Author Archives: amyneuzil

Pharmaceutical drugs and gallbladder issues

If you’re struggling with gallbladder sludge and stones you may also be struggling to find your triggers, and one of those triggers might just be drugs – drugs and gallbladder can be linked.  Certain foods, stress, times of day – lots of things can trigger an attack or give you twinges. Sadly, the effects of pharmaceutical drugs are often overlooked, even by your doctor so be sure to check your medicine cabinet, and use the tips below to write your own health timeline. This can give you the valuable information you need to find your own personal gallbladder triggers.

Pills! Have you checked to see if your drugs and gallbladder are linked? Photo by Slashme at English Language Wikipedia.

Pills! Have you checked to see if your drugs and gallbladder are linked? Photo by Slashme at English Language Wikipedia.

Pharmaceutical Drugs and Gallbladder – What Drugs Can Cause Problems

See this research, from the Journal Drug Safety, for more details.

  • Birth Control Pills – Just like high levels of your natural estrogens are implicated in gallbladder trouble, so too are external estrogens.  Even more so because these synthetic estrogens can be difficult for your body to process and eliminate.
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy – Much the same as birth control pills.
  • Lipid Lowering Drugs – Especially Clofibrate, but other drugs haven’t been studied as widely so it’s best to have some caution with the whole group.
  • Thiazide diuretics – There is conflicting research about this group of drugs, but many studies suggest they do cause problems. This includes Chlorothiazide (Diuril), Chlorothalidone, Hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), Indapamide, Metolazone.
  • Ceftriaxone – This antibiotic can cause gallbladder sludge and stones fairly quickly, but the problems should also resolve after the drug is discontinued.
  • Octreotide – Long term use of this injectable synthetic hormone (synthetic somatostatin) is linked to gallbladder stasis and gallstone formation.
  • Hepatic Artery Infusion Chemotherapy – This is linked to such severe problems your doctor will typically suggest that you remove your gallbladder before starting treatment.
  • Erythromycin and Ampicillin – Both of these antibiotics are linked with hypersensitivity-induced cholecystitis. That means that your body’s reaction to becoming sensitive to the drug includes inflammation of the gallbladder.
  • Cyclosporine – This immunosupressive drug, which is often used for psoriasis has had mixed reports of causing trouble for your gallbladder.
  • Dapsone – This antibiotic has also seen patchy reports of gallbladder issues.
  • Anticoagulant treatment – This link is unclear, but it seems that people with gallbladder inflammation are at increased risk of emergency gallbladder removal after starting anticoagulants.
  • Narcotics – These drugs are well known in slowing down the motion of your bowels, and that slowing can have a profound impact on your gallbladder function.
  • Anticholinergic medications – Specifically oxybutynin might be linked to an increased risk of gallbladder cancer, but actual research is needed.

Drugs and Gallbladder – What Drugs Actually Help?

  • CisaprideResearch has shown that in squirrels fed a high-cholesterol diet, Cisapride helped prevent the formation of crystals in the gallbladder, which are the precursors of gallstones. Sadly, this drug has been removed from the market due to side-effects.
  • Erythromycin – This drug can also be given to increase gastric motility (this is called a prokinetic, like Cisapride), and in spite of the fact that people with hypersensitivity reactions can have gallbladder issues from the drug, it can also solve gallbladder issues.

What About Drugs Not On This List? Write Your Health Timeline.

Every person can have a unique reaction to any drug or substance, which is part of what makes medicine so challenging.  It’s a good idea to do a timeline of your gallbladder symptoms.  What were the stressors in your life at the time symptoms started? Were there major emotional stressors? New drugs? Diet changes? Other conditions?  This will help you to pin point the factors that might be contributing to your own issues and may indeed reveal a link to a pharmaceutical drug.  Even if that drug is not known for causing gallbladder issues, it can be worth investigating.  Talk with your doctor to see if there is a different type of drug that might address the same issue or if there is a way you can discontinue for a while to see if your gallbladder issues change at all.  After all, your body is always unique.

MTHFR and Birth Control Pills. Ugh.

Naturally, MTHFR and birth control pills interact – it’s not like this is an easy mutation to live with in other senses, why would it leave our contraceptive options untouched? Complaining aside, I could have saved myself years of miserable experiences with the pill if I had known this.

