What does your pee say about your health? PART II
*Urine, in most healthy situations, should be seen but not smelled. There are exceptions of course (Have you ever experienced “asparagus pee”?), but the offending odor should be transient and not trending towards permanence. Urine with a strong ammonia smell may indicate dehydration or bacterial infections. A sharp change in hormones (ie: pregnancy or menopause) may also contribute to pungent pee. “Sweet or fruity smelling” urine may indicate a high ketone content in urine as is often seen in unregulated diabetes. Some medications can certainly create an environment for malodorous micturation. Sulfa based medications (note: sulfa and sulfur are NOT the same chemical entity), antibiotics, diuretics, birth control pills, lyrica, tramadol, and oxycodone are also potentially causative agents of stinky pee.
Frequent urination is a topic near and dear to my heart (and bladder). An estimated 33 million people in the USA struggle with this health clue. Having a spastic bladder can be a nuisance or it can be downright life limiting. The causes (clues) are varied:
🔎Urinary tract infection (pair with urine color and odor)
🔎Low estrogen levels (resulting from a hormone imbalance, menopause,or even excessive exercise)
🔎Pregnancy or post childbirth, chronic constipation, chronic coughing, frequent heavy lifting, obesity, pelvic floor weakness (see unbalanced pelvic floor muscles below)
🔎Enlarged prostate (men)
🔎Spinal cord injuries or dysfunctions
🔎Pelvic floor muscles (there are 16 of them) are unbalanced. Think of a webbed hammock where some of the webbing is strong and others are weak. Each muscle needs to be equal in strength. If this is a known issue, kegel exercises are not the answer. You’ll want to find an excellent pelvic floor therapist to guide you in your strengthening and healing process.
🔎Medication (ex: diuretics, lithium, steroids)
🔎Emotions. The bladder and kidneys are the home to emotions related to fear and anxiety. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, chronic bladder and kidney issues may correlate with “difficulty finding their place in life”. Many women (and men) who have a weak pelvic floor often report lacking support somewhere in their lives. Please do not underestimate the importance of healing emotionally when looking for ways to heal physically. Our issues do indeed reside in our tissues. There is an excellent book entitled The Body Keeps Score, by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk (MD) which explains the importance of resolving the emotional ties to specific health conditions. #worththeread
Interstitial cystitis is where my🙋♀️ personal “overactive bladder” story began in 2002. IC is an enigmatic chronic bladder condition that causes varying degrees of pelvic pain and discomfort. It also causes a chronic and constant need to urinate. Imagine having stomach ulcers in your bladder. That’s the best way I can describe what it felt like. In my case, it took nearly 3 years and 4 different doctors before finding one who suggested a cystoscopy to confirm her suspicions. As with all inflammatory disease states, what we expose ourselves to matters. I was blessed with a doctor who actually took the time to educate me on the truth of this. Instead of pushing me towards medication, she urged me to begin a strict elimination diet, stay well hydrated, and to learn to manage stress better. Wow! Imagine what our health care would look like if all western medicine based doctors would prescribe this type of sage advice! 🙌
Learning which foods and lifestyle choices triggered a worsening of my urge to pee was eye👀 opening indeed. Sometimes it was hit or miss, and I would often pay the price by having to get up 7-8 times a night to go to the bathroom. A serendipitous travel situation in 2008 completely changed everything when I discovered that nearly all processed foods were inflammation causing agents. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt in the presence of 100% fresh clean food! Staying well hydrated with filtered water quickly became key to keeping my bladder happy too. I know it may sound counterintuitive to strive for a full bladder to pee less….. Diluting toxins in the bladder makes what’s in the bladder less of an irritant!
Fast forward to 2013 when I was introduced to Young Living products. I had learned to manage my interstitial cystitis as holistically as possible, and in doing so, I had dodged the very real bullet of daily self catheterization that often occurs with people who have severe IC. I still had some nasty flare ups, and was still getting up 4-6 times a night (on average) to pee. One of the “thank you” products I had received from my Young Living monthly subscription order was Sulfurzyme. It was free, looked interesting, and tho I hadn’t really identified a personal need, I decided to take it. According to the YL website, Sulfurzyme may be of value to anyone who wishes to support their joints, range of motion, bone health, metabolic function, immune system, hair and skin. Within two weeks of taking Sulfurzyme faithfully I began noticing enormous changes within my bladder along with a decreased urge to urinate. Around that time, I also began using a DIY face serum recipe which contains Frankincense and Lavender every morning. Should I have been shocked that what I put on my face also happened to make my bladder very happy? In 2014, I was still learning essential oil basics, and this was a lesson to the truth that oils work best in “all the ways” when they are used. Get them out of the bottle and into the air or on your skin. You just never know what might happen with regular consistent use. 😉
I’ve continued to clean up my "issues within my tissues" over the years, and I am so much healthier in mind, body, and spirit than I was when I was in my 30’s. This is a lifestyle, not a “once ‘n done” kind of thing. Freedom is never free, especially in the case of a health condition. I had to be willing to do the hard work, to live like no one else sometimes, and to listen to what my body needed. Everyone has their own story, their own diagnosis, their own emotional journey to recognize. Overcoming ( ____________ ) requires change and the courage and willingness to do so. As they say, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results.” I pray you are discovering yourself as you become your own health detective. Learning to read your own health clues and then acting on those clues is true self love. Never forget that each of our bodies is a temple and as such, requires tender loving care and maintenance every single day. You are worth it!
Hair is a sensitive and personal subject for many people. Globally, the hair care market is estimated to be about 87.9 BILLION dollars annually. Clearly, people like their hair!. So, if hair goes missing, thinning, or begins to fall out in handfuls, it may be an emotional experience.
