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Research Showing Proof of Concept for Functional Medicine Approach to Cognitive Decline

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Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Welcome to today’s podcast entitled “Research Showing Proof of Concept for Functional Medicine Approach to Cognitive Decline.” You see, cognitive decline, folks, is an enormous problem all over the world. There is more and more research coming out to show proof of concept that functional medicine or a holistic approach or an individualized holistic approach to many different multi-system dysfunctions is a much better approach to address the complex disease of cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s disease than continuing to search in the medical field for the magic pill that is going to solve the problem.

So, the purpose of this podcast is to share with you a specific research article. The title of the article is Precision Medicine Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease: Successful Proof-of-Concept Trial. What this is, is it’s a journal article. I’m going to go through the article with you and explain the information in this article. Again, the title is Precision Medicine Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease: Successful Proof-of-Concept Trial.

The abstract of this article states that the objective of the study they did…so this is a research study that was done, it’s not a really large research study because the point is they’re using a small study group. Again, the purpose of this study is simply to show proof of concept so that if proof of concept is shown, that would then trigger larger studies. The objective of this study is to determine whether a precision medicine, or basically a functional medicine holistic medicine approach, to Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment in which potential contributors to cognitive decline are identified and targeting therapeutically and then addressed is effective enough in a proof-of-concept trial to warrant a larger randomized controlled clinical trial.

The hypothesis of all of this is testing the functional medicine approach because the thought is in the functional medicine approach and the holistic approach that Alzheimer’s disease is really a very multi-factorial level of dysfunctions throughout the network of the entire body that results from a chronic or repeated insufficiency of support for the brain’s neuroplasticity. Thus, factors that increase demands such as infections, toxin exposure, or hormone imbalance or energetic imbalances may contribute to the neurodegenerative processes that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Now, rectifying this hypothesis network dysfunction represents a rational approach to treatment of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease and particularly mild cognitive impairment.

This study was set up…and, again, it’s not a huge robust study because the point is to do a smaller study first and to show proof of concept. This study’s methods, there were twenty-five total participants in the study, all of which had either been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment, which are two different levels of cognitive decline. The twenty-five patients were between the ages of fifty and seventy-six years old. They were recruited through three different clinical sites, two of which were in California and one of which was in Oregon. They, obviously, are clinical sites that are functional medicine-based in approaching cognitive decline from this functional medicine holistic precision-based approach.

Now, out of the twenty-five patients, thirteen were women and twelve were men. They all completed the study. Four of them were, this is important…we talk about genetics with Alzheimer’s disease. APOE4 is a genetic marker that puts a person at the highest risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Of the twenty-five people, four were homozygous for APOE4 which means they had two genes, one from their mother and one from their father, both with APOE4. That puts someone at the highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease genetically. Eight of the twenty-five people were heterozygous for APOE4 which means they had one gene of APOE4, and the other was not APOE4. Eleven of the twenty-five were homozygous for APOE3, and two were heterozygous for APOE2 and APOE3. Those genetics put a person at less risk for the development, theoretically, of Alzheimer’s disease.

In studies we talk about the inclusion criteria and the exclusion criteria. Who was allowed to be included? What certain things kept people from being able to be included? The inclusion criteria was, again, age forty-five to seventy-six years. They needed to have cognitive impairment as demonstrated by a number of different tests. One is a test that their family members fill out. Family members are noticing consistent issues with their cognition. Another is called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test (MoCA Test). If someone scored between 19 and 26, that’s usually consistent with some cognitive decline, mild cognitive decline or possibly moderate cognitive decline. Also, there were two other tests someone could take called the CNS Vital Signs or a Neurocognitive Index. These are, again, different tests that showed a person’s problems with cognitive function. They were deemed, with these tests, as having either mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

The exclusion criteria, like who was not able to be part of the study. If someone’s MoCA score was less than 19, that puts someone much further along in the dementia process. They would be more moderate to severely along the Alzheimer’s spectrum. If they scored worse than a 19 on the MoCA test, they actually were excluded from the study. One of the reasons for that, folks, is you’ve got to understand that if someone is really, really far along in the Alzheimer’s disease process, their ability to be able to do all of the holistic steps that we’re going to talk about here are not possible or optimal. Their ability to really reverse the process is not going to possibly show up in a small study with a limited amount of time. To try and have the study be fair to the level of dementia or cognitive decline being assessed, people with too advanced a disease were not accepted into this study. If someone had uncontrolled major illnesses such as seizures, heart disease, or cancer or a major psychiatric diagnosis that affected their daily living, those things, as you would assume, would disrupt their ability to carry out what’s recommended, and so they were excluded from the study. Also, if someone had ongoing statin use, meaning they were on a statin medication to lower cholesterol chronically, they were excluded from this study. Ongoing anti-coagulations for any reason was avoided. If someone on an MRI of their brain showed particular diseases such as a brain tumor or MS or a traumatic brain injury, theses were reasons to exclude someone because, of course, those are possibly other factors causing their cognitive decline. That’s not going to be a fair assessment of whether they could improve with a holistic approach. Again, this is very common type things in research studies to have inclusion criteria and exclusion criteria.

Now, the evaluation involved the genetic testing I already went over and also an elaborate level of biochemical tests and biomarkers. I’m going to read off some of the blood work tests that were done with people in the study. This will give you an idea of the broad array of biochemical markers that are tested in this more holistic functional medicine precision medicine approach. Some of them included markers for insulin resistance, hemoglobin A1C was included, an advanced lipid panel including a C-reactive protein which is a marker of inflammation, the homocysteine was tested which is also a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels as well as whether a person’s detoxification system is having problems, fibrinogen is another marker that was tested and can have to do with iron storage but also is an inflammation marker.

All the participants were tested for chronic infections such as herpes simplex type 1 or herpes simplex type 2, Epstein-Barr virus. They were also tested for Lyme and other coinfections that can go along with Lyme. They were also tested for hepatitis C virus and HIV. A full comprehensive stool analysis was done on every single participant to look at their microbiome and look for gut pathogens to evaluate the digestion and absorption of their gut to make sure that their gut is functioning optimally. Hormone regulation was evaluated with serum levels of estrogens such as estradiol, progesterone, pregnanolone, DHEA, testosterone, sex hormone binding globulin, and prostate-specific antigen in men. The thyroid was evaluated with a TSH, a free T3, a free T4, and a reverse T3. Nutrient levels were assessed – levels of vitamin D, levels of magnesium, levels of zinc, levels of copper, levels of lipoic acid, levels of CoQ10. The omega-3 index was done to assess a person’s level of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood. A ratio between omega-6 fatty acids which are much more inflammatory to the level of omega-3 was also looked at. Heavy metals were tested. Biotoxins for mold exposure or bio-toxic illness from mold exposure was tested. Autoimmune markers were looked at. A sleep apnea study was done at home with looking at nocturnal oxygen levels in the blood. As you can see, folks, this is an elaborate array of tests that were done on each and every one of the twenty-five people in this study.

They also each had an MRI of their brain and what’s called volumetrics were performed on their brain from the MRI. Meaning you take an MRI image of the structures of the different parts of the brain, and you actually measure the size of the hippocampus. You measure the size of the overall brain and the different parts of the brain. This was done in the initial evaluation before the study began and again at the completion of the nine-month treatment protocol.

The treatment protocol in this research study was nine months long. Then what did the treatment involve? Once all the evaluation was completed, patients were treated for nine months with a very personalized precision medicine protocol that addressed each patient’s identified potentially contributory factors based upon all of those markers that were measured. Cognition was assessed with one of those MoCA tests or other cognitive assessment tests at the very beginning, at the three-month marker, the six-month marker, and the nine-month marker. The goal is to identify and address the factors associated theoretically and epidemiologically with Alzheimer’s-related cognitive decline. They work to improve insulin resistance, improve someone’s cholesterol, decrease their inflammation, focus on optimization and balance of their hormones, eliminate toxins, and so on based on each person’s dysfunctions or imbalances. The treatment team for each patient…each patient went to a clinical that had a team approach including a health coach, a nutritionist, a physical trainer, as well as a physician like myself.

What are the different facets of the treatment in this approach to cognitive decline improvement and overall approach of a holistic approach to improving someone’s cognitive decline? I’m going to take you through the research here in the article. They addressed all of the following. They addressed diet and the key points to the diet that was followed. It was a diet that was plant-rich, high in fiber, mildly ketogenic, full of leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables, high in unsaturated fats, and a fasting period of between twelve and sixteen hours every night from the time you last eat in the evening to the next morning. Avoidance of processed foods, avoiding simple carbohydrates, gluten and dairy were completely avoided and eliminated from the people’s diets. Blood ketone levels were monitored with a finger stick ketone meter with a goal of 1 – 4 mm of beta hydroxybutyrate. Beta hydroxybutyrate is an actual ketone that can be measured in the blood to see if someone is in ketosis or not. That’s the first thing, diet.

Next, exercise. Both aerobic and strength training were encouraged for at least forty-five minutes a day, at least six days per week. High-intensity interval training was recommended a minimum of twice per week.

Sleep. Sleep hygiene was supported to ensure seven or eight hours of quality sleep per night. All patients without known sleep apnea were tested over several nights using home sleep study devices to see if they possibly had sleep apnea. If someone was found to have sleep apnea, they obviously were treated for it with some sort of air pressure device like a CPAP device.

Stress. Different modalities like heart rate variability and biofeedback levels and HeartMath were used to help people with a daily practice to manage their stress.

Next, brain training was carried out using Brain HQ, a HIPAA-compliant platform that for a minimum of fifteen minutes daily each participant was expected to go on and train on the twenty-nine map cognitive exercises that target speed and accuracy of information processing on Brain HQ.

Next, hormones and nutrients. For those people found to have suboptimal hormonal status, of course, sometimes medications or supplements were used in order to balance their hormones. If they were found to have vitamin deficiencies, then they were put on supplementation or dietary modifications in order to optimize their overall nutritional and hormone status.

Gastrointestinal health. For those with gastrointestinal leaky gut or infections or inflammation, steps were taken through diet and medications and supplements to optimize their gut health.

Inflammation. Those with evidence of systemic inflammation were put, again, on dietary changes to reduce inflammation, supplementation to reduce inflammation. If someone had autoimmune disease, they were prescribed low-dose naltrexone which is known to help modify the immune system in people with autoimmune disease.

If someone was found to have infectious processes like herpes simplex or Epstein-Barr, they were evaluated by a physician. If they needed treatment for Lyme or any of these types of infections, they were treated accordingly.

Toxins and toxicants. Again, if they were found to have heavy metals or other organic pollutants or exposure to mold with biotoxins, then appropriate treatment modalities like sauna or herbs or other modifications in their diet or prescription medications were utilized to address the individual needs.

Alright. Now, what were some of the results? As we went through this, again, and they were tested at the zero marker at the beginning, at three months, six months, and nine months, twenty-one of the twenty-five patients (84%) were rated as improved by their study partners, meaning their family that answered a questionnaire about their cognitive abilities at the beginning. 84% of the twenty-five people in the study were shown to have improved significantly based on their family’s interpretation or observation of how they were doing at the beginning versus at the end. If folks listening are family with the p-value of a research study, that result right there had a p-value of .0005 which is extremely statistically significant in their improvement in that facet.

Another result was this CNS Vital Signs or other cognitive tests that were done at the beginning, three months, six months, and nine months. The Neurocognitive Index was one of the tests that they could do. The results here were the folks in the study who did the Neurocognitive Index showed an increase from the 38th percentile to the 63rd percentile, which indicates an improvement that is, again, highly statistically significant for improvement over the nine-month period. Twenty-one of the twenty-five patients improved their CNS Vital Signs score. One of the patients had an unchanged score. Two declined, and one was considered invalid. Overall, though, you still had 84% improvement in that test.

Now, the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test is a different cognitive assessment test. Everybody took all of these different tests at zero, three, six, and nine months. Focusing on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment Test, the MoCA Test, of the twenty-five patients, nineteen of them (76%) improved their score. Three (12%) showed decline in their score. Three (12%) were unchanged. These results are compatible with those in the other types of tests, meaning the tests are showing consistent levels of change. This is high statistically significant that all the different tests are corelating with the responses and the effect of the patients.

Now, let’s talk about the brain MRI with volumetric quantification. Remember, they had a brain MRI in the very beginning that measured the different sizes of different parts of the brain with the volumetric quantification. It looks at the overall brain tissue. So, what did they find here? This is very interesting. The grey matter volumes of the trial patients were increased over the nine months by a mean of 0.3%. You might say to yourself, “Increased by only 0.3%, that’s not much at all,” but let’s compare. Longitudinal grey matter volumes typically decrease by an average of 0.8 – 0.9 per year for those that do not have cognitive decline, meaning, folks, we all are declining in our grey matter volumes over time. What you saw in these twenty-five patients in this study is they did not decline in the nine months. They actually had an increase. That’s amazing! The other thing that’s amazing is that grey matter volumes in people with Alzheimer’s typically decline by 2.2 – 2.37% on an annual basis. These people had either a diagnosis of mild cognitive decline or Alzheimer’s when they started the study. Over a nine-month period, instead of decreasing their grey matter volume, their overall brain tissue, by 2 – 2.3%, they increased their volume by 0.3%. That’s a very statistically significant piece of information.

Also, with the brain MRI volumetric quantification they measured the volume of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a very specific part of the brain that is very related to cognitive stability and cognitive function. It’s the most important part. Hippocampal volumes of the trial patients was decreased in an annualized rate of 1.29%. They did decrease; however, folks, let’s look at this reality. What does this mean in comparison to normal people or people with Alzheimer’s disease? What’s truly, normally expected? For comparison, hippocampal volumes decrease in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease typically at an annualized rate of 3.5 – 4.66%. So, 3.5 – 4.5% is the typical volume decrease in people with cognitive dysfunction. The people in this trial only decreased their hippocampal volume in the nine months of this trial by 1.29%. That’s much less than the average. In cognitively stable controls, people with average and not cognitive decline, their hippocampal volume typically decreases in an annual rate of 1.4 – 1.73%. Folks, these people in this study decreased their hippocampal volume less than a person that would have been expected to decrease their hippocampal volume even if they don’t have cognitive decline. Wow!

The results of this proof-of-concept trial support the performance of a larger randomized controlled clinical trial. The magnitudes of effects, proportion of patients improved, and combination of improvements observed here in the MoCA scores, the CNS Vital Signs scores, the MRI volumetrics have not been reported in other studies and is showing reason to believe that this approach, a holistic functional medicine approach, is possibly very effective and a way to be looking at treatment for cognitive decline.

You see, the dominant theory over the past thirty years has been that amyloid build up, or what’s called the amyloid cascade hypothesis, but numerous antibodies targeting the associated amyloid have failed to improve cognition. Meaning, medicines that have been studied to try and block the building up of amyloid beta in the brain as the ultimate cause of Alzheimer’s have failed. Recent trials that failed to improve cognition nevertheless slowed decline, it’s just there isn’t a pill that has ever been shown to reverse Alzheimer’s progression.

This study, however, seems to be showing that there is hope that if we approach things from a more functional, multi-factorial, multi-system approach to cognitive decline, people are seeing benefits. The analysis involved is more comprehensive than is currently in use in memory centers. The datasets collected were extensive. The behavioral alterations required for the patients were demanding – that you do have to realize. You need to be ready to face the demands of this approach. If you’re not interested in addressing all of these things in your life, then this is not an approach for you. The time required by the team of practitioners is much greater. The cost is significant, although the cost is far less than the cost of assisted living facilities and nursing homes that people are filling due to Alzheimer’s disease.

This is what I wanted to do in this particular podcast, review this particular article entitled Precision Medicine Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease: Successful Proof-of-Concept Trial with the idea that I hope this has helped you see and understand some of the research showing proof of concept for a functional or holistic medicine approach to cognitive decline.


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The Rainbow Diet & The D.E.N.T. Program

Click here to listen to this episode of the Discover Health Podcast:


Hi, folks! This is Dr. Trish Murray from the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Today’s blog is going to be talking about the initial steps of my D.E.N.T. Program. D.E.N.T. is the way that I suggest people put a dent in your chronic disease conditions. First of all, that’s an acronym. D stands for diet and detox. E stands for exercise. N stands for nutrition. T stands for treatment. Most of the treatment is really about self-treatment and learning. The whole point of the D.E.N.T. Curriculum or the D.E.N.T. Program is to educate you with the amount of information that is evidence-based, supported by the latest research to help empower you to change your life, change your lifestyle, and improve your health so that you can live your life as productive and joyful and happy as you really would like!

So, the very first steps of my curriculum are to focus on diet. What I’d like to spend some time today explaining and giving you some significant pearls about is diet. The initial diet that I recommend people change first is what I call the Rainbow Diet or the Rainbow Concept.

Now, some people out there have not been making any changes in your diet. You’ve been eating a lot of processed foods. I grew up on them! I grew up on Tang. I grew up on instant mashed potatoes. I grew up on boxed food. My mom was not much of a cook. I know what it’s like. I lived that life throughout my childhood, throughout my young adulthood. I didn’t know. Many people out there don’t know. You’re overweight and you don’t feel well, and you don’t sleep well, and you have joint pain, and you have anxiety or depression, or you just don’t have the energy to get through your day. Or you’ve been making changes and the changes are helping some but they’re just not getting you where you want to be. That’s where you need some help, some mentoring, some coaching. And so, that’s what these blogs are for. That’s what my D.E.N.T. Curriculum is all about – to try and help you break through, weed through the myths out there and help you understand what the main evidence-based, research-based, factual information are to try and help you the most and give you information as quickly as possible. Let’s get into it.

Today’s topic, again, is on the Rainbow Concept. That is the initial diet or changes in one’s food lifestyle that I suggest people make to start stepping on the journey to optimal health. This is a journey, folks. It is not a destination. What I’m going to go over today is not going to solve every single one of everyone’s problems. We don’t all fit in the same box! One person could follow what I’m about to go over with you today and extremely improve their health and feel fantastic. Another person would initiate what I’m going to go over today and see an improvement, but it’s not quite got all the answers. That’s very typical. We don’t all fit in the same box, and the whole point of my D.E.N.T. Curriculum is to teach you how to then go from this basic diet that people start with into a detox, into an elimination concept, and then be able to identify what your own personal triggers are in the food world and be able to realize what also you would need to shift even further. You see, this is a step-by-step process. Again, today’s focus is back on the very initial steps.

So, the Rainbow Diet and the Rainbow Concept. The very first thing about it we emphasize to people is you must understand you are what you eat! Your health, your genetics, your being, your soul even is either going to be given positive information from the food you eat, the relationships you have, your frame of mind or it’s going to be given bad information from bad foods, unhealthy foods and chemicals and choices that you make. You are what you eat.

The first thing you’ve got to do is exactly what the Rainbow Concept seems like it would mean. You’re going to eat foods of different color. Why? Because real food that is red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple have different…every food of every different color, and folks I do not mean M&Ms and I do not mean Skittles, I mean real food…fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, and seeds of different colors have different vitamins, different minerals, and different what are called antioxidants and also what are called phytonutrients in them based on their color. Red foods, such as tomatoes or cherries or strawberries or beets, have certain vitamins and minerals in them that make them, if you will, the color red. Foods that are yellow have different vitamins and minerals and antioxidants and phytonutrients in them. If you want to get all of your vitamins, all of your minerals, all of your antioxidants, all of your phytonutrients as best as you can from the food you eat, then you must embrace this concept of eating every color of the rainbow.

What I suggest is you eat at least one serving of each and every color of the rainbow every 48 hours. In an optimal world, we would eat every color of the rainbow every day, but I get that that’s difficult to do. I get it that fruits and vegetables can be expensive. But to be honest folks, I also recommend 6-9 cups or servings of fruits and vegetables every single day. If you’re eating 6-9 cups of fruits and vegetables every day, folks, you are not going to be hungry for a handful of potato chips or a handful of any other boxed, processed food. You’re not going to spend the money on those things. You’re going to spend your money and invest in your health and buy fruits and vegetables and eat color. That’s number one and the ultimate, most important aspect of the rainbow concept.

Now, the next concept is that we also want to eat fat. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we have been taught for the last 50-60 years that we should not be eating fat. No fat, non-fat, low-fat. Oh my god! Let’s not eat fat because it’s going to make me unhealthy and it’s going to make me what? Fat! Well, folks, I hate to tell you but 60% of our brain is fat! We need fat to be healthy. Why do we have a dementia and Alzheimer’s epidemic in our country? Because we’re not eating enough fat. It is not the good fat out there in the world to eat that’s going to make you sick. Yes, there are a lot of different kinds of bad fats out there. Let’s talk about good fat versus bad fat.

First of all, when you read the label of any boxed food or packaged food, if you read that it includes any trans fats or hydrogenated fats or saturated fats then you should not eat it. To be honest, most processed packaged foods have hydrogenated and trans fats in them because those types of fats are basically like a putrefied fat so they’re going to last on the shelf and in that box for months and months and even years. You see, that is a negative/bad fat, and that’s why those foods should not be ingested very often.

Then, what are good fats? Well, good fats are first of all, extra virgin olive oil and also coconut oil. Those are the types of oils you should be cooking with, particularly cooking with coconut oil at high heats. If you’re going to cook in a frying pan or something, you’re going to want to use coconut oil. Extra virgin olive oil may break down in a negative way at high heat, but you definitely can be using extra virgin olive oil on your salads and at lower heats and things like that. By all means, eat olives. Olives are the actual food that you can be eating that have the good fats in it. Besides that, coconut milk, whether it’s the pourable coconut milk like out of a carton or you can buy canned coconut milk that is thick. I put as much as a third of a can of thick coconut milk from a can in my smoothie every morning. It fills me up. The other fat that would be excellent would be from avocados or nuts and seeds. Good fats, again, from extra virgin olive oil, from coconut oil, from coconut milk, from olives, from avocados, and from nuts and seeds are fantastically healthy for you.

The other thing you need to understand about fats, ladies and gentlemen, is that any gram of fat has nine calories in it. When you eat it, you get nine calories from it. When you eat a gram of protein or a gram of carbohydrate, you get only four calories from it. Now, if you’re thinking about a diet and losing weight and that’s all you’re doing is counting calories, which is not what I recommend, if you see it from that standpoint then, of course, you’re going to be told not to eat fats because they have more calories. But what I want you to do is shift your thinking about how long is this food that I’m about to eat for the quantity of it I’m about to eat going to sustain me and make me feel full so I’m not seeking more food too soon. If we eat too much too soon and over and over and we keep reaching for more food, do you see that that is the problem? Not that we, at one meal, ingest more calories and then it lasts us for 6, 8, 9 hours.

For example, I heard a lecture one time where someone gave this analogy. I live in New England, and I live in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so of course in the winter we have a woodstove. I burn a woodstove all the time! Now, think about a woodstove. If I just take thin little branches or what we call kindling, and all I do is burn kindling in that woodstove, and the kindling burns up really quickly because it’s only thin little pieces of branches. Do you see that I’m never going to be able to go to sleep at night? I have to keep putting more kindling and more wood and more kindling and more wood into the woodstove every half an hour or every hour to keep the energy to maintain the heat in my house. Now, on the other hand, what I tend to put in my woodstove is a good nice big piece of hardwood. A big log of hardwood. Now, of course, I start with the kindling but then I put that bigger piece of a hardwood log, a dense piece of wood, in there that has more energy to it so that the woodstove is then going to burn slowly and steadily and give off more heat slowly and steadily for hours and hours at a time. Then I can go to bed and be comfortable. My home is going to stay warm all night long.

Folks, this analogy is the same thing for eating fats. If you eat good fats, it’s like putting that log on your fire and giving you nine calories of energy rather than only the kindling of carbohydrates or protein that’s only four calories. So, this is the other issue of the Rainbow Diet suggestion. The majority of us, folks, out there are eating way too many carbohydrates. We’re eating way too many grains in particular. Breads, pastas, rice, oatmeal, cereals. If you think about it, the typical person gets up in the morning and the morning in our world, especially American world is full of carbohydrates: cereals, oatmeal, toast, or things like this. Folks, those are all carbohydrates. If you will, back to that analogy of the woodstove, it’s all kindling. It’s not going to sustain you. How many times have you reached for a pastry or had a bowl of cereal or eaten pasta and an hour later or an hour and a half later you’re already hungry again and reaching for another aspect of food, more calories? That is what’s leading to the obesity and diabetes epidemic of our country. We are all eating far too many grains. If you think about it, typically American or someone out there eats let’s say two pieces of toast for breakfast. Folks, one piece of toast is equal to one serving of carbohydrate a day.

My recommendation with the Rainbow Concept is that you should limit yourself to one or two servings of grain a day. Period. If you have two pieces of toast for breakfast, you’re already done for the day. You’ve had two servings of carbohydrates. You don’t get anymore! You notice now with this concept, you really have to shift your thinking to a different way. You have to stop reaching for grains, and you’re going to need to reach for some more better, good, healthy fats, for example, to act like the log that’s going to be burning in your woodstove for numerous hours to sustain you and you won’t feel hungry. You won’t reach for food so much. You will feel sustained. You will have better energy, and it’s just amazing! For example, every morning I drink a smoothie that I make with full-fat coconut milk from a can that is thick with also some nut butter in it for the protein and the fats. I drink that at about 6:30 in the morning, and I do not reach for my lunch because I don’t finish seeing patients until 1:00 in the afternoon. Folks, I’m fine because the good fats in my smoothie sustain me.

So, first rule of thumb with the Rainbow Concept, again, eat all the colors of the rainbow at least one serving every 48 hours. Also, eat 6-9 cups or servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Eat good fats, and I listed those already of extra virgin olive oil, olives, coconut oil, coconut milk, avocados, nuts, and seeds. The next is to decrease all grains (pastas, breads, rice, oatmeal, cereals) to only one or two servings per day. The next rule of thumb is protein.

Folks, we do need protein. Protein is the building blocks of all of your structure: your muscles, your bones, all of your organs, and all of your being. We need protein. I would recommend with my Rainbow Concept, 2-3 servings a day of protein. A serving size, if you’re having animal protein, is about the palm of your hand. Look at your hand and look at the size of the palm of your hand. That’s about the size of a piece of meat. Or, you could have one or two eggs as a serving. Or you could do a plant-based protein. I understand that folks out there are vegetarian or vegan. The thing that’s concerning about being a vegetarian or a vegan is that you do need to make sure you’re getting enough protein.

Now, how much protein does each of us need? Well, evidence-based research says that each of us should be ingesting one gram of protein for every kilogram of lean body mass. Now, the concern or confusion is we go by pounds. If someone weighs 140 pounds, you’ve got to convert that to kilograms. The first thing you’re going to do is divide by 2.2. 140 pounds divided by 2.2 would be, let’s see, that would be about between 60-65 kilograms. Now, this person in this example a 140-pound person which is essentially somewhere between 60-65 kilograms would need to ingest one gram of protein equal to their lean body mass. So, that person would ingest between 60-65 grams of protein a day. That’s how you figure that out. Now, the other thing is if someone is a vegetarian or a vegan, again, you need to look at beans. You’re going to need to look at nuts and seeds. You can look at soy proteins and things, but you also would want to make sure you’re getting enough grams of protein. You’re going to want to do the math and figure out how many grams of protein of whatever you’re ingesting for protein and calculate how many grams of protein you’re eating a day. Again, typically for the average-sized person you’re going to eat somewhere between 40-70 grams of protein a day.

The final rule for the Rainbow Concept, ladies and gentlemen, is to limit sweets. Sugar is not our friend, especially when you talk about desserts and processed sugars. What I say is limit sweets to one serving per week. Yeah – I did really say, “per week.” The fact of eating ice cream every night, the fact of eating some sort of dessert after every dinner in the evening is not a positive thing for any of us. It really should be a treat. Therefore, we should limit it to one a week.

I hope this has helped, folks. The Rainbow Concept, again, is the initial dietary pearls and basically non-negotiable concepts that we try and teach everyone and empower people with that take our D.E.N.T. Curriculum or our D.E.N.T. Program. If you have further interest in learning more about our D.E.N.T. Curriculum or our D.E.N.T. Program, please go to my website at where you can learn about our D.E.N.T. Curriculum, you can learn about our D.E.N.T. Program. It’s about empowering you to optimize your own health!


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Celiac Disease

Sayer Ji is a widely recognized researcher, author, and lecturer, an advisory board member of the National Health Federation, and the founder of the world’s most widely referenced, evidence-based natural health resource of its kind. He founded in 2008 to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. This evidence-based resource has presented over 20,000 articles through which the potential or actual therapeutic value of vitamins, minerals, herbs and foods can be reviewed.

The Tip of the Iceberg

In this essay, entitled The Dark Side Wheat, Sayer Ji first discusses celiac disease and compares it to an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg he equates to those diagnosed with classical celiac disease:

“Celiac disease was once considered an extremely rare affliction, limited to individuals of European descent. Today, however, a growing number of studies indicate that celiac disease is found throughout the world at a rate of up to one in every 100 persons, which is several orders of magnitude higher than previously estimated.”

Classical celiac disease is characterized by gastrointestinal symptoms, malabsorption, and malnourishment and is confirmed with an intestinal biopsy that demonstrates atrophy of the intestinal villi. In the classical western medicine perspective, if there is no positive biopsy, then there is no disease at all.

The Middle Section of the Iceberg

What Sayer Ji points out is that the middle section of the iceberg includes those that do not have a positive biopsy but do have positive antibodies in their blood work against gluten, the protein in wheat that causes celiac disease. He states,

“The submerged middle portion of the iceberg is largely invisible to classical clinical diagnosis, but not to modern serological screening methods in the form of antibody testing. This middle portion is composed of asymptomatic and latent celiac disease as well as out of intestine varieties of wheat intolerance.”

The Base of the Massive Iceberg

Finally, at the base of the massive iceberg are approximately 20-30% of the world’s population who carry a genetic susceptibility of celiac disease. These people carry the HLA-DQ 2 locus and have sensitivities to wheat and may present with either intestinal or outside the intestine symptoms.

Whether a person is in the smaller percentage of people that are truly diagnosed with celiac disease or not, there is a way for anyone to test themselves and empower themselves to know if wheat and/or gluten is a problem for their health. This way is through an elimination diet. An elimination diet allows the body to detoxify or decrease the level of antigen or irritating substances in our blood stream as well as antibodies down to a quiet level so they can see how much better they can feel. After detoxifying and quieting the system, wheat and other foods can be systematically rechallenged to see if they act as an antigen and cause an immune reaction and kick up symptoms.

My Detox Plus Program will guide anyone through this process. It involves detoxing oneself of multiple foods that typically can be toxic or irritating to our immune systems for three weeks and then systematically re-challenging each food one at a time to assess your response. The Detox Plus Program includes:

  • An overview of The Detox Plus Program
  • An Elimination Diet Guidebook
  • Detox pathways and supplement suggestions to optimizeyour detox
  • Stress reduction and detox enhancement education
  • Step by step information on how to systematically re-challenge foods to assess for food sensitivities
  • Suggestions on what to do once you finish the program
  • An individual health coaching visit to answer your questions and get you started


Learn more about the Detox Plus Program


Discover Health Podcast Episodes about food sensitivities, detox, and

Dr. Trish Murray is a highly accomplished physician certified in internal medicine, osteopathic manipulative medicine, energy medicine, and functional medicine. In addition, she is a best-selling author and the Health Catalyst Speaker. She is the founder of Discover Health Functional Medicine Center in Conway, New Hampshire and has collaborated with four other wellness professionals to create Discover Health Movement Membership.

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The Dangers of Candida

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So, “The Dangers of Candida.” Welcome, everyone! Thank you so much for joining us today! During the next, give or take, 40 to 60 minutes we will discuss everything you need to know about candida overgrowth and the natural ways to heal your gut.

I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. If you have any questions during our time together, please feel free to post them at any time in the chat box, and I’ll answer them at the end of the presentation.

So, what is candida? Our bodies host a variety of organisms including bacteria, viruses, and fungus and yeast. Candida is a species of yeast. It is normally found in small amounts in the mouth, the digestive tract, or on your skin. When present in small amounts, the body still thrives; however, in the right environment, yeast can multiply and grow out of control and lead to a condition called candidiasis. You see, any word in medicine, a diagnosis that ends in “-sis” either “-asis” means that it’s a condition.

So, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 20 species of candida yeasts that can cause infection in humans, the most common of which is candida albicans. Now, there are three types of candidiasis, or conditions of candida overgrowth, that typically occur in different parts of the body.

Number one is candida infections of the mouth, the throat, or the esophagus. All of these are called thrush. You may have heard of that. It also can be called oropharyngeal candidiasis. Again, big medical word but basically oral means mouth (the oral cavity) and pharynx means the back of the throat. So, oropharyngeal candidiasis a condition of candida overgrowth throughout your oral cavity.

The second place on the body or area where we can develop overgrowth of candida is vaginal candidiasis in women. The third is actually invasive candidiasis which occurs when candida species enter the bloodstream and actually can spread throughout the body.

Now, some common species of candida. Again, the most common is candida albicans, but some others that are out there that we’ll be talking about in this presentation are:

  • candida tropicalis
  • candida glabrata
  • candida parapsilosis
  • candida krusei
  • candida lusitaniae

Now, don’t try and say those over again or 10 times fast by any means! But there are many different kinds of candida. Again, the most common is candida albicans.

Candida albicans is this species responsible for about 50 percent of all candidiasis occurrences. It is opportunistic in nature, meaning that this yeast will seize the opportunity to overgrow and wreak havoc in various parts of your body. The environments in which candida albicans thrive include a compromised immune system. You’re going to hear me say that numerous times about candidiasis, that a compromised immune system sets a person up for the overgrowth of candida. Another environment is low counts of beneficial bacteria, meaning that we all have a microbiome, and the microbiome should have the most beneficial bacteria that we possibly can that we live in a good relationship with. But, low counts of beneficial bacteria can be due to antibiotic overuse, high stress levels, excessive sugar intake, and hormonal imbalances.

Now, untreated candida albicans overgrowth can lead to systemic infections via the bloodstream creating an environment of numerous disease processes to occur. Now, some of the common symptoms that someone would have that has a candidiasis that sort of spread through the many parts of the body include:

  • fatigue
  • bloating
  • flatulence or gas
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • chronic vaginitis or inflammation of the vaginal cavity
  • itchy skin
  • impaired memory
  • poor concentration and foggy brain

Candida tropicalis is noted as the second most common species and is believed to be responsible for up to 30 percent of candida bloodstream infections. Overgrowth of this species has also been linked with nervous system disorders resulting in depression, anxiety, headaches, and memory loss. So, folks, make sure you note that anxiety and depression could be related to an overgrowth of something like a yeast like candida or other types of infections. It’s not always just related to the brain itself. It can be an effect of an infectious process.

Individuals most susceptible to overgrowth of this type of candida tropicalis include people with diabetes, leukemias, and lymphomas. This type of overgrowth usually occurs in the gastrointestinal tract and on the skin. The most common side effects include diarrhea, excess gas, stomach cramps, and skin irritations including relentless itching, eczema-type rashes, and hives. This species of candida is becoming actually more resistant to anti-fungal drugs, making it more and more difficult to treat.

The next form is candida glabrata. According to the National Institute for Health, mucosal and systemic infections caused by candida glabrata have increased significantly due to the growing use of immunosuppressive agents or drugs. This species is responsible for anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of candida infections and can cause oral thrush.

Now, thrush can affect anyone; however, it’s most frequent among babies, toddlers, older adults, and, of course, people with immune deficiencies. Left untreated, thrush can spread to other parts of the body including the lungs and the liver of those who are immunocompromised.

Next, candida parapsilosis. Candida parapsilosis is involved in up to 30 percent of candida infections, including nail and tissue infections as well as fungal blood infections. Symptoms are most common among immune-impaired people and include severe flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, and systemic infections. This species has actually a high resistance to antimicrobial drugs and has even become a cause of concern in European hospitals.

Now, these two species of yeast are more rare, with each only accounting for approximately one percent of candidiasis. The first one, candida krusei, is usually associated with infant diarrhea and sometimes systemic candidiasis. Candida lusitaniae has been linked to several cases of candidemia blood infections as well as systemic candidiasis including sepsis and pyelonephritis. Pyelonephritis is a potentially serious kidney infection.

Now, that’s a lot of information about some very specific species of candida, but now let’s start talking about what causes candida overgrowth. There are many reasons that yeast can grow out of control in the body, and if you had a chance to see one of the first emails we sent, you already know maybe that there are three major contributors in the food world. One is beer, another is sugar (and that’s probably put at the top of the list), and another is actually kombucha tea.

Now, other factors that can lead to overgrowth of candida are taking antibiotics because the antibiotics are going to kill the good bacteria and make an imbalance in your microbiome and then allow the bad bacteria and the bad yeast to become more the prominent, you know, “gangs” in the neighborhood of your microbiome. Another thing that will promote candida is eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. High alcohol intake, again, a weakened immune system, actually taking oral contraceptives can put someone at an increased risk of candida overgrowth most likely due to establishing a different balance within the hormones. Diabetes puts someone at common risk or increased risk for candida. And, of course, we’ve mentioned earlier high stress levels.

Now, gut health is a major influencer of various illnesses. Let’s take a look at what it means to have a healthy gut microbiome. Now, folks, there are around 100 trillion – I did just say 100 trillion – good bacteria that live in and on our bodies. We are way outnumbered by the bacteria that live in and on our bodies, most of which can be found in the gut. In fact, our gut is swarming with all sorts of microbes and various bacteria. It’s not just bacteria, folks, it’s yeast, fungus, and viruses. They’re supposed to be there, but, again, a healthy gut has a balance between the good guys and the bad guys. The good guys are beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms that help enhance health, such as probiotics.

Now, it should also be noted that a healthy balance is considered to be a balance of 85 percent of the good guys and only 15 percent of, let’s say, the bad guys. So, the beneficial bacteria are needed to help the body break down food to absorb nutrients. When our gut is out of balance, the bad bacteria or other bad microbes coming from various sources of such as food, environmental toxins, and even stress take advantage. They multiply quickly causing the wrong gang to come to run the neighborhood and therefore possibly cause harm to the body.

Now, there are many signs your body may be suffering from candida overgrowth. This is a pretty extensive list so let’s take a look at this. Things can include a persistent and intense sugar craving. You have to realize, folks, that if you have a candida overgrowth or even some other bacterial or other yeast overgrowth, those bugs are not totally dormant. They are in us and on us and can have an effect on us. If you want to stay away from sugar, but you can’t seem to do it, you have this intense craving and no matter what you do you, you feel like you have to have some? That could be the yeast talking, rather than your brain, if you will, talking.

Another one is cravings for processed carbs such as bread, pasta, and pastries which, of course, would go along with brain fog. Also, anxiety or depression, mood swings, and irritability. Again, we mentioned earlier vaginal yeast infections with itching, swelling, and even vaginal discharge. Current urinary tract infections, especially obviously for women. Recurrent urinary tract infections are not an uncommon thing, and one of the top things that could be causing it is an overgrowth and an imbalance of the microbiome and the wrong bugs, particularly candida, is running the neighborhood.

Another symptom is poor focus and concentration. Another is developing food sensitivities and food intolerances. So, if you eradicate the imbalance of your microbiome, maybe some of these foods sensitivities or intolerances would go away and be resolved. That’s a whole other reason to identify food sensitivities and to treat your microbiome optimally and to see if food sensitivities go get better. If you have a white coating on your tongue, when you look in the mirror and you stick your tongue out if it looks somewhat white even if it’s a slight whiteness, that can be a sign that you have an overgrowth of candida in your system.

We’re not done yet with the list! Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and mucus in your stool. Skin issues such as acne, eczema, or psoriasis could be related to a candida overgrowth. Itchy ears, low libido, unexplained fatigue and exhaustion, skin or nail fungal infections could be related to candida. It’s not always candida though, folks. There are other funguses out there like tinea that can cause athlete’s foot, toenail infections, or even more in males, of course, jock itch and those types of things. That’s not typically candida, it’s another fungus. But, again, it’s an overgrowth of one.

Another symptom or sign could be canker sores and, of course, flu-like symptoms. Now, worsening of symptoms will happen in cold and damp or humid environments. These wo conditions encourage candida to spread and to grow which can aggravate all of your existing symptoms. So, that’s quite a list!

So, let’s talk about some of the common conditions that are associated with candidiasis, a definitive overgrowth of candida. Again, first of all, oral thrush. Yeast overgrowth in the mouth can cause white bumpy lesions, redness, and pain in the mouth and throat. Severe cases can spread to the esophagus and cause pain or difficulty swallowing. Having a weakened immune system is what puts someone at risk for these severe levels of oral thrush.

Another common condition of candidiasis is tiredness and fatigue. These are among the most common symptoms for several reasons. Nutritional deficiencies such as vitamin B6, essential fatty acids, and magnesium usually accompany, meaning that you have a deficiency in these if you have candidiasis.

Again, infections are common when the immune system is impaired. Recurring genital and urinary tract infections…while men can get yeast infections it’s much less common than the estimated 75 percent of women who experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime. Recurring infections can be a result of candida overgrowth.

Next, digestive issues. When the balance between, again, the good and bad bacteria is impaired, you can experience digestive issues including constipation, diarrhea, nausea, gas, cramps, and bloating. So, if someone has symptoms of IBS, it could possibly be due to an imbalanced microbiome and an overgrowth of candida.

This is why in the GI protocol that I recommend people go on, we work at affecting the gut and the GI tract from many different levels. The one thing that’s involved in my GI protocol, that I put many people on as a foundational step for gut health, is to cycle through some antimicrobial herbs. Different antimicrobial herbs such as oregano oil or caprylic acid or grapefruit seed extract, when you cycle through these like taking a bottle of one and then a bottle of another the next month, let’s say, and then a bottle of another so over three, four, five months you cycle through these different antimicrobial herbs, you’re eradicating the candida. You’re eradicating some of the other bad guys, and if you change your diet and you go on probiotics as well and a pro-yeast called saccharomyces boulardii that’s a really good yeast. It’s more of a pro-yeast like a probiotic. These types of steps in a GI protocol, again, over a number of months can start to change the ecosystem of your gut, promote the right balance of your microbiome, and cure you of candidiasis and maybe even your IBS symptoms.

Now, your gut is not the only place where you can develop an imbalance of your microbiome. Your sinuses are another place, and sinus infections that are long-lasting, chronic sinus infections are believed to be caused by fungi. Antibiotics are commonly prescribed for sinus infections; however, many times they’re ineffective because it isn’t caused by bacteria, but it may be caused by a yeast or a fungus.

Then, the last category I want to talk about, of course, of candidiasis is the skin and nail fungal infections. Skin is naturally covered in bacteria to prevent candida from growing uncontrollably; however, many products we put on our skin contain antibacterial ingredients. Some of these, if you use them too much, will disrupt the natural balance of beneficial bacteria. So, itching and a visible rash are the most common symptoms of skin fungal infections.

So, what are some other illnesses linked to candida? Research has found that an overgrowth of candida is associated with several diseases of the gastrointestinal tract including leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Now, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s, if people are familiar with those, are considered in the category of inflammatory bowel diseases. That’s very interesting that there may be an underlying cause in those inflammatory bowel diseases that might be linked to a candida overgrowth. Another disease process linked to candida is eczema. Another one is autism, and finally also fibromyalgia can be linked to candida.

Of course, one I haven’t mentioned yet is cancer. Researchers have known for years now that bacterial and viral infections cause several types of cancer. Current research is examining the link between cancer and fungal overgrowth, and many believe there is a direct connection sometimes between cancer and candida.

Let’s take a little closer look at this. There was a Nobel laureate Dr. Johannes Fibiger of Denmark who proved the connection between cancer and fungal overgrowth when he fed a parasitic larva- (basically a parasitic kind of worm) carrying cockroaches to healthy rats in 1913. When they did that, those rats developed an increased incidence of cancer showing this direct link.

Another research is that a comprehensive study published in 1950 by Lankenau Hospital Research Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research revealed findings of fungi present in virtually all cancer tumors they examined. Now, of course, you have to ask yourself, “does that mean that was the cause of the cancer, or does that mean that cancerous tumors may be susceptible to an overgrowth of candida?” You have to ask yourself that question.

Now, the coexistence of cancer and candidiasis has been also well documented over the years. In fact, Dr. Tullio Simoncini, author of a book called Cancer is a Fungus, points out that at the most basic level, cancer and yeast fungus have very similar, if not identical, characteristics such as both cancer and candida feed on sugar. Both grow and reproduce only in an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment. Both need an acidic environment to survive. When you probe cancer cells within the human body, they appear white in color and uneven in texture which is just like yeast. Dr. Simoncini stated in his book that candida is found in about 97 to 98 percent of cases of cancerous tumors in humans.

Now, candida albicans in particular has a huge affinity for glucose, meaning candida organisms need sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose to provide them with energy in order to grow. Additionally, sugar enables the candida yeast cells to switch to their more destructive fungal form. This results in faster growing candida, leading to leaky gut syndrome.

Some researchers firmly believe the rise of cancer rates over the last 80 years could be due to the modern carbohydrate-rich diet. Processed white sugar, refined flour, high fructose corn syrup, and other foods with high glycemic counts feed the yeast fungus causing it to grow rapidly. This leads to a disruption in the normal healthy balance of good and bad flora, lowering your immune response.

So, as we’ve already illustrated, yeast overgrowth is linked to poor immune function. When combined with increases in refined sugar consumption, it’s no wonder we are so sick. Now, in 2011 a study found that carbohydrates were indispensable, both for cellular growth and for the transition into fungal form. Depriving the candida of its food source, sugar, can slow its growth and prevent that transition from happening. This means reducing sugar intake can drastically improve overall gut health. So, let’s take a look at other methods of correcting candida.

Now, your diet is a sure-fire way to improve conditions in your gut. What you feed the bugs that live in your gut and live in symbiotic relationship with you will determine what bugs will thrive and which ones won’t. So, it makes sense that the foods we eat and the diet we fuel our body with will determine whether we have a healthy microbiome or an unhealthy microbiome.

Experts in digestive health, Lisa Richards and Dr. Eric Wood have authored the Ultimate Candida Diet Program, which provides a number of recommended foods to eat and avoid to help combat candida. Let’s look at some of these. First of all, foods to eat more of, like the slide says:

  • First, non-starchy vegetables such as artichokes, broccoli, celery, eggplant, kale, onions, spinach, zucchini, and of course many more.
  • Next, low sugar fruits. Low sugar fruits would include things like avocado, lemons and limes, and let’s say oranges. And, how about olives?
  • Next, non-glutinous grains. So, you don’t really want to be eating glutinous grains, but non-glutenous grains that have less sugar would be things that are beneficial – buckwheat, millet, oat bran, quinoa, and teff.
  • Healthy proteins like salmon or eggs or herring.
  • Some dairy products. Again, each one of these lists is if you do not have a sensitivity to that type of food. So, if you’re not sensitive to dairy, products dairy-based kefir or a dairy-based yogurt because of the probiotics. However, remember you can eat yogurt that is not based on dairy. You could eat an almond-based yogurt or a cashew-based yogurt or a coconut-based yogurt, and it’s still a probiotic.
  • Next, the good foods would be low mold nuts and seeds like almonds, flax seeds, and hazelnuts.
  • The categories continue, guys. Herbs, spices, and condiments: apple cider vinegar, basil, cloves, paprika, and rosemary are all beneficial.
  • Next, healthy fats and oils: flaxseed oil, olive oil, and sesame oil. Even avocado oil would be great.
  • Sweeteners that are substitutes for cane sugar, meaning sweeteners that are not a true sugar, that do not increase your glucose level. Sweeteners like stevia, but you may want to consider making sure you’re using an organic stevia. The other is monk fruit. Monk fruit is a natural sweetener, but it does not increase your glucose level at all. It actually can be utilized on a ketogenic diet, so if you’re not familiar with monk fruit definitely look into it.
  • Fermented foods like again kefir, olives, and sauerkraut.
  • Actually, folks, drinks like chicory coffee and herbal teas are beneficial and do not increase yeast overgrowth.


So, let’s reverse now or look at the other side of the coin and look at foods to avoid if you’re concerned about candida overgrowth. Right off the bat, folks, high sugar fruits. Dried fruits like dates or raisins would be off the list because when you dry a fruit it exponentially increases the concentration of sugar in that fruit. Bananas, or even…folks, this is sort of a tip – if you look at a piece of fruit and it is colored on the outside but when you peel it or bite into it it’s white on the inside, that makes its sugar content higher, it’s glycemic index higher, and therefore it would be a higher sugar fruit. Bananas, apples, and pears would fit this category.

Fruit juices, folks, are extremely concentrated and should be avoided or if you’re going to have some, only have like a quarter of a glass of juice and the rest water with ice so you’re diluting it significantly. Grapes are also a high sugar fruit.

Grains that are glutenous such as barley, rye, and wheat should be avoided. Meats like pork and lunch meats like cold cuts should be avoided if you’re concerned about candida overgrowth. Fish like tuna and swordfish should be avoided. Some dairy products like cheese and milk should be avoided. Nuts that are more susceptible to mold, so moldy nuts and seeds. Some of the most highly mold-related nuts are cashews, peanuts, and pistachios. Condiments like ketchup and mustard and things like that have added sugar so be careful of those. Refined and processed vegetable oils should be avoided. Sugar, pure sugar like cane sugar and sugar substitutes that are not the ones I listed before should be avoided. Caffeinated and sugary drinks should be avoided, and also alcohol should be avoided.

Now, many of you may have heard of one of the functional medicine gurus, Dr. Josh Axe. He offers two methods of doing a candida cleanse. So, if you are really concerned tonight listening to this and you’re like, “Wow! I think I have a candida overgrowth, and I really need to do something about it,” you could look up Dr. Josh Axe and his candida cleanse. Also remember at the end we list for you some of the resources that I’ve used to put this talk together.

Dr. Axe’s candida cleanse helps the body get rid of excess candida by flushing it out of the digestive tract. There are actually two options that I’ll list here. Option one is actually doing a liquid-only cleanse. So, what you would do is you would make a vegetable broth. You would make this broth by simmering together organic onions, garlic, celery, kale, sea salt, and purified water. You would drink this for one to two days. Drink only the broth and lots of clean water throughout the day. Then this could be repeated a few weeks later or as a jump start or you could do this in the beginning, like a two-day broth cleanse, liquid cleanse, as a jump start for the next option.

Option two is over a period of anywhere from three to five days you are going to eliminate all sugars, fruits, starches, and alcohol from your diet. You will be eating mostly steamed vegetables and be drinking plenty of water. Avoid all starchy vegetables which may contribute to sugar levels and feed the candida such as, you know, higher carbohydrate vegetables like carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and radishes. You will want to eat bitter greens topped with coconut oil and apple cider vinegar. These are recommended during this time.

Now, anti-fungal drugs are commonly prescribed for candida; however, many strains are known to be resistant to these drugs. Instead, natural supplements can be helpful. Coconut oil, folks, contains different types of acid. One is called lauric acid. The other one is called caprylic acid. These acids can effectively kill off harmful candida and harmful other bacteria.

Another supplement to consider is milk thistle. Milk thistle provides a great cleanse to the liver from medications, environmental pollutions, and also heavy metals. Next, vitamin C will help give the immune system a boost and to be able to promote it to eradicate and promote better balance in your microbiome. Next, clove oil, oregano oil, and myrrh oil are great options to kill fungi including candida. Additionally, lavender oil also inhibits the growth of candida and is effective at preventing the spread of the candida infection.

Next, something called bentonite clay. Bentonite clay can be taken as a supplement, and it draws out impurities from the body and is packed with minerals including calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron, and potassium. That can be, you know, learned quite a bit about how to use bentonite clay to promote minerals but also eradicate impurities in the body.

Probiotic supplements can reduce candida growth and protect against infection. Again, there is a form of a supplement that is not just a probiotic but is a pro-yeast, and I’ll talk about that again in just a moment.

Now, probiotics fight candida by restoring balance in the gut which then promotes the right gangs of bacteria to inhibit the yeast overgrowth and help maintain stomach acidity. Probiotic supplements come in different ranges of bacteria, and generally the higher the count of bacteria the better. Probiotics are dosed typically by how many billions of colonies of bacteria are in each capsule. The typical doses can range anywhere from in the millions to the billions (up to a hundred billion). It depends on how many you’re taking in a capsule. Again, the higher the level, the better. Soil-based probiotics generally have lower counts but are more resilient and have better survival rates through the gut.

Now, the bacteria strains to look for are ones such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacteria bifidum. Basically, the families of Lactobacillus and the families of Bifidobacteria are the prominent probiotics that you’ll see out there on any of the labels of any probiotics you read. Both of these bacteria have been well researched and have been shown to enhance immune function and reduce the duration of candida overgrowth, but again, folks, probiotics are only bacteria and they are not yeast.

There is a species of yeast called saccharomyces boulardii. Again, don’t try and say that 10 times fast! Saccharomyces boulardii is a pro-yeast that, when taken as a supplement, can help to promote the better balance in the microbiome and compete against the candida so that you would eradicate possibly a candida overgrowth. I always include saccharomyces boulardii in any of my GI protocols that I put folks on.

What are the five steps to natural treatment of getting rid of or eradicating an overgrowth of candida?

  • Step one: starve the yeast by cutting out sugar and yeast-containing foods
  • Step two: break down and kill the yeast overgrowth with natural oils that we’ve listed
  • Step three: repopulate your gut with good bacteria and good yeast. Supplements and probiotic foods, fermented foods are great for repopulating the gut with good bacteria. Some examples of probiotic fermented foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir (if you have a dairy sensitivity, you can make or purchase water kefir rather than a dairy-based kefir), yogurt (or almond-based yogurt or coconut-based yogurt), and coconut water because remember coconut has the lauric acid and that caprylic acid in it, so drinking coconut water could also help.
  • Step four: help the body’s natural detox defense with liver cleansing supplements such as milk thistle.
  • Step five: get plenty of sleep and avoid unnecessary stress. This may be a good time to try some stress reducing techniques such as deep breathing exercises, yoga, or meditation.

Remember, folks, if you haven’t looked already, we do have on my website just under on the home page just under my image a movement program called Discover Health Movement Membership. You can get classes that you can do from anywhere. You don’t have to leave your home! It’s all online and you can do of them live online as a member or you can do the recordings. You get a yoga class, a self-myofascial release class, and a movement for longevity class. If you’re looking for movement programs to help reduce stress and improve your strength, your balance, and your overall health this could be an option to help you improve.

Also, if you are looking for a detox program to follow along with the GI protocol to heal your gut, I’ve mentioned my GI protocol. I also have a detox program. Many times, as a foundational step to heal the gut and to eradicate things like a candidiasis overgrowth, I suggest people do my Detox Plus Program and my GI protocol at the same time. If you are interested in this, all you need to do is go to my website and then follow any of the links to the shop of the website to find my Detox Plus Program. Everything will be explained there. This is a five-week program to cleanse the body with a comprehensive elimination diet while also taking a protocol of supplements that include things like probiotics; the saccharomyces boulardii pro-yeast; the antimicrobial herbs that I mentioned like caprylic acid, oregano oil, and grapefruit seed extract; digestive enzymes; and l-glutamine. L-glutamine heals the mucous lining of your intestines to help heal leaky gut. This program provides you with a guidebook full of educational information and a ton of recipes as well as five videos to guide you to success in healing your gut and eradicating candida overgrowth.

We’ve covered a ton of information here, folks, so if you feel you need more help along your healing path, please realize that a functional medicine professional can help you every step of the way from testing for candida to treating symptoms and maintaining good health. As you may have guessed by now, functional medicine professionals are trained in treating the whole person, not just the illness, by creating a doctor-patient partnership. Functional medicine will personalize a plan that’s right for you as an individual.

We at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center even offer the option of a free (I did just say, “free”) 30-minute introductory phone conversation with me or one of my staff so that you can see if you would be the right fit to work with us. To schedule this, just go to my website and right at the very home page, right next to my image on the home page of the website, there’s a link to schedule your free conversation.

Finally, as I typically do, we will post in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow a list of the resources that were used to put this presentation together. Now, if you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, all you do is go to Facebook, search for Discover Health Functional Medicine Center’s business Facebook page, and right on the business’ Facebook page you can request to join our group, the Discover Health Facebook Group. As a member, you get numerous helpful tips and gems each week, and you can ask questions there as well. Our Health Coach Trish Chaput oversees our Discover Health Facebook Group, and she does an awesome job. Again, tomorrow if you’re already a member then make sure you check for our list of resources. If you aren’t already a member, make sure you go and join our Discover Health Facebook Group as soon as possible.

Thank you all for taking the time to join me today. We love helping people feel better! If you think of a question, please feel free to post it in our Discover Health Facebook Group or go to the website and follow any of the links to ask a question through that avenue.

That was a lot of information! Hopefully it was helpful, and I really appreciate folks joining me in this monthly webinar which then becomes a podcast. Of course, everyone that’s registered will get a copy of the information as well.

It might be helpful to remind people that we do turn it into a blog post so that they can read it later if needed. Absolutely! Folks, every webinar I give every month also becomes a podcast that you could listen to again or we also transcribe it so if you feel more comfortable reading material than listening to it or you get more out of it, you can look at the words please check out my podcast on my website If you go to the health library (everything in my health library is free) and the link to the podcast is right there. You can read the transcriptions right off that page in the podcast in the health library of the website.

Thank you all for joining us tonight. I’m going to sign off, so I hope you’ve enjoyed this. We’ll see you next month on the next Discover Health webinar. Take care, everyone!


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The Truth About Inflammation

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Welcome to this talk entitled, “The Truth About Inflammation.” For those of you who don’t know, I’m Dr. Trish Murray. I’m a physician, I’m a best-selling author, and I consider myself the Health Catalyst Speaker. I am also the founder of Discover Health Functional Medicine Center in Conway, New Hampshire.

I will, tonight, be sharing with you an excerpt from my first book entitled, Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease, during this presentation. In that excerpt it’s going to talk about how your immune system works and some of the oversight into the truth about inflammation.

Inflammation is a biological response triggered by the immune system, but in order to understand inflammation it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how the entire immune system works. In the very first chapter of my book entitled, Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease, I explain how your immune system works and inflammation works. So, now I’m going to share a portion of this first chapter with you. So, here we go!


The immune system is an extremely complex system to understand, so I’m going to break it down into parts. Your immune system is your defense system. It’s your military: your navy, your air force, you marines, and even your police. Its responsibility is to keep you safe in your world.

Once any foreign substance enters your body, your immune system goes into action to protect you by initiating what’s called your innate immune system. These are the ground forces, and they go in as your first line of defense against any invader or threat. The cells of your innate immune system initiate battle against any infection, but they also train your adaptive immune system to send in reinforcements during the battle against any invader. So, your immune system has multiple levels of defense.

You see, we live in a dangerous world in which we’re exposed to many health risks: everything from chemicals to bacteria to viruses (obviously during the COVID pandemic), molds, toxins, injuries, and even stress will irritate your immune system.

You can think of these risks as threats to the optimal health of your body, like invaders or strangers. In our external world, we talk about stranger danger as having an awareness of potential threats from people we may not know. We teach our children not to talk to strangers and we keep alert in situations that seem to be risky if someone uninvited or unrecognized approaches us in a threatening way.

If there is a threat to your internal environment – for example, through a wound or a cut in your skin – your innate immune system sends in the ground forces in response to this immediate stranger danger. This initial response to any invader comes from our innate immune system and typically involves inflammation.

All of you are familiar with inflammation. Whenever you have cut your finger or sprained your ankle, for example, the area of the injury hurts. It becomes swollen, it becomes red, and it becomes warm. The body part also may not be very functional and not function normally because of all these things that are going on. These are the typical external signs we see and feel when inflammation occurs due to a wound in the skin.

But, when the injury or threat, folks, is internal, it’s below the skin and it’s a different experience. You can’t see the inflammation because it lives below the surface of your skin. Internal inflammation of your nervous system, your digestive system, or any other of your organs can occur below the surface of your skin kind of like the parts of an iceberg that you can’t see. You may have some signs or symptoms that you are aware of above the surface, but much larger mass of this iceberg or level of inflammation truly lives below the surface so you are not aware of its true size.

The ground forces of your innate immune system go into action whenever any dangerous bug or trauma or injury occurs. Its first job is to engage any foreign invader and to kill it or destroy it.

How exactly do they accomplish this?

Well, there are different ways that the innate immune cells can try to destroy the stranger danger. All innate immune cells contain chemicals that can be used as a weapon when they are in danger.

Another defense your ground forces can employ is called phagocytosis, in which an innate immune cell – a phagocyte, from the prefix phag, meaning “to eat” and the root word cyte meaning “cell.” A phagocyte is a cell that will eat and engulf a bacterium, engulf a virus or a chemical and devour it and destroy it or neutralize it.

If your ground forces of your innate immune system cannot eliminate any invader completely, then they have a third method of protection. They can place signals on their membranes of their cells and of the membrane of the immune system cell, the innate immune system cell, that can train reinforcements – your adaptive immune cells – how to identify the enemy.

These signals communicate to the adaptive immune system: We have a stranger in the house, and we need your help!

Now, once the innate immune cells attack the stranger danger and engage it in battle, they also place these chemical receptors on their own membranes that they then present to your adaptive not your naïve adaptive immune cells. This information activates your adaptive immune system and delivers crucial information about who the enemy is.

The naive adaptive cells are then trained to look for these signals and then attack the enemy. The adaptive immune system cells are your reinforcements. They come in as a second form of attack. However, you’ve got to realize this takes time. Your innate immune system reacts for the first ninety hours of any invasion from a bug or bacteria or infection, but the adaptive immune system won’t come into play for those four or five days. Now, once it is in place, it will have long-term memories of what to attack and what to kill. The virus you have today takes as much as seven to ten days to get rid of because first your innate immune system comes into play immediately, and then your adaptive immune system takes four to five days to be trained and activated. Then, the two systems work in full force to eradicate and neutralize any invader or toxin.

The cells of the adaptive immune system, because we’re not done yet, while they are being activated by the signals from the innate immune system cells, can be trained into one of two different pathways or branches of your military. In the same way that a soldier can enlist in the navy or they can enlist in a different branch of the military like the air force, an adaptive immune cell can enlist into one of two different branches of the active adaptive immune system. It could go down what’s called the Th1 pathway. This Th1 branch of your adaptive immune system activates T-cell mediated activation of certain cells called macrophages and neutrophils, whereas the Th2 pathway activates B-cell mediated activation of mast cells, eosinophils, and basophils. It’s the Th2 pathway that creates, typically, antibodies.

If your adaptive immune system becomes hypersensitive or overreactive, it can initiate what’s called an autoimmune reaction where your own immune system attacks you and attacks self – your own tissues. If hypersensitivity and dysfunctions happen to your Th1 adaptive immune cells, then particular autoimmune disease processes will develop. The ones that may develop in the Th1 pathway are rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and thyroid-related disease like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If the Th2 branch becomes dysfunctional, then more allergy-related diseases develop, like asthma, eczema, or psoriasis.

Now, folks, what you’ve got to understand is that this very complex system, which consists of an innate immune system and an adaptive, trained immune system with long-term memory, must also have some tolerance. For example, let me give you an analogy. Imagine you are sitting on your front porch and all of a sudden you hear some really weird, loud kind of strange noises coming down your street. You look down the street and you see a group of strange people walking down the sidewalk of your neighborhood.

You think to yourself: What the heck is going on? Who are these people? What are they doing?

You even notice that the hairs on the back your neck go up, and you’re quite alarmed by this annoyance that’s coming down the road and disruption.

Then, your son or your daughter walks out on the porch and looks down the street and sees these people and says, “Hey Charlie! Hi Johnny! Hey Susie! How are you guys doing?” and they wave to this group of people.

Now you realize that these strangers in your mind are your child’s friends, and immediately the hairs on the back of your neck go down. You’re no longer nervous, and you’re no longer scared. What have you just developed? You’ve just developed tolerance for their behavior.

Well, your immune system does this same thing constantly. If your innate immune cells have seen a foreign substance before, and it’s never caused danger, then they let each other know to tolerate that substance’s presence.

