Thursday, 31 May 2018

Hydrogen Water: Why You Should Drink It

A glass of hydrogen water.

The benefits of hydrogen (H₂) were discovered centuries ago and used for medical purposes. Recently, this chemical element has become incredibly popular as an additive to drinking water known as “hydrogen water” for similar medical and health benefits. Advantages linked to consuming hydrogen-infused water include weight loss, increased energy, and a stronger immune system. Hydrogen can also neutralize and reduce oxidative damage in your cells, giving it the coveted antioxidant status. It can help maintain healthy cells and tissues and is safe to consume in water.

My Hydrogen Water Experience

When I went on my 18-day water fast, I knew that hydrogen-rich water would give me the greatest benefits compared to regular purified or distilled water, especially considering that I wasn’t taking in any food. For hundreds of years, healing springs — water sources that contained a naturally high concentration of hydrogen — were used as places to fast and heal. Drinking water infused with hydrogen during my abstinence from food was a natural way to help nourish my body, much like people used hydrogen-rich springs so many years ago.

Going on a water fast can present a lack of convenience regarding your choice in water – especially where hydrogen water is concerned. Because of my active lifestyle, I opted for spring or distilled water as a substitute when hydrogen water wasn’t available. I found that I had the most energy, however, when I drank hydrogen water during my water fast. It’s a relief knowing that today, this form of water is so much more attainable.

Hydrogen Water Benefits

  • Powerful antioxidant
  • Easily absorbed by your body
  • Boosts energy and discourages exhaustion
  • Anti-aging promoter
  • Protects mitochondrial function
  • Combats muscle fatigue
  • Helps with skin health
  • Provides extra benefits during a water fast
  • Encourages better health during a liver cleanse and other cleanses

What Is Hydrogen?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and is listed as number one on the periodic table. Stars, like our sun, consist primarily of this element. Hydrogen is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-toxic, and can be found primarily in soil, water, and to a lesser degree, air. Because a hydrogen atom is so small, it can penetrate cells and deploy all of its benefits on a cellular level.[1]

What Is Hydrogen Water?

Hydrogen water, hydrogen-enriched water, or hydrogenated water, is regular water (H₂O) that has been infused with hydrogen gas. This gas raises the concentration levels of molecular hydrogen in water for easy digestibility and immediate penetration in cells, which encourages overall health benefits. Many natural springs, now shut down, contained a higher concentration of hydrogen and were used for centuries to help heal certain illnesses. This healing ability is what may have prompted finding ways to infuse water with molecular hydrogen.[2]

Can I Make Hydrogen Water at Home?

The short answer is yes – hydrogen water can be made at home.

You may have seen videos online or websites explaining how to make hydrogen water at home using magnesium rods and malic acid. The most popular and least costly ways involve food grade malic acid, magnesium rods, and filtered drinking water. The rods and malic acid are usually obtained online. Recipes for hydrogen water using these ingredients vary, as does the concentration of hydrogen in the water; the goal being to reach a concentration of at least 2.6 parts per million (ppm) of hydrogen. Most people, however, feel that stronger health benefits are seen at more than 3 to 4 ppm.[3]

There have been problems with this method of homemade hydrogen water. Issues have arisen regarding H₂ concentration not meeting optimum levels, the availability and quality of the magnesium rods, and hydrogen pressure building up in the capped bottles. There are now pills available as a way to add hydrogen to bottled water, but they contain smaller concentrations of hydrogen and tend to be expensive.

There is also bottled hydrogen water available for purchase as well as cans of water claiming to contain hydrogen. These bottles and cans tend to be expensive, and many don’t tell you the concentration of hydrogen you’re ingesting. On top of that, there is the environmental factor of purchasing plastic bottles.

Hydrogen Water Makers

Instead of playing with homemade hydrogen water recipes that don’t guarantee a sure outcome, or constantly buying cans or bottles of hydrogen water, purchasing a machine that is proven to infuse water with molecular hydrogen is a good option. Although hydrogen water makers can be expensive, they may be worth the investment as no recipe is needed, they are better for the environment, and they last for years.[3]

When scientists determined that hydrogen water could support the health of cells and help reduce tissue damage, companies worldwide started manufacturing hydrogen water makers. Neutral-pH hydrogen water generators are designed to produce high concentrations of hydrogen gas for better health benefits. There are even portable hydrogen-infusing water bottles now available.

Hydrogen water makers work using a process called electrolysis of water, or water electrolysis — the decomposition and separation of water into hydrogen and oxygen gas by way of an electric current. Machines use proton exchange membranes that create conductivity giving these machines the ability to produce H₂ in purified or distilled water. It is always best to steer away from tap water due to its high levels of toxicity.[4]

Hydrogen Water vs. Alkaline Water

H2 water benefits are head and shoulders above alkaline water. Alkaline water is water that has a higher pH balance than ordinary water (which has a pH of 7, or neutral water). Alkaline water has fewer benefits than hydrogen water. A high pH level alkaline water may, however, have therapeutic advantages when it comes to reducing acid in the digestive tract as well as being a good acid-buffer for people with acid reflux issues.[5]

What Are the Health Benefits of Hydrogen Water?

The health benefits of water are extensive. However, drinking water infused with molecular hydrogen is shown to alleviate symptoms associated with many different illnesses and restore certain aspects of a person’s health. More than 700 studies have been conducted regarding molecular hydrogen and its therapeutic effects on health issues – including 170 studies done on humans with various illnesses.

People with type 2 diabetes, for example, noticed their glucose levels normalize after receiving hydrogen water therapy. Researchers attribute this to the fact that the hydrogen atom is so tiny that it can immediately permeate cells. This ability can start a natural healing process that balances glucose levels.[2]

A Powerful Antioxidant

Studies have found that hydrogenated water can enter cellular membranes and function as an antioxidant in your cell’s mitochondria. This means that hydrogen water interacts with your body on a molecular level, bypassing the digestive process entirely.

Unlike other antioxidants, hydrogen is not an electron donor, but rather a strategic antioxidant that only reacts with cell-damaging free radicals. Your body harbors a balance of different free radicals, some of which can be helpful towards maintaining your overall health. Molecular hydrogen scavenges harmful free radicals like hydroxyl radicals and superoxides, while leaving free radicals that help us sustain life untouched.[2]

Discourages Cellular Aging

Molecular hydrogen’s natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities make this element a great anti-aging tool. Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes, like the plastic tips at the end of a shoelace. In studies, water containing molecular hydrogen positively affected telomerase activity – a process that encourages healthier telomeres. The length and stability of telomeres are directly linked to the lifespan of a human cell, which makes it a useful biomarker for anti-aging practices.[6]

Suppresses Inflammation

As you age, your cells accumulate cell damage, often from oxidative stress caused by lifelong exposure to the sun and toxic chemicals in the environment. Hydrogen-rich water can reduce cell damage caused by oxidation and reduce or inhibit inflammatory reactions. This is particularly true with bones and joints. In studies where patients with stiff joints were given 4-5 ppm of hydrogen-infused water daily for four weeks, oxidative stress lessened, and their symptoms improved.[7]

Promotes Weight Loss

Hydrogen stimulates gastric leptin and ghrelin, hormones in the body that regulate fat storage, energy, and a number of other metabolic functions. Regular water usage on its own promotes hydration and gastrointestinal tract cleansing, but ingesting water infused with hydrogen can support better digestion and help with the breakdown of unwanted fat.

