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3 Ways to Naturally Boost Bone Density and Prevent Osteoporosis

What causes 2 million bone fractures every year? Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis and low bone density affects 54 million Americans alone. About one in two women and up to one in four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. (Source) What is Osteoporosis? Literally meaning “porous bone,” osteoporosis is a disease where the density and quality of bone are reduced. (Source) Our bones are living tissue, meaning some bone cells dissolve as others are formed, constantly renewing itself—a process known as remodeling. When osteoporosis occurs, the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. Normal, healthy bones have a honeycomb structure when looked at under a microscope. As pictured above, when osteoporosis is present, the holes become larger. How to Tell if You Have Osteoporosis Most disturbingly, osteoporosis often isn’t discovered until the first fracture because it is the “silent disease.” There is no sensation or feeling signaling that you have it. In addition to fractures, some other signs that you may have osteoporosis are loss of height, upper back curving forward, limited mobility and bone pain. Risk Factors for Osteoporosis Many diseases, conditions and medical procedures put you at a greater risk

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Chronic Illness

Natural Ways to Manage Cortisol Levels

The “stress hormone” cortisol plays a key role in our stress response, also known as “fight or flight” mechanism. This is an important process within the body—but was more so many years ago when it would get triggered by actual life or death situations. When our bodies are chronically exposed to high stress, cortisol floods the body constantly.  Blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar are all affected also. Chronically high cortisol puts you at risk for several health problems: Anxiety Depression Digestive problems Headaches Heart disease Sleep problems Weight gain & weight loss resistance So let’s find out some holistic ways to both manage cortisol levels and keep stress at bay. Adaptogens The term “adaptogen” describes a category of plants that improve the body’s stress response and have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. (Source) These adaptogenic herbs work with the HPA axis and might affect hormone production and physiological responses to stress. (Source) Korean ginseng: This botanical regulates the immune response and the hormonal changes due to stress by directly impacting the adrenals and the HPA axis. (Source) One study performed on rats suggested that it improves the sensitivity of the HPA axis to cortisol.

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Weight Loss

Can’t lose weight? It might be leptin resistance

Eat less. Exercise more. This is the common refrain you hear in diet culture. But a LOT of people who’ve tried this oversimplified advice know that there’s more to the story. We’ve talked about different unseen obstacles to losing weight here on the blog, including cellular inflammation, toxins, stress, dietary habits and hormonal chaos. Losing weight isn’t always (or even usually) as simple as cutting calories. One huge piece of the puzzle is hormones, and specifically, the “fat controller” or “satiety” hormone leptin. If you’ve struggled to lose weight after doing all the “right” things, there may be something else going on called leptin resistance. What is leptin and what does it do? Leptin is a hormone secreted by cells found in adipose tissue—or body fat. (Source)  Hormones are signalers, and leptin’s job is to signal to the hypothalamus in the brain. It primarily controls things like appetite, energy expenditure and long-term food intake (versus meal-to-meal) as they relate to levels of adipose tissue in the body.  Here’s a breakdown of how leptin works in healthy situations: When fat stores go down, leptin goes down, which increases appetite and decreases energy expenditure.  Conversely, when fat stores rise, leptin rises and

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Emotional Health

Finally Understand How the Stress Hormone Cortisol Affects You

If you’ve reached out to a health practitioner or even just Googled what could be causing symptoms like fatigue, irritability, anxiety, unexplained weight loss or gain, and appetite changes, you’ve probably heard about the hormone cortisol.  Since cortisol has influence on so many functions of the body, it can be a confusing thing to hear about. Sound familiar? This article is for you!  We’ll delve into what cortisol is, it’s role in your body, what affects cortisol and what happens when it gets out of balance. To understand what cortisol is, let’s back up and talk about hormones first. Hormones and Their Role in Your Body Hormones are molecules produced and distributed by the endocrine system in your body. After they’re released into the blood, they’re carried to other parts of the body where their job is to communicate with different cells to elicit certain responses.  Cortisol belongs to a specific group of hormones called steroid hormones, which are produced by the adrenal glands and gonads. Other steroid hormones include androgens, estrogen, progesterone, and aldosterone. So what makes them steroid hormones? Steroid hormones are different from non-steroid hormones because they are fat-soluble. That means they can cause changes within a