On the other hand, let’s take this example and look at it another way. You’re sitting on the porch and the same situation occurs. A group of people is walking toward you, down the sidewalk of your neighborhood, making again strange noises, and acting very differently and disturbingly. You stand up to get a better look and you’re nervous. Again, the hairs go up on the back of your neck, and all of a sudden, your daughter, son, or spouse come out, and they see this group of people. They don’t know the group either.

They say to you, “What the heck is going on? Who the hell are they?”

Now you’re both scared. You’re both nervous. You both start reacting to this stranger danger, and you’re watching. You start moving to get a better look at the strangers and start contemplating your next move.

How are we going to make sure we stay safe and protect ourselves and our family?

You might even think about calling the police or you may go out and possibly question these people and interact with them yourself.

In this situation, folks, tolerance does not exist. You’re more concerned. You want to know why these people are in your neighborhood and if they are dangerous, then you’re going to act.

In the end, you must be able to discern whether something is true strange or danger or not. What you need to realize about this whole talk is that your immune system is constantly trying to figure this out before it reacts. When your immune system has lost its tolerance that’s when it becomes hyperreactive and you’re more likely to develop an autoimmune condition.

So many of us go through our daily life and don’t feel well. Do you feel like you are as productive as you could be? Do you feel like your brain is working with optimal abilities?

If your answer to the above questions is not yes, it could be that there are imbalances in your body and that underlying inflammation or immune system dysfunction is causing these problems. Of course, I’d like to help you understand why this is so and what indicators to look for to determine if your immune system may be out of balance.

So, this is what your immune system is all about, and this is how the immune system functions.

The good about your immune system and especially inflammation is that the body’s inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against harm. It is the body’s attempt to self-protect and to begin the healing process. This process is called acute inflammation. But the bad is that long-term inflammation lasting for prolonged periods of weeks to several months to years is called chronic inflammation. The ugly is that chronic inflammation can eventually cause several disease conditions such as some cancers and autoimmune conditions like I listed off earlier, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Now let’s take a deeper look into the ugly side of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation can result from some of the following things:

  1. When the body fails to eliminate the cause of an acute inflammation situation such as infectious organisms, fungi, and other parasites the harmful agent remains in the affected tissue and your immune system is chronically trying to eradicate it.
  2. Exposure to a low level of a particular irritant or foreign material including substances or industrial chemicals that cannot be eliminated, let’s say heavy metals like mercury or cadmium or lead.
  3. An autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks healthy cells.
  4. Biochemical inducers leading to excess oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction (the mitochondria are what produce the fuel and the energy of your body), and increased production of free radical molecules. Most people have heard of free radicals, and you know that free radicals cause oxidative stress and breakdown of tissue.

Now, the World Health Organization (WHO) presently ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health, and years of research conclude that chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world today. This is a big shift from the last century when acute infections were the greatest threat to human health.

Again, years of research have identified some common signs and symptoms that develop as a result of chronic inflammation. So, if you have a number of what I’m about to list off, you probably have underlying chronic inflammation going on. The list includes:

  • body pains, such as headaches, joint pains, and back pain that’s not resolving
  • constant fatigue and insomnia
  • depression, anxiety, and mood disorders can be a sign of chronic brain inflammation
  • gastrointestinal dysfunction like constipation, diarrhea, and acid reflux
  • weight gain that you can’t seem to get control over
  • frequent infections
  • night sweats

Many diseases have been attributed to chronic inflammation. Some examples include:

  • asthma
  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • neurodegenerative diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
  • obesity
  • gingivitis (chronic inflammation of the gums)
  • autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s disease
  • ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease
  • type 2 diabetes
  • sinusitis

Folks, all of these chronic conditions are a sign of relationship to chronic inflammation. Today the majority of people in our country over fifty years old are walking around every day with three or more chronic diseases that they’re dealing with. What does that say? That says that our population, the majority of our population, is chronically inflamed.

Now, numerous risk factors have been identified that promote a chronic low level inflammation response and these include one thing you can’t do much about – age. We’re all aging, and we can’t reverse it. Other things you can control such as usually weight is something, obesity is something we may be able to modify. Poor diet or food sensitivities and allergies put us at risk. Smoking, low sex hormones, and stress and sleep disorders all are putting you at increased risk for chronic inflammation.

Again, the good news is that all of these risk factors, besides age of course, can be modified through lifestyle changes. We’re going to spend the remainder of our time together discussing ways to prevent chronic inflammation. So, we’ve talked about what it is and why it’s important and how it can be bad, but let’s talk about what to do to try and reverse it.

Smoking is a significant contributor to inflammation. It is a lifestyle factor that is controllable. Cigarette smoking is associated with lowering the production of anti-inflammatory molecules and inducing and causing inflammation. Now, you can always talk with your doctor for help to kick the habit or there are many sites online that can give you information on how to quit. I will list some resources, as I always do, for you tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group that will include some of these sites. If you are a smoker, that may help you to get on the road to getting off of the tobacco cigarettes.

One of the best ways to reduce inflammation, folks, lies in the refrigerator. An anti-inflammatory diet should include foods such as:

  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, collard greens, and many more
  • nuts like almonds, pecans, and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, cod, or halibut
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges and many more of all different colors

These foods that I’ve listed are high in what are called polyphenols. Polyphenols are in all plants, and they protect the plant from inflammation and danger, so they’re going to also protect YOU from inflammation and danger from outside sources. The number one focus I always teach everyone is to eat the colors of the rainbow every single day you can. I mean, of course, things that are red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple, but I do NOT mean M&Ms and Skittles! I mean real foods.

If you’re looking for a complete diet overhaul, and one of the best diets known to reduce inflammation, I would try the Mediterranean Diet. Numerous studies have shown that the Mediterranean Diet is associated with weight loss. It’s associated with reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes, and premature death.

Let me just give a couple examples of some sample meals for a Mediterranean Diet. Let’s say a breakfast with Greek yogurt with strawberries and oats. A lunch with a with salad with an assortment of colorful vegetables. Maybe a dinner with tuna salad dressed with olive oil with a piece of fruit for dessert. Another day, a day might look like breakfast with oatmeal with raisins, a lunch with leftover tuna salad from the night before, and maybe that day you’d have a dinner with some more fish with salmon and a salad with tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. These are examples of lots of color and things that are more anti-inflammatory in the Mediterranean Diet.

When it comes to reducing inflammation in the body, it’s not only about the foods you eat but also the foods you should not eat. Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:

  • refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugary, sweetened beverages
  • red meat such as burgers and steaks
  • processed meat like hot dogs and sausages
  • margarine, shortening, and lard (all made of what’s called hydrogenated fats)

Hydrogenated fats are fats that have been modified so they do not go rancid, and they are horrible for your health. Most processed foods that are in a box or a bag that can sit on a shelf for the next ten years and not rot are – guess what? Made with hydrogenated fats.

Another diet that can be used to keep inflammation in check is called the Low-Glycemic Diet. The Low-Glycemic diet is based on the concept of what’s called the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a measure that ranks foods according to their effect on your blood sugar levels. There are three categories of glycemic index ratings. The glycemic index rating goes from zero to a hundred. Low glycemic index foods are from 55 or less, medium glycemic foods have a rating of 56 and (above up to 69), and high glycemic foods have a rating of from 70 or more up to 100.

Again, research on these different diets is out there, and studies have shown that the Low-Glycemic Diet may result in weight loss, reducing blood sugars, and lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. To learn more and get a list of low-glycemic foods, all you’ve got to do is simply Google “low-glycemic index foods” and you’re going to get a list of foods that fit into that low glycemic index of 55 or less.

Also, let’s look at some suggestions to incorporate when following a Low-Glycemic Diet. Let’s look at breakfast and particularly breakfast cereals. You could consider a porridge made with rolled oats or muesli or all bran. These are lower glycemic index grains.

Fruit such as all types of berries – strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – are all very low-glycemic index fruits. Apricots, peaches, plums, pears, and kiwi also would fit into the low-glycemic index fruits. A rule you can pretty much follow, just a kind of rule of thumb, is any fruit that is colored all the way through, like a blueberry, is usually a lower-glycemic index piece of fruit than let’s say an apple or a banana that’s colored on the outside but white on the inside. White on the inside and colored on the outside fruits typically have a higher glycemic index than ones that are colored all the way through.

Vegetables: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery tomatoes, zucchini. All of these are going to be lower-glycemic foods. Starchy vegetables you’re going to want to look up, but sweet potatoes, corn, and yams are of a lower-glycemic category. Legume examples include lentils, chickpeas, baked beans, butter beans, and kidney beans. These do fit into the lower-glycemic index category.

How about some grains? Some other grains – quinoa, buckwheat, semolina, and I don’t know if anybody out there has called a heard of freekeh. Freekeh is a cereal food made from what’s called a green durum wheat that is roasted and rubbed to create its flavor. It’s an ancient dish derived from Levantine and North African cuisines, and it’s remaining popular in many countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Basin where durum wheat actually originated. Now it does contain gluten for those avoiding gluten or who have celiac or sensitivity to gluten, but if you don’t have a sensitivity to gluten this is an interesting example of a grain that is a low glycemic index.

Another category of low-glycemic index foods, of course, are nuts – almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, for example.

Exercise is another essential step to reducing inflammation. Now, a typical recommendation for amount of exercise would include thirty minutes of aerobic exercise and ten to twenty-five minutes of weight or resistance training at least three to four times per week. One also needs to move in ways that will maintain the optimal health of your connective tissues, your fascia, and at Discover Health Movement Membership we help you do exactly this!

Our Discover Health Movement Membership program is all online, so you can do your exercise in the comfort of your own space whenever it fits your schedule. Discover Health Movement Membership includes three classes per week: a Discover Yoga class, a Self-Myofascial Release class, and a Movement for Longevity class. All of these three classes focus on optimizing your flexibility, strength, and balance and give you the tools to know how to treat your own minor injuries when they occur.

I can tell you that time and time again patients of mine that do this program, if they’ve strained this or sprained that and within a day or so they’re calling my office for an appointment but they can’t get in for let’s say a week or more, by the time they get to me within seven to ten days or maybe two weeks or so they’re telling me, “Well, I called right away because I hurt myself, but Trish I’ve been using the tools that I’ve learned in your program and Discover Health Movement Membership and I’m doing 95% better. I wanted to keep the appointment so you could, you know, make sure I’m all set, but I was able to use your tools and fix myself!” They’re so excited about that! If you want to learn more or to join, simply go to my website and click on the link right below my image on the home page for Discover Health Movement Membership.

Stress signals the body to a produce hormonal response known as fight or flight. While stress serves as a protection mechanism to alert us to harm, like in the analogy I gave from my first chapter of my book, many people today are living in a state of chronic stress all the time. Guys, chronic stress causes stress-related hormones to be continuously present in the body causing inflammation.

We need to reduce our chronic anxiety, stress-related reactions to things, and there are countless techniques for managing stress. Some can double as physical exercise. A few common methods include yoga or our entire movement modality program that I just finished explaining entitled Discover Health Movement Membership. Another option is meditation. Another is guided imagery. Another is journaling. Gratitude journaling, the more we are focusing on what we’re grateful for more than what we are fearing or concerned about, the more you’re going to reduce your stress. Walking and practicing deep breathing.

I want to share with everybody a breathing technique that I’ve been using over the last three months, and it’s called Wim Hof breathing. That’s actually a gentleman’s name Wim; his last name is Hof. Wim Hof breathing. Wim Hof is also known as the “ice man” because he has the ability to swim actually in the arctic. He teaches this amazing breathing technique that I’ve been doing for the last three months, and it is helping me sleep better and quiet my stress in a way that I’ve not been able to with a lot of other techniques throughout my life.

If you want to learn more and you want to learn his guided breathing techniques, just go to YouTube and search “Wim Hof guided breathing” and you should find multiple options for him guiding you through his breathing technique through a guided breathing session. I highly recommend you try it out.

Getting restful sleep every night is essential in combating inflammation. While we sleep our body performs key healing and restoration processes and breaks down toxins and detoxifies our body. The average healthy adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep every single night. Are you getting enough if you wake up feeling tired or feel sluggish during the day? You possibly need more sleep.

If you are having difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, try developing a nighttime routine to help signal your body that it’s time to rest by doing this. Some suggestions are avoid drinking any caffeine or eating actually anything for at least three hours before bedtime. Another option is and another thing to consider are participate in calming activities such as going for a walk, meditation, or gentle stretching. Another option is to try turning off electronics an hour before going to sleep. Another is to take a warm bath. Another is, again, do that gratitude journaling, but don’t do it on your computer. Write it out in a notebook or something. What you do as part of your routine is up to you. Just keep in mind a clutter-free, cool room is an ideal environment for sleep.


Now, if you expect that you have a hormonal imbalance your doctor can perform a simple blood analysis to determine which hormones may be off and how to correct imbalances. If you are concerned that your stress level is chronically high, and you are always in a state of fight or flight, then the advanced functional medicine test called the salivary cortisol test is something you may need. The problem is it’s not done by your traditional primary care provider. You would have to reach out to a functional medicine provider like myself in order to have someone that’s trained in how to get this done and how to interpret the results of a salivary cortisol test.

Now, as I typically do for each of the monthly educational webinars, I will post the list of references that were used in the making of this event in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow. If you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, then all you need to do is if you do go to Facebook, go to Facebook and look up my clinic, Discover Health Functional Medicine Center and go to our business pa


ge of Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, and simply look for the link and click it to request to join our closed Discover Health Facebook Group. Everyone’s welcome! You just need to, like all the other groups on Facebook, ask to join.

In there we always list the res


ources for all these webinars that were used in order to create the different webinars for you so you can do your own further research. It’s also a place where our Health Coach, Trish Chaput, does a weekly Coach’s Corner. Every day, basically, she posts something educational and informational. It’s a place where you can interact with like-minded people, and you can ask us questions there as well. Definitely look into joining!

Thank you all for joining us today! Chron


ic inflammation has become more prevalent over the years and is linked to a number of diseases that we’ve talked about. While inflammation is essential for acute wound healing, chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on healthy tissues and on your overall health. The good news is there are ways to reduce your risk by making lifestyle changes and modifying what you do have control over.


Thank you all for coming, and I really hope this has helped. I hope to see you on our next webinar next month because I do this free webinar every month. We also transcribe each and every one of these webinars and put it in my podcast, so if you’re not familiar with my podcast, please check out Discover Health Podcast. You can listen to any and all of the topics and all the interviews I’ve done with multiple medical providers over the years.

Take care, everybody!


Watch this webinar presentation on our YouTube channel:

Contact Discover Health Functional Medicine Center:


For more information on the Discover Health Movement Membership

Get your FREE copy of Dr. Trish Murray’s first book Make a D.E.N.T. in Chronic Disease

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Typical Functional Medicine Labs

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Hello, everyone! It’s Dr. Trish, and today I’m going to cover a very interesting topic in the essence of we’re going to talk about a few of the most typical functional medicine labs that are done in the functional medicine clinical setting. How are they different from some of the traditional medicine blood work or lab tests that you would typically have through your primary care doctor?

So, the first one I want to talk about is basically a comprehensive stool analysis. Now, I’m showing you on the screen I’m using and with reading through this podcast you can see hopefully the image of the summary of what’s called a GI Effects™ Comprehensive Profile of the Stool. This is by one particular company, one particular lab, within the functional medicine world. There are other labs that do this other than the one I’m using their sample report for, but again the point of today is not for me to go over every single aspect of detail of the results of any one report because this is just a sample report that isn’t consistent with any one patient.

What I want to make the point of, folks, is that when you go to your primary care doc and you have abdominal pain or you have diarrhea or you have constipation or whatever you might have going on with your gastrointestinal system, and your primary wants to do a stool test, what they usually are testing for is simply they’re culturing your stool for a pathologic bug like giardia or, you know, some other pathologic bacteria or bug, parasite maybe, that is causing you to be ill. But that is the only thing usually that the stool tests, again, that a traditional medical primary care doc would be ordering.

What you’re looking at here with a comprehensive stool analysis is looking at the whole gastrointestinal tract and the different functions of the gastrointestinal tract. So, you’ll notice you’re going to get information about digestion and whether there is increased protein breakdown products in the stool. If there are, that means you’re not digesting and breaking down your proteins optimally in order to absorb them.

Also, it’s going to look at fecal fat, meaning how many fat particles are in your stool. Again, if you’re not breaking the fat down properly and you’re not absorbing it properly then where does it end up? It ends up going through the entire GI tract and coming out in your poop, in your stool. So, the fecal fat would be, for example, high in someone that’s not digesting properly and has mal digestion.

So, my point here is looking at this summary there are many different things that you’re going to learn about your gastrointestinal system function by doing a comprehensive stool analysis. One thing is digestion. Another thing they’re going to look at is inflammation.

There are certain markers that can be found in stool that would be consistent with an increased level of inflammation in your gut. So, in this one you’ll notice in the sample we’re looking at you’ll also notice that if the number…there’s numbers for each one of these categories and the numbers are also in a colored circle. It could be a green circle with a number less than two which means that that’s a very low need for support. There’s not really an issue in that category. It could be a gray circle which would be optional need for support. Again, very low, not really a concern. A yellow circle which moves us up into more moderate need for support or moderate need for concern of dysfunction, not pathologic illness typically but moderate need for functional improvement. Then a red circle would be a high need for support. Anywhere from seven to ten is a score.

So, you’ll notice again that this test is going to give you information about your digestion. It’s going to give you information about whether you have inflammation in your gut. It is not just going to culture the bugs in your colon and in your stool, it’s also going to look at genetic markers, and it’s going to determine your entire microbiome. What bugs, what cultures or what bugs, what microbials are living in your colon and making up your individual specific microbiome?

Another category is it’s going to look at metabolic imbalances. One of these metabolic imbalances, for example, is one of the best ways and examples that I can give to people of the symbiotic relationship between bacteria and us as humans. Again, folks, without the multiple pounds of bacteria that we have living in our colon in symbiotic relationship with us we’d be dead. So, the metabolic imbalance with short chain fatty acids…what I want to do is take a moment and explain this. When we eat fiber, we do not digest fiber. The bacteria that live in our colon when we eat something that’s full of fiber like a vegetable or a fruit or grains, we don’t digest them well. They go down into our colon and the bacteria break down the fiber of that food for us, and when they break down the fiber, they create short chain fatty acids. The short chain fatty acids that they create when they digest fiber is what feeds the cells that determines the nutrients that feed the cells that line our colon.

So, you’ll notice that we eat fiber, we don’t digest it. It goes down into our colon, the bacteria digest it for us, and what they give off is short chain fatty acids. Our cells that line our colon ingest and eat, if you will, or get the nutrients they need from those short chain fatty acids. That is the best example I can give you of the symbiotic relationship between bacteria in our microbiome and our own health.

If you have dysbiosis and your metabolic imbalance is off, and you have low short chain fatty acids then you would need to eat more fiber or you would need to promote the right bugs to properly digest that fiber so that you get the short chain fatty acids you need to feed the lining of your colon. You’ll see, these are the things that are way more robust of information on the function of your gut than any basic traditional medicine stool culture is ever going to give you.

The final and the fifth category of information on function that the comprehensive stool analysis will give is – is there any infection? It’s going to look for parasites; it’s going to look for candida particularly yeast that are bad. It’s also going to look at the total abundance of bacteria and tell you if there are certain bacteria that are out of balance that are not the good guys, meaning they may not make you pathologically ill to put you in the hospital, but they may be causing your constipation or maybe causing your diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and things like this. The point is you would need to work on improving the right balance of bacteria so that the right beneficial bacteria with the right bandanas around their foreheads, for example, as a gang are running your microbiome.

Folks, the point here of going over this for you is for you to see that to do a comprehensive stool analysis in the functional medicine realm is going to give an enormous amount of functional information about how your gut from top to bottom, from digestion to whether there’s inflammation, to your microbiome, to the metabolite imbalance and the metabolic function, and whether there’s infection. This is way more robust and way more complex than any basic stool culture in the traditional medical model will give you. That was the first test I wanted to review on this podcast. Let’s go to the next one.

So, the next very typical and very common functional medicine test is a salivary cortisol test. Now, cortisol, folks, is a hormone that’s put out predominantly by our adrenal glands. It is our fight or flight stress hormone. People who have anxiety, people sometimes with depression, people who deal with insomnia, people who have fatigue many times have imbalances in their cortisol circadian rhythm or their cortisol levels. Now, the traditional medical model, folks, does not really assess your cortisol levels in a rhythmic way, meaning a natural circadian rhythm way. Your traditional primary care doctor as I did in the past before I ever studied in functional medicine, I might have done a blood test for cortisol or a 24-hour urine test for cortisol, but neither of those tests tell you what your cortisol level is, for example, first thing in the morning versus noontime versus the afternoon versus right before bed.

You see, the circadian rhythm of cortisol is that when we first get up in the morning you wake up, your alarm clock goes off, and you have to get out of bed. Well, you hit the snooze of course and you’re awake but you’re not really fully awakened out of bed yet. What’s happening, folks, is once that alarm goes off your cortisol levels from your adrenal glands should rise. The cortisol awakening response is that from the time you first awake to within the first thirty minutes of being awake and getting out of bed and being up and moving around, your cortisol level should spike by more than fifty percent. It’s like a natural stress test that your adrenal system should put out cortisol at the highest amount first thing in the morning when you first get out of bed. That’s normal.

Then as the day progresses from that peak cortisol level when you got out of bed in that natural stress test, your cortisol should naturally be lowering slowly throughout the day until it is the lowest at night right before going to bed. Cortisol, folks, gives us hot flashes; cortisol makes us wired; cortisol keeps us awake, and we don’t want a high level of cortisol when it’s time to go to bed. Melatonin, which is the opposite of cortisol, is more of our sleep hormone. That hormone should be highest at night when we’re going to bed and lowest in the morning when we’re getting up and getting ready for our day.

So, a salivary cortisol test, and the one we’re using here is called the Adrenocortex Stress Profile, is basically a test where you’re going to spit in a tube when you first wake up in the morning because saliva is what we use. You can do these multiple samples throughout the day, and you’re not going to pee in a cup or anything. You’re going to spit in a tube, and your saliva is a perfect fluid from your body that will tell us your cortisol level at that time. So, you’re going to spit in the tube first thing in the morning and we’re going to get your waking cortisol level. Thirty minutes later you’re going to spit in the tube again and get your cortisol awakening response concept. Then you’re going to do your level from 7 to 9 AM (that range of time), somewhere between 11 AM and 1 PM (so around noon time), your later afternoon (like 3 to 5 PM), and then finally later in the evening (like between 12 PM and 12 AM midnight).

Then you’ll notice that each one of these markers, each one of these times, is measured for its cortisol level and placed on a graph. Again, we should see that your circadian rhythm is optimal or not. Where does it fit in the standard deviations of value? This is the little black boxes for each measurement and then a line goes from one to the next to the next to the next. It should, again, be a step down from first thing in the morning to noontime and then down more at three o’clock in the afternoon or four and then down to the lowest again at night.

If your cortisol levels are abnormally high or abnormally low this is information that will tell us if your adrenal system, your fight or flight system, your stress system is functioning normally or not. If it’s not, there are ways to obviously help treat that. That’s another podcast discussion, and I’ve had podcasts where I’ve talked about stress before, but this is a salivary cortisol test and this is how it’s used to assess the function of your adrenal glands.

Now, one more thing that’s tested in this saliva is also a different hormone than cortisol and that’s a hormone called DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone. DHEA, folks, is a vitality hormone. It is an anabolic hormone, a hormone that builds you up, a hormone that makes you feel strong and healthy. Cortisol, even though it may make you wired, if it’s too high all the time is more of a catabolic hormone, meaning it’s causing degeneration and it’s causing breakdown through your systems. So, this test when we also test the DHEA level will show you if you’re normal or not. Then, you can also do a ratio, a DHEA to cortisol ratio, and you can see where that stands.

Now, in the past I have done a podcast specifically on salivary cortisol and the ratio of DHEA to cortisol and the types of things we could do to treat Stage 1 versus Stage 2 versus Stage 3 adrenal dysfunction. You may want to look back through my podcast and see if you can find that episode if you’re finding this topic extremely interesting. The point of this discussion, the second discussion in this podcast on this typical functional medicine lab test, is that a salivary cortisol lab test can be used to assess the function of your stress system, your adrenal system, and to see if it’s functioning optimally or not. That’s number two.

Let’s go on to the third typical functional medicine test that I wanted to share with you today, and this is an amazing complex test. It’s called a nutritional functional analysis. It’s specific name through this lab is called the NutrEval, but this test is, again, functionally looking at someone’s overall nutritional function and status.

This test involves doing a urine sample first thing in the morning is the way this one is done. Then also going and getting blood drawn on that same day, and then the lab would give you a kit. You pee, you know first thing in the morning in a tube, you freeze it, then you take the kit, you bring it to a lab (obviously somewhere that’s agreed to do this for you), and they follow the directions, and they draw your blood, and they send it off as a kit through Federal Express to the lab.

The lab does an enormous amount of tests on all of the organic acids throughout your urine and your blood. It also tests for heavy metals and toxic exposures, oxidative stress, mitochondrial function of your body. It looks at fats, whether your level of omega-3 fatty acids versus your omega-6 fatty acids, saturated fats, as well as omega-9s. So, it also, again, looks at toxic exposures with cadmium and lead and arsenic and these things. It also looks at your typical minerals in your body and do you have enough magnesium, do you have enough potassium, and so on. It also assesses your methylization imbalance. Methylization is one of the primary forms of detoxification in your body and many people out there have heard of MTHFR imbalances. This test and this type of testing, this nutritional functional analysis, looks at all of these things, folks, and gives you these categories and assesses whether you’re functioning well.

You’ll notice it has the same circles with colored numbers in them to give you a ballpark of whether the function of, for example, oxidative stress is high, moderate, or low for you, whether your mitochondrial dysfunction or better your mitochondrial function which has to do with your energy system is optimal, moderately out of balance, or highly out of balance. Again, whether your omega fatty acid balance is good, optimal moderately out of balance, or high out of balance and so on. Toxic exposures and also methylation imbalance, and you can see in the list underneath those circles with the numbers in them there’s a lot of different organic acids and chemicals that they’re looking at and saying whether they’re optimal, moderately high, or red meaning overly high need for support and in need of real definitive correction.

So, this is an amazing test. Now, the other thing that comes out of this test that you don’t see in the image I’m providing you is that from all of this analysis they also recommend exactly how much, for example, Vitamin B12 you might need as a dosage in your multivitamin. It also tells you how much all of the different B vitamins, how much Vitamin C, how much magnesium you should be on, whether you need digestive enzymes. The point here, folks, is not only is it going to assess your overall individual nutritional function, it’s also going to make clinical recommendations as to exactly what vitamins you should be taking in, supplementing with, and exactly what dose you should be on.

This is an amazing test. Again, the third one I’ve talked about today is a more nutritional functional analysis, and this one specifically that I’m sharing with you is called the NutrEval. There are other labs out there in the functional medicine realm that do nutritional evaluations and give you this type of functional information.

So, these are the three lab tests: comprehensive stool analysis, the salivary cortisol test assessing the function of your adrenal system, and this overall nutritional functional analysis. These are some of the most common functional medicine labs that are way different than any of the traditional blood tests that a primary care doctor would do. Now, I of course do the traditional type of blood work that any other doctor would order, but when it fits with each individual patient that comes to see me as a functional medicine specialist I might recommend, for example, one of these functional assessment tests. We usually would gain an enormous amount of usable clinical information to help you improve the overall function of whether it’s your gastrointestinal system, whether it’s your adrenal stress system, or whether it is multiple of your systems, your detox system, whether you’re getting the right fat balance, your mitochondrial system and whether you’re looking like you’re overly toxic, or whether your methylization system is functioning optimally.

I hope this has helped. Again, if you’re interested just reach out through, which is my clinical website to even set up a free consult to possibly talk with me or one of my staff about any of these labs or whether you feel this is an avenue towards health you would like to pursue. So, signing off for this podcast. Take care everyone!


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Fix Your Gut, Save Your Life

Click here to listen to this episode of the Discover Health Podcast:

Hi! This is Dr. Trish Murray. I am a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, and I’ve practiced for many years in the beautiful White Mountains of New Hampshire. My clinic is called Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. I originally trained in internal medicine, and I was a primary care internist after my residency. But actually, as I practiced as an internist, I realized that prescribing pill after pill for chronic diseases was really not helping people get better. It was not helping them restore their health. And so, I went on to specialize in traditional osteopathy and essentially non-surgical orthopedics. I became a pain specialist.

Also, over the years of practicing this, I’ve realized that the chronic toxicity, chronic inflammation, chronic hormonal imbalances, and chronic infections that people have seem to be the root cause of why they have chronic conditions in the first place. I learned of the Institute of Functional Medicine, and I’ve gone on to become a specialist in functional medicine. It is practicing this specialty that has led me to doing these podcasts and my present mission of empowering you to restore and optimize your own health through education, community, and support. If you like this talk and would like to learn more, please go to my website

Alright, so welcome everyone to “Fix Your Gut, Save Your Life.” This is going to be an interesting talk tonight for everyone. The gut, folks, or the gastrointestinal system, is an incredible gateway to optimal health. The gut microbiome is an ecosystem of organisms or what I call “bugs” including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and even protozoan. They’re all living throughout the digestive tract. Far beyond just your digestive health, the following organ systems are also closely related to your gut health:

  • Immune system
  • Endocrine or hormonal system
  • Nervous system
  • Circulatory system
  • Skin or integumentary system
  • Respiratory system
  • Reproductive system

Some of the major functions of the gut include:

  • Digestion
  • Immune response
  • Nutrient absorption
  • Hormone regulation
  • Vitamin production
  • Detoxification
  • Mood management
  • And many more functions

Do you suffer from digestive distress, respiratory issues, heartburn, rashes, water retention, constipation, acne, migraines, congestion, fatigue, irritability, depression, anxiety, dementia, or brain fog? Folks, all of these things, and actually many more, can be traced back to gut health. Has this gotten your attention? If it has, stay tuned to learn how you can fix your gut to save your health and your life!

Functional medicine serves to integrate both conventional medicine and complementary healthcare. It uses a model of personalized care, treatment of the root cause of each issue, and sustainable health promotion. Functional medicine is revolutionizing the medical field by empowering patients to better understand the imbalances in their bodies, how these imbalances affect their health, and the solutions available to support the normal healing mechanisms within your own body. In this talk, I will be discussing what is sabotaging your gut health and strategies to regain control of your health and life with important functional medicine practices!

The gut is powerful, yet it is also very delicate. There are many different factors that inhibit the gut’s ability to maintain its bacterial balance, its structural integrity, and absorptive qualities. A few of the most common enemies to your gut health include:

  1. The Standard American Diet (SAD). A diet rich in sugar and chemicals and lacking in nutrients and fiber contributes to an unhealthy ecosystem within your gut.
  2. Excessive Medications. The over prescription of antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, and acid-blocking drugs significantly disturb the gut’s microbial balance.
  3. Inadequate Digestive Enzyme Activity. Sufficient digestive enzymes are needed for the breaking down, absorption, and use of nutrients in our bodies. The absence of these digestive enzymes can lead to a host of digestive problems.
  4. Toxic Exposure. Toxins found in our air, water, foods, cleaning products, and personal care products also damage the gut’s ability to function properly.
  5. Infections are invasions of the body by pathogens such as bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Chronic infections such as gingivitis of the gums in your mouth, Lyme, mononucleosis from Epstein-Barr virus, or overgrowth of Candida albicans are all examples of infections that can disrupt your microbiome and be the root cause of poor health.
  6. Chronic Stress. The gut is vulnerable to stress-induced changes in many of its crucial functions such as absorption, digestion, and bacterial normalcy.

The S.A.D. Diet. A study from the United States Department of Agriculture, conducted back in 2009, reported that 63% of the calories Americans consume come from processed foods containing preservatives, refined grains, and added sugars and oils. In 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture (the USDA) revealed that approximately 1,000 calories out of the standard 2,700 daily calorie diet were accredited to added sweeteners and unhealthy fats. In contrast to this, dairy, fruits, and vegetables only attributed to 424 calories of the typical diet.