Typically, the average adult head loses 80-100 strands of hair a day. If you’ve noticed greater hair loss, the first clue is to determine if thinning hair happened gradually or abruptly and if in patches or across the entire scalp.
One of the most common hair loss triggers is stress and/or😷 illness. Our body perceives mental stress in the same way it responds to excessive physical stress. Persistent high levels of cortisol arrests hair growth and contributes to excessive shedding of hair. If stress remains elevated for an extended period of time, hair will often thin and even turn gray. Bacterial and viral infections can also certainly trigger hair loss, specifically if fear or angst are emotions carried by the individual.
The good news is that stress related hair loss usually stops several months after the stress or sickness has abated. Stress management is a KEY component to a healthy lifestyle and healthy hair. At no time does it become more important than when the body is already fatigued from fighting an illness. Do not underestimate the power of emotionally supportive oils such as Young Living’s 🙏Stress Away, Peace and Calming, and Valor🙏! Other additional tress “de-stressing” tips include:
*Incorporating a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and food high in Omega 3’s, while avoiding processed foods! If you feel that you may not be getting enough Omega 3’s in your diet, add in Young Living’s OmegaGize3 to fill in the gaps! You’d be surprised at how much our bodies (and hair) actually need. Consider also stepping into an anti-inflammatory diet. (Message me privately and I can connect you with a wonderful 28 day program that has helped many people walk through this in a community setting.)
*Detox your body, making sure to drink plenty of water in the process
*Get plenty of sleep
*Let hair air dry
*Avoid using toxic chemicals or synthetic ingredients on hair and scalp, especially those that contain sulfates and parabens.
*Thankfully, we have a full line of healthy and natural body and hair care products available to us with our Young Living membership!
💈Other causes of hair loss include:
👉Hormonal changes due to pregnancy or post pregnancy
👉Too much vitamin A or selenium in a diet or supplement regimen.
👉Not enough protein in a diet
👉Genetics ( male or female pattern baldness)
👉A hormonal imbalance (including PCOS)
👉Low Iron, biotin, Vit D, or Zinc
👉Certain autoimmune diseases
👉A thyroid imbalance
👉Losing weight too quickly (also commonly happens after bariatric or metabolic surgeries)
👉Over processed or chemically exposed hair/scalp
👉A calcium to magnesium ratio imbalance. If the calcium to magnesium ratio is “heavy” on the calcium side in the body, calcification can occur in areas of the body (dangerously in blood vessels) including hair follicles. The calcification stifles hair growth and starves the area of nutrients. While calcium excess is stored in the body, magnesium is not. Additionally, there is a strong cry to “take calcium” to prevent osteoporosis, but rarely do we hear much about taking magnesium to prevent it. Too much calcium and not enough magnesium will eventually contribute to brittle bones. Not all magnesium supplements are created equal in terms of bioavailability. Thankfully, Young Living has done a masterful job of incorporating the right kinds of magnesium in supplements like Super Cal Plus , Master Formula, and the Kidscents Unwind!
Finally, there are many many medications that may cause hair loss:
💊Certain blood thinners such as warfarin and heparin
💊Beta blockers and ACE inhibitors (two classes of blood pressure meds)
💊Biologics (commonly used for certain autoimmune disorders) such as Humira, Amjevita, and Enbrel
💊NSAIDS (the longer the use, the more likely the hair loss)
💊Some antidepressants including Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Wellbutrin
💊Anabolic steroids (leads to a hormone imbalance)
💊Metformin (depletes folate and B12 which are needed for hair growth)
💊Certain acne meds containing isotretinoin (a Vit A derivative… see above)
💊Antibiotics (long term use is especially problematic. The gut lining becomes damaged and nutrients required for hair growth are not absorbed properly)
💊Neurontin (commonly used for neuropathy)
💊Hormone therapy (including birth control pills)
💊Some acid reducers (including Tagamet and Pepcid)
💊Heavy metals and poisons including arsenic, thallium, and mercury
Certainly, hair loss may sometimes be out of our control, but there is much that can be done to mediate it, once the reason(s) has been identified! Thorough lab work including a full hormone panel, thyroid panel, and testing for nutritional deficiencies often provides solid evidence as to why a body’s northernmost real estate has become sparsely populated.
"Treat your hair like royalty. It's the crown you never take off."
Before we move on to foot clues you feel internally, I wanted to touch briefly on the toenails. If you’ve been hanging with me this long, you may remember we spent quite some time on fingernail clues. Fingernails and toenails share many traits, and you may want to go back and revisit those posts for expanded details on your distal digits. Very briefly, these are some of the “biggies” for the toes:
*Clubbed toenails - often a sign of lung, heart, liver, or digestive disorders. Poorly oxygenated blood is usually the causative agent for curved nails.
*Yellowed toenails - usually related to a fungal infection, but if most or all toenails are involved, look for other clues including swollen feet or ankles. Paired with lower extremity swelling, more toenails become involved and the nails appear to get thicker or seem to detach. These telltale tips may also involve clues related to lymphedema, lung disease, or autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis.
*Spoon shaped toenails - frequently a sign of iron deficiency or frequent exposure to petroleum based solvents. Know that there are “clean” nail polish and nail polish removers available, and using them instead of toxin laden products is one more way to support healthy liver function!
