, 1:1 Ratio, 250 VegCaps

View on iHerb.com

My favorite Vit C supplement anywhere.

Solaray Liposomal Vitamin C
Solaray, Liposomal Vitamin C, 400 mg, 100 VegCaps

View on iHerb.com

Fat-soluble Vitamin C, an incredible product.

Take 500-1000mg daily, at any time, with or without a meal.
Higher doses should be used with caution, up to 1000-2000mg/day.

Various micronutrients are essential for immunocompetence, particularly vitamins A, C, D, E, B2, B6, and B12, folic acid, iron, selenium, and zinc. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30336639
4

Zinc & Copper

5

Echinacea

Several past studies have suggested that echinacea is effective at reducing the viability of all viruses.

Solaray Echinacea

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com.

Take echinacea anytime, as directed.

If extremely ill, discontinue.

Other antiviral herbs may be viable alternatives to boost immunity during illness. Here’s a list of options:

(click to explore more options)

6

Heat

Heat is incredibly therapeutic for nearly every health condition — especially for supporting the immune system.

Why? In part, because pathogens are severely weakened in high heat. Look no further than what your own body does when sick: It raises the temperature in your tissues, a fever.

Venture Soft Far Infrared Heating Pad

UTK Ultra-Soft Far Infrared Heating Pad

Exposure to warmth is critical when fighting off illness and preventing it. The heat will also help you feel better in the process.

Apply heating pad for 20 minutes on chest, then 20 minutes on the back. Optional: Sit on pad for several hours.

Did you know? Heat is infrared light.

Read more about the stunning health effects of light.
7

Sunlight

If you’re sick, get outside.

UV light is naturally germicidal — especially against viruses. UV frequencies can penetrate into the skin, and can even inactivate viruses that have worked their way into skin tissues.

Blue light from sunshine, as well, is “highly antimicrobial.”

Infrared, the immune-boosting and germicidal to pathogens, is also metabolism boosting and makes up 50% of sunlight.

Sunlight is a premier tool to:

all important for recovery from illness.

UV radiation kills viruses by chemically modifying their genetic material, DNA and RNA.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17880524
Morning light is the healthiest light you can get — even without any UV.

Don’t wait until you’re sick to spend time outdoors. Ward off illness — before it arrives — with regular sunshine.

Get outdoors every day — for as long as possible.
8

The immune system activates at night — functioning best when we sleep deeply.

Research is finding that when you sleep is more important than how many hours you sleep. Thus, the circadian rhythm is more important than the total hours of shuteye.

Fix the circadian rhythm to fix sleep. Explore the Sleep section for more.

Read more:

Children

When it comes to children, it’s important to simplify.

Kids are smaller bodies that require smaller doses of nutrients. Children’s health needs are different than an adult’s — they are often more sensitive, and thereby susceptible to harm caused by excessive supplementation.

Multivitamin

Kids need low, balanced doses of high-quality nutrients, too.

Not all children’s multivitamins meet the standards of quality and balanced dosages.

(Alive! brand might taste a little better)

Vitamin D

Give this to children for one week to build immunity — or during illness — then reduce dosage to 2-3x/week.

Echinacea

Give to children for one week to build immunity or fight off infection. Then take one week off before starting again.

Conclusion

A strong immune-boosting regimen is built on a foundation of:

  • A quality multivitamin
  • Vitamins D & A supplements
  • Vitamin C
Optional steps:
  • Zinc and copper
  • Echinacea
REMEMBER, utilize these DAILY:
  • Heat
  • Full-spectrum sunlight
  • A strong circadian rhythm

…to optimize your immune health.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo

Essential Topics

Clear & Organized.

The Light Section -- Learn about light and its effects on human health.
The Mold section -- Learn about mold illness and how your environment can affect your health, longevity, and recovery from illness.
The Nutrient section -- Learn about how nutrient balance, absorption, and interaction affect human health, recovery from illness, and longevity.
The Thyroid Section -- Learn about how the thyroid affects human health, as well as what to do to restore it to proper function.

A Path For Your Journey.

Featured on the QUAX Podcast

LUCAS, HOST OF QUAX PODCAST: “This is by far the most comprehensive interview I have done on how to be the healthiest you can be.”

What people are saying…

Articles

This site will never be littered with ads.


To support this site: 1) Join as a member


or 2) Become a patron.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a great cause

Travis

What people are saying…

(return home)

Categories
Big Picture Sleep Symptoms

Battling Deep Insomnia?

Persistent insomnia can feel like a prison.

You just want relief from being awake. Why can’t I fall asleep? What’s wrong with me?

Maybe a sleep supplement solves the problem for a while. That is, until the solution wears off as the body builds tolerance and becomes resistant to it.

The body creates new cells that have fewer chemical receptors for the supplement’s active compound that induces sleep.

Sleep doesn’t need to be induced, though. It’s a natural process or, at least, it can be.

Maybe it’s the unnatural stuff — or even the unnatural way we do/take natural stuff — that prevents the body from being able to sleep.

Get To The Root Cause

Anxiety about insomnia can certainly make the situation worse.

That’s why it’s so important to understand what is at the root cause of poor sleep.

There’s not as much room for anxiety about poor sleep if we have a deep understanding of our body — what works for us and the general factors that improve or harm sleep.

If you find yourself struggling with insomnia, look at this list of potential causes. If you recognize something on this list, you’ll have identified a potential cause of your insomnia. Which means it can be fixed holistically.

Let’s clear some things up, and hopefully reduce anxiety about sleep.

Deep Causes Of Insomnia

Sleeping In

Perhaps the premier cause of insomnia is sleeping in late.

Sleeping in throws off the circadian rhythm so deeply that, without doing anything else “wrong,” sleep can become extremely difficult.

Some folks are able to overcome the negative impact of sleeping in by being extremely active during the day — athletic types and performers can sometimes appear to “get away with” a later circadian rhythm. These people are typically younger and haven’t faced the scourge of debilitating health problems, and live on the high of sheer exhaustion. They may be able to “pass out” at night, but this is certainly a recipe for future insomnia.

For the rest of us, sleeping in greatly disrupts the ability to fall and stay asleep the following night. The circadian rhythm is delayed, meaning melatonin simply won’t rise the next evening.