MTHFR and birth control pills is a bad combination. Photo by Bryancalabro.

MTHFR and birth control pills is a bad combination. Photo by Bryancalabro.

Birth Control Pills Deplete Folate in Your Body

If you’re familiar with MTHFR mutations, then you’ve probably already figured out why this is a no-win situation for us MTHFR gals, but if you’re not then read on. Birth Control Pills are known to deplete folate levels in women and have been known to do so since the ’80s.  This is a problem for all women, but especially those who have compromised folate metabolism in the first place (ahem, that’s us MTHFR folks). This folate depletion is part of the reason for some of the most common side effects of birth control pills – fatigue, mild depression, even acne.  It’s also linked to an increased risk of neural tube defects in babies born to women who have recently stopped using birth control pills.

Due to the risk of neural-tube defects in women who become pregnant after recently stopping birth control pills, a new folate-fortified pill called Beyaz ® has been developed.  In good news, it is supplemented with an active form of folate so if you’re an MTHFR gal and you absolutely must take oral contraceptive pills, this one might be a good option for you.

If you don’t tolerate birth control pills and can’t figure out why, it could be because you have an MTHFR mutation – especially if you have signs of a folate deficiency even though you’re taking your birth control pills WITH a multivitamin or folate supplement.

Birth Control Pills also deplete B12, Magnesium and other nutrients

Not only is folate depleted, but its partner-in-crime B12 is depleted too.  B12 is also highly involved in the methylation cycle, and again this can be an issue for MTHFR folks (especially those with the related MTRR mutation) as well.  Nutrients to watch when taking birth control include:

  • Folate
  • B12
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • B2 – Riboflavin
  • B6 – Pyridoxine
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium

Of course for MTHFR folks the folate is the biggest factor, but folate always works in tandem with other B vitamins so make sure you’re getting a good B complex supplement if you do choose to take birth control pills.

Birth Control Pills May Also Affect Serotonin Metabolism

In related bad news, Birth control pills may also affect your Serotonin metabolism (which might also be compromised in MTHFR folks because of this.)  This study, published in the Journal of Ayub Medical College, showed that there was a difference in serotonin levels between non-contraceptive users and oral contraceptive users that was statistically significant in pre-analysis but not statistically significant in post-analysis. That means that although there was a difference in the two groups, it wasn’t large enough that we can say with confidence that it wasn’t chance.  There was, however, a significant difference in serotonin levels for those using injectable contraceptives. Injectable contraceptives are a bad idea on so many levels, but let’s add this as another reason not to use them.

What Type of Contraceptive is Best for MTHFR Mutants?

Completely safe relative to MTHFR mutation types (other risks though – do your research!):

  • Condoms, Female Condoms
  • Copper IUD (non-progesterone secreting)
  • Vasectomy or tubal ligation

If you feel you must take hormonal contraception:

  • Use the lowest dose of hormone possible and make sure you’re adding extra supplements to counteract nutritional deficiencies. Consider Beyaz® but remember if you’re an MTHFR mutant you might still need additional active folate, and it doesn’t supplement any of the other nutrients it depletes so you’ll also need those.
  • Avoid using injections, pellets or implants simply because once they’re in you can’t get them out.  That means if your body doesn’t tolerate it you’re stuck with the side effects until the dose wears off.
  • If you’re considering getting pregnant, please stop all oral contraceptives at least a year before you start to try and make sure you work diligently during that year to boost your levels of all of the nutrients that may have been depleted.

 

Boost Your Mental and Physical Health: Tips for Success

This article is by Travis White of Learnfit.org. Thanks Travis!

Everybody wants to look and feel their best when the spring and summer seasons hit – after all, we all want to wear that bathing suit in public. Making the effort to improve both your mental physical health can go a long way toward reducing stress and increasing energy. Of course, the hardest part is getting started. There are plenty of easy tips that you can incorporate to improve your nutrition and up your physical activity that will have you ready for the warmer months in no time.

Boost your mental and physical health by getting outside and doing something you love.

Boost your mental and physical health by getting outside and doing something you love.

