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.

(return home)
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.

(return home)

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

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.

(return home)
Categories
Big Picture Sleep

Sleep Checklist

The daily formula for quality, nightly sleep.


Sleep Checklist

Item #1

Light is the premier signal to the brain that it is daytime.

Nothing signals daytime like bright sunlight. Heat lamps can be an incredible supplement on:

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

Get one 20-minute session of very bright light therapy (providing strong infrared & red) every day. This is especially necessary on days of little sunlight exposure.

Clear heat lamps are the superior artificial source of red & infrared — they’re cheap and provide optimal light frequencies.

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

To reduce light at night is the partner of bright morning light.

The most harmful wavelengths at night? Blue light — which floods our modern world.

The darker your room, the higher your melatonin rises — ensuring better sleep.


Sleep Checklist

Item #2

Inadequate caloric intake leads directly to insomnia.

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

If you’re lying in bed and unable to sleep — with a history of undereating or hypothyroidism — it’s extremely unlikely you will fall asleep until you get up and eat. In nearly all situations like this, I recommend getting up and eating enough calories to enable you to sleep. Sometimes, this means you’re eating a very large late-night snack.

While eating at night isn’t optimal for health, when you’re behind on calories, you may not have a choice other than to catch up at night. Eat the calories tonight you need to promote sleep — but make it a point to eat early meals tomorrow so you don’t have to eat all night again.


Sleep Checklist

Item #3

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 does the opposite — and lowers melatonin at night.

Stay “ahead” of your calories! Late meals can be very problematic for restoring good sleep — so eat adequately for breakfast and lunch! Do not resort to “making up” for missed breakfast and lunchtime calories in the evening. Eat early, timely meals.


Sleep Checklist

Item #4

In addition to eating enough calories and timing meals properly, balanced meals are extra important when our digestion is weakened.

Carbs-to-Protein

Balancing carbohydrates and protein is of first importance (2:1 = a solid middle-ground) . You also need to know whether you’re eating high/low fat — and how much fiber your gut can handle.

Also: Sugar vs Starch

Many people are avoiding one or both. This may work for some, but if you’re struggling with insomnia, it’s possible you’d benefit from some of both. There are some exceptions to this, especially when gut health is extremely troubled.


Sleep Checklist

Item #5

Movement Signals “Daytime”

Movement teaches the brain that “it is currently daytime” — and, therefore, during daytime exercise and movement, melatonin is properly lowered.

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

Move All Day Long

Move in various natural ways all day rather than being sedentary most of the day. This further connects your brain to the natural circadian rhythm.

Movement Burns Up Glutamate

Movement also has the powerful effect to “burn up” glutamate in the body. High glutamate is nearly ubiquitous in poor gut health. Movement reduces it greatly.

Sedentary Jobs/School

If you find yourself at a job or in school, sitting much of the day, you need to make concerted effort to counter the lack of movement.

Make the most of any break time to move, stretch, and flex your muscles — sending signals to the brain that “we’re moving the body — it’s daytime.” Even standing while class or meetings are commencing can give you a chance to “move” when you’d otherwise be sitting.

A quick, 5-10 minute “exercise” session might be even more important if you’re sedentary most of the day.


Explore deeper.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)
Categories
Big Picture

The Beginning Blueprint

1

First, Begin With Light

Proper, therapeutic light will improve every facet of your health, but especially your circadian rhythm, digestion, inflammation, and hormonal balance.

Infrared is super critical for thyroid health (metabolism), as well as boosting energy levels and hormone production.

Make this first step: Get daily supplemental infrared light (15-30 minutes).

Artificial blue light during the day is harmful to the skin, eyes, and brain chemistry. However, blue light at night (from any source) is infinitely more harmful — and, therefore, important to monitor and reduce.

Even small amounts of blue light at night harm your melatonin levels throughout the night, wrecking your gut health, immunity, metabolism, and… everything.


2

Next, Focus On Your Circadian Rhythm

Along with severely reducing bright light at night, getting bright morning light is among the most critical steps you can take for your circadian health.