Serotonin is created by morning light and, without this light stimulus, evening melatonin will not be adequately created from that serotonin.

For those folks interested in the ill effects of high serotonin, perhaps the most reasonable way to fight back is bright sunlight — which balances serotonin by raising dopamine during the day and lowers serotonin at night by properly converting it to melatonin.

Sleeping in robs the body of the necessary morning light stimulus, sets the circadian clock backward several hours and harms the efficiency and inevitability of sleep the following evening.

Insulin sensitivity (a marker of diabetes) is also impaired by sleeping in, which could directly lead to a metabolic energy deficit at night. Needing to eat late at night to induce sleep, or waking up hungry? Sleeping in could be impairing your glucose metabolism all day, destabilizing your blood sugar, and making it harder to stay asleep through the night.

On the other end, staying up late at night will contribute to insomnia, mostly because it makes sleeping in more likely. Late nights also introduce bright light at night (this is correlated with nearly every disease risk factor) which makes sleep less efficient, and thus further impairs an early rise the next morning.

When staying up late for any reason — whether socially or otherwise — it’s still best to follow natural light cycles to some extent. Better light cycles certainly make it more easy to wake up early after a late night.

If sleeping in has become the norm, the answer is to simply wake up early while supporting this change with simple circadian hygiene steps.

When shifting to earlier mornings, it will be necessary to endure one or multiple short nights of sleep. The days following short nights of sleep don’t have to miserable. The beauty of being awake early, even if tired, can shine through the temporary challenge of resetting the circadian rhythm.

Again, when coupled with other pro-circadian habits — proper light cycles, daily movement, meal timing, etc — forcing an early rise can invite exhaustion and “sleep pressure.” This sleep pressure, when coupled with better circadian habits can lead to an excellent reset of the circadian rhythm after long periods of sleeping in.

These tenets of good sleep hygiene — waking up early, being active, eating on time, and moving a little — are incredibly effective at restoring sleep in their own right and represent the solution to the type of insomnia that occurs as a result of sleeping in.

Unfortunately, there are some situations that can derail sleep to its core — on their own — and, when these situations become bad enough, sleep hygiene is not enough to overcome them. Let’s explore some of them:

Nutrient Imbalances

Nutrient imbalances are becoming exceedingly common in the modern health world, especially in the groups dedicated to boosting metabolism and hormone production/manipulation.

Decades of science have provided studies demonstrating the pro-metabolic and prohormone effects of nearly every substance and chemical on the planet.

It only takes a little research to find lists of biochemicals, vitamins, and hormones that research suggests will boost or block a desired biological activity.

Unfortunately, this method of supplementation may be pyrite — fool’s gold.

While a young and healthy person may be able to take hormones and nutrients without apparent harm — for instance, a college-aged fitness enthusiast taking steroids, stimulants, estrogen blockers, or high doses of nutrients to increase lean muscle and burn fat — for folks who aren’t already extremely healthy this approach can be a disaster, and sleep is often where the negative symptomology is ultimately displayed.

For folks who have been battling chronic illness for several years, this “metabolic boosting” and “hormonal manipulation” can lead directly to a no man’s land of severe insomnia with no clear path out of it.

Supplemental hormones can use up nutrients, leading to depletion of minerals and vitamins.

Hormone-blockers can lead to depletion of certain hormones — and then cause the body to create new cells that are hypersensitive to the hormone being blocked. This is especially common with estrogen-blocking supplements like DIM and calcium d-glutarate, along with cortisol blockers like Seriphos (and cortisol-lowering herbs, to a lesser extent).

Over time, supplemental vitamins and minerals can cause severe nutritional imbalances, especially when focusing on boosting desired biological results. Nutrients should rarely or never be taken for their drug-like effect — whether it’s to induce sleep, alter the metabolism, nudge hormone balance, or elevate performance — and especially not long-term and in doses that far exceed 100% of the recommended daily value.

The fat-soluble vitamins (D, A, E & K) are especially known to cause sleep disturbances when levels are imbalanced or too high in the system.

The fat-solubles are incredibly powerful at boosting the immune system (they are quite antimicrobial) and are equally pro-metabolic. This means they are essential for health. It also means they can produce excellent results upon initial supplementation — with a happy honeymoon period of solid results — only to be followed by worsening symptoms that persist for weeks or months after the nutrient supplementation ceases.

When Vitamin D levels have become too high, it may even be necessary to avoid UVB light frequencies from the sun (from midday, summer light) until Vitamin D levels can return to a healthy level.

Vitamin A is a double-edged sword, much like Vitamin D. Much of the population will be deficient in both D & A, and yet some will be dangerously high in one or both (usually after supplementation). If one is low, that deficiency alone can wreck sleep. If one is high, that excess (or “vitamin toxicity”) can equally disrupt sleep.

Vitamin A & Vitamin D are just as likely to ruin sleep in excess as they are to restore sleep in deficiency.

Additionally, of particular importance is one’s sodium and potassium balance.

In chronic illness and hypothyroidism, sodium levels are often depleted, so adequate daily sodium intake can be incredibly pertinent for sleep. Any nutrient — when too low or too high — will raise levels of cortisol, and this is true of sodium in particular as a primary electrolyte.

Many folks will need to restrict sodium intake and balance it with potassium.

Monitor this critical, fragile ratio daily, doubly-so if insomnia is a recurring issue.

For example, restless leg syndrome (RLS) is especially related to sodium/potassium balance. RLS is also linked to Vitamin D/A balance, as well as calcium/magnesium balance. If any nutrient is low or high, restless legs can present.

All in all, any nutrient, when out of balance with its cofactors (read: all other nutrients), can cause persistent insomnia until supplementation has stopped and the body can balance itself once again.

It can take weeks for sleep to return when nutrients and hormones have been thrown out of whack, although improvements can often be noticed within mere nights of stopping the offensive supplementation.

Low Calories

Insomnia can certainly be caused when too-few calories are eaten, or when calories are eaten too late in the day.

Glucose tolerance is lower at night and higher in the morning.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/dom.13391

When calories aren’t eaten early, they are less efficiently metabolize later in the day — leading to an energy deficit that can only be ameliorated by further, excessive caloric intake.

