Ahh summer, or is it Ouch! Summer!? Mosquitos. The quintessential part of summer. Whether at the beach, a backyard party, camping, hiking, swimming or sitting on a deck there will always be mosquitos. It seems like mosquitos are not afraid of anything.
They invite themselves to every function imaginable including our bedroom. There is nothing more annoying then trying to sleep and you hear the insanely loud buzz of a 0.4 inch long menace waiting to get a good vein to suck your blood
In fact, how do mosquitos bite us? What are mosquitos attracted to? You will be surprised by what mosquitos are attracted to. In this article we are also covering natural mosquito repellents you can make your yourself or, buy, including DEET alternative bug sprays you can safely use on your family and pets.
Last week in my Newsletter I talked about how to act fast and save yourself from poison ivy and other poisonous plants with all natural remedies. Deborah thought the article was great and wanted information on mosquito bite relief. Of course, we need to know a little more about mosquitos. Here is what Debrah wrote;
Thanks. Any tips on mosquito bites? I get welts!!! and horrible itching
Thank you Deborah for the question and I appreciate you reading my emails. Mosquito bites are nasty things. But for some, the welts can be super big and super maddening. I know, I used to get terrible welts typically at the beginning of "Mosquito Season." So, let's dive in and learn a little about what mosquitos are attracted to, natural mosquito repellents and the best natural mosquito bite relief tips. These are going to shock you!
What are mosquitos attracted to?
Did you know, mosquitos can smell their dinner from 165 feet away and are attracted to the carbon dioxide and lactic acid in our breath? They are also attracted to our sebum, an oily substance produced in the sebaceous glands dotted throughout our skin secretes through the hair follicles. It doesn’t matter whether you are enjoying an evening sitting on the porch on a cool night or sweating profusely, these unwanted summer guests use a simple neural code to target us humans over animals.
Are mosquitoes attracted to perfume?
Do you wear perfume? Guess what? mosquitos are attracted to some perfumes. If the perfume use aldehyde odorants, decanal and undecanal, reminiscent of orange peel you are a magnet for mosquitos. If you wear Chanel No°5 perfume, you are literally a mosquito buffet! Perfumes or lotions that are citrus, lemon, floral scents are especially attractive.
Do mosquitoes smell your blood?
As I was writing this article and learning about what mosquitos attracted to and how mosquitos bite, I couldn't help but draw comparisons to Dracula. They are "vampires of the jungle." Mosquitos do not smell your blood, there are some other things that happen first, I'll talk more about those further down the page.
How mosquitoes determine which individuals to bite has important epidemiological consequences. Now this kind of sucks if you happen to be a blood type O. Mosquitoes are most attracted to type O blood and least attracted to Type A blood. Well, I guess if you are a blood type A, you are smiling from ear-to-ear! Pregnant women also attract more little buzzers and body temperature plays a role too. But, before all of this can happen, mosquitos will tune into a couple of things before they land on human skin.
Mosquitos are attracted to colour
Did you know mosquitos are attracted to certain colors as well? Mosquitos like most insects use color to find food and mates. A University of Washington-led study found, after releasing carbon dioxide from our breath, mosquitos fly toward specific colors, including red, orange, black and cyan, but they ignore other colors, such as green, purple, blue and white.
If the researchers used filters to remove long-wavelength signals, or had the researcher wear a green-colored glove, then carbon dioxide-primed mosquitoes no longer flew toward the stimulus.
a Cage assay with real-time tracking system, odor, and visual stimulation through two windows on the front of the cage. b Example of individual trajectories (top: skin and control (white glove), bottom: skin+filters (550–700 nm), and control). c Occupancy maps showing the distribution of female mosquitoes during CO2 stimulation while in presence of the skin and control (top), and the skin+filters (550–700 nm) and control (bottom). d Relative flight activity between the different phases of the experiments (pre-, CO2, and post-CO2) for the skin and skin+filters treatments (n = 6 trials/treatment). There was no significant difference in the relative activity during the CO2 phase between the skin and skin+600-nm filter treatments (Kruskal–Wallis test, df = 1, Chi-sq = 0.004, P = 0.96). e The percentage of mosquitoes visiting the windows over the duration of the experiment. Few mosquitoes investigated the windows before the CO2 exposure. However, exposure to CO2 significantly increased the numbers of mosquitoes visiting the windows relative to the pre-CO2 period (Kruskal–Wallis test with multiple comparisons: df = 5, Chi-sq. = 277.85, P < 0.0001), although during CO2 there were no significant differences in the total number of mosquitoes investigating the windows between treatment groups (Kruskal–Wallis test with multiple comparisons: P > 0.57). Lines are the means and shaded areas the ±sem. f Mean preference index for the different treatment groups (white glove vs. white glove, skin vs. white glove, and skin + filter (550–700 nm) vs. white globe). Boxplots area the mean (line) with 95% confidence interval (shaded area). Different letters denote statistically significant differences between groups (Kruskal–Wallis test with multiple comparisons, P < 0.01). (n = 13,597 for the skin treatment group; n = 9502 for the for the skin + filters treatment group; and n = 9368 for the control group). doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28195-x
The study found mosquitoes are highly activated by CO2 (our exhale) and this increases their visual attraction to visual stimuli, including skin. They have to smell first and then hone in on the visual cues to find the right target. One researcher likened it to use smelling a bakery and then looking for the source of the wonderful smells. When the researchers changed the hue of color wavelengths the mosquitos were not interested.
“ Collectively, these results demonstrate that the long-wavelength band of the visual spectrum plays an important role in determining mosquito attraction to skin color. In addition, knockout of either visual or olfactory detection receptors suppresses mosquito visual attraction to long-wavelength host cues.” doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-28195-x
Wearing certain clothing may help but not in relationship to the study. Other studies have shown lighter colors are a better choice because mosquitos are attracted to dark colors. Makes sense because the earth, trees and shade are dark; a great place to hide and wait for its next victim.
You can however, opt for light colored clothing that is not tight to the skin. I can’t tell you how many times I have come home after a great hike wearing tights and have mosquito welts all over my legs. If your clothes are not clinging to your skin, the mosquito can not get its proboscis through the clothing and into your skin.
Video; How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood | Deep Look
How do mosquito bite us?
Technically mosquitos do not bite. They are more like a phlebotomist. The females proboscis is like a syringe. She pokes through the skin, and injects a small amount of saliva into a capillary so that your body can not try and clot the blood so she can suck up enough to fertilize her eggs. Gross, I know. This is why I get the image of Dracula every time I think of mosquitos. Now if only wearing a garland of garlic would ward off Mosquitos.
The welt that soon appears along with insane scratching is a result of your body’s immune system launching an all out attack. It is simply an IgE immediate allergy response.
Mouthparts of Anopheles gambiae moving under the skin of a mouse. Credit: Choumet et al, PLOS 2012 Video; Mosquito mouthparts
To get more technical, it is a histamine response. The chemicals in the saliva sets out a serious of events. The biggest, the immune system trying to protect us. White blood cells rush to the site of injury along with compounds to “stitch” the breach.
Of course, the compounds in the mosquitos saliva is preventing coagulation. Because this can not happen, histamine is released to help wash away any potential microbial pathogen and sweep away the threats to keep inflammation to the necessary minimum to help heal the infected area.
We want some histamine to help our immune system do what it needs. Too much histamine and the immune system becomes overwhelmed.
how to reduce mosquito bite swelling
One of the best ways to stop mosquito bites from swelling is with a natural antihistamine. Natural antihistamine for mosquito bites starts with the oral route because it can help help ease the symptoms while supporting the immune system. We do not want to block histamine completely. Natural oral antihistamine for mosquito bites include;
I prefer the natural antihistamine effects of Histamine Scavenger 90 DRcaps which you can get in my online store with 10% savings automatically and free shipping. Once you sign up for a free account you can copy the code in red, or " Histamine Scavenger ", paste into the search bar and the professional product will pop up, add to cart and voila! You have an awesome natural antihistamine for mosquito bites.
Histamine Scavenger 90 DRcaps Code P90826
Histamine Scavenger is a unique formulation used to help the body clear itself of excess histamine. This product is designed to help scavenge excess histamine in the body while supporting the gut and the immune system. It contains quercetin, bromelain, stinging nettle leaf and other anti-inflammatory and antihistamine compounds for immune and gut support. This includes Larch tree fiber to feed the bacteria that will help lower histamine producing bacteria colonies for a better overall histamine response.
Once you have popped your Natural antihistamine for mosquito bites, there are some other things you can try for natural mosquito bite relief to help ease the welt and itching of mosquito bites. Try one or all of these. Let me know in the comments which ones worked for you.
Natural remedies for mosquito bite swelling you can buy
Let's face it, life is busy and sometimes we just want to carry something with us when a mosquite bite starts to swell. Here are a couple of suggestions.
After Bug Itch Relief Stick code B97003
This stuff really works. In the search bar copy the code B97003 and paste. Voila! it will come up, add to cart and itch no more!
This is a great way to put an end to the itch-scratch cycle with Badger's certified organic and all natural After-Bug Balm
This gentle balm with soothing Colloidal Oatmeal and cooling Menthol relieves itchy bug bites and minor skin irritations. Organic Beeswax, vitamin E-rich Sunflower oil and essential oils of Seabuckthorn and Lavender help nourish and soften skin.
The convenient travel size means you can take it with you wherever you go! Pediatrician approved and tested hypoallergenic so it’s safe for sensitive skin and great for use by the whole family.
SssstingStop Gel Code STIN6
Ssssting Stop Insect Gel Code STIN6 is a homeopathic topical formulation provides temporary relief of itch, pain, and redness of non-poisonous insect bites and stings of bees and wasps. StingStop combines three natural homeopathic (HPUS) medicines prepared from botanical sources which are also effective on reducing mosquito bite swelling.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine conducted two double-blinded clinical studies using mosquito's which had not been fed for 24 hours and human volunteers. The test prove conclusively that the medicines in StingStop provide dependable, effective relief. Ingredients include;
Echinacea Angustifolia 1X
Ledum Palustre 1X
Urtica Dioica 1X
What are the best mosquito repellents?
To avoid being bitten by a mosquito, protect your skin with a mosquito repellant before you go out. The best mosquito repellant, would be to paint your skin in a less desirable color so mosquitos do not hone in on you. OK, so this is probably not a good idea (I’m joking here.)
When it comes to mosquito repellents sticking to natural mosquito repellent is much better than apply toxic sprays that contain DEET.
DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) according to Consumer Reports;
"DEET is a yellowish liquid created by USDA chemists in the 1940s for use by the U.S. military. One long-held theory is that deet blocks an insect’s ability to smell human sweat and breath."
This is scary. This means this chemical has to interact with our physiology (gut, liver, kidneys, circulatory system) to work. Just thinking of this is enough to have me looking for more natural mosquito repellant.
Recent research suggests a different, simpler explanation: The compound just smells incredibly bad to most bugs, so much so that they avoid all contact with it. Or, this just could be the company trying to downplay the adverse affects of DEET and keep the profits up.
You must watch this video if you are not convinced as to why DEET is not the answer, especially if you have children. In fact, mosquitos have built a tolerance to DEET and it is not as effective as it once was.
Why is DEET not good for you The Dangers of DEET
Is DEET safe?
After watching the video I hope your answers to is DEET safe have been answered. Numerous studies have Detected DEET or its metabolites in many organs of exposed animals, including the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, fat, tears, and inside the nose but, does not appear to accumulate in any particular organ in the body. (I find this hard to believe). Studies have shown the following with DEET;
DEET also negatively impacts the eco and aquatic system as well as the environment essentially poisoning the soil and water including the insects and wildlife.
Best natural mosquito repellent for skin
We can use natural mosquito repellent for skin that are not harmful to us and the environment. Natural mosquito repellents include oils, creams, lotions, sprays and combinations with sunscreen.
I am going to share with you the best natural mosquito repellent compounds individually which naturally includes the scents that repel mosquitos. That is the whole idea, repelling mosquitos.
After, I’ll share essential oil mosquito repellent recipes and sprays and a couple of products in case you do not want to make your own homemade mosquito repellent. Let’s start with the top and best natural mosquito repellent which happen to be essential oils;
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus is derived from Australia’s lemon-scented gum tree, and is recognized by the EPA and the CDC as an effective and safe ingredients for repelling mosquitos. We can find this as pure Lemon eucalyptus essential oil.
Citronella is well known for deterring the little silent attackers.
Neem oil is an EXCELLENT alternative to DEET. Studies have shown it be quite effective against mosquito attacks. It can be quite irritating and must be diluted. I will tell you, it has a strong odor which is more than likely why it works. Neem is also has natural antimicrobial properties.
Greek catmint oil (epeta parnassica)
Catnip oil (nepetalactone)
Catnip oil is ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender contains a compound known as linalool, which produces a strong odor detestable to mosquitos. It overloads their sensitive olfactory organs, much in the same manner as DEET. Lavender possesses a 93% repellant rate against mosquitos indoors and only around a 53% repellant rate against mosquitoes outdoors
Cinnamon is good for killing larvae and is suspected as a good repellent agains adult mosquitos
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
peppermint repelled 84-100% of mosquitoes, depending on the species (this can be directly applied to the skin). Applying peppermint oil on one arm protected both arms from mosquito bites for up to three hours. Solutions with 20% peppermint oil repelled 57% of mosquitoes, with a protection time of 6.5 hours
A study found multiple species of mosquito found that up to 95% of mosquitos from one species were repelled due to the oil’s strong odor over a 2.5 hour period. The scent overpowers the mosquito’s olfactory nerves, causing the scent to “camouflage” your presence from the mosquito’s perspective
Thyme essential oil study showed significantly extended the duration of protection from mosquito bites. Thyme essential oil is a rich source of 5 monoterpenes. a potent repellent activity with a protection rate of 97% at a concentration of 0.05% topical treatment.
Melaleuca ericifolia was identified in this study, as being an effective insect repellent. When formulated into three different bases: an alcohol-based spray, an emulsion and a gel, these Melaleuca-based repellents were shown to be as effective at repelling mosquitoes.
You can check out my store for numerous different brands of the essential oils listed here. All you have to do, once you are signed up for your own personal free account is search for the name of the oil or search for " essential oil. " You always get 10% off plus free shipping.
Essential oil mosquito repellent recipe
Once you have picked out your essential oil don't forget to grab an essential oil spray bottle, roll on or a glass bottle with a dropper. Essential oils naturally contain scents that repel mosquitos. Essential oils should never directly be rubbed into the skin (except for peppermint). They should always be diluted in a carrier oil.
Typically an essential oil carrier like almond oil can be used. However, why not increase your potency with Soybean oil? In fact, these brands use NON-GMO soybean oil as their carrier
A study looking at the use of DEET and different oil carries found A soybean-oil–based repellent protected against mosquito bites for an average of 94.6 minutes. Be sure to use a NON GMO soybean oil. If you can find one in a glass jar, even better.
The essential oil mosquito repellent recipe is quite simple.
For each essential oil, add 3 to 5 drops to 1 ounce of carrier oil. If you are going to be using all of the ones listed here, you will need to add it 2 ounces of your oil carrier, in this case the oil carrier would be NON-GMO soybean oil.
Essential oil mosquito repellent recipe for a Spray bottle
To make a diluted 1 percent solution for a spray bottle, mix 1/4 teaspoon (or 24 drops) of oil for every 4 ounces of water.
You can spray the fluid onto your skin or clothing, around your home, and onto upholstery. Be careful when applying cinnamon oil, as a concentrated dose can irritate your skin.
Best natural mosquito repellent for skin
If you do not want to make your own mosquito repellent recipe I get it. I usually buy mine because I just do not have the time. I have all of the essential oils to make my own, but, I would rather use those in my diffuse.
Did you know NOW makes Bug Ban Essential Oil Blend code N78049 ? They do. It is great for applying to your skin or in an infuser. Easy peasy!
My online private store also carries an array of products to help protect you, your kids, and pets from most flying insects. Search for “ mosquito “
Or " bug spray. "
Adult Organic Bugs Be Gone Code BUGS1
Amrita Aromatherapy Adult Organic Bugs Be Gone Code BUGS1 is a DEET-free natural insect repellent, comprised of six different essential oils with Eucalyptus Citriodora as the main oil. Ingredients include;
Amrita Aromatherapy also carry one for pets that is of course all natural and non-toxic to your pets. Bugs Be Gone for Pets Code BUGS2
Whether you want to try making a natural mosquito repellent for your skin, purchase the best natural mosquito repellent for mosquito bites, trust that you are in the right place.
This summer let's do what we need to avoid getting mosquito attacks and keep the best remedies on hand for one sneaks up on us.
If you need help picking out products or have some questions that were not addressed in this article email me firstname.lastname@example.org or text me (347) 766-9355 and I can help you get what you need. Thanks for reading and go out and enjoy summer.
Whether it is the summer or the winter, dehydration can strike at any time. We happen to think more about dehydration during the summer the months. Summer comes to mind as we spend more time outside, are more active and the temperatures go up and up. We also tend to add in more alcohol and soda. Did you know that soda can actually dehydrate us? It can.
Did you know food can dehydrate us? It can, and many other factors that we may have not thought about. We need to drink to water! We are 98% saline solution of minerals and water! We need water!
I lived in Southern Arizona for numerous years. In the summer temperatures range from 100-120f. I honestly believe that when it is this hot out no one can stay properly hydrated. I am convinced of this. I work with clients all over the country. In the summer I have more reports of headaches, nausea, dizziness and cramping than the winter. These happen to be common symptoms of dehydration.
Most of us are dehydrated and don’t know it! According to the Author F. Batmanghelidj and M.D. Your Body's Many Cries for Water
Water is the solvent in which the nutrients and wastes need to travel. It is required in abundance for the kidneys to regulate and for the bowel to eliminate.
The body is 25% solid matter, the rest is 75% water, 85% of brain tissue and muscle is water, the liver is 82% water and the bones are 22% water.
It’s not just water, but what is in the water that helps keep us balanced and hydrated. It is the minerals, especially the electrolytes. Electrolytes help;
According to Medical News Today, for general health, most people need to get the following amounts of electrolytes each day from their diet:
How to know you are dehydrated, simple little trick
I am going to share with you numerous ways dehydration can happen as well as what can cause dehydration. But, let's talk about the symptoms of dehydration. I figure, if you are experiencing some of the symptoms, it will encourage you to read on. I bet you can not guess all the ways dehydration can occur.
Here is a little trick you try after you go through the list of symptoms asscoiated with dehydration.
The quickest way to know if you are dehydrated or not is to pinch the skin on the back of your hand. Lay your hand palm down on a flat surface, with your other hand, pinch in the middle the skin, pull it up and let it go;
Symptoms of dehydration include ;
How many of these symptoms do you have? If you have more than 3 symptoms, you could be suffering the effects of hydration.
Signs of Dehydration in Children and Infants
According to Mayo Clinic signs and symptoms of dehydration in children and infants;
Call your family doctor (seek immediate medical attention) if your child or a loved one:
A couple of years ago, I picked my daughter up from a cross country practice and everything was fine. Ten minutes later she started to complain of dark spots in front her eyes as if she was getting a migraine. I figured she was hypoglycemic and in need of food. We stopped at the nearest store (judgment out the window) grabbed some chocolate milk and a chocolate bar.
