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Dealing with health issues

Say you are not quite feeling right - nothing major, but perhaps you are feeling tired a lot, or maybe you get frequent headaches or stomach aches. You just don't feel as well as you think you should. You have been to the doctor, and all the tests came back clean. What do you do then? Accept that you don't feel good? Presuming you have been following the basic guidelines provided in these tips - drinking adequate water, eating quality real food, avoiding processed food, sugar, flour, transfats, refined vegetable oils, exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep and dark time etc., what more can you do?  Most likely your body is suffering from some kind of stress response, and finding and treating the root cause of that stress will bring you back towards homeostasis and feeling great.  Even if you are dealing with very serious health issues, it would be well worth your time to consider the following:
  • If you suffer from digestive issues (and even if not), I would suggest taking a quality probiotic in order to implant good-quality bacteria into the gut which is necessary for digestion.  Antibiotics kill all the bacteria in the gut including the good ones, so taking probiotics after a round of antibiotics is critical to maintaining digestive health.  I find it interesting that physicians rarely suggest this after giving out a prescription for antibiotics.  Eating a poor diet of processed food gradually replaces the good bacteria with bad, also making it challenging to digest one's food properly.  Generally speaking, I am not one to promote a lot of supplements, but I do think that this is important for almost all of us.  Primal Defense by Garden of Life is the best probiotic I'm aware of.  Remember that a healthy gut is important for a healthy immune system.
  • Get yourself tested for food sensitivities and avoid those foods. You may feel better quite quickly after eliminating the offending foods, and after 3 months get yourself retested. Frequently when exposure is eliminated for a period of time, the gut can heal, and you can re-introduce those foods. Not always though. Some food allergies require lifetime avoidance. Food-sensitivity testing is a no-brainer for any digestive issues, although the symptoms caused by food sensitivities can go far beyond the digestive tract.  Very few physicians do this kind of testing, but almost all Naturopathic physicians do it.  I had a gut problem since about age 6 - medical test after test came back clean, and my doctors were telling me everything was fine.  'But doctor, my stomach hurts! How can there be nothing wrong?" Finally a friend suggested food-sensitivity testing, and my daily stomach aches ended.
  • Get yourself tested for pathogens like mold, parasites, fungus, bacteria like H. Pylori, heavy metals.  These pathogens can cause a variety of low-grade symptoms and are frequently at the root of a wide variety of  health issues.  They can make you quite sick, too.  Ask your doctor what testing they can do, or see your Naturopath.  If you have trouble finding someone who can do this kind of testing for you, Biohealth in San Diego can test you and assign a doctor to you.
  • Eat right for your metabolic type. Even if you are eating healthy foods, if you are not consuming them in the ratios needed for the optional functioning of your own biochemistry, you won't feel at your best. Look here to find a metabolic-typing advisor near you.
  • If your main complaint is fatigue related, I would get the circadian rhythms of your hormones tested. Saliva testing is usually how this is done - you spit into a test-tube 4 different times in one day, and the various hormones levels are plotted over the course of the day. Much about how your body is functioning can be learned from this kind of testing. For example, normally cortisol levels are low in the evening, but if they are high, that indicates a chronic stress response, which may lead to future disease. If the problem can be corrected at this stage, diseases can be avoided.  Biohealth also does this testing.
  • Neurotransmitter testing may be helpful as well, as these brain chemicals need to be at the optimal levels and in proper balance with each other to feel healthy and happy. Neurotransmitter imbalance creates a wide variety of symptoms, from depression to sleep issues to ADD ADHD to carbohydrate and sugar cravings. Currently, Neurogistics.com is the only company that I am aware of that does this kind of work. Having personally gone through their program, I must say that it helped my sleep significantly.
  • Find a way that works for you to deal with the emotional stressors in your life.  ANYTHING you can do to reduce the stress on you and your body will help.
Related tips:
Food sensitivities, digestive problems and joint pain
It is not what you eat but what you digest that counts
Adrenal Fatigue
Customized Nutrition

Chek, Paul; How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!  Chek Institute, San Diego, CA, 2004.
Woeller, K. & Timmins, W. Resolving Chronic Stress Disorders Biohealth Diagnostics Seminar Handout 2006

Copyright 2007 Vreni Gurd