Research has shown that people who consume hydrogen water over a specified period of time saw improvements in weight loss and weight maintenance in people with metabolic syndrome. These results were attributed to hydrogen’s ability to reduce oxidative stress in cells, and its ability to optimize certain metabolic functions.[8] Hydrogen-enriched water also helps to restore a healthy gut, and maintaining healthy gut bacteria is a significant contributor to overall wellness.[2]

Resets Healthy Gut Bacteria

Your body makes hydrogen gas in the gut during the digestion process. The typical Western diet, however, lacks the water-soluble fiber needed to break certain foods down to make hydrogen gas. Introducing this much-needed element through hydrogen-enriched water, along with a good probiotic, into your diet can help restore a healthy balance of gut bacteria and encourage or enhance healthy digestion in your gut.[9]

Boosts the Immune System

Sixty percent of your immune system is tied to gut health. Damage in the gastrointestinal tract can cause a number of health issues that can, in turn, affect other organs in your body. Hydrogen’s ability to help counteract toxins in the gut and increase the secretions of healthy hormones directly affects the body’s ability to fight off illness and infection.[10]

Increases Energy Levels

H₂ can give you energy in several ways because it can so quickly enter your cells and release its many benefits. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is known as the energy currency of the cell. Once ATP is broken down to adenosine diphosphate (ADP), energy is released. This energy promotes all cellular activities.

Since hydrogen can permeate cells and protect mitochondria – also known as the “powerhouse of the cell” – from oxidative stress, it can help increase ATP production and assist with routine cell maintenance.[11]

Molecular hydrogen can also stimulate the metabolic hormone FGF21. FGF21 is a liver hormone that increases cellular metabolism which helps with weight management and increases energy.[12] Hydrogen also triggers all five complexes of the electron transport chain (ETC), which is the primary mechanism the mitochondria in your cells use to produce ATP, or energy.[13]

Are There Side Effects to Drinking Hydrogen Water?

You may wonder, “is it safe to ingest hydrogen?” Water infused with molecular hydrogen has yielded many benefits with no major adverse effects. Studies have shown positive results after consuming water infused with hydrogen over a period of time, and according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is safe to ingest.[14] Always use water that meets public water safety standards. Distilled or purified water usually meets or surpasses standards over regular filtered water.[15] It’s always a good idea to ask your healthcare provider if hydrogen-infused water is something that will help you feel better or make you healthier on your journey towards overall wellness.[16]

Your Story

Have you used hydrogen water? What was it about this type of water that made you want to try it? Did it help out an illness, or did it just boost your daily wellness? We’d love to hear your story. Please tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

The post Hydrogen Water: Why You Should Drink It appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Why a Gluten-Free Diet Is the Healthiest Way to Eat

Millet is part of the gluten free diet.

A gluten-free diet (GFD) is an eating plan devoid of gluten-containing foods. People with gluten intolerance and people who want to eliminate this protein for a healthier life experience adopt a gluten-free diet plan. Many people experience unpleasant reactions after consuming gluten, including bloating, skin eruptions and digestive issues. Some reactions are a result of celiac disease: a genetic health condition in which the body has an autoimmune response to gluten, attacking the small intestine. Sticking to a gluten-free diet may be more favorable for overall wellness and better digestive health.[1]

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is the primary storage protein of wheat grains. It is comprised of hundreds of distinct proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin and is also found in other grains like rye, barley and spelt.

What Is a Gluten-Free Diet?

A gluten-free diet is a daily menu typically containing foods and drinks that don’t have wheat-related proteins – specifically gluten. Some people opt to go completely carb-free when approaching a diet devoid of gluten as so many carbohydrate-containing foods are made using wheat, barley, or rye. People with celiac disease need to follow a gluten-free diet to relieve the symptoms associated with gluten intolerance. Prolonged exposure to gluten in people with celiac disease can result in more aggravated symptoms or other health conditions.

Eating a gluten-free diet has been related to health benefits such as weight loss, increased energy, and overall wellness. As a result, many people with no medical aversions to gluten have adopted an eating lifestyle incorporating only foods devoid of gluten.[2, 3]

First Steps To Going Gluten-Free

Deciding to go gluten-free isn’t as easy as just jumping on a gluten-free diet. Knowing that those delicious pieces of bread served at restaurants are now off-limits can be hard to digest, so-to-speak. Understanding how to read food labels, and even supplement and vitamin labels can feel like a chore, but people get the hang of it quickly, and the benefits are worth it. Some people opt to start with a vegetarian or vegan diet to ease into a stricter gluten-free lifestyle. Here are ten steps to start you on your gluten-free journey:

  • Consult your healthcare provider to make sure this diet is right for you.
  • Get excited about going gluten-free, whether it’s voluntary or mandatory: visualize the benefits.
  • Start a list of delicious gluten-free groceries.
  • Look up delicious gluten-free recipes.
  • Go through your pantry, fridge, medicine cabinet, and toiletries and check labels for gluten-related ingredients.
  • Give away or dispose of, items that aren’t gluten-free.
  • If you live with others who are not avoiding gluten in their diet, create an individual space for your new lifestyle.
  • Replace food items, supplements, and vitamins with healthy, gluten-free substitutes.
  • Find fellow gluten-free dieters for on-going support, discussion, and diet ideas; try online support groups.[4]
  • Start enjoying your new, gluten-free life.

What Should You Eat on a Gluten-Free Diet?

Many people think a gluten-free diet means limited or even unpleasant food options. With the gluten-free substitutes available today, however, anyone can enjoy a nutrient-rich, satisfying meal. Here are some common items that you can add to your gluten-free foods list:

Previously thought as a gluten-intolerant ingredient, oats have been proven safe for consumption by people with an aversion to gluten. Oats contain a protein called avenin that is non-toxic and well-tolerated by people with celiac disease. Although oats are not associated with gluten-containing grains, they may have been in contact with wheat, barley, or rye during manufacturing. A quick check on the label can tell you if the source guarantees a lack of cross-contamination.[5]

You can also buy gluten-free versions of foods such as bread, flour, crackers, and cereals. These products are made with rice and other gluten-free flours. Keep in mind that these processed foods may be higher in sugar and calories and lower in fiber than the foods they replace. These items can also be more expensive.

What Foods and Ingredients Contain Gluten?

