Categories
Big Picture Light Nutrients Sleep Supplement Reviews

Basic Immune Checklist

COVID-19 is an especially aggressive virus and, as such, the immune system needs all the support it can get during this crisis.

In this uncertain time, strategies to shore up biological weaknesses are incredibly valuable for our immunity to function optimally.

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

COVID-19 is a unique pathogen that can cause a dangerous, exaggerated immune response. As such, many traditional immune remedies that “boost” immunity are considered risky once the illness has progressed.

Good general health may not be advantageous for patients who have advanced to the severe stage: once severe lung damage occurs, efforts should be made to suppress inflammation and to manage the symptoms.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41418-020-0530-3

Fortunately, we can strengthen the immune system from the bottom-up, and in ways that actually are more foundational to overall health.

Adults

Multivitamin

A multivitamin needs to have whole-food-based, high-quality ingredients at biologically-appropriate doses — not megadoses, which are problematic.

Naturelo’s formulation is well-balanced, absorbable, w/adequate zinc content — it’s a true rarity among multivitamins.

Naturelo MEN’S MULTIVITAMIN

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com

NATURELO WOMEN’S MULTIVITAMIN

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com

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

Poor nutritional status predisposes to certain infections. 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

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

Vitamin D

A hormone produced when the body receives UVB light, Vitamin D is perhaps the most important immune nutrient.

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.

LOADING PHASE — Take Vitamin D daily for one week, then settle into maintenance dose of 1-2x/week. Take anytime of day, with a meal.

**Sunlight is a superior form of Vitamin D, but is only available around midday in summer climates. If you’ve supplemented extra Vitamin D in the past 12 months, be careful when supplementing more.

Vitamin A

The sister hormone to Vitamin D, Vitamin A must be balanced in the body by, roughly, a 1:1 ratio with D.

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

LOADING PHASE — Take Vitamin A every 2nd day while sick, then settle into maintenance dose of 1-2x/week. Take with a meal, before 2pm.

**If you’ve supplemented extra Vitamin A in the past 12 months, be careful when supplementing more.

Both D & A are profoundly antimicrobial.

Vitamin C

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

Vitamin C is currently being used in New York on COVID-19 patients.

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 Vitamin C daily, at any time, with or without a meal.

Echinacea

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

Solaray Echinacea

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com.

Take Echinacea anytime, as directed. If extremely ill, discontinue.

Heat

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

Why? 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.

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, as well, is “highly antimicrobial.”

Sunlight is also over 50% infrared, which is also immune-boosting and germicidal to pathogens.

Sunlight is also a premier tool to sync the circadian rhythm and ensure excellent sleep, night after night.

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.

In fact, sunlight is so incredibly healthy, why wait until you’re sick to go outside?

Spend time outdoors every day to boost immunity naturally by raising Vitamin D levels, receiving healthy infrared, blue, and UV light, and syncing the circadian rhythm.

The immune system activates at night — and it functions best if we are sleeping deeply.

What the research is finding is that when you sleep is more important than how many hours you sleep. This reflects the essentiality of the circadian rhythm rather than the quantity of hours in bed.

Fix the circadian rhythm to fix sleep — and directly improve digestion, mental acuity, performance and immunity.

Read more about how to achieve incredible sleep, here:

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

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

Children

Multivitamin

Kids need low 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

This immune-boosting regimen is built on a quality multivitamin, D & A supplements, and Vitamin C.

Optional components are: zinc and copper.

Echinacea is a proven immune-booster, effective against coronaviruses in years past.

Heat is a well-studied component of health, longevity, and immunity.

Finally, sunlight and a robust circadian rhythm take advantage of full-spectrum light, and nighttime-induced immune function to prime the system to fend off potential pathogens.

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A Path For Your Journey.

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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

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Categories
Food Gut Product Reviews

Big Supplement List (Gut)

Navigation Menu

1

Colostrum

2

Herbal Extracts

3

Probiotics

4

Prebiotics

5

Bee Products

6

Enzymes

7

Apple Cider Vinegar

1

Colostrum

  • Symbiotics Colostrum Plus

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


SYMBIOTICS
Colostrum Plus

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

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 Extracts & Oils

Compounds with antimicrobial properties.
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Triphala
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Turmeric

Combine & rotate herbs to boost immunity and create hostility in the gut.