Meal timing sends strong signals to your brain about the time of day. Eat early meals (especially breakfast and lunch) to cement your circadian rhythm.

Bright daylight midday reinforces the circadian rhythm.

Brightness by day, darkness by night = circadian bliss.

Movement is also incredibly important for the circadian rhythm. Try to get some light-or-moderate exercise most days, around midday. Late morning or mid-afternoon is perfect.


3

Third: Food or Gut Health?

Which makes more sense for you to focus on?


4

Then, Notice Your Environment

Environmental toxins are becoming much too prevalent in the modern world.

Begin noticing your environment — and whether it improves your health or detracts from it.

Living in a clean space is quite impactful to your health, especially in the “built” indoor world.

Not much time for cleaning? A simple trick is to own fewer possessions.


5

Last, Let’s Calm The Mind

Some things we can change — others we cannot.

A calm, clear mind will serve us in whatever direction our path takes us.

You don’t have to be perfect. Give yourself permission to be calm — even for one minute.

A Path For Your Journey.

Let’s Feel Better.

Discussion. Community. Thoughtful ideas. 6/mo.

(return home)
Categories
Big Picture

What Is Illness?

To Reverse Illness, Let’s Understand What It Is.

Fatigue, sleep problems, inflammatory issues, and digestive troubles are springing up, and they’re happening to people at shockingly younger and younger ages.

The markers of aging are arriving earlier than expected for a substantial portion of the population.

To reverse this, is it necessary to become an expert about every facet of the human body?

Must we deeply understand the interactions between nutrients, hormones, and physiology to restore our health?

When I was hyperfocused on smaller variables, my health did not improve so much. But when I looked at the big picture, my health returned. Dramatically.

Yours can, too.

Let’s look at the big picture of illness.


1

Four Stressors Of Illness

Stress is the fundamental name for any phenomenon that harms the body.

Small, acute stresses are normal and part of healthy living: moderate exercise, daily disappointments & challenges, competitive games, limited fasting, and short illnesses, for example.

In the proper context, acute stressors can even provide some benefit to the body — these are known as “hormetic” benefits.

Stress is only truly manageable by the body when acute: The challenge arises, the body meets the challenge, then we rest and recuperate. When stressors become continuous — or, chronic — the body has little defense.

There are four important “stressors of illness” — that appear to be primary contributors to the onset of disease.

For the time being, we will exclude emotional stress, though it is certainly as important a factor as any when discussing the onset of, and recovery from, disease.

The Four Stressors Of Illness

Pathogenic Infection

The world is full of countless pathogens, bombarding us daily from sick people and sick buildings. They are linked to many diseases.

Nutrient Deficiency

Nutrient deficiency is surprisingly common. It’s caused by poor diet, soil quality, pathogenic infections, and poor gut health.

Toxicity

Toxins abound in the modern world — and we also are exposed to them by pathogens inside the body (these toxins are called “endotoxins”).

Circadian Disruption

Every aspect of modern life has the potential to be disruptive to the circadian rhythm.

Let’s dive into the four stressors of illness, see how they all work together to degrade our health, and learn what we can do about it.

After all, to reverse illness, we’ve got to understand what it is.


Cause #1


Pathogenic Infection

Pathogens Are Active

Pathogens bombard our bodies every single day.

The skin is well-suited to repel most pathogens (though microbes do live on the skin), but the mouth, ears, nose, and throat represent excellent opportunities for pathogens to enter the body.

When a pathogen gets inside our body, the immune system should quickly identify it and kill or deactivate it. The pathogen may then disappear or, more likely, go dormant until a more opportune time appears.

A strong immune system can ward off invading pathogens, rendering their infectious capabilities, at best, acute.

Immunosuppression

When the immune system is compromised (as is commonly the case in chronic illness and aging), pathogens are not readily killed and deactivated. Therefore, various microbial species become resilient, at home in the body.

When this happens, outward signs of infection are often absent, with — instead — elevated markers of inflammation and/or white blood cell counts and, over time, the development of symptoms of chronic illness: fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, and poor digestion.