Simply put, eating too little early means even more calories must be eaten later in the day to compensate — to keep up with energy requirements of the body.

Especially in cases of long-term malnutrition and chronic illness (due to extreme dieting, infections, or even poor gut health), the body is in a perpetual state of energetic deficit.

In this state, adequate caloric intake may become essential to facilitate sleep. Erratic blood sugar (possibly as a result of a disrupted circadian rhythm or low-grade infection) can directly cause insomnia. The obsession with caloric restriction as a path to longevity can directly impair health, particularly if it disrupts quality sleep.

When blood sugar regulation is a concern, it’s increasingly important to 1) eat enough calories and 2) eat those calories on time: early and not late.

The caveat: if you find yourself unable to sleep due to insufficient calories during the day — there may be no other choice but to get up and eat sufficient calories to induce sleep.

Snacking at night isn’t ideal (poor glucose metabolism, eating signals “daytime” to the brain), but insomnia is easily a worse outcome. Eat what’s needed for the night, and get back on track in the morning and over time.

Sedentarism

Daily movement is a major component of good sleep.

Movement reinforces the circadian rhythm by suppressing melatonin and signaling daytime to the brain’s clock (suprachiasmatic nucleus).

Additionally, movement burns through glutamate stores, allowing for a more appropriate GABA-glutamate balance in the evening which facilitates better relaxation of the nervous system.

Exercise also improves liver bile flow and digestive wellness, allowing for more efficient absorption of nutrients and, therefore, improved metabolic function.

The lymph system is nourished by daily exercise and, when sleep cycles have been impaired, the lymph system depends upon movement even more to clear lymph and the toxins housed inside it. This increased reliance on movement is because the circadian rhythm is critical for lymph function. In circadian disruption, movement is all that remains to stimulate lymph flow (along with, potentially, manual lymph drainage, massage and infrared light).

Some well-intentioned health advice recommends extreme resting and avoidance of exercise. While this advice is based on some measure of truth (long-term overexertion can harm health), it mustn’t ignore the fact that daily, tolerable levels of movement are critical to digestive motility, lymph function, and preventing insomnia.

Nightly Hydration

Bodily hydration is a major challenge in chronic illness.

It can be a struggle to maintain homeostasis and fluid balance due to chronic inflammation and poor nutrient absorption.

Monitoring fluid intake — as well as water quality — is important when sleep is a challenge.

There’s certainly a “Goldilocks zone” for each person when it comes to fluid intake.

The amount of water required will vary depending on the diet and intake of minerals. Sunlight, light therapy, heat therapy, exercise, and mineral intake will all greatly increase daily water needs.

In hypothyroidism, it’s common for folks to restrict water intake and increase sodium consumption. This improves fluid balance due to hyponatremia as a result of various health challenges: low hormone levels, high inflammation, poor gut health, and poor nutrient absorption.

Increasing this sodium-to-water balance may help sleep. However, it’s possible to go too far in either direction: You may find water to impede sleep during the night, and sodium induces sleep. You may wake up a few hours later dehydrated (from the sodium), and need more water.

Ultimately, this is a sign of severe fluid imbalance. Frequent night urination can be a sign of many things: diabetes, mold toxicity, high EMF exposure, and high inflammation. The root causes of fragile fluid balance need to be addressed going forward, rather than merely addressed through intense sodium/water balancing.

Poor Gut Health

Poor gut health can cause each bite of food eaten to turn into endotoxin in the gut.

In dysbiosis of the gut, nutrients will be poorly absorbed and, when absorbed, will not reach cells efficiently due to inflammation.

Pathogens become comfortable in the gut, eating food and causing inflammation. They’ll even enter the bloodstream — a place they certainly don’t belong — and trigger a strong immune response (more inflammation).

Some folks are able to find some spotty relief by removing problematic foods from the diet (such as grains, fibers, or animal products). However, this does not totally address the underlying health problems and may cause imbalances over time (due to an imbalanced diet).

If insomnia is truly persistent, it’s certainly possible gut health is a root-cause factor.

Of course, the circadian rhythm is a primary controller of overall gut health. Therefore, attacking both the gut and sleep simultaneously through great sleep hygiene and a solid gut health regimen may present a valid approach.

Sick Buildings

There’s no reason to go in-depth on this topic, here.

However, if you’re really struggling with insomnia and absolutely nothing else is helping, you might want to explore your building — and see if it’s a sick building.

When water damage grows significant mold — or air conditioning units go unmaintained and grow mold — this can cause insomnia all by itself.

Mold releases toxins called mycotoxins which directly cause inflammation. Its spores can also be allergenic and even become lodged in the mouth and nose and grow fungal colonies (possibly the gut, too). The scent of mold (technically “volatile organic compounds” or VOCs) is particularly disruptive to the sensitive body, too.

EMF, on the other hand, doesn’t affect everyone equally — but if you’re someone who is affected by it, it can cause sleep to flatline on its own, as well.

Get to know your sleeping domain — is it within high-risk distances for any of the EMF-emitting sources in this chart?

It’s an ongoing process to understanding mold and EMF in the environment.

Mold is becoming a modern epidemic as buildings are built with cheaper materials and tighter envelopes (less air exchange), and are inhabited and owned by people who are too busy, ignorant, or financially limited to properly maintain their premises.

EMF prevalence is rising exponentially, with current 2020 average exposure levels most likely exceeding previous decades’ average exposure levels on a magnitude of millions of times more radiation — and that’s just the wireless component of EMF, not magnetic and electric fields, which may have remained more constant. One thing is for certain: EMFs are biologically active and not completely inert.

Conclusion

If you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s most important to understand why it’s happening rather than look for a quick fix.

As tempting as it is to find a quick solution — and as sweet a relief a few decent hours of sleep might be — in the long run, the only thing worse than having insomnia now is still having chronic insomnia in the distant future.

Instead of searching for random, fleeting fixes, it’s best to see if we can analyze our situation and remove the common major obstacles that are capable of — on their own — causing debilitating, unrelenting insomnia, the kind that can occur despite even the best of sleep hygiene habits.

