Liver Healing vs. Liver Detox: Why there is a HUGE difference!

liver healing

Liver Healing vs. Liver Detox

Most of my followers know that I am a huge Liver Lover! I can never stress the importance of the liver enough. It has about 500 functions in the body, and it takes a beating in our toxic world.  You can read more about liver health here, but we’re going to go over some important points in this post: what the liver is for and why we need to love and support it- not flush and force it to “cleanse”.

The liver plays a role in:

  • hormonal balancing
  • blood sugar regulation
  • heart health
  • weight management
  • cholesterol regulation
  • detoxification (of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens, etc)
  • digestion (of fats and protein)
  • utilization of fat soluble nutrients like vitamins A and D
  • keeping copper and iron balanced
  • thyroid and adrenal health
  • immune health

Why we need Liver Loving, not Flushing or Cleansing

The Liver itself doesn’t get dirty- it doesn’t need to be flushed or cleansed. It can get sluggish and it can start getting an extra storage of fat, iron, and copper but it doesn’t store toxins.  When the liver gets sluggish, it stores toxins in FAT which is why there is such a huge link between being overweight and having liver issues.

This is one of the main reasons why I am not a huge fan of liver flushes, cleanses, or anything that will stress the liver out and force it to detox. Our goal should be to provide supporting herbs, foods, and practices to help gently stimulate the liver to heal.  Obviously we all have to make our own choices, but I am not a fan of things like liver/gallbladder flushes, chelation, or fasting- these methods can be very harsh on the body, especially if you are dealing with adrenal dysfunction.  Forcing the body to heal when it doesn’t have the strength is counter-productive.  Gently nourishing the whole body is the key for sustainable healing.

How to Properly Love your Liver

One of the main liver lovers that I recommend to nearly all of my clients is BioRay Liver Life. I have seen miraculous results with this particular herbal blend. The herbs that are used help with the liver, kidneys, lymph, adrenals, and immune system so you get a huge whole-body healing effect from this one supplement. You can read my full post about Liver Life here. Or you can check it out on BioRay’s site, where you can also see many of their other awesome products that I often recommend (and now you can get 15% off your order with the code SASSY at checkout!). You can also read about 10 of the most common detox myths here!

liver healing
BioRay Liver Life is the best choice for liver loving!

According to this source, the tests done with Liver Life “reveal improvements in high liver enzymes, food sensitivities, fatty acid metabolism, pH balance, nutrient absorption and microbial imbalances.”  Not only that, but liver function can improve liver function by 50% in only 15 days. Liver Life supports both phases of liver detox, can improve histamine intolerance, and can help heal food sensitivities over time.

The Liver Life itself can be used for kids as the dose is based on weight, but BioRay has a specific formula just for kids called CALM. You can read more about the kids’ line here.

Other Liver Loving Ideas

  • Herbal infusions like nettles, oatstraw and red raspberry leaf. Infusions are extremely nourishing to the body, and most of them help with liver, lymph, kidneys, and the adrenals.
  • Sunflower Lecithin: This form of lecithin is rich in phosphatidyl choline, which is a B complex vitamin that has extremely important roles in fat metabolism and liver health. It helps with stimulating bile flow and can help flush fat out of the liver, and it is also extremely important for brain health.
  • Castor oil packs (read about castor oil packs here!)
  • Dandelion root decoctions or tea
  • garlic, turmeric, ginger, cayenne
  • Bitter herbs

 

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.*

 

liver healing

Natural Dental Care

natural dental health

Natural Dental Care

The state of our teeth can be a pretty good representation of our health. Many people deal with cracking teeth, cavities, sensitivity of the teeth and gums, and more. Most of us have been taught about the external care of teeth which just includes brushing and flossing- but there is SO much more to healthy teeth than that!

My Top Tips for Improving Dental Health

There are many things you can do to improve the health of your teeth. Luckily, most of these will sound familiar to many of my readers!

Balance minerals

Minerals play a VERY big role in dental health. Our enamel is the most mineralized substance of the body: 96% of the enamel is pure mineral! (source). Using HTMA can help determine where your mineral imbalances are so we can see what we need to focus on first.

Use cell salts

Cell salts are homeopathic remedies made from minerals. They help your body utilize minerals better, unlike supplements that just add a huge amount.  Cell salts are gentle, safe, and very effective. The calcium cells salts are best for bone and dental health: Calc fluor, calc phos, and calc sulph. You can try the cell salts individually or go for a blend of them like this Bioplasma.

Ditch the fluoride

Most people know fluoride as the stuff put in toothpaste to give us strong teeth. It’s also put in our water supply because it is supposedly so amazing at preventing cavities. There is a huge difference between naturally occurring fluoride and the sodium fluoride that is thrown in our water. For one, the former is natural and in small amounts in food and water and the latter is a synthetic form that is toxic waste. Harvard University declared a few years ago that sodium fluoride was actually a neurotoxin, meaning that it destructive to nerve tissue. The study from Harvard focused mostly on the effect that fluoride has on children.

The worst offenders for this added, toxic fluoride are water and toothpaste. Look for water filters that get the fluoride out (like Berkey or Tapmaster) or look here for other ways to make sure you get clean water. The toothpaste we will talk about below!