How do these low-grade chronic infections by these pathogens (mainly: bacteria, fungus, viruses) affect your health?

  • Cause nutrient deficiency.
  • Cause toxicity.
  • Cause inflammation.
  • Cause circadian disruption.

It is through these means that pathogens can harm major organs and affect day-to-day quality of life — even in chronic, low-grade infections.

These low-grade infections are usually undetectable by medical tests and direct observation by a doctor.

However, inflammation will almost certainly be high and, again, signs of elevated immune activity can appear in labs, though they likely won’t raise alarms for most doctors — when perhaps they should be.

The Hidden Infection

Harmful pathogens typically “hide” in various microbiomes around the body: The gut, nose, ears, and vagina.

Medical science is taking the first steps to understand the world of the “gut microbiome.”

Being a completely new field, a person with severe dysbiosis will likely test negative for an infection — even though their gut health is wrecked.

Unfortunately, this new field will require much more research to truly understand it and therefore manipulate it with medical precision. At this time, microbiome tests are becoming able to identify the species in your gut — but we don’t really know what to do about those findings, yet. Not from a medical standpoint, at least. What seems best is to treat “general dysbiosis” of the gut — using all tactics available to boost the immune system, including proper circadian rhythm practices, foods, supplements, photobiomodulation, sunlight, and improving one’s environment.

In the immune-compromised, infections are rarely of a single pathogen. Instead, multiple “co-infections” exist, each affecting the body simultaneously.

MARCoNS

The acronym stands for Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci. This bacteria is highly pathogenic and resistant to antibiotics because of a powerful biofilm which protects it from potential threats.

This is a newly-discovered kind of infection, typically residing in the nasal passages — although it’s being found in the mouth as well.

Dental Mistakes

Questionable dental practices can lead to persistent, low-grade, hidden infections in and around teeth that can escape the notice of dentists. These infections can send a constant 24/7 drip of metabolic toxicity and pathogenic attackers into the bloodstream and into the digestive system — causing chronic inflammation and dysbiosis.

Pathogenic Toxicity Can Cause Every Component Of Disease

An infection (in the mouth, gut, nose, or elsewhere) supplies your body with a steady stream of “endo”-toxins.

As a result, the body will spend vast resources to detoxify the endotoxins and kill off the hosts. Nutrients will be “used up” rapidly to meet the demands of an overburdened liver. The endotoxins from maldigestion (gut pathogens) and other local, hidden infections can cause rampant, widespread issues.

The body will also ramp up inflammation round-the-clock, and this will cause overall digestion and absorption of nutrients to plummet. Hence, chronic, low-grade infections cause nutrient deficiency for two reasons: both depletion of nutrients for detox, as well as interference with proper digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Nutrient deficiency and toxicity cause inflammation, and all three will eventually affect sleep quality — as the immunocompromised body descends into chronic illness.


Cause #2


Nutrient Deficiency

A Common Issue

Low nutrient levels are actually common — even in the first world. But when health is suffering, the become a big cause of further issues.

Poor diet can result in nutrient deficiency on its own. Eating lots of refined grains can result in B-Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Modern industrial farming practices have resulted in falling soil quality — and the mineral quality of our food has suffered in response.

Too much time indoors can result in a Vitamin D deficiency. Food has very, very little Vitamin D.

Eating little vegetables and no organ meats can result in a Vitamin A deficiency. An overburdened liver may have a hard time converting carotenes to Vitamin A, too (genetics can cause this as well).

Poor gut health can result in poor nutrient absorption across the board. Low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut can lead to deficiency in B-vitamins and other nutrients and compounds such as butyric acid and Vitamin K2.

Last, we’ve already seen the two ways pathogenic infections can bring about nutrient deficiencies.

For most people strugling with illness, most or all of these factors are affecting their nutritional health.

How Does Nutrient Deficiency Cause Disease?

When nutrients are low (due to elevated detoxification requirements or poor absorption), virtually every system in the body suffers: Metabolism drops, energy storage drops, immunity drops, digestion worsens, sleep plummets, and inflammation rises.