Read More

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a great cause

Travis

What people are saying…

(return home)

Categories
Food Gut Product Reviews

Big Supplement List (Gut)

Explore this page

1

Colostrum
  • Symbiotics

2

Herbal ANTIMICROBIALS

3

OTHER
ANTIMICROBIALS

4

Probiotics
  • GutPro (Smidge)
  • Garden of Life

5

Prebiotics

6

Bee Products

7

Enzymes

8

Apple Cider Vinegar
Explore GUT

Articles

1

Colostrum

  • Symbiotics Colostrum Plus

Colostrum makes a strong foundation — and a potent first step — for any gut health protocol.


SYMBIOTICS
Colostrum Plus

U.K. citizens — Here’s a quality colostrum available in your country: INVIVO Bio.Revive Colostrum.

One of the most gentle yet impactful supplements available, colostrum affects the gut in multiple positive ways — with low risk of intolerance.

Colostrum boosts immunity, fights pathogens, feeds beneficial flora, and regulates the speed of motility in the gut.

  • Lactoferrin (powerful against viruses and bacteria)
  • Insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1, IGF-2) which help your tissues grow and recover
  • Immunoglobulins — (Antibodies, used to fight pathogens — IgA, IgG, IgM)
  • Prebiotics — Healthy fibers that selectively feed “good” gut flora
  • Proline-rich-polypeptidesShort proteins that boost immunity, increase cognitive performance, regulate cellular redox, and can even play a role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s

Colostrum is incredible for both constipation and diarrhea, as well as when fighting off an illness. Most products recommend a higher dose to knock out a bug when sick.

Colostrum is safe for nearly all people, with the only exception being those with sensitivity to dairy. That said, many lactose-intolerant folks have no issues with colostrum.

2

Herbal Antimicrobials

Extracts & oils with antimicrobial properties.
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Triphala
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric
  • Mimosa Pudica

Antimicrobial herbs create hostility in the gut against microbes, reducing pathogen counts and boosting immunity. Rotate through herbs to prevent excessive killing.


Oregano

OREGANOL
Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is a powerful full-spectrum natural antibiotic with antioxidant properties.

A main ingredient of oregano oil, carvacrol, has strong antiviral properties.

Because oregano oil is quite powerful, it should only be taken for several weeks at most, and then cycled off for at least month or two. In dire cases, it may be used a month or so for its immune-boosting, antiseptic properties.

Oregano oil is most effective when the body is sick, fighting off illness, or struggling with dysbiosis of the gut, but it should not be taken daily for long periods of time.

Oregano oil may even reduce pain perception and increase a sense of calm, although these should not be the primary reasons to take this supplement.

Note — Oregano oil can deplete iron levels, and should be used cautiously or avoided when iron levels are too low.


Cinnamon

OREGON’S WILD HARVEST
True Cinnamon

Cinnamon oil has potent antimicrobial properties against virtually all pathogens, even in drug-resistant strains.

Cinnamon oil is powerful stuff. If taken too frequently, it can kill off good gut flora in the gut.

Cinnamon oil can work against biofilms that allow hardy pathogens to resist antimicrobial compounds.

There are three main sources of cinnamon: ceylon, cassia, and burmannii.

  • Ceylon is the only variety with low levels of coumarin, a compound with known liver and kidney toxicity concerns.
  • Cassia has high levels of of coumarin.
  • Burmannii is the most commonly-sold in the USA, and has the highest levels of coumarin — higher than cassia.

Therefore, choose ceylon cinnamon to avoid liver toxicity.


Triphala

PLANETARY HERBALS
Triphala

Triphala is an ancient Indian blend of three ingredients: two fruits and a berry.

  • Amla — (berry)
  • Bibhitaki — (fruit)
  • Haritaki — (fruit)

Triphala is loaded with beneficial compounds: Vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols, and other ingredients.

Its biological effects have been studied quite extensively, with benefits discovered for oral health, weight loss, lipid peroxidation, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, diabetes, and, of course, gut health.

Triphala has potent antimicrobial properties and, therefore, it should be classified as a “killing” gut supplement, in that it will increase hostility in the gut against microbes. It also tends to have a mild laxative effect on the gut, helping to produce more complete and regular stools.


Peppermint

HEATHER’S
Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is a gentle antimicrobial, with varying rates of effect against different species of bacteria.

It’s got some antifungal properties and reduces the perception of pain in the gut. Topically, it can help grow hair.

Peppermint doesn’t kill all microbes equally, but it can absolutely support the immune system by making the gut more hostile. Peppermint oil is known to have good results in Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s but it also has value as a general antimicrobial for ongoing gut health.


Ginger

NATURE’S WAY
Ginger Root

The main active ingredient in ginger is gingerol, which has powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Ginger is shown to significantly reduce inflammation and has some anti-cancer properties in the colon.

Ginger is beneficial for dyspepsia (which is related to GERD, ulcers, gastric reflux, and gastroparesis), improving the rate of gastric emptying.

When used as an antimicrobial, ginger greatly reduces the growth of bacteria and viruses. Gingerol then absorbs into the bloodstream, exerting its anti-inflammatory and antmicrobial effects throughout the body.


Garlic

ZHOU
Garlic

Garlic has powerful antimicrobial properties that affect the full spectrum of microbe — including bacteria, yeasts/fungus, protozoa, and viruses.

It’s antimicrobial effects are due to sulfur compounds that form as the garlic is chopped. Allicin is the main example, and it exhibits powerful antiseptic effects against microbes. Allicin is unstable — it breaks down shortly after garlic is chopped.

In this Zhou garlic supplement, allicin is stabilized — so its benefits are available anytime. The sulfur compounds in garlic are absorbed and travel around the body, behaving as an antioxidant and killing pathogens.


Turmeric (Curcumin)

JARROW
Curcumin

Curcumin is a legitimate antimicrobial compound with far-reaching benefits for the entire body.

Against bacteria, curcumin has the most severe effect against H. Pylori, but also has broad-spectrum antibacterial effects.

Curcumin is being considered as an antiviral drug, and has broad-spectrum antifungal effects — most especially against Candida.

Curcumin and turmeric are known to be anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and good for the liver, blood sugar, diabetes, and fat storage.