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 reducing the growth of bacteria and viruses. Gingerol 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

Probiotics

Repopulate the gut microbiome with broad-spectrum microbes.
  • RAW Women – 85 Billion
  • RAW Men – 85 Billion

Continually introduce good flora — and then feed them with prebiotic fibers.


Probiotics

GARDEN OF LIFE
Raw 85 Billion

(Women)

GARDEN OF LIFE
Raw 85 Billion

(Men)

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).

4

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.

(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.

5

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.


6

Enzymes

Enzymes kill microbes.
  • Digestive
  • Systemic

Enzymes “digest” microbes, which 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.


7

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.

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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.


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Let’s Feel Better.

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Categories
Product Reviews

Mouth Health

The gut microbiome gets a lot of attention as the hub of the body’s immune system.

After all, the gut microbiome houses a majority of the body’s microbes. Each of the body’s different microbiomes — the mouth, nose, ears, throat, stomach, skin, and vagina — are all directly influenced by the microbes that live in the gut.

However, did you know that the gut microbiome is deeply influenced by another microbiome?

Gateway To The Gut

For all microbes that enter the body the mouth is the primary entry point.

It should be no surprise that the mouth’s microbiome is rich and diverse — brimming with microbial life at all times.

The oral cavity has the second largest and diverse microbiota after the gut harboring over 700 species of bacteria. 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6503789/

It’s not just bacteria. Viruses and fungi are also present in the mouth and, quite often, pathogens like protozoa.

Each day, trillions of microbes are swallowed — directly influencing the microbial populations in the gut.

These oral microbes and pathogens can overwhelm a weak immune system and work to populate the gut with the wrong microbes.

The Entire Body

Left alone, unchecked microbes in the mouth can chronically activate the immune response — leading to system-wide inflammation in the body and even many systemic diseases:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Digestive diseases
  • Alzheimer’s disease

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213453018301642

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2191814-we-may-finally-know-what-causes-alzheimers-and-how-to-stop-it/

The immune response to oral microbes is to destroy pathogens by creating acids that are much more damaging to the teeth (and fillings) than the pathogens’ own acids — leading to disastrous tooth decay.

The ongoing presence of stubborn pathogens in the mouth creates a toxic sequence of events that inflames the body, rots the teeth, and, ultimately, leads to disease. Microbes can enter the bloodstream via the gums and then travel all around the body, activating the immune system and causing inflammation.

A pernicious cycle develops over time as infection, inflammation, dental decay all lead to more and more of each other.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30204780-chronic-fatigue-syndrome-patients-have-alterations-in-their-oral-microbiome-composition-and-function/

A Potential Weak Link

The teeth, themselves, can be fragile in youth as well as throughout the aging process. Teeth are especially vulnerable in chronic illness.

Dental plaque and the surface of the tongue are among the densest microbial habitats on Earth. Bacteria are pretty much wall to wall in there.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/studying-mouth-bacteria-scientists-hope-learn-secrets-microbiomes-180973509/

Decaying, damaged, or poorly repaired or maintained teeth represent not only an opportunity for microbes to hide — but also to reside in and thrive.

When the body is weak, teeth can become both shelter and food for pathogens.

The Path Forward

To give the body its best chance for health, recovery, and longevity, it’s important for the following steps to occur:

  • Teeth must stay clean
  • Pathogens must have nowhere to hide
  • Chronic immune system activation must be limited

When oral health has suffered, it’s important to protect and improve the mouth’s microbiome throughout the day.


A Strong Daily Oral & Dental Routine

1

Tooth Powder

Swish After meals/snacks

It’s uncommon to fully clean one’s teeth after every meal.

However, in chronic illness and aging, it’s critical to do just that.

Of course, it isn’t always convenient to brush your teeth after each meal and snack. That’s where a small, travel-size bottle of tooth powder can be a gamechanger.

TheraNeem Tooth Powder

Also available on iHerb.

A quality tooth powder is, essentially, an all-natural toothpaste with solid ingredients including antimicrobial herbal extracts, Vitamin D, minerals, and even oral probiotics.

Rather than leaving the mouth coated with food particles — which feed and grow microbes — a good tooth powder refreshes, sanitizes, and repopulates, depressing microbial activity in the mouth and, in the case of this product, replenishing with a strain of beneficial bacteria.

It’s good to keep a bottle in the car, at work, and perhaps in a few places around the house (such as the kitchen), where having the ability to quickly clean the mouth might prove useful.