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Chronic Illness

How to Deal with Chronic Pelvic Pain Naturally

Chronic pelvic pain may be one of the most frustrating and elusive types of pain not only to determine the cause, but also to treat or manage. There are usually two ways traditional medical practitioners approach chronic pelvic pain. (Source)  Treating chronic pain as a diagnosis in and of itself Treating diseases or disorders that may be the cause of or contributor to the pain The best treatment plans will use a combination of these two approaches, however, as we discussed last week, it is often a long road to identifying a cause. It can be related to several different bodily systems as well as mental health issues. This study review even describes curative treatment as “elusive.” So today we’ll talk about natural ways to deal with chronic pelvic pain while on the path to diagnosis and treatment. Conventional Medical Treatment Let’s learn a little about some solutions you may be offered in a traditional healthcare setting.  Medication One of the most common approaches is to prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that are stronger than over the counter drugs. Muscle relaxers are also sometimes prescribed. Hormones If the doctor thinks the pain is related to a hormonal condition, like endometriosis

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Chronic Illness

Learn About Common Causes of Mystery Chronic Pelvic Pain

Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) in women is defined as persistent, noncyclic pain in the pelvis that lasts more than six months. (Source) And one study estimates that the prevalence of CPP for women in reproductive ages is between 14% – 24%, and about 14% of women experience CPP at least once during their life. (Source) It may take time to diagnose pelvic pain as there are many possible causes, and women can even have several causes happening at one time. CPP is sometimes caused by other physical diseases, or mental health disorders; or it can be a stand alone condition. (Source) Often when searching for the cause of CPP, the organs located in the pelvis are examined. Reproductive organs like the uterus and the vagina, the urinary system, and digestive organs like the large intestine could all be involved. With so many potential factors that can contribute to CPP, it’s important to educate yourself on the possible causes if you’re experiencing chronic pelvic pain. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better you can advocate for yourself. Symptoms of Chronic Pelvic Pain Your pelvic pain could be very localized to one specific spot, or it could be generalized

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Chronic Illness

Turmeric: Magical Myth or Real-Life Disease Fighter?

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries—dating back even as far as 4000 years to Vedic culture in India, Ayurvedic medicine and as a staple in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.  Bright yellow in color, it is sometimes referred to as Indian saffron. Turmeric a member of the ginger family and is native to South Asia. To be used, the turmeric tuber is dug up, boiled, dried and ground into the yellow powder you’ve seen in the store. With no known drug interactions, little side effects and highly anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is used for a wide variety of illnesses ranging from digestive disorders to autoimmune disorders to respiratory disorders. (Source) There have been over 3000 publications dealing with turmeric that came out within the last 25 years! We’ll dive into some of those diseases as well as why turmeric can be effective in treating them in this article. What makes turmeric a disease-fighting herb? Turmeric gets its bright yellow color from one of its main components—compounds called curcuminoids. The second main component in turmeric is volatile (or essential) oils. The powerhouse agent that has the most healing effects is curcumin, a polyphenol derived

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Chronic Illness

What You Should Know About Diabetes in Women

Diabetes is a condition that can affect anyone, regardless of their age or their gender. Just because it is a little more common in men, doesn’t mean that women shouldn’t be aware and educated of their unique risks and complications. Let’s explore what women should know about diabetes as it relates to them. About Diabetes and Women Diabetes can affect both men and women, but there are some differences that occur when a woman is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. If you have signs and symptoms of this disease, or have recently been diagnosed, here are some things to know about having diabetes as a woman. (Source) Shared Symptoms As a woman with diabetes, you also have all the same symptoms and dangers as men with this disease. You need to be concerned about foot problems, eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, fatigue, weight fluctuations, dizziness, and nerve damage. It is important that you receive treatment as soon as you are diagnosed and be sure to listen to your health practitioner’s treatment and lifestyle recommendations. Whether you change your diet or have to take medications, it can help you deal with diabetes and avoid all the potential complications at the same

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Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Where Could Gluten Be Hiding?

Whether you have Celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, the first thing to start with on a gluten-free diet is figuring out what you can and can’t eat. You probably know all the main options, like skipping your normal bread products, checking condiments, and being sure you avoid all forms of wheat. However, gluten can often be hiding in products you wouldn’t suspect, and the only way to know is by understanding what ingredients point to being gluten. Did you know that just one exposure to gluten can drive an inflammatory response for 3-6 months?! For those who are sensitive, it’s really important to know where the gluten is so you can avoid it. Let’s take a look at where gluten can be hiding in your diet. Ingredients with Gluten Hydrolyzed malt extract Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Phytosphingosine extract Amino peptide complex Secale cereale Fermented grain extract Hordeum distichon Hordeum vulgare Hydrolysate Maltodextrin Brown rice syrup Modified food starch Hydrolyzed vegetable protein Hydrolyzed soy protein Caramel color  Be Careful of These  So now you’ve turned to look at your items from the last store visit. As you read through the ingredients, you see a few familiar names, but now is

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