Achieving Health and Wellness with Sassy Holistics

Achieving Health and Wellness with Sassy Holistics

The natural health world can be complicated at times. There are many different products and programs that promise quick-fixes that may or may not even have benefit for you. In reality, there are no quick fixes when we want to heal. I went through this all myself, and found that way too many people hyper-focus on one organ, one specific illness, one diet, or one nutrient.

True holistic health focuses on the body as a whole. We don’t work on just the thyroid, or try to get you to drop 20 pounds in 10 days. We don’t take 20+ supplements a day, nor do we starve ourselves or do strict diets.  My programs are designed with biochemical individuality in mind: we are all different and we all need different plans to heal.  We also try to make things simple!

What we do to help you heal:

  1. Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis: HTMA is the best first step in figuring your your personal biochemistry.  Minerals are at the base of our health: they influence our hormones, can impact our neurotransmitters, play a huge role in our genetic expressions, and more. HTMA gives us insight on how your body reacts to stress as well as what minerals you are deficient or toxic in.  My plans with HTMAs include the following as well:
  2. Gut healing: Leaky gut is rampant these days. HTMA gives us a lot of insight on how well you are utilizing certain nutrients so we can see if you are dealing with low stomach acid, poor bile flow, or having issues with protein metabolism. In order to heal, we HAVE to heal your gut!
  3. Detoxification Support: We live in a toxic world. When our bodies are overloaded with toxins, we become tired, grumpy, and sick.  My plans include gentle support in healing the liver, the lymph, the kidneys, and the whole detoxification system. As we work on balancing minerals, the body works up more strength to get rid of toxins (heavy metals, parasites, etc), so we add in extra support to make healing easier.
  4. Individualized nutrition: Since HTMA gives us a good view on what nutritional imbalances you have, we can make some changes to make sure we get more of what you need.  We all have to eat: why not make the most of your diet with nutrient dense foods?
  5. Focus on your main symptoms: We try to work on the worst of what is bothering you right now. Having issues with sleep? Or bloating? Anxiety? Based on your symptoms and HTMA, we will find a way to help you start healing your biggest concerns first if we can so healing is more comfortable for you.  Deep healing takes time, but we can absolutely make huge leaps in progress when we start introducing the nutrients we need.
  6. Weight Loss: Often, dealing with weight issues is a sign of a sluggish liver. As we heal, weight is something that the body starts to fix. Many of the things I use on my plans are intended to really get weight moving- but it is NOT a priority for the body. Some people lose weight quickly when we start healing, and for many others it is one of the last things to resolve. Part of my goal with HTMA and my healing protocols is to get people to stop looking at weight as a measurement of health.  Part of this healing journey is learning how to really take care of yourself and accepting yourself as a whole (struggles included!). I’ve recently been investigating more ways to help with healthy weight loss as we heal, and if they are applicable to your needs, then I add them to our whole protocol.

Read more here!

Amazing Resources on the Importance of Minerals

importance of minerals

I love HTMA and Mineral Balancing!

I was asked yesterday for some awesome resources that would help explain mineral balancing and HTMA (hair tissue mineral analysis) to those that are either skeptical about the importance of nutrients or those that are just getting into holistic nutrition. I realized that while I have hundreds of links saved on my bookmarks bar, I haven’t ever put the best links into a post yet. I am a HUGE advocate for everyone to constantly learn more about health! I think that we all need to be our own best advocates and the only way to do that is to learn, research, and read, read, read!

So here are my FAVORITE links on HTMA, mineral balancing, and nutrition in general. Some are studies, some are articles, and some a big hard to decipher if you aren’t used to the jargon. But the more you read, the more you learn and that is the most important part.

Directly from the 2 main HTMA Labs (ARL and TEI)

From TEI labs: A list of all of the studies that proof the reliability of HTMA

From TEI labs: All of their published articles on specific minerals (and vitamin A)

From TEI Labs: “Blood analysis for minerals is a good indicator of the transport of minerals to and from the storage areas of the body (extracellular).
Hair tissue mineral analysis is a good indicator of the metabolic processes occurring within the cells (intracellular).” (source)

From TEI Labs: All of their published newsletters on specific conditions and how they relate to HTMA (from 1985-present)

From ARL Labs: A breakdown on what HTMA is exactly.

From ARL Labs: Specific information on each mineral and heavy metal

From ARL labs: Their Newsletters and Published articles.

Studies and Articles about Minerals

Magnesium and Zinc involvement in Tobacco Addiction

Copper Dysregulation: Basics, Pyroluria, Bipolar, Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, Thyroid health, hormonal balancing,

Amazing Articles from Dr. Malter

Zinc: Responsible for about 300 enzymes

Magnesium: physiology and pharmacology, diabetes, Pre-eclampsia, info on mag and about 30 other illnesses,   Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment

Copper: Metals and the Mind | Weston A Price , Copper-Zinc Imbalance: Unrecognized Consequence of Plant-Based Diets and a Contributor to Chronic Fatigue | Weston A Price , Copper deficiency symptoms, Type IX Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Menkes syndrome: the decrease in lysyl oxidase activity is associated with a corresponding deficiency in the enzyme protein.

More on Copper: Role in neurological disorders, The role it plays in lipid metabolism (fats and cholesterol, it is SUPER important!), health benefits of copper, All about Ceruloplasmin (the copper binding protein-this report is 119 pages long and incredibly in-depth)

Iron: How to really balance iron, the higher the iron the higher the risk of heart issues, the role of ceruloplasmin in iron balancing,

The Great Iodine Debate | Weston A Price

Breakdown of major minerals and their uses.