Planning is the key to boosting Mental and Physical Health.

The best way to ensure success when it comes to improving your mental and physical health is to put together a detailed plan. When you start making changes to your diet or activity levels without a clear strategy, you are setting yourself up to fail. Writing down your goals, plans, and progress can be a very effective strategy for improving your health. Keep a journal of what you eat and what activity you do, and be honest so that you can look back at your successes and pinpoint areas of trouble as you move forward.

The spring and summer seasons are ideal for trying to make modifications to your diet to improve your health. Be sure to check out farmers markets that start in the spring, as these are a great resource for fresh, whole foods that are packed with nutrition. Focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats to keep you energized and satisfied throughout the day. Be sure to work on cutting out or cutting back on unhealthy choices such as sugary treats and fast food.

Exercise or Activity is a MUST for boosting Mental and Physical Health

Any plan for improving your physical and mental health needs to include regular, moderate exercise. If you don’t like the “E” word, then let’s call it “activity” instead. AZ Central recommends planning for at least 30 active minutes a day, at least five days a week.  Add it to your calendar to help you commit to it. The time of day that you exercise is far less important than getting it done consistently, so consider whether your lifestyle best accommodates a morning, noon, late afternoon, or evening time slot.

Embrace activities that motivate you for the spring and summer seasons, things that you love to do. Focus on walking, running, swimming,  biking, or playing in the surf. Experts also recommend incorporating some strength training at least a couple of times a week into your routine. You don’t necessarily need a gym membership or fancy equipment to do this. You can focus on exercises that use your own body-weight  such as lunges, pushups, crunches and other similar activities to help you build your strength, adding in dumbbells for additional exercises if you’d like.

Small Lifestyle Changes will Greatly Improve Mental and Physical Health

To a large degree, improving your physical health will significantly improve your mental health as well. Focusing on quality nutrition in your diet will help to reduce stress and increase your energy, and the University of Michigan University Health Service notes that helps to improve your mood and decrease anxiety and depression.

The spring and summer months are the ideal time to focus on improving your physical and mental health. Working on improving your health doesn’t have to be overwhelming, as there are plenty of easy ways to incorporate moderate changes that ultimately will have a significant, positive impact. Create a plan of attack with measurable goals and focus on quality nutrition and regular exercise to boost your fitness and reduce your stress levels. Once you commit to lifestyle changes and see some success, you’ll be motivated to keep going and reap the rewards of your hard work as you embrace the warm months.

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Mommy Burnout – Health Tips

As promised, I want to give you some simple things to try for the fatigue and lack of energy that can be a big part of parenting – the mommy burnout.  There is no doubt that parenting is the biggest fullest time full-time job there is, and to be clear I’m talking about daddy burnout too. You are the bottom line of responsibility and that can be a difficult weight to carry – especially when you’re up at 4:00 am for the fourth night in a row with a coughing child and you know you have to be functional at 7:30 for work. There are some things that you can do to help maintain your energy level and bolster the reserves. Too many parents forget to care for themselves while they are busy caring for baby.

B vitamins

It sounds too simple to be effective but B vitamin deficiencies are very common, especially in women.  There are several B vitamins, but I think the easiest way to get them is in a B-complex, simply because the deficiency symptoms overlap and the functions overlap, so if you’re low in one you are likely to be low in others too.  Make sure you’re getting a B-complex with 5-MTHF instead of folic acid because some of us (the MTHFR mutants) can’t convert the folic acid into the active form. Symptoms of B vitamin deficiencies include:

  • Fatigue, low energy, weakness
  • Depression, memory loss, difficulty thinking or brain fog
  • Rashes, cracking skin, seborrheic dermatitis
  • Anemia and elevated homocysteine in the blood.

If you are already taking a B complex but you’re still having fatigue one of the quickest pick-me-ups out there is B12 liquid or B12 sublingual.  They can make a world of difference and give you an immediate energy boost. Again with the mutant problem – if you have an MTHFR issue or the related MTRR that changes the way you methylate B12 then look for the hydroxycobalamin or methylcobalamin forms.