Fifteen minutes later as we were talking, when suddenly, her words were coming out backwards, not slurred and then she was in a state of terror because she could not remember her boyfriend's name. The more distressed she became the harder it was for her to talk. We went to the emergency room and she was suffering from heat stroke. She had dangerously low potassium levels, her electrolytes were low and she was dehydrated. I could have lost her that day; that quick!
She always rolled her eyes at me when I would say "please drink water." From that day on, not only does she drink water, she encourages her friends and peers to do the same.
Do not mess around when it comes to dehydration.
What are electrolytes?
According to Cedars-Sinai, a nonprofit academic healthcare organization, electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body.
According to Cleveland Clinic, electrolytes have a natural positive or negative electrical charge when dissolved in water. They help your body regulate chemical reactions, maintain the balance between fluids inside and outside your cells, and more. They’re also a key way to diagnose a wide range of medical conditions and diseases.
Electrolytes are minerals. The basic minerals when it comes to keeping our body properly hydrated are sodium, potassium, and chloride are the significant electrolytes along with magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonates.
This is why when you get basic blood work done at the hospital or doctor's office, you will see these on the lab report. They are essential to health and well being
Minerals come from the ocean, river, streams, rocks, water beds and deep inside caves. They are also found in salt. Have you ever tried an electrolyte drink unflavored? It will taste salty because the best electrolyte concentrations come from salt.
What are the levels of dehydration?
Dehydration may be categorized as:
Mild. You just have to take in more fluids orally (by mouth). Drink water, but replace fluids with a drink that contains electrolytes if you experience significant sweating or fluid losses from vomiting and diarrhea. You should feel better after five or 10 minutes.
Moderate. Moderate dehydration requires an IV (intravenous hydration). You’ll get this in an urgent care, emergency room, or hospital.
Severe. See a healthcare provider if your symptoms of dehydration are severe. Call 911 or go to an emergency room.
If you’re seeing a healthcare provider, they’ll figure out what level you’re at in order to assign you treatment.
Critical symptoms of dehydration when to go to the hospital
If you feel dizziness, lethargy and, or nausea please go to the emergency department right away! If your urine is darkish yellow to brown, go to the emergency department now. If you have more than 3 symptoms from the list above, don't mess around go the emergency or see your doctor.
Now that we understand what electrolytes are and why they are important, let's explore why dehydration can happen and what we can do to stop it from happening.
Is a Charley Horse from dehydration?
When I used to suffer with Crohn's disease I would get severe Charley Horse in my legs. They were the most excruciating and terrifying experience. I would usually fall out of bed and try to get my rock hard calf to relax. Creams, cold water, hot water would work, but I was looking for something more permanent to stop them from happening. If you have ever had one, you know what I mean.
It was not a part of Crohn's although most will say it is. It makes sense though, I ate a horrible diet devoid of any minerals. I also had sever diarrhea which causes dehydration and mineral loss.
Why is it called Charley Horse?
Wouldn't it be great if we could trace the origins of names? According to Caroline Bologna's article, Why Is It Called A 'Charley Horse'? it comes from the game of baseball, "familiar to baseball players, who reportedly used it to describe certain muscle injuries or pains."
What is a Charley Horse?
WebMD explains a charley horse as "a muscle spasm -- when a muscle suddenly tightens up on its own. These cramps can happen anywhere in your body. They’re common in your legs."
If you have never had one, keep up the great work. If you have had one, I bet you are cringing and suddenly thinking of your calf muscle. Sorry.
There are numerous reasons for a Charley horse, which typically happens at night. Here are few;
Yup, there it is; dehydration and a lack of minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Charley Horse can happen from dehydration. I thought I would add this here to really be as through as possible before we moved on to other things that can cause dehydration.
Does Soda cause dehydration?
We had just moved into our home in Texas. I was waiting for a repair technician to come out and fix a couple of appliances. It was a super hot and humid day. The tech showed up and within 5 minutes he collapsed on my kitchen floor. He was diabetic and motioned me to go to his truck for his glucose testing kit.
As I was looking for the kit, I noticed the truck windows were down, empty soda cans everywhere and no water in sight. As he was checking his blood sugar, I enquired about how much water he had drank that day. He had not drank any water, only diet soda. The air conditioner in his was not working either. It was 90℉ and humid.
His blood glucose was within range. He was quite confused. I wrapped a an ice pack around his neck to help cool him down and insisted he drink water. I added a pinch of Celtic sea salt to the 6 cups of water he had while waiting to have a co-worker drive him home.
The tech collapsed because of a couple of reasons; dehydration and too much carbonation.
How does soda cause dehydration?
Some sodas, including cola drinks often contain a lot of phosphorus. The problem with phosphorus is it is highly acidic. When we take in too much phosphorus, this leads to such an imbalance of our pH it trigger the bones to release calcium to try and buffer the acidity. This causes the other minerals to also become deficient as they try to help bring the acidity down.
Add in the fact the average North American consuming the standard American diet (SAD diet) are often already in a deficient state of minerals, especially magnesium, and calcium and too much sodium.
Drinking carbonated beverages will not contain the vital electrolytes needed. The sugar also aids in depleting magnesium. We need our electrolyte minerals, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium in order to help keep us hydrated.
Have you tried Kombucha?
If you are struggling to come off of the soda, switch to Kombucha. Kombucha is naturally effervescent but contains naturally occurring minerals and vitamins.
If you are watching your waistline, some kombucha can be high in sugar (unless you are making your own.)
Best electrolyte drinks for dehydration
You could try an effervescent electrolyte powder for dehydration. In my online store, all you have to do once you sign up for a free private account, copy the codes I provide here and paste into the search box and the product will pop right up.
It is a great alternative to sugary sport and electrolyte drinks and will not spike your insulin thus, not add to your waist line. I love this product comes in packets so that I can carry a couple with me. When I am hiking, I carry these. If I am going to be in the hot temps, I take one in the morning and then another before bed when I am traveling. They are perfect.
It has a pleasant lemon fizzy flavor. If I wake up in the morning with a headache, feeling off and nauseas usually because I did not drink enough water the day before, I drink this as soon as I get up. Within 30 minutes all my symptoms are gone.
There is no added sweetener, color, or artificial flavors. Check out the NON GMO label of goodness
Below, I also share some other great electrolyte powders you can take with you on the go to nip dehydration before it can happen.
Does caffeine cause dehydration?
My newsletter subscribers send me questions, which I then answer in a future weekly email. Mary asked about how caffeine and it could be affecting her and possibly contributing to her ill health. Mary wrote
Thank you for all the information you send out each week. I really felt connected to last weeks article on caffeine and water. One issue I have is despite drinking water all day long I am still getting dehydrated. I have always had issues with dehydration and I have tried everything to try and turn it around. I drink two large cups of coffee in the morning and I then I try to drink reverse osmosis water the rest of the day. I do have soft poops and some days it is diarrhea. I thought I would add that since you are the Poop Queen. “
Let's do some math to better understand how caffeine causes dehydration. . If you are drinking caffeine this will cause dehydration. Caffeine is a diuretic and an irritant to the gastrointestinal tract, liver and genitourinary tract. What this means is bowel movements are speeded up.
Caffeine can irritate the intestinal lining, which causes diarrhea. Increased urine output is also the other consequence of caffeine. So, if you are drinking caffeine you need to deduct the amount of caffeine you are drinking in regards to water. This could be quite significant depending on how much caffeine you are drinking. Then to compensate for the diuretic effects it is double the water intake. For instance, the typical cup of coffee is 16oz. Let’s say your weight is 160 lbs;
Coffee 16 oz x 2 = 32 ounces
Weight 160 ÷ 2 = 80 ounce a day
Subtract daily amount of water from caffeine intake
80 oz - 32 = 48 ounces of water
To compensate for the caffeine you would need to add in 64 ounces of water to get back to half your body weight in ounces. The problem is this will also increase urine output which can effect mineral balance.
You may also want to look at the type of water you are consuming. I have no studies on the subject however, it has been suggested reverse osmosis water can pull minerals from your body. To remedy this add a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your water.
The same with distilled water. The other problem with distilled water is there are no minerals present in the water. It will also pull in xenoestrogens from the plastic which can negatively impact hormones. If you are drinking tap water, or tap water filtered with charcoal it is not enough to remove the harmful chemicals studies have proven can negatively impact kidney function.
Caffeine increases urine and fecal output. If kidneys can not regulate the fluid and minerals, this can lead to electrolyte imbalances which can cause dehydration.
Caffeine, like alcohol causes dehydration. For every 8 ounces of caffeine product you have, you need to add an additional 16 ounces of mineral rich water on top of your daily hydration requirements.
Does Alcohol causes dehydration?
Yes, alcohol can dehydrate you. Like caffeine, the same thing is happening. Alcohol is a diuretetic and can cause dehydration. Can one alcoholic drink dehydrate you? It depends on a couple of things, read on.
Why does alcohol cause dehydration?
Alcohol removes water and important nutrients from your body. Alcohol increases urine output faster than the kidneys can process which means vital minerals are also released. The process is called diuresis.
How much alcohol does it take to dehydrate you?
It can take as little as one drink to lead to dehydration. One alcohol drink can inhibit the release of the anti-diuretic hormone called vasopressin which plays essential roles in the control of the body’s osmotic balance, blood pressure regulation, sodium homeostasis, and kidney functioning.
In fact, according to a randomized controlled trial “Hydration status and the diuretic action of a small dose of alcohol" 10 grams of alcohol makes you produce 100 mL (3.38 fl. oz.) of urine.
Over indulgence in alcohol and the nasty side effects such as upchucking and diarrhea and you are further causing dehydration. Alcohol delays stomach emptying, fluids do not get absorbed causing vomiting. This leads, you guessed it, to dehydration!
Alcohol overload also leads to diarrhea which requires fluid to move the irritants through the intestinal tract. This leads to dehydration. A triple whammy!
How much alcohol does it take to dehydrate you?
How much alcohol it takes to dehydrate you, depends on some factors. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach can quickly cause dehydration. Since alcohol is a liquid, and the stomach is empty, it can quickly be absorbed into the blood stream leading to a quicker way to dehydration.
Large quantities of alcohol also surpasses appetite. Bubbly type drinks also fills you up with gas, further leading suppressed appetite. This means there is no desire for say, water or food that the body can use to try and counter the diuretic effects of the alcohol.
Alcohol is not a wise choice to try and rehydrate with. Add in a carbonated beverage and you have a recipe for some serious dehydration.
The kidneys are the ones filtering the blood and maintaining fluid balance using electrolyte minerals. Alcohol quickly depletes not only electrolytes but B vitamins. Some symptoms of B vitamin depletion include;
Notice that the symptoms of a B vitamin Deficiency are the same for dehydration? This is because B vitamins are water soluble. They do not stay in your system for very long. Alcohol increases urine output, thus it is easy to for B vitamins to be effected just like electrolytes and minerals. But, there is something you can do to stop alcohol dehydration.
How to Avoid Alcohol Dehydration
If you know you are going to be attending a function and drinking alcohol, plan ahead. I use personally;
Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt Electrolyte Powder 30 packets Code C20004 and, Thorne Stress B-Complex 60 caps Code T02963. Both of these you can get in my store with free shipping and 10% off. All you have to do is sign up for a free personal and private account.
Here is how you can help diminish the effects of alcohol symptoms of dehydration
Take a packet of Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt Electrolyte Powder mixed in 8 oz of water and Thorne Stress B-Complex 60 caps the morning of your event. Be sure to drink water throughout the day. Before bed, take another Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt Electrolyte Powder mixed in 8 oz of water and Thorne Stress B-Complex 60 caps
This can help ward off or greatly reduce the hangover effects of alcohol induced dehydration. Here is the whole protocol;
How does water cause dehydration?
Sounds counter intuitive because dehydration is from the lack of water. But not all water is created equal. Waterborne minerals especially our electrolytes, sodium, calcium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are in ionic form and are easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract. It has been suggested our drinking water is an important source of mineral intake. We are after all 98% saline solution. But, it is the chemicals in tap water that can cause a problem.
Technically, if we are drinking water with the right minerals in solution such as the important electrolytes; magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium, we can properly rehydrate.
If the water you are drinking does not contain the right balance of minerals, we can end up dehydrated despite the amount of water we are drinking. Let’s look at the different types of water.
Can tap water cause dehydration?
Tap water is chemically treated water. Depends on the state and area, however, tap water uses chemicals to clean and disinfect the water. The EPA is keeping a troubling new study on drinking water under wraps. Here’s what you need to know.
Contamination of our water supply by perchlorates—a specific class of chemical produced in industrial settings is not a secret. And, if you did not know, now you do. The EPA established guidelines about how much of some per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs)—namely perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA)—can be in drinking water before it poses a significant public health risk. In my opinion, any amount is too much!
Interesting to note, the EPA doesn’t actually regulate the levels of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, rather, they create "an established “healthy advisory level” which is the same for both: 70 parts per trillion. Health advisory levels are just supposed to give information, not to actively regulate chemicals in drinking water across the country.
Scientific research suggests these chemicals cause havoc on all parts of the food chain. So, it is not just drinking tap water, but the plants and animals we eat that are dosed in Municipal water. So, vegan and vegetarian is not going to save you. These chemicals have been associated with issues in pregnancy and birth and some cancers.
According to emails obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry study, completed in draft form in January 2018, has not been made available to media or to the public. It was originally supposed to appear on the Federal Register in January, but the emails reveal that the EPA questioned ATSDR numbers, and the study has been stalled ever since. According to a Politico article published on Wednesday, there is no timeline for its release.
According to the emails, the hold-up has nothing to do with science: it’s a matter of political posturing. Some harmful minerals can lead to beneficial mineral deficiency. You can read the full emails related to the ASTDR study on the UCO website.
Each state has its own water study they put out yearly. I encourage you to read it and between the lines. Please get a water filter at the very least (see below).
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Is Bottled water better than tap water?
Bottled water is a tricky one too. You really have to read labels. “Purified water is municipal tap water that has been filtered through (hopefully) reverse osmosis system. This strips the water of everything; good (and not-so-good) minerals, microbial and contaminants. The essential minerals; magnesium, calcium, potassium and sodium are then infused back in to the water. The problem, they are not naturally occurring. The question then lies, are we absorbing them?
Spring water is the better choice because it is not as heavily chemically cleaned but is has its own set of nightmares. For instance, if you purchase the big water companies delivery system or you purchase at the store. It too is stored in plastic, the reusable jugs are cleaned with chemicals that are harmful to your health.
The dispensary, if not cleaned regularly may become contaminated with harmful microbes, which could make you ill.
==> PICTURE OF BOTTLED WATER SITTING IN THE SUN <-==
Whether it is spring water, purified water, a water delivery system, they are stored in plastic. Plastic also begins to degrade when it hits artificial lights, heat and sunlight. How many times have you entered a grocery store passing by a wall of bottled water for sale, sitting in the hot sun? The sun can degrade the minerals in the water regardless if it is spring, artisan, or purified water.
Before I launch into the problems with PFAs, think about your water bottle and where it has been.
I know many of you more than likely keep plastic water bottles in your car. I know I used to. I know some people will leave a package of water bottles in case of an emergency. I still do this, however, I will never drink them unless I am in a dire situation.
Single use plastic water bottles are of course an environmental disaster but they are also a health disaster waiting to happen, especially for women. Most plastic water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). You will know the water bottle has this by looking on the bottom-it will say PET with the recycling logo.
PET allows for recycling and is easy to melt down into another bottle or something else. A total win for the environment. However, since it has such a low melting point, the plastic easily releases its chemicals into the water.
Studiespubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24907857/ have shown these types of water bottles release Bisphenol A (BPA) into the water. The longer the bottle is exposed to heat, the more it leaches BPA. BPA has been directly linked to cancers and tumours. Even if the label says BPA free, don't be fooled. BPA was replaced with Bisphenol S (BPS) which is essentially the same thing.
Other studies have shown BPA-free bottles still leach estrogen-mimicking chemicals. Another study found 93% of 259 brands tested were contaminated with microplastic particles coming from the cap and the bottle itself breaking down into the water.
Interestingly to note, the World Health Organization states there is not enough data to prove if microplastic are harming us. On the other hand, the organization noted that there isn’t enough evidence to prove that these chemicals are harmless, either.
Microplastics are accumulating in our bodies. If plastic has been proven to be harmful, imagine what an accumulation of concentrated microplastics can do?
What are PFAs?
PFAS are a a class of industrial chemicals used to repel grease, water and stains in consumer products. These chemicals in pizza boxes, fast food packaging, restaurant take away containers, disposable coffee cups and soup containers, nonstick coating on many pans and bakeware, carpeting, in some areas, drinking water, packaging lining (think cereal, crackers), furniture coating, clothing, electronics.
Why are PFAS Dangerous?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the chemicals are linked to liver damage, harm to the immune system, developmental toxicity and cancer, and can accumulate in humans and the environment.
Studies have shown in animal testing to cause liver, pancreas, and testicular tumors, effects on serum liver enzymes, however, how it is effecting humans is uncertain. Other studies have shown increases in prostate, kidney and testicular cancers in people who live near facilities and workers exposed to PFAS
Studies looking at the harm of elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water found that, people who’d been exposed to higher than normal levels of PFOA had an elevated risk of high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
According to a 2020 Consumer Reports article, PFAS have been detected in the drinking water of more than 1,400 communities in 49 states, according to research by the PFAS Project at Northeastern University in Boston and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization that estimates that 110 million people may have tap water contaminated with the chemicals
Other studies in people and animals have shown that high enough doses of PFAS chemicals like PFOA can affect the immune system and have toxic effects on the liver and other organs
According to a report from Florida, non- cancer effects appear more common and include, increase cholesterol levels, impact hormones, the immune system and fetal and infant developmental effects
The US Department of Health and Human Services “CDC/ATSDR recognizes that exposure to high levels of PFAS may impact the immune system. There is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines and may reduce infectious disease resistance.
——===-=-=-=-=- try screen recording the Amazon video for the blog ——===-=-=-=-=- https://amzn.to/3QxoQ96 ——===-=-=-
I use a Yeti water bottle and a Hydro Flask water bottle. I fill both of them up for the day when at home. I also have a 64-ounce Hydro Flask for the car, so I have water with me always (well, OK, 98% of the time, I am after all human). They are not 100% the best but, they are 98% better than a plastic water bottle. So, what water do I fill them with? Reverse osmosis water, read on.
Can you drink reverse osmosis water for dehydration?
Reverse osmosis water is a popular choice. Quite frankly, it is my go-to-choice as well. Of course this method also has its problems, but I still believe it is a great choice for dehydration with a couple of tricks.
What is reverse osmosis water?
A reverse osmosis system is hooked up to your tap water typically under the sink. The reverse osmosis process uses a membrane and filters to remove impurities, contaminates, microbes and minerals.
The fresh water is then held in a tank and the water is accessed by a faucet attached to the tank. Of course, this means electrolyte minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are also removed.