You can enjoy a wonderful, varied diet without the use of gluten in food. A great way to start planning your menu at home, or ordering from the menu at a restaurant, is by knowing which foods contain gluten. Some food products and even restaurants offer gluten-free food substitutes or meals. Usually, these options are labeled openly as being “gluten-free.” However, if you’re not entirely sure, look for these ingredients, or ask your server if your meal contains these items. Here are some gluten-containing ingredients and additives to avoid:

  • Wheat
  • Barley (this includes malt, malt flavoring, and malt vinegar)
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a grain that is a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Bulgur
  • Couscous
  • Durum flour
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Kamut
  • Semolina
  • Spelt

It takes an adjustment and even a bit of mourning when you realize that there are foods you will no longer be able to eat. With the increase of gluten-free dieters, however, manufacturers and nutritionists are getting closer to replacing some of your favorite foods with tasty alternatives. Here are some foods that typically contain gluten and, unless there is a gluten-free substitute, need to be eradicated from your everyday diet:

  • Beer
  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • Flour
  • Croutons
  • Pasta
  • Cereal products
  • Stuffings and dressings
  • Cakes, cookies, and other baked goods

Other foods that may contain gluten:[2]

  • Candy
  • Licorice
  • Marinades
  • Soy sauce
  • Energy bars
  • Salad dressings
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Sauces and gravy
  • Thickeners (roux)
  • Imitation seafood
  • Imitation meats
  • Processed lunch meats
  • Soup bases, broth, and bouillon
  • Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Breading and coating mixes
  • Self-basting poultry

Are Medicines, Vitamins, and Supplements Gluten-Free?

Gluten is a protein found in many things including over-the-counter medication, herbal and nutritional supplements, vitamin and mineral supplements, and even communion wafers. Ask your healthcare provider if your medication contains gluten, and check labels on supplements to make sure they are made with high-quality natural ingredients that don’t include gluten.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet Healthy?

A healthy, gluten-free diet encourages a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and other healthier food choices to make up for any nutrition lost from wheat proteins.

Going gluten-free is necessary for people with gluten intolerance issues such as celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. Over time, people with celiac disease who are on a gluten-free diet see a significant reduction in symptoms or experience no symptoms at all. In many people, damage done to the intestines brought on by celiac disease is eventually repaired after following a gluten-free, healthy diet.

A rise in popularity to go gluten-free has prompted the development of healthier and more nutritional substitutions. A healthy, gluten-free diet encourages a higher intake of fruits, vegetables, and other healthier food choices to make up for any nutrition lost from wheat proteins. A diet rich in these foods in and of itself encourages better digestion and a healthier GI tract.

Since humans only started eating wheat about 10,000 years ago, scientists speculate that it’s harder for the body to digest and absorb. However, it is not certain if this is still true as there are bacteria in the mouth that help break gluten down. Nonetheless, a gluten-rich diet has been linked to poor digestion.[6]

Gluten can also cause degradation to the thyroid with continued use,[7] and affect the brain – one of the reasons avoiding gluten has been linked to a reduction in headaches. Sticking to a plant-based, gluten-free diet, therefore – as long as you’re getting the proper nutritional intake, may help support overall health.

Gluten Intolerance: Celiac Disease, NCGS, & Wheat Allergy

Celiac disease, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) and a wheat allergy are all conditions that result from gluten intolerance and are often confused as the same condition. One thing they have in common is that they can all be cared for by adopting a gluten-free diet.[8]

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder. People with CD are genetically predisposed to this condition which is activated through gluten consumption and specific stress-related triggers like trauma and surgeries.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten, the cells that line the small intestine flatten, resulting in a reduced ability to absorb nutrients. Celiac disease can materialize on the skin in the form of blisters or a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. The only way to alleviate celiac disease is to eliminate any form of gluten in the diet.[9, 10]

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), also called gluten sensitivity, has similar symptoms to celiac disease, but it is not categorized as an immune or autoimmune condition. It also does not adversely affect the intestine, does not cause skin issues, and is not known to be genetic. Therefore if these factors are not present, it is unlikely that celiac disease is responsible for your gluten sensitivity.

It is difficult to establish if it is, in fact, gluten that is causing a reaction in people with NCGS or another element since gluten-containing grains are made up of several different components. There are no tests currently available to identify NCGS, except by avoiding gluten in the diet. If symptoms subside, it is then safe to assume that you have a gluten sensitivity condition.[11]

Wheat Allergy

A wheat allergy is an immune response to one or more of the several hundred protein strains found in wheat. The symptoms of a wheat allergy are also similar to celiac disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. However, a wheat allergy is the only one out of the three conditions that can result in anaphylactic shock, which often requires the immediate administration of epinephrine into the body.

People who have a wheat allergy do not necessarily have a gluten intolerance and may continue to enjoy gluten-rich foods as long as they don’t contain wheat. They do however need to remain on a wheat-free diet and may benefit from other allergy-prone foods.[12, 13]

Gluten-Free Diet Benefits

Many people who have switched to a gluten-free diet, whether they are gluten-intolerant or not, experience several health benefits. Weight loss is one of the claims linked to avoiding gluten, but there’s no direct evidence stating that this is true. Many testimonials, however, state that weight loss was experienced after switching to a GFD. This weight loss may be the result of eating a diet containing fewer carbohydrates.

Some people with celiac disease gain weight as their symptoms improve. Other benefits that have been associated with a gluten-free diet, but are still not proven are a reduction in headaches, depression, and chronic fatigue.[2]

Are There Any Risks or Side-Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet?

Although there are several benefits connected to following a gluten-free diet, there are some things to take into consideration.

  • A lower intake of fiber may increase the chances of constipation
  • More rice consumption can lead to greater exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Increased risk of nutritional deficiencies
  • Gluten-free foods may have a higher cost

People who decide to practice a gluten-free diet may experience some issues associated with their new menu. If you don’t include a healthy amount of fruits and vegetables, you may experience a decline in nutrient intake or may become constipated due to a lack of fiber from wheat and grains.

Many people on a GFD tend to consume more rice, more than any other gluten-free grain. This particular grain has higher trace elements of chemical toxins like arsenic and mercury than other grains, so a variety of grains other than rice is recommended.[14]

The use of amaranth, quinoa, teff, buckwheat, and sorghum as a replacement for wheat has yielded promising results regarding better nutritional value for GFD users.

There has been speculation regarding the lack of nutrients present in a gluten-free diet, namely iron, calcium, fiber, vitamin D, and vitamin B. Developing a deficiency in these micronutrients should be taken into consideration when approaching a gluten-free diet. Due to the popularity of avoiding gluten in foods, however, more nutritional gluten substitutions are available.[15]

The use of amaranth, quinoa, teff, buckwheat, and sorghum as a replacement for wheat has yielded promising results regarding better nutritional value for GFD users. Newer nutritional products that use these substitutes are usually labeled “gluten-free” and can be expensive, so look for alternatives that naturally carry higher levels of vitamins and nutrients for a less expensive shopping trip.[16]

Ready to Go Gluten-Free?

If you feel that you would benefit from a gluten-free diet, try reaching out to others who are eating only gluten-free foods. This approach is a great way to get a first-case account of how this eating lifestyle works for them and may be beneficial for you. If you do decide to go gluten-free, make sure you have enough nutritional supplements in place to avoid a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Additionally, embrace healthy alternatives when it comes to gluten-free food: A plant-based diet is a healthy and positive menu to consider no matter what diet you choose for overall wellness.