Studies and Articles about Vitamins

Vitamin A: Vitamin A: The Key to A Tolerant Immune System? | Clinical Education

The Daily Lipid: Vitamin A Plays an Essential Role in Setting the Circadian Rhythm and Allowing Good Sleep

Infants, Vitamin D WAPF

Ascorbic acid is not vitamin C

The Importance and Uses of Vitamins

 

 

Balancing 3 of the Main Minerals: Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium

Balancing Magnesium, Potassium, and Sodium

Hair tissue mineral analysis is an amazing tool to use to determine how your body is handling stress, how well your adrenals are working, and where your mineral levels are. Minerals are needed for millions of enzymes as co-factors, inhibitors or even as the enzyme themselves. Enzymes are what keeps our bodies running. When we are low on minerals or if they are imbalanced, our bodies cannot physically function correctly. We look at the whole picture with HTMA- levels, ratios, and the person’s individual symptoms.

In this post though, we are going to go over 3 of the main minerals in HTMA which include: Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.  Our goal with HTMA is to BALANCE these minerals. These 3 have a very delicate balance, but they are all incredibly important.  (and Calcium makes up the 4th main mineral- but it doesn’t seem to be as hard to balance as the other 3 for most people).

Balancing Mg/Na/K: A Delicate Mineral Dance!

In the mineral balancing world, magnesium lowers sodium, which in turn can mess with the sodium/potassium ratio. From ARL Labs: “Sodium and magnesium tend to be antagonistic. As one goes up the other goes down. The ratio of the two minerals often gives a better picture of adrenal activity than the sodium level alone. “

If both sodium and potassium are low and one takes their dose of mag (whether it be the RDA of 400mg or their body-weight dose of about 800+), one can experience both low sodium and low potassium signs. Also, while potassium might not directly be affected by mag, it is very closely related to cortisol on its own and magnesium can lower cortisol. So a very low potassium reading on the HTMA can indicate low cortisol output (roughly), which would indicate an issue with tolerating magnesium.

With HTMA, there are clear indications if someone truly can handle mag or not. About 80% of people in general are slow oxidizers, which means that adrenals are sluggish. Magnesium *decreases* adrenal function, while sodium supports it. Mag *lowers* sodium and further decreases adrenal activity. For some, it can take months and other it takes years to see the negative effect. HTMA is about balancing in the long run, not taking massive doses of any one nutrient.

I am seeing that *so many people* are reacting poorly to magnesium.

Adrenal crashes, severe insomnia, anxiety, low blood pressure, dizziness- these are all of the side effects of too much mag and not enough sodium and potassium. I know it can be frustrating, as there are oodles of articles out there coming out about how magnesium can be a cure-all mineral for so many illnesses. Magnesium is crucial but when we have low sodium and potassium, it can be hard to tolerate any amount of magnesium. This is why the HTMA is important so we can determine your sodium and potassium, as well as the state of your adrenals. The whole point is to get a personalized plan. Healing happens in stages: we cannot fix everything all at once!

You can read my whole post on the sodium/magnesium ratio here and how it relates to adrenal health. In short: Those with OVER-active adrenals need more magnesium, and those with UNDER-active need more sodium (and often cannot tolerate any magnesium!).  Usually with over-active adrenals, one will have high cortisol and high sodium levels- taking magnesium can help balance this. Those with under-active adrenals are more complicated, as they tend to have mixed cortisol and very low sodium- so magnesium *might* help someone if they deal with high nighttime cortisol, but overall they need to focus more on sodium through the day to support the adrenals.

So how much Mag, Potassium, and Sodium do we need?

Looking at the minerals separately: Magnesium recommended daily amount is about 400mg. Potassium RDA is about 4700mg. Sodium RDA is about 2300mg. (These obviously approximates as the RDA doesn’t always cut it when it comes to info- just using these as a reference). That is a pretty big difference here: 400-4700-2300. So if you are using more than that amount of mag, imagine how much more sodium and potassium you would need to properly balance it. Many are doing 800+mg of magnesium, and doing maybe 2-3 adrenal cocktails (which have about 500g of potassium and about 500mg of sodium).

Needs for each mineral will vary person to person depending on HTMA results and symptoms, as well as what a person tolerates. A majority of people are not getting nearly enough potassium in their diet. Unless you are focusing on potassium intake, it is extremely hard to get to that almost 5000mg amount!  Usually I suggest going for about 3000 a day just to get used to getting more potassium and that way we slowly introduce it instead of flooding the body with it (especially as potassium can cause copper dumping!). Read my post on potassium here for more info and my giant list of favorite potassium rich foods.

Sodium intake seems to vary person to person. Many people with adrenal fatigue crave salt like crazy. We have the potential to waste up to 30,000mg of sodium a day when adrenals are stressed (and I cannot find the source I had for this as I read it several years ago now- but it is an alarming amount, and mineral balancing agrees at least that sodium is the first mineral that we start burning through like crazy in adrenal fatigue.) I usually have people listen to their body on this: if it tastes good to you, go for it! Eventually your body shouldn’t crave it as much as levels are replenished. Adrenal cocktails, salt water sole, doing sea salt baths, making your own salt capsules, and obviously just salting food are all helpful.