It does a great job of removing salt. We stayed at a resort in Tacna Arizona where the ground water is quite salty. It felt wonderful to shower with the salty water, but to drink-no thank you! The resort had a 3 carbon reverse osmosis and it did a wonderful job of removing the salt.
In fact, reverse osmosis water is one of the most effective systems for removing trace minerals in your water. This is not good! But, I have not found a more effect way of cleaning my water. So, I do a couple of things.
A quick remedy for an average 3 carbon reverse osmosis is to add Celtic Sea salt to your water. A pinch in your drinking water or a 1/4 teaspoon in 32 ounces of water is sufficient to add minerals back to the water.
Below, I will share with you a couple of different filters for filtering your water plus the reverse osmosis system I had in my home in Arizona and now in the RV. I was not going RV’ing without one!
PICTURE OF MOTORHOME
But, if you want to know now..here are the two I use.
For my home in AZ I used the iSpring 7-Stage Reverse Osmosis and I loved it. The water tasted so good!
For our Motorcoach, we have been using the WECO system with a 2 gallon tank.
Can Solé water help with dehydration?
What the heck is Solé water?
Solé Water (pronounced sol-ay) is created when Original Himalayan Crystal Stones are dissolved in high-quality water creating a concentrated salty solution containing 84 ionic minerals to help balance and restore mineral imbalances.
==> picture of sole in water <====
This is an effective and cost friendly way to get a dose of minerals. It is super easy to do. I carry high quality respected Himalayan Crystal Salt Stones by Symphony Natural Health in my store.
If you really want to get into the fine details on the origin of himalayan salt check out the book “Water & Salt – the Essence of Life" By: Dr Barbara Hendel, MD and Peter Ferreira. https://amzn.to/3OF7824 clear history and cache then get a proper Amazon link The book is a fascinating read. The book provides practical tips for increasing well being, finding physical and emotional balance, and achieving unlimited energy.
Is Solé water good for dehydration?
Yes, solé water is a great way to ward off dehydration. When we submerge a crystal of salt into water, it dissolves, and the salty solution, known as brine, creates Solé. Solé is neither water nor salt. It is a higher energetic dimension than either the water or the salt alone. When the solé evaporates, the salt is left behind. This transformability of salt ensures that it does not have to be metabolized in our body. It is directly available to the cells in its ionized form as solé. Getting the minerals from the Solé in a naturally ionized nature with water, is an excellent way to ward off dehydration.
The Difference between Rock Salt and Crystal Salt
According to an excerpt from the book “Water & Salt – the Essence of Life"
By: Dr Barbara Hendel, MD and Peter Ferreira
Rock salt is a cheap alternative to table salt, and is at least a natural and is at least a natural and wholesome product. Bio-chemically and biophysically however, it is of little importance to our organism. We can only receive the resonant effects of the geometrical structure through the superior order or structure of a crystal and our cells can only absorb those elements that occur in an ional form. Only under considerable pressure can the elements be transformed into a specific size, making them ional, which enables them to pass through our cell wall. This is important because our cells can only absorb what is available organically or ionally. Therefore, we cannot absorb the minerals from mineral water as they’re not refined enough to penetrate our cell walls. And what doesn’t get into our cells cannot be metabolized. Therefore, the best calcium is useless if it cannot be available to the body’s cells. What we need is the organic, or ional state of an element, in perfect natural symbiosis with all its associated elements, in order for our organism to make any use of it.
Pure, natural crystal salt has been subjected to enormous pressure over millions of years. Salt, for us, is foremost an information carrier and not a spice. For information to be absorbed into our cells, a crystalline structure is necessary. Crystal salt layers wind through the mountain of salt, shimmering in transparent white, pinkish or reddish veins. Only with sufficient pressure was the salt of the salt mountain transformed into crystal salt. The elements trapped within the crystal salt are in particles small enough to be able to penetrate the human cells and be metabolized.
How to Make Solé
As you use the Himalayan Salt Solé Water, add more water and repeat the process. When you reach a point where all the Himalayan Salt is dissolved, add more Himalayan Salt to the jar to continue making Himalayan Salt Solé Water.
Best electrolyte drinks to avoid dehydration
If you do not want to mess with salt or Solé or, if you are on the go, or need to quickly rehydrate, electrolyte drinks are also available.
Portable electrolyte powder packets are also handy to keep on you if you are runner, hiker or spend a ton of time outdoors, live in a dry (desert) part of the country or live at high altitudes.
If you happen to suffer from muscle cramps and Charlie horses, Solé can most definitely help with the long term problem, however, electrolyte powders can also help typically within 20-30 minutes after drinking.
ADD PICTURE OF Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt Electrolyte Powder WITH LINK Code C20004
I personally use Selina Naturally Celtic Sea Salt Electrolyte Powder 30 packets Code C20004
If I do not drink enough water the day before (and I am in the mountains), I tend to wake up not feeling that great, nausea, tender stomach and a headache, I take this first thing in the morning and within 30 minutes the symptoms are gone and my appetite is back. I think its
PHOTO OF PACKETS AND POWDER Electrolyte Supreme Lemon Lime from Jigsaw Health Code J01511
Electrolyte Supreme Lemon Lime from Jigsaw Health Code J01511
Jigsaw Electrolyte Supreme contains a broad spectrum of electrolytes, minerals and vitamins. Each packet replenishes and rehydrates the body with a broad profile of important minerals and electrolytes.
If you do not want packets, there is also a powdered version with 60 servings. Code J400151
PHOTO Trace Minerals Power Pak Pineapple Coconut 30 packs Code T0249
A popular choice from my store for quelling dehydration is Trace Minerals Power Pak Pineapple Coconut 30 packs Code T0249
This formula is Non-GMO great tasting formula contains 1200 mg of Vitamin C, and all major electrolytes (potassium, magnesium, chloride and sodium), plus over 72 verified ionic minerals and trace minerals from ConcenTrace®, which supports the assimilation and absorption of vitamins and nutrients
Which ever you choose, all these options are portable, enjoyable and go a long way in relieving the symptoms of dehydration and staying hydrated for better health and less annoying symptoms including after one-too-many alcohol drinks.
How to remind yourself to drink water
At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself why are you stopping yourself from feeling good all the time by not drinking water? If your water tastes flat, try adding a pinch of Celtic sea salt to your water. Your taste buds will perk up for sure!
Set an alarm for each hour on your phone to remind you to drink water
Pick out a glass container. Or a good stainless steel bottle. It has to be something that just feels good to you to encourage you to drink from it. I am sure you have a favourite coffee or tea mug, right? Now, let’s get a favorite water drinking container.
Wear a bracelet or a loose rubber band or string on the hand you use to drink with. So, if you are left handed, put it on your left hand, every time you reach out or see your band/bracelet drink water.
water app picture
One of my clients shared with me an app she uses to make sure she drinks water throughout the day. The app is called WaterMinder. She likes the fact that as she drinks water and records, it gives her a visual of how she is filling her body with water. She says it may sound corny, but the visual really helps her.
Hey! Whatever works to get you drinking water. WaterMinder also sends her reminders to drink water and she can program it with her Apple Watch. Do you think you will give this a try?
Now that we know dehydration can cause a ton of nasty side effects and may result in unnecessary medications let's drink up.
Let’s end dehydration. It does not matter what it takes to get you to drink water, just drink water. If you have a trick to remind yourself to drink water, share your ideas in the comment section.
For more information on each of the products listed above you can contact me via email or text (347) 766-9355 (be sure to include your name)
Don't wait for an emergency; act now get some form of mineral complex and please drink up!
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Can we talk? I mean really talk?
I work with clients who come to me with autoimmune conditions, mainly gut related, however, all diseases start with the gut. Hmm, let me back up, all diseases start with what you put into your mouth.
Have you read the report from Consumer Reports about food packaging? If you have, good, read this. If you have not, please read this.
Consumer reports did independent testing of more than 100 packaging products from US restaurant and grocery chains. They found what is called “Forever Chemicals” in paper bags for french fries, wrappers for hamburgers, molded fiber salad bowls and single-use paper plates.
"Forever Chemicals" means, they stay in our body forever because our overwhelmed liver and kidneys can not detoxify them. With the right tools, it is possible to release them from the body. I believe it is quite possible, given the fact on average, PFAS can remain in the body between two and nine years. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to change their habits. Believe it or not, this also plays a role in the severity of some cases of Covid-19.
According to the findings of Consumer Reports', restaurants, especially fast food restaurants had at least one packaging product containing Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) (pronounced PEA-fahs). Grocery chains such as Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Kroger, and Stop and Shop.
There are more than 4,700 different PFAS chemicals, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and among the 9,000 known PFAS, testing can only identify a couple dozen according to Consumer Reports.
Here is the thing, this is not the first time Consumer Reports has done this type of a report. They have done it several times. We hear the message, it remains in the news for a couple of days, and restaurants go back to how they have always done it. If we, as consumers, are not demanding change, it is not going to happen.
And, believe me, it is not just Fast food chains, restaurants from chains to high end are all using these types of packaging. More than likely, not knowingly or turning a blind eye. According to Consumer Reports;
“retailers that claimed to be phasing out PFAS, including Cava, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Sweetgreen, and Whole Foods Market. All 13 of the products the companies said had reduced PFAS still had some detectable organic fluorine, and seven were above 20 ppm. They ranged from a Whole Foods soup container with 21 ppm organic fluorine—the only Whole Foods item to top the 20-ppm limit—to a paper bag for pita chips from Cava with 260 ppm.
PFAS are a a class of industrial chemicals used to repel grease, water and stains in consumer products. This is why you will find these chemicals in pizza boxes, fast food packaging, restaurant take away containers, disposable coffee cups and soup containers, nonstick coating on many pans and bakeware, carpeting, in some areas, drinking water, packaging lining (think cereal, crackers), furniture coating, clothing, electronics.
Why are PFAS Dangerous?
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the chemicals are linked to liver damage, harm to the immune system, developmental toxicity and cancer, and can accumulate in humans and the environment.
PFA’s in packaging, are seeping into the food. This contamination is building up in our body, is leading to health issues. Studies have shown in animal testing to cause liver, pancreas, and testicular tumors, effects on serum liver enzymes, however, how it is effecting humans is uncertain. Other studies have shown increases in prostate, kidney and testicular cancers in people who live near facilities and workers exposed to PFAS
Studies looking at the harm of elevated levels of PFOS and PFOA in drinking water found that, people who’d been exposed to higher than normal levels of PFOA had an elevated risk of high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension
According to a 2020 Consumer Reports article, PFAS have been detected in the drinking water of more than 1,400 communities in 49 states, according to research by the PFAS Project at Northeastern University in Boston and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization that estimates that 110 million people may have tap water contaminated with the chemicals.
Other studies in people and animals have shown that high enough doses of PFAS chemicals like PFOA can affect the immune system and have toxic effects on the liver and other organs. According to a report from Florida, non- cancer effects appear more common and include, increase cholesterol levels, impact hormones, the immune system and fetal and infant developmental effects.
There’s clear evidence that being exposed to high enough levels of PFOS and PFOA is linked to an elevated risk for a number of diseases, and experts say it’s possible that other PFAS chemicals could have similar health effects. Continuous high exposure is what increases the risk the most. What is even more sickening, the federal government still hasn't set limits for PFAS compounds.
Keep in mind, it may be small exposure in fast food or grocery packaging, known as chronic exposure. It is the accumulative effect at play here.
There are newer chemicals on the market. Researches are testing people to see how these will pan out. Wait, what? Sounds like we are the cohort, once again. But, according to the companies who are producing alternatives they are well-studied and safe. Um, no thank you! Sounds like when we woke up and screamed “foul-play” on Bisphenol A (BPA). The companies changed to Bisphenol-S (BPS) and we all think this is safe. Um, no!
Covid-19 and PFAS, A Deadly Combination
PFAS (perfluorinated alkylate substances) are everywhere! Getting them out of the Environemental is not possible. Even the healthiest of the healthiest packaging will contain trace amounts of PFAS. There are substitutes available, however, CR tested 50 products and guess what? They are not so healthy.
One of the newer subset or substitute is erfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA). This has been found to accumulate in the lungs and has been linked to more sever cases of COVID-19. The researchers found;
“Measures of individual exposures to immunotoxic PFASs included short-chain PFBA known to accumulate in the lungs. Elevated plasma-PFBA concentrations were associated with an increased risk of a more severe course of COVID-19. Given the low background exposure levels in this study, the role of exposure to PFASs in COVID-19 needs to be ascertained in populations with elevated exposures.”
According to US Department of Health and Human Services;
“CDC/ATSDR recognizes that exposure to high levels of PFAS may impact the immune system. There is evidence from human and animal studies that PFAS exposure may reduce antibody responses to vaccines and may reduce infectious disease resistance."
According to Toxic Free Future Advocacy Group; many products are made with these compounds, including:
"food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers;
stain-resistant carpets, rugs, and furniture;
outdoor gear with a “durable water repellent” coating;
aerospace, medical, and automotive applications; and
many specialty items such as firefighting foams, ski wax, and industrial applications."
These chemicals are everywhere and in just about everything and are here to stay messing up our health.
Why do we need talk?
Because I really want you to be the healthiest you can be, not just in this moment, but when you are old! You see, what you eat today, or what it is wrapped in, may not show a cause and an effect today. It will show an accumulative chronic effect later.
Cancer doesn’t happen over night, an autoimmune condition does not happen over night. It is an accumulative effect. These chemicals are a contributing factor.
What you are doing today is going to affect how you feel in the future.
I met with a potential client, who has Crohn’s disease. His diet was terrible, two days of eating a better diet, he felt better. Food is powerful! If he keeps going, eating real whole foods and avoiding as many chemicals as possible, he can reverse numerous side effects of his current condition.
Of course, we are talking about what our food is wrapped in. Food that you purchase in the organic produce section comes in its own package. Whole organic fruits and vegetables will not contain any PFAS, xenoestrogens and other chemicals.
I am keeping this post mainly to food exposure however, this is also a growing concern for children’s toys, baby bottles, toys, appliances and personal care products.
How Can we limit our exposure to PFAS?
Get Your Water Tested
Get your water tested whether it is municipal or well water. Water systems tested in 2013-2015 revealed an estimated six million U.S. residents with drinking water supplies contaminated with PFAS above safety levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
A 2018, report drafted by the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry suggested more communities may have PFAS levels in their water that are a concern for health. For some, water can be the highest exposure. Not just drinking, but bathing. When these chemicals are heated they are more volatile and steam is an easy way to inhale large amounts of these chemicals, not to mention what is absorbed through the skin.
Invest in a Reverse Osmosis
Once your water has been tested you can either trust what you are drinking out of the tap or, install a reverse osmosis. Whether you live in a building or your home rolls like ours you can get a reverse osmosis. When we had our home, I had the iSpring 7-Stage Reverse Osmosis and I loved it. The water tasted so good! There are different filter stages you can get. I went for this one because the water in Phoenix, Arizona is less than stellar including containing chemicals such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Chromium-6.
This Ispring Reverse Osmosis (picture above) has 7 stages of filtration including a UV light stage for microbes, the other filters remove harmful chemicals and the best part, a pH filter to remineralize the water. It was truly the best reverse osmosis system I have ever had. If I could have fit this under the sink in my Motorcoach, I would have it in there too. But, alas, it is too big!
I did find a company that makes RV reverse osmosis units with different tank and cartridge sizes. We got the 2 gallon tank (pictured above) and it is perfect for shore hookup or boondocking. The company is Weco Filters. The one we got is a mini 3 cartridge (with membrane) reverse osmosis machine. I also found it on Amazon which is super nice for the free shipping and getting it in a couple of days. A friend of mine just purchased the same one off of Amazon for his coach and he loves it!
We have a 3 stage filter system for the whole coach and a filter on the hose outside. Because of this, instead of changing our WECO Mini Reverse Osmosis filters every 3 months, we can go 6 months, sometimes longer. The membrane is changed every two years. We are just coming up on 2 years and will have to see where it is at and then decide if we can get a little more time on it. Although, the filters are quite inexpensive.
For the home, typically the filters are changed every 6 months to a year and the membrane is every 5 years.
Use a shower and bathtub filter
You can also get shower and bath filter systems to help catch some of these chemicals. Weco Filters carries filters for the bath and shower. Amazon has vast array of shower and bath filters from a simple carbon to elaborate remineralizing filters. Like SparkPod, Aqua Earth, AquaBliss, which have different stages of filtration to not only block out the bad stuff but remineralize for better skin and hair.
For the bath, there are bath ball filters such as, Sprite Showers, BB-BN Ball Bath Filter, Organic Cotton Bath Faucet Filter by Santevia, and CuZn Bath Ball Faucet Filter.
Upgrade your dining experience
Food chains use less than stellar ingredients, especially the oil. On the notes, your local restaurants may also be using less than stellar ingredients and packaging. Open Googlemaps and search “organic restaurants”. A ton of healthier option restaurants will pop up. They will not all be organic, however, they will be a 100% step up from fast food chains. Now you get to explore cleaner, fresher food.
Before going to the restaurant, bring a glass container with you for leftovers. You can now get glass dishes with bamboo lids. There are tons to choose from on Amazon from small to large and ones with individualized compartments. I recently purchased these bamboo glass containers with separate compartments to try out in my HotLogic. I love that that I can bring home SAFE leftovers, refrigerate, then pop into my HotLogic to reheat the next day. I can also store food in these and pop them into the freezer. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, and does not contain any of the forever chemicals. I also leave a glass container in my car, for unplanned nights out.
If you already have glass containers with plastic lids, like I do, I use non-bleached parchment paper to put under the plastic lid. I have been using the brand "If You care" non-bleached, chemical free parchment paper because they really go far to ensure the best healthiest quality parchment paper.
For my round glass dishes, I use "Zenology" unbleached parchment paper rounds. All I can say is one word, GENIUS! They come in every size and are easy to use. I have researched these two companies for parchment paper and they are not using “forever chemicals” to the best of my knowledge.
Pay Attention to the Packaging
Now that you have a better idea of what is lurking in the food products, limit your consumption of canned foods, foods wrapped in styrofoam, microwaved foods such as popcorn (the ultimate worst) and, liners in food. Look for food in glass over plastic.
Now, you are probably thinking, there is no way I am giving up my popcorn. You do not have to. You just need to upgrade what you are eating. Instead of a chemical laden popcorn bag cooked in the microwave, go retro. Go old skool with a popcorn machine. If you like buttered popcorn, go for real organic butter from pastured raised cows or ghee. Voila! Look at you, making yummy buttered popcorn and not a chemical in sight! Pat yourself on the back.
This is just one example of how you can easily upgrade your food choices for the better.
Here is a great trick. When picking a product off of the shelf, grab the one at the back. If the employees are stocking their shelves correctly, the newest is at the back and the oldest product is at the front. It won't protect you from leaching. But, when you add in the lights beaming on the shelves, the newer product is hiding in the back under the cloak of shade. It just means maybe there is less contamination.
Which means, when you get your product home, transfer it from the packaging to a glass dish or jar. Oh, and do not forget to use non-bleached waxed paper or parchment paper if you are using a plastic lid.