Use a better toothpaste

As mentioned above, most toothpaste is going to have that toxic form of fluoride in it, and it is usually filled with other nasty ingredients. Sticking to a natural form of toothpaste is best for our dental health. You can make your own with coconut oil and baking soda, or you can go with other awesome options like Poofy Organics. We use the Toddler toothpaste for our son, and the tooth powder for ourselves (which is amazing! Tooth powder might sound weird, but I promise that you will see the difference in your teeth with this.). They also have an awesome mouth rinse that helps combat plaque and bad breath: see all of these here!

Use Cod liver oil

Fat soluble vitamins are a crucial part to our overall health. There has been so much misinformation about Vitamin over the last several decades, but now people are going crazy over vitamin D supplements. In truth, we need BOTH of these vitamins. But they need to be in a proper balance! Cod liver oil gives us this perfect balance of vitamins A and D. I do not advocate for fermented cod liver oil- if you use it and it works for you, great. But I never could get myself to actually try it as my gut was telling me something was “off” about it- and once this report came out a year or so ago about how it is rancid and not as nutrient dense as it is claimed.

My favorite cod liver oils are NutraPro and Rosita’s. NutraPro has the best value of any other natural cod liver oil I’ve found (and I’ve done a lot of digging just to find the cod liver oils that don’t add synthetic nutrients- it is horrible but MANY of the brands of CLO out there add synthetic A and D!). You can read my full breakdown on the benefits of CLO here, and my comparison of NutraPro and Rosita’s. Or you can find them both on Perfect Supplements’ site, where you can save 10% with my code SASSY at checkout! They also have ghee and high vitamin butter oil which can provide K2 for added absorption of A and D.

We also need healthy livers to utilize both A and D. This is why liver support is so crucial for healing! We need these fat soluble vitamins, but we cannot use them properly with sluggish livers.

Drink Bone Broth and herbal infusions

Bone broth is one of the most powerful healing tools in the natural healing world. Broth provides highly bio-available nutrients, helps to heal and seal the gut lining, and can be a great source of energy. Beef bone broth tends to be the more nutrient dense option but chicken bone broth can be easier and just as helpful. You can find some ideas for recipes here on my friend Renee’s site, Raising Generation Nourished!

Herbal infusions are also powerful for healing. They are extremely nutrient dense, and since they are also liquid they supply extremely bio-available minerals to the body. Nettles and oatstraw tend to be my top choices for the most nutrient-dense infusions. You can read about how to make infusions, where to find the herbs, and what they are all used for here.

Use powdered eggshells

I know what you are thinking, what in the world would we use with powdered eggshells?? Eggshells are extremely mineral rich, especially with calcium. You can crush or grind the shell of your eggs after you boil them and let them dry. You can add this powder to your toothpaste to give it a boost of minerals!

Oil pulling

Oil pulling is something many people have been raving about over the last few years. It is an Ayurvedic practice that helps to detox your mouth of any bad bacteria that could be lingering in there. You basically just swish an oil (coconut, sesame, or even olive) in your mouth for about 10 minutes each day, and then spit the oil out once you are done (preferably in the garbage and not down a drain). You can read a bit more on this here. I’ve also heard of people swishing with wheat grass juice too to help remineralize the teeth even further.

And finally, try to find a holistic dentist.

There are a lot of dentists out there that are either realizing the harm that mercury amalgams and fluoride have caused, or they already have known this for years. Many of them will be able to fully assess your dental issues and come up with more ideas to help you heal. You can find a holistic dentist near you with Holistic Dental’s website.

 

This book is a favorite of many that are dealing with dental issues: Cure Tooth Decay: Heal and Prevent Cavities with Nutrition

The Ultimate Colon Health Guide

colon health

When you hear the word “detox” you tend to just think of the liver. In reality, most major organs of the body deal with detox in some way or another. The colon is no exception, and it plays one of the most important roles in keeping the body healthy.  If our colons aren’t working effectively, we cannot be healthy. Dr. Bernard Jensen was the one that said, “it is the bowel that invariably has to be cared for first before any effective healing can take place.” (source)

If you’ve been one of the millions of people that grew up eating a Standard American Diet, your colon is likely not in a happy state. Most processed foods are not able to be properly digested (let alone utilized in any way), and sometimes this can lead to a build up in the colon. Processed foods take a LOT more stomach acid and bile to break down, and after years on this terrible diet we can pretty much run out of both of these things. So even when we start eating cleaner, it can be hard for the body to digest and utilize the new, incoming foods. Especially if the colon is still filled with gunk!

The Purpose of the Colon

The whole digestive tract plays a big role in detoxification. The colon’s specific jobs include collecting and eliminating toxins from the body. However, if it the colon becomes even slightly sluggish it cannot perform its job properly. There are so many things that can mess with the function of the colon: poor diet, stress, overuse of laxatives, drugs,  lack of exercise. The less you “go” normally, the worse the colon gets.

When illness begins, we start to accumulate waste and even undigested food in the colon. This starts to harden and it becomes a breeding ground for pathogens, and a hoarding place for heavy metals.  Because of this, any nutrients that are supposed to be absorbed in the colon are unable to do so. Instead, toxins that can’t make their way completely out of the bowel are reabsorbed and recirculated through the body. This leads to an incredible amount of symptoms: chronic pain, headaches, sore throats, swelling, fatigue, brain fog, bad breath, strong body odor, a coating on the tongue, acne, and so much more.