Another 2010 study conducted by the National Cancer Institute showed 3 out of 4 Americans do not eat a single fruit per day, and 9 out of 10 Americans do not meet the minimum recommended daily intake of vegetables. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what would. The researchers ultimately concluded that, “Nearly the entire United States population consumes a diet that is not on par with recommendations. These findings add another piece to the rather disturbing picture that is emerging of a nation’s diet in crisis.” Again, that was back in 2010.

While everyone’s dietary needs are extremely different, there are general guidelines that everyone can benefit from adhering to. The ideal diet for someone looking to prevent gut imbalances, heal from gut dysfunction, and reverse gut damage includes eating:

  • Whole and unprocessed foods
  • Plant-based fiber
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables, as much as 6 – 9 servings a day is recommended
  • Beans and legumes
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Non-dairy fermented foods such as fermented vegetables

Now, to determine your specific dietary needs, it is recommended to follow through with an elimination diet. Elimination diets are incredible diagnostic tools to determine food irritants, sensitivities, and allergies that are contributing to a compromised gut. We just completed a 5-week program for people led by our health coach to implement what I call the Detox Plus Program.

My Detox Plus Program gives you a guidebook and five videos that tell you exactly how to do an elimination diet properly, how to supplement with vitamins and minerals to support you through the process, things like Epsom salts baths and breathing techniques to enhance your detox, and how to rechallenge the different food categories properly to identify your food sensitivities after the elimination twenty-one days is over.

Up next, let’s discuss more about an elimination diet and how to try it for yourself!

An elimination diet is administered in a way that removes common food irritants that could be sabotaging your health. The foods to eliminate from your diet during an elimination diet include:

  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Soy
  • Corn
  • Nightshade Vegetables (Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Potatoes)
  • Eggs
  • Refined Sugar
  • Peanuts
  • Red Meat
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Hydrogenated Oils
  • Packaged & Processed Foods

This exclusion lasts at least twenty-one days to allow time for the negative food-related immune reactions to disappear. Once you have waited the proper amount of time, and again that’s typically at least twenty-one days, you will begin to reintroduce each food group individually while paying close attention to how each food makes you feel. If any of the foods begin to bother you, remove it again, wait until you feel better, and then continue reintroducing the remaining food groups. Don’t worry, though! There are plenty of foods you can have during an elimination diet.

Unless you are aware of any specific dietary needs or your doctor has advised otherwise, foods that are diet-friendly during the elimination diet or elimination phase include:

  • All vegetables (except for the ones I listed: corn and nightshades)
  • Whole fruits (fresh, frozen, and water-packed)
  • Dairy substitutes (almond milk, coconut milk, hemp milk, rice milk)
  • Lean and clean animal protein (wild game, lamb, organic chicken, fresh fish)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Beans and most legumes (except soybeans and peanuts)
  • Gluten-free grains in moderation (rice, quinoa, amaranth, tapioca, buckwheat, teff)
  • High-quality oils (coconut, avocado, cold-pressed olive)
  • Herbal teas
  • Sweetener alternatives in moderation (brown rice syrup or blackstrap molasses)
  • Spices

As I already mentioned, we recently did a 5-week class to support a group of people through what I call the Detox Plus Program. The results were absolutely fantastic for everyone in the group! Everyone saw an amazing improvement in their health. Those of you that are listening, now if anyone is interested in doing an elimination diet, you can learn more about what I call, again, the elimination diet on my website and through my clinic I call the Detox Plus Program. If you go to the shop of my website you will be able to see that there is a program there. Again, it has a guidebook, and it has five supportive videos. Of course, you can always call my office to find out when our next live or online support class will be.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture again, the average American consumes over 150 pounds of refined sugars per year! Added sugars come in many forms, so you’ve got to learn to read the labels. You’ve got to learn to find the hidden sugars. I’m going to list off a number of ways that they try and hide sugar in the ingredients of different processed foods in particular:

  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Corn syrup
  • Corn sweetener
  • Cane juice
  • Dextrose
  • Fructose
  • Glucose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Sucrose
  • Malt syrup

This is not an exhaustive list. Unfortunately, sugar is one of the most detrimental anti-nutrients for the health of your gut. It promotes the growth of bad bacteria, hinders the growth of good bacteria, contributes to the deterioration of the digestive system’s mucus lining, feeds gut-attacking fungus (a bad yeast in particular called Candida albicans), and it promotes intestinal permeability or leaky gut. The main takeaway here is, folks, cut the sugar in order to improve your health and heal your gut.

Gluten. The prevalence of gluten allergies and sensitivities have been on a steady and steep rise. However, research has been suggesting that even those without diagnosed intolerances may still experience digestive distress from the consumption of gluten.

Gluten directly affects the integrity of the intestinal lining due to the production of a protein called zonulin. Zonulin can open up the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining and in turn, increase the permeability of the intestines all together and cause leaky gut. Leaky gut is the ability for toxins, microbes, and bugs or the undigested food particles to be released from the intestines into the bloodstream. This then causes your immune system to form antibodies, which are proteins, initially produced to attack one of gluten’s most prominent building blocks called gliadin. These antibodies contribute to the secretion of inflammatory chemicals which lead to damage of otherwise healthy tissues.

In other words, your body reacts simply to the consumption of gluten by creating a defense mechanism to fight against it. Once this damage has occurred within the digestive tract itself, it is then disruptive throughout the entire body and your entire immune system.

Now, while gluten is found in the majority of grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, and rye, not all grains contain gluten. But gluten, folks, is not the only problem. Most grains should be avoided while working to heal your gut.

Brown rice, for example, contains something called phytic acid. Phytic acid is difficult for your body to breakdown and digest, and this leads to inflammation within the digestive tract. Phytic acid also affects the absorption of key minerals including magnesium, calcium, and zinc. It also makes digestive enzymes less efficient and causes overall digestive distress.

Now, soaking and sprouting the grains and seeds before you cook them can help remove the phytic acid protective covering on the seeds or the grain, making them therefore more digestible and helpful in the digestion. But this works in moderation. The biggest recommendation for anyone trying to heal your gut over a three-month period, let’s say, would be for most people to avoid grains especially in the early stages of gut healing all together. Again, that would be at least eight to twelve weeks.

Now, according to the Centers for Disease Control, better known as the CDC, in the last 30 days 48.5% of Americans have taken at least one prescription medication, and about a third of Americans have taken three or more prescriptions medications on a daily basis. Some of the many medications that have been proven in research studies to disrupt the bacterial balance in the gut and thus digestive function include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, and ibuprofen
  • Steroids such as Prednisone
  • Antibiotics
  • Birth control pills
  • Antidepressants

Again, these have all shown to disrupt the bacterial balance in the gut and thus digestive function. In most cases, lifestyle changes can replace all of these medications. However, the overuse of these inflammation-producing drugs has become the norm and cause unnecessary stress on the digestive and immune systems.

Now, please realize, I am not saying anyone should stop these medications immediately. Instead, I recommend a person start making the healthy changes in their lifestyle and their diet and start feeling better and healing your gut. Then the medications will start to fall away as you steadily improve.

Your body needs a sufficient amount of digestive enzymes in order to break down food particles efficiently. Without them, the food you eat will not be broken down into the form that your body can actually absorb, meaning the individual nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fats, and amino acids. Your body produces digestive enzymes from your pancreas, your stomach, your salivary glands, and your small intestines. Decreased production of these digestive enzymes can be caused by many different things. Here’s a list:

  • Acid-blocking medications
  • Zinc deficiency
  • Pesticides and the chemicals used within the food industry
  • Excessive intake of unsaturated fats
  • Heavy metal exposure or consumption
  • And many more

But above all, the lack of these enzymes is usually due to a poor diet. Also, as we age, we begin to naturally produce less and less digestive enzymes. Our digestion becomes more difficult and less efficient. In fact, by the age range of 45-55 years old, enzymatic production rate decreases, folks, by as much as 50%. Long story short, it is extremely important to stabilize, preserve, and supplement your digestive enzymes in order to absorb nutrients effectively and efficiently. This can be done by:

  1. Including more raw food in your diet because you get some enzymes from chewing and eating raw foods
  2. Eliminating processed foods
  3. Cleaning the fruits and vegetables that you’re going to eat
  4. Taking a trusted digestive enzyme supplement

Now, probiotics are live bacteria which live mostly in the colon, which is the lower portion of your GI tract. They produce substances that help to balance your gut’s microbiome by promoting healthy bacteria and hindering harmful bacterial overgrowth. You want the right gang running your neighborhood.

Probiotics can be lost by a poor diet, excessive use of medicine, and exposure to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the increase in free radicals in our body. Luckily, there are ways to up your intake of probiotics to regain a healthy balance of bacteria within your gut. Probiotics are often found in a wide variety of foods, I always recommend you start with food, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, miso, kimchi, and kombucha. You may also want to explore further supplementation by taking a probiotic supplement.

There are several different healthy probiotic bacteria strains. The most common are Lactobacillus and many species within that genre of Lactobacillus. Bifidobacterium is another large family with many species within it, but also Streptococcus thermophilus, Saccharomyces boulardii, and Bacillus subtilis. These obviously are Greek long names and so forth. There won’t be a quiz! But the big thing to remember would be Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Those two are the big families of the probiotics that you’re going to see in the synthetic ones you buy or the ones that are in capsules or tablets at health food stores.

Folks, the number one thing that I would say or the bottom line for probiotics is if you make your own probiotic at home like kombucha or sauerkraut, you are going to get billions upon billions more species of probiotics that are good for you that we can’t even begin to consider creating and putting in a pill. So, yes, probiotic pills are helpful, but you really do want to increase good probiotic foods in your diet. Fermented vegetables and fermented foods are extremely important. If you can learn how to do it, and it’s not hard…if your grandparents are still around ask them how! They probably know how. If they’re not, then Google it because, of course, on YouTube you can find many videos on how to make it. I make kombucha at home. I used to make water kefir, but now I’m into kombucha. It just depends on what you want to learn how to make.

Now, functional medicine diagnostic tests, such as a comprehensive stool test, can give you a better understanding of which strains of bacteria are prominent in your individual microbiome. Your microbiome can be tested. At Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, we use the comprehensive stool analysis by Genova Diagnostics with our patients. One of these tests, when you test stool, this test not only assesses the bacteria in your colon but also assesses the function of your upper GI tract of whether your digesting things well and it will tell us whether you’re absorbing the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fats, and things through your intestines properly. A comprehensive stool analysis can be an extremely powerful test in helping you assess if things are improving or not for you as you go through the different things I’m talking about tonight.

Now folks, exposure to toxins is completely unavoidable. We are exposed to them on a daily basis between the pesticides on our food, contamination of our water, pollutants in our air, and chemicals in our common household products. To reduce and prevent this toxic overload, there are many ways to minimize exposure. Some of them are:

  • Eat organic and make sure you’re eating and buying non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods
  • Air purification systems
  • Water filters
  • Toxic-free household items and toxic-free cosmetics and personal care items are all beneficial to be shopping for and using your consumer power to your benefit

If you’re not sure what is non-toxic and what isn’t, I tell people all the time about the Environmental Working Group. If you go to, that is an amazing non-profit website and organization that will educate you on how to identify products, cleaning products, cosmetics, that are “green” meaning they are non-toxic and help educate you on how to stay away from the consumer products out there that are too toxic.

To further detox from these toxins, you should implement some of these methods:

  • Proper nutrition
  • Ample hydration to use your kidneys to urinate away any toxins
  • Fasting, intermittent fasting to help your gut have time to eliminate things from your body
  • Sweating is one of the number one best researched ways to eliminate toxins from your body. At Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, we have an infrared sauna at our clinic. This has been proven in studies to be one of the best tools to enhance detoxification. That’s why I got it, so that our clients and neighbors can be able to use it if they choose.
  • Exercising is one of the best ways to help sweat and get your gut moving and be able to help you detoxify.

Infections are caused by foreign invaders, known as pathogens. Pathogens can be either bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. Acute infections are usually fought off by the immune system. However, chronic infections are not. Instead, your immune system provides continued, ongoing efforts to fight the chronic infection but is not able to completely remove the pathogen. This leads to health problems indefinitely and a severe hindrance on the healthy gut microbiome.

Unfortunately, many of the conventional methods of handling infections also compromise gut health such as antibiotics. Antibiotics are needed, of course, in acute infections as we’ve said. But when it comes to chronic infections, alternatively, it is best to work to understand any infections within your body, optimize your gut and your overall health so that your immune system gains the strength in the power it needs to be able to finally eradicate the infection completely.

Stress can be caused a by a number of sources. Some include:

  • Poor diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overtraining
  • Decision fatigue, constantly having to make decisions over and over throughout the day
  • Feeling unfilled
  • Major life changes even wonderful life changes like marriage and happy changes of buying a new home are extremely stressful to most of us

Anything that puts high demand on your body, mind, or spirit increases your stress. That being said, it is apparent that most of us experience stress every single day of our lives. However, when stress becomes chronic and we do not practice stress-relieving techniques, our bodies pay the consequences.

The gut, specifically, is vulnerable to stress. Did you know that stress induces changes in the gut’s permeability, in its barrier accuracy, in its sensitivity, in its blood flow, and the secretions of your gut? Studies have shown that the gut’s microbiome responds directly to stress signals. This means that the gut is one of the first lines of defense as well as your first line of attack.

Some strategies to keep stress controlled within your body include:

  • Eating an antioxidant-rich diet. if you want to increase the antioxidants in your body, please make sure you eat every color of the rainbow every day. Whole foods, fruits, and vegetables that are red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple.
  • Deep breathing exercises can also reduce your stress.
  • Regular physical exercise is one of the best ways to decrease stress.
  • Participating in social activities and being part of a group. Community…they’ve done studies that if people are isolated their inflammation markers go up and their gut permeability worsens. Being involved in social activities as you…some of us are not extroverts and are more introverts but still, you still need to feel connected to other people.
  • Finding an enjoyable hobby
  • Spending time outdoors
  • And many, many more!

One modality that we offer at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center is called neurofeedback. This is an amazing treatment modality that repatterns each person’s brainwave frequencies to quiet their stress response. This is like going to physical therapy for your brain! It’s used to treat things such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, attention problems, addiction issues, and enhance overall performance.

Luckily, it is possible to reverse intestinal damage, heal from digestive distress, rebalance your microbiome, and repair your overall gut health. It is possible! I see it happen every day with patients. Following the functional medicine “Four R’s Protocol” is an incredible tool to truly uncover your health issues, nutritional needs, digestive dysfunctions, and bacterial imbalances. What are the Four R’s?

  1. Remove means to eliminate the problem foods, the problem toxins, the low-grade infections, and the oxidative stress. Remove the things that are causing the problem.
  2. Begin reintroducing a clean diet with essential nutrients your body needs to repair itself.
  3. You’re going to restore and repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria to restore the proper balance of your gut microbiome.
  4. Replace digestive enzymes, antioxidants, and immune-boosting vitamins to promote a sustainable and healthy digestion.

The Four Rs provide an effective and complete way to address and treat gastrointestinal dysfunctions and achieve optimal health and digestion. This is the protocol emphasized by the Institute for Functional Medicine. We at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center work with each individual patient based on the Four R approach to optimize your healing.

Gut health is truly the pathway to optimize your overall health! Other ways improve your gut health include taking additional supplementations that we haven’t talked about so far tonight would be especially Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin so, of course, if you take too much of it you will store too much of it so that’s an issue where people do need to consider having your Vitamin D tested. I will tell you that there have been studies done that have shown if you take between 2,000 – 4,000 IU a day, you’re typically not going to store too much and get into any trouble. Zinc is another supplement that can help with so many aspects of our immune system and our gut health. Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil, and another one would be glutathione. Glutathione, folks, is the chemical in your body that’s produced through your liver that is the number one detoxifying chemical in your body.

Another way to improve gut health is through mind-body practices like we were just listing off. Others would be yoga, Qigong, or Tai chi. Stay hydrated. I can never say enough that we need to drink enough clean, filtered, purified water on a daily basis. Limit caffeine and alcohol, increase your fiber intake, and most importantly, get your microbiome analyzed!

As I’ve been talking about these different things tonight…if you’ve sort of been like, check – I’ve done that, check – I’ve done that, check – I’ve done that, but you still are having gastrointestinal distress or anxiety or depression or headaches or many other of the symptoms like eczema, if you’re having these things still then you’ve made a lot of the changes I’ve talked about tonight, then to do a comprehensive stool analysis might be something that’s going to shed a great deal of light on what the issues are for you. We offer that at my clinic, and obviously if you need that then either seek us out or another functional medicine provider.

I really want to say thank you so much for participating tonight. We are passionate about sharing this topic with people who are eager to transform their lives and finally achieve optimal health. If you have any further questions, you always can contact us at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. We are always here to support you. Hope everybody enjoyed it. Take care!


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Metabolic Syndrome: What Is It and How Do You Know If You Have It?

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Hey, everybody! It’s Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Today’s podcast is entitled “Metabolic Syndrome: What Is It and How Do You Know If You Have It?”

If you go back in time, folks, the first name that was ever given to this condition, metabolic syndrome…we didn’t call it that in the beginning. The first name it was ever given was actually called Syndrome X because traditional medicine and doctors didn’t really know what caused it. You will see the diagnosis in a minute of all the things you must have in order to be diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, but, again, it was originally called Syndrome X because actually we didn’t know what exactly it was, but it was leading down a path of a lot of chronic diseases like high blood pressure and heart disease and diabetes.

It then took on the name insulin resistance syndrome or pre-diabetes, and that’s because during metabolic syndrome a huge part of the physiology of it is that a person is putting out a ton of insulin, but the insulin isn’t working properly. It is entitled insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, meaning people’s sugars are rising and rising not diagnostic yet of diabetes but they’re greater than 100 and abnormal. This, again, is developing insulin resistance which leads down the path to, in many people, most people, the eventual diagnosis of Type 2 adult-onset diabetes.

Now, over the years we’ve really come to realize that this condition, this syndrome, is a metabolic problem. Meaning someone’s metabolism is so out of balance that they develop chronic conditions and insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. So, when you say, “metabolic syndrome,” that word metabolism…what is someone’s metabolism? We all may have heard that word metabolic or metabolism, but what does it mean?

Well, the definition of metabolism is the chemical process occurring within a living organism that are necessary to support life. So, actually not just one process, as I said, but I mean the chemical processes, all of the chemical processes, occurring within any living organism that are necessary to support life, to keep you alive. If these internal chemical processes are all out of whack and out of balance, then you’re not going to be able to support life optimally. That’s what metabolic syndrome is, folks. It’s a complete imbalance of the chemical processes that should be going on in your body optimally. They’re not happening optimally, and they’re leading you down a path of metabolic syndrome.

So, what’s the diagnosis of metabolic syndrome? How do you know if you have it, and what are the things that are out of balance? Well, in order to diagnose anyone with metabolic syndrome, you have to have three out of five things going on within your metabolism. The list is here:

First of all, number one, a fasting blood sugar greater than 100. In the traditional medical model, normal blood sugar fasting blood sugar, meaning you don’t eat anything after midnight the night before, you can drink water the morning you get your blood drawn, but you shouldn’t eat any foods of any kind. A fasting blood sugar of greater than 100 is abnormal. It should be less than 99. Actually, folks, in an optimal functional medicine world and opinion, an optimal fasting blood sugar would be less than 90. But, in the traditional medical model a normal blood sugar fasting blood sugar would be less than 99, and an abnormal one is greater than a hundred.

Now, to be diagnosed with diabetes, Type 2 diabetes or any form of diabetes for that matter, a blood a fasting blood sugar needs to be higher than 126. So, you notice a fasting blood sugar greater than 100 but lower than 126 is diagnostic of metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance or pre-diabetes but not yet Type 2 diabetes. That’s number one.

Number two, the second factor that might be a sign or is a sign of metabolic syndrome if you have it is a high-density lipoprotein, an HDL, the good cholesterol, being less than 40 in a man or less than 50 in a woman. So, you need to get your lipids checked or you need to look at a lab test that you last had done of your HDL, your good cholesterol. If you are male and it is less than 40 that’s concerning. It’s not high enough. If you are a woman and it’s less than 50 that’s concerning. Women usually have higher HDL than men do. So, that’s number two.

The third factor in determining whether a person has metabolic syndrome is waist circumference. Now, as we know, we all would love to have the pear-shaped body…you know the waist that comes in and then the hips go out wider…the hourglass shape. The waist would be pear-shaped and smaller and the bottom where the hips are would be wider. Well, that’s the optimal, but as we age and if we put on too much body fat and especially abdominal body fat and visceral, meaning fat around the organs of the abdomen such as a pot belly or an apple-shaped body, big wasted but small hips.

A waist circumference greater than 40 inches in men and greater than 35 inches in women is the next factor that’s a sign of having metabolic syndrome. Now, if you have a measuring tape that looks like this one where you can pull it out or you have a fabric one if you do sewing or if you even have a metal one but it’s flexible, you can wrap it around your waist right at your belly button. You can check your own waist circumference and see what it is. Again, a waist circumference greater than 40 inches in a man and greater than 35 inches in a woman would put you at risk. It’s one of the five factors that that would put you at risk for metabolic syndrome.

The fourth factor is your blood pressure. A blood pressure greater than 135/85 is one of the factors of having metabolic syndrome. Again, blood pressure greater than 135/85.

The fifth factor that can be looked at to determine if someone has metabolic syndrome is triglycerides. Triglycerides are pure fat in the bloodstream. If your triglycerides are greater than 150 then you are at risk and you have one of the factors of the five.

If you have three or more of the five factors that are positive, meaning they’re found to be positive for you, then you have metabolic syndrome. Again, one more time:

  1. fasting blood sugar > 100
  2. HDL < 40 in men and < 50 in women
  3. waist circumference > 40 inches in men and > 35 inches in women
  4. blood pressure > 135/85
  5. triglycerides > 150

Now, folks, a study that was done out in this metabolic scientific world called the Interheart Study analyzed greater than 1,000 people who had a myocardial infarction, basically had a heart attack. What they found was these risk factors accounted for greater than 80 percent of the risk of why they had a myocardial infarction, a heart attack.

There are eight risk factors here, but you’ll notice every single one of the ones that we just talked about for metabolic syndrome are listed here:

  1. abnormal lipids (abnormal cholesterol, abnormal fats, the HDL, the triglycerides)
  2. smoking
  3. high blood pressure
  4. having diabetes
  5. abdominal obesity, meaning an increased abdominal waist circumference
  6. inactivity
  7. lack of consumption of fruits and vegetables
  8. alcohol an increased or elevated level of alcohol intake

Folks, the point here is that if you have metabolic syndrome, three out of the five factors or more that I just listed off before then this is why you have chronic disease. This is why you don’t feel well, and it is putting you at risk of heart disease and heart attacks. It’s putting you at risk for diabetes, and it’s causing you to have to be on many, many different prescription medicines to try and treat it.

Now, the other problem is that many of you out there, many of us Americans, do not know that we even have metabolic syndrome! Stats on patient awareness and control of chronic diseases is really poor in the United States. Look at these facts:

  • Fewer than half of women are aware of the risk factors for heart disease, cardiovascular disease. Actually one of the top killers of women even though we think men are more at risk of heart disease is guess what? Heart disease, women! We need to realize whether we have these metabolic imbalances.
  • Nearly one in three people with high blood pressure that are hypertensive or have high blood pressure are completely unaware of it. Two in five are not actively being treated for their high blood pressure, and nearly two in three are not adequately controlled, meaning you know you have high blood pressure, you go to the doctor, and you get it checked, but two out of every three are not adequately controlled meaning the blood pressure is not less than 135/80.
  • Less than half who should be treated for high LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol) are being treated, meaning less than 50 percent, folks, who should be treated for high LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol) are being treated. Only one out of three are actually reaching the goal of being treated even if they are being treated.
  • Pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome is seldom identified. Listen to this stat: only one in 100 people in our general population have been told that they have metabolic syndrome even though they have three out of those five factors that I listed off before. If you want to do yourself a favor, go back and listen to that list again and check yourself. Go to your doctor and ask them to look at these things and determine if you have metabolic syndrome so you’re not in that 99 out of 100 people that might have metabolic syndrome that don’t even know it.
  • Less than half that are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and know they have diabetes are actually adequately controlled.

Another study that was done, called the United States Diabetes Prevention Program, folks, evaluated a lifestyle approach because what’s the answer? Okay, let’s say you did test yourself and you look up your labs and you test your waist circumference, and you realize, Wow! I have three of those five factors that Dr. Murray listed off a minute ago. Or, I have four of them. Oh my God! I have five of them.

Folks, what do you do about it? Well, you can run to the doctor and get prescription medicines, yes. At first that’s really important to keep things under control, but how do you really reverse it? Lifestyle is your answer! You’ve got to change your lifestyle, you’ve got to change what you’re eating, you’ve got to change your activity level, you’ve got to decrease your stress, you’ve got to avoid toxins in your world. These things are how you reverse it. So, how do we know that this works?

Well, the United States Diabetes Prevention Program evaluated a lifestyle approach to prevent Type 2 diabetes in obese people. The whole study had to be stopped early because the results were indisputable that lifestyle, changing one’s diet, exercising, decreasing stress, and avoiding toxins reduced diabetes by 50 percent versus comparing that to the just pharmaceutical prescription drug interventions only decreased the diabetes by 30 percent. Lifestyle had a much better effect, indisputable effect, and therefore the study was stopped, and it was just determined that lifestyle is the way to go.

Looking here at some more statistics from that study on metabolic syndrome. Lifestyle interventions for pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome delayed the onset or the diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes by eleven years versus prescription medicines alone. No lifestyle changes just prescription pharmacotherapy only delayed the onset of diabetes by three years. Would you rather push off and avoid diabetes altogether by eleven years or more or would you prefer to just take pills and have diabetes in the next three years or four years? The decision is yours.

Next, lifestyle interventions decrease the cases of Type 2 diabetes by 20 percent versus pharmacotherapy or prescription medicines alone only decrease the cases of Type 2 diabetes by 8 percent. Would you rather a rate of decrease in the cases of diabetes and the reversal of diabetes as 20 percent or would you prefer 8 percent? Hey, I’d vote for twenty and be on the medicines only if I need to.

Now, what are some tips that I could end with to give you that if you did them today – boom – you make the decision to do them today you will improve your health and you will reduce the three factors or any of those five factors of possibly having metabolic syndrome? The very first thing I would say is sugary drinks. Folks, you’ve got stop drinking soda. Do not drink soda. Period. By middle age, soft drink consumption is associated with a higher prevalence in incidence of multiple metabolic risk factors. Consumption of only one soft drink a day will increase your risk by one and a half times of developing metabolic syndrome. If you did nothing else for yourself, stop drinking soda!

Another thing is related to heart disease. The atherosclerosis risk in Community Study, another study, found that long-term consumption of the western pattern diet – lots of red meat, fried foods, and again sugary drinks like soda – increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. If you stop drinking soda, only eat fried foods maybe once a week if that or ever or eliminate it, and you stop eating so much red meat and just switch to fish for at least one night a week and more chicken or even a night of no meat per week you will absolutely decrease your risk and reverse your metabolic syndrome and avoid ever developing Type 2 diabetes. If you do have Type 2 diabetes you may be able to reverse that as well with some of these tips.


So, finally how to improve, how to reverse metabolic syndrome, how to even reverse and get on the bandwagon and on your journey to reverse Type 2 diabetes, adult-onset diabetes if you already have it.

  1. Eat the rainbow, and I don’t mean M&M’s and Skittles. I mean eat red, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple foods that are real whole foods. What does that mean? Vegetables and fruits.
  2. Stop all sugary drinks. Don’t drink another soda other than maybe once a year if that.
  3. Learn about what’s called the Glycemic Index. Google it and learn about it and read about the glycemic index. Maybe I’ll do another podcast on that coming up soon. The glycemic index, folks, has to do with any food has been measured in how much that food increases your blood sugar right after you eat it. Every food has a different glycemic index, and they rate it against a tablespoon of pure white cane sugar. You ingest white cane sugar and – boom – your blood sugar goes right up immediately and then insulin has to come and decrease it. All foods are rated against that as to what its glycemic index is. How much does it – boom – increase your blood sugar right away? Things like pasta, rice, and grains have an extremely high glycemic index, but fibrous foods such as beans or vegetables and even fruits…some fruits will have a higher glycemic index than others.

Another tip with fruit and, again, eating the rainbow. If you eat a piece of fruit that is colored on the outside but white on the inside, such as apples or bananas, they have a higher glycemic index than fruits that are colored on the outside and colored all the way inside like a peach or a strawberry or a blueberry would have a much lower glycemic index for example than an apple or a banana that’s colored on the outside but white on the inside.

Folks, eat the rainbow, stop all soda or even fruit juice, folks, because high concentrated fruit juice has actually more sugar per can or per serving than even a soda does, so stop all sugary drinks, Google and learn the glycemic index and learn what that’s about, and choose foods that emphasize a low glycemic index in your diet.

So, I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker – signing off. I sure hope this has helped you learn what metabolic syndrome is. Look back at the five factors and notice if you have three or more you do have metabolic syndrome and don’t be one of the 99 people out there out of 100 that have no idea that they have metabolic syndrome even though they do.

Take care everybody!


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Men’s Health 101

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Welcome, everyone! If you and I have not met before my name is Dr. Trish Murray. I’m a physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker, and as a health and wellness expert I understand the importance of men’s health. I’m also humbled to have the privilege of supporting and educating people through prevention and treatment.

My goal is to give YOU the tools to control your own health. I founded Discover Health Functional Medicine Center over fifteen years ago, and I am a specialist in functional medicine as well as osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Now, men go to the doctor less than women. This is a fact! And the fact that men go to the doctor less than women may account for men’s shorter lifespan, actually, because when it comes to seeking care most men will brush off annual visits and preventive check-ins. But the question is – why? Well, many men report vague issues like busy schedule; however, there may also be deeper issues at play that some men have admitted to including attitude. Attitude revolves around having a macho attitude that can account for a number of missed visits to the doctor. Studies reveal a link between self-reported masculinity and resisting routine physical exam.

Another issue that might keep men out of the doctor’s office or out of the medical world is fear. A recent survey revealed that 20% of men, that’s one out of every five men, reported fearing a poor diagnosis as the main reason for not getting regular checkups.

Another reason is discomfort. That’s another major reason that accounts for men’s lack of enthusiasm for annual visits is becoming uncomfortable with the exam itself, the physical exam in particular, of course, rectal exams and other invasive tests that are apt to give men hesitation about seeking preventative care.

But the bottom line there is certainly a link between masculinity and vulnerability. Many men wait until symptoms are persistent before seeking medical care. This can be an unfortunate mistake as many conditions are preventable or treatable if they are detected early enough. So, let’s take a look at the screening options available for early detection.

As the saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Prevention is the most important facet of maintaining one’s health. Take a gander at these chilling statistics. Only three out of five men get yearly checkups. 12% of men over age eighteen are in fair or poor health. 40% of men only go to a doctor when they fear a chronic medical condition. 34% of men over age twenty are overweight or obese, which is one out of three. A big important point to understand is having an increased level of body fat is one of the main causes for low testosterone levels and eventual erectile dysfunction. So, this is a really important point that men need to be aware of so that you can maintain your virility and your vitality.

Now, you may not be aware of this, but annual health checkups can help early detection of heart disease and cancer, the leading causes of death among men. Screenings are even available for blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, prostate cancer and of course colon cancer.

So, let’s talk about some of these things. You may already know that heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States, but did you know that heart disease is responsible for one in every four male deaths? High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol), and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. According to the CDC, about half of Americans, 49%, have at least one of these three risk factors of high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking.

Additional factors putting men at a higher risk for heart disease include diabetes; again, being overweight or obese which again increases insulin resistance, increases inflammation, lowers testosterone levels, and increases estrogen levels which puts men at more increased risk for different types of cancers; also, poor diet; physical inactivity; and excess alcohol use put a person at higher risk for heart disease. Now, the best way to protect against heart disease is through regular screenings of the risk factors like checking blood pressure and checking cholesterol annually.