Upgrade your protein sources
If you are subscribed to my weekly newsletter, You all know I order my animal and seafood protein through Butcherbox. Not only am I side-stepping harmful antibiotics, toxins and inflammation, I am also not getting styrofoam packaged foods. Seriously, upgrading your animal and ocean protein means, less chemicals altering your physiology leading to disease and cancer. Plus, its fresh, not hanging around in a supermarket under those harsh lights. I also like that Butcherbox is delivered right to my door.
Check out a local Farmers Market. Besides Butcherbox, I also go to local farmers market and chat with the farmer, they are super honest and will tell you up front what they are feeding their animals and how they are raised. I have yet to be handed meat that was stored on styrofoam. Its just a better a choice.
Eat at home, cook at home
Sunday dinners were my favourite when I was kid. We would gather together at grandmas house and enjoy good food and great conversations, well the adults anyway. I was just happy to play with my cousins.
If you are subscribed to my weekly newsletter, (and, if you are not, get on it now), you know I am always sharing a recipe with you. Ok, so a lot of them are using the HotLogic, but, there is method to my obsession! The HotLogic ((use my discount code HEALTHY GUT for an additional 10% off) is a simple way to upgrade your food with minimal effort. Throw all the ingredients into a glass dish (no chemicals), slap on a piece of non-bleached parchment paper (no chemicals) and then the lid (protected from chemicals), plug the HotLogic in- eat when you are ready chemical free!
Seriously, we need to get back to eating real food! It has been proven, that food wrapped in packages especially fat, salt and acidic leach the PFAS chemicals quicker. What foods could these be? Just about everything on the menu! Research suggests, PFAS levels are higher in those who regularly eat out especially in females.
Covid lockdown should have had us all cooking again. But, unfortunately, because we had a car and tons of drive-thrus, with a wipe of the sweat off our brow, we thwarted the horror.
I believe from looking at the research, our immune system has been attacked, our gut is compromised and we are dealing with the aftermath of ill health, blaming it all on Covid. Seriously, we need to start cooking whole organic, foods that grow from the ground and graze upon it. In other words, less packaged foods and more real food, minimally processed.
I get it, we are all busy, and purchasing a ready cooked meal and popping it into a microwave is quick. Or even quicker, driving up to the drive thru, and spending 15 minutes in a line sucking in exhaust fumes while we pass the time away scrolling through social media.
Seriously, have you stopped to understand what is missing when you eat these types of food? You are not getting what you need to run your body, protect you from disease and cancer!
Autoimmune disease, cancer are preventative if we take a little time now to do the work. If you do not put the right oil and gas and change the filter in your car, it doesn’t run quite as well. We are much the same.
It may seem like a lot of work and in the beginning it may seem like that. But, once you get used to cooking real whole food, you will never go back.
There isn’t a client I have worked with who, after working with me has said “I think I am going back to the way I used to eat.” Not one! I have worked in integrative healing centers in 3 different countries. The running theme; whatever the ailment, the diet and lifestyle was the same. Change the diet and lifestyle, and they all got better to reversing their symptoms and diagnoses for the better.
You have the ability to change. Don’t do it all at once. Start slowly. Look, if you want to learn how to cook from scratch and have left overs for the next day. Make the recipes I share with you. It is quite easy.
My husband and I boondocked for a week in the middle of nowhere. It took me a little prep-work however, my HotLogic did all the work. In my HotLogic MAX Oven I effortlessly cooked at the same time, a whole chicken and beef roast in separate containers. My personal size HotLogic Mini I cooked a pork roast. I made up 3 different salad dressings in left over Kombucha jars. If you are starting to think the HotLogic is the way to check it out and use the discount code HEALTHYGUT on the checkout page for an additional 10% off. I have been using mine for 4 years now.
I made sure we had enough for veggies for salads for the week. I will confess, I forgot to buy some onions. I made pickled onions -these went on everything they were sooooooooo good.
You can easily cook up a batch of potatoes. Leave some boiled whole, mash some up and you can easily reheat in the HotLogic along with a choice beef, pork or chicken. I cooked my asparagus in the HotLogic for our asparagus pickled onion salad, paired it with chicken and it was absolutely delicious. Guess what was not lurking? PFAS! Yippeeee!
We ate like royalty. The salad dressings were out of this world. Way better than any store bought dressing-I promise! The pickled onions were the perfect set of sweet and tangy. And mixing them with asparagus was just delightful. Eating outside every night with the sound of nothing but the Sonoran desert was better than any 5 star dining experience I have done.
We had different fresh veggies and salad dressings throughout the week, alternated our animal protein and we never felt like we were eating the same thing every night. You can do this too. You do not need to boondock in order to eat super healthy and effortlessly.
Detox your way to health
There are things that can be done to help remove some of these chemicals from your body. But, first, you must start by removing the culprits and it starts with the what I have suggested above. Once this is done, then you can start the healing process.
It can take up to a year or longer to release these stored toxins. Sorry, there is no quick fix. You can however, use foods to help in the process. Foods such as chlorella, spirulina, turmeric and Ginger are wonderful cleansing herbs to add to your smoothies and food. Leafy greens (the darker the better), apples and citrus for the pectin, sprouts and beets are wonderful for supporting the liver and its detoxification pathways.
Add lots of organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds to help feed your microbiota that in turn can keep bacteria at bay that interfere with your liver's ability to detoxify. Fiber also helps bind toxins so they can be eliminated via a great bowel moment!
Drinking quality water is also a super support. It helps to keep the body properly hydrated so that it can perform the necessary functions for proper detoxification and elimination. If you are taking fiber, it is important to get at least 32 ounces of water daily to help with good bowel movements to get the junk out of you.
Sleep is super important. Sleep is what triggers the liver to start cleaning and sorting nutrients from our food intake and eliminating toxins and chemical processing metabolites from the day. Our entire digestive process is in high gear while we are sleeping; building and repairing.
We do not need to worry, but we do need to worry
Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) may be considered forever chemicals however, I believe we can do something about it. We can detoxify these chemicals from our body. But, first we must do some prepwork to get to the point of releasing these toxins. The first is to incorporate the suggestions in the article. The more you can stop bringing the chemicals in your body, the better your body will react at getting the rest out.
We can all get back to basics with our food. What we put in our mouth affects our physiology, our emotions, our frame of mind, and our health. Disease and cancer is preventable. Now that you know how forever chemicals may be affecting your health, what will take for you to do something about it. You have the power to take back our health.
If you need coaching or help in upgrading your diet and lifestyle, I am here for you. Email me or text me and let's get you going on your road to the best life now and in the future!
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We need to talk about traditional charcuterie (pronounced “shar-ku-trie”) boards since they are all the rage. In case you spend more time off-grid then on (like me), charcuterie is the art of taking cured meats, cheese, artisan breads, crackers, fruit and nuts and creatively displaying them on a board. They are quite popular for date night, get togethers including football parties. but what's lurking in the deli meats is can be a total nightmare.
But first, let me share a story with you. When I was kid, one of my favorite things to eat was a bologna sandwich. It would start with fresh Wonder bread, margarine thickly spread on both sides of the bread, 2 pieces of bologna and 2 slices of Kraft single cheese and iceberg lettuce. I would squish the bread until it was a dense doughy mess, eat it and then wash it down with a glass of cow’s milk. Man, how things have changed! In fact, this memory seems like it is someone else’s memory, it is that foreign to me. I couldn’t imagine eating this way today.
What is so wrong with the way I used to eat? everything! But, first, let me ask you, are you still eating deli meats? What about cured meats? Even the healthy ones? Should you?
Whether it is a charcuterie or a sandwich, let’s explore how eating deli meat, cured meat, bacon, hotdogs and other prepared processed meat may potentially be affecting your health and the ramifications.
Deli meats, sometimes called luncheon meats , cold cuts and cured meats, can have some potential ingredients that can cause problems. When I was growing up, deli meats were meat you got at the deli counter and luncheon meats were what you shopped for in the prepared meats isle of the grocers.
So, what the heck is a cold cut?
Deli meat is what you would get at the deli market. It would be large pieces of meat, individually sliced by the butcher to the specifications of the customer. My mum used to get 100g of shaved black forest ham. Honestly, it was the best tasting ham.
Luncheon meats are sealed prepackaged meats hanging off of a peg in the refrigerated section of the grocers’ store. Cold cuts, are a slang term for the slang term “luncheon meats” (which is the slang term for deli meats). Essentially, they are refrigerated prepackaged luncheon meats. Cold cuts and luncheon meats mean the same thing, it just depends on where you are from.
What is the problem with Deli and luncheon meats?
Whether it is deli, luncheon or cold cuts (and for the rest of this article I will combine the term into deli meats) and cured meats contain some seedy ingredients that seem harmless, however, when they mix with our bodily fluids may be deadly.
It all has to do with how deli meats are cured. Conventional methods use nitrates and nitrites. According to WebMD Nitrate is an inorganic, water-soluble chemical. Your body makes around 62 milligrams (mg) of nitrites a day, but the majority of nitrates come from your diet.
Did you know regularly eating even small amounts of cured processed meats increases cancer and heart disease risk? Maybe you have heard of this in the past. I know I have covered it a time or two in past emails.
So, you upgraded to the healthiest you could find and, guess what? Even healthy, including 'uncured' products have the same effect. How can this be?
According to 2019 JNCI Cancer Spectrum statistics ;
The reason why deli meats including bacon and hotdogs are questionable is because they are loaded with nitrites and nitrates. Nitrites and Nitrates are similar in that these compounds are inorganic composed of nitrogen and oxygen.
Nitrites and nitrates are anti microbial preservatives used to stop the growth of microbes and they also help keep the pinker tones in the meat. There have been numerous studies indicating nitrites and nitrates on their own are safe.
Like all research, it is what I call, “narrowed research” and it is up to the consumer to read the broad scope. Research has indicated that nitrites and nitrates are safe. Indeed, they are. But, the research, which is typical with most research, they look at a very narrow approach. Indeed, these chemicals are safe, however, what happens, when they are ingested? How do they interact in our body? This sometimes is overlooked.
In this instance, when nitrates combine with saliva and stomach acid, the proteins create a compound called nitrosamine which studies show have been linked to causing cancer.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, based in Atlanta, Georgia, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  released a patient education care instruction sheet “Nitrates/Nitrates Poisoning” looking at nitrites in drinking water reported the following;
“Usually nitrates that enter the body by eating or drinking leave the body without harm. Sometimes, though, conditions such as diarrhea and dehydration (not enough fluids in the body) can make nitrates change to nitrites in greater amounts. These nitrites in the blood cause changes in hemoglobin, or the molecules that help move oxygen in the body. Nitrates can make it so that less oxygen is available for the body to function properly."
When looking at shallow rural domestic wells not tested properly, may cause problems for infants. The same paper states; 
"Infants younger than 4 months of age are the highest risk group for harm from exposure to nitrates."
Infants with diarrhea and vomiting form more nitrites inside the body that place them at higher risk for health effects with or without nitrate exposure.
A pregnant woman and her fetus might be more sensitive to toxicity from nitrites or nitrates at or near the 30th week of pregnancy.”
It is not just rural areas, it is also our municipal tap water. According to
it is also our municipal tap water. According to Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), What Are U.S. Standards and Regulations for Nitrates and Nitrites Exposure?  Looking at recommended limit for nitrates and nitrites in drinking water concluded;
Although we are not talking about nitrites and nitrates in drinking water, could these same concerns spill over into our meats?
An article from THE CONVERSATION, Academic rigor, journalistic flair; “Why nitrates and nitrites in processed meats are harmful – but those in vegetables aren’t”  talks about nitrites and cancer;
“…cancer risk likely comes from when the sodium nitrites react with other molecules in the body. So it isn’t necessarily the nitrates and nitrites themselves that cause health issues – including cancer. Rather, it’s what form they are converted into that can increase risk – and what these converted molecules interact with in our bodies.
The main concern is when sodium nitrite reacts with degraded bits of amino acids – protein fragments our body produces during the digestion of proteins – forming molecules called N-nitroso compounds (NOCs). These NOCs have been shown to cause cancer.
Cancer-causing NOCs can form either during the preparation of nitrite-containing processed meats or during their digestion in the gut. This is because both the preparation and digestion of processed meats generate plenty of protein fragments for the nitrites to react with. Research shows that the NOCs already present in the processed meats we eat (known as “preformed NOCs”) are linked with a greater risk of developing rectal cancer than from NOCs that are subsequently formed in the body. By contrast, given that there are far fewer protein fragments in vegetables, these aren’t a significant source of preformed NOCs.
Haem reacts with nitrites, resulting in a molecule called nitrosylated-haem. It’s this molecule – rather than the nitrite itself – that likely reacts with protein fragments to form NOCs.
The reason NOCs cause cancer is because they damage DNA. This is the first step in cancer, which is why NOCs are sometimes referred to as “tumour initiators”. But other agents, called tumour promoters, are then needed to drive the cancer process forwards. Tumour promoters are produced in high amounts when meat is fried. So it may be that processed meats that are fried – such as bacon and sausages – contain more initiators and tumour promoters and may be more of a cancer risk than non-fried types such as hams."
If you are thinking…well, Karen, there are nitrites in our veggies, how come they do not affect us?
Approximately 80% of dietary nitrates are derived from vegetable consumption. we, along with our saliva and bacteria also produce nitrites. But, because there are no protein compounds mixing with stomach acid, plus these veggies will contain naturally occurring vitamin C  and E, (antioxidants) and and polyphenols, which prevents the conversion, thus, they are a safer choice. Another win-win for the plant based versus meat argument.
However, with this said, we do not know the long-term effects of genetically engineered “plant-based” foods such as burgers that bleed,[9,10]
Back to processed meats; it only takes a little bit. Harvard researchers  found increasing processed red meat intake by just half a serving a day (½ ounce deli meat, ½ hot dog, or 1 slice bacon) raised the risk of dying over the next eight years by 13 percent. I am a little freaked out because I do eat bacon..I love my bacon! Cold cuts; not-so-much, hotdogs? I have not eaten those in over 25 years.
What about “uncured’ processed meats?
There is a big hot mess going on when it comes to properly labeling processed meats. There are two methods to curing meats; there are the synthetic “sodium nitrate and nitrite” and the natural, coming from celery or other natural sources. By USDA standards, the label “uncured” simply means the manufacturer did not use chemicals, instead used natural sources for the curing process.
When I was healing from Crohn’s disease, part of the healing process was an upgrade in my diet. I would eat gluten free bread, lavishly buttered with butter from pasture-raised cows, organic cheese and organic deli meat with naturally occurring nitrite from celery.” In my mind, my upgrade was healthier, was it?
According to Joseph Sebranek, Ph.D., Morrison Endowed Chair in meat science at Iowa State University whether synthetic or natural [nitrites and nitrates] the composition are the same along with the negative health effects.
Consumer’s Reports tested 31 packaged deli meats from nine companies for nitrites and nitrates. They found on average the levels of nitrites and nitrates were almost the same for cured and uncured meats.
If you are still eating conventional processed meats, it is not just the nitrites and nitrates that are problem, but the injections of sodium and other additives to plump up the the meat and make it look good enough to eat. Not to mention fake skins on sausage, and other bloating chemicals and synthetic flavorings. Oh why oh why would you want to eat this?
Why do we have to cure meat?
Meat is cured to keep bacteria from growing which can literally kill you. Some of the top concerns include;
On average, deli meats should only be kept in the refrigerator 3-5 days once opened. This is one example where the smell test will fail you. Listeria does not have an odour and you can’t see it, but it sits there quietly growing because the cold does not kill it. If you have purchased prepackaged luncheon meats or cold cuts there should be an expiration date, follow it. And, the best advice I can give you, and I live by, when in doubt, throw it out.
These are just 3 examples of the numerous microbes which can make their way in to our guts wreaking havoc and the argument for why deli meats need to be cured.
Can we eat ‘uncured’ processed meats?
I still believe you should opt for the healthier version of processed meats, hotdogs, deli meats and bacon. Why? Because typically when you look at the package you know what is in there.
Take a look at the difference between these two labels. The left is Applegate organic, humane raised, uncured and the other is Great Value, black forest ham, conventionally raised. Which one do you think is healthier?
I hope you said the left one. Remember, healthier processed meats are going to have better ingredients over conventional products. There will be naturally occurring nitrites, in this case using cultured celery powder, however, the conversion in the gut, may just be something your body can better utilize versus the synthetic ingredients. Not only this, take a look at the other ingredients, on both packages, which one do you think is the better choice?
Natural or organic deli, meat products typically use celery juice or powder to “cure” the meat because it can produce the similar coloring and flavor like conventional cured meats.
Any processed meats labeled “natural” or “organic” cannot be prepared with nitrites because “preservatives” are not allowed in those products.
Confusion between cured and uncured meat?
Have you seen “uncured” on the label of natural and organic products, such as deli meat, ham, bacon and hot dogs? How about “No nitrates or nitrites added”? They are cured, but with celery juice or powder. Celery contains naturally occurring nitrites.
Celery, along with other vegetables, including green leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, Bok Choy, and carrots and beets, do contain naturally occurring nitrites.
In fact, it is estimated 80% of dietary nitrites come from vegetables. There are studies showing nitrites from vegetables sources can help lower blood pressure and protect against cancer. Not to mention the amount of nitrites consumed is negligible. And, our body knows what to do with naturally occurring ingredients from foods that organically grow from the ground.
Nitrates and nitrites are also found in our drinking water mainly due to nitrogen-based fertilizers and animal waste getting into the water source, which happens quite often. Our own intestinal bacteria also produces nitrites.
Nitrites are produced endogenously through the oxidation of nitric oxide and through a reduction of nitrate by commensal bacteria in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract.
In our mouth, commensal gram negative bacteria on the tongue reduce salivary nitrates. Approximately 25% of ingested nitrate is secreted in saliva, where some 20% is converted to nitrite by commensal bacteria on the tongue. The metabolic activity of commensal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and probiotic bacteria also provide nitric oxide from nitrite, and to a lesser extent, from nitrate.
Can you cure your own meat?
If you want to take this one step further and avoid the whole delusion of processed meats and bacon you can cure your own meat. If you want to get adventurous check out Amazon, there are numerous books on naturally curing, drying and smoking your own meat, poultry and fish.
What if I don’t want to cure my own meat?
If you are less adventurous like me (yes, I am admitting “ain’t no body got time for that”) get quality meat like Butcherbox and make your own sort of. Hear me out.
I have been getting Butcherbox sent right to my door wherever I am parked. They have several boxes to choose from however, I get the ‘surprise me box’ ( I coined the name) better known as the Beef, pork, chicken box. Because I do not not order what I want, I get whatever they give me; hence the ‘surprise me.’ It’s about as on-the-edge-living the dangerous-side-of-life as I get! Well, that and living and driving a 45 foot motorcoach in city traffic. Butcherbox does offer boxes where you can pick out your own cuts of meat, poultry, pork and sea food as well as ready to heat-and-serve meals.
I do not cure the meat. Here, is what I do. I typically end up with big cuts of pork and beef roast. Since we are a family of two; I cook it up, and then slice it thin, wrap it up in non-bleached waxed paper and freeze into meal or lunch size. When I want to make a sandwich or add to a salad, I take what I need out of the freezer, It thaws super-quick. I believe it tastes way better than store-bought cured meat.