3

Other Antimicrobials

Compounds with antimicrobial properties.
  • TUDCA
  • Thorne SF722
  • Lauricidin
  • Digestive Enzymes
  • Systemic Enzymes

(section in progress)

Double Wood TUDCA

TUDCA is best known as a liver supplement (and a great one, at that), but it also directly improves the microbial balance of the gut.

TUDCA is a compound found in bile, but humans only make tiny amounts of it. On the other hand, bear bile is extremely rich in TUDCA, and for centures bear bile was used as a health tonic. Thankfully, it’s not necessary to hunt bears for their bile any longer.

TUDCA’s effect on the liver is beneficial for the gut. Bile ducts are gently, yet powerfully cleaned and nourished — improving liver health and bile flow to the gut. Bile is notoriously antimicrobial, meaning TUDCA improves the gbut microbiome indirectly, too, by making the gut hostile to pathogens via increased bile flow.

The UDCA stands for ursodeoxycholic acid and it’s a powerful compound in its own right. The “T” in TUDCA stands for taurine — a key amino acid that cleanses the liver and aids in digestion on its own. Therefore TUDCA provides the many benefits of UDCA while also those of taurine.

Liver health is essential for gut health, and the best first step toward both liver and gut health might be the powerful, yet quite tolerable, healing effects of TUDCA.

Thorne SF722

(Undecylenic Acid)

Lauricidin

Monolaurin

Enzymes

Enzymes “digest” microbes. This makes enzymes extremely antimicrobial.

Digestive Enzymes

PURE ENCAPSULATIONS
Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are the array of enzymes released when food enters the digestive system.

They are designed to specifically break down carbs, proteins, and fats.

Pancreatin is a commercial name for these three enzymes:

  • amylase
  • protease
  • lipase

These three enzymes are foundational to human digestion. Supplemental pancreatin is sourced from pigs and will have different ratios from human pancreatic juices.

This does not mean pancreatin is of no benefit to digestion, just that it is not a perfect replacement for human pancreatic enzymes.

“PPE [pancreatin supplements from pigs] do not provide a full substitution of the lipolytic enzymes present in HPJ [human panctreatic juices].”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31288050

Other enzymes are often included in digestive enzyme products: cellulase (breaks down cellulose, or plant fiber), and lactase (breaks down the milk sugar, lactose). Invertase breaks down sucrose (table sugar) into glucose and fructose. Beta-glucanase breaks down beta-glucans, a sugar found in plants (oatmeal, barley), and the cell walls of microbes (making this enzyme an antimicrobial and anticancer compound).

All in all, digestive enzymes can slightly improve the risk of maldigestion, ramp up gut hostility during digestion, and increase the absorption of nutrients. They may especially play a minor role when gut health is truly struggling and food is not well digested.

Sometimes, enzymes can increase energy in the body to the extent that they interfere with sleep. Enzymes can also deplete minerals in the body, particularly sodium and magnesium. Enzyme products also tend to advertise large doses per capsule — when smaller doses would be more tolerable and effective.

If you have any negative symptoms, such as insomnia — or feel that sodium or magnesium levels are being depleted — reduce the dose or frequency or stop taking enzymes altogether. Discontinue enzymes if any pain is noticed after taking.

Systemic Enzymes

BRAGGZYME
Systemic Enzymes

Systemic enzymes not only benefit the gut, but also enter the bloodstream and break down microbes, toxins, metabolic waste, and junk protein.

The benefit of systemic enzymes to the gut shouldn’t be overlooked, though. In fact, this is a critical component of why systemic enzymes seem to improve symptoms, performance, and quality of life so much.

The most popular systemic enzymes are all considered proteolytic — which means they break down proteins. This term is often used interchangeably (with “systemic”) to describe systemic enzymes, though it isn’t a perfect translation.

Systemic enzymes are quite popular — and for good reason. Taken exclusively on an empty stomach, they function in a more alkaline environment (the intestines and bloodstream) rather than an acidic environment (the stomach).

Attacking pathogens without the interference of food entering the digestive tract allows systemic enzymes to make significant headway — cleaning up the gut and bloodstream, and lowering inflammation as a result. Many folks notice more energy, better brain function, less joint pain, and improved mood as a result of systemic enzymes.

The most popular systemic enzymes are:

  • Serrapeptase — (from silk worms)
  • Nattokinase — (from Japanese natto)
  • Trypsin — (pancreatic enzyme)
  • Chymotrypsin — (pancreatic enzyme)
  • Bromelain — (from pineapples)
  • Papain — (from papaya)

It’s best to take these enzymes in a blend, together, to benefit from all of them simultaneously.

Too, the benefits of enzymes are possible in smaller doses than are often supplied in products. High doses can be jarring to a weaker system, and aren’t necessary. These products are often formulated to “impress” the average person — when the needs of those struggling with chronic digestive issues are very different.

As with any gut supplement, it’s common for a person’s response to systemic enzymes to be highly individual. Formulas change frequently — with the new ingredients being less effective than the old. Keep your wits about you; If you know why a product works you can be better suited to finding a replacement if a product changes or becomes unavailable in the future.

4

Probiotics

Repopulate the gut microbiome with broad-spectrum microbes.
  • GutPro
  • Garden of Life – 85 Billion

Continually introduce good microbes. Then feed them with prebiotic fibers.


Probiotics

BACKGROUND — For many years, I saw optimal success with the Garden of Life line of probiotics. I still consider them top-quality, but when they changed their formula in spring of 2020, I began to doubt if they were still as effective as before. One change they made was with their distribution — no longer requiring refrigeration en route to stores. Company representatives assured me they were just as effective as before, but my doubts remained even after trying the new formula.

Enter: GutPro.

GutPro has been recommended to me by clients for several years, but I always balked due to the higher cost and online-only availability.

I’m glad I tried it, because this may be the highest-quality probiotic on the market.

With zero fillers (it’s literally the probiotics and nothing else), the formulation is designed to produce as little histamine or lactate as possible, minimizing negative reactions in those with hypersensitivities.

Negative reactions are still possible with any probiotic (GutPro acknowledges this on their website), so finding the right product for you is what’s most important. However, GutPro is likely one of the most tolerable and helpful products available.