Chronically cold feet is a clue indicating impaired circulation. Decreased blood flow is commonly linked to smoking, heart disease, diabetes, anemia, digestive disorders, or hypothyroidism. Exercise and deep breathing techniques are two ways to improve circulation. Our bodies are designed to move, not to be still.😉
*Heel pain or pain that radiates from the heel to the arch of the foot (plantar fasciitis) is often a result of inflammation of the ligament attached to the heel bone which runs along the arch of the foot. Plantar fasciitis is often said to be most painful in the mornings. Heel pain alone may suggest arthritis, excessive exercise, or a possible bone spur.
*Have you been told that you have (or had) stress fractures in your feet?. This is one of the most common injuries seen by our active duty military men and women in training, and is also fairly common in civilian life. Though contributing factors include improperly fitted boots, carrying heavy loads regularly, and intense exercise, the biggest factor is improper nutrition leading to weaker bones. Very often, stress fractures in the feet can be a clue for osteopenia / osteoporosis if bones are not given the proper nutrients to thrive.
Young Living’s Super Cal Plus is a wonderful supportive tool for bones that need a little extra TLC! It contains Magnesium, calcium, Vit D3 and a thoroughly helpful blend of micronutrients, herbs, and essential oils. You’ll want to remember this supplement when we chat about foot and leg spasms here in just a little bit too!
*Perhaps you’ve had a random but sudden and severe pain in your big toe? This is a pain that appears “ “magically” (if you’ve experienced it, you know what I’m talking about!), and may leave you wondering how you broke your toe but didn’t know it….. It’s THAT painful! 😳Years ago, gout was considered a rich man’s disease because of the rich diet that often precipitates a flare. Foods and beverages that may aggravate gout include alcoholic beverages, shellfish, bacon, beef, and broccoli, but the worst culprit of all is sugar in all forms, but especially high fructose corn syrup. Gout flares may also be linked to certain medications. Diuretics and certain blood pressure medications in the ACE inhibitor family, are two of the more common ones.
*Regular foot spasms are another wonder filled clue with several possibilities. Poor circulation, dehydration, an imbalance in potassium, magnesium, calcium, or vitamin D are all potential thieves of ease. Thyroid disorders and a sharp change in hormone levels (as is seen in pregnancy) are other potential causes. There are soooooo many medications that can cause a metabolic imbalance resulting in regular foot and leg spasms. Any medication that depletes any or all of these nutrients often leads to foot and leg spasms unless the deficiency is remediated.
Medications known to do this include:
💊Acid blockers/reducers (for the stomach)
💊Many common antibiotics ( the quinolone class especially)
💊Many blood pressure medications
💊Birth control pills
💊Certain maintenance meds used for breast cancer
💊A high sugar diet (yes…. Sugar may be defined as a drug!)
*Leg spasms are often diagnosed as restless leg syndrome when in reality, it’s more often than not a simple deficiency in potassium, magnesium, calcium, or Vit D that may be easily remedied with proper supplementation. In my experience as a pharmacist, I’ve found the most common culprit to be a magnesium deficiency, especially if the spasms are in the lower legs. Remember, the body is giving massive clues and not a single clue is ever an indicator that it is “deficient” in a medication.
*Generalized pain, tingling, or a burning sensation of the feet affects over 20 million people in the United states, and the clue field is a vast one. This particular clue is the result of damaged nerve fibers. Damage may happen in a myriad of ways, but the most common cause is diabetes followed by alcohol abuse. Other potential causes include chronic kidney disease, chronic hypothyroidism, lyme disease, or a vitamin B12, folate, and/or B6 deficiency. The B vitamin family is critical for nerve health, and Young Living’s Super B is a stellar opportunity to support unhappy (and perhaps malnourished) nerves.
Medications that rob the body of a variety of B vitamins include:
💊Acid reducers and antacids
💊Many blood pressure medications
💊Bronchodilators (example: albuterol)
💊Many diabetes meds including metformin (do you see the irony here?)
💊Birth control pills
💊Certain medications for Parkinson’s Disease
Oftentimes, clues can certainly be found in a pill bottle, once you start to understand the cause and effect and even put together a timeline of when the clue appeared. This is why it is so important to keep a health journal, especially when multiple clues make themselves known. Think of it as writing your personal detective story!
Our body rarely deceives us!
The Colon: Trouble Down Under Part I
We’ve arrived at the end of the digestive tract. 😍 The amazing and infinitely special colon is really where my own health “awakening” began about 20 years ago. Connecting clues that lead to the true status of your colon may very well also reveal a great deal about overall physical and emotional health.
As Hippocrates said (paraphrased!)..... “If your colon ain’t happy, neither will you be.”
It’s true. 60-70 million people in the USA have digestive disorders that most often originate from colon dysfunction.
👩⚕️What if you also were to add in the 43.8 million who visit the doctor annually for emotional health or sleep pattern issues whose root cause is digestive dysfunction?
👩⚕️……. Or the 30 million who have chronic inflammation of bones and joints as a side symptom of colon inflammation?
👩⚕️…….. Or the 50+ million (and growing!) who suffer from an autoimmune disease thanks to a leaky gut?
Those numbers are staggering. Roughly HALF of the population in the USA has an official diagnosis (dysfunction) whose root cause could be traced back to gut dysfunction.
And friends…… this doesn’t even include the people who don’t poop WELL 2-3 times a day, regularly…….because they consider it “normal” for them. #toxinoverload
I’ve just given you an ENORMOUS pile 💩 of health clues you can use with those statistics alone. If you aren’t pooping, bigger things lay on the horizon (if they haven’t already begun expressing themselves subtly).
Here at the tail end of the alimentary canal, we need to go back to the beginning……. all the way back to babyhood….. because that’s where your health story began!
EARLY YEARS GUT HEALTH QUIZ
Give yourself one point for answering each one of these questions “yes”. This might be a good time to phone your mama if you aren’t sure of your answers!