Before we sold our home and decided to live full time in a motorcoach, my daughter would come over to go “meat shopping” in my freezer. Gotta love the collage student! She would take “lunch meat” along with some other frozen goodies. Now that is she out in the working world, she has her own Butcher Box of goodies delivered right to her door.
One of my email subscribers in Alabama asked if they could get it there-Yes, you can. All across the USA. You can find out by going here to see if Butcherbox is servicing your area. In case you are wondering about bacon. I am not willing to give up my bacon. I love bacon. Bacon just makes everything tastes better, do you agree? Butcherbox bacon does not contain any of the synthetic ingredients or synthetic nitrites, just clean ingredients from humane raised pork and is uncured.
Guess what? Butcherbox has allowed me to give you $30.00 off of your first box plus free shipping (always) Check it out right now— all I can say is this deal has me shouting “Winner, winner, organic pastured-raised chicken dinner.”
What should I look for on the label?
Let’ get back to nitrates and nitrates. If the deli meat, hotdogs or bacon have nitrates, nitrites, sodium nitrites listed on the label, slowly, put the package back and walk away quickly and look for “uncured,” or “naturally occurring nitrites” on the package. Oh, and be sure to read the other ingredients. You want the one that is organic, from pastured-raised, and contains the least amount of ingredients on the label.
To recap, nitrites and nitrates are similar in that these compounds are inorganic composed of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrites are found in water, vegetables and meat.
Regularly eating even small amounts of cured processed meats increases cancer and heart disease risk. If you are gong to consume deli or cured meats, look for “uncured,” “natural”, or “contains naturally occurring nitrites from celery juice or powder”.
Be sure to read the other ingredients on the label.
Make your own “deli meats” from pastured-raised meat such as Butcherbox, and thinly slice for sandwiches and such.
You have control of what happens in your body, by what you put in your mouth. What are you going to choose?
When it comes to diabetes There are two standard tests (well, there are some others) to determine if someone is Diabetic. They are blood glucose and Hemoglobin A1C test, also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, glycohemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin, or shortened to A1C, HbA1c.
A hemoglobin A1C test measures the amount of glucose (sugar) attached to hemoglobin. Let’s talk about what hemoglobin is so that we can better understand the hemoglobin A1C test and what is measuring.
What is Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin (or haemoglobin) is the iron containing protein in the red blood cells known as erythrocytes. It is responsible for transporting oxygen to our tissues, then transporting the spent oxygen called oxyhemoglobin from our tissues to the lungs to be expelled.
How is hemoglobin made
Hemoglobin’s journey begins in the bone marrow. This process known as hematopoiesis, happens in the spongy tissue inside the bone. Inside this environment, stem cells are formed. These stem cells develop into different cells, however, we will stick to the 3 types of blood cells: red, white and platelets.
Stem cells are like rabbits. Rabbits reproduce quite fast and efficiently. Same with our cells. Stem cells, make copies of themselves constantly. In fact, as you are reading this, you have more than likely created thousands of new red blood cells.
In the case of red blood cells, once the copy is mature enough to be functional, they travel out of the bone marrow and enter the blood stream. If you want to go really in depth, watch the video above, it is quite fascinating.
For our purposes, let’s just stick with what happens after a stem cell creates a red blood cell. When the hematopoietic stem cell creates a myeloid stem cell, it matures from a proerythroblast into a reticulocyte and then an erythrocyte.
When you get your blood drawn for a yearly checkup, if you have a proper CBC, chem screen and comprehensive metabolic profile it will include reticulocyte values. This can tell us how well your bone marrow is creating blood cells. Erythocytes are your red blood cells. Red blood cells are made up of different components but do not contain a nucleus or organelles like other cells in our body.
Did you know Erythrocytes are the most abundant cell type in the blood? Red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body and also takes the carbon dioxide to the lungs to be expelled with our exhalation.
Red blood cells have a biconcave shape, meaning, both sides curve inwards. Think of pizza, the crust curves inward with a slight depression slowing towards the middle. The flexible sphere-shape of the red blood cell is designed for ease of maneuvering through the blood through arteries and teeny-tiny veins.
The biconcave shape also helps increase the surface area to allow for oxygen and carbon dioxide to easily diffuse onto the membrane of the red blood cell. What keeps the oxygen and dioxide in place is the help of hundreds of millions of hemoglobin proteins which binds it to the sphere. Hemoglobin is what gives blood its red color.
What triggers us to need more red blood cells is our kidneys. If the kidneys detect low oxygen levels, they will produce and release the hormone erythropoietin to stimulate production of red bone marrow; those stems cells we talked about.
Think about when you are running, you need more oxygen for your muscles, tissue and your lungs. We do not have to think about it, our body just gets busy creating red blood cells with millions of hemoglobin attaching oxygen to help our muscles work and to help us breathe and dumping the spent oxygen so we can breathe it out. This is basically the function of red blood cells, oxygen and carbon dioxide, energy in, energy out. All 25 trillion red blood cells continuously do this for their life span of about 90-120 (3-4 months).
Our spleen, liver and lymphatic system are always checking on the health of these red blood cells, removing them from circulation when needed sending them to the white blood cells that then engulf and digest them. It is amazing that we have our own recycling and waste disposal system happening right in our cells. The lymphatic system is part of the highway in keeping our system clean and sludge free. It dumps everything into the bowel for removal.
Now that we understand hemoglobin are proteins that bind oxygen and dioxide to the red blood cells for transpiration, now we can get back to understanding what is hemoglobin A1C and why it is measured especially in the case of diabetes.
What happens when we eat carbohydrates
When we eat carbohydrates and fats, our body breaks it down into glucose. Our mouth enzymes start the process, but the biggest breakdown happens in the small intestine with the help of enzymes released by the pancreas. As the sugars and fats are broken down into simple glucose molecules, this also triggers the pancreas to release the hormones insulin and glucagon to help monitor the amount of glucose entering the blood stream. It monitors when to store glucose if we eat too much or release the glucose back into the blood stream for energy. When we are eating foods, insulin increases hormones for;
Glycolysis; involves converting glucose to pyruvate for energy use (in the metabolic pathway for ATP and NADH)
Glycogenesis; the formation of glycogen from glucose stored in the liver and muscles.
Lipogenesis; converting glucose or other substrates into fatty acid and triglycerides for storage in the liver (sometimes fat cells)
These three metabolic reactions decrease glucose in the blood stream by converting it for storage in the liver mainly, and sometimes fat cells.
If we have not eaten in while, glucagon is released causing the liver to release stored glucose (glycogen) into the bloodstream (glycogenolysis), thereby increasing the level of glucose in the bloodstream so we can get some energy.
Most of us eat carbohydrates, we tend to break them down into simple glucose molecules to create the energy we need to run our body and brain. It is the main fuel source of the body.
What is Hemoglobin A1C
When glucose enters our blood stream from our gut, it attaches to hemoglobin, a normal physiological feat. This glucose is called glycosylated hemoglobin, or glycohemoglobin, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c).
Hemoglobin A1c compound is produced when glucose reacts with the amino group on a hemoglobin molecule forming a ketoamine. The glucose molecule is attached to one or both N-terminal valines of the β-polypeptide chains of hemoglobin. The HbA1C formation is proportional to the blood glucose concentrations.
Depending on the amount or lack of glucose attachment, we can look at the Hemoglobin A1c formation on red blood cells over the lifespan of the blood cell (90-120 days) to determine if there is too much or too little glucose in the blood stream.
What is the hemoglobin A1C test purpose
This is where we look to the serum hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test to measure the amount of glucose attaching to the hemoglobin. Since red blood cells live on average 90-120 days, the hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) test  is looking at what has been happening over the last 90’s days and gives an average.
If the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) lab test comes back with high values this indicates what has been happening over the last 3 months. Your body has been busy trying to figure out what to do with the excess amount of glucose. If you recently changed your diet, and your hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) lab test comes back with high values, remember, it is showing from three months ago, not the present moment.
If you are wanting to know the impact of your diet on your hemoglobin A1C, you would have to continue for 4 months. Then, have another serum hemoglobin A1C test done and see how your diet has impacted your A1C lab results.
What is a good hemoglobin A1C normal range
Each lab has their own hemoglobin A1C ranges. There is also what I call, conventional hemoglobin A1C levels, which is used to determine whether a person requires medication. This is the actual purpose of the hemoglobin A1C test. Collectively, conventional
Functional Hemoglobin A1C levels
There are also functional levels of hemoglobin A1C which is not rooted in the determination of medication, rather, where the physiology needs to be supported through diet and lifestyle upgrades. Functional levels are similar and include;
An increased hemoglobin (HbA1c) above the optimal range 5.7-6.5% they are possibly in the insulin resistance phase, also known as pre-diabetic state. This is known as hypoglycemia. This is often due to hyperinsulinemia, insulin sensitivity or insulin resistance which if not corrected may eventually lead to type II diabetes. It is not a fast rule. A good functional practitioner will look at other factors in the person’s lifestyle and diet that may be contributing to the high hemoglobin A1C lab value. We can also look at other lab markers to determine the course of action such as
Can you have a low hemoglobin A1C
There is such a thing as low hemoglobin A1C. A low hemoglobin A1C (HBA1c) test is between 4.2-5.6%. This would be considered low to low-normal hemoglobin A1C. Less than 4.1% may be caused by an inability to maintain adequate long-term levels of glucose or may have something to do with diet.
What causes a low hemoglobin A1c
We must also look at other conditions such a dysfunction of the spleen, or splenectomy, iron deficiency anemia, pancreatic function, low blood pressure, adrenal insufficiency, alcohol, lead toxicity and other conditions. We also need to look at other functions that may shorten the lifespan of red blood cells which would influence hemoglobin A1C lab values such as the various types of anemia including hemolytic anemia, chronic blood loss, sickle cell anemia disease, chronic renal issues, pregnancy
How do I prepare for a hemoglobin A1c test
Typically, when we have regular routine blood tests done, we fast for it. Do we need to fast for a hemoglobin A1C test? No. The reason, it is testing the amount of glucose that has attached to the hemoglobin over the last 90-120 days. Therefore, it is not affected by you eating and drinking before the test. If you are having just a hemoglobin A1C test, show up to the lab appointment on time. The phlebotomist will inset a needle into the vein in your arm to take a sample of your blood. That it is.
Should I be concerned if my Hemoglobin A1C is high
If your hemoglobin A1C levels are high depends on how high. But, to answer the question, yes, you should be concerned. An increased hemoglobin (HbA1c) above the optimal range 5.7% is a sign of not controlling long term glucose levels very well. This is what is referred to as insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. This is a wakeup call. It’s a warning that you need to change something in your diet and lifestyle. If you have read this far and are concerned, I can help you with this. Studies have shown a shift in diet can help shift your hemoglobin A1C scores back into the optimal range.
We know that a high A1C is a concern for diabetes, and is often monitored in those with diabetes, but what if you are not diabetic? Or, what if you are diabetic and A1C is high, is it just for monitoring glucose in the blood? We now know that hemoglobin is what glucose sticks to. If the production of hemoglobin changes, then ratio of hemoglobin to glucose A1c will also alter.
Hemoglobin A1C and anemia
When there is an iron deficiency, the percentage of glycosylated hemoglobin goes up. Iron-deficiency anemia may raise a person's A1C as much as 1.6 percent,  but, it will not affect blood glucose. Whether diabetic or not, if there is an iron deficiency, it needs to be treated and may just bring hemoglobin A1C under control When testing for iron deficiency, it is important to ask for the following to be on the lab requisition form
These markers are crucial to understand where and what type of anemia you may be dealing with. These markers suggest an iron deficiency anemia. If these markers come back normal, then you would look to a possible B vitamin or other nutrient type anemia
This is where we are looking at B vitamins, folate, copper, chromium, vitamin C as these all play a role in the production of hemoglobin. In this case there could be a hemoglobin type anemia known as microcytic or macrocytic anemia. Before getting your blood drawn add the following to your lab requisition form
I have highlighted the tests in red, that are normally missed on a routine lab requisition form. You will have to ensure these are added in order understand where and what type of anemia.
It is important to know your hemoglobin A1C, but it is also important to understand why it is out of the reference range so that you can do what can to bring it under control and not be misdiagnosed.
A hemoglobin HgA1C above 5.2% is associated with an increase in your brain shrinking. Think dementia and alzheimers (which is considered type III diabetes). MRIs have shown in diabetes where the brain is not getting fed enough glucose, end up with brain tissue rigidity, and less energy flow.
If we do not have adequate vitamin B12 and iron this is going to slow down the development of red blood cells and we will see an impact on the hemoglobin A1C lab values. Studies have confirmed that an HbA1c greater than 5.5% increases the risk of retinopathy and an HbA1c greater than 6.0% increases the risk of chronic kidney disease.
Other factors affecting hemoglobin A1C scores that may be overlooked include;
COVID 19 and increased hemoglobin A1C
We must look at the impact of COVID-19 on hemoglobin A1C. A systematic review and meta-analysis  looked at studies from December 1, 2019 to May 15, 2020 investigating blood glucose or glycated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). Three studies reported blood glucose and HbA1c according to the severity of COVID-19 and were included in this meta-analysis. The combined results showed that severe COVID-19 was associated with higher blood glucose. In addition, HbA1c was slightly higher in patients with severe COVID-19 than those with mild COVID-19, yet this difference did not reach significance.
What we need to understand and remember, hemoglobin A1C is an accumulation of the last 90 days, 3 months. If you have blood work done and also contracted SARS CoV2 this may be a reason why your Hemoglobin A1C has increased.
We also know that COVID-19 also affects iron and hemoglobin thus, will impact hemoglobin A1C lab values. You can check out my article on Long Covid and symptoms. Or, if you would like to get the whole scoop on Long Covid you can own your own on demand Long Covid series, check it out here.
It is still too early to know how the long term effects of vaccination will affect our health including hemoglobin A1c. We must take this into effect when looking at hemoglobin A1C values. Make a point to record the dates of COVID 19 vaccinations including booster shots. If they have taken place in the last 3 months, may influence lab values. However, with this said, Long Covid and vaccination long term effects are still being researched. In other words, we are the cohort for understanding how this experimental vaccine is affecting the future of our health.
Should I worry about hemoglobin A1C high values?
A hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) greater than 6.4% is a diagnostic for Diabetes. Is this the end? No! There are numerous strategies to help turn this around. Studies have shown a shift in diet and lifestyle can positively impact lab values and better support how glucose is used in the body so that it does not oversaturate red blood cells.
Should you worry? Yes and no. No, because worry doesn’t change anything. Yes, because worry should prompt you to be proactive and do something about it now. It is not over, it is time to get to the root cause of your hemoglobin A1C high score.
There are other blood lab values we can look at that can help determine where to start to know how to nutritionally support you for a better hemoglobin A1c test outcome. If you would like help in getting your hemoglobin A1c score into an optimal range, reach out. Email me HelloKarenLangston@gmail.com or call me (347) POO-WELL (347 766. 9355) and let’s get you feeling great again!
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Carrageenan Side Effects are no joke
Let's look at carrageenan side effects, how carrageenan affects the gut, is it safe, and how carrageenan can cause stomach problems and beyond. Let's also look at what foods contain carrageenan including organic products and decide whether or not, if it is safe to eat.
When I was first discovered the relationship between the food I was eating and my Crohn’s disease my naturopathic at the time had me keep food journals. I was suffering with bathroom trips any where from 5 to 40 times a day (sometimes more), I was also suffering with migraines and, sometimes constipation so bad that when I did finally go I was pleading with God to “take-me-now” rather than bear the unbearable pain of passing what felt like rocks wrapped in barbed wire.
I had transitioned into eating more natural and organic foods as I learned more about the benefits and yet I was still suffering. Going through my food journal my doctor suspected that I may be reacting to a thickening agent called carrageenan. I decided to pay more attention. Another two weeks and I noticed that when I ate anything with carrageenan in it I would get a migraine. My doctor picked up that it was also affecting my bowels. I did not have any cramping or anything so I did not see the connection right away.
I was also keeping track of the number of bowel movements; sure enough my bathroom trips were increased on a meal that contained carrageenan; whether it was a small amount or large my bathroom “ticks” on my journal page would be any where from 20 to 45 times! In one day! The bulk of them would be in an hour after ingesting. I was stunned. This was was over 15 years ago!
My naturopathic doctor had the studies that indicated the connection between this ingredient and bowel problems. And, the rest of the world is merely catching up? Or is it that there are more and more researchers and scientist who can no longer stay quiet? Carrageenan has been in the news and more studies indicate not only digestive disturbances and tumors of the colon but the health ramifications this stabilizer is causing.
Some companies removed carrageenan from their products others have not. In fact, fast - forward to 18 years later I found I was ingesting carrageenan without knowing it. My food is 98% organic. I like to make my own whip cream and I use whipping cream in my coffee. I only purchase organic whipping cream. And as much as I am an avid label reader, I was duped for being näive. I was in my local grocers grabbed my usual organic whipping cream and saw a local heavy cream next to it with the label “40% real cream.” It made me pause. My brain was on fire with the obvious question, why is this brand marketing the percentage of cream? I looked for the ingredients and it said “40% organic cream.”
Could it have been the carrageenan?
Of course, curiosity had me drop everything and check the ingredients of the two I usually purchase. My heart stopped. I felt so duped! One had thickening agents the other, carrageenan. And then, the light bulb went off. I couldn’t figure out why my bowels had been irritated lately (I have been eating and drinking more cream), and I had this low throbbing pain on my right side. And my face (sigh), my poor face, has been a horrible mess of ulcers and irritation. No matter what I did, I just could not clear it up. It has been a nightmare. Could it have been the carrageenan? Time will tell me as I start the clean up process and making sure all my food is carrageenan free (more on this later).
It has a been a week since I switched cream, and I can say the low-grade discomfort in my side is gone. My face, well, that is going to take longer. I have ordered myself a GI MAP and an OMX | Organic Metabolomics from Diagnostic Solutions. I do know carrageenan has a profound effect on the microbiome, and I am curious to see mine. Working with the gut microbiome is a great place to start to clear up my skin and get back on track.
What is Carrageenan
Carrageenans are a common food additive water-soluble polymer family of linear sulfated polysaccharides derived from red seaweed found in conventional, natural and organic products. Carrageenan has been used as a natural food additive for over 600 years coming from a natural source however, it is highly processed and manipulated (classified as an algal polysaccharide) into inexpensive stabilizers and thickening agents used in dairy products, yogurt, ice cream, nut and rice milks, pudding, including infant formulas, baby food, diet soda, medications, topicals and toothpaste; basically anything that needs to be thickened, gelled, creamy or stabilized so that particles stay mixed together.
We must define the fact that carrageen benefits are coming from seaweed that naturally contains the carrageenan and has been extracted in a natural way, or the entire seaweed has been dried and not extracted.
It is hard to believe there are benefits to using highly processed carrageenan. I do not think they are benefits for you and I rather ease of making products for the manufacturer. Carrageenan benefits include ease of thickening products like yogurt and ice-cream or, my new found horror, heavy whipping cream. It is also a stabilizing agent and is useful in meat products, medications, juices and infant formula. I shudder to think of how many innocent babies have had unnecessary bowel issues.