Vitamin D

Surprisingly, up to 75% of Americans are deficient in this common vitamin.  In theory, we are able to manufacture vitamin D from our body’s cholesterol in response to sunlight.  In reality, we just don’t get enough sunlight.  Between skin cancer awareness, which has increased the use of sunscreens, sunglasses, and hats; and demanding schedules that don’t allow for outdoor time we are starved for this vital nutrient.  Your doctor can test your blood levels and suggest a therapeutic dose based on those results.  Generally, 2000IU per day is a good starting place.  Vitamin D helps you with fatigue, depression, maintaining healthy bones, protecting against cancer and boosting your immune system in general.

Hormone Balance and Rebuilding

Pregnancy is one of those life events that literally takes everything you have and then some.

In terms of priority, your body will give your developing fetus nutrients instead of saving them for you in order to make sure that the next generation has a good start.  This is a great system, just as long as you are taking care of yourself and working to get those nutrients built back up.  It is best to work with your practitioner on this one because every woman is different.  Some women notice declining thyroid function, some women develop blood sugar issues, for some women the adrenals bottom out and some women’s sex hormones never seem to recover.  It is best to have a whole protocol specifically for you, but here are some basic ideas to get you started:

  • Shatavari – this ayurvedic herb is an adaptogen for female sex hormones. We spoke about adaptogens in a recent post, but this one helps to normalize estrogen and progesterone. So if you’re low, it boosts you up and if you’re excessive it calms things down. Amazing.
  • Iodine – this vital nutrient is often deficient in the modern diet, especially since a lot of people no longer use iodized salt because sea salt is generally healthier.  It is found in high concentration in sea vegetables, but if you’re not getting a lot of those then it might be a good idea to supplement because pregnancy uses a lot of it – it’s vital to your baby for brain development – and women are often left deficient.  Iodine is necessary for your own brain and also for healthy thyroid functioning so boosting your iodine can boost your energy too.
  • Magnesium – this mineral helps your body relax for a restful sleep and also helps your adrenals – your main get-up-and-go glands – to function.  If you’re lacking it might show up as restless legs, restless sleep or muscle cramps.

In great news, if you are looking for any of these, you can now order professional grade supplements at a 10% discount right here.

Water

Yes, I know.  It sounds too simple to help, but mild dehydration is the biggest cause of fatigue, headache and the afternoon slump.  If you’re trying to lose weight it’s good to remember that it’s also the number one cause of the “hunger” signal. Also, if you’re still nursing, then your body is using more than normal. Just remember to drink 8-16 oz of water every time you pass through the kitchen.  It’s a small change that adds up to big benefits.  Water is easy to forget to drink when you’re running errands, running around after toddlers, or just running in general.  Take a bottle of water with you everywhere (please no BPAs and no plastic water bottles if you can avoid them – plastics release hormone disruptors which are the last things your body needs.  I use a glass bottle, but there are great options in ceramics and stainless steel as well.)  Drinking eight 8oz glasses per day is the general rule of thumb but always try for more.

Melatonin

Melatonin has to be one of my favorite things.  This is the hormone in your body that makes you feel sleepy at the end of the day.  It is also the hormone in your body that opposes cortisol (your wake up/stress hormone).  For parents, this can be a godsend.  I have seen so many parents in the clinic who seem to lose the ability to fall asleep easily because they are stressed, overwhelmed, thinking about problems or just can’t wind down for the day in spite of the exhaustion.  Melatonin is a simple, safe quick fix that will help your body get into that sleepy place simply by taking it before bed.  It also acts as an antioxidant for brain tissue, which is a great bonus effect. After all, protecting the brain is always a good idea.  The standard dose is 3mg and if this isn’t enough it’s safe to double or even triple.  Also if your baby wakes up at night and needs you, you will still be able to get up and respond (although you may be a little groggy).  It’s a great alternative to sleeping pills and can really help you to maximize whatever sleep time you have.

Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you're battling your own mommy burnout.

We want parenting to look like this, but often it looks just like the woman in the video above.  “They want everything you have “. Just remember that when you’re battling your own mommy burnout.