The “Ideal Poo”

How do we know if our colons are healthy? Ideally, we should be going at least 2-3 times a day (usually with one awesome one right when we wake up as we detox a lot overnight). Stool should be formed, smooth, a medium brown color, and should take very little effort to eliminate.  There should be very little smell and no undigested food visible. You can see a chart on this site here that  shows what the ideal poo should look like.

Healing the Colon

So let’s start talking about healing the colon! We’ll talk about common issues, as well as common remedies to help heal the colon or just support general colon health.

Constipation

In 2016, people spent over ONE BILLION DOLLARS on laxatives. (source) This is such a huge issue! People are not only becoming dependent on these things, they are NOT addressing the root causes of this issue.

Constipation is one of the biggest signs that your colon needs some heavy help. Constipation can occur for so many reasons: lack of bile flow (and thus a lack of stomach acid), eating a poor diet, dehydration, and more. The main signs of constipation include: feeling sluggish, having acne, anxiety (because toxins are recirculating), a feeling that you still have to “go” even after you’ve gone, and dealing with what essentially are rabbit poops.

Some of the BEST ways to heal constipation include:
  • Aloe vera
  • Magnesium/sodium/potassium (usually there is an imbalance between these 3 minerals)
  • Use something like a Squatty Potty
  • Dandelion root tea
  • Use HTMA to fix mineral imbalances and heal your metabolism.
  • Castor oil packs over the colon area
  • Dr Christopher’s Lower Bowel Formula
  • BioRay’s NDF Pooper (can be used for adults too- this one and the formula above are not laxatives. They actually help to heal the colon and get the muscles working better!)
  • BioRay Belly Mend- I’ve been recommending this a LOT over the last 6 months or so and I’m seeing amazing results with my clients when it comes to overall gut health. But it helps to heal the colon as well!
  • Far Infrared Heating pad- this is also a newer addition to my recommendations but holy wow does it help a lot with getting things moving! Read more here.
  • Read more here!

Loose stools/Diarrhea

Many people tend to alternate between constipation and diarrhea, but dealing with chronic loose stools can be extremely frustrating.

Main causes of chronic diarrhea :
  • Lymph congestion ( body tries to flush things out as quickly as possible)
  • Not enough bile to buffer stomach acid creates irritation in the intestines. This can increase intestinal mucus in an effort to protect the lining of the intestines. This increase of mucus alone can increase loose stools. This also effects how you absorb certain nutrients and can mess with the process of toxin removal
  • Pathogen infestation
  • The body is overloaded with toxins and trying to get them out as quickly as possible
Solving this issue:
  • Homeopathy can be one option for healing this symptoms quickly
  • Start healing the gut! Eliminate process foods, try an elimination diet to see what your main triggers are)
  • If you are using supplements, consider stopping them for a time and reintroducing one by one to find the culprit
  • If you are any medications, check the side effects
  • Try to test for pathogens to see exactly what you are dealing with
  • Figure out if you are focusing too much on stomach acid and not enough on bile. Take a break on things like ACV, HCl, and lemon and try a digestive bitters supplement or try some dandelion tea.
  • Make use of activated charcoal or bentonite clay to stop the loose stools.
  • Assess your fiber intake. Are you getting too much or too little?
  • Start focusing on your lymph system more to take the strain off of it

The Role of Minerals in Colon Health

Magnesium, potassium and sodium are huge players in keeping you regular. Getting an HTMA to determine an imbalance in these 3 minerals can help determine what minerals you need to focus specifically on.  Slow oxidizers tend to be more on the constipated side, while fast oxidizers might be more prone to loose stools. (source)

Fiber

Fiber is a well-known but overlooked nutrient needed for proper colon functioning. Most people know that fiber helps to keep us regular, but in the natural health world we know a bit more. Fiber helps balance blood sugar, aids in weight loss, and it helps to lower high cholesterol levels. It also might reduce your risk of colorectal cancer. Apparently our ancestors ate close to 100 grams a day of fiber, whereas the standard American *maybe* gets about 15-20 grams. (source).

Fiber and Bile are basically a tag-team when it comes to detoxification. They both help with binding or flushing out a lot of the gunk that our bodies are trying to eliminate. Focusing on more fiber and increasing bile flow can truly help with healing your colon and making it more efficient as they both work to clean off the old gunk that can build up.

How to Get More Fiber:

*Medium Apple with skin- 5 grams
*Medium Banana- 4 grams
*2 medium dried figs- 3.7 grams
*1 cup of raspberries- 6.4 grams
*Oatmeal, 1 cup- 12 grams
*1 cup of black beans- 14 grams
*1 cup garbanzo beans- 6 grams
*1/4 cup pumpkin seeds- 4 grams
*1 avocado- 12 grams
*A cup of cooked carrots- 5 grams
*1 medium sweet potato- 5 grams
*Or use a supplement like psyllium husk. Food is always better, but psyllium can be a huge helper as well. There are 2 main colon cleanses that involve psyllium: one uses bentonite clay and the other blackstrap molasses. They are BOTH very effective, but you have to see what works best for your body.
* A 1/2 cup serving of DANG coconut chips has 6 grams of fiber!