According to WebMD, Carrageenan is also used for coughs, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and intestinal problems. The French use a form that has been changed by adding acid and high temperatures. This form is used to treat peptic ulcers, and is used as a bulk laxative. Some people apply carrageenan directly to the skin for discomfort around the anus. I could not imagine the ramifications of this action.
The only webpages I found with actual carrageenan benefits were companies that use the seaweed in the manufacturing of raw products. According to Xtendlife they have used red seaweed, sift, remove sand and impurities, then soak the seaweed in a heated alkali solution such as potassium hydroxide to remove the carrageenan from the seaweed. The cellulose is then removed mechanically with filtration and centrifugation leaving a solution which is then evaporated. The final result is a powdered carrageenan.
According to this company, the process they use, results in antioxidant properties that make it useful in health supplements. According the company, because it has antioxidant activity is also supports the digestive system. One study found that carrageenan oligosaccharides helps support cells from damage due to oxidative stress, may help with stomach irritation and discomfort, support regular bowel movement.
There is also evidence that if you have higher total cholesterol, this indicates a most significant sign that you may benefit from chitin supplements. What I did not find on this website was the link or hyperlink to the studies. I did find the comparative study, Structural characterization and antioxidant activities of κ-carrageenan oligosaccharides degraded by different methods.
“These results indicated that the antioxidant activities of κ-carrageenan oligosaccharides could be related to the degree of polymerization, the content of reducing sugar and sulfate groups, and the structure of reducing terminus.”
Other benefits of carrageenan included a 2105 study “Prebiotic effects of diet supplemented with the cultivated red seaweed Chondrus crispus or with fructo-oligo-saccharide on host immunity, colonic microbiota and gut microbial metabolites” demonstrated a number of prebiotic effects. The study used mechanically air-dried, whole plants of a proprietary strain of Chondrus crispus, cultivated intensively on-land, were obtained from Acadian Seaplants Limited (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada). The seaweed samples were finely ground and passed through a 60-mesh sieve (0.25 mm in diameter)for the use in rats for the study. They also used fructo-oligo-saccharide (FOS) powder, extracted from chicory roots, was provided by Cargill (Wayzata, MN), as Oliggo – Fiber™ DS2 inulin, with an average degree of polymerization less than 10. C. crispus and FOS were mixed with a standard basal feed (RMH 3000, LabDiet, St. Louis, MO, USA), respectively, at the ratio of 0.0 (plus 2.5 % corn starch), 0.5 (plus 2.0 % corn starch) or 2.5 % (dry w/w). The mixed feed was then pelleted (4.7 mm in diameter, 1.0-1.5 cm in length) using a feed mill facility located at the Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University, Truro, Nova Scotia. Diets were prepared just before the trial and stored under dry and cool conditions. The results of the study found;
“Phylochip array analysis indicated differing microbiome composition among the diet-supplemented and the control groups, with the C. crispus group (2.5 % supplementation) showing larger separation from the control than other treatment groups. In the 2.5 % C. crispus group, the population of beneficial bacteria such as Bifidobacterium breve increased (4.9-fold, p = 0.001), and the abundance of pathogenic species such as Clostridium septicum and Streptococcus pneumonia decreased. Higher concentrations of short chain fatty acids (i.e., gut microbial metabolites), including acetic, propionic and butyric acids, were found in faecal samples of the C. crispus-fed rats. Furthermore, both C. crispus and FOS supplemented rats showed significant improvements in proximal colon histo-morphology . Higher faecal moisture was noted in the 2.5 % C. crispus group, and elevated plasma immunoglobulin (IgA and IgG) levels were observed in the 0.5 % C. crispus group, as compared to the basal feed group.
The results suggest multiple prebiotic effects, such as influencing the composition of gut microbial communities, improvement of gut health and immune modulation in rats supplemented with cultivated C. crispus.”
A clinical trial study has shown helpful with lowering cholesterol and as a treatment for cardiovascular disease.  Like many other substances that are highly processed, in their original state and form, may be the best way to consume this product. However, these studies are not indicating this is not how it used in the product and food industries.
Can Carrageenan cause inflammation?
Carrageenan and constipation? Carrageenan contains chemicals that may decrease stomach and intestinal secretions. Large amounts of carrageenan seem to pull water into the intestine, and this may explain why it is tried as a laxative. Carrageenan also might decrease pain and swelling (inflammation). I believe the laxative effects were more of a gastrointestinal reaction and question the use of carrageenan as a laxatives in light of recent research. In other words there are studies associating carrageenan and IBS. IBS is an irritated bowel. Could it be carrageenan works on constipation by irritating the intestinal lining?
Carrageenan has been well established as an inflammatory-inducer. In other words it is used to induce inflammation. If you look at any study involving reducing inflammation especially for intestinal inflammation, carrageenan is used to create the inflammation in a healthy subject. typically rats, mice and other animals. Here are some examples;
“Shilajit at an intraperitoneal dose of 50 mg/kg decreased carrageenan-induced inflammation in the rat paw by approximately 75%. Furthermore, shilajit administration decreased carrageenan-induced acute pedal edema, granuloma pouch, and adjuvant-induced arthritis in these animals, indicating significant anti-inflammatory activity”.
Shilajit black, is a blackish brownish—like goo, fulvic acid extracted from layers of rock in several mountain ranges throughout the world, including the Himalayan, Tibetan, and Altai mountains. This study, looking at anti-inflammatory medicinal spices, goes into detail on the use of carrageenan;
“Carrageenan-induced paw edema is one of the most popular tests used in the screening of African spices and vegetables for antiinflammatory activity (Winter et al., 1962). It is a highly sensitive and reproducible test for nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and has long been established as a valid model to study new antiinflammatory drugs (Willoughby and DiRosa, 1972). Carrageenan-induced inflammation is useful in detecting orally active antiinflammatory agents; therefore, it has significant predictive value for antiinflammatory agents acting through mediators of acute inflammation (Vinegar et al., 1969). The development of edema induced by carrageenan injection causes an acute and local inflammatory response. In the early phase (0–1 h), histamine, serotonin, and bradykinin are the first mediators involved, whereas prostaglandins and various cytokines such as IL-1β, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α are implicated in the second phase (Crunkhorn and Meacock, 1971).”
Another Review “The Role of Carrageenan in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and Allergic Reactions: Where Do We Stand? respectfully acknowledges with the spread of the Western diet, along side is the wide spread use of carrageenan in processed foods for its properties as a thickener, gelling agent, emulsifier, and stabilizer. The review is looking at the debate on its safety, given the fact that carrageenan is used on animals to induce inflammation for the efficacy of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The take away;
“Carrageenan (CGN) can activate the innate immune pathways of inflammation, alter the gut microbiota composition and the thickness of the mucus barrier. Clinical evidence suggests that CGN is involved in the pathogenesis and clinical management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), indeed food-exclusion diets can be an effective therapy for disease remission. Moreover, specific IgE to the oligosaccharide α-Gal has been associated with allergic reactions commonly referred to as the "α-Gal syndrome". This review aims to discuss the role of carrageenan in inflammatory bowel diseases and allergic reactions following the current evidence. Furthermore, as no definitive data are available on the safety and the effects of CGN, we suggest gaps to be filled and advise to limit the human exposure to CGN by reducing the consumption of ultra-processed foods.”
Just think about it, if studies are using carrageenan to induce inflammation, what do ou think it is doing to our intestines? Study after study will tell you, remove the ultra processed and certain organic processed foods, more on this below, and you may find the relief you have been looking for.
Carrageenan and Ulcerative Colitis
Carrageenan’s past became questionable in a 1982 laboratory rat study indicating sulfated polysaccharides increase hydrogen sulfide production which inhibited the metabolism of butyric acid and other short chain fatty acids, which in turn starved colonocytes inducing lesions similar to colitis. In other words, there is an association between carrageenan and ulcerative colitis.
Butyrate is an important short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) and it is an energy source for the intestinal epithelial cells, which also influences several factors affecting colonic health. Butyrate may also have an anti-inflammatory potential, affecting the intestinal barrier, playing a role in satiety and oxidative stress, and contribute to the maintenance of stability and balance within the colon.
Animal studies on rabbits and guinea pigs have demonstrated that feeding sulfated polysaccharides (such as carrageenan), but not unsulfated polysaccharides, can induce lesions similar to ulcerative colitis.
The reason this is important to those with ulcerative colitis is that research indicates higher counts of sulfur reducing bacteria in the feces of patients with active ulcerative colitis than in patients in remission. Incidence and activities of sulphate-reducing bacteria in patients with ulcerative colitis. 
The effects of carrageenan is not reserved to those with ulcerative colitis it seems to affect persons with any type of digestive disturbances that does not seem to abate. This includes irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and other digestive issues including constipation, diarrhea, explosive and uncontrollable diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, painful cramping, gas gallbladder pain and other unexplained digestive upset.
In the journal of Nutrition one study conducted on rats fed a non-fiber diet or a diet containing about 5% of apple pectin, λ-carrageenan, locust bean gum, gum xanthan, guar gum or sodium alginate found that pancreatic-bile secretion increased in rats fed for 2 weeks on a highly viscous polysaccharides, sodium alginate, locust bean gum, gum xanthan and guar gum.
The polysaccharides may have interfered with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, resulting in decreased digestibility and an enlargement of digestive organs. When alginic acid and calcium alginate, insoluble polysaccharides that did not contribute to viscosity, were given in rats, they had no effect on pancreatic and biliary secretion compared with sodium alginate. The results demonstrate that consumption of viscous indigestible polysaccharides causes changes in the exocrine pancreatic-biliary function and may depress the process of digestion and absorption.
I have found that gallbladder removal is on the rise and I am starting to see that there may be the possibility of saving some gallbladders simply by removing irritating carcinogenic ingredients like carrageenan from the diet. What if it is that simple? To remove chemical and synthetic ingredients to resolve chronic symptoms; at the very least to see if they do indeed subside. This is a cost effective measure before adding to the overburden health care system and having a potentially unnecessary surgery and future health problems.
What are the different types of carrageenan
There are different types of carrageenan, regardless of the process described below, the end result is extracting the carrageenan from the seaweed.
There are two types of carrageenan degraded and undegraded. Degraded carrageenan is processed with acid (or, hydrolyzed) which degrades into a low molecular weight and quickens the process to remove carageenans from the seaweed. This is not allowed to be used in food production or manufacturing. However, tests have been randomly conducted on food and have been found to be contaminated with degraded “food-grade” carrageenan.
Degraded carrageenan is such a potent inflammatory agent that scientists routinely use it to induce inflammation and other diseases (especially IBD) in laboratory animals, to test anti-inflammation drugs and other pharmaceuticals.
I know, it is quite confusing. Let me help you clear up the confusion;
The one that has come under scrutiny is undegraded carrageenan. Undegraded is the one used in food processing however studies indicate that undegraded carrageenan is in fact degrading in food and scientists are concerned that the acid environment of the stomach may “degrade” foodgrade carrageenan once it enters the digestive system, thus exposing the intestines to this potent and widely recognized carcinogen.
Carrageenan and Cancer
In a petition to the FDA Results from the 2005 Marinalg Working Group’s tests clearly show that degraded carrageenan, a substance that is known to cause colon inflammation and is classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as a “possible human carcinogen,”was present in all samples of food-°©grade carrageenan. Therefore, all carrageenan should be prohibited from foods, especially organic foods.
Is Carrageenan in Organic food?
This is an important point to remember. Usually choosing organic over conventional is the answer to removing harmful substances. This is not the case. The petition to the FDA was to remove carrageenan from organic foods because it does not fall within the criteria of organic. In the petition it states
"Based on scientific research and industry data, the inclusion of carrageenan on the National List is illegal, since it violates the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, Sec. 2118(c)(1)(A)(i) -.‐ ‘the National List may provide for the use of substances only if ... the use of such substances would not be harmful to human health or the environment."
"Carrageenan fails the following criterion in the organic standards: 7 CFR
205.600(b)(3) -’The nutritional quality of the food is maintained when the substance is used, and the substance, itself, or its breakdown products do not have an adverse effect on human health as defined by applicable Federal regulations.’
Please note that the standards include the phrase “or its breakdown products.” Research shows that food-.‐grade carrageenan is broken down in the gastrointestinal tract to degraded carrageenan, a “possible human carcinogen.” Food-.‐grade carrageenan should therefore be removed from the National List based on 7 CFR 205.600(b)(3)."
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Chicago have been looking at the health effects of carrageenan for more than a decade and were concerned enough to have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2008 and 2012 to prohibit the use of carrageenan in food and both times was turned down.
UIC physician and professor Joanne Tobacman petition cited decades of publicly funded, peer-reviewed science including her own (she suffered gastrointestinal issues when consuming carrageenan) on carrageenan-induced inflammation in animals and cells. In June, the FDA responded with a letter of denial. 
At the USDA’s National Organic Standards Board meeting in May 2012, Dr. Joanne Tobacman, a physician-scientist at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and the nation’s foremost independent expert on carrageenan, presented her research and urged the NOSB to remove carrageenan from organic foods. Companies decided to ignore years of disturbing findings of dozens of independently funded and peer-reviewed studies, including several that found higher rates of colon cancer in lab animals given a diet containing food-grade carrageenan.
According to Professor Tobacman in a Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments reviewed 1982 study data which demonstrated that exposure to undegraded as well as to degraded carrageenan was associated with the occurrence of intestinal ulcerations and neoplasms. This association may be attributed to contamination of undegraded carrageenan by components of low molecular weight, spontaneous metabolism of undegraded carrageenan by acid hydrolysis under conditions of normal digestion, or the interactions with intestinal bacteria. It has been scientifically shown since 1982 (and as far back s the 1960’s) that there are health risks associated with carrageenan and yet it is ignored.
My heavy whipping cream contained carrageenan
I must take a moment here to just sit in silence to really to take this in. I consider myself an informed consumer. Like I said earlier, I read labels. But, for some reason I did not read the labels on the organic whipping cream I was purchasing. I took it at face value the word “Organic” was something I could trust.
Over the last year, I have consumed a lot of whipping cream. I use it in my cooking, baking, and in my coffee. I also take hydrochloric acid to increase stomach acid. Could it be a year of low- grade inflammation, not feeling well, grossly disturbed microbiome, digestive disruption and my face ulcers be due to my faith in taking the word “organic” at face value?
Take action against Carrageenan in food
The Cornucopia Institute encourages people to take action and protect their health and sign the petition to have carrageenan removed from food products. “Given its effect on gastrointestinal inflammation, Cornucopia urges anyone suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms (irritable bowel syndrome IBS, spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease IBD, chronic diarrhea, etc.) to consider completely eliminating carrageenan from the diet to determine if carrageenan was a factor in causing the symptoms.
This is serious enough to take action. Even Dr. Weil advises against any product containing carrageenan and has been quoted as saying that carrageenan can lead to inflammation and inflammation is “a root cause” of a number of serious illnesses, such as
Gastrointestinal disorders (IBD)
A 2012 citizen petition to the FDA was turned down so it really is up to you. You have to take the initiative to read labels. I know I am. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
Avoid food that has these listed in the ingredients list;
In fairness, irish moss and agar-agar, is a better processing method, and, perhaps you may not have a reaction. However, if you are dealing with Crohn's, Ulcerative colilits, Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS), diarrhea - try taking these out of your diet as well.
And, as mentioned if the product is organic the carrageenan ingredient is not. In the United States it is not mandatory to list all ingredients on food labels so, you maybe ingesting carrageenan with out knowing it. The best advice; if you are experiencing digestive disturbance from a particular product avoid it because there is something in it whether it is carrageenan or not that is affecting you.
Some of the words that may be listed in the ingredient list;
Look for other names such as Seaweed, Agar-agar, Algas, Algue Rouge Marine, Carrageen, Carrageenin, Carragenano, Carragenina, Carragheenan, Carraghénane, Carraghénine, Chondrus crispus, Chondrus Extract, Euchema species, Extrait de Mousse d’Irlande, Galgarine, Gigartina chamissoi, Gigartina mamillosa, Gigartina skottsbergii, Irish Moss Algae, Irish Moss Extract, Mousse d'Irlande, Red Marine Algae.
Food products with Carrageenan
Carrageenan can be found in ice cream, chocolate milk, flans, puddings, whipped cream, whipping cream, half and half cream, heavy cream, yogurt, creamy milk desserts, cheeses, dry mix desserts, coconut milk, dessert gel, jam, dough sweets, marshmallows, gum drops, confitures, cake icing, tart fillings, bread dough, meringue, cooked ham, imitation meat, sausage, canned meat, hamburger, pureed meat, poultry, processed meat, clarifying and refining of juices, beers, wines and vinegars, chocolate milk, syrups, powdered fruit juices, diet shakes, protein shakes, dry mix salad dressings, powdered soups, mustard, white sauce, ready to eat sauces, milkshakes, instant breakfast powders, cooked flans, custards, cooked pudding and pie fillings, cold prepared flans and custards, chocolate syrup, sherbet, skim milk, cottage cheese, cream cheese, evaporated canned milk, infant formulas, ready-to-eat milk puddings, whipping cream, aerosol spray cream topping, frozen whipped toppings, imitation milk, desert gels, fruit drinks, low-calorie jellies, jar or canned fish products, frozen fish coating, relish, pizza sauce and barbecue sauce.
When it comes to non food grade products such as toothpaste, air fresheners, lotions, ointments, creams, medication, cosmetics, paints and emulsions, dental impression materials, laxative preparations, mineral oil, insoluble drug preparations, antacids, antacid gels, drugs for peptic and duodenal ulcers, barium sulfate suspensions, water based paints, immobilization of enzymes and cells.
How to know if carrageenan is affecting your health
If you are dealing with gastrointestinal symptoms that are not being being relieved. This is an inexpensive way to put this to the test. Avoid any products that contain carrageenan or any of the derivative names for at least a month.
Start with a symptom journal; list all of your symptoms on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the most uncomfortable. List all of them including headaches, joint pain and anything else including what you think are “Crohn’s symptoms,” IBS or Colitis symptoms. No symptom should be assumed to be something else. If you have it, list it.
Then list how many bowel movements you are experiencing and consistency. It does not have to be anything elaborate just a slash and a code such as watery diarrhea “WD” Loose; “L” and so on. Then, continue keeping a daily log of the number of bowel movements.
Once a week go over your symptoms list and re-rate your symptoms..see if some of your symptoms lesson or abate.
If you would like some guidance, you can download my symptom tracker and food journal to help you keep track.
If you think you do not need to track, think again. We are wired to forget our pain quickly. Think back to how you felt 3 days ago? Can you remember all of the symptoms? Can you remember what you ate? Download the tracker and get tracking!
Although there is not a conclusive list of symptoms other than “gastrointestinal symptoms” you may want to explore the elimination of carrageenan for a period of time such as a month to see if the symptoms indicated below are attributed to carrageenan consumption.
What are alternatives to Carrageenan?
Let me confuse you even more. I know, I am not doing this intentionally. it is amazing how the laws are to protect the food industry and not the consumer.