Nearly 50% of all men over the age of 50 years have what’s called PIN. P-I-N is an acronym. PIN stands for tiny changes that occur in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells and this is known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Prostate cancer can be successfully treated if it is diagnosed before it spreads out of the organ of the prostate. When it does spread out of the organ that is called metastasis, and the most common place that prostate cancer spreads to are bones.

Now, the initial screening is a simple blood test called a prostate-specific antigen or PSA test. If an abnormality is found, further examinations may be requested, and then you may undergo the digital rectal exam, or they can test biomarker test checking the in the blood, urine, and other body tissues. Now, risk factors for prostate cancer include age; of course, we’re all at an increased risk as we age for more types of cancer, but age fifty years or older puts a man at increased risk for prostate cancer. At least 60% more common and 2 – 3 times more deadly among black men than non-Hispanic white men. So, African American men are even at an increased risk for prostate cancer. A diet high in red meat or high in unhealthy fat products like saturated fats, trans fats, or hydrogenated fats…basically anything that can live in a box or a bag and sit on a shelf for the next five years and not go rancid has either trans fats or hydrogenated fats in it, and you don’t want to eat that stuff. It’s poison, and it’s carcinogenic. Obesity, again, puts someone at an increased risk for prostate cancer. Also, exposure to Agent Orange.

Now, colorectal cancer a collective term that includes both colon cancer and rectal cancer…meaning the colon is the final part of your intestines and then the rectum is the final part of the colon where the last bag, if you will, before poop exits the body. The American Cancer Society recommends colorectal cancer screening beginning at age 45 for men.

Risk factors for colorectal cancer include, again, age. Most cases occur after age 50. Anyone with a family history should be screened earlier than 50. Already having cancer of any kind increases the risk of having it again. If it was in the colon or even if it was in another organ. Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, drinking more than two alcoholic drinks per day, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and a high fat diet with fat coming mostly from meat, which has a lot of saturated fat, or packaged foods/processed foods that have a lot of trans fats or hydrogenated fats.

Thankfully colorectal cancer is usually preventable with screening which should start at age 45. Now options for screening for a long time were primarily invasive in the essence of the colonoscopy. You’ve got to do the whole clean out the day before. You’ve got to go into the hospital. They sedate you somewhat, and they got to put the camera up the butt and up the rectum and up the colon to be able to look at your intestines and your colon. But now, there are stool-based tests that can be done that are not invasive at all. There’s something called the Cologuard® test, and if you ask your primary care doctor about it, they may be able to prescribe that for you. You take a box home, and all you do is collect a sample of stool and fill out the test the way it says and mail it off in the mail. That’s all you have to do. So, it’s not as invasive.

Now, older men are twice as likely to develop melanoma as women of the same age. In fact, by age eighty, men are three times more likely than women in that age group to develop melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer there is. Men are also 2 – 3 times more likely to get non-melanoma skin cancers, such as basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers, than women are.

One reason behind the difference may be due to men knowing less about skin cancer and the fact that men are less likely to use sunscreen. Additionally, men actually have thicker skin with less fat beneath the skin, possibly making men’s skin more likely to be damaged by the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer; however, early detection is the key so, again, if you are someone with a lot of moles and different skin lesions that are different colors all over your body or on your face or your head, then you’re going to want to consider getting checked every year by a dermatologist or by your primary care provider.

Now, I have done a previous webinar on skin health and prevention of skin cancer, so be sure to go to my Discover Health Podcast to learn more from that presentation as well. We will post in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow a link to a video to help you with early detection of skin cancer lesions.

Now, if you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, all you’ve got to do is go to Facebook and go to our business page for Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. So, look it up: Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. Go to our Facebook main page, and then look on the page and there’s a place to just request to join our closed Discover Health Facebook Group. That’s where we will post these links tomorrow for you. It’s also a place you can ask questions. It’s also a place that our health coach, Health Coach Trish, does a weekly Coach’s Corner. It’s also a place where we post numerous things on a daily basis, and it’s a place you can ask questions or share ideas.

Now, the risk for hypertension or high blood pressure increases with age, but would you believe that one in three Americans have high blood pressure? In fact, over half of all Americans age sixty and older have it and over a lifetime the risk of developing high blood pressure becomes 90%. The risk in men increases with age. It begins to climb when men hit age forty-five. High blood pressure is especially dangerous because people can have it for years without knowing, which is why regular screening is so important.

Factors leading to high blood pressure include a high salt diet, a low potassium diet, too much alcohol, lack of physical activity, obesity, and family history. Now, the screening for high blood pressure is simple as high blood pressure is usually diagnosed using the familiar blood pressure test that involves a cuff that’s wrapped around the upper arm. Normal blood pressure is considered to be anything below 120 over 80. Remember, the upper number is called the systolic blood pressure, and the lower number is called the diastolic blood pressure. Optimal blood pressure is a systolic reading between 120 and 129, and a diastolic reading lower than 80. Hypertension is defined as blood pressure that is higher than 135 over 80.

So, how about cholesterol? Now, the one thing people don’t understand is cholesterol is needed in the body to perform vital functions such as all your hormones come from fat. So, we need cholesterol to produce hormones. We need it to produce vitamin D, and we need it to produce the bile acids that help you digest the fat that you eat. Also, your brain is 60% fat and needs fat to function optimally; however, as I’ve mentioned before, too much of certain types of fat such as saturated fat or other unhealthy fats like hydrogenated fats or trans fats are bad news.

Now, there are two types of cholesterol: low-density lipoprotein which is called LDL and high-density lipoprotein which is called HDL. LDL or low-density lipoprotein is responsible for blocking arteries through a buildup of fatty deposits called plaque. This plaque buildup can block blood flow to the heart muscle, reducing its oxygen supply leading to stroke or heart attack. Now, HDL is the good cholesterol and acts like a garbage truck by removing the bad cholesterol (LDL) from the blood taking it to the liver for removal from the body.

Now, risk factors for high cholesterol include a diet high in saturated fat, trans fats, and hydrogenated fats. Again, these fats are found particularly in meats, red meat in particular, and in processed foods that are high in carbohydrates. Another risk factor for high cholesterol includes being overweight or obese. Another one is lack of exercise.

Now, annual blood testing will screen for high cholesterol and should be started at age thirty-five for men. Also, if you have high cholesterol and you know it, the other thing that I’ve given a podcast on in the past is advanced lipid panels. The traditional lipid panel that most people have had is for people to start again at age thirty-five, but if you’re told you have high cholesterol you may want to consider finding a medical provider that’s familiar with an advanced lipid panel. The advanced lipid panel looks under the hood at more of the details of the engine and will give you more information about whether your high cholesterol is actually dangerous or not.

Now, do you know that men develop diabetes slightly more often than women do? In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14% of adult men in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes compared with 11% of women. General symptoms of pre-diabetes…most people that develop adult-onset diabetes, which is the most common, develop first pre-diabetes and then go on to be diagnosed with full diabetes. Again, this is why you want to get screened, so you don’t have to go fully on to Type 2 diabetes if you can avoid it. General symptoms of pre-diabetes include skin infections that won’t heal well, feeling excessively tired, poor dental health, having inflammation of your gums and things, inability to attain or sustain an erection is a concern for pre-diabetes actually, overactive bladder with increased urinary frequency, and blurred vision.

Men generally don’t seek attention until they have full-blown diabetes. This is a huge mistake. Early detection and lifestyle changes make it so much easier and quicker to reverse pre-diabetes, so you don’t have to go on to develop full-blown diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends all patients undergo diabetes screening at three-year intervals beginning at age forty-five, especially people who are overweight or obese. When multiple risk factors are present, screening should be done at an earlier age and more frequently than every three years. The way we test or screen for pre-diabetes or diabetes is by a fasting blood sugar test. That is the typical test. What that means is that you wouldn’t eat anything after midnight; you can have your dinner the night before, but you don’t have anything after midnight. The next morning the only thing you would drink is water and just go get your blood drawn, so that it’s done fasting.

Now, glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious condition that can lead to permanent blindness within a few years without being identified and without treatment. There are typically no early symptoms; however, only an eye doctor can diagnose and treat glaucoma before a long-term visual loss happens. This is why you should get a complete eye exam on a regular basis. Eye tests for glaucoma are based on age and personal risk factors. So, a man…or anyone for that matter…under forty years old should be tested every two to four years for glaucoma. If a man is forty to fifty-four years old it’s every one to three years, fifty-five to sixty-four years old it’s every one to two years, and if you’re over sixty-five depending on your risk factors it’s every six to twelve months.

Now, let’s talk about the almighty testosterone. Obviously, this is an important topic for all men. Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in men and plays various roles in the body. Levels of testosterone gradually drop in men as a natural part of aging. It’s natural as we age the decline may start in the thirties with a reduction of about 1% of testosterone a year. That’s normal. But one in every four men, folks, that’s 25% of men between the ages of thirty and seventy-nine experience low testosterone levels. That’s called testosterone deficiency. Testosterone deficiency in men is associated with several serious health problems. One is musculoskeletal problems including osteopenia which is bone loss and sarcopenia which is muscle mass loss. Obesity, unhealthy cholesterol levels, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. So, testosterone, if it’s low, puts you at risk for all these other conditions we’ve been talking about.

Now, screening for testosterone levels isn’t normal routine. You know, your primary care doc isn’t just going to do it automatically every year; however, if you experience any of the following symptoms or signs you may request a blood check to test your male hormone levels. It won’t just be a plain old testosterone test. I’ll go over that in just a minute, but the signs and symptoms you want to watch for that you might be low in testosterone are, number one: increased body fat and, of course, increased body fat that is not clearly caused by diet and lifestyle of the individual. If you know you are eating a high fat diet, you’re not exercising at all, and you have increased body fat that might be the cause of your low testosterone, not the low testosterone being a cause of the increased body fat. But if you’re working out and you’re dieting, and you have an increased level of body fat that you can’t seem to figure out why you’re not able to lose weight it may be because you have low testosterone. You may want to get it checked out.

Another sign or symptom would be decreased strength or muscle mass. Fragile bones…if you find yourself having multiple fractures, you know, breaking a rib or breaking bones easier than the average person that would be a concern. Decreasing body hair and swelling tenderness of the breast tissue is a sign of possibly low testosterone. Hot flashes, increased fatigue, effects on cholesterol metabolism…again your cholesterol is high and you can’t seem to figure out why, low sex drive, difficulty with erections or erectile dysfunction, anemia where your blood counts are low, and even depression could be because of low testosterone levels.

Now, if you are interested in testing the function of your testosterone because you’re concerned about any of the signs or symptoms I just listed, the panel you want to ask for should include the following blood tests: one a total testosterone, but a total testosterone, folks, doesn’t tell you how much active testosterone you have.

Testosterone gets bound to proteins, so total testosterone you do want to check, but you also want to check free testosterone. Free testosterone means the testosterone that’s floating around in your blood that’s not bound up to other to proteins and therefore not functioning.

The third test you want to ask for is called a sex hormone binding globulin. Sex hormone binding globulin is…if you read it out to yourself a few times…it’s a globulin, a protein, that binds your testosterone. It binds your sex hormone and therefore makes that testosterone non-functioning. The sex hormone binding globulin can be high in men for a number of reasons: lack of exercise and increased body fat, for example.

So, the blood tests for total testosterone, free testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin should be done in the morning, typically between 8 and 11 AM. The purpose of doing this in the morning, the importance of it, is because men have a circadian rhythm of testosterone production by the testicles. You want to make sure you get your tests done at the right time of day for the optimal level of your testosterone blood test to be accurate.

Now, testosterone and testosterone deficiency or issues is a big topic, and I understand that. I’ve decided while I’ve been putting this talk together for, you know, “Men’s Health 101,” to take it to another level and do a “Men’s Health 202” specifically on testosterone. I will put that talk together further as one of my podcasts, and I will do it specifically on testosterone therapy, a review of clinical applications. I’m researching for that, and I’ll put that talk together. Then I’ll record it, so watch for it as a future episode on my Discover Health Podcast. All of my webinars that I do get posted on my Discover Health Podcast, so watch for this “Men’s Health 101.” You could share it with friends, and then after this I will do another one, “Men’s Health 202” let’s call it, on specifically talking more about testosterone, testosterone deficiency, and testing for and the work up of and the treatment for testosterone deficiency.

Here’s a quick overview of screening tests for men and when they need them. Annual screenings for:

  • Prostate cancer starting at age 50
  • Colorectal cancer starting at age 45
  • Skin cancer
  • High blood pressure at any age
  • Cholesterol starting at age 35

Diabetes screening at three-year intervals beginning at age 45. And to review that list of glaucoma screening:

  • Under 40 years old screen every 2 – 4 years
  • 40 – 54 years old screen every 1 – 3 years
  • 55 – 64 years old screen every 1 – 2 years
  • Older than 65 years old screen every 6 – 12 months

Now, lifestyle factors such as smoking, poor diet, unhealthy weight, inactivity, overuse of alcohol, and stress are linked to increased risks of negative health consequences. It’s also important to be aware that severe motor vehicle accidents are much higher among men, so it’s important to drive safely, wear a seat belt, and follow the speed limit. Don’t drive while under the influence of substances or while feeling too sleepy.

Another thing that many men may not know is that suicide is a much bigger risk for men than it is for women. Suicide is another leading men’s health risk and is attributed to depression. Anyone feeling sad or worthless and at a loss of interest in normal activities should talk to a medical provider right away. If you know anyone that’s suffering with things like this, please help them and get them into medical care. You could save a life.

Many of the risk factors associated with negative health outcomes are manageable through lifestyle and behavioral changes. The rest of the talk I’m going to give now will be dedicated to discussing strategies to change poor habits in order to lower the risks of diseases that we’ve been talking about.

The CDC reports cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Smoking increases the risk for coronary heart disease by two to four times. It increases the risk for stroke by two to four times, and it increases the risk of men developing lung cancer by 25 times. In fact, smoking causes stroke and coronary heart disease, damages blood vessels, and can make them thicken and grow narrower, therefore causing high blood pressure and causes most cases of lung cancer plus other cancers almost anywhere in the body. The good news is that quitting smoking cuts cardiovascular risks greatly. In fact, in just two to five years after quitting smoking your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a non-smoker. Plus, if you quit smoking, your risk of cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder drop by half within five years. And ten years after you quit smoking your risk of lung cancer drops by half. If you’re struggling to quit then check out the handy resources to help you create your quit plan that again we will post for you tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group. Again, if you’re not already a member just go to Facebook, go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center page, and just request to become a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group. We will also post a free app that will help you quit smoking.

Now, health and wellness advocates all agree that diets emphasizing fresh whole ingredients and minimizing processed foods are superior for overall health and wellness. A few tips include limiting or avoiding animal products; focusing on including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds; and excluding refined foods like added sugar, white flour, and processed oils. One thing I would recommend you focus on is eating all the colors of the rainbow every day, and, of course, I don’t mean Skittles and M&M’s. Select vegetables and fruits that are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple like this slide is showing.

If you’re someone who doesn’t like vegetables, then please learn how to make smoothies. Smoothies are one of the best places to hide vegetables. Take a handful of mixed greens and put it in the blender and then throw on top of it some yogurt. Throw on top of it some peanut butter. Throw on top of it some frozen fruit. Pour in some almond milk or some coconut milk or some regular milk. Blend the heck out of it and drink it, and I promise you, you will not even taste the lettuce that you put in there. So, if you’re a guy who doesn’t like vegetables find a way to hide them in other things that you’re eating and ingesting.

So, let’s talk for a moment about body mass index, BMI, which is calculated from your height and your weight. You are considered underweight if your basal metabolic index, your BMI, is below 18.5, and that’s not healthy either guys! If your body mass index is below 18.5, you’re putting yourself also at risk for chronic health problems. Whereas a normal body mass index is anywhere from 18.5 to 24.9. Overweight is anything from 25 to 29.9, and obese is anything above 30.

Now, according to the CDC, men who are obese with a BMI greater than 30, are at a higher risk for heart attack, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, some types of cancers, depression, and many ailments. Don’t forget – increased body fat leads to increased estrogen and insulin in men because body fat puts out more estrogen and causes more insulin resistance and that causes a decrease in what? It causes a decrease in testosterone. So, if you want to stay vital into your older decades then be sure to eat right to maintain a healthy BMI. It’s important to manage weight for disease prevention, plus eating better and being physically active are the main keys to achieving a healthy basal metabolic index. We will post the link to what’s called a BMI calculator where you put in your height and your weight and it will automatically tell you what your BMI is. Tomorrow, again, in our Discover Health Facebook Group we will post a link to this BMI calculator so you can just figure it out for yourself.

Physical activity without a doubt, folks, is a key to health and longevity. The United States Department of Health and Human Services provides science-based guidelines to help children and adults in the United States improve their health through appropriate physical activity exercise. Recommendations state that adults, “should do at least 150 minutes…” folks, that’s two hours and thirty minutes a week, “of moderate intensity exercise or only 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes a week) of vigorous intensity aerobic activity,” like sprinting or running or let’s say a spin class or something or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. Folks, we’re talking less than three hours of exercise a week! Divide by seven, you know, seven days a week we’re not asking for that much. You’ve got to get out and do something.

Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least ten minutes, preferably it should be spread throughout the week. You know, to just be a weekend warrior is not going to really keep you in optimal health. You want to spread it out. For additional health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity over time and work up to 300 minutes or five hours a week of moderate intensity or if you’re doing vigorous high intensity, only 150 minutes a week of that.

Muscle strengthening activities, like weightlifting, that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week should also be incorporated for optimal health outcomes. Weight resistance training, folks, is going to be one of the best things to maintain your testosterone.

The majority of people are becoming tight and sore as we age due to being dehydrated and your connective tissues being too dry and tight and leading to osteoarthritis because your bones are not hydrated enough. The connective tissue is not hydrated enough. Everything’s too tight. You’re not getting enough blood flow, you’re not getting enough juices to the joints and so you’re degenerating.

In order to help you loosen and hydrate your joints and your connective tissues, we’ve created something to help. It’s called Discover Health Movement Membership. This is an all-online movement program that will help you meet your exercise requirements and will give you the tools to keep yourself moving and feeling young and mobile no matter what your age. To join up or to learn more go to our website and there will be a link to joining the program.

Drinking alcohol should be done in moderation. For men under 65 years old, no more than two drinks per day should be consumed, and men over 65 should limit daily intake to one alcoholic beverage a day. Did you know that alcohol intake has been linked to the to the risk of various types of cancer such as liver cancer and appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink in the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly?

Too much alcohol can also raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Alcohol also destroys a person’s sleep cycle, so if you have insomnia and you’re stressed, and the stress is leading you to drink more, and the stress and the drinking are leading you to not being able to sleep…do you see that that is a domino effect or the toilet bowl circling down the hole? These types of things are things that if you try and reverse and decrease alcohol so you can sleep better, exercise more, and move more to reduce your stress, life in general is going to be better and you’re going to avoid the chronic conditions that come from these behaviors.

Stress is a major contributor to many of the poor health outcomes we’ve discussed today. Stress is bad for the heart. It can lead to poor eating choices which can cause fat accumulation around the belly and eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. Stress is also linked to mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression. It’s important to include stress-reducing activities like breathing exercises and again physical activity into daily routines.

Now, again high vigorous, high testosterone building exercise in short spurts is great for you. It’s also great to reduce stress, but also, I want to point out that that type of exercise is also stressful for the body. Please be sure to think about the fact that you want to balance your high intensity vigorous exercise with also lower intensity exercise like a walk in the woods or something like our yoga or something like our self-myofascial release class or something like our movement for longevity class in our Discover Health Movement Membership program.

As I do with most and all of the monthly webinars I give, the resources that have been used in preparation for this class will be listed for you again where? In our Discover Health Facebook Group. And we do it the day after I do the presentation so that will be tomorrow. Again, if you are not already a member, be sure to go to Discover Health Functional Medicine Center page and just request to join our Discover Health Facebook Group, and tomorrow we will list numerous resources that I used to put this talk together.

Thank you so much for joining me today! I hope everyone has better understanding of men’s health and how to limit your risks. Living a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. Nobody’s perfect. I am by all means not perfect. No one is perfect, but just remember life is a journey and that the key to reducing risk is making better choices as best you can each and every day, and just take one step forward. One step. Make one choice to make a better decision today.

If anyone needs further support on your journey to living healthier please reach out to us at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. Our website address is There is an enormous amount of educational materials on our website and you can sign up also for a free…and I did just say, “free,” 30-minute introductory consultation with myself or our health coach as well right on the website, so be sure to go to and check it out.



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Keto 101

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Welcome, everyone, to this webinar on the ketogenic diet entitled, “Keto 101.” Let’s start right off and talk about what is the ketogenic diet.

Well, a keto or ketogenic diet is a very low carb diet which turns your body into a fat-burning machine. It has many proven benefits for weight loss, health, and performance. Ketones are actually small molecules that are produced in the liver and used as a fuel throughout the body.

On a ketogenic diet your entire body switches its fuel supply to run almost entirely on fat. Insulin levels, as a result, become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. It becomes easy to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is obviously great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also numerous other less obvious benefits, such as appetite suppression and an improved steady supply of energy.

Next, let’s look in greater detail at the benefits of eating a keto diet.

Now, the number one reason why people choose a ketogenic diet is to lose weight. By limiting carbohydrates and sugars, the body burns fat faster.

Actually, according to the Obesity Medicine Association, what makes the ketogenic diet a successful option for losing weight is that when the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates or sugar, it puts the body into a state of ketosis that allows the body to break down fat into ketones, and it is this energy consumption shift that produces weight loss.

Now, every month when I do these webinars there are a number of resources that it would be very difficult to share with you on the slides verbally. You wouldn’t be able to take it all down. What we do every month is we post on our Discover Health Facebook Group on Facebook, which is a closed Facebook group that we have. It’s ongoing; it’s a building community of people that are all trying to learn and optimize their health and empower themselves. We post a number of links and things.

One thing we will post tomorrow for example, is a video from Megyn Kelly TODAY that tells the story of an individual who lost 120 pounds on the ketogenic diet. It’s an amazing story, and you’re not going to want to miss that. Watch the video here:

If you are not already a member of our closed Discover Health Facebook Group, what you would want to do is just go on Facebook and go to the Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page (basic business page), but then look for the option to request to become a member of our Facebook Group. All you’ve got to do is ask! As long as we can confirm somebody’s not a computer, machine, or something and trying to hack us we let you in, obviously. You come on it and tomorrow, again, you will be able to get access to the video I just discussed as well as many other resources I’ll be talking about as I go through more of this talk tonight.

Let’s talk about this benefit of curbing the appetite. Another benefit of the diet is that a low-carb diet is more likely to curb hunger cravings that are often associated with dieting.

Do you remember Dr. Atkins? Dr. Robert Atkins of the Atkins Diet explains this best, “After a couple of days you will find you are in control of your appetite. That’s because once your body’s two-day supply of glycogen (stored sugar, stored glucose) diminishes and you make the switch to primarily burning fat.” When you burn fat, that’s called lipolysis. This suppresses your appetite.

So, lipolysis is the breakdown of fats and other lipids to release what are called fatty acids. To best understand lipolysis suppression, a health writer by the name of Steven Christensen explains that when your energy needs increase or your blood glucose level falls, the production of hormones that mobilize your energy stores begins to rise. These hormones, such as glucagon and adrenaline, stimulate the breakdown of fat. Again, that’s called lipolysis, which involves the breakdown of triglycerides stored in your fat tissue.

This all cuts back on cravings and is a definite plus when trying to lose those extra pounds.

Other benefits include, in addition to weight loss, a ketogenic diet reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. You see, when we consume carbohydrates, the body turns them into glucose or sugar, which in turn promotes higher insulin production because insulin is necessary to help the body utilize the glucose. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the metabolism of glucose by promoting the absorption of it from the blood into your liver, your fat cells, and your muscle cells.

By eliminating carbohydrates from our diets, the body no longer is able to store glucose, preventing the body from producing too much insulin. Thus, the blood sugar levels are maintained at optimal health levels. This can help reverse insulin resistance, which is the primary cause of Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes and also heart disease.

Despite the ketogenic diet being high fat, the diet has proven to reduce heart disease markers like high cholesterol and triglycerides while raising good cholesterol.

You see, the biggest thing that causes truly heart disease is not fat, it’s actually inflammation. When fat gets inflamed, it gets toxic and gets more dense, and the particles become smaller and inflamed and hot and dangerous. That’s when if they bang into the wall of your vessel they can cause a wound in the wall of your artery and therefore then that wound has to heal and the cells get inside the wall of the artery and develop a plaque. You see, it’s not just big fat globules of fat in your blood that really cause heart disease as much as it is how inflamed those particles are. Blood sugar is an inflammatory agent. If you want to really reduce your risk of heart disease, the number one thing you want to do is decrease your inflammation and your blood sugar levels.

The next benefit I want to make sure we talk about is the keto diet is also known to optimize brain function and health. The ketones which the liver derives from fatty acids are called (and there won’t be a quiz) hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. These ketones are taken up by cells and shuttled into the mitochondria and used as fuel. Ketones increase the number of mitochondria in your cells. Mitochondria are these little, tiny energy factories in your cells and particularly in your brain cells. Hydroxybutyrate has been shown to be even more efficient fuel for your brain cells than glucose for the brain because it produces more energy per unit of hydroxybutyrate than any unit of glucose does in the brain. Many neurological diseases share an underlying cause of deficient energy production. It is being shown in research studies all over the place that a ketogenic diet is helping improve brain function.

The next benefit is ketones also promote healthy detoxification. We are all exposed to an enormous amount of toxins in our environment. What you’ll see in this slide up right now is that with all the toxins we’re exposed to, they have to be broken down in our body in different phases of our detox system, phase one, phase two in order to make, for example, a fat-soluble toxin become water-soluble so that it can be eliminated in your bowel or through your urine through your bladder and your kidneys.

Ketones directly inhibit the production of free radicals. We’ve all heard of free radicals. They’re dangerous. They are formed during the detox pathways, the different phases, and they’re actually more dangerous than the original toxin in the first place. They cause what’s called oxidative stress and increased toxicity in your body. The ketones decrease free radicals by increasing the activity glutathione. Glutathione is a chemical produced typically through your liver, and it is the strongest antioxidant the body can produce. When you have enough glutathione, it binds to free radicals and rather than making them a charged dangerous particle, it neutralizes them.

Another thing that ketones do to help with inflammation and toxicity is ketones also increase polyunsaturated fatty acids or also called PUFAs. These include things like omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA which are known to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

With all those benefits in mind, let’s talk about what’s on the menu in a keto diet.

Now that we understand this and have gone over the benefits, let’s talk about this food list.

Per something called The Keto Summit online…and tomorrow we’re going to post some of this information, but let’s list off some of these foods for you. Keto acceptable foods include…and I’ll point out that you do see a lot of color in the diet. Color should always be one of the number one thing you want, and any diet should really come from a foundation in vegetables and plants.

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Berries
  • Peas and green beans
  • Greens
  • Meats
  • Organ meats
  • Healthy fats (ghee, coconut oil, and olive oil)
  • Limes and lemons
  • Nut butters and nut milks (almond, coconut, and cashew)
  • Bone broth (chicken, beef, or fish)
  • Gelatin
  • Vinegars
  • Shellfish and other seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Herbs and spices
  • Avocado
  • Olives
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Coconut
  • Eggs
  • Stevia
  • Mustards

These are all things that are acceptable on the keto diet. That’s quite a diversity of foods to be choosing from.

Now let’s talk about what do you have to ditch. Let’s talk about what you will be removing from your diet.

First of all, obviously we don’t want sugar. All sugars whether it be white sugar, fructose, corn syrup, honey, brown sugar, lactose, maple syrup, agave, and coconut sugar. These all have to go.

The other thing, folks, is that all grains whether that be wheat, white flour, rye, couscous, rice, wheat flour, oats, barley, corn meal, corn, rice flour, millet, bran, or buckwheat – that’s a long list, folks, of a lot of different grains out there. No matter what, all grains are turned into sugar or glucose, so you need to make sure that you’re not eating essentially any grains on the ketogenic diet.

Now, most fruits are also actually eliminated because, of course, fruits have a lot of glucose. Particularly things like canned fruit…canned fruit, folks, are in a solution. The fluid in canned fruit is a condensed sugar solution. Obviously, that’s going to be out. No canned fruits. Essentially apples, oranges, pears, peaches, pomegranate, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, bananas, cherries, mangoes, apricot, papaya, and figs would not be on the list. All the berries you want though are fine. Dried fruits are also not included in this at all. The thing about dried fruits, folks, is if you dry a fruit out then you have condensed the amount of sugar in that food product by thousands of times because you’ve taken all the water out and you’ve just condensed the sugar. Any time of dried fruit would also not be eaten.

The next thing off the list is all processed foods and beverages such as sodas, juices, and alcohol. Again, tomorrow we will post in our
Discover Health Facebook Group a link to this keto summit list of foods to include and to avoid. Again, if you have not joined our community on Facebook, please be sure to do so after this webinar. Again, all you do is go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and request to join our closed Discover Health Facebook Group. Everyone is welcome!

I’m just going to go through a minute the different meals of the day, not a long time but just a few comments about it. First of all, there are lots of options for breakfast, both savory and sweet. Whatever you are craving, there are plenty of healthy recipes for you. Some recipes we will post, again, tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group include things like Crustless Mini Quiche, Chard and Sausage Hash, and actually Maple Sausage Patties. As you can hear from those names and you’ll find out tomorrow, there’s a diversity of foods on the breakfast list.

Now, for a lot of us lunch happens on the go or is eaten without too much thought. With our busy lives, planning and preparing healthy lunches is actually, for many of us, a challenge. What you’ve got to realize is it’s extremely worth it to take the time to prepare for your day to maintain your energy levels throughout the day and not fall off course. Some of the recipes tomorrow that we’ll post on the Discover Health Facebook Group are things like Mini Pepper Nachos and Cauliflower Fritters. Again, you’ll notice so many people are out there now doing a keto diet and finding variety and finding ways to make it amazingly beneficial and full of variety and full of color and maintaining vegetables and plants within this diet to keep it as healthy as possible.

When it comes to dinner, dinner is a time to sit down with the family and discuss the events of the day over a delicious, nutritious meal. Planning and eating well is a great way to be present in the moment and to share something special with your family.

Some recipes that we’ll post for dinner options are Sausage Fried Rice and Keto Lasagna.

Finally, rest assured that dessert is still on the table. Thankfully, so many people have made the move to healthy eating resulting in countless healthy recipes out there that soothe that sweet tooth without all the added sugar. Some of the recipes we will actually post tomorrow…the names might be a little deceiving, but they do fit the keto diet. One is Mom’s Texas Brownies. Another one is Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies. And another one is No-Bake Cheesecake. By the names of those – wow! You’re not going to want to miss seeing those recipes.

And of course, snacks! It’s important when you are trying to change bad eating habits to always be prepared for those sneaky cravings. Without something at the ready for those mid-day or after exercise cravings, it is easy to fall off track for something packaged and quick.

Here are some snacks to have on hand for those cravings. Tomorrow, again, we’ll post some of these recipes: Vanilla Pumpkin Seed Clusters, Soy Sauce Marinated Deviled Eggs, and Spicy Sausage Cheese Dip.

Now let’s go into a discussion of debunking some myths. You see, as with any diet, there are always naysayers or just sometimes honest questions that arise. Let’s take a look at a few of the myths out there surrounding the ketogenic lifestyle.

First of all, myth number one: the brain needs glucose to maintain healthy function. A ketogenic diet does not provide glucose. The truth is that ketones may burn more efficiently with less waste as we discussed earlier with the benefits of this diet. Once the body has become fully keto-adapted, the brain actually gets up to 75% of its energy needs from ketones. The remaining 25% glucose needed by the brain can be obtained by processing other things than sugar such as dietary proteins, some less sugar-filled carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not necessary to this overall process.

Myth number two: a ketogenic diet is not nutritionally sufficient for proper vitamin absorption resulting in dangerous vitamin deficiencies. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is in practice you probably consume more vitamins and minerals on a ketogenic diet than you ever have on the Standard American Diet. Remember the acronym for the Standard American Diet is SAD. As long as you are eating whole foods, such as natural fats, meats, leafy green vegetables, and not packaged low-carb junk food you are absolutely going to get more vitamins and minerals and have a healthier diet.