My new favorite way to use psyllium for effective colon cleansing includes this recipe, taken once or twice a day: 4-6 ounces of plain, organic kefir, 1 Tablespoon of psyllium husks, and 1-2 Teaspoons of blackstrap molasses. This mix can be very helpful for getting things moving!

Bile

Stool is supposed to be brown because of the pigment of bile. If your stool is not brown, then you are likely having a pretty big bile flow issue. Most of my readers already know about my love of bile boosting, but you can read more here if you aren’t aware yet!

Causes of poor bile flow: hiatal hernia, slow oxidation, overload of toxins (starts to use up the bile more), lack of good fats in the diet (because they stimulate bile flow), eating too many processed foods at any point in your life

Best Bile Builders:
  • Dandelion root
  • Sunflower lecithin
  • Digestive Bitters
  • Beets
  • Taurine
  • Read more here!

Replenishing Good Bacteria

Gut bacteria is crucial for many reasons: creating certain vitamins, keeping harmful pathogens under control, and plays a role in keeping many illnesses at bay, especially colon cancer.  We’re supposed to be able to synthesize vitamin K and some B vitamins from our good bacteria as well! We have about 100 trillion bacteria cells in the body, which is more than our human cells! Bacteria are truly crucial for our survival and well-being.

Probiotics are usually a first choice for people to go to, but fermented foods are honestly more effective (as well as cheaper!). Some people cannot tolerate many ferments at first, so starting on low doses of probiotics might be the best way to start replenishing good bacteria. You can check out my top probiotics recommendations here, and my post on easy fermented foods to start out with here!

Pathogens

in a perfect world where our minerals were balanced, we would NOT be able to harbor these gross pests like parasites, yeast, bacteria, and viruses.  Bioavailable copper is the MOST critical nutrient for keeping these nasty things at bay.  Keeping the colon happy is also key for preventing the making of a perfect habitat for these creatures.

Ideally, we want to focus on getting bile flow going to start flushing pathogens out (and fiber as well can help with this as they are a tag team, like I mentioned above). You should make sure that you are eliminating efficiently before attempting and parasite detox herbs or supplements otherwise you will be dealing with terrible die-off symptoms. Many pathogens make toxins as they are dying off that can get recirculated if you aren’t keeping your colon moving.

You can read my massive parasite post here to learn symptoms of parasites (most people have them!), what kind of parasites humans deal with, and a full list of ideas on how to treat this issue.

Top Tips for Pathogen Removal:
  • Balancing copper
  • Boost bile flow
  • Focus on fiber
  • BioRay products! I’m in love with BioRay Liver Life, and they have a few choices for getting rid of parasites too: Artesemia and Clove, and Microbe Slayer
  • Bentonite clay
  • Castor oil packs

Hydration

I think at this point most of us know that staying hydrated is a HUGE part of being healthy. If you were like me at any point in your life, you likely NEVER drank water for the most part. I used to drink nothing but coffee and soda for a few years- my poor body! Once I got into natural health, I started drinking massive amounts of water but I soon realized that even this isn’t the ideal for staying hydrated. Most water lacks minerals, and depending on what kind of water you use, you might even be leaching minerals from your body.

So we need to stay hydrated but plain water isn’t the best answer- what do we do then? Go for herbal infusions, coconut water, adding a pinch of unrefined salt to each glass of water that you do drink, or even concoctions like  cranberry water (1/4 cup unsweetened cranberry juice to a quart of water). These will all help to hydrate you as well as provide nutrients! It’s a win-win. On a typical day, I have 2-3 quarts of various liquids, but I never drink plain water: I have my cran-water, an herbal infusion, a quart of dandelion decoctions, and/or coconut water.

Clean water is absolutely essential to have too, especially since we need it to make our herbal infusions or decoctions. My top water filter choices are Tap Master Jr. or Berkey! You can also find local spring water to buy. Check out my other options here in my post on how to get clean water.

Colonics/Enemas

This topic can be a bit controversial, but I still will mention it. I know plenty of people that benefit from enemas or colonics, but I can completely understand how many people draw the line at things like this. I myself have considered colonics, and I have done enemas before but to me they seem somewhat invasive and something in my gut just tells me there has to be better ways to heal. So while these 2 things can be helpful (especially for those that are very toxic), I do not think they are absolutely essential for healing. I find that both methods can be a bit harsh on mineral balance, especially if one is unaware of the possibility of that issue.

*You can read this massive post on enemas from Dr. Wilson, but the essentials are these: enemas clean pretty much only 6-8 inches of the colon and rectum, you hold a certain amount of liquid for about 20 minutes and then expel it. Coffee enemas are the most popular for detox as they can help stimulate glutathione production in the liver. Some people do several of these a day or a few a week, depending on how they feel. Like I mentioned, one can become easily depleted of minerals this way so listening to your body is essential.

*Colonics (or colon hydrotherapy) are a bit more effective at cleaning the colon out as it reaches further. There are a few different varieties of colon hydrotherapy, but a friend who has been doing them for years says that the Gravity Method is the best (and after some reading I would definitely agree!). You can read a bit more on colonic hydrotherapy here.