Alternatives to carrageenan include guar gum and locust bean gum and animal studies indicate not to cause gastrointestinal distress unlike carrageenan. However, I would avoid these as well. Sometimes, carrageenan can be combined with locust bean gum and it does not have to be listed on the label. According to Cornucopia your trusted food watchdog says right on their website
“Carrageenan may be present in the final product but not listed on the ingredients label when it is used as a “processing aid,” for example in cream.”
Carrageenan in beer?
Do you drink beer? You may be unknowingly drinking carrageenan.
“Note: The law does not require ingredients to be listed on alcoholic beverages, and carrageenan is commonly used to clarify beer.”
Get your list of carrageenan in organic products
Find out what products to avoid or to purchase without carrageenan with the Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods With Carrageenan.
You can get a complete listing of companies and their products that do and do not contain carrageenan. It is too long of a list to add to this article however, I encourage you to take a look and familiarize yourself. As always the best thing to do is start reading labels. Forget reading about caloric intake the real truth is in the actual ingredient list.
If you have eliminated carrageenan from your diet and have found relief from gastrointestinal symptoms, let Cornucopia know the results by filling out a questionnaire developed in collaboration with medical researchers. Get the questionnaire by going here.
If you have eliminated carrageenan from your diet I would love to hear from you and what the results were; what was your “aha moment” that tuned you into the fact that carrageenan may be contributing to your health issues? And, add your advice for those who are on the fence as to why they need to get carrageenan out of their diet.
You have the power of voice and soon manufactures will hear you by the decline in profits. Look at high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil and recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) a hormone that studies indicate can be found in dairy products such as cheese and milk. The studies would go back and forth about it’s health risk and it really did not matter.
Consumers like you and I, began to avoid these products forcing food processors to remove it because their profit margin was hit for the worse. The same will eventually happen with carrageenan. Some of the organic companies that refused to remove carrageenan have since changed their minds due to public pressure and more so declining profits.
Don’t be duped, do get active and take action!
If you need help getting your gut back on track get in touch with me. Either email me HelloKarenLangston@gmail.com or call me (347) POO-WELL (347) 766.9355
In this post, let’s cover what is Long Covid, how it first started, the difference between Post Covid and Long Covid, How many cases are there worldwide, and the incomplete symptoms list of Long Covid (you will understand as you read on).
For the latest COVID-19 news and information, visit Penn State's Coronavirus Information website. Continue to follow CDC-recommended health/safety precautions, contact your healthcare provider if you have questions or feel ill, and review information from state and national health authorities.
This presentation does not have a treatment, cure, or prophylactic for SARS-CoV-2 There are no products to cure or treat the virus at this time. This information does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read here. If you think you may have a medical emergency, seek immediate medical treatment.
There has been a new phenomenon emerging from the SARS-CoV2 infection known as “Long COVID”, “Long Haulers”, “long-haul COVID”, “Post COVID syndrome”, “post COVID-19 syndrome”,“chronic COVID-19” , “Post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC)”as well as “Microbiome post COVID syndrome, which we will talk about later. Thanks to social media Long Covid is the one most referred to. For this blog, it is also the terminology I will use to describe this concerning emerging conditon.
I was listening to one of my many online continuing educational courses and was busy getting dinner ready while the presenter was introducing himself. There was idle chitchat when suddenly, my ears perked in astonishment. He is an ER nurse and was talking about the amount of people coming into the ER saying they didn’t have shortness of breath, they just had to think about breathing. At this time, I had not really paid attention to the information on the virus that was taking over the nightly news.
I had been suffering with this type of breathing issue along with inability to breathe properly while sitting and found myself having to sing in order to help me to forget thinking about breathing. It was almost like it reset me. I also would wake up because I was not breathing. I had no idea these were symptoms of SARS CoV-2 because these symptoms were not showing up in the literature. The nurse went on to say, with these symptoms, it could be a very long haul back to proper health. The next day, I was scheduled to give blood. When I arrived, they tested my hemoglobin, and I was well below the healthy threshold to give blood
Low hemoglobin and breathing issues, for no apparent reason, I soon discovered I had been infected. What I didn’t know at the time, was the symptoms I had been dealing with for months, were recognized as Long Covid. I suffered in silence, not knowing others were also suffering. It has taken me over a year fighting to get my health back to where it was once.
I have written and recorded an informational video for health coaches and practitioners on Long Covid. I have presented the information on Long Covid in such a manner, that even if you are not a health professional, you too can watch this program. There was so much information on the complexities of Long Covid symptoms that I thought I would write about it here, just in case, the common symptoms are not what you have but the more complex ones.
I had been infected quite early, December 2019 right as I was healing with from Valley Fever. Talk about leaving the year on a low! By February 2020, I was having such odd symptoms and the breathing issues stayed with me for over a year. I had no idea they were attributed to Long Covid. I wish I had known earlier.
I am the type of person who just doesn’t look at the numbers and chalk anything up to what is being presented. I believe in researching for the underlying condition, which starts with understanding our unique physiology. But, for now, in this post I will stick to the foundation the “what” of Long Covid and the symptoms. I really do hope this helps you especially if you have been struggling with symptoms that no one has connected the dots for you.
How Did Long Covid start?
As much confusion as there is for SARS CoV-2 there is for Long Covid. It has come to be understood once infected with the virus, the recovery was about 2 weeks later. Many were turning to social media as early as March 2020 to discuss symptoms they were experiencing well after the infection recovery time. It was then discovered by news media, and then various clinical media picked it up from there. In your search operating system type in "Long Covid" and you will see numerous academic papers on the phenomena.
Frequency of reported ongoing symptoms in survey participants (n=2526)
Ziauddeen N, Gurdasani D, O’Hara ME, et al. Characteristics of Long Covid: findings from a social media survey. medRxiv; 2021. DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.21.21253968.
Doctors understood the viral infection could lead to chronic illness but exploring this was not a priority. “At the beginning, everything was acute, and now we’re recognizing that there may be more problems,” according to Helen Su, an immunologist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland. “There is a definite need for long-term studies.”
What is the difference between Long Covid and Post Covid?
This is a tough one to answer, because the information is still being collected. Although there are tons of studies pouring in, the distinction between post COVID and long COVID is blurred, due to a temporal evaluation only.
According to Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection May-June 2021 publication Diabetes metabolic Syndrome (published April 2020; Long Covid: An Overview “Long COVID is the collective term to denote persistence of symptoms in those who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection”.
The difference between Long Covid versus Post Covid according to Elsevier Public Health Emergency Collection; Post COVID syndrome is the time lag between the microbiological recovery and clinical recovery. The majority of people with post-COVID syndrome are PCR negative, indicating microbiological recovery. “Long COVID can be divided into two stages-post acute COVID where symptoms extend beyond 3 weeks, but less than 12 weeks, and chronic COVID where symptoms extend beyond 12 weeks.
Classification of long COVID | Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2021 May-June; 15(3): 869–875. Published online 2021 Apr 20. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2021.04.007
Looking at insurance records of nearly 2 million people who were diagnosed with COVID-19, researchers found that 23% of people of all ages developed a condition 30 days or more after infection. According to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network, and the Royal College of General Practitioners use the following terms to characterize different stages of post–COVID-19 condition;
Research group from Spain proposed the following groupings;
Long Covid Frequency is still being researched as the symptoms keep coming in. According to JAMA Systematic Review looking at the short term and long term rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection showed that at least 50% of people who have been infected with and survived COVID-19 will continue to suffer from symptoms for 6 months or longer.
Other institutions worldwide have defined Long Covid into subtypes;
The short answer for what is Long Covid according to JAMA Network;
“Long COVID is the collective term to denote persistence of symptoms in those who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection beyond the acute infection phase 4 weeks after being infected.”
What has been established so far, it will take researchers at least 5 years to understand the long-term health impact of SARS-CoV-2 as we are the cohort for COVID and for Long Covid drug trials.
How many Long Covid cases are there worldwide?
The prevalence of Long Covid is quite extraordinary. According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers, more than half of the 236 million people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 worldwide since December 2019 will experience post-COVID symptoms -- more commonly known as 'long COVID' -- up to six months after recovering.
How frequent is long covid? Another study, “Global Prevalence of Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) or Long COVID: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review”, researchers at the University of Michigan examined the prevalence of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) across the world to provide prevalence. Looking at 886,000 patients who tested positive for COVID-19, overall, the research team found that global prevalence of long COVID was about 43%. Among patients who needed hospitalization, the prevalence increased to 57%, between the sex, 49% among women and 37% among men.
According to WebMD quoting World Health Organization on long covid frequency, estimate of 237 million worldwide COVID-19 infections in mid-October, more than 100 million people still experience or previously had long-term health consequences from the coronavirus, the researchers calculated.
Penn State research looked 57 systematic reviews which included data from 250,351 unvaccinated adults and children who were diagnosed with COVID-19 from December 2019 through March 2021. Among those studied, 79% were hospitalized, and most patients (79%) lived in high-income countries. Patients' median age was 54, and the majority of individuals (56%) were male.
The researchers analyzed patients' health post-COVID during three intervals at one month (short-term), two to five months (intermediate term) and six or more months (long-term). According to the findings, survivors experienced an array of residual health issues associated with COVID-19. Generally, these complications affected a patient's general well-being, their mobility or organ systems. Overall, one in two survivors experienced long-term COVID manifestations. The rates remained largely constant from one month through six or more months after their initial illness.
In the beginning, some thought long covid was nothing but a psychosomatic phenomenon. After turning to social media to share their experiences and then the review of over a year’s worth of data; these studies proved Long Covid is not psychosomatic like some believe.
Approach to patients with Long COVID | Diabetes Metab Syndr. 2021 May-June; 15(3): 869–875. Published online 2021 Apr 20. doi: 10.1016/j.dsx.2021.04.007
What are the symptoms of Long Covid?
The early lack of awareness of the range of symptoms associated with Covid19 meant that many people did not associate their symptoms with Covid19 and therefore did not associate their enduring symptoms with Long Covid.
Long Covid symptoms vary from person-to-person. A 2020 follow up after discharge from a Paris hospital report that 64% of respondents reporting a period of wellness before relapsing, 76% presented new symptoms that were absent during the acute phase of their Covid19 infection. 86% of respondents experienced relapses occurring in an irregular pattern, or in response to specific triggers (such as physical or mental activity, stress, menstruation, heat, or alcohol).
Long Covid can affect anyone – old and young, otherwise healthy people and those battling other conditions. The list of long COVID symptoms is long, wide and inconsistent. For some people, these lasting symptoms are nothing like the original COVID-19 symptoms.
Long covid without initial symptoms can occur, whereas the same can happen with severe symptoms of the initial SARS CoV-2 infraction. One can have one, some or numerous overlapping symptoms, some may start with a couple and over time, have more symptoms. Some people may be suffering with more than one syndrome at the same time.
National Institute for Health Research Review (NIH) found there are 205 different symptoms related to Long Covid leading to the bundled name of “Corona coaster.” According to the NIH the common symptoms were identified into two categories;
According to the CDC Multi-organ system effects of COVID-19 have been documented in most, if not all, body systems including cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal, dermatologic, neurologic, and psychiatric along with multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS) and autoimmune conditions. To date, the most commonly reported persisting symptoms include:
These may be the more common symptoms of Long Covid, leaving you thinking you may not fall within the parameters. Think again, there are other symptoms associated with this critical emerging condition.
Long-term effects of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The meta-analysis of the studies included an estimate for one symptom or more reported that 80% of the patients with COVID-19 have long-term symptoms. CRP C-reactive protein, CT computed tomography, IL-6 Interleukin-6, NT-proBNP (NT)-pro hormone BNP, OCD Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD Post-traumatic stress disorder. This figure was created using Biorender.com | Lopez-Leon, S., Wegman-Ostrosky, T., Perelman, C. et al. More than 50 long-term effects of COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sci Rep 11, 16144 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95565-8
Long Covid Parosmia (Pernio)
During the acute infection phase of SARS CoV-2 was the loss of taste and smell. Most recovered from this condition without any long term effects. For others, this was not the case. Parosmia is a condition which cause normal or familiar pleasant smells to now smell unpleasant or even of disgust.
This olfactory disorder is considered a rare occurrence; however, it is coming into the spotlight for some suffering with Long Covid, now known as Long Covid Parosmia. Potential cause of parosmia includes upper respiratory infections. Viruses can lead to olfactory dysfunction by causing damage to the upper respiratory tract and olfactory neurons. Although researchers are still trying to understand the relationship between the virus infection, long covid and parosmia, what they do note is that COVID-19 vaccine cannot cause parosmia.
Covid toes is a skin condition that can also affect the fingers. What causes covid toes has yet to be determined. The symptoms of covid toes includes the skin on one or more toes or fingers swell up, may start with looking bright red, the gradually turn purple and may have brownish-purple spots. Covid toes can last 10-14 days, for some, the symptoms may persist for months.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association for some with covid toes, may develop blisters or a small amount of pus under the skin. There may also be;
Dermatology registries created during the COVID-19 pandemic have collected more than 8000 cases since they opened for case reporting in March and April of 2020. In multiple states, COVID toes are now part of their testing criteria and have served to highlight the importance of dermatologic data for characterizing the different phenotypes of COVID-19.
A JAMA research letter from Italy found that 87% of people recovered and discharged from hospitals showed persistence of at least one symptom even at 60 days. Long covid quality of life was also assessed on the questionnaire finding a difference of 10 points defined worsened quality of life (44.1% ).
Other commonly reported problems include;
Other symptoms reported also included;
Patients also reported inability to do routine daily activities, in addition to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress.
According to a white paper initiated by A FAIR Health White Paper, June 15, 2021 “A Detailed Study of Patients with Long-Haul COVID. An Analysis of Private healthcare Claims” found the five most common post-COVID conditions across all ages, in order from most to least common, were;
Table 2. Top 15 Post-COVID conditions by age group ranking, March 2020-February 2021 | A Detailed Study of Patients with Long-Haul COVID. An Analysis of Private Healthcare Claims. A FAIR Health White Paper, June 15, 2021
According to Mayo Clinic more severe symptoms of long COVID include damage to other organs including the brain, heart and lungs, as well as blood clots or blood vessel problems.” According to Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis and the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System are urging attention to kidneys to be an important part of post-COVID-19 care. Their research shows that people who have had COVID-19, including those with mild cases, are at an increased risk of developing kidney damage as well as chronic and end-stage kidney diseases. Senior author Ziyad Al-Aly, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University states;
“If kidney care isn’t an integral part of COVID-19 post-acute care strategy, then we will miss opportunities to help potentially hundreds of thousands of people who have no idea that their kidney function has declined due to this virus. This is in addition to the millions of Americans who suffer from kidney disease not caused by COVID-19.”
Having regular blood work that includes glomerular filtration rates (GFR) or (eGFR), BUN and creatinine
can help a doctor to determine level of kidney function. In the same Washington University School of Medicine study found after the initial 30 days of COVID-19 infection, 4,757 (5.3%) of the patients experienced a decrease of 30% or more in glomerular filtration rates (GFR). People who had milder COVID-19 cases had 1.09 times the risk of having an estimated GFR decline of 30% or more. For hospitalized COVID-19 patients not in intensive care units, there was two times the risk of having an estimated GFR decrease of 30% or more, while intensive care unit patients were at three times the risk of experiencing an estimated GFR drop of 30% or more.
A collection of more studies have shown the following Long Covid symptoms including;
Kidney damage, kidney abnormalities
Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
Inflammation of the heart muscle, lung function
Depression, anxiety and mood swings
Brain Fog, forgetfulness
Hair loss (alopecia) [54, 55, 56}
COVID-19 interstitial pneumonia
Disrupted sleep, insomnia
Gastrointestinal pain, stomach pain, diarrhea
Loss of taste and smell
Ringing in their ears
Skin issues (e.g., rash), dermatological issues
Another study showed common symptoms in people with “Long COVID” are profound fatigue, breathlessness, cough, chest pain, palpitations, headache, joint pain, myalgia and weakness, insomnia, pins and needles, diarrhea, rash or hair loss, impaired balance and gait, neurocognitive issues including memory and concentration problems and worsened quality of life.
According to Penn State College of Medicine researchers have found several trends among Long Covid such as:
This is by no means a complete or final count of Long Covid symptoms for “long haulers.” Long Covid can result in prolonged illness, even among young adults without underlying chronic medical conditions and doctors do not know when the symptoms will subside.
If you are experiencing Long Covid symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out to your physician. Keep track of your symptoms with dates to help your doctor determine the best course of health for you. And if you are not being listened to, then you keep going until you find a doctor that will believe you. This is not in your head. There are more than 100 million people worldwide with Long Covid symptoms. You are not alone!
If you would like to learn more about What Long Covid is all about, this on demand webinar is for you. The 1:45 minute on demand video broken down into relevant parts for you to easily watch at your convenience on any device at any time. Download full size slides, and all supporting material. All references are hyperlinked for your convenience. You will not find a more comprehensive program specifically targeted at understanding the nutritional support connection to Long Covid and what it entails. Includes Serum panel checklist, Polyphenol chart, additional reference material related to video. You can check it out here.
If you would like to get back on track and just feel good again, reach out via email HelloKarenLangston@gmail.com or call me (347) POO-WELL (347 766-9355)
Head back on over to the blog for more great articles or check out these articles
The Connection Between Gut health and Stress
Do you believe in stress and the gut connection? Have you noticed, when something bad happens, a breakup, a passing of a loved one, or you are super upset or angry you no longer feel like eating? Have you ever had a bad feeling in your gut about something or someone and it turned out to be true?
You are not alone!
How the Gut Talks to the Brain
Your body and mind are one unit. Your brain is connected to your gut and, your gut is connected to your brain. It is known as a little thing called the gut-brain axis.
Think of it as a hormonal and biochemical-driven highway between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. OK so, it's a little more complex than this, but you get the idea.
Have you heard of the gut brain axis or the HPA axis? The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is our central stress response system; our flight/fight, rest and digest.
The HPA axis includes the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands. When we are stressed the HPA axis sends out a cascade of signals releasing hormones and neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, and norepinephrine and cortisol to help us handle the stress. We need this stress response.
Essentially, our gut brain connection has to do with our central nervous system. When we perceive something not good, like, things going wrong, bad news, a break up, the boss yelling at us, kids going bonkers and you just need a break, our body responds. We are the ones who tells our body how to respond.
We are wired for this response. When we hear, see, smell or touch something negative, it sends a message to our nervous system to respond. This message puts us into our stress response; our eyes dilate for better focus, our digestive system shuts off to redirect blood flow to our heart, lungs and muscles. Our heart rate goes up so we can increase oxygen to run away or, stay and deal with the stress.
How the Gut Talks to the Brain
While our, digestion is shut off, this also alerts our gut microbes. Our gut microbes are in constant contact with the millions of nerve cells in our digestive system which then communicate with our immune system.
Essentially, when we are perceiving a negative situation, we go into a state of stress response. This is known as our sympathetic nervous system.
When we are recovering, we go into our rest and digest response known as our parasympathetic nervous system. We are supposed to cycle through both our sympathetic and parasympathetic system through out the day.