I’d like to share with you that Dr. Terry Wahls, a medical doctor that lives with multiple sclerosis, a very horrible degenerative brain and neurological disease, at one time in her life a number of years ago when she developed the disease and was doing all the traditional medicines and everything, she continually got worse and worse to the point that she was living her life not only in a wheelchair but in a zero-gravity chair due to her disease. She couldn’t even sit up straight in a regular wheelchair; she had to be in a chair that leaned back because she couldn’t even hold herself up sitting upright.

She learned of functional medicine, started researching and learning and understanding and implementing. She got on a ketogenic diet. Her ketogenic diet she calls…she has three diets in her book that she calls The Wahls Protocol®. The first one is called the Wahls Diet. The next one is called the Wahls Paleo Diet. The third diet that she lives her life on is called the Wahls Paleo Plus, which is essentially a ketogenic diet. With following these lifestyle changes and following the diet she lives by, she not only got out of her wheelchair, she walks again and not only that, she rides a bike as well as a horse!

In her book, The Wahls Protocol®, again she calls her ketogenic diet the Wahls Paleo Plus diet. On the slide I have up right now for people on the webinar, you are seeing numerous listed nutrients (vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate/vitamin B9, zinc, thiamin/vitamin B1, vitamin C, niacin, iron, riboflavin/vitamin B2, and cobalamin/vitamin B12). The next column next to that you’re seeing the percentage that people usually get of each of those vitamins and minerals from the Standard American Diet. The last column you’re seeing the amount of percentage that a person on the Wahls Paleo Plus and that she’s getting on a regular basis from her ketogenic diet.

Let’s, for example, give you cobalamin (which is vitamin B12), which is extremely important for the nervous system and the brain. The Standard American Diet gives the average person about 201% of vitamin B12, but her ketogenic diet gives someone as much as 525%. It’s more than twice as much B12 in the ketogenic diet as it is in the Standard American Diet.

Let’s look at another one, vitamin D. Vitamin D is like a hormone. It is extremely important to our overall health and also into blood sugar control. The Standard American Diet gives the average person about 31% of the needed amount of vitamin D a day. The Wahls Paleo Plus or a ketogenic diet gives someone 59%. Again, more than double on a ketogenic diet than you’re going to get on the US typical diet.

Let’s look at one more. Let’s look at vitamin C. Vitamin C is an amazing vitamin that helps keep us healthy, decreases free radicals, and is an antioxidant. On the typical US diet, the average person is going to get 133% of the needed amount of vitamin C which is a lot. On a ketogenic diet and Dr. Wahls’ Paleo Plus Diet, she’s getting as much as 393% of the amount of vitamin C, which is going to help her with her chronic disease condition stay healthy. It’s triple what you’re going to get on the typical American diet.

The myth that we’re not getting enough vitamins and minerals on the ketogenic diet is just not correct.

Myth number three: a ketogenic diet raises cholesterol which could increase the risk of heart disease. Now, another health writer by the name of Ellen Davis who is the author of Ketogenic Diet Resource writes, “This, I think is the biggest myth associated with low carb, ketogenic diets. It’s actually based on the lie that saturated fat and cholesterol cause arteriosclerosis and heart disease. There has never been any scientific study published or unpublished which links cholesterol and saturated fat to heart disease.”

What truly causes the plaques to build up in your arteries and then become unstable and break off and go downstream causing heart attacks and strokes, folks, is inflammation. One of the most inflammatory chemicals to our body, joints, and nervous system is glucose. Now, of course, the best fats come from things like nuts, nut butters, seeds, avocados, clean oils, salmon, and lean meats. So, of course, as we’ve already emphasized and will continue to emphasize, focus your attention on good, healthy fats.

Now, let’s talk about side effects because you must understand that when you are making the switch from the Standard American Diet (SAD) or even a more healthy rainbow diet, a Mediterranean Diet, let’s say, and you’re shifting your body from burning glucose as a fuel to a low-carb diet (like the ketogenic diet) the body will need a little time to adjust to your new eating habits and to transition from using one type of fuel to another. Using glucose as fuel to using ketones as fuel.

Because the Standard American Diet is higher in carbohydrates, the body is going to need to prepare itself to live on a ketogenic diet, or a diet without carbohydrates. The adjustment period is known as what’s called the keto-flu, and it will typically last for a week or two, anywhere from seven to fourteen days. Some of the symptoms or side effects you can expect are not fun, I will be the first one to tell you. You’re going to hit bumps in the road, and it’s not going to feel good for a few days. You’re going to feel tired and fatigued. You’re going to feel washed out. You’re going to have some sugar cravings for the first few days. You may feel dizzy. You may have increased brain fog at first but realize that the other side of the hump here is that you’re going to have improved brain fog. You may feel a bit nauseous. You may, at first, have increased difficulty getting to sleep. You may be a bit irritable, and your stomach may be a bit topsy-turvy.

Again, luckily there are some things you can do to lessen your discomfort. Please remember that these discomforts and these problems do not last long, a few days to as much as, depending on how toxic you are to begin with, a week.

How are you going to survive that first week and what are some things you can do to combat the keto-flu?

Number one the first one is if you’re hungry, add more ketone-type foods. Add more fats, again, healthy fats. This will give your body the added energy it needs while making the conversion from using glucose to using ketones for fuel. The last thing you want to do is grab crackers or other carbohydrates or grains. Make sure you are eating healthy fats.

Number two, again, same concept. Add more calories. Remember that you are coming off a high carb diet, so you will need some added calories as you transition to leaner foods, especially if you are an active person.

Number three here, you’re going to want to add more salts to your diet at first. You see, your insulin levels will drop on the ketogenic diet, and in doing so, your body will not retain excess water. You’re going to be peeing more and you’re going to be losing more water and therefore also losing sodium. You want to take in more salts in order to keep yourself hydrated.

Of course, just along with this, number four is you’re going to want to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Due to water loss of changing from glucose to ketones, you may experience headaches, fatigue, and nausea the first few days due to dehydration. Obviously in order to combat that, make sure you are drinking plenty of clean, healthy water to ease these side effects.

Now, another good way to get many of the nutrients needed whenever you’re on the ketogenic diet, but particularly in that first week, is to drink a nice warm bone broth which provides fat, calories, salt, and plenty of water to your diet to help carry you through that first week.

One of the best things to heal someone’s gut and to optimize your health and especially during the first week and forever through a ketogenic diet is, again, to know how to make a wonderful bone broth. One of the best ways I recommend doing it is if someone bakes a chicken, for example, a grass-fed organically raised chicken and you eat it for dinner, let’s say tonight. Then, let’s say, tomorrow you cut off a bunch of the excess meat that you’re going to use in a chicken stew or something or you’re going to keep it for a chicken soup. Then take the carcass of the chicken and instead of throwing it in the garbage, put it in your crockpot. Fill that crockpot with water and add a little salt. You can even add some greens if you want and carrots and leave them in there just to be part of the broth. Then you’re going to simmer it either all day or overnight. I’ve done it overnight on a regular basis. The next morning you’re going to use a slotted spoon with the holes in it to be able to get all the bones out. All the bones are going to be falling apart now because they’ve been simmering all night. All the vitamins and the minerals and the nutrients and the glucosamine and the chondroitin for your joints are going to be coming out of those bones and those joints of the chicken. You now have a crockpot full of wonder bone broth. You want to drink about a teacup size once or twice a day, especially during that first week of the keto diet.

Again, tomorrow another recourse we’ll post for you on the Discover Health Facebook Group is a link to a recipe for bone broth.

Now, folks, you’re doing all these dietary changes and you’re going through what they call the keto-flu and everything and you’re doing all this but how do I know I’m being successful that I’m actually or you are actually in ketosis?

When ketones build up in the blood they spill over into your urine, meaning they’re in your blood, your blood goes through your kidneys, and the ketones are going to be removed from your body by spilling into your urine. One way to test for whether you’re in ketosis is to see if you’re finding ketones in your urine.

Another way to test is that one of the ketones called acetone gets expelled from the body through the lungs. You breathe it off. This gives off from the breath a fruity odor.

To know if you are in what’s called nutritional ketosis which is defined as a blood ketone level ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 millimoles per liter which is a specific measurement of how to measure ketones, there are three methods to measure ketone levels.

The first one and actually the most accurate is blood testing with a device similar to what diabetics use to test their sugar levels. You buy a device, and you buy these little prick things, and you prick your finger. You use a test strip and a handheld ketone monitor and the device to read the results. This is, as I said, the most accurate measurement available. The device and the test strips, because there are a lot of parts to this, can be pretty expensive compared to the other methods of testing for ketones.

There are two primary ketone monitoring devices for blood. One is called Precision Xtra® and the other one is called Keto-Mojo. Again, that’s Precision Xtra® or Keto-Mojo if you’re out there taking notes on this.

The second way is urine testing. Urine testing is much more inexpensive and widely available than the first avenue I just discussed, but it is less accurate than blood testing. It is the best to know when you have shifted to true ketosis as it shows the ketones spilling into your urine. Buying urine strips, all you do is buy urine strips at a pharmacy and they’re pretty widely available. Go to the pharmacy and just ask, “do you have ketone strips for urine?” You can obviously pee in a cup and then put the strip into the urine and see if it’s showing that you are urinating out ketones. If you are then you’re in ketosis.

The final, third, way to test is the breath testing with a breath ketone meter. This is relatively new to the market and less accurate also than the blood testing. What it’s measuring again is acetone in the breath, and it requires a handheld device but not any test strips. Once you purchase the device you do not have to buy any other supplies. The device that’s out there is called Ketonix.

One thing of note that I want to make sure I comment on is that the fat burning state of ketosis is extremely difficult to maintain twenty-four hours a day, day in and day out for a long period of time. It is actually helpful to have a method of testing to know when you are in true ketosis or not in true ketosis. Also, realize that it is typical and actually more optimal for your health to be in and out of nutritional ketosis. Your body in one way…and I’ll give you an analogy in the idea that you don’t always want to eat the same amount of calories every single day of your life because then your metabolism knows what you’re going to do. It becomes familiar with that and it’s not going to lose weight. You’re just going to stay the same as what you are because you’re always eating the same thing and the same amount of calories. The same thing for ketosis or other metabolic avenues.

I recommend people, from a calorie perspective, have a low-calorie day followed by a high-calorie day followed by, let’s say, a medium calorie day. That’s going to cause your metabolism to always be a little off balance and not stay always the same. The same thing with ketosis is that you may be in ketosis and on a very strict ketonic diet for one or two days and then maybe add a few other carbohydrates the next day or not as strict for a day or two and then maybe back into ketosis. Don’t get so neurotic around trying to stay in ketosis 24/7. It’s very difficult to do, and it’s not the most optimal way to do this. You will actually learn to know by how you feel whether you are truly in ketosis or not. Then testing will confirm it for you over time.

If you’re going to engage in the keto diet or any other type of optimal health diet for you, if you’re doing your detective work and research for yourself trying to find out what works best for you but you’re working on it, please don’t forget to check in along your journey to celebrate your successes.

What you are embarking on is not easy, and there will be many struggles along the way, so make sure you create a fun way to acknowledge your hard work by doing something special. You decide how often you want to check in and schedule this, so that those days never get missed, and so they are something you look forward to each week or each month.

Another thing I want to emphasize is with all we have talked about tonight, the biggest thing I want everyone to remember is that any and all diets should have their foundation in a rainbow of color. Whole, real foods of vegetables and some fruits full of phytonutrients along with good healthy fats and grass-fed consciously raised and processed animal protein.

Now, we’ve covered a lot here tonight, and you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed, but you’ve got this! You came for a reason – to make more informed, better decisions on the food you eat for your health and wellbeing. You are on your way to making a difference in your life, and our hope at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center is that the tools provided today are just what you need to get started!

Also, I want to take a moment here at the end of the talk to make sure I emphasize some of our events that are upcoming at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, because we are always expanding and doing more for people and trying to find the right way to present these types of learning programs and events and information. We are doing everything we can to help empower you to take control of your health and realize that you can reach optimal health if you’re willing to walk the walk, talk the talk, and become a part of our community.

To end the night, I want to make sure that you know that all of the different resources that I’ve used to present this talk tonight and put it together will be put, again, tomorrow on our Discover Health closed Facebook Group for you if you would like to follow those links to the different resources and do further reading and further education for yourself.

Finally, thank you so much for attending our event tonight. It means a lot to be able to share our lessons with people who are ready to make a difference. Now it is time to implement some of the things we’ve discussed. Please remember to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We are here to help you! Our website is and our phone number is 603-447-3112.

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Understanding Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth (SIBO)

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Hello, everyone! I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Today I’d like to talk with you about SIBO. What the heck is SIBO? Well, it stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

Now, here’s an image of your GI tract. You know, you’re looking at a diagram of somebody’s abdomen. First of all, there are numerous organs in our abdomen. As you see in this person’s image, the walls of their body on the sides and their arms hanging down. But then you see up here in the top right their liver. But you also coming down through that area through the chest even and into the stomach is the esophagus.

So, when you eat something and you put it in your mouth and you chew it and you swallow it, it goes into your esophagus and then that travels down to get to your stomach. The stomach is where a lot of digestion starts to happen especially proteins get broken down by a very acidic environment. Your stomach is actually supposed to have a pH of 1.8. If you’re familiar with the pH scale that’s extremely acidic. Then from your stomach, food that’s been being broken down all along the way goes into the small intestines here. If you’re able to follow my cursor I’m kind of moving it and showing you that it goes into the small intestine, the upper small intestines.

Then you see that the small intestines are this worm-like squiggly tube that’s all bound up and twisted up in your abdomen. There’s like a tennis court surface area to your intestines. I mean it’s really long, but it’s all curled up and squished up in our abdomen. The food keeps moving through the small intestines, and it’s in the small intestines where we absorb nutrients. Once the food is broken down into its elementary units of proteins all the way down to amino acids and also carbohydrates down to the elemental sugars and of course fats down to the elemental lipids that get absorbed through the wall of the small intestine. So, the main job of the small intestine is for breakdown of foods, digestion, and absorption.

But then you come to the large intestine and the large intestine starts over here on the right side of your abdomen, comes up, and has this transverse colon that comes across the abdomen, and then down the left side of our large intestine or our abdomen to the rectum, which is the poop bag, if you will, and then out through the anus which would be the poop chute.

Now again, what is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth? Well, the majority of our microbiome that lives in our gut is supposed to be in our large intestine, meaning this big colon and predominantly even more in the left side of the colon. But the microbiome is going to be all throughout the colon, which is the large intestine. The bacteria are not supposed to be predominantly living, maybe some but way less. Like if there’s billions of bacteria, in your large intestine, colon, there should only be small amounts in especially your upper small intestine, meaning up near the stomach and the pancreas, for example. The pancreas isn’t even shown in this diagram and that’s an organ that puts out the digestive enzymes. It’s up over the stomach, so that’s probably maybe why they took it out of this diagram so you could see the stomach.

But that’s the concept is that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is that bacteria from your microbiome that are supposed to be living in the environment of your large intestine have migrated up through all these little tubes too high up in the small intestine into an environment where they are not supposed to be living. If they then start digesting food for us up in our small intestine too high up, then we’re going to get the symptoms of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth.

So, let’s talk about what those are. The symptoms of SIBO can be quite a few different types of symptoms but, of course, all affecting the bowel and the in the gut. You could feel bloated or distended like you’re all distended and bloated and you may not be very hungry because you’re constantly feeling full even though you haven’t eaten in a while. You could have abdominal pain and cramping. You could have a lot of flatulence or gas. You can also have that gas going out the bottom end, but you could also have the gas coming out the upper end with belching and indigestion. You can have either diarrhea or constipation with SIBO. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have all of these symptoms either. You can have a collection of these symptoms.

The other thing that’s concerning or confusing about these symptoms is that other gastrointestinal disorders can present with the same symptoms. Somebody can have, of course, the most common irritable bowel syndrome with these types of symptoms, and someone could have inflammation of their bowel too, inflammatory bowel disease. Now, most people with definitive inflammatory bowel disease are going to also be having more pain maybe and also possibly passing blood with their stool especially if they’re in an exacerbation of inflammatory bowel disease. The bottom line is SIBO is not easy to diagnose or easy to definitively determine whether you have this versus another gastrointestinal problem because the symptoms overlap so much from one diagnosis to the next.

Now, what is the prevalence of SIBO? Well, it’s tough to determine a definitive prevalence because this is not an easy diagnosis in the first place, and it’s not the easiest thing to diagnose either. The prevalence appears to be more prevalent in women and also in older people.

Now, what are the possible causes of SIBO, and what are the predisposing conditions? There’s a long list. Let’s first look at the list on the left here. The first list I’m going to talk about are obviously things all related to the gastrointestinal system. Things like if you’ve had surgery that has removed or changed the structure of your gastrointestinal tube, your system, such as a gastric bypass or if you’ve had a colectomy, which means your large intestine has been completely removed or at least a portion of it has been removed. Then you’ll notice if your large intestine doesn’t exist then the bacteria have to live somewhere, so they’re going to be living in your small intestine so that’s a structural change due to surgery that has caused SIBO.

Another issue is medications. A very common one that’s out there, that people with chronic pain are on, would be opioids. People know that when you’re on opioids it gives you constipation and stops the motility of the food from moving through your gut properly and then being expelled and gotten rid of through the poop shoot. Opioids will cause dysmotility and slow down the movement of things through our gastrointestinal system which will allow bacteria to start migrating up through where they don’t belong.

You see, our intestines the small intestines and the large intestines should constantly have something called peristalsis or basically our nervous system is constantly giving messages to our bowels to be moving and squeezing and squishing, not squishing hard all the time, but the walls of the intestines should always, and there’s villi in there too, that should always be active and moving things downward through to the large bowel. If that isn’t happening, then that would be dysmotility or the motility is not happening properly or functioning and therefore bacteria could be migrating up in the wrong direction to live in the wrong places.

Another prescription medicine that gets people into a problem are called proton pump inhibitors. The Nexiums, you know the purple pill, and the omeprazole of the world. People with heartburn that are put on proton pump inhibitors for long, long periods of time…you’re blocking your stomach acid, and if you recall I said a little while ago that the pH of your stomach is supposed to be extremely acidic. A pH of 1.8. On the pH scale neutral is seven and everything below seven is more and more acidic, and your stomach is supposed to be 1.8. That’s an amazingly acidic environment. Then of course just south of the stomach and where the pancreatic enzymes come in are also going to be more acidic. Again, not an environment that is conducive to bacteria living there. If you’re on proton pump inhibitors for years on end and you’re not digesting food as properly as you should, then the environment in your upper intestine has become less acidic and more conducive to bacteria migrating up into that area and living and causing problems because they don’t belong there.

Pancreatitis could also put you at risk and also inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis could be a predisposing condition for someone developing SIBO or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. So, that’s the different things that would put you at… predisposing conditions or possible causes of SIBO that are related to your gut.

But look. There’s a whole other list, folks, of conditions that could be predisposing or possible causes of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. The list includes rosacea. Rosacea, as you know, is an issue that usually is a skin issue on the face and a vascular issue on the face. One of the causes of rosacea can be hypochlorhydria. Hypochlorhydria means low stomach acid, so again you’ll notice these things do go hand in hand. Restless leg syndrome, diabetes, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s disease, and coronary artery disease. If people have numerous of these or one of these conditions, they could be connected to them also developing SIBO. You’ll notice they do have to do with metabolic conditions, hormonal conditions, as well as nervous system conditions that would all affect that peristalsis, we talked about, and would also affect the function of again nervous system and hormonal system that would affect the motility within the gut.

Now, how do you diagnose SIBO? Well, there are two predominant ways to diagnose SIBO. The first one is considered the gold standard. That is this a small bowel culture, meaning you’re going to have to have an upper endoscopy where they put a tube down your throat through the esophagus down into the stomach and into the small bowel. Then they’re going to have to put some other tube down through that that’s a collection device to try and suck up some of the material in your upper small bowel to get the fluid and then be able to culture it and see what bacteria are living there. As you can see from my description this is, first of all, a very invasive test. You’re going to have to be knocked out for it, you know, for them to do an upper endoscopy. It’s got high cost. You have to go to a specialist to have it done, and it is fraught with contamination, meaning again they’ve got to get the tube down through your esophagus all the way into your small bowel. Then they’ve got to be able to run a collection device down through that and not get contaminated by the stomach fluids or other areas and just get a culture from the area they’re looking for. You can see, it’s fraught with possible contamination, but it is considered the gold standard test to diagnose SIBO. Get an actual sample of material from the area you’re trying to find out who lives there. That would be the gold standard.

The more common tests that you see people doing and even gastroenterologists doing is called a SIBO breath test. Now, the reason for a breath test is…why are we checking our breath it comes from our lungs? Well, what you do for this test is you would drink some sugar, some lactulose or some glucose, and then what happens is it’s going to move obviously down your esophagus to your stomach down into your small intestines and then transmit the carbohydrate, the glucose or the lactulose, is going to travel. There’s transit time down through your GI tract. Eventually it’s going to be ingested by your gastrointestinal microbes, the bacteria living in your gut. Typically, the microbes should be in your large intestine and when they, the microbes, break down or metabolize the carbohydrate, the glucose or lactulose, they give off hydrogen or methane gas. Once they’ve taken in the carbohydrate and eaten it, ingested it, they give off this these two types of gases. Then these gases get absorbed into our bloodstream, and then they pass in the bloodstream to our lungs and then of course we breathe out either the hydrogen or the methane gas or both. So, you’ll notice that’s how we then could connect our gut to breathing out these gases.

The key to diagnosing SIBO is how long is the typical time for us to ingest glucose or lactulose, let it run through our gut, meaning esophagus to stomach to small intestine to down into the colon and then have the time for the amount of gases to get to our lung to breathe it out. You can time it in a normal person that doesn’t have any SIBO. It would take longer for a normal person that doesn’t have SIBO, doesn’t have bacteria in their upper small intestine. It would take longer for this process to unfold. If someone has SIBO, then that glucose or lactulose is already going to start getting metabolized by bacteria in their upper intestine much sooner than normal, and therefore they’re going to start breathing off these gases, such as hydrogen or methane, much sooner than “normal.” So, if someone does the SIBO breath test and they breathe off hydrogen at greater than 20 parts per million within 90 minutes of doing this test… and you would breathe into something every half hour or so every 20 minutes or so over a two to two and a half hour time period, and they measure the level coming out of the breath at every measurement. Then you can track it. For methane, it’s greater than or equal to 10 parts per million within two hours, so that’s a little longer. Methane, if that’s positive in someone, that’s more consistent with someone with SIBO and constipation than the hydrogen is. So, these are the two diagnoses options for SIBO: small bowel culture or the SIBO breath test.

Now, let’s say you’ve been diagnosed with SIBO and you need to treat it. What are the treatment options? Well first of all in the traditional gastroenterology world many times people are prescribed an antibiotic and that’s about it. They might be told to do a low FODMAP diet which is a common diet that they’re told to implement, and they’re given a handout and you’re sent on your way. The antibiotic that is most commonly used is called rifaximin. The typical dose does range with different physicians but basically what I’ve read in studies is 1200 milligrams per day for about seven days. You can also play with the length of time; it could be more like ten days or fourteen days, but the idea is rifaximin 1200 milligrams a day for seven days. Now, rifaximin is typically the number one antibiotic used because when you take rifaximin it does not get absorbed into the body beyond staying in the tube of the GI tract. It just stays in the tube of the GI tract and kills the bacteria within that tract, not only the ones up in the upper intestine but also all over the place in the intestine and in the colon. The point is, you’re going to eradicate the bugs living in the wrong environment.

Now, rifaximin is not the only antibiotic that can be used, but again remember I said it’s unique in that it only affects the GI tract tube. It doesn’t get absorbed into your bloodstream, and it’s not systemic whereas other antibiotics like ciprofloxacin or metronidazole, which also could be commonly considered to be used for SIBO, are going to get absorbed into your full body into your full system. So, rifaximin is more commonly used.

The other thing you have to remember though about SIBO is that many times it is not resolved within one treatment with antibiotics. Many times, you have to repeat it because it comes back or the or the one course of antibiotics is not successful.

Now, another avenue that someone could go in order to get rid of the wrong bugs and where they’re living is called antimicrobial herbs. Instead of a prescription antibiotic, you could do a trial of numerous different…and I usually cycle them, meaning that for example grapefruit seed extract or oregano oil or caprylic acid. Caprylic acid comes from coconut and coconut is an antimicrobial type of chemical. I tend to ask someone to take a bottle, let’s say, of grapefruit seed extract a certain number of times a day for the entire bottle, let’s say a month. Then they could overlap the last week or so and start taking the next antimicrobial herb, let’s say oregano oil. Once the grapefruit seed extract is done and they continue the oregano oil and then towards the end, like a week or ten days before they finish the bottle of oregano oil, you could overlap the caprylic acid. Then continue the caprylic acid for another month. So, you notice you’re hitting the bugs with one antimicrobial herb and then another antimicrobial herb and then another antimicrobial herb. And there are other antimicrobial herbs that could be considered as well. You could keep doing this. This is another option for killing the bugs that don’t belong in certain areas, but do remember that it is going to have an effect on bugs not just in the upper small intestine but all through the colon as well.

Another portion of the treatment or another part of the treatment, you notice a multi-faceted approach to treating SIBO, is probiotics. Actually in 2017 there was a meta-analysis study done or review of eighteen different studies all on SIBO and using probiotics. The majority of them in this meta-analysis of all of these eighteen studies show that there was positive beneficial effect of taking probiotics in order to clear the negative bacteria or the bacteria from the upper intestines and help heal SIBO. Probiotics are a beneficial treatment modality also as part of the protocol for SIBO.

Now, we also can’t talk about any gastrointestinal disease or condition without talking about diet because, folks, whatever you feed your microbiome, whatever you feed your gut, whatever you feed yourself is going to determine your health. You can’t talk about really any disease process and particularly a gastrointestinal disease process without talking about diet.

Now, the most common diet that gastroenterologists, again I mentioned before, suggest people do when they if they are diagnosed with SIBO and also with irritable bowel syndrome which is very common symptoms to SIBO is low FODMAP diet. FODMAP is an acronym for fermenting oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are all different kinds of saccharides, which are sugars, and they get fermented by bugs just like lactulose or glucose do, which are sugars and carbohydrates. If you lower your intake of these different types of sugars that will get fermented by bugs, then you would feed the bugs less food and therefore have less symptoms. So, you notice that could be very effective in decreasing symptoms and helping the bacteria move back where they belong.

Another diet that would be very important for people to consider would be to do a comprehensive elimination diet. This is a foundational functional medicine step because so many of us have food allergies or food sensitivities. Those two words mean different things, but food sensitivities are extremely common, but you may not know it. Meaning if you eat gluten every day and you just feel lousy every day, you really don’t know that the gluten is the trouble that’s causing the problem. You could be sensitive to more than one food. You could be sensitive to dairy. For example, myself. I am personally sensitive to dairy. I am sensitive to gluten. I am sensitive to caffeine, and I am sensitive to high FODMAP foods. That’s a lot of stuff, folks, but I live a wonderfully beneficial life and I find substitutes and I live as long as I follow the diet and the dietary restrictions for me. I’ve found substitutes that I can eat and be very fulfilled with my diet, but not have to live in pain and with bloating and all these symptoms we’ve been talking about.

To do a comprehensive elimination diet is imperative for someone to identify your food sensitivities. Now, I have an entire program on this called the Detox Plus Program on my website If you go there and you go to the shop, I have the Detox Plus Program which is a is a guidebook and it has five videos. It’ll teach you exactly what to do and how to do it in order to implement a comprehensive elimination diet.

Now, the last diet I want to talk about specific in relation to SIBO is called an elemental diet. The elemental diet is specific to someone that knows they have SIBO because what you’re going to do is you’re going to only sort of drink these pre-digested micro-nutrient foods that get absorbed. Meaning you’re sort of drinking this…it’s not very tasty, it’s pretty boring, and it’s a liquid I believe. It’s going to get absorbed in the proximal small bowel. For two weeks minimum, fourteen days minimum, and if you’re feeling somewhat better but not all the way better, you would go for a third week. You might be on this for twenty-one days. The elemental diet is the fact that you are drinking something that has only my already pre-digested micronutrients in it that are going to get immediately absorbed in your upper small intestines. You notice it’s not going to go all the way…the food that you ingest to give you nutrients is not going to go down into your lower small intestine and not going to get to your colon at all and therefore the bacteria are going to start dying because they’re starving. So, you’re basically starving your microbiome of food for anywhere for fourteen to twenty-one days. The ones that are in the upper intestines where they don’t belong are going to die off and they’re going to move back down into the large intestine. Again, an elemental diet is not easy. It’s not for the faint of heart, and a lot of people can’t handle it for very long, but it is a gold standard diet for SIBO.

The last thing I’ll talk about in treatment for SIBO are pro-kinetics, meaning remember I said that the walls of our intestines and the villi and then down into the large intestine are constantly moving things through. The nervous system should be constantly on-board moving things downward through our GI tract into the colon and then to be able to be eliminated? If something has caused your nervous system to not be functioning optimally and peristalsis and this motion and motility of the gut is not functioning optimally, then the bacteria is going to migrate up into the small intestines.

You can take things that would help with the movement and the motility, and these are called prokinetics. Now, there are some prescriptions that can be taken such as low dose erythromycin, which actually is an antibiotic. You can take a low dose of erythromycin which causes motility increase. You also could take low dose naltrexone, which is also a mild prokinetic. Again, you need a physician or a medical provider to prescribe these things.

Natural options for increasing motility with prokinetics would be ginger. Ginger has always been known to optimize gut health and decrease nausea. Herbal bitters like dandelion root or dandelion leaf or other things that are considered in the bitter family would increase motility. Then another recommendation or option is called iberogast which also improves motility. You notice from this there are multiple treatment modalities, so it’s a multifaceted approach.

Now, I have worked with people with irritable bowel syndrome and SIBO for years, and I have seen significant improvement for people if we approach the condition from a multi-faceted approach. I have created a protocol that I work with patients on on a regular basis. It consists of diet. Absolutely we usually would start with a comprehensive elimination diet maybe even with a low FODMAP overlap. I usually don’t implement an elemental diet unless we really, really have to go there because if you do a full protocol with multiple avenues of approach, many times you do not have to implement an elemental diet. It doesn’t mean we don’t have to go there at all. Some people do.

The next would be probiotics. These antimicrobial herbs that we’re going to rotate through also I meant didn’t mention earlier is digestive enzymes. Remember we said that if your upper GI tract is functioning optimally and it’s more acidic and you have the right enzymes there, then the bacteria are not going to want to live there. The environment is not favorable to them. If you take digestive enzymes, and sometimes digestive enzymes can have HCl, betaine HCl, in it which is hydrochloric acid. Sometimes we need to increase the stomach acid of our stomach in order to help optimize the environment of the stomach as well as the upper intestines.

Another portion of the protocol I typically use with folks would consist of glutamine. Some form of glutamine in a supplement in order to heal the intestinal mucosal lining as well as foods like bone broth.

Again, I have used a GI protocol with my clients, and it’s been extremely successful over the years in order to treat SIBO, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, from a multi-faceted approach.

If you want to learn more, you could always go to my website I also offer a free 30-minute consult so if you go to my website, you’ll see right at the beginning I think it says, “Are you ready to feel better?” If you click that, you will have the option to sign up for a possible free 30-minute discussion with me. So, I hope this has helped. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, I think, is more common than we all realize. It is not the easiest thing to diagnose, but it is diagnosable, and it is treatable. So, I hope this has helped. I’ll see you on the next episode of Discover Health Podcast.


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Overcoming Your Insomnia

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Welcome everyone to this presentation entitled “Overcoming Your Insomnia.” I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. So, what is insomnia?

Well, according to the American Sleep Association, “insomnia refers to trouble falling or staying asleep. It can affect someone for a short time, such as a few nights or weeks. In other cases, insomnia is chronic and can last for months or years.” The Sleep Management Institute states that, “An estimated 30-50% of the general population is affected by insomnia, and 10% (that’s one in every ten people) have chronic insomnia.”