Herbs and Supplements for Colon Health

Amalaki: AKA Indian gooseberry. This helps a lot with restoring the health of the intestinal skin and can help reverse chronic loose stools. Amalaki also helps with mucus membranes in the body, collagen and elastin production, and artery health. You’ll find amalaki in the formula Triphala which is an amazing Ayuverdic remedy for colon health.

Aloe Vera is one of my top choices for those dealing with gut inflammation. It helps with healing and sealing the gut lining, soothing inflammation internally, aiding in bile flow, and supporting proper detoxification. Look for aloe with NO preservatives, like George’s Aloe. (not recommend while pregnant or nursing!)

Activated Charcoal is amazing for mopping up toxins in the GI tract.  This is especially helpful during yeast or parasite die-off as it can quickly trap toxins and bring them to the colon for removal. I’ve personally felt this quickness! Charcoal is a must-have in your natural medicine cabinet for detox reactions, food poisoning, and stomach bugs. It is also great for whitening teeth, and for mold detox.

Activated charcoal is best taken away from food, prescriptions, and supplements as it can interfere with their absorption. Make sure you stay hydrated while using it as well so you can ensure to flush out those toxins that you’ve trapped! Powder is the best as it will be the fastest to be absorbed, but capsules are great to keep around for travel or eating out.

Other great herbs: Slippery elm, marshmallow root, and licorice root (usually used together for maximum effectiveness).

Want to read more about colon health:

Here is a 131 page PDF by Dr Bernard Jensen

This book is more about general digestive healing, as well as the link between lymph and digestion but I highly recommend it: Eat Wheat by Dr. John Douillard

 



 

Herbal Bitters: An Essential tool for Gut Healing!

I LOVE HERBAL BITTERS!

Bitter herbs are an incredibly powerful tool for fixing digestion. Digestion starts in the mouth, and herbal bitters help kick start this process. The “bitter” taste hits our taste buds and starts to stimulate the production of gastric juices.  When I work on gut healing for my clients, I am always aiming to add in things that will help to retrain the body to do what it needs to do. Things like bitter herbs, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera help to do this, whereas things like HCl, pepsin, and ox bile are only replacing what is being lost- these are just crutches in the long term.

Herbal bitters help to:

  • Regulate stomach acid
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Boost bile flow for fat absorption and detoxification (bile is a basically a natural laxative- and poor bile is a huge cause of constipation)
  • Aid liver function
  • Boost the immune system
  • Increase nutrient assimilation
  • And they can even help with stress and anxiety
  • Encourage digestive enzyme production (which is why I recommend them over most regular enzyme supplements)
  • Calm down heartburn, gas, and bloating

My Favorite Bitter Herbs

Dandelion Root

Most people already know how much I love dandelion root. One of the reasons why it is so helpful is because of its role as a bitter herb. Dandelion helps stimulate bile flow in the liver, which is an important factor for people trying to regain their health and detox effectively. One source that it actually quadruples bile flow!

My favorite ways to use dandelion include tea or a decoction. You can get the recipes here, or check out these photos so you can Pin them for later!

Gaia Herbs “Sweetish” Bitters

Gaia Herbs “Sweetish” Bitters are great! This blend includes Anise Seed, Cardamom, Fennel, Gentian, Ginger Root, Milk Thistle, Turmeric, and more. You just put 60 drops in a little bit of liquid about 15 minutes before each meal to help with digestion. So easy! I usually recommend to start with just a few drops at first just to work up to the full dose because increasing bile flow can start to initiate some detox.

Herb Pharm Better Bitters

Herb Pharm is another one of my favorite herbal companies. They offer several herbal bitter options: liquids(like the Gaia herbs formula above) or they even have sprays. The sprays are even easier (and great for on-the-go use!) as all you do is spray it 4 times in your mouth about 10 minutes before a meal. The sprays are STRONG tasting but it is kind of the point when it comes to bitters. We want to taste the bitter flavor as much as we can to help stimulate the gut.

The Herb Pharm bitters have a few flavors to choose from. I went with the Classic and Bittersweet sprays, and honestly there is not much of a difference in taste. They are both pretty strong tasting, but both effective!

My current assortment of bitters!

Note for Nursing Mamas: Most of these bitters aren’t good while nursing (which stinks because we need that bile support postpartum!). I have found 3 options that are OK while nursing.  This lactation formula has bitters in it, so it can help with milk supply as well.   And this one is good while pregnant so I would think it is OK while nursing.

Dandelion tea is also ok while pregnant and nursing, I just wouldn’t overdo it. Maybe 1 cup a day would be good just for a bit of support. Obviously eating or drinking things like beets, artichokes, Apple cider vinegar, lemon water,  and healthy fats help with bile as well as those are definitely safe during these times where we need lots of nourishment.


10 Reasons to Love MCT Oil

I love MCT oil!

I’m sure by now most of my followers know I like to try things myself before I recommend them. So the new thing I’ve been trying over the last 2 months or so is MCT oil! I was skeptical at first because while it’s technically a food, it’s still processed. But after seeing many awesome benefits (mostly energy, better sleep, and better stamina) from it, I am definitely starting to appreciate it more. Some of us just need extra help when it comes to fat- and MCT is very easily absorbed, but we’ll get into that soon!

But first, a refresher on why we need good fats….

Why we should LOVE Fats!