Swish for 1-5 minutes after each meal or snack.
2

Evening Routine

Brush + Floss + Oil

Before bed, use multiple steps to thoroughly remove all lodged food, plaque, and microbial biofilms from the mouth.

The basic steps to a great evening routine:

  • Flossing
  • Brushing
  • Gum oil (or mouthwash)

An evening routine can be additionally be used in the morning, but not as a replacement for the evening.

Step 1

Floss

Flossing removes trapped food particles and plaque in between the teeth. Floss first, then brush teeth. Be gentle on the gums while flossing — don’t overdo it.

Floss Picks

Also available on iHerb.

Step 2

Brush Teeth

Brushing further scrubs away microbial biofilms, plaque, and food particles. It’s important to scrub the tongue, gums, roof of the mouth and inside of the cheeks with the toothbrush.

Then brush with tooth powder or your favorite toothpaste.

Uncle Harry’s Tooth Powder

View Christopher’s Herbal Tooth & Gum Powder on iHerb.

Step 3

Gum Oil or Mouthwash

Gum oil and mouthwash further discourage microbial activity throughout the mouth — giving the immune system a breather and making life hostile for opportunistic pathogens.

Look for essential oils, as well as xylitol or charcoal, as excellent ingredients in a good mouthwash.

After brushing the teeth, apply 1-2 drops of oil to the gums with your finger. Leave for a moment, then swish oils for 1-2 minutes to reach all surfaces of the mouth.

Theraneem Tooth & Gum Oil

Also available on iHerb.

Some essential oils are renowned for improving dental health, as well as for having some therapeutic value in a dental crisis.

Many mouthwash products include questionable ingredients, such as carrageenan or glycerin, which are purported to counteract other positive effects of the product.

3

Charcoal

A Great Rinse.

Charcoal toothpaste is becoming extremely popular. It’s quite effective for polishing and removing stains on the teeth.

Charcoal has a strong negative charge, enabling it to remove plaque (which is positively-charged) from the negatively-charged teeth. Charcoal is antimicrobial.

Adsorptive properties enable charcoal to soak up anything it comes into contactg with in the mouth: endotoxins, tartar, and pathogens.

However, there is little evidence proving charcoal is safe for regular brushing. It’s reasonable to worry that prolonged use in toothpaste might erode enamel.

Therefore it’s most likely best to use charcoal only as a mouthwash — swishing after meals or at night during the evening routine.

Anthony’s Activated Charcoal

View Country Life Activated Coconut Charcoal Powder on iHerb.

Enhancing With Charcoal

I augment my routines with charcoal powder and other powders (especially neem).

I fill an empty TheraNeem Tooth Powder bottle half-way with charcoal powder and neem powder and sprinkle some in when I swish toothpowder after meals.

Thus, most days, I swish with charcoal/neem 3x/day — in conjunction with the tooth powder. I’ll then also use this charcoal/neem powder as a swish during my evening routine.

Only brush with charcoal once a week or so to limit its abrasive action on the enamel. Instead, use charcoal as a mouthwash, perhaps as an addition to tooth powder.

Powders to include in a charcoal rinse:

If desired, Swish charcoal powder daily with tooth powder.
4

Fluoride

a Potential middle ground

Fluoride is most likely harmful to internal bodily tissues — potentially leading to calcification of joints and flesh among other problems including promoting the accumulation of heavy metals in humans and disruption of bird habitats around lakes.

On the other hand, fluoride is also incredibly antimicrobial against microbes in the mouth. Fluoride disrupts pathogens’ enzyme receptors and weakens microbes’ resistance to acids.

Is there a difference between drinking — ingesting — fluoride into the body (with its effects on the gut microbiome, joints and tissues), and applying it topically in the mouth?

After nearly a decade of personally avoiding fluoride in both drinking water and oral products, it might be a good idea to use a fluoride rinse 1-2x/week simply to boost hostility of the mouth toward pathogens.

Fluoride may not be a make-or-break ingredient. But it’s nice to have a safer way to benefit from it without incurring too much risk.

ACT Total Care Fluoride Mouthwash

A glass of city water usually has about the same amount of fluoride as a small serving of fluoride toothpaste.

If Desired, swish 1-2x/week for 30 seconds to increase hostility against microbes in the mouth.
5

Ozone

Ozone is rapidly becoming a component of alternative dentistry.