The body adapts to fuel and nutrient shortages by slowing the metabolism — to use nutrients less rapidly. This is also known as hypothyroidism.

This is the body’s response to famine or starvation — “starvation mode” — the body will slow down its metabolic (energetic) processes to avoid churning through limited reserves and supply.

When the metabolism is slowed (hypothyroidism) the body will not be able to adapt to normal pathogenic exposure. The body’s defenses against daily pathogenic bombardment will be less effective during nutrient scarcity. In fact, the body will even try to sequester nutrients away from pathogens — to starve them out. Unfortunately this leaves your own body starving for nutrients, too.

In chronic illness, nutritional immunity doesn’t lead to recovery, it means pathogens will survive longer in a weakened body. Pathogens will always opportunistically find a place to call home, if available, and when the immune system is compromised, the body is a ready host.

Chronic nutrient deficiency will also undermine sleep, hormone production, and even mental performance and emotional regulation. This can — over time — lead to a compounding situation where things just aren’t working correctly, pathogens multiply in the body, and medical tests still may not be able to find anything wrong — besides, perhaps, irregular WBC counts.


Cause #3


Toxicity

Environmental Toxins

Toxins also include the more everyday-varieties we often hear about: heavy metals, industrial chemicals in our food supply our sprayed on our new products, VOC’s in new homes, and even mold in sick buildings.

Exposure to environmental chemicals is increasing globally… Toxicants are present at all stages of development, potentially accumulating to cause a lifetime of ill health. 

https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/137/12/2794/4670095

The accumulative nature of toxicity in the body should be alarming.

We simply have no idea how our collective and personal health will fare after decades of daily exposure to the tens of thousands of untested synthetic chemicals present in modern life. What little we do know about our environmental toxin exposure isn’t very promising.

Endotoxin

Toxicity doesn’t merely appear in the environment.

One of the most important toxins to address is endotoxin from pathogens living in the gut (or mouth, nose, ear, and vagina). The endotoxins released when these pathogens eat your food is tremendously disruptive to the body’s function — and because the toxins are released whenever YOU eat, it can make your life a living hell.

“The liver is the major source of the acute phase proteins, and it is constantly burdened by toxins absorbed from the bowel; disinfection of the bowel is known to accelerate recovery from stress.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Another quote from Peat, partially in reference to endotoxin:

“When estrogen overlaps with endotoxin (as it tends to do), multiple organ failure is the result.”

Ray Peat, PhD

Toxicity, in all forms, overburdens the organs.

Gut Health

The gut has two main functions:

  • Absorb nutrients
  • Transport toxins out of the body (via bowel movements)

When the microbiome goes bad, it becomes home to plentiful harmful pathogens. These pathogens release toxins into the blood stream — especially when they digest your food after you eat. These, of course, are called endotoxin.

If there’s any reason to improve your gut health, it’s to reduce the toxic load on your body that pathogens create via endotoxin.


Cause #4


Circadian Disruption

Disruptions of circadian rhythms have been associated with many diseases, including metabolic disorders and cancer.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5684296/

Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm is a slow-moving disaster for health.

Nearly every aspect of modern life works to undermine our circadian rhythm. Further, an overemphasis on “hours of sleep per night” has distracted from what actually makes for a restorative and optimal night’s sleep.

Syncing The Circadian Clocks

The body is full of circadian clock genes — each organ has clock genes, and they are tied to the brain’s central clock: the SCN (Suprachiasmatic Nucleus).

One of the major keys to restoring health is to get ALL of these clock genes synced up.

When that happens, each organ performs its functions in concert — and the body becomes a free-flowing highway instead of a traffic jam.

It really is this critical — studies have found nearly every single marker of health worsen due to worsened sleep. Even small, temporary shifts in sleep quality can have deep impacts on health markers. It’s no secret that most chronic illness sufferers struggle with sleep and their circadian rhythm.

Poor sleep (and poor circadian rhythm) is no benign symptom — it’s a direct cause of illness and disease. Fixing it at all costs must be priority number one to improve health.