1.I was a preemie
2.I was born C-section
3.I was formula fed
4.I had reflux pretty badly as a baby
5.I was a sickly little kid and was on 3 or more rounds of antibiotics and supportive medication before I started kindergarten.
6.I grew up on fast food, processed packaged food, and can’t recall eating that many fruits and veggies.
7.I missed school fairly regularly in elementary school due to illness.
8.I spent most of my time indoors growing up
9. I had lots of allergies as a kid (and perhaps still do!)
10. I didn’t receive any probiotics or probiotic based foods on a regular basis that I can recall.
For each “yes”, the odds of living with a colon in need of TLC as an adult rises.
You see, we have roughly 3-4 lbs of bacteria within us, the largest portion found within the colon. Literally, our bacteria outnumber us cellularly 10:1. They are the “voting majority” in our bodies, and have the ability to perform many functions, including turning our body’s genetic expression on and off. It is extraordinarily important that the good bacteria be there to help us fight off unhealthy over-colonization of “bad” bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts. Over- colonization of the “bad guys” will eventually affect the body and mind in a negative way if not controlled.
Research has shown conclusively that the colonized bacteria we have in our guts by the age of 2 years strongly influences our health for the rest of our lives.
Things happen, and as babies, we obviously have no control over our own lives, but just knowing the answers to the above questions may help piece together why you may have struggled in other areas of your life both physically and emotionally. Thankfully, there are things we can do to support and help our guts heal!
This conversation will be continued….. but for now…. Do you poop daily? 💩If you do not….. This is the biggest clue of all clues!
*Important tools I strongly encourage for supporting a healthy gut are Young Living’s probiotic Life 9 and YL’s digestive enzyme line ( Essentialzyme, Essentialzymes-4, Detoxzyme, or Allerzyme) to consistently incorporate into daily life.
*Other tools to consider incorporating to improve bowel regularity: Young Living’s Cleansing Trio Kit (an economical way to get ICP, Comfortone, and Essentialzyme). Plenty of filtered water daily, healthy food choices, and exercise!.... The more you move the more your intestines will move too!
*If you have a youngster who struggles with pooping or who has had early childhood experiences like the quiz questions above…. Young Living’s MightyPro probiotics and Mightyzyme chewable digestive enzymes for kiddos are formulated for a time such as this!
www.goodmedicine.info (wanna chat? Let's do it!)
How much attention or thought do you put into your small intestine? Rarely do we hear much about this “small” organ. “Little things” can often be overlooked and in doing so, clues can easily be missed. Truly, the small intestine isn’t so very small….. It’s a 15-20 foot long digestion and absorption machine….. Usually overshadowed by its fore and aft kinsmen, the stomach and large intestine..
I relate to the small intestine as a middle child myself!😜 The stomach and large intestine have their individual strengths and frailties. While the small intestine has its own set of “responsibilities”, its wellbeing is greatly affected by sister stomach and brother colon.
If you’ll recall from last week’s chat about the stomach, having low stomach acid is not a good thing and may lead to some significant issues that literally drain into the small intestine. Have you ever heard of the term SIBO? It’s an acronym for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, occurring when bacteria in the colon (large intestine) travels upwards into the small intestine where a relatively small amount of bacteria should be present on any given day thanks to stomach’s healthy acid content and cousin pancreas’s contribution of digestive enzymes! If either the stomach or colon (or both) don’t perform as they should, the small intestine will suffer.
I’ve listed common clues of SIBO on the graphic. None of them are drop dead urgent clues, right? Annoying, irritating, and perhaps even aggravating ….. but nothing that would cause an urgent SOS trip to your favorite health professional.
In a perfect digestive family environment, a healthy small intestine is a strong contributor to overall health. It facilitates absorption of some minerals (including sulfur, calcium, copper, iron, & zinc), fat soluble vitamins A,D,E &K, B vitamins, and Vitamin C. Small intestine also facilitates absorption of sugars, proteins, cholesterol, and bile salts. It allows these nutrients to be absorbed all the while blocking foreign substances (ie: toxic “bullies”) from also being absorbed. If the small intestine walls become inflamed and damaged, it is unable to effectively discern between friend and foe, and bad influencers make it into the family body.
SIBO, if left unattended, contributes to:
🔥IBS, Diverticulosis, Crohn’s, Celiac, poor gut motility (greater than 75% have confirmed SIBO)
🔥Fibromyalgia (78% have confirmed SIBO)
🔥Restless Leg Syndrome
🔥RA, Scleroderma, and other autoimmune disorders
🔥Neuropathies due to deficiencies
In addition to poor stomach acid production, common contributors (aka lifestyle clues!!) to SIBO include:
🔎Poor diet (review what is typically known as the “standard American diet” / aka “SAD” indeed!)
🔎Mechanical issues (low stomach acid included here!)
🔎Antibiotic use (especially recurrent use)
🔎Regular use of acid reducers or proton pump inhibitors (ex: Nexium, Protonix, Prilosec)
🔎Opioid use (results in gut motility issues)
🔎NSAID use (ex: Ibuprofen, Naprosyn… damage the lining of the intestine)
🔎Gastric bypass surgery
🔎Moderate (or greater) alcohol use (est 90% have confirmed SIBO)
🔎Aging (due to decreased stomach acid and enzyme production)
🔎Long term colon dysfunction ( 78% of those with IBS have confirmed SIBO)
👉👉Note that while SIBO can be age related, it’s not uncommon to find it in children👦👧👶 who have chronic constipation/ diarrhea, have received antibiotics, are formula fed, or have received medication for reflux, or whose eating habits mirror the standard American diet.