Fat is needed for many different reasons. It is needed for brain health, reproductive health, adrenals and thyroid health, immune system health, and also for eyes, skin and nails. Saturated fats are especially good for heart health- even though for decades “experts” were saying the opposite!  Fats help balance your blood sugar, especially when you cut out all of the refined and processed foods from your diet.

Many people have grown up with the lies about fat (and its buddy cholesterol), and have stuck to a low fat diet most of their lives. This is one of the main reasons why so many people are suffering with hormonal imbalances, sluggish metabolisms, adrenal exhaustion, liver dysfunction (because consumption of good fats encourages bile flow), and so many other illnesses.

GOOD fats include: grass-fed butter, coconut oil (MCT oil too!), grass-fed dairy (cream cheese, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, heavy cream), avocado, fish, nuts, chocolate, meats, eggs, and olives.

BAD fats include: oils from soy, corn, safflower, sunflower, canola, and peanut.

What is MCT Oil?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides which is a form of saturated fat (the GOOD fat) that is very easily digested and assimilated. Coconut oil itself is a great source of MCTs and many people have noticed the amazing health benefits of coconut oil. However, unrefined coconut oil is not always the most appealing thing to eat, which is where MCT oil comes in. You have the benefit of the fat in coconut oil without the taste, which I find to be a very important aspect. When I first tried coconut oil, I made myself eat it everyday for about a month. I lost quite a bit of weight, but each day I found it harder to stomach the taste of the oil! It was just not appealing to me, and I know many other people feel the same way.

The MCT coconut oil is made up mostly of caprylic and capric acid, but some also keep in the lauric acid which is especially helpful against issues like EBV.

Benefits of MCT Oil:

  1. Great for the metabolism
  2. Helps with energy levels and mood stablization
  3. Easily digestible fat, which is ideal for those with a sluggish liver
  4. Helps with weight loss
  5. Helps keep blood sugar stable
  6. Keeps you fuller longer, and helps curb sugar cravings
  7. It’s tasteless! You can add it to anything: smoothies, protein shakes, coffee, tea, etc. Most use 1-3 tablespoons a day, spread out. Start slowly though, just like anything else. It can truly get things moving!
  8. Great fuel for the brain!
  9. Helps to eradicate parasites, yeast, bacteria, and fungi in the body
  10. Helps constipation

Where to find MCT Oil

Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and many other health food stores carry MCT oil. Some of the brands have flavorless and flavored so be sure to read labels to find the one you want. Whole Foods has a great store brand that is 100% coconut MCT oil. Vitamin Shoppe has Jarrow and their own store brand which is good.

Or if you prefer to buy on Amazon:

Sports Research MCT oil- Organic, and has lauric acid as well

Jarrow-this one can be found at Vitamin Shoppe

Read more about MCT Oil:

https://draxe.com/mct-oil/

mct

Blood Sugar Regulation: Natural Ways to Balance

blood sugar

It is just absolutely crazy how there isn’t more information out there on the varieties of blood sugar problems there are. There isn’t *just* diabetes.

People have blood sugar issues for a lot of different reasons like:

  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Liver Dysfunction
  • Over-consumption of sugar (that’s an obvious one!)
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Underlying infections (like EBV, Lyme, parasites- they all create chaos!)
  • Heavy metal toxicity (because metals can take the place of minerals and interfere with their functions)

So what are some ways to help regulate blood sugar?

  • Aloe Vera– great for balancing blood sugar and it can help prevent diabetes
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Check for mineral deficiencies and heavy metals. Magnesium, zinc, potassium, sodium, calcium, and a few other nutrients play a role in blood sugar regulation.
  • Support your liver- the liver helps to reduce blood sugar swings by 65%!
  • Support your adrenals- The basics will be whole food vitamin C, unrefined sea salts, and either adaptogens or glandulars. But it depends on what stage of adrenal fatigue you are in.
  • Berberine, Bitter Melon, and Gymnema are all AMAZING helpers for blood sugar regulation. The latter 2 are even great for getting rid of excessive carb/sugar cravings.
  • Nettle infusions can help immensely with taking some stress off of the liver and adrenals, and provides many minerals needed for blood sugar regulation
  • Bitter herbs play a VERY big role in overall digestion, including the proper utilization of sugar
  • Eliminate process foods from your diet, especially refined sugars
  • Make sure you get enough high quality fats and protein

Have any other helpful tips for regulating blood sugar? Let us know in the comments!

My Favorite Liver Support Supplement

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My Favorite Liver Support Supplement!

I’ve been waiting for a while to post this because I wanted to give a real and honest review on BioRay Liver Life.  For the last year,  I’ve been recommending this product that I’ve been finding to be extremely beneficial for my whole family and I want to share everything that I know about it. I heard of this product a few years ago from people that used it and loved it, but it took me awhile to try it myself.  Recently, I started recommending their kid’s products a lot more and figured it was time for me to test out the Liver Life- I always prefer to test things out before I recommend them. I can definitely say now that I LOVE this product!

Now, I am happy to announce that I am officially an affiliate with BioRay! I am so excited because I truly have seen so many amazing benefits with their products, especially Liver Life and the whole Kids Line!

So what is in BioRay Liver Life?