2

Stressors Cause Each Other

Any stressor experienced, once it becomes chronic, will develop into other stressors of illness.

Each stressor also causes inflammation.

Pathogenic Infection

Will Cause

Nutrient Deficiency

Will Cause

Toxicity

Will Cause

Circadian Disruption

Will Cause

3

Is Inflammation A Cause Of Illness?

Mostly, No

Inflammation is most likely not the root cause of your health issues. By contrast, inflammation is most likely a symptom of the four stressors of illness.

Chronic Inflammation Does Cause Damage

When inflammation remains high for long periods of time, it causes many other problems, too. Therefore, even though inflammation is only a symptom it will begin to cause other downstream problems over time.

Acutely, [the stress] response is adaptive; however, chronic elevation of inflammatory proteins can contribute to health problems including cardiovascular, endocrine, mood, and sleep disorders.”

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

If your body is always inflamed, there’s a cause — and that cause needs to be corrected, rather than merely “fighting inflammation.”


4

Inflammation Is A Response To… Stressors

Inflammation is meant to be temporary. It responds when tissue has been damaged — to clean away damaged (dead) tissues so healing can occur.

But what if inflammation is always high? Possibly due to chronic low-grade infection?

If there’s inflammation, there’s a cause.

“Inflammatory cytokines are released in response to stress, tissue damage, and infection.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17524614

When chronic inflammation is present, nutrients won’t get absorbed. Inflammation interferes with insulin’s driving of sugar molecules and nutrients into cells. Inflammation essentially can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to absorb all nutrients.

“Independent of the cause and location, inflammation – even when minimal – has clear effects on gastrointestinal morphology and function. These result in altered digestion, absorption and barrier function. There is evidence of reduced villus height and crypt depth, increased permeability, as well as altered sugar and peptide absorption in the small intestine after induction of inflammation in experimental models…”

“Even Low-Grade Inflammation Impacts On Small Intestinal Function”
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835780/

Another quote from the same study:

“Inflammation may influence the intestinal absorptive area, epithelial cells, and barrier function via released inflammatory mediators and… activated immune cells.”

These quotes are pointing, also, to an increase in intestinal permeability when inflammation is present. High intestinal permeability (leaky gut) allow pathogens from the gut access to the bloodstream — and therefore the rest of the body, where they can wreak more havoc and cause more inflammation.

Chronic inflammation can also result from injuries that aren’t healing properly (due to re-aggravation or infection) as well as any other ongoing stress that isn’t resolved.


5

How Does Mold Fit Into All This?

Toxicity

First: Mold supplies toxicity.

Mold releases toxic VOC’s (mycotoxins) into the air. These VOC’s are fat-soluble and become stored in our body. They overwhelm the liver and cause inflammation. This causes the digestive process to shut down and — between poor digestion and overburdened liver detox — the body becomes deficient in nutrients. Toxicity and malnutrition disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to compromised immunity. Ultimately, infection is the next logical step in the. process.

Infection

There has long been plenty of evidence throughout the animal kingdom that fungal species can live “inside” their animal hosts — and quite a few common diseases around the world are caused by fungi.

Here’s a passage from an article about how fungi are beginning to deeply threaten the health of indoor pets:

“Spores of these moulds spread aerially. If inhaled by those with weak immune system, they can overcome the body’s defences and start growing inside the nasal passage, sinuses and lungs. The moulds may even spread to the brain and other organs through blood.”

https://theconversation.com/brace-yourself-internet-cats-and-dogs-at-risk-from-new-fungus-15498

There also may be a simple reason antifungal drugs seem to help diseases like MS.

There could very well be a fungal (or other pathogenic) component to many of the “big” diseases. It’s possible a large component of aging is a process of slowly losing the battle to pathogens, toxicity, and nutrient deficiency — rather than mere hardwired genetic programming.

As mold (and sick building syndrome) becomes a larger and larger epidemic, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if these diseases continue to become more prevalent.


6

What About EMF?

A Complicated Subject

The simplest way to think about EMF is that it scrambles your body’s internal processes via pulsed electromagnetic signals.