It is estimated that 20-22% of the US population has some form of SIBO, and while there are ways to identify it through functional medicine testing, perhaps it may be more economical to simply identify existing physical and lifestyle clues, and then proceed towards alleviating the problematic areas.
❤️Showing the small intestine some love thru a healthy diet, adequate exercise, proper amounts of sleep are an excellent start! ❤️
Additional ways to support and love on the small intestine include:
❤️Consume 30-45 grams of soluble fiber daily (Hello Young Living ❤️Balance Complete Meal Replacement Shakes!)
❤️Digestive Enzyme supplements that contain Betaine HCl (Hello YL Essentialzyme caplets!)
❤️Probiotics (Hello YL Life 9 and for kiddos….. MightyPro!)
❤️Organic bone broth
❤️Olive leaf extract (Hello YL Olive Essentials capsules!)
❤️Young Living’s Peppermint, Caraway, Oregano, and Cinnamon Vitality essential oils. If you are a science hound, do some digging in pubmed.gov for a gold mine of information. If you are not a science hound, just know that these oils are your small intestine’s friends!
Remember that our bodies are constantly giving us clues which buys time before “big things” generally happen. I’m so thankful that the body has the resilience and capability to restore itself to good health when clues are recognized and supportive measures are implemented. SIBO is a clue itself, indicating a potential downward spiral of the entire body at some point in the future if not addressed.
Indeed…. Seemingly small things can often be important big ones!
www.goodmedicine.info (👈 for more info on the good stuff!)
Teeth Clues: Part I
I find teeth mysteriously fascinating, but it used to not be that way. Teeth (and toes) used to activate my gag reflex before I began learning about their wealth of clues. Now I find them to be wonderful guides and tools! 😍
This particular clue is so very important that it’s the only one we are going to discuss today. Any time you have something that changes in or on your body, it should become an instant signal that something has shifted metabolically or physiologically, and the best course of action is to “root out” the cause before bigger symptoms take place.
Perhaps you’ve been to the dentist and the hygienist has remarked that you have more plaque than normal on your teeth, or you’ve looked in the mirror and noticed this yourself. Hopefully this is not the case because you have loved on your oral cavity with Thieves toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss! Sometimes tho, even the best of oral care products doesn’t stop plaque build up. If that has happened, it’s time to start digging for the root cause!
*But first, A little history about teeth and nutrition! Before there was refrigeration or even toothpaste, there were remote people groups worldwide who had solidly amazing teeth and mouths. This is well documented in the works of a dentist from the early 1900’s named Dr. Weston A Price. Dr. Price worked tirelessly to prove that oral decay and degeneration was due more to nutritional deficiencies than to lack of oral hygiene. His work revealed that fat soluble vitamins A and D and a probiotic rich diet were key contributors to healthy mouths, more so than daily brushing. An interesting unifying factor amongst all the people groups he studied was that all had some form of probiotic rich daily food source…. Something that the standard American diet falls woefully short in today.
*What does diet have to do with plaque on the teeth and why is it a clue? Here is where the clue becomes quite important! A diet rich in properly fermented foods (think traditional kefir, sauerkraut, miso, yogurt, cod liver oil, kimchi, kombucha etc) is a valuable tool for supporting a healthy gut. If the gut is loaded with healthy bacteria, the body is able to create other vitamins which are necessary for healthy living. For the course of THIS discussion, that would be Vitamin K2. #life9probioticforthewin
Vitamin K2 (aka menaquinone-7 , or activator X) is an underappreciated nutrient, in that it is vital for building strong bones and teeth. It does this by carrying calcium out of soft tissue (think brain and vascular system) and carrying it IN TO bones and teeth.
Stick with me ya’ll😍….. We are getting to the super important part!
K2 activates something called osteocalcin and matrix-Gla protein. Matrix-Gla is present in saliva and its activity arrests the dental plaque calcification process….. It is also present in the blood, and when activated by vitamin K2, helps to remove plaque in arteries! Isn’t it interesting how matrix-Gla prevents both plaque on teeth AND plaque in arteries??
*If plaque continues to build up on teeth despite your best efforts in oral care, it may indicate a deficiency of vitamin K2, which may be putting your vascular system at risk.
*A 2016 study found that matrix-Gla protein inactivation ( as the result of inadequate K2) led to a higher risk of death due to cardiovascular disease.
*Now to be clear, plaque on teeth may happen as a result of poor oral care or a few other reasons too, but if you’ve never had plaque issues before, and now you do….. It may be time to dig a little deeper to protect your overall well being!
Other signs or symptoms of a Vitamin K2 deficiency may include:
*Bleeding excessively (including a heavy menstrual flow)
*Osteopenia, osteoporosis or frequent fractures
*A mouth full of cavities
*Diabetes or pre-diabetes
*Autoimmune disease flare ups (there is evidence that a Vitamin K2 deficiency aggravates autoimmune diseases….. especially Rheumatoid Arthritis)
*Forgetfulness ( a Vitamin K2 deficiency is linked to Alzheimer’s Disease due to the calcium plaque build up within the brain)
*O blood type - lacks some clotting factors in blood, so K2 supplementation is helpful
If you have noticed regular buildup of calcified dental plaque…..
👉Talk to your favorite healthcare professional and consider asking for a cardiac calcium score
👉Get your vitamin D levels checked
👉There currently isn’t a K2 specific lab test to check for deficiency.
👉Consider supplementation of Vitamin K2 (recommended dietary allowance is 60-120mcg/day)
NOTE: If someone is on blood thinners, talk to a health care professional before starting Vitamin K2 as a supplement. It does affect blood coagulation, and therefore may interact with blood thinners.