  • Agaricus Blazei mushroom– heals the liver and boosts immune health
  • Red Root-one of the best herbs for lymph health
  • Milk thistle seeds– amazing for liver detox and regeneration
  • Olive Leaf-Has strong anti-viral properties
  • Turkey Tail mushroom-Immune system supporter
  • Reishi mushroom– a well-known adrenal adaptogen and immune system supporter
  • Maitake mushroom-another amazing adaptogen; anti-viral; immune support
  • Deionized water and gluten-free grain alcohol (20% by volume).

What are the benefits of BioRay Liver Life?

According to their website, which you can find here, BioRay Liver Life has these benefits:

  • Improves detox, nutrient absorption and food tolerance
  • Increases metabolism and energy levels
  • Balances healthy body weight
  • Restores healthy pH balance
  • Promotes restful sleep and balanced hormones
  • Reduces skin irritations, head pain and sensory issues
  • Can reduce histamine response by about 48% (source)
  • Can improve liver function by 50% in only 15 days! (source)
  • Provides support for kidneys, liver, adrenals and lymph system

Where to find BioRay

I like to use the BioRay Website to find and learn more about their products, and now you can get 15% off of everything on their site with my code SASSY

They tend to have many sales now too, so be on the lookout for extra savings.

The BioRay Liver Life comes in 2 or 4 ounce bottles. They also have a similar product called Liver Lover that is close to Liver Life, but it is alcohol free. (tinctures are traditionally made with alcohol because that is the best way to draw out the properties of the plants used. You can read more about this here!)

And don’t forget to check out their AMAZING BioRay Kids line– the CALM and FOCUS are the most popular.

You can also check out their new symptom chart to see which one of their products might work best for you based on symptoms!

About the company: BioRay has been around for about 25 years. They use a mixture of ancient Chinese medicine and modern science to formulate their products. They make their products in small batches and use only organic ingredients.

Check out some of BioRay’s other awesome products too!

bioray

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

10 Ways to Naturally Soothe Inflammation

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What is Inflammation?

According to Wiki, inflammation is “is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants,[1] and is a protective response involving immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair.”

So inflammation is a natural process, and it is even good at times. But it becomes worrisome when it is a chronic issue, which is very common these days. Some illnesses that are common with chronic inflammation include arthritis, COPD, IBS and IBD, and auto-immune diseases. This chronic inflammation doesn’t just happen- there are triggers! Most of these triggers are due to nutritional imbalances, heavy metals, parasites, and even food intolerances.

Conventional treatment of inflammation includes (you guessed it) DRUGS, usually NSAIDS. Other than not even solving the issue, NSAIDS are known for causing liver damage, kidney failure, gut pain, ulcers, heart attacks, and even edema. NSAIDs are grossly over-used, especially because so many of them are available OTC- think Advil, Aleve, and Motrin.

 So how can we treat inflammation NATURALLY?

My favorite things for soothing inflammation include:

  1. Aloe vera (George’s is a good brand and usually easy to find.)
  2. Turmeric paste- most bioavailable way to get the turmeric in! Click here for the recipe
  3. Tart cherry juice
  4. Pineapple is a very good anti-inflammatory
  5. Apple cider vinegar
  6. Cod liver oil- Cod liver oil is full of vitamin A and vitamin D, as well as Omegas, all of which play a role in inflammation. You can find more info about Cod liver oil here.
  7. Ginger and cloves. Maybe making a tea would be an easy way to get ginger and cloves in-a chai tea is a great way to enjoy these amazing spices.  Recipe here!
  8. Magnesium- Mag is one of the main minerals needs to soothe inflammation. Often, when sodium and potassium are high on the HTMA (or the Na/K ratio itself is high), it means that there is inflammation going on in the body. Magnesium helps to bring down the sodium and potassium and calm down the inflammation! Read more about magnesium here.
  9. Heal the gut! There are several main steps involved in healing the gut but the basics are to fix stomach acid, balance the gut flora, and heal the gut lining. Without proper gut health, we cannot digest and assimilate the nutrients we get from food or supplements. With Leaky gut, we can develop food sensitivities that can set off an inflammatory response.
  10. Keep your liver happy! Our liver has over 500 different functions, so it plays a vital role in our overall health. Since heavy metals, pathogens, and other environmental toxins can create an inflammatory response, we need to make sure our livers are not over-burdened so they can eliminate these threats more efficiently.

Know of any other great (and natural) anti-inflammatory tips? Let us know in the comments!

Copper and the Thyroid

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When you start to learn about mineral balancing, it is nearly impossible to ignore how copper dysregulation can be a huge issue for nearly everyone. Those with thyroid disorders are no exception, and they tend to suffer even more when copper is imbalanced.

You’ve probably come across the term ‘copper toxicity’ often, but in reality the issue is a bit more complex than that. Most people suffer from this toxic build up of copper when they are low in the copper binding protein called ceruloplasmin. Ceruloplasmin can be a tough thing to raise because it involves so many different things.  When ceruloplasmin is low, copper cannot be properly utilized and it can get stored in organs like the liver, brain, and the thyroid.

How to Raise Ceruloplasmin

Sufficient adrenal and liver function is required to help make Ceruloplasmin and it is  also dependent on animal-based retinol (aka REAL vitamin A), whole food vitamin C, and copper.