Sepia

Homeopathy isn’t generally a one-size-fits-all type of medicine. It’s tiny doses of something that would cause the same symptoms if you took it in a toxic dose, which then helps your body to understand and move through that process.  In a perfect world the remedy should be matched perfectly to your symptoms, but in the case of post-partum depression and typical mommy burnout stress and anxiety, this one is a pretty reliable win.  Sepia helps with the irritability that comes with constant caretaking.  The feeling that if everyone would just leave you alone for 20 minutes you might be able to function without snapping at them.  The urge to cry, or run, or lash out because your kiddo is quite literally hanging on you and you really just need a minute.  Those are pretty reliable parent feelings and sepia is a lovely, gentle aid. The 30C strength is sold commonly in health food stores and 3 pellets can be taken under your tongue as needed.

I know nothing fixes the overwhelming schedule, demands and stress of being a parent, but I’m hoping this will at least give you a little bit of help and support.  It’s also a great reminder to me to remember that even though I’m busy being mom I get to have needs too. 🙂 Feel free to leave comments on how this is working for you, or if there are any areas that you really need support that I didn’t address.



Mommy Burnout – Some Tips

I have a confession to make about this mommy burnout thing. It’s happening. It’s me.  I’m writing this to myself, as much as anyone, simply because I’m the fortunate mom of a hilarious, joyful, loud, energetic 18-month-old who is teaching me all about mommy burnout. Historically I’m a workaholic and know all about other kinds of burnout, but I could always retreat if needed.  Stop and regroup and rest because I was always choosing to work so hard.  Now, not so much. Just like every other parent out there, the choice is no longer mine. I am often reminded of my childhood best friend and her family when I think of mommy burnout, mostly because she has three high-energy kiddos and I have learned a lot by watching her parent – um… especially on a group camping trip. Believe me, I can’t think of anything more vivid than three swimming, singing, climbing, jumping campfire-roasting kids and two dogs who follow them through all the muck that entails.

I am honestly awe-struck by how well some people, like Laura, juggle the responsibility of a full-time career and three busy kiddos at home, and I’d like to share some of the things that I observed in her that I think would be useful for the other moms I see (myself included).  Don’t worry, my next post will also be health-related things you can try, not just parenting things. Mostly I want to say as long as your kiddo is fed and loved, you’re doing an awesome job. The rest really is mostly details. Just don’t forget to take care of you too.  Also, to clarify, mommy burnout isn’t confined to mommies. It’s really parenting burnout. Lots of this is obvious, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing it so pause and take a minute to remind yourself how to be nice to yourself too. Here is what I’m going to call “Laura’s List for Avoiding Mommy Burn-Out.”

  1. Important things are important – the rest can go hang.  So, it is actually important to maintain discipline when your kiddo decides he or she wants to play with the hatchet and to stick to an absolute NO.  It isn’t so important when they want to play rock band using a badminton racket instead of a guitar.  Firm clear discipline involving action and consequences matters when something is important – like a threat to safety.  It isn’t important when it’s just loud and fun.  Save the big loud angry reaction for times when it’s necessary.  If the kids are just being loud and unruly, like kids are, then don’t worry about it.
  2. Don’t expect kids to be mini-adults – because they’re not. It is easy to fall into the habit of expecting kids to behave like adults, especially in places like restaurants.  It’s easy to expect them to be quiet and sit still and have nice table manners, but the fact of the matter is that the things that matter to adults don’t matter to kids.  This isn’t carte blanche to allow your kids to rampage through a restaurant, but it is a reminder to keep your expectations realistic –  kids are kids and they are going to do kid things (and that’s the way it’s supposed to be).



  3. Take time for you – nobody else will. The thing that impressed me most about Laura and her husband was that they both manage to take time for themselves even in a full-throttle 24 hour kid day.  Laura is not (and never has been – I can attest to this) a morning person.  She and her husband have worked out a system that involves him handling morning duties while Laura takes time to wake up slowly (usually with the help of a good book) and Laura handling most of the evening stuff while he gets to relax.  I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen automatically and at some point, they both had to value themselves enough to establish ground rules. Lots of parents, especially new parents, forget that they matter too, and this is key for sanity.

    Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you're battling your own mommy burnout.

    Happy mommy means happier baby. Just remember that when you’re battling your own mommy burnout.