And YAY you!!!....If you are currently taking Young Living’s CardioGize, Master Formula or Super Cal Plus, you’ll find that these three already contain K2 within each formulation (100mcg, 50mcg, and 30mcg respectively).
As always, I am not a doctor and cannot diagnose, treat, or offer to cure you. I can only help you be a top notch detective for your personal health and wellness.
(www.goodmedicine.info) Let's chat!!
Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut.” Considering the digestive system begins in the mouth, it should be no surprise that the mouth holds bountiful clues! 90% of systemic dis-ease has an oral manifestation.
While everyone has a dry mouth occasionally, chronic dry mouth (known as xerostomia) which persists for weeks may be a symptom of an unhealthy habit, underlying health condition, or side effect from certain medications. If an insufficient supply of saliva is produced, you may notice these signs or symptoms all or most of the time:
👅Dryness or feeling a “stickiness” in the mouth
👅Saliva that seems thick and stringy
👅A dry or grooved tongue
👅A chronic dry or sore throat
👅A change in sense of taste
👅Difficulty chewing, speaking, and swallowing
Common habits and health conditions that may cause dry mouth:
👉A thyroid condition ….both hyper or hypo thyroid. Roughly 50% of people who have persistent dry mouth have a thyroid disorder.
👉Sinus problems which make people breathe thru their mouth
👉Radiation side effects
👉Tobacco and alcohol use
👉Yeast Infection (remember your tongue clues!)
👉Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia
👉Autoimmune diseases. An autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s syndrome causes dry eyes and dry mouth, and often accompanies other autoimmune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Unfortunately, over 400 relatively common prescription and over the counter medications cause dry mouth as a side effect. Some of the more common classes of medications that may contribute to the problem include:
💊Anti hypertensive medications (beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and diuretics)
💊Oral inhalers (for the lungs)
💊Medications treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
💊Certain seizure medications
💊Medication for motion sickness
💊Bladder control medications
Interestingly, older age is also listed as a reason for dry mouth, but I disagree. Considering that the average elderly patient is on 9-13 prescriptions, the odds of dry mouth as a side effect to one or more of the above medications is quite high. When combined with the health conditions and/or habits listed above, dry mouth could occur at any age, the odds simply rise with the number of health conditions and medications involved. A healthy 70+ish individual (no meds / no underlying conditions) rarely has issues with dry mouth!
Dry mouth is an interesting clue because it has a cause and effect cycle. The longer dry mouth persists, the more problems chronic dry mouth can cause. Saliva is a necessary component of the digestion process. It washes away food and helps neutralize acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. It also has the capability to both repair tooth enamel thru remineralization (if the minerals are available thru good nutrition!), and wash out plaque. Continual dry mouth will eventually lead to dental erosion, plaque formation, decay, and gum disease, all of which can ultimately lead to more chronic dis-ease throughout the body. It’s a vicious cycle best remedied if possible.
Dry mouth is rarely discussed as a possible side effect from medications. In my opinion, it is one of the most important side effects to be aware of as gum and dental disease plays such an enormous role in overall health. Side effects of medications are some of the biggest reasons it is a good idea to look first for holistic ways to heal as opposed to quickly jumping on to the prescription drug carousel.
I am personally a huge fan of the Thieves oral care line (toothpaste, mouthwash, and floss) as a way to maintain my pearly whites (and gums!). One of the oft recommended remedies for dry mouth is sucking on lozenges or hard candy. Many common lozenge options are loaded with sugar which really feeds the beast of decay. If dry mouth is a concern, here are some tips and tricks:
🏆Stay well hydrated! Perk up your water’s flavor with Young Living Vitality drops that are so easily squirted into water. Lavender lemonade, Grapefruit Bergamot (my fave!), or for an added boost of energy, try the clean caffeine boosted Jade Lemon Berry or Spearmint Tangerine!
🏆Utilize a humidifier in the bedroom and rooms you frequent. Thankfully, many of our Young Living diffusers (including the Desert Mist) also serve as a humidifier!
🏆Keeping immune and oral health supportive sugar free Thieves Lozenges on hand to suck on.
🏆Avoid salty and dry foods that exacerbate dry mouth.
🏆Avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
🏆Regular dental cleanings from a dentist who doesn’t promote fluoride use!
Dry mouth is both a clue for the past AND a clue for what may come in the future if dry mouth is allowed to persist, so it’s quite important to get it under control whenever possible!
www.goodmedicine.info (👈 for more information on any of the products listed or if you'd just like to chat!)
👅Geographic tongue (erythema migrans) is a benign condition easily confused with lichen planus (an autoimmune disorder). A geographic tongue will be pink to reddish in color with slightly depressed lesions with irregular white or yellow borders. Geographic tongue usually has hereditary and environmental components (epigenetics!)..... meaning that environmental factors may intensify genetic expression.
Some of the more common environmental factors contributing to magnifying geographic tongue characteristics are endocrine disruptors (including birth control pills). Common endocrine disruptors include BPA (found in plastics), Phthalates (found in most mainstream beauty and skin care products), perchlorate (commonly found in tap water), PFC’s (used in nonstick cookware and fast food containers), and organophosphate pesticides.
Reading labels is a royal pain in the tushie, and all of these environmental toxins are not so nicely found everywhere despite having been banned in many other countries. Even if you are not predisposed to a geographic tongue, endocrine disruptors wreak havoc within all of us, and vigilance is needed. Scientists have pointed to all of these toxins as being key players in the more than 50% decline in fertility (for both men and women) in the USA in the last 30 years.