Your Story

Do you have a gluten intolerance? Are you giving up gluten for health reasons? Have you been on a gluten-free diet? We’d love to hear about your experience. Tell us your story in the comments section below.

The post Why a Gluten-Free Diet Is the Healthiest Way to Eat appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Guide to Iodine for Women’s Health: Breast Health, Pregnancy, and More

Iodine is an essential nutrient for women.

Iodine is a critically important nutrient that we all need. In women and men, iodine is used by the thyroid to produce T3 and T4 hormones, which manage metabolism.[1] Iodine also supports digestion, bone development, muscle control, and heart and brain function. For women, iodine is necessary for an optimal reproductive system, healthy breast tissue, successful pregnancies, nutritional lactation, and for hormone production in the ovaries. Women who are deficient in iodine may see weak results during and after pregnancy. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at the importance of iodine for women’s health.

The Top 5 Reasons Women Need Iodine

  • Ensures a healthy pregnancy for both mother and fetus
  • Adds to the nutritional value of breast milk for brain, bone, and muscle development in infants
  • Necessary for overall breast health
  • Nutritionally supports the thyroid and metabolism
  • Required for the ovaries to produce estrogen and progesterone

How Much Iodine Do Women Need?

A woman’s iodine requirements woman depend on whether or not she is pregnant or breastfeeding. The Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies developed the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). These reference tables list intake levels ranging from what is recommended to what is tolerable. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine in an adult woman is 150 mcg – the same as a mans.

A woman going through pregnancy, however, will need at least 220-250 mcg from the time she becomes pregnant until she gives birth. The RDA becomes even higher while a woman is breastfeeding, to around 250-290 mcg. This higher amount supplies an infant with the Adequate Intake (AI) of iodine, which is 110 mcg during the first six months, and the RDA of iodine which is 130 mcg from 7-12 months of age. An adequate Intake simply means that there isn’t enough evidence to establish an RDA, so a level is determined for nutritional adequacy.[1] This may alter slightly if the baby starts eating, so it is recommended to get a healthcare provider’s opinion.

Life Stage Dosage
18+ 150 mcg
Pregnant or Lactating Women 220-250 mcg
Breastfeeding Women 250-290 mcg
Infants birth-6 months 110 mcg (if not breastfeeding)
Infants 7-12 months 130 mcg (if not breastfeeding)

Iodine and Women’s Hormonal Health

Not only is a woman’s hormonal health dependent on her thyroid, but it also relies on hormone production in her reproductive organs. The ovaries require almost as much iodine as the thyroid, which is why iodine and women’s health is so critically linked.

Ovaries are the primary reproductive organs in a woman’s body. Also known as gonads – like the testes in a male’s body – they are a woman’s primary reproductive organs. This name is given to both ovaries and testes because of their ability to produce gametes, also known as sex cells – the eggs and the sperm.[2]

Ovaries also have the distinction of being endocrine glands, since they secrete the hormones estrogen and progesterone – the two primary female reproductive hormones that are crucial for healthy menstruation, fertility, and pregnancy. When an iodine deficiency occurs in the ovaries, just like in the thyroid, hormone production is compromised.

This decline in hormone production within the ovaries can have a profound effect on a woman’s reproductive health and the functions associated with the thyroid. Estrogen dominance — when more estrogen is produced than is normal — can result in breast tenderness and cause the uterine lining to thicken. Thickened uterine lining causes heavier periods. Iodine, as recommended by a healthcare professional, may help promote hormonal balance, and encourage a light, even menstrual cycle.[3]

Iodine, Ovarian Health, and PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which translates to “many cysts,” is a common disorder usually occurring during a woman’s reproductive years, in which multiple cysts or benign tumors grow on a woman’s ovaries. Being iodine-deficient is one risk factor for developing PCOS. The cysts are initially harmless, but can eventually contribute to an imbalance of hormones. PCOS can cause complications during menstruation and make it more challenging for a woman to get pregnant.

PCOS is more common in obese or overweight individuals. Some research suggests that PCOS symptoms can decrease with weight loss. Untreated, PCOS may also lead to other health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.[4]

Iodine and Breast Health

Like the thyroid, since breast tissue needs ample supplies of iodine, a deficiency in this nutrient in women can compromise breast health. An inadequate amount of iodine can cause estrogen levels in breast tissue to rise. This hormonal increase can cause microcysts in breast tissue, which may eventually lead to fibrocystic disease. These cysts are often easily detected with self-examinations and are generally benign. However, iodine-deficient breast tissue is susceptible to lipid oxidation, which can contribute to other health issues, including breast cancer.[5]

Although there is no direct evidence that the chances of developing breast cancer are reduced by adding more iodine to your diet, research has shown that cases of this illness were significantly lower in Eastern cultures where women ingested large amounts of iodine-rich seaweed. These studies have led to the belief that iodine may be a powerful antioxidant.[6]

Iodine Deficiency and Pregnancy

Iodine deficiency during pregnancy can cause serious problems ranging from lower IQ in the baby to developmental delays or miscarriage. It’s fairly well known that a diet rich in vitamin D and folic acid is important during pregnancy. There are still many women, however, who are unaware of how critical iodine is during and even after pregnancy, especially for breastfeeding moms.[7]

When a mother’s iodine levels are low, she is unable to supply enough of this nutrient to stimulate the growth of the thyroid in her developing fetus. Since the thyroid is responsible for making hormones needed for bone development, muscle control, and brain function, a lack of iodine can impair the development of these systems in the fetus.

A pregnant and nursing woman can become increasingly deficient in iodine as she supplies much of what she has to her developing baby. This supplementation to the fetus can require more iodine for the mother to stay healthy herself.[8]

Iodine Nutrition for Breastfeeding

Breast milk is best for babies for many reasons, including its nutritional superiority, convenience, and the psychological bonding that it creates between mother and her infant. Although breast milk has been labeled, “the perfect food” by healthcare professionals, it can be imperfect if the mother is not getting enough vitamins and minerals, including adequate levels of iodine, to provide and nutritious useful food source.[9]

An optimal amount of iodine in breast milk provides maximum thyroid hormone storage and ensures the best brain and neurological development during infancy. The recommended amount of iodine for lactating mothers is 250 mcg. This amount of iodine in breast milk ensures that the infant’s iodine requirement is sufficient to avoid postpartum deficiency of this nutrient.[10]

Iodine and Menopause

Menopause takes place when there is a decline in the production of estrogen in a woman’s body and her menstrual cycle stops. This lack of estrogen causes common menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and osteoporosis – a condition in which bone mass decreases causing bones to become brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. During perimenopause and menopause, the thyroid and ovaries make less of these hormones compared to pre-menopause.