When sodium, potassium, and magnesium are all low it is VERY hard for someone to raise all 3 at once. They all have to be in balance because too much of one can bump another around. It can be easy to determine which one is the lowest when looking at an HTMA though, and that is usually the main one that people need to focus on. I try to tell people to take note of their symptoms: low sodium signs include dizziness, low blood pressure, muscle weakness or a very rapid heartbeat. Low potassium signs include a hard, thumping heartbeat; thirst; insomnia; or muscle cramps. Low magnesium signs include muscle pain/stiffness, headaches, and skipped heartbeats.

My favorite way to use magnesium is topically. It seems to have less of a chance to mess with sodium this way, and I’m seeing people raise levels well with it. There was a study that showed that in only 12 weeks of use, most of the people rose their magnesium levels by almost 60%! Compare that to oral supplementation which can take 9-24 months to raise mag levels. (Source)

You can try mag oil baths or foot baths: try 1-2 ounces mag oil (or ½ cup to 1 cup of flakes), 1 cup of baking soda (for increased mag absorption and to neutralize chlorine in the water); add ½ cup of pink salt if desired so you can get the balance between sodium and magnesium. Soak for 20-40 minutes at least twice a week.

Or you can use magnesium lotion! I love this mag lotion for adults (250mg per tsp), and this one for kids(150mg per tsp), but you can also see this recipe to make your own.

Common questions I get:

“But don’t we burn through magnesium like crazy under stress?” Yes we do. We can also burn through sodium, potassium, zinc, and even copper (technically, stored copper can get pushed out under stress, along with other toxins). Magnesium is not the *only* mineral that has to do with stress!

“Our soils are so depleted of mag, don’t we need high doses?” Yes, our soils are depleted. A Standard American diet is also very devoid of most nutrients. Switching to a whole foods diet can help increase nutrients in your diet (plus healing your gut– we need stomach acid to utilize many nutrients). If you look in nature, you will *never* find any food right now with the whole RDA of magnesium in it. The most you will find is about 150mg in a cup of cooked spinach or an ounce of pumpkin/squash seeds- plus you will be getting SO much more from the food: enzymes, co-factors, more minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, protein, etc.  You can check a list of high magnesium foods here. Also, nettle and oatstraw infusions are very magnesium rich. More is not always better. We need to look at nutrients in a complex, not in isolation, especially when you are trying to heal your body and not just treat symptoms.

“I NEED magnesium for xyz reason. I can’t live without it.” Yes, I believe that. Magnesium supplementation acts like a crutch (sort of like any other isolated nutrient). I’m coming across many people that supplement with mag or any other nutrient in isolation for years and their symptoms are managed, but their levels never rise much, or they even drop. Isolated oral magnesium is not the kind that your body utilizes so while you might find symptom relief, it isn’t solving the actual deficiency. As soon as one stops supplementation for a day or 2, their symptoms come right back.

Conclusion

I preach caution with high doses of anything in general, but magnesium is the most common one right now that is creating so many issues for people. In our quest for better health, we see to believe the “more is better” lie. We became ill because our diet was imbalanced to begin with- flooding your body with the full RDA of each nutrient (or more) is not the way to get yourself back in balance. There is a huge difference between treating an illness and healing your body. The more that time goes on, the more I am an advocate for whole food nutrition, nutrient dense foods, and focusing on the body as a whole.

If you want more of an idea on how I do approach healing, you can check out my posts: The Beginner’s Guide to Natural Healing and my ultimate collection of favorite remedies for specific conditions.

Need more reading?

Adrenaladvice.com: “If you are unfortunate enough to get to the exhaustion stage ……too much magnesium can cause you to crash since it lowers sodium.”

ARL Labs: Sodium and the Adrenals

ARL other mineral articles

Nutrient interactions: what happens when you take one nutrient on its own and the other nutrients it can lower/raise

How to Balance Hormones the truly natural way

balance hormones

Healing your Hormones the Sassy Holistics Way!

Hormonal imbalances are so incredibly common these days- so much so that even young kids are dealing with them! A majority of doctors or natural practitioners out there approach hormonal imbalances with actual hormones. I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty about that, but I’m going to share the way that I believe we should be approaching this issue. I don’t agree with the hormonal balancing approaches typically, and you’ll understand why in this post!

What is the ROOT CAUSE of hormonal imbalances?

If your hormones are out of balance, adding in all of the separate hormones you are deficient in makes zero sense to me. Besides the fact that this is not how we’re meant to keep our hormones balanced, this can be extremely hard on the body, especially the liver and adrenals. Hormonal imbalances have 3 main root causes: a sluggish liver, stressed adrenals, and a copper imbalance (and these 3 are all connected too!).

Why is the Liver so important in hormonal health?

Our livers have about 500 different functions in the body. One of the main functions is to keep our hormones balanced, both by creating hormones as needed and filtering out excess hormones that we either make or are exposed to. Our livers also make a majority of our cholesterol but can only do so if it is happy and functioning properly. ALL OF OUR HORMONES ARE MADE FROM CHOLESTEROL. That is the fact that drives me nuts about using individual hormones.

ALL of the hormones that run the adrenals need cholesterol to be made. The lie that cholesterol is bad for us is a primary reason why we are all so deficient in hormones. We need cholesterol to create pregnenolone, which in turn can be used to make the rest of the hormones like estrogen, cortisol, progesterone, and aldosterone. But we need healthy livers to regulate cholesterol. If you want to see a chart that explains the hormone/cholesterol relationship, check it out here.