The problem, most of us are staying stuck in our stress state. This shunts our digestive system and affects our microbial balance which then leads to leaky gut-or intestinal hyper permeability.
In a chronic state the HPA axis may affect the small intestine. When we are in a constant state of stress the gallbladder does not release fat and anti-microbial busting bile, the pancreas does not release enough enzymes to break down food and our mouth does not produce saliva full of enzymes.
In the chronically stressed gut there is chronic activation of the HPA axis because of the constant sympathetic state. If the triggers are not released for the gallbladder this leads to other problems in the small intestine. Since the HPA axis and the gut microbiome are intimately linked, it affects the gut microbiome. Bacteria and fungi can creep into the small intestine leading to bacterial and fungal overgrowth. The small intestine is pretty clean because of bile soaps. The bacteria that creeps up from the colon is not supposed to be there and causes problems.
In this chronic state, we have bacteria and fungi migrating to other parts of the body including the small intestine and creating toxins called lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS leads to inflammation of the central nervous system which affects the HPA axis. Bacteria also produce hormones and neurotransmitters that can alter the HPA axis along with additional hormone production during stress that further affects the growth and proliferation of microbial overgrowth and leads to more toxic metabolites known as virulence. Virulence factors are what can eventually lead to pathogenic states leading to disease.
The gut, HPA axis, microbiota overgrowth leads to a viscous cycle with each piece making the others worse. Over time, this effects the motility of the gut leading to constipation which encourages more bacterial overgrowth and inhibits gastric acid secretion. When gastric acids are insufficient, this leads to susceptibility of taking in parasites and other infectious microbes which, can stick around and affect hormones, tissues and organs. This can lead to a whole host of symptoms that are not matching up with perfect blood test reports leaving the doctor confused.
The symptoms are there to tell you something is out of whack. We have not been taught how to interpret our symptoms. It continues, the symptoms get worse, the process becomes constant and destructive. Eventually this pattern results in autoimmunity and eventually all barriers are breached including the blood brain barrier, The blood brain barrier is a barrier much like your intestinal tract; designed to keep toxins out and only allow nutrients in and wastes out.
Once the blood brain barrier has been breached it leads to "neuroautoimmunity." Look at the amount of depression, ADD, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety diagnoses we have today. They have increased right along the same time line as the gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, most gastrointestinal disorders are either linked to emotional issues and, or traumas or leads to issues of anxiety, depression and behavior and mood disorders.
I am not discrediting someone going through a painful experience. I just want you to understand what is going on. I am hoping his helps you to understand at those times when you feel like you are caught in a constant loop of feeling good one day, then so down the next you can barely stand it.
its a cycle and it has to do with your gut microbes and your brain. Your microbes can literally alter your moods!
Do You Believe in the Gut - Brain Axis?
Our gut and stress are intimately connected. If we are spending more time in our sympathetic state, this can affect the brain and our emotions. Our gut produces neuroactive compounds, neurotransmitters, and other metabolites that act on the brain. When we are in a chronic stress response, this alters our gut microbes which then affects the blood brain barrier. The blood brain barrier is much like our gut barrier, it is to protect you from things like pathogens and other foreign materials from getting in and creating havoc.
Academics are slowly unravelling the mystery of our gut brain connection. Researchers at UCLA identified the intestinal microbiota that interacts with the regions of the brain associated with mood and behavior. WOAH! This is huge.
According to a Frontiers Neurology study; Crosstalk Between the Gut Microbiota and the Brain: An Update on Neuroimaging Findings. An increasing amount of evidence suggests that bidirectional communication between the gut microbiome and the central nervous system (CNS), which is also known as the microbiota-gut-brain axis, plays a key role in the development and function of the brain.
Our gut has been referred to as the little brain or second gut. The proper term is the enteric nervous system (ENS). The ENS contains two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from esophagus to your bum. Although the ENS can not think like our brain, it responds to what is transmited to the brain; what we see, hear, smell and touch.
According to John Hopkins article, Brain - Gut Connection. The ENS may trigger big emotional shifts experienced by people coping with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional bowel problems such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain and stomach upset.
One more study, this time at UCLA, gastroenterologists found looking at fecal samples and brain scans from 40 healthy women between the ages of 18 and 55 there was a correlation between emotions and gut bacteria. The study revealed the group with greater abundance of Bacteroids in their gut showed greater thickness of grey matter in the frontal cortex and insula (the part of the brain regions which process complex information) and a larger volume of the hippocampus, involved with memory.
Women with higher levels of the bacteria, Prevotella, demonstrated lower volume in these areas, and demonstrated greater connections between emotional, attentional and sensory brain regions. The participants with higher counts for the bacteria Prevotella were shown negative images; they showed lower activity in the hippocampus however, reported higher levels of anxiety, distress and irritability after looking at the photos.
So, the question is, do you know what your gut microbial community is?
WOAH! This is huge. If we can understand how certain bacteria are interacting, we can then work to ensure we are feeding the right bacteria. Finally, this just helps us to better understand how stress and emotions affect our digestive system and how the digestive system affects our emotions. I love this!
When I am working with clients, especially those with severe gut issues, they typically suffer with some form of depressive type symptoms and or, anxiety-like symptoms. They also tend not to feel good about themselves and their confidence is almost non existent. I totally understand this. As I was going through the perils of Crohn's disease there were times when my gut was so bad and so was my outlook on life.
As my clients' gut calm down and started to feel better, their emotions and outlook on life also changed. It changed from negative to more positive, more confidence and a more positive outlook on life. It is simply amazing.
What can I do to help my gut health and stress?
So glad you are asking about your gut health and stress because they are so important. A happy gut is a healthy life. You can not have one without the other. Below I will share with you some things you can do to help your gut.
Get a Stool Test Done
There is nothing more glorious than looking at poop and having it analyzed. Poop is basically the end processes of biological chemical reactions and microbes. From a stool test not only can we see what your colon microbial community looks like, we can also see a snapshot in time as to inflammation, pancreatic enzyme function, immune system reactions to gliadin (a protein in gluten), how well you are breaking down fats, how your gut microbes are interacting or interfering with phase II detoxifications and how zonulin is being manipulated by microbes which may give us a better clue to why there is leaky gut. All this from a small sample of your poop!
The test that I find the most helpful and useful is the GI MAP by Diagnostic Solutions. Approved by the FDA and its Covid19 tests have been approved and recommended by the CDC and excepted by Medicare. I add this to get you to understand the legitimacy of this test designed for gastroenterologists..
It a comprehensive stool test looking at the diversity of the colon as well as potential pathogenic bacteria, endotoxins, viruses, worms and parasites and how they are interacting with the liver and the immune system. I like this one because it is easy to read and understand and it is far more comprehensive and sensitive with no false positives like what can occur with stool tests that are cultured. The GI MAP is based on the DNA of microbes and test results can come back, Negative, detectable limit and High or low with reference ranges.
If you have a trained professional looking at the test results, they are able to help you understand what maybe affecting your gut brain axis. Sometimes, when the numbers look normal, there may be some that are just within the reference range that could be causing problems.This is why you need a trained eye to look over your results.
I find this absolutely the number one stool test to have done especially when there are unexplainable symptoms that are not showing up on conventional lab tests and yet the person is suffering with symptoms that the doctor can not put a finger on! I can not tell you how many times I have had clients suffering with multiple unexplained symptoms and we run this test, clean up the gut and the microbiome and the symptoms disappear. It's not magic, just pure science!
The GI MAP is perfect for constipation and diarrhea symptoms. When it comes to constipation and diarrhea our gut microbes can be a culprit. Of course, there can also be other problems like drinking and eating foods that irritate the intestinal lining.
A medical doctor or chiropractor can order this test for you here in the USA. The test is available in the USA, the UK, Australia and Singapore. Here in the USA, If you can not get your doctor or chiropractor to order this test for you, most states you can order it yourself. You can create an account with MyLab.com and search GI MAP. I have found it doesn't come up easily, so I had a profile created to make it easier for my clients to find it. Click this link and it will take you right to the test. I do not make any monetary gain from this link. I had this created simply for my clients. I also can not in any way see what you order or your results unless you invite me to see your results. Rest assured, you are fully protected!
Talk With A Professional.
Depending on the stress you are going through you may need to talk with a professional who can help you work through the emotions. There is nothing wrong with this at all. In fact, I think it is down right empowering. I have been working with professionals for years to help me let go of the shit that is no longer serving me. It may seem fearful but honestly, it is not only empowering but enlightening. Give it a go.
Make a list and check it twice
Sometimes we just need to get a handle on our stress. Write down everything you consider a stress in your life this includes at home and at the office. Prioritize which of these you need to keep. Then figure out how to make this shorter list less stressful with the right tools. For instance if you are doing everything at home, can some of these tasks be distributed to other family members to take some of the load off?
How about Bringing in outside help?
Have you thought about integrating positive self talk?
When you are in a really stressful state, call someone who can help you feel better.
I like to call me "power friends" these are the ones who just are so full of energy and positivity, it literally travels through the phone line and infect you. By the time I hang up with these friends, I feel aamzing. Who is your "power "friend" you could call?
Just stop and breathe
Remember, gut health and stress are intimately connected. When we are in our sympathetic state, we shallow breathe, our body is tense, and we are just looking for a really good row which is our wired flight or fight sympathetic reaction. Have you noticed when you are stressed to that limit that you just yell at everything and everyone? That's your sympathetic system in maximum overdrive!
So, when you are in this state, STOP PUASE and just belly breathe!
All it takes are three deep belly breaths to switch you from your sympathetic state to your parasympathetic rest and digest state.
Ahh just give it a try. Belly Breathe…. and remember this, in the wisdom of Bob Marley , don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gunna be alright.
Eat more polyphenol foods
Of course I have to talk about food. If we feed our gut microbes the right foods, especially polyphenols, we can instantly start shifting our behaviour and emotions for the better.
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found largely in fruits, vegetables. Epidemiological studies and associated meta-analyses strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases. This is because polyphenols feed the bacteria which releases compounds to keep us healthy.
What are polyphenol foods?
While you are shopping picking out your bounty, I want you to think like a bruise, black, blue, purple, and red. Organic black grapes, blackberries, blueberries, purple eggplant, plums, beets, red raspberries, dark red cherries, pomegranates red skinned apples, purple potatoes and cranberries are an abundant source of polyphenols. We have heard of polyphenols in red wine, and pomegranate juice as heart healthy but, did you know polyphenolic foods are the number one source for feeding your beneficial gut bacteria?
Basically, when we eat polyphenol rich foods, our gut bacteria ferments the compounds, creating anti inflammatory short chain fatty acids called butyrate. Butyrate’s natural anti-inflammatory properties protect our intestinal tract, keep our mucosa layer healthy and provides the right fuel for our gut microbes. This translates to a healthier immune system, heathy hormone balance, radiant skin, and better energy. It is the true anti-aging secret; right there in the produce section. Eat up my friend!
If our gut and immune system is healthy then your brain has to be healthy too, right?
If you would like your own polyphenol chart all you have to do is sign up to my newsletter list and I will give it to your right away. You can get it here.
Shake what your Mama gave you
Covid has turned us into a chronic couch potato. And, I am sure this has also led to anxiety, and other negative emotions. The best way to get our of a funk is to get moving. You do not have to work out with weight unless you like to. Movement ideas? Here you go;
Chase your pet around the house
Jog in place while there is a commercial on TV
Workout to a video
Do some housework
Park as far away from the store as possible
how about some Yoga?
Just go for a walk
Being in nature can affect your health in ways we are just starting to understand. For instance did you know that your gut microbes could be lulling you to the great outdoors? It's called the LoveBug Effect.
What is the Lovebug Effect?
Do you find that when you are grumpy, frustrated, or just need a break you think about getting outdoors? Especially with this year of lock up and lock down? There may be more than just you proving this desire. I know personally, when I start feeling off, grumpy, edgy, frustrated I know it's time for me to go on a walk, a hike or a walkabout. I literally need to find somewhere where automobiles can not penetrate the sounds of nature. This puts me back in balance and ready to tackle my daily tasks once again. How about you?
You all know if the gut is involved, I am gunna find it. And, guess what? Your desire to get outside could have to do with your gut microbes. Honest! A paper published In the journal Science of The Total Environment suggests that our thirst for nature could be driven by our gut microbe's desire to connect!
Researchers have discovered our desire for the outdoors is contributed by the bidirectional communication properties of the gut-brain axis. This is amazing. The researchers have called this the Love-Bug Effect. Essentially, researchers theorize the gut-brain communication also drives, nature-seeking behaviors.
First author of the study, Jake Robinson, an ecologist and planetary health researcher at Sheffield University, explains that our microbes long to interact with nature's microbes by manipulating our thoughts;
“Microbes in a gut environment that are starved of contact with environmental microbiota might be hijacking neural pathways between the brain and gut to drive nature-seeking behavior. There’s now pretty robust evidence from animal studies that microbes can intercept gut-brain crosstalk by activating the vagus nerve and sympathetic neurons through their release of key neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. When the microbiome is lacking in diversity, the chemicals it releases might have an effect on the brain that manifests as a thirst for nature."
When you are outdoors, you smell the earth, the air, if you are in a forest you smell the earth's floor, the leaves and rotting trees, you can smell a river, a marsh and so on. These are microbes in the microbial ecosystem, creating these smells.
We yearn for them and when we come into contact with them, they interact with our gut microbe ecosystem. I think the best way to explain this is like taking your dog to a dog park. The dog becomes happier when interacting with other dogs. Think of our microbes as a bunch of happy dogs in a dog park!
An article looking at this study finds, hands-on exposure to soil microbes may boost the immune system, and fresh country air offers a microbial diversity that avoids the accumulation of harmful microbes. Mental health might also benefit; gut microbial imbalances have been linked to psychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety.
The Lovebug Effect serves to remind us of our deep-seated connection with the natural world. With everything going on, and heading into a long hard, stressful winter, do your body a favour and get outside at least once a day for at least 30 minutes. We need to keep our immune system healthy and strong. This is just one way of creating some balance. Don't fight it, just do it.
Gut health and stress, don't worry about a thing!
When it comes to stress and the gut microbiome and gut health and stress; remember this, our gut and brain are intimately connected. If we are under a ton of stress, negative emotions creep in, this is going to affect the gut’s delicate balance. In turn, this can further cause us to stay in this negative emotional state. Which eventually affects our immune system.
Let’s go from reactive to proactive. Let me know in the comments, which of these tips are you going to give a try today?
If you enjoyed this video or blog post, be sure to like, heart, subscribe, comment and share with others including social media.
Front. Neurol., 13 August 2019 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2019.00883
The Johns Hopkins University The Brain-Gut Connection https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connectionwww.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-brain-gut-connection
Human Emotions Really Are Affected by Gut Bacteria, New Study Suggests https://www.sciencealert.com/new-findings-suggest-human-emotions-really-are-affected-by-gut-bacteria
Craving Nature? Your Gut Microbiome Might Be Responsible by Nia Cason, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/626812/gut-microbiome-controls-craving-for-nature
The Lovebug Effect: Is the human biophilic drive influenced by interactions between the host, the environment, and the microbiome? https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969720311372
Have you ever had foodborne illness or food poisoning?
If you have ever had food poisoning or foodborne illness you probably will never forget it. Especially, if it was severe. Some of us, have mild reactions and there are others who never knew food poisoning or foodborne illness was the culprit.
Did you know the FDA âestimates that there are about 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year. This estimate is equivalent to 1 in 6 Americans becoming sick from contaminated food, which results in an estimated 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths. WHOA!
What is the difference between Foodborne Illness and Food poisoning?
The CDC refers to "foodborne illness" as "foodborne germs and illness" and then goes on to talk about food poisoning. And, this is where it can come quite confusing. Foodborne illness and food poisoning are used interchangeably and are somewhat similar but have different classifications. Stay with me here.
FoodBorne Illness Definition
Foodborne illness is caused by eating contaminated food. Which, leads to getting sick within minutes or developing symptoms over the several weeks or even later.
âFoodborne illness is caused by harmful bacteria or other pathogens in contaminated food.
Food Poisoning Definition
Food poisoning happens by swallowing toxins, a form of poison caused by microorganisms in food.It is a TYPE of foodborne ilness. Food poisoning begin quickly, usually within 60 minutes after eating the contaminated food.
Food Poisoning and Foodborne Illness Symptoms
As you can see from the picture above, food poisoning and foodborne illness symptoms are a bit different. Both are severe, especially for those who are immune compromised, the very young, pregnant women and those over 60 years of age. Food poisoning symptoms are far more sever and you should seek immediate medical attention.
How Do We Get Foodborne Illness or Food Poisoning?
Foodborne Illness and Food Poisoning typically come from food and sometimes beverages. It can be canned food, packaged food, fresh food. It just has to be contaminated. It can be from food you purchased at a Farmer's market, restaurants, food truck, festivals, grocery stores, any where you can purchase food.
With the increase in food borne illness outbreaks from produce to packaged foods including restaurants with less than stellar kitchen habits, can we protect ourselves from getting sick?
How to Prevent Foodborne Illness and Food Poisoning
Preventing foodborne illness and food poisoning can be tricky because we usually do not know it has happened until after it has happened. Of course, check the expiration dates. Make sure the product is within consumption date.
If the restaurant and the bathroom looks dirty, more than likely the kitchen is too! Walk away!
According to the CDC, when it comes to handling food at home, to prevent contamination try these 4 steps
Let's Talk About Food Poisoning Remedy You Can Do
A top food poisoning remedy is prevention. We just talked about some tips in the kitchen, but there are also things you can do with your body! Sounds far fetched, right? Not really, if you understand how your body works
Let me Share 5 ways you can prevent foodborne illness and food poisoning.
1. Chew Your Food!
âMost of us donât chew our food. Chewing is your number one defense to fight off microbial attacks!
Chewing your food releases antimicrobials in your mouth which can begin the process of killing off microbes later in the digestive tract.
Microbes like salmonella, e.coli and listeria . These Bad guys have been dominating the news and the CDCâs list of food borne illness outbreaks, A LOT.
2. Stomach Acid.
if there is good hydrochloric acid, the stomach acid will kill these invaders. Think of battery acid. Your stomach acid is like battery acid â highly corrosive and will burn them up, or, at the very least, can break down the protein structure of the pathogens to help out the small intestine.
3. Which brings us to Pancreatic Enzymes. If your stomach acid does not get all of the pathogens, enzymes made by your pancreas activated in your small intestine will attack the protein structure and break them down.
4. Don't forget the Gallbladder. The gallbladder releases bile acids that will also burn those little critters up and make their protein structures weak. Bile made in your liver and stored in your gallbladder also contains soaps. Think of washing your hands with soap, same thing here, bile soaps will help wash out the small intestine of bad guys and keep the proper alkaline pH so that microbes can not grow, causing illness and helps wash away metabolic debris, even parasites do not stand a chance.
5. 3 Healthy Poops a Day âIf you have a good, strong, diverse microbiota the bacteria in your colon will create the proper acidic pH and crowd out and inhibit pathogenic microbes from colonizing in the colon. If you are constipated this leads to less diversity and more opportunistic chances of suffering the symptoms of foodborne illness.