But how much sleep should we be getting?

Sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being. We spend up to one-third of our lives asleep, and the overall state of our sleep health remains an essential question throughout our lifespan. Most of us know that getting a good night’s sleep is extremely important, but too few of us actually make those eight or so hours between the sheets a priority. For many of us with sleep debt, we’ve forgotten what being truly and really rested feels like.

On average, according to the Natural Sleep Foundation, this is what a recommended sleep average looks like by age. You’ll notice with this trend that the older we get, the less sleep we actually require or need.

  • Newborns (0-3 months old): 14-17 hours per day
  • Infants (4-11 months old): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years old): 11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5 years old): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13 years old): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17 years old): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25 years old): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64 years old): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+ years old): 7-8 hours

Ask yourself, and you might even want to write it down so you’re seeing it – how much sleep are you getting on a regular and consistent basis? How many hours would you estimate you’re getting? Even write it down for yourself so you see it. If it’s a problem, then you’re going to be even more focused on the things we’re going to talk about next.

Not many of us are meeting the mark for recommended sleep based on our age, and so many of us might be feeling the negative effects of lack of sleep during our waking hours. The Sleep Management Institute lists the following as some of the negative side effects to sleep deprivation:

  • Poor concentration and focus or what we call “brain fog”
  • Difficulty with memory, a huge contributor to cognitive decline as we age
  • Impaired motor coordination, such as being out of balance or uncoordinated, which could lead to more motor vehicle accidents because someone is fatigued or sleep deprived as a driver
  • Irritability and impaired social interaction, short temper and a short fuse, easily frustrated and upset
  • Higher incidence of chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and migraine headaches

Knowing the consequences, you may now be asking what can be done about insomnia. Next, we will look at some of the natural and effective ways to get the sleep you are seeking.

You’re not going to listen to a functional medicine doctor speak on anything and not have us talk about diet. Now, Dr. Axe, who is a pretty well-known naturopathic doctor and nutritionist believes that diet is crucial when it comes to sleep deprivation. He argues that consuming sugars and carbohydrates before bed can increase the body’s temperature to burn those sugars off, which is disruptive to sleep. He advises limiting these carbohydrate-rich foods several hours before bed for optimal sleep. How many people are guilty of having, you know, a bowl of ice-cream or dessert that’s sweet and high in carbohydrates on a regular basis after dinner? That’s something you’re going to want to consider not doing.

A diet promoted for optimizing cognitive function by Dr. Dale Bredesen who has created the Recode Program in order to reverse cognitive decline, has created a diet that he called the KetoFLEX 12/3 Diet. That’s again that’s the KetoFLEX 12/3. This diet by name is a ketogenic diet. It’s very low in carbohydrates, but the numbers 12/3 are what I want to go over with you tonight in relation to sleep. The twelve refers to the number of hours that you’re going to want to fast between the time you eat your supper in the evening and breakfast the next morning. We should be fasting at least that long. It could be anywhere from twelve to fifteen hours, but this diet promotes twelve. Now, what does the three represent? The three refers to at least three hours of no food intake between eating your supper in the evening and the time you go to bed. You see, that is an important piece to optimize sleep.

If you really need to eat something later in the evening, then focus on healthy fats like avocado or sugar-free yogurt. These are great choices for late-night eating because they are high in relaxation-inducing nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium. Now, there are also some great beverages that can provide these helpful nutrients of magnesium and potassium.

Usually, we post things the day after these webinars with links so you can do further individual research on your own and find some of these recipes and things. I love doing these webinars because I learn something new for just about everything as well. One thing I read about that is amazing is called banana peel tea. Yup! I did say the peel. I said, “banana peel tea.” The banana peels are extremely rich in magnesium and potassium.

What I’ve learned you do is you need to first of all buy organic bananas because regular bananas are going to have a lot of pesticide on the peel and you don’t want to be drinking tea full of pesticides. You do need to buy organic bananas if you want to try this. You would get an organic banana, of course, and you’re going to cut the ends off. Then you’re going to peel the banana. You’re going to put the banana peel in a pot with let’s say a cup and a half of water or something. What I did was I took my coffee cup, filled it with water, poured it in the pot, and then put my banana peel in there. You’re going to bring it to a boil and then you’re going to turn it down to a simmer for about ten minutes. You also can add a dash of cinnamon, and when the beverage is done, you’re going to pour off the liquid into your cup with the cinnamon with it. You can even add a little bit of vanilla. It is amazing to drink! I have already noticed that it really helped me start to feel tired in the evening and initiate that process of getting ready for bed.

The other thing I’ll throw out is another benefit of magnesium is that it will help with bowels. If you’re anyone that suffers with constipation, magnesium is something that can help you improve your bowel habits. Wow! Who knew that banana peels were amazing like that? There’s something you could try.

Another natural sleep drink I read about in preparation for this presentation was something called pink moon milk. What the heck is that? I would take almond milk because I don’t do dairy, but you would take almond milk and add a tart unsweetened cherry juice to it. You notice that’s going to make a pink color. If you warm this up, the thing about tart cherry juice is that is a natural source of melatonin. It’s going to start that initiating process of the sleep cycle. There are others that I’ve read about in preparation for tonight, chamomile lavender latte for example and another one called turmeric golden milk.

We will be posting these with the links to read more about the recipes tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group. If you’re not familiar with that or you’re not already a member, go to Facebook and go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and then simply request to join our closed Facebook group that you need to request to join. Once you’re a member, you’re in! You’re going to get all the resources that…every single webinar, the day after, we post all the resources that I used to put the webinar together. We also have a community there where you can ask questions. Health Coach Trish shares information all week long, and every week she also does a Coach’s Corner. Don’t miss out on being part of this amazing community, and go to our Discover Health Functional Medicine Center Facebook page and join our Discover Health Facebook Group.

Now, when looking to make changes for better sleep, it is important that we assess what may affect our sleep quality and cause restlessness. Here is a list, from Medical Daily online, of some things to avoid before bed for the best chance at a good night’s rest. This list includes:

  • Spicy foods
  • Greasy foods, such as fast foods
  • Meats and cheeses; these have very high protein count and protein is not good before sleep
  • Caffeine is not good after 3:00 in the afternoon
  • Alcohol disrupts your natural sleep cycle. If you are having trouble sleeping, then you really need to consider abstaining completely from alcohol so that you can see if that’s the trouble of causing your insomnia.
  • Nicotine
  • Dark chocolate, as it’s high in a stimulate.
  • Sugars or carbohydrates

A routine is an essential element when considering a healthy sleep pattern. Setting and following a sleep schedule can help increase the likelihood of falling asleep and staying asleep. The National Sleep Organization recommends setting a consistent bedtime and a consistent wake-up time.

If you are a night owl and you can’t seem to get to bed early enough, the suggestion is not to try and change your bedtime drastically. Instead, slowly subtract fifteen minutes a night to your regular sleep time until you reach your bedtime goal. As for getting up, hands off that snooze button! It’s important to rise at the same time each day without the fallback of the alarm. The idea here is that you get used to the wake-up time, without interruption. It’s extremely important to set a routine if you want to heal your insomnia and sleep better.

The Natural Sleep Foundation lists exercise as a way to combat insomnia. They explain that exercise triggers an increase in body temperature and the post-exercise drop in temperature is what promotes falling asleep. Exercise may also reduce insomnia by decreasing arousal, it decreases anxiety, and it decreases depressive symptoms. Insomnia is commonly linked with elevated arousal, anxiety, and depression, and exercise has strong effects on reducing these symptoms in the general population.

Exercises related to better sleep include:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Strength training
  • Yoga or other quieting movements

Participating in a regular schedule of exercise can make it a habit. Again, creating a habit is extremely important and a routine so that it helps you with your energy levels and prepares you for sleep on a regular basis.

This is one reason why we have created Discover Health Movement Membership! This is a program that gives people access to regular movement exercise to promote flexibility, strength, balance, cognitive function, and better sleep. Our Discover Health Movement Membership provides three classes per week that are all online. The classes are called Discover Yoga, Self-Myofascial Release, and Movement for Longevity. To learn more about this amazing exercise program, all you need to do is go to our website That’ll bring you right to the program.

Try incorporating these activities well before bedtime for the best results. You see, a good rule of thumb is not to eat or do vigorous exercise within three hours of sleep time.

Stress is one of the leading causes of insomnia. In turn, by reducing stress, adequate sleep is possible. One way to reduce stress is being mindful of your breath. Slow, deep breathing actually helps the body override your sympathetic nervous system, which controls our fight-or-flight responses, and lets your parasympathetic system, which controls our ability to relax, take the wheel instead. When you practice deep breathing while in bed, you’re giving the body permission to quit being on high alert and instead to relax.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some recommended exercises for mindful breathing for stress reduction.

I’m going to take you through a few of these exercises of deep breathing. They’re a little different from each other. There are a lot of different ways you can do this. I want you to consider some of these breathing exercises for stress reduction and better sleep.

The first one is called pursed lip breathing. What you’re going to do is you’re going to take a breath in. I’ll tell you what you’re going to do first, and then we’re going to try it together. First take a deep breath in for a count of four. Then you’re going to sort of purse or pucker your lips and exhale for a longer time and a count of six.

We’re going to do this for a couple of rounds. Take a deep breath in, two, three, four. Now, you’re going to exhale with pursed lips for a count of six, five, four, three, two, one. Take a deep breath in, two, three, and four. Then exhale for a count of six, five, four, three, two, and one. Then inhale one more time for a count of two, three, and four. Exhale for a count of six, five, four, three, two, and one. Awesome!

One thing you want to realize is that when we inhale, that is something that happens and enhances our sympathetic nervous system again which is your fight or flight nervous system. When we exhale, that is more of a passive relaxation activity that enhances our parasympathetic relaxation nervous system. That’s why with many of these breathing techniques you want to inhale for a shorter amount of time than you are exhaling.

The next one is called diaphragmatic breathing. Our diaphragm is a huge part of our breathing. It’s a large muscle that goes and separates your thorax from your abdomen. With this one, put one hand on your chest and the other your bellybutton, let’s say. What we’re going to do is focus on belly breathing. As you breathe in deeply for about four seconds, you want to expand the hand that’s on your bellybutton, your belly as much as you can definitively. Don’t force it, just let it expand. Then feel the air expanding your stomach and your belly, and then you’re going to breathe out slowly through your lips. Again, we’ll do a count of four in and count of six out.

Let’s try this. Put one hand on your chest and the other on your bellybutton. Now, breathe in for a count of one, two, three, and four. You should feel that hand on your belly get expanded. Now, exhale two, three, four, five, and six. Then inhale again and feel the hand on your bellybutton rise, three, or come out, four. Then exhale and feel that hand go back in, four, three, two, and one. Do that again. Breathe in for one, two, three, and four. Then exhale five, four, three, two, and one. When you expand your belly, and you get that belly kind of coming out on the inhalation and then coming back in on the exhalation you’re emphasizing the movement of your diaphragm.

Let’s try one other one. There’s one they’re calling in this called yoga breathing, but it’s really alternate nostril breathing. What you’re going to do is place your right thumb over your right nostril. And you’re going to breathe first through the left nostril. Let’s do that.

Put your thumb over your right nostril and close that nostril. Now, take a deep breath as a count of four. One, two, three, four through your left nostril. Now, take your index finger and close the left nostril. Let the right nostril open and exhale. One, two, three, four, five, six. Now, keep your index finger on your left nostril and inhale through your right nostril for a count of four. One, two, three, and four. Then close with your thumb your right nostril and exhale through your left nostril for a count of six, five, four, three, two, one. Use your index finger and close your left nostril then breathe in through the nostril that’s open. Then close the nostril and exhale through the opposite. You’re constantly breathing in one side and exhaling when closing the other nostril. You’re switching sides throughout. That’s called alternate nostril breathing or they’re calling it here in the script I have, yoga breathing. All of these are options.

You can also play with your count. You can inhale for a certain count, let’s say four. You can also hold your breath for a count of seven and then exhale, let’s say, for a count of eight. Or you can do the numbers that feel comfortable to you. Let’s say you breathe in for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of five, and exhale for a count of six. The point of this, folks, is to introduce you if you’re not already familiar with it, the fact that there is such a variety of deep breathing exercises that you could be doing on a regular basis every single evening in your preparation for sleep. They only take a few minutes to do!

Meditation is a great way to work on breath and to focus on the centering of the body, which also helps to relieve anxieties and stress. A mantra is a phrase or sounds that are repeated over and over to soothe and relax the mind. You see, the mind is what we need to kind of get in control of and drive, meaning the mind is just going to ruminate and ruminate all it wants to unless we do something and have a practice to train it not to do that and to keep it more focused. Here are some mantras using phrases that could be tried:

  • I am calm and still.
  • I welcome sleep into my being.
  • I am breathing deeply and calmly, becoming more and more relaxed with each breath.

For best results, what you would do is pick one statement that you’re comfortable with. It doesn’t have to be something somebody gave you or I told you. Make up what you feel works for you. What you’re going to do is you’re going to repeat one of these mantra statements of your choosing with deep breathing twenty times in a row or until you begin to feel more relaxed and sleepy. You can do this just lying in bed.

You can also use a sound. One of my favorite sounds in the yoga world is OM. Just say, “OM.” You would do that as you take a deep breath in and on your exhale, you would state and say the sound, such as OM, for the count of six or longer. This will have a similar effect as a mantra.

With any of these activities you are, again, giving your mind a practice to focus on to quiet the rumination and allowing your rest, digest, and relaxation nervous system to come on board.

Our cell phones, tablets, computers, and other electronic gadgets have become such a huge part of our daily lives that it’s often hard to put them down—even at bedtime. Keeping your phone on your nightstand may not seem like a big deal, but, folks, technology affects your sleep in more ways than you will ever realize. Whether you’re surfing the web, playing a video game, or using your phone as an alarm clock, you’re probably keeping yourself from a restful night.

The National Sleep Foundation warns gadget users of the ill effects of late-night phone, computer, and tablet use on sleep. The blue light from these gadgets suppresses your naturally occurring melatonin, which is a hormone responsible for regulating your sleep cycle. Gadgets also keep the brain more alert. They’re not something we want when we’re trying to get to sleep.

Folks, again, melatonin is a hormone. It is not a sleeping aid, meaning it’s not a sleeping pill. I’ve had so many patients when I talk to them and ask them if they have insomnia and I ask them if they’ve ever tried melatonin, they say to me, “Yeah, but it didn’t work.” In my mind that means they’re thinking it’s like a sleeping pill. If it’s not causing them to fall asleep or stay asleep then it’s not working. Well, I will tell you that melatonin is a hormone that will initiate the sleep cycle and taking it as a supplement can be of benefit. The bottom line is if cortisol, our stress hormone, is too high, melatonin can help balance it better. Melatonin can initiate better our sleep cycle but really it is not meant to be taken as like a sleeping pill.

The solution to gadgets is limit the computer or technology use. Limit gadget use in bed or close to bedtime. A good rule of thumb is, again, stopping all screen time at least one hour before bedtime.

For some people, noise actually is necessary for falling asleep, which is why many people turn to watching TV in the bedroom. But, folks, that is not a good idea. First of all, it’s got the blue light and it’s going to cause you to be more alert. Good hygiene for sleep is you do not want a television in your bedroom. But a proper noise machine is a great alternative to the distraction of TV and is a more soothing way to possibly leading you to sleep. There are many options to include sleep-inducing sounds such as white noise, ocean waves, waterfalls, rainforests, and rivers. Again, we will post a link to a sample of a noise machine that works, providing relaxation white noise, tomorrow in our Discover Health Facebook Group. Again, if you are not already a member of our Discover Health Facebook Group, be sure to join as we always post all the resources there after each of these monthly webinars. It’s a great place to interact with like-minded people sharing how to improve their health.

The North American Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Experts state on their website that, “Essential oils can act by triggering the central nervous system and circulatory system to promote sleep in the body.” They list several natural sleep aids on their website, and here are a few:

  • Lavender Oil: a natural sedative with anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties
  • Cedarwood Oil: a natural sedative that decreases heart rate and has a soothing quality
  • Chamomile Oil: a natural sedative with anti-stress properties

There are several ways to incorporate or utilize essential oils into your nighttime routine. Let’s talk about some of these options.

Here are some tips from The North American Essential Oil and Aromatherapy Experts on how to incorporate essential oils into your nighttime routine for better sleep.

One of the most common things people use is to purchase and use what’s called a diffuser. What you’re going to do is put water in this gadget that’s called a diffuser. You’re going to turn it on and it’s going to diffuse steam, if you will, but it’s not hot. It’s going to diffuse like an air moisturizer into the air. You’re going to add two to four drops of an essential oil of your choice into that diffuser in your bedroom, let’s say, approximately thirty minutes before you go to bed. It’s going to fill the air of your bedroom with the lavender or the chamomile or the cedarwood, for example.

Another option is to put the essential oil droplets in your bath. Add five to ten drops of the desired essential oil into warm running bath water before getting in. Of course, it’s going to make the air smell wonderful and you’re going to get some on your skin and possibly absorb some into your body.

Another option is to use an air freshener. Mix one cup of water with four or five drops of essential oil and put it in a spray bottle. Then mist the spray bottle around your bedroom before you go to sleep.

Another option, so there are so many ways to do this, is to do a foot massage, and to use essential oils on feet for sleep. Add two drops of essential oil to one tablespoon of a carrier oil, whatever type of massage oil you have. You can even use olive oil for that matter. Massage the mixture on the bottom of the feet and all over your feet in a circular motion until fully absorbed. The other thing about you rubbing your feet, folks, is reflexology. If you’ve ever heard of reflexology, there’s many different nerve endings in your feet that correlate through your nervous system to many different organs of the body.

Finally, another way to engage with essential oils is called direct inhalation. A simple way to enjoy the sedative properties of essential oils is to inhale the aroma from the bottle itself. Hold the bottle a couple inches away from your nose and just take a couple of deep breaths. Practice the deep breathing and hold the essential oil bottle two to three inches away from your nose and you’re getting the oils and the scents and the aroma of the oils in order to initiate the response.

Not only are teas a nice soothing drink, but some herbs in herbal teas are also used to combat insomnia. Some of the best herbal teas to optimize sleep include some of the things we just read about or talked about with the essential oils:

  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Valerian Root increases GABA which is a neurotransmitter that boosts sleep
  • Passionflower also boosts GABA

A warm bath or foot soak before bed is another effective way to help the body relax into sleep. An Epsom salt bath with lavender may help because the Epsom salts have magnesium in the salt which is a natural relaxant, and the lavender is a natural sedative that can put the body at ease. There are so many ways to use these different herbs.

The Institute of Naturopathic Sleep medicine states that a warm bath before bed is effective because it lifts the body’s temperature and then drops it. Sleep is then induced by the sudden drop in your body temperature. Playing with body temperature of your room in your home from day to night can be very effective in helping you sleep.

Because body temperature plays a role in the amount and the quality of sleep one gets, room temperature should be considered a contributing factor. A room that is too hot will elevate the body’s temperature, causing the body to work to then cool itself, and in turn, disrupts your sleep pattern. The Natural Sleep Foundation claims that an optimal room temperature for the best sleep is approximately 65 degrees.

Do you keep your room cool for sleeping? Again, it doesn’t have to be exactly 65. Play with the temperatures and figure out what works best for you.

If someone is optimizing most of the sleep hygiene things that I have discussed and still is not sleeping optimally, then CBD oil or bath salts or other products in the CBD world could be tried. I have done a podcast in the past on CBD and what’s called the endocannabinoid system. You see, CBD is an endocannabinoid, and we have that system in our body, the endocannabinoid system. You may not have heard of it before, but we all have it in our bodies and most of us are depleted. Supplementing with CBD oil can help many aspects of one’s health including sleep. It also acts as a sedative and can help with anxiety. There is a link listed on this slide here for this presentation. That link will take you to the previous podcast and also the blog on my website. We will also post it in the chat for you, this link to my previous podcast on CBD oil.

We at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center carry products by cbdMD, the company you see in the products on the slides. This company grows its hemp organically here in the United States. That’s extremely important for you to know. If you are taking any type of CBD product, you want to make sure it’s not grown in particularly China because they may be using a lot of pesticides and there are a lot of toxins in the soil. You want them grown in the United States, and you also want to know that it’s grown organically. Also, this particular company produces what’s called a medical grade level of CBD.

Now, another modality I would absolutely not want to miss informing people of to improve sleep and optimize cognitive function and optimizing your overall health. This modality is called brainwave entrainment. Now, the word entrainment means to synchronize two or more rhythmic cycles. Brainwave entrainment is used to synchronize a person’s brainwaves with some external stimulus. One of the most commonly used external stimuli is sound. Vision can also be used as well as I believe tactile things can be used as well. The point is, some external stimulus is going to cause your brainwaves to synchronize with that external stimulus and to quiet your brain function and your brainwaves overall.

You see, our brains transmit electricity amongst the vast array of nerves and produce brainwaves. On the slide, you’re looking at different speeds or frequencies of brainwaves. Each one of these brainwave speeds or frequencies…now they’re all happening in our brains all the time at the same time, don’t think that we’re even in a delta state or a theta state or an alpha state and that’s all there is. That’s not how it works. We have billions of neurons in our brain. What we want to talk about and think about more is what is the dominant frequency at any given time? What is the purpose of that dominant frequency? Let’s talk about four of the most common brainwave frequencies that are occurring all the time, but again one is dominant.

First of all, let’s go from the bottom up here. Delta. Delta waves, and you’ll notice the wave they only show two hills here, are the slowest frequency and they’re between one and three Hertz. This wave frequency or when you are dominant is associated with deep dreamless non-REM sleep. This is where you’re trying to go during parts of the night when you want to be in your deepest form of sleep.

The second one up from there, brainwave frequency, the next fastest or the next step up in frequency is call the theta frequency. It’s between four and eight Hertz. This frequency or level is the one in which people naturally progress into sleep from and is associated with creative insight, a feeling of deep connectedness, and cognitive and memory enhancement. We want to enhance the time we’re in theta to improve our brain function and our memory, for example.

The next frequency up is called alpha. It ranges between nine and thirteen Hertz. This frequency is associated with calm levels or mental activity. Typically, a very peaceful and relaxed state, kind of if we’re doing something automatic like walking down the street or walking in the woods or something like that. Also, meditation and the breathing techniques we were doing earlier will help you get into an alpha state. A relaxation practice will help us come into an alpha state on a regular basis.

The final frequency I want to go over is the fastest frequency. As you see, it’s fourteen to thirty Hertz. This is the fasted frequency that we live in on a regular basis as a dominant frequency. Again, it’s associated with being awake and alert, but so many of us live all of our waking hours like every minute of every day in this frequency as a dominant state. It also becomes associated with an overactive thinking pattern and increased stress. It can lead to a feeling of anxiety and feelings of frustration. Obviously, if you can’t get out of this state and you’re always in a dominant state of beta, you are absolutely not going to be able to go to sleep.

If you are not sleeping well and you’ve been implementing most of what I’ve discussed previously tonight, then your brain is not able to get into a delta wave cycle well or even down into a theta wave cycle well, and you are living too much of your life in the beta state. If this is resonating with you and you feel like you’ve been doing everything you can to find your way into better sleep, then folks I implore you to look more into this modality of what’s called brainwave entrainment as a technology through audio stimulus that can guide your dominant beta wave state to are more desired frequency, and as a result, change your life and your ability to sleep and function. I can tell you that I’ve used brainwave entrainment for about four or five years now, and I’m a huge proponent for it for my sleep and for stress levels and for cognition.

If you want to learn more, one of the best ways to learn more is on my website in the shop of my website I have a link to a company called Active Minds Global. If you go to the shop of my website and you look for Active Minds Global and you click on the link, it will take you to their website. There they will explain and educate you an enormous amount more than I’ve even talked about tonight about brainwave entrainment and their soundtracks that they have. They’re not overly expensive to buy. I actually just did a  podcast recording with Morry Zelcovitch, the owner of Active Minds Global. He and I talked about brainwave entrainment. If you watch my podcast, upcoming will be also a recording where I’m interviewing the owner of Active Minds Global about brainwave entrainment. Again, I have personally used this modality for years now in order to optimize my sleep, reduce my perception of stress, enhance my brain function, and optimize my overall health. I am a huge proponent of this modality.

I’ve covered a lot here today. You may be feeling a bit overwhelmed if you’re not already familiar with what I’ve covered, but you’ve got this! Because you deserve a good night’s sleep. I believe that with what we have offered here today, you’re going to be well on your way to breaking the cycle of insomnia.

Let’s just take another moment and summarize a top ten list for optimal sleep hygiene. That’s a term used within the medical world and out in the world. Sleep hygiene. What are the top ten things? It’s sort of a summary of the things we’ve talked about in this presentation:

  1. Establish and stick to a scheduled bedtime routine. Be a creature of habit as this is awesome for your body’s circadian rhythm.
  2. Shut off all screens for a minimum of thirty minutes before bed and optimally one hour before bed.
  3. Keep your bedroom cool during the night. 65-degrees Fahrenheit in research has been found to be optimal, but everyone is different, and you should experiment to find what is optimal for you.
  4. No food and no vigorous exercise three hours before sleep.
  5. Eliminate alcohol from your world and watch your sleep improve.
  6. Avoid any form of caffeine past the afternoon. Remember there are many different sources of caffeine: coffee, tea, soda, chocolate, etc. Instead, try some banana peel tea, for example.
  7. Put a relaxation practice into place before bed. Do some deep breathing with counting or use mantras or just read a book or, of course, take a hot bath. Don’t forget to also try some essential oils.
  8. Have a consistent exercise routine in your day. If you don’t already have one or are looking to optimize, go to and join our Discover Health Movement Membership today!
  9. Avoid having any screens in the bedroom as a rule.
  10. If you implement all of these steps and still are not sleeping optimally, then try some CBD and start using a brainwave entrainment modality to shift your brainwave frequencies so that you can get into the theta and delta and alpha states and out of the alert and anxious beta state.

As usual, as I stated earlier, we will post all of the resources that I used with links so that you can follow those links and learn more. We will post all of them for you in our Discover Health Facebook Group tomorrow. Again, if you’re not already a member, be sure to join!

Thank you so much for attending this event! It means a lot to be able to share with people who are ready to make a difference in their health. Sleep is such an important part of our health that we all need to assess whether it is optimal, and if it’s not, work to improve it especially as we age. Our sleep is not going to get better as we age if we don’t work at it. It is time to implement some of the things we discussed.

If you’re having any troubles, please reach out if you have questions or concerns. We’re here to help! The best way to communicate with us at Discover Health Functional Medicine Center is to go to our website If you are new to us, you can even sign up for a 30-minute consultation. It’s free! You can also ask general questions again through our Discover Health Facebook Group as member. Another option is just email us at with any questions. If technology is not your thing, then just give us a call. Our phone number at the office is (603) 447-3112.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this. Thank you so much for participating! I truly hope this has helped and that I’ve talked about something you haven’t tried yet if you are having issues with insomnia. Your sleep is such a huge part of our overall health. Thanks, everyone!


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Why is Changing My Lifestyle So Hard?

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Watch this full webinar on our YouTube channel: Why is Changing My Lifestyle So Hard?

Hi, everyone. I’m Dr. Trish – physician, best-selling author, and The Health Catalyst Speaker. I want to spend a few moments with you today talking about the stages of change. You see, in all of the chronic disease out there we all know that changing a lifestyle such as improving your diet, exercise on a daily basis in some fashion or another, decreasing toxins such as alcohol, and getting good sleep such as not staying up half of the night and burning the candle at all ends…we know these things are important to our health! But yet, making the lifestyle changes and being able to be consistent with them seems to be difficult.

You know, greater than 23.5 million Americans are dealing with autoimmune conditions where your immune system attacks your own body. Millions of Americans are obviously dealing with heart disease. Millions of Americans are dealing with migraines and headaches and chronic pain. It goes on and on! So, why do we have trouble if we realize that our lifestyle is not benefitting us? Why are we unable to make the changes necessary to feel better?

Well, you know, the fact is that we’re human. There are stages to change. Our brain and our being and our soul have to get ready for change. It’s a journey that takes quite a while. Let’s review the different stages of change so you get a sense of this.

Precontemplation Stage

First of all, the first stage of change is called the precontemplation stage. You’ll see that’s right here number one. The precontemplation phase, folks, means that you actually are completely unaware that there’s a problem in the first place. You’re in denial. You don’t really have any interest in making a change. It’s sort of like, if you will, an addict or an alcoholic that basically denies in any way, shape, or form that there’s any fact that there’s a problem. We all do this! It doesn’t have to be related to addiction or any other specific condition, it’s just precontemplation stage. You don’t realize that there’s actually a problem.

Contemplation Stage

The next stage of change is number two here which is the contemplation stage. You’re actually starting to be aware, starting to contemplate, and a lot of these terms and these names of the stages are pretty self-explanatory. You’re starting to contemplate the fact that things aren’t quite right and there are things you might be doing and your behaviors that are connected to why you’re not feeling well. But you’re really not going to be ready to change yet. You’re not ready to plan; you’re not ready to make any definitive change; you’re just starting to talk about it. You’re starting to say, “Maybe I should change this,” or, “maybe I should change that.” You’re not really ready to make any definitive change. We’ve all done this. If you think back on your life. You know, you said, “Well that’s interesting. Maybe I should try that.” Then a month or two or three or six or seven go by and it’s like, Oh, I haven’t really changed anything, but you’re continuing to learn about something. You’re continuing to contemplate it.

Preparation Stage

The next stage, stage three in the stages of change, is preparation. Now, you’re actually making a public statement that you’re going to change things. Maybe you tell your sister or your mother or your spouse, “You know, I’m going to make this change.” You’re actually starting to talk about when. You’re going to set a date, or you actually buy a new pair of sneakers to be able to join the gym and you actually call and make the membership, let’s say, in the gym to start your preparations for making the changes. So, it’s the preparation stage.

Action Stage

The fourth stage of change is you finally…this is step four, folks! Number four is to take action. You actually are going to make some change. Maybe it’s one small thing. Maybe it’s two, but the bottom line is you’re making a change to change your diet or you’re making a change to do some stretching exercises every day and you’re being consistent. You’re taking action. You’ve actually put your feet or foot in the water. You know, not just your toe, but you’ve put your foot all the way into the water, and you’re taking action. You’re moving forward on your journey and you’re not just contemplating it; you’re not preparing for it; you’re actually doing it and taking action. That would mean if it’s an exercise program you’re actually going to the gym X amount of times a week that you said was your plan, or you’re walking every day for half a mile, or you are eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet for the next three to four weeks. Whatever it is, you’re taking the action and you’re doing it.

Maintenance Stage (*Recycling)

Stage five is maintenance. In the action stage, let’s say you’ve put yourself through a comprehensive elimination diet. My comprehensive elimination diet through my program is called the Detox Plus Program. It’s a three-week elimination diet that you would eliminate the top ten triggers in the Standard American Diet for three weeks. Then you would systematically re-challenge those foods in order for you to identify your food sensitivities, let’s say. Let’s use this as the example. Let’s say in the action stage you implemented for the three weeks the comprehensive elimination diet. Then for another two or three weeks you systematically re-challenged the foods, and you’ve identified for yourself that gluten and dairy, let’s say, and caffeine are food sensitivities or food triggers for you with either your autoimmune condition or your hypertension or your migraines or whatever it might be.

On the maintenance stage, the maintenance step would be for you to realize that, to institutionalize it in your life, and to be consistent in keeping out those triggers (the caffeine, the gluten, and the dairy) for another month and another month and another month. Of course, with this example, you could be re-challenging once a month let’s say those foods just to see if your gut has healed and see if they’ve become no longer a trigger for you. Let’s say they continue to be a trigger and you realize you have to stay away from them.