It’s similar to the way a strobe light can greatly harm some people (“Flicker Vertigo” — which occurs when a strobe light flashes at 1Hz to 20Hz, which is in the frequency range of brain waves).

Wireless pulses are much more rapid than a strobe light, and they pulse in the frequency range that cellular processes occur, causing serious issues with their function over time. In other words, we don’t consciously think 100,000x times per second, but our cellular processes are happening at that speed.

The body’s nervous system and cells communicate via extremely low-intensity electrical signals. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that rapid electromagnetic pulses impact the function of our cells and nervous system.

Studies have shown EMFs effects on the body include:

EMFs can penetrate all the way into and through our tissues — thereby potentially affecting every cell in our body.

EMFs come in various types (wireless pulses, magnetic fields, and electric fields), but these all negatively impact the body by sneakily interrupting or interfering with the body’s processes.

The greatest harm from EMFs is to people who already have weakened health status.

Therefore, EMF can be a major source of the factors that cause disease. It’s important that people take at least modest steps to reduce EMF exposure.

As the 4G network grows and 5G networks go live around the world, it’s important to understand what these technologies are doing, how they behave, and what you can do about it.


7

How Do We Improve?

Remove the bad, add the good.

Address The Four Stressors

Of the four stressors, rank each in order of how much they hold you back. Then, pick one to address.

Is your circadian rhythm clearly weak? Start here!

Is your gut health struggling? If so, it’s causing toxicity, harming sleep, compromising your immunity, and causing nutrient deficiency. Start here!

As you strengthen one area, your knowledge will grow and you can improve the other stressors, as well.

Add Good Habits

To improve your health, you’ll have to add good habits into your life.

What are those good habits?

  • Getting daily sunlight and additional infrared light.
  • Cleaning up sick buildings (or getting out of them).
  • Caring for our digestive health.
  • Eating meals at the proper times.
  • Caring for our circadian rhythm.
  • Moving a little bit every day.
  • Addressing nutrient deficiencies safely and wisely.

When we understand the stressors and add these good habits, it’s incredible what we can achieve for our health, no matter the severity of the situation.


8

The Big Picture

One Step At A Time

We don’t change our life all at once.

When we take one step at a time, we can begin to build a truly restorative life.

One that includes healthy light habits, sleep habits, digestive health, food choices, and environmental health.


Light boosts immunity, improves digestion, breaks down toxins in the bloodstream, and is #1 factor in sleep quality.

Light also improves mood, brain chemistry, and thyroid health.


Sleep is the backbone of immunity and gut health, the frontlines of improving nutrient absorption, the realm of autophagy (a partner of detox).

Melatonin is anti-cancer and restorative to the gut.


Gut health affects pathogenic load (70% of the immune system is in the gut), nutrient absorption, toxicity (waste is removed via the gut), & sleep (if your gut is poor, sleep will likely suffer).


Mold can cause pathogenic fungal infection in the gut, nose, and mouth (and possibly elsewhere around the body).

Mold impairs nutrient absorption (worsened gut health), produces toxic byproducts (mycotoxins and other VOCs) in buildings.


Food matters for:

  • Immunity against pathogens
  • Nutrients provided to the body
  • Exposure to endo- & exo-toxins
  • Sleep quality. Food must be well-digested.


Nutrient balance affects:

  • Immunity (minerals & fat-soluble vitamins, Vitamin C)
  • Optimal detoxification
  • Sleep quality (via vitamins & minerals)

The thyroid does have an indirect effect on:

  • Immunity
  • Nutrient levels
  • Toxicity
  • Sleep (especially)

This is because the rate of metabolism controls how much energy is available for all biological functions. Less energy means weakness, system-wide.


Here’s how your location can affect you:

  • Immunity. Through exposure to toxins & pathogens.
  • Nutrient levels. Via poor gut health
  • Toxicity. Through exposure to, pollution, environmental toxins or endotoxin from worse gut health.
  • Heavy mold or EMF exposure can seriously impair sleep in some people.

<– BACK to Articles