We have a completely obvious root cause here to address, but most docs/practitioners will go straight to the individual hormones (again, “natural pharmacology” or “allopathic natural health“: treat the symptoms, not the cause).  If you are dealing with estrogen dominance, it is more likely that your liver is having trouble clearing the excess estrogen- if you add progesterone to antagonize/balance estrogen, where is the estrogen going to go if the liver is still angry? The problem in the first place was that the body couldn’t get rid of the excess estrogen in the first place. Heal your liver, fix your hormones.

How is a copper imbalance related to hormonal health?

In the mineral balancing world, we know that estrogen and copper go hand in hand, just like zinc goes along with testosterone and progesterone. Women are copper dominant and men are zinc dominant. When the liver and adrenals are stressed, they have a VERY hard time keeping copper and zinc balanced.

I mentioned above how adding progesterone to “fix” and estrogen dominance issue makes no sense if the liver can get rid of the excess copper in the first place: It is EXACTLY the same issue with copper/zinc. Zinc can mobilize stored copper but it doesn’t excrete it! (bile is the key for that, which I talk about below) Messing with the individual hormones or nutrients doesn’t solve the root issue, which is that the liver is angry and the minerals aren’t able to balance.

Balancing copper is one of the main things I focus on for most of my clients. I RARELY see someone with balanced copper. That is how common this issue is. Keeping copper balanced involved happy adrenals and livers, as well as true vitamin A (from cod liver oil, beef liver, eggs, and butter- all things that many people didn’t eat growing up as there has been fear mongering on each of these foods!). Those that have been vegetarian/vegan, been on birth control of any sort, had copper pipes in their house, or women that just recently had a child are the most common people to be effected by a copper imbalance.

When we are dealing with a sluggish liver and stressed adrenals, it is hard for the body to utilize vitamin A, which is one of the keys needed for making ceruloplasmin, the copper binding protein. When ceruloplasmin cannot be made, copper can build up in the body (as excess, unbound copper rises, estrogen tends to rise as well). This creates a huge issue in the body: the excess copper can become antagonistic to zinc and other nutrients and it creates it own host of symptoms as it basically irritates the body, but you can also deal with copper deficiency symptoms since you cannot use this excess copper. You can read the giant lists of copper excess and copper deficiency signs here, as well as the whole story about copper dysregulation.

How are the adrenals related to hormonal health?

When people start to feel fatigued or just not as well as they used to, most people will automatically tell them to go test their thyroid. In reality, the adrenals play an even bigger role in overall health as they are higher up on the totem pole in the endocrine system (AKA the HPA Axis!). The adrenals play a big role in metabolism, hormonal balance, and overall vitality.

The adrenal glands are two little pea-sized glands that sit on top of the kidneys. The outer part of the adrenal gland, the adrenal cortex, secretes the corticosteroid hormones including cortisol that monitor the body’s metabolism, inflammation, and blood pressure. The adrenal medulla is the inner part which secretes adrenaline and noradrenaline, hormones that respond to stressors. When the adrenal medulla fires, it increases the heart rate, boosts blood flow to the muscles, and creates a surge of glucose (blood sugar) in the bloodstream. This mechanism evolved so we could draw from a quick burst of energy in a fight-or-flight situation. The adrenals are extremely vital to our health and well-being!

This fight-or-flight response can becoming chronic for many people, and eventually the adrenals can get into burnout. You can read a bit more on how we can use HTMA to determine the health of the adrenals and how we can support their function better.

How to truly fix a hormonal balance

1) Heal your Liver and get that bile flowing! Many of my ladies need a LOT of liver loving/bile support. It seems that when we start healing, the body goes a bit into overdrive and tries to do all the things at once. We need bile to flush out the toxins: the excess copper, the estrogen, the heavy metals, parasites, yeast, etc. But we also need bile for fat utilization and cholesterol balancing. From what I’m seeing, most bodies choose to detox FIRST. The more bile support we add, the easier the process gets. You can read my whole post on bile support here, but my favorites include dandelion root, sunflower lecithin, Gaia Herbs or Herb Pharm Bitter herbs supplements, castor oil packs, and staying hydrated. Bile is one of the main keys for healing constipation too- keeping your colon happy is key in healing from any illness. Also, anything you do to support your overall liver function will help your bile flow!

2) Heal your Adrenals. A general course of action for adrenal fatigue will include good fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats (fat and cholesterol are needed for hormone production), Whole food vitamin C (NOT ascorbic acid), high quality proteins like collagen or whey, animal based vitamin A that you would find in Cod Liver Oil, butter and beef liver, and the most important things are rest, sleep, more rest, and more sleep! It depends on the person’s Na/Mg ratio on the HTMA whether they will need magnesium or a good quality salt like Pink Himalayan, Celtic, Redmond’s Real Salt. Those with OVER-active adrenals need more magnesium, and those with UNDER-active need more sodium (and often cannot tolerate any magnesium!).

3) Balance your minerals. As mentioned above, the main mineral imbalance that is involved in hormonal issues is the copper/zinc balance. Get an HTMA and a blood panel for copper, zinc, and ceruloplasmin to determine your full status on these minerals. HTMA also can give us insight on how well your adrenals, thyroid, and liver are working which also plays a big role in hormonal health.

4) Reducing environmental toxins is also an essential step to healing your liver and hormones.  Many of the chemicals used in beauty products are carcinogenic and are known hormone disruptors, and they mostly mess with estrogen. There are about 82,000 chemicals used in personal care products and most of them are not tested for safety, or how they react to other chemicals. What you use on your skin is absorbed into your blood stream- reducing the amount of toxins you are exposed to helps take strain off of your liver so it can do its job better.