When the powder form is purchased, customers receive a fair price (lower per serving than most other high-qauality probiotics) and option to pick the dose that works best. Microdosing is easy with GutPro powder. Be sure to get the dosing spoons, as well.

GARDEN OF LIFE
Raw 85 Billion

(Women)

GARDEN OF LIFE
Raw 85 Billion

(Men)
NOTE: This review is for the old formula. The jury is still out on the new formula.

This product meets many criteria for quality and has unparalleled results after years of experience.

  • Species Diversity — There are 31 strains in this blend, which is an extremely (perhaps remarkably) high number for a probiotic product. Results are always hit-or-miss when you go searching for “that one strain” that you need more of. Too, single strain products can cause imbalance over time (just like with nutrients). High diversity also reduces the likelihood of a bad reaction, due to diversification. Too, a healthy gut typically has more diverse species of microbes.
  • Vitamins, Minerals & Enzymes — Low-dose nutrient blends can be a major positive in poor gut health. Each time you take one of these pills, you’re getting not just the probiotic army, but a light dose of virtually all major nutrients and minerals you’d expect from a multivitamin — and in natural, non-synthetic forms. I would expect the small number of enzymes to possibly detract from the effectiveness of the probiotics, but this does not seem to be a concern, based on results.
  • Prebiotics — There are modest additions of potato starch and acacia fiber, which are both well-known prebiotics. This improves the effectiveness of the probiotics even when this product is taken alone on an empty stomach. It’s still optimal to take well-tolerated prebiotics with any probiotics, even if the probiotic contains some prebiotics.

It is perfectly acceptable to take one pill per day as a maintenance dose — meaning one 90-capsule bottle product can last 3 months. When we take probiotics with prebiotics, the numbers of the beneficial species can double in as little as fifteen minutes. This can be an efficient way of making probiotic supplementation more cost-effective.

The ability to take a single pill — rather than the full, 3-pill dose — also allows the user to test for tolerability when first starting the supplement.

After nearly a decade of taking probiotics and working with clients, this product clearly comes out the winner. Better results have been consistently achieved with this product than any others — even the outrageously-priced expensive brands like Metagenics (and other functional medicine probiotics).

5

Prebiotics

Feed beneficial microbes in your gut.
  • Apple Pectin
  • F.O.S.
  • G.O.S.
  • Holigos
  • Inulin & Chicory

Prebiotics are always more safe and effective in multiple smaller doses rather than one larger dose.

  • When tolerability is confirmed, combine multiple prebiotics for maximum benefit.
  • Take prebiotics with another compound that will ensure optimal fermentation in the gut (such as antimicrobials or probiotics).

Apple Pectin

SOLGAR
Apple Pectin

Apple pectin is a gentle prebiotic fiber that is quite well-tolerated and has many, many benefits for the gut.

Apple pectin can increase (and even double) butyrate levels, feed beneficial microbes and — surprisingly for a prebiotic fiber — actually reduce the number of harmful bacteria.

Apple pectin also increases the concentration of short-chain fatty-acids, acetate, propionate, and bicarbonate. Somehow, it also seemed to lower lactic acid in the stool (some folks struggle with lactic acid).

Importantly, the beneficial effects of apple pectin were not achievable simply by eating apples, apple juice, or apple puree — apple pectin alone was required.

When the apple pectin was removed from the diet, the improvements in gut began to retreat, suggesting that consistent pectin supplementation is a good idea.

A good, small starting dose is 250-500mg, with a large dose range being 1.5g/day.


F.O.S.

SOURCE NATURALS
F.O.S.

(Fructo-oligosaccharides)

Fructooligosaccharides are a natural fiber that occurs in foods.

FOS can be produced by breaking down inulin (usually from chicory root).

FOS is not absorbed into the bloodstream, and does not contribute to caloric intake or energy metabolism directly. However, FOS is metabolized by microbes into pro-metabolic short-chain fatty-acids (SCFA) and carbon dioxide.

Its effect on human health is as a prebiotic — selectively feeding beneficial microbes.

FOS may even suppress the growth of various pathogens such as clostridium and salmonella.

Taken properly, FOS can be a powerful tool to reshape the health of the gut microbiome. FOS is generally well-tolerated, except in certain more severe cases of gut dysbiosis, IBS, Crohn’s, etc. In these situations, FOS should be a later experiment, explored after other steps are in place (such as fixing the circadian rhythm, daily therapeutic light,


G.O.S.

JARROW
G.O.S.

Bimuno

(Galactooligosaccharides)

GOS is a fiber produced after lactose is digested, directly feeds beneficial microbes, and could be critical in the developing newborn gut microbiome.

Oligosaccharides resembling GOS occur naturally in human milk and may be one of the factors that protect human infants from gastrointestinal pathogenic bacteria.

In infants, the supplementation of formula with a mixture of GOS and fructo-oligosaccharides can modulate bowel function and stool characters in the same direction as does breast-feeding.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2607002/


Holigos

HOLIGOS
IBS Restore

Holigos uses human milk oligosaccharides to improve the gut microbiome and relieve symptoms associated with IBS.

Holigos has two products: “Restore” and “Maintain.”

  • “Maintain” has just the one ingredient (2′-Fucosyllactose).
  • “Restore” adds an additional ingredient (Lacto-N-neotetraose).

2′-Fucosyllactose (2-FL) is an oligosaccharide found in human breast milk that can provide protection from intestinal pathogens.

Infants consuming a formula with 2′-FL and LNnT had significantly fewer parental reports of bronchitis, reduced incidence of lower respiratory tract infections, reduced use of antipyretics and reduced use of antibiotics compared to infants fed a formula without HMOs (human milk oligosaccharides).

https://jennewein-biotech.de/en/products/human-milk-oligosaccharides/lacto-n-neotetraose/

Inulin, Chicory

CAFE DU MONDE
Chicory & Coffee

Inulin is the primary fiber in chicory root, long prized for its gut health benefits.

Chicory root has been shown to improve liver bile flow and fat digestion — with increases in short-chain fatty-acid (SCFA) production.

Many of the benefits of chicory root are attributed to inulin, although other helpful compounds are certainly in play, such as chicoric — which can improve blood sugar levels.