Many women opt for estrogen replacement therapy to supplement what their ovaries can no longer provide. However, there have been links to adverse health conditions in women using this type of replacement therapy. Iodine supplementation, therefore, may be a more natural way to encourage a normal supply of hormones in the thyroid and ovaries.[3]

Iodine and Hair Loss in Women

The hormones produced in the thyroid encourage healthy hair, teeth, and bones. An iodine deficiency, therefore, may affect hair growth and quality, and may even promote hair loss. Some women experience hair loss after pregnancy, and also after menopause. This hair loss may be related to the amount of iodine needed to sustain a healthy infant which may result in a deficiency in the mother.

One of the more notable studies inadvertently involved sheep farmers. These farmers noticed sheep consuming grass on low-iodine soil produced poor-quality wool, with sparse hair growth. Farmers whose sheep ate iodine-rich plants, however, produced high-quality, high-volume wool. It’s possible, then, to relate hair loss in humans with an iodine deficiency.

Is It Possible to Take Too Much Iodine?

Yes. Although a lack of iodine can lead to deficiency, too much iodine can lead to thyroid issues, most commonly hyperthyroidism. This happens when the thyroid produces more hormones than your body needs. Women and people over the age of 60 are more prone to this type of thyroid issue. An autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease is one of the main causes of hyperthyroidism, and the consumption of too much iodine can contribute a to developing this condition.[11]

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism may include the following:[12]

  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle weakness
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Hand tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Sudden weight loss
  • The development of an enlarged thyroid, or goiter

Although excess iodine may affect reproductive organs in men, it’s unclear if the same is true for a woman’s reproductive organs. In some studies, ovary hypo-functioning, or functioning at lower levels, occurred with a potassium iodide supplementation of 100 excess iodine (El) – 100 times the recommended dose– but this level was still tolerable to the thyroid. Women who took a 500 El supplement resulted in hyperfunctioning ovaries and altered the thyroids ability to function normally.[13]

What’s the Best Way to Get Iodine?

Iodine is available naturally through food sources or as a supplement. Although it’s recommended you follow an organic, iodine-rich diet, some circumstances require you take iodine supplements at higher.

Best Food Sources of Iodine

A number of foods contain iodine. Sea vegetables like kelp, arame, hiziki, kombu, and wakame are all potent in iodine. Kelp alone has the highest iodine content of any food, offering four times the daily requirement. I, however, try to avoid sea vegetables since contamination can be an issue.

Other foods with high levels of iodine are cranberries and raw, organic cheese. You can also add organic yogurt, navy beans, strawberries, and potatoes to your grocery list. All of these foods can be easily incorporated into your daily menu. Try sprinkling these foods in salads, blending them into a healthy shake, or enjoying them by themselves.

If you’re looking for some iodine-rich seasoning, Himalayan crystal salt yields the benefits of magnesium and other minerals as well as iodine. This unrefined, organic salt is mined naturally from caves and left untouched to preserve its healthy minerals. It’s also easy for the body to absorb, unlike table salt which undergoes a refining process that strips it of nutrition and adds chemicals for harsher digestion.

Iodine Supplementation for Women

Supplementation is a great way to achieve adequate iodine levels in the body – especially for women. Not all supplements, however, are created equal. The safest and most effective iodine supplements are transformative nano-colloidal detoxified iodine, or nascent iodine, Lugol’s solution iodine, and potassium iodide.

Lugol’s contains 85% distilled water, 10% potassium iodide, and 5% elemental iodine. This non-toxic, mono elemental-based iodine can encourage healthy breast tissue. Potassium iodide is another supplement which is known as the thyroid mineral and is usually available in tablet form. This supplemental mineral helps regulate iodine levels in the thyroid to help prevent hypo and hyperthyroidism.[12]

The best way, however, to get the required amount of iodine into your body is a nascent iodine supplement. The body absorbs it faster and more efficiently than sodium and potassium iodide. If you need a high-quality, organic nascent iodine supplement, try Detoxadine®. Detoxadine is a premium-quality, deep-earth sourced nascent iodine supplement that helps support thyroid health, the immune system, and more.†

Your Story

Have you experienced iodine deficiency? Have you experienced any postpartum side effects related to iodine? Has an iodine supplement helped you? We’d love to hear about your iodine experience. Tell us your story in the comments section below.

The post A Guide to Iodine for Women’s Health: Breast Health, Pregnancy, and More appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Tuesday, 8 May 2018

High Vibe Skincare: Why it Matters – An Interview with Max & Me Co-Founder Tanja

I love when serendipity strikes. It happened again this weekend when I was traveling to Vienna to practice yoga under the beautiful teacher Elena Brower. This was so special because not only was I given the gift of indulging in my own practice for the weekend, but it also happened to be the home of my favourite natural high vibe skincare brand, Max & Me.

Where do I even begin with this brand? The ingredients are sublime (the plants used in their products are expressing themselves at their highest vibration), the packaging beautiful, the love that goes into each glass jar is incredible (an energetically cleansed studio space, where mobile devices are left outside the door and beautiful intentions and high vibrations are brought in), the founders are radiating authentic, pure love… the list goes on. This is truly a work of love and it shows.

Max & Me was founded 7 years ago by husband and wife duo Max and Tanja. Dually inspired by both their love and their childhood living and working with plants (Max grew up on a farm and Tanja grew up in the country where she cultivated her own roses), they created this beautiful line of skincare that truly has some of the finest formulations and efficacy. 

The light that shone through the screen on Tanja and my first Skype call, I knew I had to meet her in person – she is a true, glowing gem. As an energy worker, aromatherapist, creative director and kinesiologist, Tanja was meant for this work.

Below is an excerpt of some of our time together at their beautiful home, garden and studio in Vienna. After a beautiful lunch of steamed asparagus salad, fresh pressed orange and basil juice and fresh organic market berries, we dug into all things skincare, energy and nature.

LPN: Your garden and products are so connected to plants. How did your relationships to plants begin?

Tanja: I spent my childhood in a very special place, surrounded by pristine nature, the woods and many flowery meadows. It was here I first learned that plants had energy and that their energy communicated with mine. This was a deep experience for me that is still rooted down in my soul. Max grew up on a farm and is very connected to the earth cycles, seeding, fostering and harvesting plants. Both Max and I come from a place where we were very much entwined with mother earth.

LPN: The beginning sounds beautiful – How do you continue to build your relationship to plants today?

Tanja: Today we work a lot in our own garden and try to have plants which feel at home in our climate, so we can get to know them as you would get to know a really dear friend: different moods, different cycles of the year, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are, and this is how we are able to know what they can offer you. Each and every day in the evening (regardless of weather and how late) we stroll in the garden to connect with the plants.

LPN: How did your high vibe skincare line come to life?

Tanja: Both Max and I wanted to birth something into the world that was doing good and the idea grew that we wanted to create skincare that infuses you with the most beautiful flow of energy and of course creates beautiful skin. But your skin is influenced by so many things, your thoughts, emotions, patterns and blockages and we thought “wouldn’t it be beautiful if we created skincare with the wholeness in mind.” Although people are very aware of their physical body, we are energy beings and everything is energy. Science states that vibration is the phenomenon that underlies all physical things we see and have, so this realization was very important. We wanted to created something that helped people care for not just the physical body but also the subtle body.