  4. Nap when you can – whenever you can. Seriously. Lots of people have stigmas about day-time naps equating to laziness, but that idea needs to go right now. No matter how awesome your kids are they are still kids.  They wake up in the night and need you, they fall out of bed, they have nightmares, they are just kids. Not only that, they often get up earlier than you do.  Parenting means sleep is on short supply so learn to sleep whenever you can – whether it’s a 20-minute cat nap or a 2-hour nap while the kids are gone somewhere, learn to prioritize sleep more than housecleaning, extra work projects, and the like.  the better you feel on a daily basis the more you will be able to accomplish, so sleep whenever you can and whenever you need.
  5. Let your kids be kids without your input. This is a hard one for the parents who hover and helicopter around their children (as the child psychology books advocated for smarter kids with higher self-esteem). The point is, your kid doesn’t like it, it is debatable whether this helps them at all, and it will wear you down to the bone faster than anything else in the world.  Kids learn and grow by making their own mistakes (even when it means skinned knees and bruised pride), by finding their own solutions to problems (even if there are better solutions out there) and by finding their own way through conflicts (even if that ends in tears and tantrums).  You burning yourself out as a parent and micromanaging your child’s environment, relationships and emotions won’t help anyone and it’s the surest way to drive yourself (and your kids) crazy.
  6. Remember your actual responsibilities as a parent and forget the rest. The basic obligations of parenting are the things you absolutely have to provide for your children and these are incredibly important.  Make sure you provide these and the rest is just gravy.  Don’t beat yourself up for not being able to give gravy all the time – you get to be human too.  As long as you give your kid the basics – food, safety, shelter, and unconditional love for them exactly as they are.  Everything else is extra.
  7. Eat. You need balanced meals too, not just the bites of things the kids leave over or the random items you can shove in your mouth between activities.  Take time to eat real food including fruits and vegetables.
  8. Maintain your own life, your own interests, and your own identity. Your kids are the biggest part of your life, but they aren’t your whole life and it puts too much pressure on them if you try to force them into that role.  Also I see a lot of parents who end up “blaming” their kids for all of the ways that they themselves don’t feel fulfilled as a human being and for the things they “gave up” (even if the kid never wanted that in the first place) and that isn’t anywhere near fair.  Make sure you are maintaining your own identity that isn’t based on your kids – it’s based on you and who you are and what you do as a person.
  9. Get help when you need it. Nobody can do it all alone and you are no exception.  Ask for help if you need it, whether that is from a daycare, a babysitter, a school, an after school program, your spouse, your family or whomever.  Everyone needs a break every now and then and there is nothing wrong with that.  You just have to remember to ask for help.
  10. Support your body just as much as you would support your child’s if they were struggling. Your kid isn’t the only one who needs good medical care, good food, joy and good sleep.  You do too. It doesn’t help your kids in any way for you to burn yourself out.  Treat yourself just as well as you treat your children and it will all work out great.
Save yourself from mommy burnout (or daddy burnout). Here's some friendly reminders.

Save yourself from mommy burnout (or daddy burnout). Here’s some friendly reminders.

Now – I completely recognize that this is all so much easier to say than to do because we all have a whole lot of real-life to deal with. I also think that when you’re wrapped up in 26 hour days and running on no sleep it’s easy to forget the basics, so this is a friendly reminder to everyone out there who is struggling to be the best parent they can.  Just remember sometimes it’s really enough to just be there, keep your kid safe, and allow the chaos to happen.



Lifehack: Get rid of Gallbladder Sludge, with water.

Every now and then I realize that for all my talk about gallbladder sludge, I haven’t emphasized the MOST IMPORTANT THING, which is water. In terms of getting rid of sludge of any kind in life, water is the key. Can I say this again? If you want to get rid of gallbladder sludge, water is absolutely vital. Let’s review.

Your gallbladder is a small little sac-shaped organ that is connected to both your liver and your intestines by thin tubes. Your liver makes bile, which helps your body to emulsify the fats from your diet in order to absorb them, and also helps you eliminate fat-soluble toxins including excess hormones. Bile is usually very fluid, but once it gets to the gallbladder your body starts to pull out the water and concentrate it, helping it to become more effective.  By pulling out this water you make the bile thicker and more goopy. If you pull out too much water or there isn’t enough in there to begin with, then goopy turns into sludgy. This one simple factor can lead to sludge pretty quickly.