Dental ozone use has a good amount of preliminary research into its clinical efficacy. Consider this passage from a 2019 study:

At the dentist’s office, several methods exist for applying ozone to the teeth and gums, but the most typical is insufflation where ozone gas is applied to the dental arch.

Ozone is also sometimes injected into cavitations — abscesses which can result from infected tooth extractions.

Ozonated Water

Ozonated water can be made in minutes with a specialized ozone generator.

Freshly prepared ozonated water showed a statistically significant reduction in [Mutans Streptococci] counts after an interval of 7 days and 14 days when compared to Chlorhexidine.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5583811/

The standard for killing most microbes is 0.3 ppm ozone with 3 minutes of exposure — although this standard varies based on the smoothness of a surface.

Swishing with ozonated water makes an excellent additional step in any evening routine.

A2Z Ozone Aqua-6 Multi-Purpose Ozone Generator

Ozonate water for 3-5 minutes in a glass. Then, swish in the mouth for 2-3 minutes.
6

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling produces excellent results for some people but, like all oral health practices, consistency may be key.

Several studies point out that oil pulling does, in fact, have some antimicrobial properties.

When oil mixes with saliva it emulsifies and produces some compounds with saponification properties — also known as soap.

Therefore, there’s no reason not to oil pull as often as is convenient, even if the toxin-removal effects are only limited (we really don’t know one way or the other).

Be sure to spit into a trash can instead of the sink.

Oil pulling can be augmented by including a drop of gum oil in the mixture.

Pur03 Ozonated Oil w/Peppermint

This ozonated oil is fantastic for the mouth — it leaves the mouth feeling clean and fresh, even through the night.

The effects are most likely due to the presence of the essential oil and the ozone as much as the oil.

Swish olive oil or coconut oil for 5-10 minutes. Add essential oils (1-2 drops) to the mixture as desired.

7

Toothbrush

It’s important to replace your toothbrush (or electric brush head) very frequently — every 2-3 months, maximum.

It doesn’t make sense to reduce pathogenic presence in the mouth, only to reintroduce it with each brushing.

Cleaning A Toothbrush

To reduce microbial life on your toothbrush, soak it once per week for about 10-20 minutes.

Toothbrush soaking solutions:

A toothbrush should still be replaced on time, even with regular weekly sterilization.

Clean toothbrush weekly. Replace Every few months.
8

Conclusion

The health of the mouth is an integral factor of both gut health and the function of the entire body.

Oral and dental health commonly suffers in chronic illness and aging.

In both scenarios, it is imperative to support the body’s immune system by continually improving the microbial health of the mouth — to keep it clean.

The steps for sustainably improving oral health:

  • Tooth powder swishing after each meal or snack is a potent first step toward better oral health.
  • A solid, multi-step evening routine that includes 1) flossing, 2) brushing, and 3) a gum oil or mouthwash is essential. This routine is also useful in the morning.
  • Creating your own charcoal swish (possibly with neem powder) can be a fantastic step to augment your regimen.
  • Using ozone or fluoride several times per week (or both) could improve the oral microbiome drastically — especially in the more compromised mouth typically seen in severe immunosuppression or aging.

Nutrients For Oral Health

3 Rules of Nutrient Supplementation

The fat-soluble vitamins are vital to the health of the teeth and gums, as are Vitamin C.

Minerals are also foundational to the health of the teeth, and as with all nutrients, they must be in balance with each other as well.

It’s important to understand how to obtain these nutrients in a balanced and thoughtful way. Overnutrition and imbalance can be just as detrimental as nutrient deficiency.

Read more.

Dental Professionals

Of course, dental professionals and regular checkups are entirely necessary to fix any broken teeth, dental fillings or prosthetics. Root canals present dead matter inside the mouth, which is prone to rotting — which is the presence of pathogens.

It’s not uncommon for microbes and pathogens to work their way inside existing dental work — which is another reason to diligently keep the mouth exceptionally clean.

Ask questions of your dental providers. Respectfully get a feel for their competence. Improperly installed dental work can lead to infectious issues down the road.

Uncle Harry’s Natural Remineralization Kit

Finally, if you’re looking for a starter pack — this is an excellent brand to check out.

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Categories
Big Picture Sleep

Sleep Checklist

The basic formula for quality, nightly sleep.

(click to navigate)

Let’s explore the following five items.


Light is the primary driver of the circadian rhythm.

Light boosts the metabolism, heals wounds, improves digestion — and biologically deepens sleep.