LPN: You speak a lot about vibrancy of the plants, could you speak a bit about why it is important?

Tanja: It makes a difference how high something vibrates. Research has shown that certain vibrations create certain outcomes, for example if your body is vibrating in a certain range, it opens up to healing or if it vibrates in a low range, people become sick. If something vibrates at a higher amplitude, this means, for example, a plant has more light particles and opens it up its healing possibilities. Working with plant materials that are highly vibrant we are able to transmit those vibrations into our products.

LPN: I’ve heard that rose is the highest vibrating plant, is that true?

Tanja: Actually we have found some roses that do not vibrate highly. It really depends. In order for a plant to be highly vibrant, the plant needs to be growing in conditions that are right for the plant: soil-wise, gardener’s intention, the subtle energy of the place (for example the country and continent). Yes rose and frangipani is highly vibrant, but sometimes you also have a root that is highly vibrant.

LPN: What was the first product you brought to life?

Tanja: Mesmerizing, the plant body oil was the first one, and six others followed not long after that. I am the formulator, and it’s a very intuitive process for me. I meditate and tune into the plants before creating. It’s not something I think it about, it’s more like a dance, and it’s the most beautiful part of it all. Right now I am dancing again because I am creating a new product that will come out very soon.

LPN: You have so many beautiful ingredients in your high vibe skincare range, but I want to know your top three ingredients.

Tanja: That’s a very difficult question, but I would say out of the spur of the moment: Jasmine. We traveled to Vietnam and saw it growing there filling the streets, it was so intoxicating and ravishing. The second is Helichrysum italicum, we travelled to the island of Corsica and went to the island with the growers to see the plant growing there, and you can feel the energy of that plant and how deeply healing it is. It can also heal age-old scars, it will cause it to resurface again and heal it again (Helichrysum also does this to your soul). Last, it would be raw Manuka honey – this is so beautiful because it is so deeply healing and it’s a humectant. It’s healing for skin conditions but also illnesses, and also Manuka essential oil (which I met in New Zealand when I was there, and used it every day while I was there, it was my constant companion).

LPN: You’re such a picture of wellness; what is your morning routine like?

Tanja: I start with a short meditation everyday, I use the “I am the Light” oil and that helps me set up for my day. I rub it in my hands, breathe it in and hold some acupressure points. After I finish my meditation, I do my skincare ritual – everyday is Purity and Grace (Oil Cleanser) and I am the Light (Serum) and if I have a little extra time, I wash my face with Sweet Serenity (Mask and Wash). It’s only five minutes, but when you do it with intention, it can really help fulfill you. After that it’s last minute homework and breakfast for the kids. Following the kids heading off to school, I tune in again to see what needs to be done for the day.

LPN: What are some wellness practices that punctuate your day?

Tanja: Always daily I need to move my body, whether it’s going for a walk or yoga, it is so important. I also love to drink pressed juice, and eat fresh foods that feel good in the body. My body feels better when I’m eating freshly picked fruits and foods where the energy is very high.

LPN: Some of your products have won awards, tell me more.

Tanja: Our first one was Enchanted which won facial oil at the Indie Beauty Expo in 2016 and the Mask & Wash won best mask in 2017 and again Mask & Wash won Beauty Shortlist Award in 2018, as well as Enchanted and for Circle of Protection Body Plant Oil.

LPN: What is your favourite product in your line?

Tanja: It has to be Mask&Wash. It is important to mix this with water! Even though it looks like a beautiful mouse, it still needs to be married with water to bring together the honey and the beauty oils. This makes it so much more beautifully experienced.

Max&Me ships worldwide, and you can find them here.

Use LNP150 as a code with your purchase of 150 Euro or more you will receive three beautiful gifts with your purchase: 5ml mask&wash, 5ml beauty balm and 10 ml purity & grace (oil cleanser).

I’m so excited to have shed a bit more well deserved light onto this high vibe skincare brand – I hope you enjoy their beautiful treats on your skin soon. Let me know how your experience goes. 



The post High Vibe Skincare: Why it Matters – An Interview with Max & Me Co-Founder Tanja appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


Sunday, 29 April 2018

DIY Yoni Steaming Stool and Benefits of Yoni Steaming

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post on treating your yoni right, using natural treatments. One of those treatments was yoni steaming (the ancient practice of allowing the warmth of herbal steam to softly permeate the exterior of the vagina). Following that post, I had a lot of questions sent through email and instagram asking questions like “Can I make the herbal mixture myself?” (yes) and “How do I actually do it?” (easy!).  So today, I’ve decided to share my DIY Yoni Steaming Stool and the benefits of yoni steaming. Read on for all the details and how to easily make your own stool, or repurpose a box to become one!

Why Yoni Steam: The Benefits of Yoni Steaming

yoni steam (aka. vaginal steam) provides gentle and effective support for women’s wellness. It is an age-old practice, respected by women and holistic healers around the globe. This women’s treatment gently and effectively cleanses, tones and revitalizes a woman’s center, providing a benefits from reduced menstrual cramps to increased fertility. Yoni steaming is said to support one’s natural feminine cycle (supporting releasing of dark blood at the beginning or end of menstrual cycle), and help you to heal (it is said to help with endometriosis, pelvic pain, uterine prolapse, constipation and PCOS), relax, and detoxify both physically and emotionally. 

How to Make a Yoni Stool or Yoni Sauna

For a while, I was looking to purchase a yoni stool online, but after realizing they were running in the range of $300 – $500 USD, I decided to find a way to make my own.

Option 1: Repurpose

In my case, it was quite easy – I managed to find an old box (that was made from untreated wood) that used to be a storage box for old dinner plates. Seeing it was a good height and width, I decided to repurpose if for my yoni stool. I took the lid and drilled four holes on the corners that made a diamond. Then I cut through with a “rat tail saw” to carve out the diamond shame, and finally sanded down the top and insides to prevent any splinters (ouch!). 

Option 2: Start from Scratch

If you are having trouble finding an old wooden box, they’re not terribly hard to make if you have some nails, a hammer and some good quality wood that is not treated with any chemicals (remember the steam is working to lift herbs up to your yoni, you don’t want it taking any chemical resins with it). 

Option 3: Think Less is More

Easier still, you can simply use a large pot, and put a plank of wood on top with a hole cut out in it, or even more easily?

Option 4: Use the Toilet Bowl

Take the pot into your toilet bowl (if it is deep enough, so you don’t burn yourself while sitting) and use the normal toilet seat. If using this method, I recommend cleaning out the bowl with non toxic cleaner first, and then using a pot you don’t mind sitting in the toilet – perhaps a pot you designate to your yoni steaming. 