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 (passed off as Vitamin C but it is generally made from GMO corn!), and too much stress (whether external or internal).

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!)

Balancing Copper

The best tests to get to find out your entire copper status include an HTMA as well as a blood panel for copper serum, zinc plasma, and ceruloplasmin.

When beginning a copper balancing protocol, certain stressful situations or an influx of copper antagonists like zinc or manganese can stimulate the copper to come out of storage and it gets “dumped” into the blood to get excreted which creates all sorts of symptoms like anxiety, OCD, joint or muscle pain, mood swings, and more. If the liver is weak, then there is a likelihood that this copper that is trying to escape can get thrown right back into storage because of low bile flow- bile is crucial to excrete excess copper.

Copper’s Relationship with the thyroid

There are several ways that copper dysregulation plays into thyroid health:

  1. Bioavailable copper has a relationship with tyrosine, which is needed for the creation of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4. Tyrosinase is the copper- containing enzyme at the core of whole food vitamin C, which is why we do NOT want isolated ascorbic acid.  Tyrosine also is needed for melanin (skin pigmentation), dopamine and epinephrine- all things that have a relationship with copper!
  2. Bioavailable copper is crucial to keeping iron regulated, and iron is essential for the thyroid
  3. Copper dysregulation happens when the adrenals and liver are stressed- both of which are crucial for the functioning of the thyroid.
  4. Those that are hypothyroid tend to have true copper dysregulation, where as those that are hyperthyroid tend to be deficient in copper.
  5. Those with copper dysregulation tend to be deficient in zinc, selenium, manganese, and vitamin A because excess copper can interfere with their absorption. These are some crucial nutrients for the thyroid.
  6. Copper raises calcium and lowers potassium- the balance between calcium and potassium is very important for thyroid health. Calcium is needed for a few thyroid hormones, but it is easy to accumulate too much calcium. Potassium helps to keep calcium under control so these hormones can be properly balanced.

Want to learn more about how minerals affect our health? Check out my Facebook Group Mineral Mavens!

Herb Spotlight: Milk Thistle, A True Liver Lover!

[ReviewDisclaimer]

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What is Milk Thistle?

Milk thistle has been used for thousands of years, mostly for helping to repair liver damage. It helps to regenerate the liver and it aids in detoxification. It is a well-known remedy for preventing hangovers too since it can help your liver metabolize alcohol faster!

Milk thistle is a potent antioxidant that can help people heal from hepatitis, cirrhosis, damage from drugs and alcohol, fatty liver disease, mushroom poisoning, and environmental sensitivities. Many sources claim that it works best to take it at night since that is when the liver works the hardest and it needs extra help. This is why insomnia and night sweats are so prevalent- the liver gets MAD at night if it’s overworked! Milk thistle can help to take some of the burden off of the liver so you can get a full night of sleep.

Milk thistle is one off the few herbs that can interact with certain medications it’s important to check with your doctor or look up the information about the drug you are on before you decide to try milk thistle.

Milk thistle is the most studied herb. There have been over 400 studies completed on milk thistle according to the United States National Library of Medicine and the National institutes of Health. (Here is one from PubMed) It’s been determined that milk thistle is a very safe herb, and the only possible side effects include loose stools if you take too much too quickly. Some sources claim it is even safe while pregnant and nursing- but again, that is something you need to speak with your doctor about and do your own research on.

In Europe, milk thistle is actually a prescribed medication! Can you imagine that? A place that actually uses herbs as medicine??

Benefits of Milk Thistle:

  • Lowers cholesterol
  • reduces cancer cell growth in lungs, colon, prostates, cervix, and kidneys
  • prevents Alzheimer’s
  • helps balance blood sugar
  • Helps hot flashes and other hormonal issues
  • reduces cell damage caused by radiation and chemotherapy
  • helps to regenerate the liver
  • helps block the entrance of harmful toxins and removes them from liver cells
  • has anti-oxidant properties
  • helps prevent gallstones in the liver
  • increases bile flow
  • heals inflammation
  • Supports healthy glutathione metabolism

Buying Milk Thistle

When you are looking for a milk thistle supplement, make sure you are getting one that is 80% silymarin. This is the bio-flavonoid complex that is in milk thistle. Silymarin has 3 main flavonoids: silybin (most beneficial part), silydianin, and silychristin (my favorite one, haha- silly Kristin!)

There are MANY great milk thistle supplements out there. You can even find your own milk thistle seeds to make your own tinctures or you can grind them up to make your own capsules! Your local health food store or even vitamin stores will carry some of these products.

Typical supplements have about 100-150mg of milk thistle seed per serving. This is a good maintenance dose for daily use, or you can test out what a good personalized dose is. Some people use up to 500mg a day and find amazing results. I wouldn’t suggest that dose long term but it can be helpful for those looking to really heal their livers. Alcohol based tinctures tend to be the most bioavailable sources of milk thistle, but the Jarrow brand has great reviews from consumers.

My Favorite Brands:

Jarrow Capsules

Herb Pharm Tinctures- plain Milk Thistle or in a formulation with other great liver healing herbs: Liver Health

Or go for a powder! That is what you will find in the Jarrow Capsules. Easy enough to add to smoothies.

Have you used milk thistle before and had good results? Let us know in the comments!