Nothing on earth improves melatonin in the human brain like bright sunlight. Clear heat lamps can be an excellent supplement bright light on:

  • Cloudy days
  • Days where you’re stuck indoors
  • Even sunny days.

One daily 20-minute session of very bright light therapy — rich in red and infrared light — is proven to deepen sleep. This supplemental light is especially necessary on days of little sunlight exposure.

Clear heat lamps are the superior source of supplemental red & infrared. They’re affordable and provide optimal light frequencies.

Sunlight, of course, is the original, best source of infrared light — just don’t sunburn.

Reduce light at night — it’s the partner of bright morning light.

The most harmful wavelengths at night is blue light — which floods our modern world 24 hours per day.

The darker the bedroom, the higher melatonin rises in the brain — which ensures better sleep.

People in modern society who are exposed to dim light at night during sleep… could show interference in their sleep, resulting in a decrease in total sleep time and poor sleep efficiency.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976009/

Inadequate caloric intake leads directly to insomnia.

It’s super important to know your daily caloric needs — and meet them.

If you’re lying in bed and unable to sleep — especially with a history of undereating, restrictive dieting, or hypothyroidism — it’s extremely unlikely you will fall asleep until you get up and eat.

In nearly all situations like this, it’s best to get up and eat enough calories to induce sleep. Sometimes, this means you’re eating a large late-night snack.

While eating at night is certainly not optimal for health, when the body is behind on calories there isn’t another choice other than to catch up, even at night.

Therefore, eat the calories needed tonight to promote sleep — but make it a point to eat early meals tomorrow than eating all evening.

Eating tells the brain “It’s daytime!”

Therefore, eating early in the day sends proper signals to the brain about when day/night is.

By contrast, eating late in the day sends the wrong signals about the time of day — and lowers melatonin at night.

Stay “ahead” of the daily need for calories! By 1 pm, the body should already be digesting 2/3 of its calories for the day.

By 8 pm, 100% of the day’s calories should be eaten.

Making up for missed breakfast and lunchtime calories in the evening is a circadian trap — and can profoundly impair sleep quality.

Eat three early, timely meals each day.

While calories and meal timing are important, creating balanced meals is of increased importance when digestion is weakened — and when sleep is struggling.

Carbohydrates-to-Protein

The key balancing a meal is the carbohydrates and protein ratio.

2:1 is a solid middle-ground, carbs-to-protein.

Figure out if you’re going to eat moderately high or low fat — as well as how much fiber your gut can tolerate… but these two variables are much less important than the carb-to-protein ratio.

Sugar vs Starch

Many people are avoiding one or both.

This may work for some, but when struggling with insomnia, it’s possible that a little (or moderate amounts) of both can really improve sleep.

A higher dietary glycemic index was significantly associated with a lower risk of poor sleep.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25127476

There are certainly some exceptions to this. Everyone is different, and gut health plays an important role here, as well, because it determines the foods you can tolerate and thrive on.

Movement signals to the brain that “right now is daytime.”

This signal is transmitted to the brain via melatonin levels — which are lowered by exercise and bodily movement.

Get exercise while the sun is still up, when possible — not late in the evening, or before bed. Midday is best: mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241899/

If you have to exercise right before bed, research shows that more-intense exercise is best for sleep.

Move All Day Long

Move naturally in varied ways all day rather than being sedentary most of the day and piling all your movement into a single workout session. This further connects your brain to the natural circadian rhythm.

The present data found that (sun exposure) and (sun exposure plus exercise) showed positive sleep-related hormonal responses, sleep habits, and quality of sleep.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5976009/

Movement Burns Up Glutamate

High glutamate is nearly ubiquitous in poor gut health — and this contributes to feelings of restless legs and the inability to relax.

Movement has the important characteristic of burning through excess glutamate in the body.

Sedentary Jobs/School

Many indoor jobs or school settings require sitting much of the day.

Sedentary lifestyles are commonly associated with obesity and other markers of disease, but a lack of movement also fails to provide the signal to the brain that daytime has arrived.

In job and school settings, make the most of any break time to move, stretch, and flex the muscles — sending signals to the brain that say: “We’re moving the body — it’s daytime.”

Even standing while class or meetings are commencing can give the body a chance to “move” when it would otherwise be sitting.

As important as it is to move all day, a quick, moderately-intense exercise session might be even more helpful when stuck in a sedentary setting most of the day.


Sleep more deeply.

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