5) SLEEP!!!! Sleep is perhaps the number 1 most critical thing needed to heal from every illness. And yet it is one of the first things that suffers when health starts to suffer.This is the most underestimated healer out there.  We just need sleep! It’s not just because it keeps us happy- it helps us regenerate and heal, as well as helping us to eliminate toxins because our LIVERS work the hardest at night.

If we are always on the go during the day and we aren’t sleeping enough at night, we simply cannot function well.  The first part of ANY healing plan should be to evaluate your sleep.  If you aren’t getting enough because of your schedule, then it is time to cut down on things to take care of yourself no matter how hard this might be.

“You cannot pour from an empty cup.”  If you are healing from any illness, you have to focus on yourself as much as you can in order to truly heal.  This may be hard for a lot of people but it is crucial!If you having any trouble sleeping, there are a variety of reasons why this could be happening. Read my post on how to bust insomnia here.  You can also check out this article from ARL about the importance of sleep.

More reading:

This awesome article by Dr. Lam was sent to me yesterday which prompted me to finally write about my approach to balancing hormones. He goes over the negative effects of improper progesterone supplementing.

What is Biochemical Individuality?

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biochemical individuality

Biochemical Individuality

There is no denying that as humans, we are all connected in some way. At the same time though, we are all unique individuals! The old saying “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” is NOT true when it comes to healing illnesses. While we might all have similar deficiencies and and imbalances, there are so many other factors to consider while healing.

Biochemical individuality is essentially a concept that the nutritional and chemical makeup of a person is unique. Because of this, nutritional needs will vary from person to person. Dr. Roger Williams was the biochemist that pioneered this concept in the 1950s, when people were just starting to feel the damage done by poor nutritional advice, depleted soils, and pharmaceutical medications.

This issue is just getting worse as time goes on!

This issue has just become even more complicated as time has gone on- now we are dealing with an epigentics epidemic! The environment and the state of our food is in an even more terrifying state these days, and the need for individualized nutrition is even more dire.  People are in varying stages of the same illness (like adrenal fatigue for instance: one person can be dealing with overactive adrenals and another can be dealing with underactive). 10 people with the same exact diagnosis can be dealing with completely different symptoms, and they will all have different healing journeys.

So if someone is trying to tell you that we ALL need the same supplements in the same exact amounts at the same exact time- please reconsider this! This is NOT how people heal. This is another way of allopathic thinking, a one-size-fits-all approach.  Becoming your own best health advocate is the BEST way for you to heal. Instinct and intuition are invaluable as well, because you need to learn to listen to your body’s signs when you are trying to heal from illness.

Things that influence our health and individuality:

  • Diet
  • Stress
  • How we react to stress
  • Genetics
  • Job
  • Hobbies (because of exposure to chemicals or climates)
  • Environment (toxins, climate, stress, etc)
  • Past traumas
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Tobacco or alcohol use
  • Drug use (whether illicit or pharmaceutical)
  • Attitude
  • Sleep habits
  • Detoxification ability
  • Metablism
  • Temperament
  • Digestive status
  • And the list goes on!

I hope this post is helpful! I am seeing wayyyyy too many people getting injured from one-size-fits-all recommendations, especially since people are being told just to “push through the pain”!What works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. This is why there are SO many aspects and modalities for healing: nature has given us a wide array of choices!

There are dozens of generalized protocols out there that are all supposedly designed to be for the good of everyone, no matter what stage of health they are at. This is just not true. If you aren’t sure about what a doctor or practitioner is recommending you, please question them! We should all be aiming to help people heal on their own terms.

More Reading:

TEI labs on Individuality

Biochemical Individuality by Dr. Roger Williams, the original expert on this topic. Written in 1956!

Whole Food Nutrition: The Missing Link in Vitamin Therapy: The Difference Between Nutrients WITHIN Foods vs. Isolated Vitamins & how they affect your health by Dr. Vic Shayne

HTMA With Sassy Holistics

lucy

What do you get when you order an HTMA package with me? Well, let’s go over that!

An HTMA consult with me includes:

1) The hair test itself. Hair tissue mineral analysis tests for crucial minerals like magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium, zinc and copper. It also tests for toxic metals like mercury, arsenic, cadmium, and aluminum- all of which can create massive health issues. HTMA’s main focus is on the ratios of the main minerals. The ratios show us metabolism, thyroid health, adrenal health, hormonal balance, blood sugar balance, and cardiovascular health.

2) My written analysis of the nutrient levels and ratios. This is where the real magic lies, in a person’s ability to analyze the test properly. The information that comes with certain profiles straight from the lab tends to be a bit outdated and nor personalized nearly enough. It doesn’t take into account the fact that many people are now suffering from severe leaky gut as well as very sluggish livers and lymph systems.

3) A 1 hour consult to go over the analysis, HTMA, and your main health concerns. I try to focus on your worst symptoms first so we can get some symptom relief while the real healing is going on. I welcome questions too, so don’t hold back!

4) Lifestyle and diet recommendations emailed to you after the consult. I try to write up our main plan as far as diet, supplements, and possible stress management techniques if needed.

5) Unlimited support while on the healing program for 3 months from the time of the consult. Usually this is mostly email and Facebook message support, but we can always make another phone consult if needed. I try to answer messages and emails within a few hours, and it’ll never be more than a day. If I don’t know what is going on with your healing, then I can’t help you! If things aren’t working out the way you hoped, please let me know and we’ll make adjustments.