Inulin and chicory are longer-chain fibers and, therefore, may cause trouble in situations where gut health is weak. Coffee can have some minor benefits for the gut microbiota and can help relieve constipation — and makes a delightful pairing with chicory’s rich taste in this traditional New Orleans-style beverage.

Inulin is the least tolerable prebiotic on this list.

It is not recommended in situations where gut health is sensitive to fiber. Instead, start with something more tolerable, such as pectin — or non-supplement approaches like the circadian rhythm, therapeutic light, and environmental health.

6

Bee Products

Antimicrobial + Prebiotic + Nutrients.
  • Manuka Honey
  • Raw Honey
  • Bee Pollen, Propolis & Royal Jelly

“Medicinal honey research is undergoing a substantial renaissance.”


Raw Honey

NATURE NATE’S
Raw, Unfiltered Honey

Honey is shockingly antimicrobial.

Yet, honey also contains prebiotics (oligosaccharides) which feed beneficial microbes — making honey a near-perfect food for gut health.

Honey is known to increase the populations of beneficial bifido- bacteria strains, while white sugar had no effect.

Researchers were able to completely eradicate antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the skin via topical medical-grade (standardized) honey.

When honey enters the digestive tract, it simultaneously feeds beneficial microbes, kills harmful pathogens, and provides nutrients and energy to the body.

Honey is even a complete food, providing micronutrients, amino acids, Vitamin C and B-vitamins — and encourages the intestinal absorption of these nutrients while discouraging pathogenic activity.

Flavonoids, polyphenols, and organic acids also contribute to the digestive, immune, and metabolic benefits of honey.

Research in animal models even suggests that not only does honey provide calcium, but it improves calcium absorption into the body.

Honey is praised and valued in nearly every ancient religious and wisdom tradition as both a food and a healing topical balm and internal medicine — with known hunter-gatherer tribes utilizing it as 20% (and more) of daily calories, while commonly living into their 80s.

Honey even seems to directly interfere with cancerous cells:

“[Honey] has significant anticancer activity against human breast and cervical cancer cell lines.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21167897/

Locally-produced honeys possess excellent antibacterial activity comparable to the commercial honeys.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/#b53


Manuka Honey

Y.S. ECO
Manuka Honey

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4837971/

Manuka honey has every benefit of raw — and more.

Known for its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant qualities, manuka honey has been used for centuries to heal wounds and improve oral health.

When compared to normal, local varieties, manuka honey has significantly more antimicrobial effects.

Manuka honey can even stimulate macrophages to release compounds such as TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 — which are critical for combatting microbial infections and wound healing.

The higher the UMF rating of manuka honey, the more potent the antimicrobial properties.

The only downside to manuka honey, for most locations around the world, is its expense — and higher UMF ratings can be extremely costly. On the bright side, even lower-UMF content seems to have profound antimicrobial activity.

I recommend buying what you can afford — don’t worry about achieving the highest UMF ratings. My results with various affordable manuka honey have been stellar.

Manuka honey has been widely researched and its antibacterial potential is renowned worldwide. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3609166/

Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly, & Propolis

BEE FARMS
Triple Complex

There are over 2500 articles on PubMed concerning the benefits of propolis.

“Propolis has been reported to have various health benefits related to gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, and gynecological, oral, and dermatological problems.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5549483/

Twelve different flavonoids, along with most vitamins and some enzymes are present in propolis.

Over 185 organic compounds have been found in royal jelly.

Royal Jelly may even protect the skin from UVB-induced damage by improving collagen formation in the skin. Royal jelly also contains the unsaturated fatty-acid (10-HDA), which may have antitumor and antibacterial activity.



8

Apple Cider Vinegar

Antimicrobial acids + Prebiotics + Nutrients
  • Bragg’s ACV

Apple Cider Vinegar

BRAGG’s
Apple Cider Vinegar w/Honey

Apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular — and for good reason. Its beneficial effects are many.

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is known as a digestive tonic, and it can actually help overweight people lose weight. It also leads to more satiety after a high-carb meal and improves blood sugar stability. ACV may also lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and reduce oxidative stress.

A main benefit of apple cider vinegar is its acetic acid. Acetic acid is highly antimicrobial and its attributes align almost perfectly with the broad-spectrum benefits of apple cider vinegar. ACV’s acidity also may allow minerals to be absorbed more effectively, and improve the acidity of the stomach after a meal — leading to increased immunity from opportunistic pathogens.

Take 1 tbsp (15 mL) in a glass of water 1-2x/day before meals or on an empty stomach.

Is ACV a cure-all? No, nothing is. Instead, apple cider vinegar is a powerful tool, and one component of a well-rounded gut regimen.

Conclusion

Miracles don’t happen with any individual supplement.

Very, very few people will find a gut supplement that restores amazing gut health on its own.

Instead, gut supplements must be combined — with each other and with a greater approach (the circadian rhythm, therapeutic light, good air quality, gentle movement, & wise nutrition) — to achieve the best effect.

It’s important that we understand 1) how the gut works and 2) what restores its function over time:

  • Increasing hostility to pathogens.
  • Constantly reintroducing beneficial microbes and giving them proper nourishment through diet and prebiotics.

When these factors are in play, great things can happen and gut health can be systematically restored.

This completes Big Supplement List (Gut).
To continue, select Supplement Timing.

Articles

What people are saying…

(return home)

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a great cause

Travis

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, audible.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates Program.

The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness. All information is presented for educational purposes.

Categories
Big Picture Nutrients Sleep

3 Rules Of Nutrient Supplementation

1

No Single Nutrient Is Safe To Supplement Every Day

Nutrients interact With and Oppose each other.

How common is it to supplement with a nutrient on a daily basis?

It’s extremely frequent.

Across health groups and modalities, each approach often has “favorite” nutrients, which are sometimes taken too frequently, too consistently — and for too long.

It’s a problem on its own, but it’s compounded by the tendency to demonize the very nutrients that might balance out this preferential supplementation. This is often done in hopes of “nudging” hormonal balance in a preferred direction.

Over time this supplementation approach leads to potentially-severe imbalances between various nutrients in the body.