Yoni Steaming Herbs 

There are a myriad of herbs you can use for yoni steaming  –  some of the most popular include herbs that specifically work with the urinary: Rosemary, Mugwort, Motherwort, Yarrow, Calendula, Lavender, Red Raspberry Leaf, Damiana, Plantain, Juniper, Peony, Witch Hazel, Yarrow, Cedar Berries, Rose and Dong Quai.

When searching for herbs to make your steam base, make sure to look for good quality herbs when shopping bulk! If you prefer to buy a premix, I love Vibrant Soul’s Devi Steam which you can shop here in different sizes.  The use only organic herbs that are fairly traded. 

Make sure only to use herbs and not essential oils, as the oils are too strong for this type of activation. 

How to Yoni Steam

  1. Simmer 2 litres of water with 1 cup of herbs on the stove for 10 minutes (bring to boil and then reduce)
  2. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool (with lid on)
  3. Place the pot (or a heat safe basin) into your steam stool / under the chair or into the toilet bowl
  4. Disrobe from the waist down, and bring a blanket like the beautiful merino one I have here from Home of Wool, which was handmade in Bulgaria!
  5. Sit down and wrap the blanket around you for warmth and to help keep the steam inside
  6. Allow the steam to permeate for 20 – 40 minutes and remove the herbs (you should not reuse them – release them back to earth or dispose of without clogging your drain)

Yoni steaming is great to do before or after your menstrual cycle, or as you feel needed. 

When Not to Yoni Steam

As with any wellness practice, there are some cautions: It is not recommended to steam if you have an IUD or during menstruation, but I have a copper IUD and have done shorter steams as a result. Do not do a yoni steam if you are pregnant.

Happy steaming, beautiful. 



The post DIY Yoni Steaming Stool and Benefits of Yoni Steaming appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.


Monday, 23 April 2018

The Natural Health Guide to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)

A bottle of supplement. Sibo is a condition that causes harmful bacteria to grow in the small intestine.

If you frequently have gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation, you might brush off your symptoms or blame it on something you ate. But if those symptoms linger, chances are you’ve thought about another health condition like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), leaky gut syndrome, or candida yeast overgrowth.

In recent years, researchers have uncovered another sneaky condition that can cause GI distress and threaten the gut and overall health: small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO. Experts say not only is the amount of people with SIBO on the rise, but it’s still a misunderstood condition and it often goes undiagnosed.[1, 2]

So what is SIBO? What are the symptoms of SIBO? And are there natural therapies? Here, we’ll provide all the answers you need with the natural health guide to SIBO.

What Is SIBO?

SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, is a condition that causes harmful bacteria to grow in the small intestine. It’s unclear how many people have SIBO, but studies show between 2.5 and 22 percent of people are likely affected.[2]

Your microbiome is a community of 100 trillion microbes, or microorganisms, that live in or on your body, but mostly in your gut. The idea of being covered in bacteria might not sound appealing but your body actually need bacteria, a class of microbes, to strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy.

When all things run smoothly, the food you eat is digested in the gastrointestinal (GI) or digestive tract. Healthy bacteria in the digestive tract known as gut flora, aid digestion. Your gut also uses digestive enzymes to break down food and muscles, nerves and neurotransmitters like serotonin to move the food through the GI tract.

As food makes its way into the stomach, it’s broken down by digestive juices so that nutrients can be absorbed into the bloodstream and transported throughout the body. Waste makes its way through the large intestine, or colon, and is eliminated in stool.

Healthy gut flora help our bodies absorb vitamins and minerals and fight off harmful bacteria. When the intestine is disrupted and stool from the colon moves into the small intestine, bacteria flourish and the result is SIBO.

Symptoms of SIBO

Symptoms of SIBO can include the following:

It’s important to note however, that it’s not necessary to have all of the symptoms to be diagnosed with SIBO.[2]

Since SIBO can also cause malabsorption issues particularly with protein and fats and nutritional deficiencies, the condition can look much like IBS. In fact, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences more than a third of patients who had IBS were also found to have SIBO.[3]

What Causes SIBO?

It’s unclear what causes SIBO but experts believe it might be due to a lack of stomach acid, damage to the intestines from toxins, disorders of the small intestine, gut immune function or abnormalities of the anatomy of the digestive tract.[1]

People with certain conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease and type-2 diabetes have an increased risk for SIBO.[1] It also can affect those who are lactose intolerant. SIBO is also more commonly seen in older adults and women.[2, 4]

How Is SIBO Diagnosed?

Since SIBO often mimics other conditions that affect gut health, it may not be the first condition your doctor thinks to test for. If you have difficulty absorbing proteins, fats and vitamins, or have vitamin deficiencies, anemia or an electrolyte imbalance, SIBO should be considered.

To diagnose SIBO, your doctor may use a breath test to measure the hydrogen and methane gases that are produced by bacteria in the intestines. There are two types of breath tests: glucose and lactulose breath test.

According to one study, the lactulose breath test is more often found to be positive than the glucose breath test.[5] Yet the authors note because of certain factors, the glucose breath test may underdiagnose SIBO and the lactulose breath test may overdiagnose SIBO.

An endoscopy, a test that uses a scope to look at and biopsy tissue from the small intestine, may also be used to detect SIBO.

What Can Be Done About SIBO?

The first line approach to control SIBO are antibiotics; Augmentin and Xifaxan are two of the most commonly prescribed. Although a course of antibiotics for one to two weeks is the standard approach, some people will relapse and have to repeat the treatment.

Natural Approaches to SIBO

Dietary changes along with natural supplements, probiotics and lifestyle are all key to addressing SIBO.


Altering your diet is an easy and natural way to start alleviating SIBO. There is a specific food regimen that was developed just for this purpose called the SIBO diet. The SIBO diet is a low carbohydrate, low fiber and low sugar plan made up of the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD) or the gut and psychology diet (GAPS) which calls to eliminate all beans, grains, starchy vegetables, lactose and sweeteners except honey.

The SIBO diet also includes the fruit and vegetable guidelines of the low FODMAP diet, excludes foods with fructose like apples and pears and polyols like cauliflower, for example.

Other helpful strategies include following a gluten-free diet since gluten can cause intestinal hyperpermeability and consuming probiotic-rich foods to help restore gut health.

Herbal Remedies for SIBO

Herbal therapy may be an effective way to treat SIBO. In fact, according to a one study, 46 percent of people diagnosed with SIBO who used a natural, herbal therapy were negative for SIBO compared to 34 percent of those who were negative after using antibiotics.[6]

Supplements for SIBO

Supplements that contain herbs such as oil of oregano, thyme, berberine extracts and wormwood are ideal for treating SIBO. Tumeric, which has soothing qualities may also ease SIBO symptoms and support gut health. Depending on your nutritional deficiencies, you may also need supplementation. Vitamin B-12 deficiency, for example, is a common issue experienced by people with SIBO.

Probiotics for SIBO

A supplement containing both probiotics and prebiotics are beneficial for SIBO because they support gut health, keep harmful organisms in check, and soothe irritation and redness.