6) Access to my Facebook group Mineral Mavens for amazing support. My Mavens are amazing. We have very kind, supportive, and intelligent members that have insight on many different topics. Mineral Mavens welcomes ALL health topics because all health is related.

7) And most of all: you get compassion. I truly want to help you heal! I have dealt with adrenal fatigue, a copper imbalance, and I have reversed so many of my own illnesses. I understand how the body heals and I am no stranger to how hard it can be. I do my best to offer my support and understanding to your personal situation.

Note: I don’t require blood tests or any other test because HTMA gives us a huge view on what is going on. More information can always be helpful and add more information. My main suggestions for blood tests include: copper serum, zinc plasma or serum, ceruloplasmin, iron, ferritin, TIBC, Saturation %, and transferrin. If you’re lucky enough to have an understanding doctor, ask them to request the labs. If not, check out Request a Test or Walk-In Labs (usually the cheaper of the 2).

Also: I am very pro-food based nutrition as this is how Mother Nature intended us to get our nutrients. Because of the state of our soils, it is imperative that we look for organic and nutrient dense foods.  I use foods, herbs, and food-based supplements in my programs. 

Many people are dealing with several imbalances and deficiencies at once so using food as medicine is gentle and effective compared to synthetic, isolated, and lab-made nutrients. Gut and liver healing are crucial as well and I put a big emphasis on this for those that truly need it.

This package is $200 right now- a great deal! Retests for those that have tested with me in the last 6 months are only $175! I offer one of the most affordable packages for HTMA right now.

**If you dye your hair: 4-6 weeks of new growth is preferred. The sample is that is needed is as close to the scalp as possible. If your hair dye has bleach or peroxide, you will have to either wait for new growth (or leave a hidden section un-dyed) or you can send fingernails or pubic hair.***

Ready to change your health? You can order the HTMA Package here!

 

Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome and Copper Dysregulation

There are countless illnesses out there that are considered genetic, but what if they truly weren’t? What if things only appear genetic because we are passing down nutrient deficiencies and imbalances, as well as lifestyles and habits? The soils in the US have been depleted for nearly 100 years now, the rise of processed foods began shortly after, and the overuse of antibiotics (as well as other pharmaceuticals) has ruined our nutritional status even further. 

dont-quityourdaydream

Ehlers–Danlos syndrome, and the symptoms associated with it, is one of those illnesses that might be due to nutritional imbalances and toxicities.

Many genes are actually nutrient dependent as well! Vitamin A and copper are both nutrients that play a big role in gene expression. Vitamin A also plays a big role in copper dysregulation, which can create issues with connective tissue, joints, and muscles, all of which are a part of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. Whole food vitamin C is also a crucial nutrient for tissue repair, collagen formation, immune system health, plus is very important for joints, blood vessels (think varicose and spider veins!), teeth, bones, and skin.

From Linus Pauling Institute: “Copper is an essential cofactor for oxidation-reduction reactions involving copper-containing oxidases. Copper enzymes regulate various physiologic pathways, such as energy production, iron metabolism, connective tissue maturation, and neurotransmission”.

Even a slight copper imbalance can contribute to impaired immunity, bone issues, and neurological and cardiovascular diseases. Copper helps certain gene transcriptions, plays a part in the production of melanin (helps skin pigmentation), and also has a huge role in Superoxide Dismutase, an important antioxidant.

What is EDS?

From Ehlersdanlossyndrome.org:

Ehlers Danlos Syndrome is a disorder that deals with the connective tissue. It is inherited and cannot be passed on any other way….This disorder essentially causes a severe defect in the product of collagen. Collagen is responsible for providing your muscles and skin with elasticity and firmness…Surprisingly EDS isn’t too uncommon, about 1 in every 5,000 children born will have EDS…There are six specific types of EDS that stand out to scientists and medical professionals…..”

When I first read about EDS a few years ago, the first thought I had was, “Well which nutrient deficiency does this sound like? Connective tissue, collagen and skin issues, joints, possible cardiovascular issues. Duh, COPPER!” Copper dysregulation is incredibly common these days and I rarely see anyone with ideal copper balance. And in the above phrase about how there are 6 types of EDS: hmm sounds an awful lot like variations in the severity of the deficiency!

Common EDS Symptoms that are also related to copper dysregulation:

  • Lax joints
  • Inability to hold a chiropractic adjustment because of the severity of lax joints
  • Muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • fragile skin
  • easy bruising
  • Chronic degenerative joint disease
  • POTS
  • Varicose or spider veins
  • History of aneurysms
  • GERD/hiatal hernia
  • Raynaud’s
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Heart Murmur
  • Osteoarthritis

Copper Dysregulation symptoms:

Copper Deficiency Symptoms:
Anemia
Fatigue
Decrease in number of white blood cells
Osteoporosis
Nerve damage can cause tingling and loss of sensation in the feet and hands
Confusion
Irritability
Depression
Impaired Coordination
Vitamin B12 deficiency
Iron deficiency
Low blood levels of fat-soluble vitamins, zinc, and folate
Hypochromic anemia
Neutropenia
White, gray and silver hair
Hemorrhoids
Varicose veins

Copper Excess Symptoms:

Feelings of doom
Fatigue and exhaustion
Hypothyroid (slow thyroid)
Mind is in a fog
Headaches, migraines
Mood swings
Super-sensitive, weepy
Cold hands, and/or feet
Depression
Dry skin
Chocolate cravings
Feeling of loss of control
Paranoia
Despair, suicidal feelings, hopelessness
Arthritis, calcium spurs
Constipation
Racing heart, pounding heart
Adverse reaction to vitamins and minerals
Problems with concentration and memory
Short attention span, ‘spaciness’
Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, overeating
Panic attacks, high anxiety, free floating anxiety
Yeast infections (candida)
Aching muscles or muscle cramps
Hypoglycemia
Mind races — insomnia, interrupted sleep
PMS
Mononucleosis
Low blood pressure
Obsessive thoughts

(These lists are from This Article on nutritional balancing)

Do any of those symptoms sounds familiar? Then read on!