Want to get rid of gallbladder sludge? WATER is the biggest key.

Want to get rid of gallbladder sludge? WATER is the biggest key.

Get Rid of Gallbladder Sludge Long-Term:

If you have gallbladder sludge, and the pain that goes with it, you know how important it becomes to eliminate it quickly.  Here are some of the quick things you can do to get rid of gallbladder sludge for good:

  1. Boost your water intake quickly and make it a life-habit.  The more fluid your bile is, and the more well-hydrated you are, the faster you will flush out that sludge and the less likely your bile will get too thick in the future.  Did you know that according to a New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center Survey, 75% of American Adults are chronically dehydrated? Wha????? If you have gallbladder sludge my guess would be that you’re one of the 75%.
  2. Boost Your Fiber, Just Like Your Grandmother Told You. Fiber helps to bind to the fat soluble toxins and bile salts that are eliminated and pull them out of your system so that your thrifty body doesn’t recycle them.
  3. Eat Sensibly For Your Gallbladder. This means ix-nay the fried foods, trans-fats and excess animal fats and add more fruits, veggies and lean proteins.
  4. Boost the Power of your Water With a Little Lemon. Lemon and other acids, like apple cider vinegar, help with both detox and hydration, both of which help with gallbladder sludge. Super!
  5. Consider a Gallbladder Cleanse: BUT the gallbladder cleanse has it’s own risks so it’s only safe if you know, because a doctor did the appropriate testing, that you don’t have stones.  If you only have sludge and you’re not pregnant, then this could be helpful.




Get Rid of Gallbladder Pain Short-Term:

So, if you’re having a gallbladder attack you’re probably not sitting down at the computer to read about it, but hopefully, you’ll google it later and remember it for next time.  As soon as you start to feel an attack coming on:

  1. Guzzle The Water: Again, the quickest way to clean out goop is to dilute it and thin it out.  Your body will thank me for it. This is especially important if you get nausea or vomiting with your attacks because the vomiting makes dehydration worse quickly, which just makes the sludge worse.  Even if you have stones that are causing the pain water will help them to pass if they’re going to.
  2. Add Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar: Taking a shot of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice at the start of an attack (followed by a BUNCH of water) will help head the attack off before it gets into full swing. Also adding a little lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the vast quantities of water you’re drinking (ahem) will help it to be more effective.
  3. Slather on the Castor Oil: Castor oil is anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving in it’s own right, but it is also especially “lubricating” to the lymphatic flow around the liver and gallbladder, which comes in handy when that whole area is jammed up with pain, inflammation, and sludge.
  4. Consider some Supplements: There are a few things that help in the short term.  Water and the acidic juices are the biggest things, but some others include digestive bitters and lecithin.




Doesn't this look awesome? Don't be one of the 75% of adults who are dehydrated. And Get rid of the gallbladder pain for good!

Doesn’t this look awesome? Don’t be one of the 75% of adults who are dehydrated. And Get rid of the gallbladder pain for good!

So – will water and proper hydration fix the problem permanently?  It could, but not if you’re still eating fast food or if you have a major hormone shift contributing (like pregnancy ladies, sorry.) But if your diet is reasonably good and your hormones close to normal, then yup. The water is the key. Simple, right?



Adaptogens: Amazing Natural Stress Busters

Amazing Adaptogens: Powerful Stress Busters from Nature

by Helen Wells

Expensive new treatments promising to turn back the hands of time are constantly on the market, yet often, the most efficient weapons against stress, ageing and disease, can be found in nature. This is the case of ‘adaptogens’, which comprise a number of plants and roots and which have in common one amazing quality – the ability to boost our ‘non-specific resistance’ to ageing, illness and tiredness. They are called ‘adaptogens’ because of their ability to adapt to our body’s specific needs, helping our system counter anxiety and stress gently, without any jolts or sudden changes.