I am so thankful that Young Living has a full line of skin and body care products for both men and women, as well as gorgeous makeup (#SavvyMinerals) that is safe and free of hidden dangerous chemicals. I could stand on this toxic soapbox for hours, but let’s return to the tongue!
Geographic tongue is often a clue indicating a disposition towards psoriasis, reactive arthritis, allergies, and type I diabetes. That is not to say someone with a geographic tongue will definitely acquire one or more of these dis-ease states. Rather, it’s important to be aware of the possibility and do “all the things” to minimize the chance of acquiring a chronic autoimmune condition. Chronic stress can also magnify the characteristics of a geographic tongue.
👅A fissured tongue is notable for its deep furrows and cracks. Genetics and environmental factors also play a role. Tobacco use, and iron or B12 deficiency are common influencers of a fissured tongue. This particular tongue characteristic is also often seen in patients with psoriasis, Sjogren's Syndrome, and other autoimmune disorders.
👅A swollen, inflamed tongue is sometimes seen in celiac disease (an autoimmune intolerance to gluten).
Did you notice a trend? Many of today's tongue clues are tied to autoimmune disorders which ultimately are connected to gut health and environmental toxin exposure and it's so very important to recognize clues and be proactive instead of reactive!
👅A “scalloped” tongue (ridges or teeth marks on the sides of the tongue) is indicative of fluid retention.
👅Tingling of the tongue may be a symptom of hypoglycemia.
👅 Tongue strength also reveals important clues! Is a person able to stick out his/her tongue, and if so, does it tremble? Remember, the tongue is a strong and very vascular bundle of muscles, much like the heart. Scientists have found that a quivering or trembling tongue is often indicative of a neurological disorder. A tongue quiver may also appear both before a stroke and as an aftermath of a vascular event.
👅As you look at your tongue for any tips or clues, make note of any unusual lumps, discoloration, or localized swelling or sores that do not go away, and contact your favorite health provider should you find something suspicious!
Caring for your tongue is similar to caring for your teeth. A fluoride free toothpaste (have you tried Young Living’s Thieves toothpaste?), oil pulling, and using a copper tongue scraper are all healthy ways to keep your tongue happy!
Health Clues You Can Use: The Candida Spit Test
We’ve moved on to the mouth ya’ll! Today we’re only going to cover one topic because it is large and important: Candida. Candida traditionally gets a bad rap as a fungus amongst us, but it actually has a valuable job in digestion and nutrient absorption. The problem is that a little goes a long way, and when its environment is favorable, Candida will take over in a hot minute…...and in our modern world, it doesn’t take long for that to happen! A few of the most common triggers for candida run amok include:
🔥A high carb, high sugar diet
🔥Excessive alcohol consumption
🔥Certain medications (eg: Statins, antacids, birth control pills and synthetic hormone replacement therapies for both men and women, antibiotics, steroids -including inhaled, immunosuppressants typically given to treat autoimmune disorders)
🔥Heavy metals (think fillings and some tattoo inks)
🔥Even a diet excessively rich in fermented foods can aggravate the healthy gut flora balance. #everythinginmoderationfriends!
A healthy gut generally keeps Candida levels under control. This is but one reason to embrace the daily ritual of taking 👉Young Living’s Life 9 probiotic. Candida is often a contributor to leaky gut. In a perfect world, everything stays inside the gut, but the little tentacle-like fingers that candida grows may push thru the gut lining causing the digestive tract to leak into the body. This is problematic for many reasons, but for the point here…….Candida can now invade other parts of the body, transitioning into a full-body attack.
Symptoms of candida overgrowth can be experienced in many different forms:
👉Skin infections and disorders (athlete's foot, jock itch, vaginal yeast infections, ringworm, and fungal infections in folds of skin, eczema, hives and rashes of unknown origin )
👉Nail infections including toenail fungus (go back and check your nail clues notes!)
👉Digestive issues including diarrhea, constipation, and/or bloating
Flareups of autoimmune diseases (including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis)
👉Severe seasonal allergies
👉Strong sugar and refined carb cravings
👉Difficulty concentrating, brain fog, poor memory and/or lack of focus
Are your spidey senses humming with some of these clues? If so, it’s time to try the “Candida Spit Test”.
CANDIDA SPIT TEST:
This simple test is best done first thing in the morning before ANYTHING is put into the mouth (even water!).
Spit into a clear glass filled with water.
Observe your spit every 15 minutes for one hour.
A “positive” test would include the following features:
* Strings of saliva resembling jellyfish tentacles traveling down into the water
* Cloudy specs suspended in the water
* Cloudy saliva that sinks to the bottom of the glass
If there are none of these features in the glass after one hour, the odds are in your favor that your Candida population is under control. Remember that our bodies change daily, especially if there has been an extended season of stress or exposure to Candida triggers. This is a good test to consider employing whenever you have a few of the symptoms (ahem, clues!) mentioned above.
If you discover that you likely do have a candida population explosion, remember to work on eliminating the triggers mentioned above, make sure you are taking Life 9 and one of Young Living’s digestive enzymes (Essentialzymes-4, Essentialzyme, Allerzyme, Detoxzyme, or for the kiddos - MightyZyme) daily for healthy gut support, and consider incorporating “candida diet” eating habits into your life!
A healthy immune system will help keep Candida growth in check too! You know what to do, right? Support your body with all the tools available to us through Young Living and nature!
“To know a person’s experiences from the past, examine the body now.” ~ Ancient Anon.