In fact, one study found that probiotics relieved abdominal discomfort and were an effective approach for SIBO.[7] What’s more, another study found that probiotics were more than 30 percent more effective than antibiotics at remedying SIBO.[8]

Avoiding SIBO

If you can avoid SIBO altogether, you’ll be better off. To promote a balanced gut, help rid your body of toxins, and boost your energy, try Oxy-Powder®. It’s a safe and effective colon cleanse supplement that uses the power of oxygen to gently cleanse and detoxify your entire digestive tract, and relieve bloating, gas and occasional constipation.

What’s Your Story

Have you been affected by SIBO? How did you find out you had it? What did you do about it? Leave a comment below and share the details of your experience with us.

The post The Natural Health Guide to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) appeared first on Dr. Group's Healthy Living Articles.


Saturday, 7 April 2018

Staycation: Why Staying Home for the Holidays Can Be Your Best Self Care Habit

Over this last Easter break, I opted for a staycation. I’m on the road a lot – both for work and play, and while this is a huge blessing (I love to travel and explore), I can often feel that by the end of a holiday I am so burnt out from the travel and jet lag I need another holiday (don’t we all get this?!). Today’s post is about Why staying home for the holidays can be your best self care habit. 

This holiday season, I felt it in my body that I really needed to ground down at home and spend some time cleansing my space and my body. I decided to try and document some of the things that created the most joy and relaxation for me, as well as felt the most rewarding. I have to say, a once-per-year staycation is going to be my new annual self care ritual. 

Here’s what my Staycation in Oslo looked like this year. 

Take Some Time Out: Home Spa or The Real Deal

Not so far from downtown Oslo is a World Class spa, The Well. Just a 20 minutes drive from the city center you’re transported into the nature surrounded 3-level spa. Boasting a full range of outdoor and indoor spa and swimming amenities, not limited to a Turkish hamam, a Japanese garden, a Northern Light Sauna, Jungle Sauna, Cave Showers and Steam Rooms. There are 15 saunas, 25 treatment rooms, and a total of 11 pools. For the most part you are either in a bathing suit purchased from the Well, or nude, which means it’s an adult only spa. It’s quiet (adult only), and the treatments are luxurious. The amenities are many, so even if the spa is busy, you can find some privacy to relax. They carry Voya organic skincare at the spa, which is always lovely for me to see. If you’re in Oslo, or Oslo-based like me, I can highly recommend a day trip here, or even a Friday after work to kick the weekend off to a perfect start.

Photo from The Well

Try a New Recipe, or an Old Favourite

One of my favourite things to do when I have a bit of extra time on my hands is cook, bake or recipe create. Over this holiday I came back to one of my all-time favourite recipes from food blogger, My New Roots. Her Life Changing Loaf of Bread is just that. I’ve been munching on this in the mornings with a little cashew butter and manuka honey.  Ingredients and directions from My New Roots. 

1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts 
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water

1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick. Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing.

Get Out in Nature

Needless to say, getting out in nature and spending time with the trees or the ocean is a necessity for that grounding time. I love going through the woods with warm clothes and spending time in the sun – soaking up that limited vitamin D we’ve been having up in this northern hemisphere. The weather has been cold but gorgeous here this holiday, and I’ve been trying to soak it up. 

Try a New Skincare Line: Wildcraft Skincare

I was in Toronto last autumn and popped into the Detox Market, and while exploring there, I came across this beautiful brand, Wildcraft. This Easter holiday, I decided to try an entire new line on my face for the duration of the break. I’ve been thinking about when I would switch it all up, and this was the perfect opportunity. 

Why I picked Toronto-based Wildcraft:  their products are all handmade in small batches, with ingredient lists that are simple, pure and easy to understand such as honey, distilled flower waters and essential oils. I loved the simplicity of the line and the subsequent efficacy on my skin. 

My favourites from this line were their Buff Face & Body Scrub (Rice powder, Apricot kernel shells, Arrowroot powder, Rhassoul clay, Chamomile flowers, Australian pink clay, Spearmint oil, Peppermint oil, Everlasting essential oil) and their Regenerating Facial Serum (Rice bran oil, Meadowfoam seed oil, Rosehip seed oil, Hemp seed oil, sunflower oil with carrot extract and Seabuckthorn oil, Frankincense and Palmarosa essential oils). The serum went on light and was not greasy – great for all skin types that aren’t sensitive to essential oils. While the Buff scrub gently cleans, dries out blemishes, and smooths the skin with mineral-rich exfoliant for the face (and body).

Dig Into Your Spiritual Self & Reflect 

Some quiet time is essential during these Staycations – just giving yourself a little alone time to dig into your journal, your favourite book or just drink a good cup of tea. I spent some time paging through my Practice You journal created by Elena Brower, and doing my own journaling. 

Organize Your Home for some Good Vibes

I spent the better part of one or two afternoons cleaning out our kitchen cupboards and organizing them – purging old foods and contents that no longer stood the test of time, and putting everything in airtight labeled jars, making navigating the kitchen a whole lot easier and more calming. 

Getting rid of the excess clutter gave me a sense of relief, there is something to be said for tidy space, tidy mind. Almost as soon as I was finished taking out the recycling and the trash, I had an overwhelming sense of relief and a weird sense of accomplishment. Opening our cupboards never felt so wonder. haha!

Batch Prep Your Fermented Food Favourites

One of the other things I love to do is batch prepare my fermented favourites when I have some extra minutes. This super easy, vegan coconut yogurt is one of my favourites. You have probably seen it on my blog before here.  I just love this yogurt for the perfect morning breakfast to go, adding it on top of my soups and making thicker, more flavourful smoothies. 

This recipe is so quick and easy, here’s what you need: 

  1. Large jar
  2. Two to Three cans of organic coconut milk (full fat)
  3. Three probiotic capsules (that you can easily break apart and dump into the milk)
  4. A wooden spoon
  5. Cheese Cloth
  6. Elastic band


  1. Pour cans of coconut milk into clean glass jar (I used 3)
  2. Break apart 3 probiotic capsules with more than 20 billion live cultures
  3. Stir in with wooden spoon (this is improtant, don’t use metal as it reacts with the probiotics)
  4. Cover with cheese cloth and a rubber band
  5. Let sit on the counter for 24 – 48 hours – this batch was 36 hours
  6. Taste during the resting time to reach your desired tangy-ness
  7. When it has reached it, put it in the fridge overnight, it should thicken

Clean Out Your Closet for Donation or Sell and Donate!

The last de-cluttering and cleansing activity I did was clean out my closets. Spring is an optimal time for cleaning out the closets, but it can be done anytime. It feels great to make some extra room in your space, as well as donate (or even sell) your excess things. Just like the cupboards, it is such a great feeling to lighten up the household from things that are no longer needed. 

Well beauties, aside from that it was a lot of tea drinking, book reading and relaxation. 

I hope this inspires your next holiday to go against the need to get out of town, and instead feel encouraged to have yourself a little “staycation.”

Your soul will thank you for it.



The post Staycation: Why Staying Home for the Holidays Can Be Your Best Self Care Habit appeared first on Living Pretty, Naturally.