How to Test for and treat Copper Dysregulation

A hair tissue mineral analysis is a huge part of the healing process. This will not only show you the relationship between your zinc and copper, but it will give you an idea on the state of your adrenal glands. Strong adrenals are needed to balance copper. An HTMA will also show your magnesium and calcium levels, which both play a part in regulating copper.

The blood tests that are very helpful are copper serum, plasma zinc and ceruloplasmin. Once you have those tests, there will be a specific calculation to do that determines the “unbound/toxic” and “bound/usable” copper levels. This number will depend on the ceruloplasmin level. Many people are still all about copper “toxicity” and detoxing the copper, but in reality when you focus on ceruloplasmin production, this unbound copper will decrease. Most people have a very low ceruloplasmin level and very low usable copper!

 Ceruloplasmin Production

Ceruloplasmin production depends on a few things. Sufficient adrenal and liver function is required to help make this protein. Ceruloplasmin is also dependent on animal-based retinol (AKA real vitamin A), whole food vitamin C, and copper itself.

There are actually many things that inhibit ceruloplasmin production as well. Obviously the biggest problem with creating sufficient ceruloplasmin is our overloaded livers from environmental toxins. Preventing the liver from becoming sluggish is key to making ceruloplasmin available. Other offenders include supplemental iron, calcium, and vitamin D, high fructose corn syrup, ascorbic acid, and stress.

Ceruloplasmin in is the key to regulating copper and iron. CP is also needed for neurotransmitter health, management of yeast, parasites, and other nasty stuff, and it is important for ATP regulation (aka energy production!)

Other helpful ideas for healing from EDS:

Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is one of the most versatile and amazing herbs out there. It helps immensely with gut and liver health, it helps heal joints, and it can increase nutrient absorption as well.

Collagen: If you have a collagen deficiency, it helps to actually consume collagen! I love Perfect Supplements grass-fed collagen. We start to lose the ability to create our own collagen once we hit our 20s so using collagen as a supplement can help quite a bit with joints, muscles, and also gut healing. If you have gut issues, you’re likely not digesting and utilizing protein very well so collagen can also help with that. It is a very easily digested protein!

Do you have EDS? What helps you with symptoms, or have you healed yourself?

 

A Natural Approach to POTS

Thanks to my Mavens that have helped me research this topic 🙂

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What is POTS?

POTS (or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is a syndrome that is a “form of dysautonomia that affects the flow of blood through the body, thereby causing dizziness when standing. Technically, someone has POTS if their heart rate increases by 30 beats per minute or their heart rate is greater than 120 beats per minute within 10 minutes of standing up.”(source)

Most POTS sufferers are women that are of child-bearing age. There seems to be a huge correlation between hormonal imbalance and POTS (cough, adrenal fatigue, cough). POTS is also common in those with Lyme disease, anemia, and Ehlers-Danlos.

Symptoms of POTS

The most common symptoms of POTS are dizziness upon standing and fatigue, but other symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Chest Pains
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Insomnia
  • Brain Fog
  • Sweating Abnormalities
  • Weakness
  • Bladder Dysfunction
  • Tremors

Treating POTS

1) POTS is a symptom of a nervous system that is out of balance, but there are many factors that can contribute to its manifestation. Healing the nervous system will be one of the biggest helps in healing POTS.

From my post on The Nervous System, we know that an imbalance in the nervous system can be caused by nutritional issues (whether from birth or acquired), poor diet, overuse of stimulants like coffee, constant negative thinking, physical/emotional traumas as well as toxic metal build-up and chemicals that harm the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.  Constant stress like a physically demanding job can also cause an imbalance because the person is nearly always in a “fight-or-flight” situation. Many people notice that POTS starts right after an extremely stressful event.

2) Sodium is probably the most important nutrient to focus on when healing from POTS. And no, I’m not talking about table salt! Table salt is extremely unhealthy. It is processed to remove all minerals except sodium chloride, it usually has an anti-clumping agent added and synthetic iodine is added. Table salt CAUSES blood pressure issues, while unrefined salts balance blood pressure.

Himalayan Pink salt, Celtic Grey, and Redmond’s Real Salt are three amazing salts to try out. Unrefined salts have 70+ trace minerals- not just sodium chloride. While sodium is the most crucial nutrient for POTS symptoms, most people have many other deficiencies so getting the trace minerals can be very helpful.

Sodium deficiency signs include gastrointestinal distress, low blood pressure, cognitive impairment, muscular fatigue, general fatigue, dizziness, vertigo, rapid heart rate, and salt wasting (do your pets like to lick your legs a lot? That is a sure sign that you are salt-wasting!). A lot of these symptoms sound exactly like POTS symptoms!