You’re in, now, the maintenance stage which is stage five of the stage of change. You’ll notice maintenance isn’t just written here and left alone. Below it you see an asterisk that says “recycling.” Recycling means, folks, and you see the percentage of 95% of us fail in the maintenance stage at one time or another. We all fall off the wagon. It’s natural. It’s normal. For you to fall off the maintenance stage and maybe go to a party, let’s say, and eat some gluten and eat some dairy and then feel lousy the next few days – that’s normal. We all do it. The point is, do you pick yourself up and get back on the horse, get back on the wagon, and get back into the maintenance stage? Or do you fall off completely and then have to go back, let’s say, to the preparation or go back to the action stage and then back into the maintenance stage? Whatever backsteps you might take, don’t let it defeat you. [click_to_tweet tweet=”95% of us fail especially the first time through. Each time we pick ourselves up and get back on the journey, we do better and better each time.” quote=”95% of us fail especially the first time through. Each time we pick ourselves up and get back on the journey, we do better and better each time.”] That’s nature, that’s us! We’re human, so don’t give up. Over time, the more you stay in the maintenance stage, the more you recycle.

Determination Stage

Eventually, you end up in stage six, which you’ll notice is determination phase or stage which means the change is basically constant now. You’ve changed that lifestyle and you can look back on the timeline, look in the mirror, and be like, Wow! I haven’t had dairy in like a year other than one or two or three times. That is when you truly have this last word here, folks, called transformation. You have actually transformed your life. You’ve transformed your habits, and you’ve probably transformed your health for the better. That’s what it’s all about! That’s the ultimate goal. The point of today’s talk is how long it takes. Folks, changing your lifestyle, holistic medicine, implementing this stuff is not easy. It is not a destination, even though there is a goal destination.”It is a journey, and it takes many stages (as many as six) to finally get the determination or transformation phase where you can take control of your health and transform your life.

I hope this has helped and be easy on yourself! Just keep picking yourself up, and get back on the wagon, back on the horse, back on the journey. As long as you’re here and you’re not six feet under, you still can make changes, you still can make your life better, you still can feel better, and there is always hope. Take care, everybody!


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What are FODMAPs, and Why Should I Care?

What are FODMAPs, and why should I care?

In this episode of the Discover Health Podcast, Dr. Trish Murray and Health Coach Trish Chaput discuss FODMAPs.


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Hey, everybody! This is Dr. Trish Murray from Discover Health Functional Medicine Center, and we’re going to be doing a podcast with Health Coach Trish. There’s Dr. Trish and there’s Health Coach Trish – don’t get confused! We’re going to be talking today about what are FODMAPs, and why should I care? Okay? FODMAPs is important information that you’re going to need to know if you have IBS. More letters! The bottom line is you need to be paying attention if you’ve got bowel problems, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or gas then you better be paying attention to this presentation.

I’m Dr. Trish Murray – physician, best-selling author, and the Health Catalyst Speaker. Again, I’m here today talking with Health Coach Trish from Discover Health Functional Medicine Center. Hey, Trish! How are you today?

Good, how are you?

Good! Let’s get right into this with FODMAPs. What is it? Is it a word? Is it an acronym? What does it mean? Help people understand.

Sure! So, this question comes up a lot because sometimes people hear about FODMAPs and don’t really know what they are. FODMAPs is a classification of fruits and vegetables and some other foods. I’m going to share my screen. It is an acronym. There is a lot kind of to it. If that’s okay, I’ll share my screen. I’ve got a little slide to show you on what FODMAPs are.

Absolutely, do!

There we go!

There we go!

So, FODMAP stands for fermentable, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. That doesn’t necessarily help people understand what that is, but if you think about those words…fermentable – something that ferments. Oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and monosaccharides are sugars. Same with polyols. You might have heard saccharide before. That word might give people a clue a little bit of what we are talking about. These are sugars that are carbohydrates, that aren’t absorbed properly in the gut, and for some people, as you said, they trigger symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It’s not something that’s added to food. It’s not like a toxic chemical or some kind of sugar that’s, you know, added in as a sweetener necessarily. It’s found naturally in many foods but also in some food additives. It’s just something that exists out there in the wild! This classification of fruits and vegetables for some people can be problematic.

If you look on the slide you’ve got the low FODMAPs and the high FODMAPs that have been broken down into categories. These are the common lists. There’s a link there for Monash University. We’ll talk about that a little bit more as we get into what do people do about this if they think they are sensitive to FODMAPs.

Let me get a few moments here, Trish and everybody, on why should you care. Why is FODMAP, these fermentable sugars…why should you care and why are they important to you? Well, if you’ve been told that you have irritable bowel syndrome or IBS or you haven’t even been to a medical provider and have not been diagnosed with anything but you deal with (on a regular basis) bloating, diarrhea or constipation (that might wax and wane), or you might feel fine for a few weeks and then all the sudden and you don’t even know why you’re feeling more bloated, more constipated, or you can’t even leave your house because you have to move your bowels every ten minutes or if you eat something it runs right through you. Bottom line is, folks, those are symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and the FODMAP diet is one of the main diets that are recommended for anyone who has IBS to try.

The other thing is, you know, what are the foods that fit into these categories of high FODMAP? If you look on this slide, you will see eliminate the red area. Of course, red is X – don’t do it! Eliminate foods containing high FODMAP. You’ll see there are also five columns here because there are five categories of high FODMAP foods. You notice fructose, lactose, fructans, galactans, and polyols. Now, if you get into those categories, each of the different ones and you start looking at the fine print and you see different foods that are in there, you’ll be like, “Wait a minute! Some of these foods are good for me!” Right, Trish?


“I thought I was supposed to eat vegetables.” Trish, go over some of the vegetables that really with the FODMAP diet you might actually be thinking you’re eating something healthy, but you want to avoid it because you are sensitive to high FODMAP sugars. Trish, why don’t you point out some in that regard.

Sure. Yeah. So, things especially in the vegetable category or the fruit category…there are some things on here that are clearly not that healthy like different added sweeteners or something. Nobody would say that’s a health food. But artichokes, asparagus, beetroot, brussels sprouts, broccoli (we’re always told to eat our broccoli), cabbage, onion, garlic (garlic has some really good healthy properties; we even did a study with fermented black garlic because of the health properties of that in treating inflammation and high cholesterol, high blood sugar potentially having some good benefits), apples, pears, mango – those kinds of things. None of those things are unhealthy foods. Avocado in the fruit category as well. Even though they’re healthy foods, somebody could still be reacting to them in an unhealthy way.

Exactly! I will tell you; I’ll raise my hand. I’m someone who experiences this. Years ago, when I started getting into functional medicine, I had heard of the FODMAP diet, but I had so many things I was learning that it wasn’t on the top of the list for me to be researching yet and understanding fully. Of course, a patient came in on the FODMAP diet with irritable bowel syndrome so that bumped this whole concept right to the top of my pile. I started researching it, and I was like, Oh. I suffer from IBS-like symptoms and I eat apples just about every day. I eat broccoli all the time because it’s a wonderful detoxifying vegetable and helps your body optimize your detox system. I eat onions all the time! I ate many of these foods. I ate beans on a regular basis. I looked at this list and went, Oh. Wow. No wonder I suffer with IBS!

I literally went on the elimination of all high FODMAP foods for four to six weeks, which is the recommended amount of time to initiate a low FODMAP or eliminating FODMAP food diet as a trial. You want to see if it’s going to be successful. Within a week to ten days my IBS symptoms were gone! I have remained low FODMAP for many years. Now, again, I just said you want to be on the diet for four to six weeks very, very strictly. You would eliminate all five categories, and you would do a definitive elimination diet of all high FODMAPs.

Then, after that you could start rechallenging your foods systematically in the same way that people who do the Whole30 or people who do my program called the Detox Plus Program. You might rechallenge systematically. Let’s say looking at the excess fructose column and start out by just challenging higher fructose foods and see if you react negatively. If you do, then you need to stay away from that category. Then you might rechallenge the fructans category and you may notice, Hey! I don’t really have a problem with sprouts or broccoli or brussels sprouts or cabbage. It seems that category fructans I’m not sensitive to. Which would be great because then you can expand your diet again back into that particular category. You’ll be able to identify which of the categories are your main problems. Then you continue to avoid those.

So, this is the way you get into how you eliminate. Trish, elimination diets are out there a lot. Help people understand elimination diets – first of all, what are they in general? Why would one do it? Why do they help? And then also, how do we know how long to stay on it? What’s a difference between a food sensitivity and a high FODMAP? We’ll kind of go over that together, but why don’t you start out with those other topics.










Sure. We were talking about this, just you and I, recently and I think it’s a great point. Sometimes people come and they don’t know for sure, that’s one of the reasons why they’re working with us. The comprehensive elimination diet that we do in our Detox Plus Program is really helpful not only for FODMAPs but for any other food sensitivities because you don’t always know that that’s what’s bothering you until you do this process.

The process for the comprehensive elimination diet of foods in general not just FODMAPs is twenty-one days of eliminating the highest inflammatory, the highest allergen foods. For some people, what we’ve done is we have done a low FODMAP version of that. The elimination diet takes out things like citrus and nightshade vegetables which is another category of healthy vegetables for most people, but some people do react to them. So, if you’ve got joint pain and other kinds of inflammatory things, you might be reacting to nightshades. It’s not that those things aren’t healthy, it’s just that they don’t fit for some people. You get rid of dairy, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, things like that on the elimination diet. For some people, we also do low FODMAPs.

What we would suggest for anybody doing a low FODMAP version of the elimination diet, the Detox Plus Program, you would leave the FODMAP foods for your reintroduction until the end. You would start putting back and testing other foods after the twenty-one days, one at a time, three days at a time. Check for any symptoms. Then once you’ve worked through the foods that are not high in FODMAP, you can start testing, as Dr. Trish said, these different categories of FODMAPs because by that time four to six weeks have elapsed as you mentioned and the FODMAP problems should be cleared up, out of your system. That’s what we’ve got here.

Yeah, so let’s make sure people understand. There are many different things that people can be reacting to in your environment. Food is one of the top things because it’s something we put in our mouths twenty-four seven (not twenty-four hours a day typically) but the bottom line is that’s our fuel. When you put foods in your mouth, everybody’s different. There’s no black and white to identify what everyone should do. We don’t all fit in the same box. We have our own genetics and our own metabolism and our own microbiome.

The bottom line is there are food sensitivities which means your immune system is reacting with an antibody reaction particularly an IgG antibody reaction to a particular food, usually caused because of leaky gut. Meaning if you have leaky gut and something leaks through the wall of the lining of your intestines and your immune system sits right behind there and reacts to a foreign invasion, if you will. It reacts with an IgG antibody which might come up right away, but it could also take a day or two for you to realize you’re having a reaction. IgE is more of an allergy reaction. People can also be allergic to foods. You could be allergic to a food, you could be sensitive to a food, and that is when you usually want to do what’s called a comprehensive elimination diet where you’re going to eliminate the top ten triggers in our Standard American Diet. Again, our Detox Plus Program gives you a twenty-one-day comprehensive elimination diet, the guidebook, and videos to support you to be able to be successful.

The issue is that if someone has irritable bowel syndrome you may be sensitive to these foods or the issue with these FODMAP foods again is that they’re fermentable sugars. That fermenting process happens more aggressively, if you will, in your colon as an IBS-er and with high FODMAPs you end up with more gas, more bloating. Again, then that’s irritating your bowel and throwing off your microbiome, or the bugs that live there are causing this in the first place, and so you’re having these GI complaints. With some people, it is beneficial to do the comprehensive elimination diet with a FODMAP overlay, and that’s what this slide says. “For those who need to cut out FODMAPs, we have updated our Comprehensive Elimination Diet guide to accommodate this.” You can do both at the same time.

Yeah. I think one of the things you talked about there makes a point jump out for me. A key point here – the difference between a food sensitivity and sort of a FODMAP issue with IBS often times is quantity for many people, right? Once people have quieted everything down and they’ve eliminated things and they start reintroducing things and they find things will work for them. It might be in a smaller quantity then they were used to, right? So, I know from personal experience for myself and I used to have IBS. I no longer have those symptoms, but I can only take so much of certain foods. Beans, for instance, or cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. I can eat them no problem, I don’t have any symptoms if I do, but if I go overboard on them, I’m going to have some issues. It’s not that I have a food sensitivity to them, it’s just like too much of a good thing.

I have noticed with that Monash University link that I mentioned, they have an app and for FODMAPs in particular, they’ve measured in the lab how much of a particular food hits the threshold of low FODMAP versus high FODMAP. It was really interesting and eye opening to me. It was like, Oh! Now I see. Within this threshold of this food a quarter cup is fine, or a half cup is fine, but if you go to a cup, you’re now in high FODMAP territory. It’s not necessarily that your immune system is reacting to the food as you pointed out Dr. Trish. It’s more, Oh. Now I’ve got so much of that fermentable sugar in my gut. It’s creating a bad situation. I thought that was very interesting as a differentiation.

Absolutely. Again, originally four or six weeks in the beginning I was very, very strict to avoid anything FODMAP at all! After that, I started rechallenging systematically, as I said, the different categories. Then I started realizing that – yeah, I might be able to get away with a little broccoli let’s say every couple of weeks and not have a significant reaction. Your gut also will change because of course what you feed the bugs that live in your colon that also are the ones fermenting these vegetables, the more you either will produce bugs that will deal better with these substances and digest them better (because a lot of it is fiber and sugar) or you’ll keep modifying your diet and over time you’ll find what works for you. That also may shift over time.

Now, the other thing though is what I want to mention is that if you Google FODMAP diet and you look at a lot of different sources, people come in to me sometimes and they get really frustrated because different sources contradict each other. One thing might be listed on this source and not listed on another one. So, just realize that we have found (and this is a great tip for you) at Discover Health that with the research the Monash University app and our list are coinciding with each other. We help to streamline this confusion for you. People that stick to what we provide them, they don’t get complicated, they don’t get confused. It’s pretty straight forward.

Trish, how are some ways other than that tip I just gave – what are some other ways to help people be successful and optimally be able to determine whether they have IBS and whether the FODMAP diet is going to be successful for them and be optimal in implementing it?

Yeah, that’s a great question. I think one of the challenges as you pointed out is there’s so much information out there. People get information overload; they don’t know where to start. Also, because the body is such a complex system and there are oftentimes delayed reactions, people are like, “I don’t know. I ate this thing for two days and it was fine and then on day three I didn’t feel good. I don’t even know what it is.” I’ve been there and done that and I know you have as well, right? You feel like everything you eat makes you feel sick or sometimes you eat it and it’s fine. Sometimes you eat it and it’s not. You just don’t even know where to start.

So, going through the comprehensive elimination diet is a great process to really get a handle on things. Also, people find that sometimes overwhelming to do on their own. We do one-on-one coaching. I work with people to individualize the approach to this to help them make it practical and feasible for them and their lifestyle. We look at – what are you already eating? What are you already like? What are your go-to kind of things that you’re now going to have to cut out, and how do we swap those? We do that one-on-one. Or we do classes. Right now, we’re just about to get into our fifth week of the Detox Plus Program class where people are helping each other as well. They’re like, “Oh my gosh! What am I going to do without onions and garlic?” Or “How do I cut out this food? What do I replace it with?” We help each other with recipes and suggestions and tips and the whole group is going through that process together. I’ve heard from a number of people that say either they tried to do it on their own and when they did it with the group, they found it much easier, they stuck with it, and they found it more enjoyable and had less cravings partly just because they knew other people were doing the same thing. Having that group support has been really helpful for some people. For other people, having the one-on-one being able to work with me individually that’s worked well. Either one of those has, I think, helped a number of people be successful getting through this process and figuring out what works for them.

Absolutely. Also, if, again, to know the program overall to do whether you’re going to do a comprehensive elimination diet or the FODMAP overlay. Again, if you go to our website and go to the shop, you will see the Detox Plus Program. With that program you get a guidebook that’s written that you download. You also get five videos done by me, Dr. Trish, to support you through the whole process: step 1, step 2, step 3…and be able to help you be successful. Of course, as we’ve said, if you need more assistance or you want assistance at least you have questions, Coach Trish is there for you. Coach Trish, as she said, does online groups. You’re just finishing one.


Also, you’ve started a regular program where people that are completed let’s say that class or completed the Sugar Busters Class you’ve run, now also have…is it once a week or is it every other week that continued support as a group?

Yeah, once a week accountability group. We started it after we did the Sugar Busters Class. We’re going to be inviting the folks as they finish the Detox Plus and anyone who’s finished either one of those classes even in the past who has done it and wants to touch base and come back in. We meet once a week on Monday nights via Zoom so you can be doing that from anywhere. I would also open it up to people who have done our Nutrition Healthy Habits Class. Those three classes or if you’ve worked with me individually and you just want a little accountability and you want the support of a group. You don’t have to come every week. It’s not like a set curriculum in that way. It’s a monthly thing and we meet weekly. If you can make two meetings a month and that works for you or you want to meet every week that works for you that’s great! We have started that.

The other thing before anybody starts doing this many times what they find really helpful as well is to have a one-on-one appointment with you, Dr. Trish, if they’re suffering and having a lot of these symptoms. For those who are in our local area coming and working with you as their functional medicine provider, I know gets folks squared away in terms of, what direction do I need to go in? Is this the type of thing I need to do? Because you’ve got the online Detox Plus Program, people can access that from anywhere. There’s a great variety of options for folks, I think.

Absolutely. I hope this has helped folks. What is a FODMAP anyhow and why should I care? Bottom line is FODMAPs are fermenting different types of sugars: oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Trish, if you could bring up your last slide that we haven’t brought up yet.

The one thing I want to make sure we want to end with is a positive. You know, we all emphasize what we have to eliminate. Oh, my goodness! I have to eliminate this and that and that and this. You want me to eliminate something else? Well, you know what, folks? There is always a substitute. Let’s focus instead on what I get to eat because I can’t tell you how wonderful I love my diet. I mean, I eat delicious natural foods. When you get rid of all the processed crap and all the fake sugars, the natural sugars of the fruits and the vegetables are so good! I feel so satisfied and so beneficial and healthy even after every single meal. It’s not about what I can’t eat – it’s about what I can and the fact that I’m so happy that I’ve learned not to be sick. I’ve learned to be healthy and be able to transform my life and control my life so that I feel good most of the time. We all get sick here and there, but I feel good a majority of the days of my life. Thank goodness! That’s the way I want to live my life! How about you, Trish?

Oh yeah! I feel better now than I did when I was in my twenties. I was struggling with IBS and GERD and all kinds of acronyms and symptoms and joint pain and brain fog and all the kind of stuff because I wasn’t eating right. I didn’t realize the damage it was doing along with stress and not sleeping enough and all the stuff that I know now. I’ve had to give up things. I’ve been gluten and dairy-free for five years. I eliminate certain FODMAP foods still that are problematic. I don’t eat a huge amount of those particular foods. I feel great! I don’t get those symptoms anymore; I don’t feel like I’m deprived. I eat delicious food; I have lots of things to choose from, and I feel good which makes a huge difference. It’s so much easier to do when you feel this way. You don’t feel deprived; you feel like, oh, I’m doing the right thing. I feel healthy and good and have energy. Yeah, so much better.

Absolutely! I’m going to take one category and emphasize some of the things that I’ve learned to eat out of it that I never even knew before. Trish, why don’t you do that at the end, and we’ll finish with that. For example, vegetables. I grew up in a meat and potatoes Irish Catholic family and we ate carrots, and we ate green beans. We ate meat and we ate potatoes. I was just like, what the heck is bok choy? Or escarole or chives or daikon radishes. Now I know what these things are. Talk about expanding my horizons, not reducing them! Again, this doesn’t have to be negative; it doesn’t have to be, oh my god, I don’t know what to eat! At first, you’re going to feel that way. Believe me, I’ve been there myself. What do I do? If you get the sources and the resources we give you, you’re going to learn that – wow! There’s a whole new world! Wow – does it taste good!

Trish, what category would you pick? Pick out a few things that you weren’t necessarily familiar with when you were having your problems in the past.

Yeah. A lot of ones that you just mentioned. Some of those vegetables for sure. Then even things have gotten more common that didn’t exist back then, right? There wasn’t any such thing as almond milk yogurt when I have to give up dairy. If there was it was really hard to find, you’d have to go to some specialty food store. Now they’re carrying it in big tubs – almond milk unsweetened yogurt. No sugar. I can put in my own fruit. Coconut milk yogurt, things like that so I don’t feel deprived.

I was an ice cream fiend when I was younger. I loved ice cream and had it like every day through my youth and my probably twenties, thirties. You can get almond milk ice cream, cashew milk ice cream, coconut milk ice cream. You can make your own with fruit – bananas or whatever. I don’t ever feel deprived even though I don’t eat gluten and dairy which are on the high FODMAP list. Yeah.

Lately I’ve been making the frozen banana…you take a banana and peel it, put it in the freezer, then put it in a food processor with let’s say some cocoa powder, a nut butter, frozen berries, and some almond yogurt and food process it and get it to the consistency of ice cream. Oh. My. Goodness! It is the best thing! With that, folks, it doesn’t have to be negative. You don’t have to focus on what you can’t have. Let’s focus on what you can have and help you get rid of the symptoms, get rid of the bloating, get rid of the diarrhea, so that you can feel better.

Thanks for participating, everybody! This is Dr. Trish and Health Coach Trish. Thanks, Trish!

Thanks! See you later, everybody!

Bye, everybody.





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Understanding the Detox System

Click here to listen to Understanding the Detox System


Hello and welcome to this talk on the detox system. First, I’d like to start out with some facts and figures. These facts and figures are coming to you from the Chemical Industry archives. First of all, more than seven million recognized chemicals are in existence today in our environment and in our world on a daily basis. Approximately 80,000 are commonly used on a daily basis worldwide. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) reviews between 2,000 and 2,500 new chemicals through what’s called a pre-manufacture notification process each year. That calculates, folks, to between forty and fifty new chemicals being evaluated and approved each week! Eight out of ten applications are approved within three weeks, with or without any test data to show whether those chemicals are safe or not.

I think it’s important for us all to understand that in this day and age, we are all exposed to toxins on a daily basis and a plethora of them at that. We really need to optimize our detoxification systems of our bodies to allow us to try and remain healthy. What I’d like to talk about today is exactly that – your detoxification system. What most people are told is that, well just drink lots of water and you’ll pee and get rid of, urinate if you will, and get rid of these toxins. Well, the problem, folks, is that many toxins are not water-soluble. When we first are exposed to them or when we first create them, they are fat-soluble. They’re going to get stored in our fat, and then they’re going to build up and cause problems to our overall health.

What we need to understand is that to change a fat-soluble toxin to a water-soluble toxin, so that we then can either urinate it out, sweat it out, or poop it out through our gastrointestinal tract. Those are the three ways we get rid of toxins, but they need to be water-soluble in order to be able to do that. We need to convert any fat-soluble toxin to a water-soluble item or chemical so that we can exactly that – urinate it out (pee it out), poop it out, or sweat it out because those are the three best ways to get rid of them.

Now, how are we going to do that? But before we talk about the phases that have to happen in your body to do that, let’s first of all talk about how toxins are created. First of all, things called exotoxins (exo meaning outside of you).

  • This could be pharmaceutical drugs; those could be drugs that you are making a choice to take such as alcohol or other recreational drugs. Those of you making a choice to put them in your body from the outside world.
  • I’ve already given you some facts on the chemicals that we’re all being exposed to on a regular basis.
  • Pollutants or contaminants.
  • Bacteria that get inside of us produce waste that needs to be detoxified.

Those are things that get inside of us from outside. But besides that, you can also have endotoxins, things that are created inside your body due to your own metabolism. These are what’s call the end products of metabolism. For example, whenever you produce a hormone you use it, but then it also needs to be broken down and needs to be eliminated. So, you create endotoxins all the time based on your own body biochemistry and metabolism.

Besides that, we live in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria. Bacteria have waste products too that they then put out, but they’re inside us to begin with. Bacterial endotoxins are also exactly that – toxins that are inside of us that we need to detoxify and get rid of. Many of these are fat-soluble.

So, now let’s talk about the phases in which you’re going to change a fat-soluble toxin and how is it going to be converted to a water-soluble toxin so that you can get rid of it. Well, majority of this happens in the organ in your body – the liver. There are multiple phases to the chemical steps that have to happen. There are two actually primary phases: phase one and phase two. The phase one reactions, there are multiple different chemical reactions that have to happen. You can oxidize a toxin, you can reduce a toxin, you can hydrolyze a toxin, you can hydrate a toxin, or you can have this process called dehalogenation. Now, those are big chemistry words, and to be honest, those don’t matter as far as for you to understand the details of all of those.

The bottom line is for you to understand that there’s a chemical reaction that has to happen as a first step to make a fat-soluble toxin start to change from fat-soluble to water-soluble. What happens is once you create that first step, you’re actually taking something off of the fat-soluble toxin, and you’re making it charged. You’re making it positively charged, and you’re making it a free radical or an intermediary metabolite. These free radicals, after a fat-soluble has gone through this phase one reaction, are actually more dangerous many times than the original toxin in the first place. That’s very concerning. We do not want the free radicals or these intermediary metabolites staying in this charged state for very long. We want them to quicky move on to phase two.

Phase two reactions are things like sulfation, methylation, acetylation, and glucuronidation. These actually all add something to that intermediary metabolite in order to neutralize it and actually make it water-soluble. You notice, you need phase one and you need phase two. In between, you create this intermediary metabolite which are called free radicals.

So, then you finally have created an excretable chemical or something that’s water soluble. Again, you’re going to then either sweat it out, urinate it out, or it’s going to go into your gastrointestinal system and come out as feces. Now, what I also want you to understand is that there are certain vitamins and minerals that you’re going to need in order to optimize phase one of your detoxification system and then other things (vitamins and minerals) that you’re going to need, and we need from either our diet or to supplement with, in order to optimize phase two of your detoxification system.

Then also, back to the intermediary metabolite – that dangerous free radical. I’m sure all of you have heard of antioxidants. Antioxidants, why they’re so important is that when those intermediary free radicals are floating around in your bloodstream, the antioxidants can bind to them and neutralize it for the mean time before it goes through phase two.

You notice, this gets a bit complicated. The bottom line is you have fat-soluble toxins. They need to go through two chemical reactions in order to be neutralized and become a water-soluble toxin to be able to detoxify them and get them out of your body. In between those two reactions, there is an intermediary metabolite created that is actually very dangerous and they are called free radicals. Antioxidants are very important, like vitamin C or vitamin A and many others, CoQ10 for example. Those are three probably of the top antioxidants that you could consider.

Now, going back to phase one reactions. The nutrients that you must have in your body to optimize phase one reactions are essentially all of the B vitamins. Riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyridoxine (B6), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). You notice basically a B-complex is extremely important for phase one reactions of your detox system. Besides that, a chemical called glutathione, which is the most prominent chemical in our body to help us detoxify anything is very necessary for both phase one reactions and phase two reactions. The only concern about glutathione is it’s not easy to get it as a supplement and take it orally and be able to have it be absorbed properly. There are some liposomal glutathione products and there are some supplements, but there’s another supplement called N-Acetyl Cysteine or it’s abbreviated N.A.C. which is NAC. That is a precursor in your body to the development of glutathione. That is an excellent supplement for people wanting to optimize their detoxification system.

Finally, in order to promote phase one reactions in your body, you need branched-chain amino acids. Amino acids, folks, are the building blocks of all proteins. You must have protein in your diet. It’s extremely important to get enough protein in your diet. I’m not taking about a sixteen-ounce steak, for example. I’m talking about the palm of your hand amount of an animal protein at least two, if not three, times a day. Or, if you’re a vegetarian, you need to make sure you’re getting complete proteins or you’re utilizing protein powders made of plant products. Animal proteins, folks, are where you’re going to get your biggest sources of B vitamins, glutathione, and branched-chain amino acids. I would tell you and there are many other functional medicine doctors out there that promote actually eating organically raised or grass-fed organ meats as well such as liver and so on.

Now, to optimize phase two reactions with the detox system, you also need all of the amino acids, particularly glycine, taurine, glutamine, methionine, and cysteine. Again, animal protein or at least making sure if you’re a vegetarian or a vegan getting completely proteins that have all of the amino acids necessary or utilizing, again, a protein source powder from vegetable proteins. The other thing is, again, supplement NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine) also promotes phase two of the detox system. The bottom line here, folks, is your liver is extremely important to your health, extremely important to your detox system. We’ve got to be able to detoxify fat-soluble products from exactly that – being fat-soluble where it’s going to get stored in your fat-soluble – to change it to water-soluble.

The number one best way to detoxify anything is to sweat. Let’s talk about the top ways to detoxify your body:

  1. Make choices to avoid toxins as much as possible in the first place. If you’re drinking too much alcohol, you really to need to think about that.
  2. Drink water and add some lemon juice to it. Make sure you’re drinking multiple glasses of water a day, up to as much as sixty-four ounces a day.
  3. Cut your sugar intake. Folks, we live in an environment today and our culture that is way too high in sugar. Decrease all your grains to only one or two a day because all grains get converted to glucose. Don’t ingest synthesized sugar and ingest more natural sugars.
  4. Exercise is going to make us sweat; it’s going to improve our circulation; it’s going to improve our overall health.
  5. Drink detoxifying teas such as green tea, dandelion tea, or nettles.
  6. Eat organic.
  7. I would say that one is way too far down on the list. Move it back up to number one or two, and make sure you are moving and sweating on a regular basis and even going in infrared saunas is fantastic for helping someone to detoxify.
  8. Use soaps or brushes or mud masks and things like that to help to exfoliate the dead skin from your body and improve circulation.
  9. Decrease stress. We all are way too stressed out and we all should have some form of a daily stress management practice that we do every single day.
  10. Get good sleep. You should be getting an optimal eight hours of sleep every night. We really need to consider how to do that best.

The next thing I’d like to list for you are the top ten antioxidant foods. Remember, we talked about those free radicals. What are the best foods that you could be eating to neutralize those free radicals with antioxidants?

  1. Goji berries
  2. Wild blueberries
  3. Dark chocolate
  4. Pecans
  5. Artichokes
  6. Elderberries
  7. Kidney beans
  8. Cranberries
  9. Blackberries (dark-colored berries are all excellent to help your detoxification system)
  10. Cilantro

Please remember, any of these things should be raised or grown organic. You don’t want to add toxins by eating not organically raised cilantro, for example.

Next, I’d like to list for you the top ten antioxidant herbs. Again, these antioxidants that are going to neutralize the free radicals in the herb world are:

  1. Clove
  2. Cinnamon (put cinnamon in your coffee; put cinnamon on your food; put cinnamon everywhere – it is excellent for you)
  3. Oregano
  4. Turmeric
  5. Cacao
  6. Cumin
  7. Parsley
  8. Basil
  9. Ginger
  10. Thyme

Now, I’d also like to finish with the top ten antioxidant supplements:

  1. I’ve mentioned it before, it is the top antioxidant detoxifying chemical in your body. It is tough to get and be able to absorb enough of it taking it orally, but you can do it with some supplements. Again, N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a precursor to glutathione, and you can take upwards of 600 mg twice a day for a total in a 24-hour period of 1200 mg a day.
  2. Quercetin
  3. Lutine
  4. Vitamin C. Folks, you can take vitamin C when you’re really trying to detoxify something, or you feel like you’re getting ill up to what’s called bowel tolerance. You could take 5-, 6-, 7000 mg or more a day. What you want to do is start taking it and increasing it, but when your bowels become loose or you end up having some diarrhea then you’ve overshot, and you need to back down to a lower dose. That’s what’s called increasing vitamin C to what’s called bowel tolerance.
  5. Resveratrol
  6. Astaxanthin
  7. Selenium
  8. Lavender oil
  9. Chlorophyll
  10. Frankincense essential oils

In summary, ladies and gentlemen, your detoxification system is extremely important to your overall health. We are all exposed to so many chemicals on a regular basis. Your liver is your prominent organ system to help you detoxify. You need to be able to drink lots of water, of course, to get rid of all the water-soluble toxins. To convert fat-soluble toxins to water-soluble toxins, your liver has to go through two reactions: phase one and phase two. The intermediate in between those two reactions are called free radicals.”] Your body goes through this process all the time on a daily basis. The B vitamins and branched-chain amino acids and glutathione are your major chemicals in your body that are needed in order to help the chemical reactions happen to detoxify things. I’ve also listed for you the primary ways that you can detoxify such as exercise, sweating, drinking lots of water, and decreasing stress. Then I’ve listed for you some of the top foods and supplements for antioxidants. I hope this information has helped.



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