Adaptogens: A Not-So-New Phenomenon

Adaptogens may sound new to us, but they have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, to boost energy and increase resistance in the face of stressful situations. Today, they are used in many settings, including top drug rehabilitation centers, where an integrated approach to healing is employed. Thus, to battle the anxiety and stress that arises when one attempts to detox or withdraw from harmful addictions, natural remedies are as vital as humanistic remedies. A wide range of therapies are being used, including holistic therapies such as yoga, compassion-based therapies and of course, adaptogens. The fascinating book, Adaptogens. Herbs for Strength, Stamina and Stress Relief, notes, “Adaptogens are important supportive therapies for patients experiencing drug withdrawal regardless of whether they are quitting legal habits such as cigarettes, alcohol or coffee, or illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy or amphetamines…”

Schisandra rubriflora, by Scott Zona at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, UK. This Adaptogen is one of the best natural stress busters out there.

Schisandra rubriflora, by Scott Zona at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, UK. This Adaptogen is one of the best natural stress busters out there.

The Unique Synergy of Adaptogens: Natural Stress Busters

Soviet scientist, I.I. Brekham, explained why adaptogens are so powerful: it’s not just the combination of chemicals, vitamins, acids etc. which are present in adaptogenic plants and roots that are important – so, too, is the unique way all these components are combined. Brekham’s research revealed that some of the many benefits of adaptogens include protection from radiation damage, a boost in antibody levels, increased vitality, natural detoxification of the body, enhanced repair of proteins in cells, and greater endurance. Thus, adaptogens are an excellent ally when it comes to battling ageing, both on the external level and internally. Brekham and other Soviet scientists noted that when we are young, our body is able to adapt naturally to stressors such as harsh weather, pollution etc. but as we grow older, we lose this ability – this is where adaptogens can help – by enabling us to resist the stressors that cause illness.




Essential Requirements for Adaptogens

To be considered an adaptogen, a plant or herb must demonstrate the following characteristics:

  1. It must be non-toxic when taken at a standard dosage.
  2. It must increase our ability to fight non-specific stressors. (i.e. be a natural stress busters)
  3. It must have normalizing abilities (i.e. it should be able to reduce blood pressure in someone with high blood pressure, and increase blood pressure in those whose levels are too low).

Powerful Adaptogens

Some of the most widely researched and lauded adaptogens include:

  • Panax Ginseng: Health expert and best-selling author, Leslie Kenton, notes that this type of ginseng, which boosts the immunity, should be taken in root form – the most powerful are grown in Korea or China and they are best taken when they are at least six years old. If you are unable to find Panax Ginseng in root form, opt for the supplement form, but bear in mind that supplements often have additives and preservatives.
  • Siberian Ginseng: This adaptogen, also known as Eleuthrococcus senticosus,a relatively new discovery compared to Panax Ginseng, is known as the ‘devil’s shrub’. Its roots are also used to resist illness and fatigue, though its effects take a few weeks to build up. Some of its benefits include increased endurance, enhanced sleep and memory, and improved sports performance.
  • Ashwaganda: Known as Indian Ginseng, this adaptogen regulates the immune system and is also used to quell the symptoms of anxiety. It has been used for over 2,500 years in Indian medicine and is often used to lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body. Its efficiency has been proven in randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. For further information, see the study carried out by Chandrasekhar et. al., published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (2012).
  • Rhodiola Rosea: This wonderful extract has the ability to raise or lower cortisol levels in the body, as required by each individual.
  • Schisandra chinensis: This “five flavor fruit” in Traditional Chinese Medicine is so named because it balances all of the healing principles attributed to each flavor.  It has been shown to balance liver function, increase endurance and stamina, and act as a powerful antioxidant.
  • Withania somnifera: This potent adaptogen is especially helpful to moderate the effects of stress on sleep.  Generally it helps protect your body from the non-specific effects of stress, meaning it helps your body to deal with stressors and not get ill.

Adaptogens are a great ally for people of all ages; not only do they have no or minimal side-effects, these natural stress busters can help stave off the numerous effects of stress, both on a physical and mental level. Since they regulate the immune system, lower stress levels and soothe pain, they truly are Nature’s powerful healers.

Thanks again to Helen Wells for contributing this piece – Adaptogens are part of my frequent routine because they feel so nourishing on every level. Any time I need a little extra energy, a little more oomph, a better night of sleep or to take the edge off stress. – Amy.