(Here are links to skin clues in this chapter of the ‘Becoming Your Own Health Detective’ series)
Skin Part I: https://www.goodmedicine.info/blog/health-clues-in-our-skin-1
Skin Part II: https://www.goodmedicine.info/blog/health-clues-in-your-skin-part-2
Dry itchy skin is common in the winter, so this is probably a fairly hot topic right about now thanks to the winter climate❄️. Often easier said than remembered…… drink more water if dry skin is your current nemesis! People tend to consume less water in the winter, so be vigilant and conscientious of how much water you are actively consuming daily. If plain water isn’t your cuppa, add in YL’s Vitality Drops (Regular….. Grapefruit Bergamot & Lavender Lemon or for a little extra pep in your step, Energy….. Jade Lemon & Spearmint Tangerine). YL’s Coconut Lime Body Butter is a great tool for combating winter dry skin from the outside, and its smell makes me feel like it’s summer on the beach with a little umbrella adorned drink in my hand!
Beyond dehydration, there is a wide variety of other reasons for dry skin. If fairly localized (or patchy) consider the skin care products you are using. Harsh chemicals in standard skincare products are commonplace, and your skin will recognize the difference! We are blessed by Young Living’s skin care line, Thieves products, and Savvy Minerals makeup and these “clean” products are important tools for healthy skin.
Contact dermatitis is another localized type of dry or irritated skin. As its name suggests, it is inflammation 🔥resulting from contact to a trigger irritant or allergen. It usually clears up on its own over time as long as exposure to the trigger is halted.
Eczema (aka: atopic dermatitis) is a catch-all term for a group of conditions that make skin inflamed🔥 or irritated….. A bigger chronic problem. An estimated 10% of people in the USA have some form of eczema. Research suggests that eczema falls into the autoimmune condition category, and may have a genetic component (as do many autoimmune disorders). The good news is that, thanks to epigenetics (our environment is an enormous influencer of gene expression), WE ALL have a great deal of control of our environment, and can do quite a lot to keep the problematic genes from expressing themselves.
The term eczema comes from the Greek word ‘ekzein’ which means ‘to boil over’..... In this case, it’s an external sign that trouble is brewing in the gut. Keeping skin inflammation🔥 down ultimately lies in healing your digestive tract and avoiding food triggers such as sugar, gluten, and processed foods….. remembering that we are all uniquely made and one man’s trigger may not be another’s! It can be tricky to identify your trigger, but stick with it… it typically takes 6-8 weeks of avoiding a trigger for true healing to reveal itself.
Autoimmune disorders are like cats…. You may start out with one🐈, but people rarely typically end with just one🐈🐈🐈🐈, so it’s best to get eczema under control before it “boils over” into other body system dysfunctions. Sulfurzyme, Life 9 probiotic, and Essentialzyme4 are just a few of the amazing supportive tools we have available to us as Young Living members! #nobodywantstocollectAutoimmunedisorders
“Sallow skin” is another rather broad term for a general unhealthy skin tone that tends towards dullish, yellowish, or pale. Do not misinterpret this. There are very healthy people with a natural bent towards pale or olive complexion…… but if you walk into an oncologist’s waiting room, you’ll immediately know what this skin tone looks like. Sallow skin is very identifiable, and there are varying degrees of “sallow”. Regardless of the degree, it is definitely a clue to perk up and make some health and habit changes! Common causes of sallow skin include:
👉Vitamin Deficiency (esp Vit A, Vit B12, Vit C, Vit D, Vit E) #haveyoutriedMasterFormula
👉Serious chronic stress (long term “heavy” emotional stress)
👉Lack of Sleep
👉Poor skin care
👉An underlying chronic health condition
Rosacea, a red or “ruddy” complexion is also a branch of the autoimmune family tree, so it behooves the bearer of chronic rosy cheeks to support their immune and digestive systems.
Hair in unwanted places is a sure sign of a hormonal imbalance for women. Traditionally, we’ve been led to believe that unwanted hair growth is likely related to excess testosterone, and that is only partially true. The bigger picture is that our hormonal system is a finely tuned instrument and it only takes a fraction of an imbalance to cause significant problems. The balance between circulating testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone is important, as is insulin sensitivity.
Insulin (a hormone too!) resistance is typically caused by years of a diet high in sugar and refined carbs. In the insulin resistant individual, the body is losing its ability to respond to glucose and to properly metabolize food. Someone who is insulin resistant will have a hard time balancing sex hormones without addressing the insulin resistance component first. Insulin resistance is often seen in tandem with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Diet and exercise are absolutely critical tools to use when addressing the root cause. Advanced labwork is also a key tool. Simply measuring basic glucose is not enough. You’ll also want HbA1c and fasting insulin tested (as well as a hormone panel). Find your favorite holistic or integrative health provider to help walk you thru hormone balancing, and listen to you body! Insulin resistance will ultimately lead to Insulin injections if not addressed properly, and nobody wants that! We farmgirls call this “fish or cut bait time.” As the CEO of your own body, important decisions need to be made for your VIP company’s health.
As a reminder: I am not a doctor, and cannot diagnose, treat, or offer to cure you. The goal of this series is to provide thought provoking clues so that you can manage your own health a little more effectively and efficiently! I CAN help you learn to navigate how to do this in a way that honors your unique body and life.
That said, tried and true beginner thru advanced steps geared to improved health will ALWAYS include:
✅Getting rid of toxins
✅Cleaning up your diet
✅Staying well hydrated with “clean” water
✅Getting 7-8 hr of sleep
✅Managing stress properly
✅Working on decreasing inflammation
Have a beautiful day friends!
www.goodmedicine.info (👈 links to a complimentary health coaching call can be found here, as well as to the products mentioned above. )
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!