A popular way to replace your salt and trace minerals is to make salt water sole with Himalayan Pink Salt. Sole (pronounced sol-ay) is a concentrated brine that people use to hydrate, replenish sodium levels, help sleep, aid in weight loss, and improve digestion.

To Make Sole :

  • Fill a 1 quart glass mason jar about 1/3 full of unrefined, natural salt. Then fill jar with filtered water, leaving at least 2 inch gap at top.
  • Cover with a plastic cap (metal is reactive to salt and de-ionizes it), shake it, and let sit for at least 24 hours.
  •      If all the salt crystals have dissolved after a full day, add a little but more of the salt crystals to the water. The sole will be ready when the salt no longer dissolves- this means the water has become fully saturated with the salt.
  •   There will always be some undissolved salt crystals on the bottom of the jar but this is proof that the water is totally saturated with salt. You can store the bottle covered on the counter indefinitely-salt has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  •   Start small with sole, adding just ½ tsp to a glass of water in the morning upon waking. You can add more or less depending on your taste preferences- I know of many people that get benefit from a few tablespoons of sole a day.
  • OR you can try making your own capsules with unrefined salt! Salt is probably the hardest thing to get enough of because there is only so much you can add to food or water. The capsules can be helpful for those that really need to get extra sodium.

Be sure to not neglect your potassium intake too! POTS sufferers might need more sodium to begin with, but as time goes on it can start to bump potassium out of balance. For potassium deficiency signs and food sources, check this article out. To read more on the sodium/potassium ratio and why it needs to be balanced, try this postHair tissue mineral analysis can show you how your balance is between these 2 crucial nutrients, and it will also show us the state of your adrenals and nervous system.

Conventional Treatment of POTS

Conventional medicine has their own approach to POTS (obviously, since they named this set of symptoms with something so now they can market drugs for it!). The main drugs are fludrocortisone, (which helps with sodium retention ), midodrine (a vasoconstrictor), and beta-blockers (to decrease heart rate and high epinephrine levels).  They also tend to recommend salt (usually table salt, which is absolutely horrible for health, because they don’t know about unrefined salts), exercise, and compression socks. They also recommend lots of plain water- which most people know will actually make you LOSE sodium even more!

Are you a POTSie? What has helped you heal? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

Want to read more about POTS?

Adrenal Fatigue and POTS

MyHeart.net

 

The Sodium/Potassium Ratio: Vitally Important!

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The Sodium/Potassium ratio (henceforth known as the na/k ratio) is the absolute most important ratio on the HTMA. The Na/K shows us our overall vitality, adrenal health, liver and kidney function, digestion, and how our body is reacting to stress.

This is one of the hardest ratios to fix because both sodium and potassium have to be in a specific balance. Finding that balance can be difficult because everyone has their own tolerance when it comes to certain nutrients.

For example, when sodium, potassium, and magnesium are all low it is VERY hard for someone to raise all 3 at once. They all have to be in balance because too much of one can bump another around. I try to tell people to take note of their symptoms: low sodium signs include dizziness, low blood pressure, muscle weakness or a very rapid heartbeat. Low potassium signs include a hard, thumping heartbeat; thirst; insomnia; or muscle cramps. Low magnesium signs include muscle pain/stiffness, headaches, and skipped heartbeats.

A high Na/k ratio shows a possibility of:

  • inflammation
  • adrenal imbalance (usually an acute stress situation, and the beginning stages of adrenal fatigue)
  • asthma
  • allergies
  • More common with fast oxidizers
  • kidney and liver stress
  • A high sodium/potassium ratio is considered preferable to a low sodium/potassium ratio.

A low Na/K ratio shows a possibility of:

  • kidney and liver dysfunction
  • allergies
  • arthritis
  • tissue breakdown
  • low immune system
  • adrenal exhaustion/burnout (usually because of chronic stress)
  • digestive problems (especially deficiency of hydrochloric acid)
  • Very low ratios can be a warning for heart attacks, diabetes, cancer
  • Very common in slow oxidizers
  • Low na/k ratios that are hard to budge can be due to a history of trauma. Child abuse victims tend to have very low na/k ratios

Fixing this Ratio:

The approach will be different for those with a high na/k vs a low na/k. The basics include calming down the stress response and focusing on adrenal health, focusing on LOW levels of both sodium and potassium, healing from underlying trauma (easier said than done, I know! but it is important), and working on stress management.

Sources:

http://drlwilson.com/Articles/SODIUM-POT%20RATIO.HTM

Uranium on the HTMA

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Uranium is a naturally occurring element but it has the potential to be toxic. I just wanted to make a short post as a reference for those that have noticed high uranium levels on their HTMA.

Sources of Uranium:

  • Uranium is very high in granite deposit- so those that mine granite or live near a granite mine are at risk for high exposure
  • Food grown in soil that is high in uranium (again, this would be from farms close to granite mines)
  • Water (usually from fertilizer runoff!)
  • Factories that use a form of uranium for the production of aircraft parts, plating, and munitions
  • Uranium also tends to go hand in hand with radon gas- if you have very high uranium you should check your home for radon!

States highest in Uranium:

  • California- a majority of the tests that I see with high Uranium are from those in California
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • Conneticut
  • Kansas
  • Colorado

Health effects of Uranium:

The most common side effect of excess uranium is decreased kidney function. Uranium can build up in the bones, liver and kidneys

What to do about High Uranium?

Sources:

TEI Labs on Uranium

ARL on Toxic Metals