Supplemented nutrients stand the risk of rising too high, while the neglected ones fall too low.

The problem, here, is that all nutrients have myriad interactions with other nutrients — throughout the body. 

In a manner of speaking, all nutrients oppose each other, either competing for absorption or “using up” each other. There are some exceptions (mostly in times of relative deficiency), but even with the exceptions, the general rule still applies: increasing levels of a nutrient ultimately works to deplete other nutrients.

The question, then, is: How long does it take to cause an imbalance between nutrients?

The answer: Not that long — especially when chronic illness is in play.

In chronic illness, there’s a shortage of energy supplied to the body. Related are poor gut health and, with it, poor nutrient absorption. This leads to widespread nutrient deficiency — across the board.

An imbalance between nutrients is easy to create via uneven supplementation when the body is somewhat deficient in all nutrients. It often doesn’t take long for any particular nutrient to cause problems. It may only take a few months or, sometimes, (much) less.

Additionally, widespread nutrient deficiency can be made worse by exogenously pushing the metabolism faster than a compromised gut can absorb nutrients. Elevated toxicity due to mold, chemical exposure, and/or endotoxin creates inflammation that blunts nutrient absorption into both the bloodstream and individual cells.

2

Most Nutritional Supplements Are Only Safe 1-2x/Week

Most individual nutrient supplements provide 100-300% of the recommended daily value.

Some are much higher than that.

These products should almost never be taken daily.

Even a low-dose — say, 100% RDV — will create an imbalance over time if supporting nutrients are not also supplemented at a similar rate. This can happen in mere weeks in the chronically ill. Doses higher than 100% will only hasten the imbalance.

Imbalances happen because each nutrient exists within a family of other nutrients. For example: Minerals interact tremendously with each other. Each mineral has a major partner, with whom powerful interactions, synergy, and opposition are in play.

The ratios of each mineral with A) its partner and B) other cofactor nutrients deeply matter for human health, and the body struggles to keep these ratios in balance during illness — due to aforementioned reasons.

The same is true for the fat-soluble vitamins and B-vitamins, two additional “nutrient families” for whom balance between nutrients is critical. There are even endless interactions between nutrients of different families — too many to properly be aware of on a day-to-day basis.

To supplement one nutrient, while avoiding a partner nutrient or other cofactors, will skew the ratios between nutrients over time.

These imbalances can be theoretically avoided by taking a blend of all nutrients in a family (or simply, all nutrients — as in a multivitamin) in a dosage around 100% of the RDV.

However, problems arise even with multivitamins: Very few multivitamins limit their dosages to around 100% RDV. In fact, most advertise their super-high doses as a selling point. There are other problems with most multi-vitamins, as well, including ingredient quality and imbalanced ingredients in the product, itself. It’s not uncommon to see 150% of one nutrient and 1100% of a partner nutrient.

On the other hand, if we supplement a nutrient at a moderate dose (around 100% RDV), we can usually take that nutrient about twice per week without causing terrible imbalances, provided there are no pre-existing nutrient imbalances (usually caused by uneven supplementation practices).

A twice-per-week dose of any nutrient allows for the benefits of said nutrient to be enjoyed while minimizing the risks of imbalance.

However, two things must be noted about thE 1-2x/week schedule:
  • Over time, imbalances can still occur at this low-dose schedule.
  • At some point, cofactors and supporting nutrients must be considered. We cannot supplement a single nutrient — even at 2x/week — while ignoring its relationships with other nutrients.

Many factors will determine how well a twice-per-week dose improves your health: body size, nutrition in the diet, digestive health, and current nutritional status. It is possible to require weeks or months of ongoing supplementation with a nutrient to iron out pre-existing imbalances. This may continue for a few weeks or months until the imbalance is corrected. However, this can easily result in a “false-positive” as the new nutrient improves symptoms for weeks or months (as an old imbalance is corrected), only to “stop working” and begin to cause problems (as a new imbalance is created). This false positive is also observed in the first-time supplement-taker: Any single nutrient will almost certainly yield noticeable results until problems are created and the product is (hopefully) discontinued.

The most common symptoms of nutrient imbalance as a result of improper, unsafe supplementation are insomnia and fatigue. Dysregulated cognitive and emotional function can also present, as will digestive disturbances such as constipation, diarrhea, or food sensitivities. Nearly any nutrient, when too-high or too-low can and will cause these symptoms.

To maintain already-existing nutrient balance: A low-and-slow regimen is suggested, with infrequent, balanced supplementation of all nutrients. This can be achieved via low-dose multivitamin blends and wise individual nutrient supplementation — keeping in mind the 1-2x/week rule.

Low-dose multivitamins should not be taken daily to A) avoid over-supplementation and B) to allow the body to balance itself without the influx of supplemental nutrition. Perhaps most importantly, regular days off from nutritional products can provide an opportunity for observation of how one feels without the influence of supplements.

3

If A Nutrient Becomes Elevated

You Can Lower It To SAFER LEVELS

The way nutrient interactions work, it’s very possible to overdose on a single nutrient using common supplementation practices.

Just take one or multiple daily doses of a nutrient for weeks or months. Voila — levels in the body will likely become too high.

However, this is partly a “relative” imbalance, meaning an imbalance between one nutrient and its cofactors. This nutrient’s levels may not be terribly high yet, but if the cofactors’ levels are low in the body, we observe all the symptoms of moderate or major overdose.

When the cofactors’ levels are brought up, the oversupplied nutrient levels can begin to fall toward normal as the body metabolizes the excess nutrient.

(How badly a new imbalance affects you will depend on how strong or weak your body is — and whether you’re taking few enough supplements to notice why and when you start feeling worse).

To correct a relative imbalance, you must know which nutrients are needed — which nutrients are the main cofactors of your problem nutrient.

You should also know if you’ve taken any cofactors in excess in the past. If a cofactor nutrient has also already been supplemented in excess, taking more of it will not help, and will only make matters worse.

It requires a wise understanding of nutrient interactions to safely and properly lower an elevated level of any nutrient.

Of course, by far the simplest path is to avoid over-supplementation in the first place.


Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. $6/mo.

Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you’re supporting a great cause

Travis

What people are saying…

(return home)