Categories
Big Picture

What I Do

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

Updated: 7-28-19

Some Rules I Follow

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

Current Areas of Emphasis

What really seems to be working.

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

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

2

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

Prebiotics

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

Probiotics

4 pills/week
3

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

Heat Lamp

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

Sunlight

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

Sauna

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

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

Blue Light

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

Heal The Gut

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

Bedroom

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

Morning Sunlight

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

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

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

Macro Ratio

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

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

  • Eat early.
  • Moderate-to-high calories.
  • 2:1 Carb to protein ratio.
  • Lots of light.
  • Protect sleep.
  • Clean environment (especially mold/EMF).
7

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

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

Fat Solubles

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

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

B-Vitamins

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

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

Minerals

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

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

Amino Acids

  • Glycine — currently not taking/(is present in magnesium glycinate)
  • Lysine — currently not taking
  • Proline — in colostrum
8

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

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

Awareness

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

Clean

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

Minimize

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

Protect

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

Let’s Feel Better.

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Supporting members enjoy:

  • Access to all health information & resources
  • Ongoing support in our no-drama discussion group
  • The ability to ask me health questions directly
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Categories
Big Picture Light Nutrients Sleep Supplement Reviews

Basic Immune Checklist

Though mortality rates will take time to understand, COVID-19 appears to an especially infectious virus. 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.

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

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

Adults

Multivitamin

A great multivitamin has whole-food based, high-quality ingredients at biologically-appropriate, balanced 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

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

How To Use Multivitamins

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

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

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

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.

How To Use Vitamin D

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.

How To Use Vitamin A

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.

How To Use Vitamin C

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

Echinacea

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

Solaray Echinacea

(Amazon)

View on iHerb.com.

How To Use Echinacea

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.

How To Use Heat

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

Additionally, sunlight is a premier tool to sync the circadian rhythm and ensure excellent sleep, night after night — as well as boost digestion and metabolism.

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?

How To Use Sunlight

Be outdoors every day to boost immunity naturally — by raising Vitamin D levels, receiving healthy infrared, blue, and UV light, improving digestion, calming the nervous system, 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.

How To Restore Sleep

Fix the circadian rhythm to fix sleep — and directly improve digestion, mental acuity, performance and immunity — by following the steps laid out in the Sleep section of this site.

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
  • Vitamins D & A supplements
  • 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.

Last, use full-spectrum sunlight and a deeply entrained circadian rhythm to help optimize your immune health.

Let’s Feel Better.

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Essential Topics

Clear & Organized.

A Path For Your Journey.

Featured on the QUAX Podcast

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

What folks are saying…

Articles

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Supporting members enjoy:

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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

Let’s Feel Better.

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

Supporting members enjoy:

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

Travis

(return home)

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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Categories
Big Picture Sleep

Sleep Checklist

Are you looking for a simple breakdown of the major, daily components of great sleep every night?

These are the basic steps to ward off insomnia.

Your sleep journey may require extra steps beyond these — such as identifying nutrient imbalances, improving your sleeping environment, addressing emotional issues, cutting back on obligations, or solving problems in a relationship.

While any of those may be true, these steps are the foundation. They’ll improve your odds of better sleep every single night.

Get these variables right, and give yourself a fighting chance at great sleep that you can rely on, that will restore your health night after night.

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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.

The most harmful wavelength at night is blue light — which, unfortunately, 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 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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Categories
Big Picture

The Beginning Blueprint

Strict diets and endless supplements may not be the answer — and are known to cause problems more problems than they solve.

The good news? There’s a way to restore vitality by creating an ideal environment for your body to heal and recover.

We don’t need to trick the body into healing, we need to support it — with the things it needs most.

1

Begin With Light

Proper, therapeutic light improves every facet of health — especially the circadian rhythm, digestion, inflammation, and hormonal balance.

(Member Content) Sign up!
 

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).

(Member Content)
 

Artificial blue light during the day is harmful to the skin, eyes, hormones, 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, Your Circadian Rhythm

If the circadian rhythm isn’t working, healing can’t happen.

For the body to recover, sleep needs to improve over time, until deep, restorative — and reliable — rest is achieved.

Anyone can sleep, and sleep well — even you.

Depending on how far off the rails your sleep has become, it may take a lot of work and problem-solving to get back. ontrack.

Here are essential first steps to restore recuperative sleep.

(Member Content)
 

Along with reducing bright light at night, bright morning light is among the most critical variables for optimal circadian health.

(Member Content)
 

Proper 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.

(Member Content)
 

Bright daylight reinforces the circadian rhythm.

Bright light by day and darkness at night represents the foundation of circadian bliss.

Read more.

3

Food & Gut Health

Which makes more sense for you to focus on?

4

Then, Notice Your Environment

It’s difficult to get well in the same physical environment we got sick in.

What needs to change about your environment so you can recover?

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

(Member Content)
 

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

Living in a clean space is impactful to your health, especially in the “built” indoor world because it lets you breathe fresher air, notice moisture issues faster, and enjoy deeper peace of mind.

Even the act of cleaning has a meditative, grounding quality to the soul — which is deeply restorative of itself.

Not much time for cleaning?

A simple trick — that pays off dividends in every area of your life — is to own few(er) possessions.

5

Last, Calm The Mind

Some things we can change — others we cannot.

Many circumstances can be improved but will take time to see results, and sweet relief.

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

Unfortunately, a frazzled, frantic nervous system is a staple characteristic of chronic illness.

Some of this may be the result of our own thoughts and mental habits — but most of it isn’t.

In fact, there are physiological reasons why the brain can’t seem to calm down. Reasons such as:

  • High glutamate — (from poor gut health)
  • Low GABA — (from poor gut health or benzodiazepine use)
  • Nutrient deficiency or imbalance — (from years of dieting or over-supplementation)
  • A weak circadian rhythm
  • Physical or emotional trauma
  • Environmental toxicity

You don’t have to be perfect. Circumstances don’t have to be perfect.

Give yourself permission to be calm — even for one breath — and then support a calmer nervous system by improving your gut health, environment, circadian rhythm, and relationships.

A Path For Your Journey.

Let’s Feel Better.

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

Supporting members enjoy:

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

Travis

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