Category Archive : Nutritionist


Get Your Mojo Back: Natural Libido Enhancers – Part 2

Nutritional and Lifestyle Causes

Unfortunately, not many traditionally-trained physicians consider nutritional components as a cause of low libido. However, more and more research points to gut health playing a major role in your health overall, and in your sexual health for sure. It is in the gut, where the nutrients for natural libido enhancers are absorbed.

One major fact that points out nutritional deficiencies as a cause of low libido can be seen in the fact that while post-menopausal women make up only 13 percent of the population, they take 30 percent of the drugs prescribed in the U.S. Prescription medications are notorious for causing nutritional deficits. Too little nutrition leads to low libido.

Some of the Common Prescription Medications That Lead to Deficient Nutrition Include:

  • antacid
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antibiotic
  • diabetes med
  • statin
  • antidepressant
  • anti-hypertensive

Lifestyle habits can be natural libido enhancers. Drinking that glass of wine can lead to increased desire for sex. But too much alcohol leads to low libido. Smoking can also decrease arousal for sex.

Excess fatigue from caring for young children or aging parents can take away your desire for sex.
Birth control pills have been said to lower sex drive also. This is a debate among medical professionals. Some believe the pills should take away the fear of getting pregnant and thus should increase sex drive.
Some symptoms of nutritional deficiency include:

  • confusion
  • fatigue
  • weight loss
  • weakness
  • decreased immune system
  • memory loss
  • dizziness

Interestingly, many of these symptoms are the same as you’ll see in AFS. All of them, in both conditions, can lead to low libido.

Psychological Causes

Certainly, any time a woman is depressed or anxious, libido will be low. Interest in and thoughts of sex are the last things women with these conditions are concerned with.

In addition, to what may be called typical psychological causes of low libido, we have to think about relationship issues, as well. If the relationship between a woman and her partner is not going well, she will not be interested in sex. The sense of intimacy that needs to be there, in a good relationship, may be temporarily depressed. In this case, there may be thoughts of sex, but the act is not consummated. Poor communication, loss of trust in the other, lack of connection with the partner are all relationship difficulties that interfere with libido.

Stress can be a cause of low libido as well. In our society, stress is everywhere. Job stress, financial pressure, stress due to raising children, the stress of taking care of older parents, stress from environmental toxins all take a great toll on libido.

Addressing Low Libido and Natural Libido Enhancers

When considering natural libido enhancers, it’s important to adopt the appropriate viewpoint. Too many conventionally-trained physicians look at the body as a collection of organs to be approached individually. A much more comprehensive approach is seen in the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) model of a stress response. This model is more likely to lead to successful handling of the root issues behind low libido because of its insistence on viewing the body as a set of interconnected and interrelated systems. natural libido enhancers and stressIn the case of low libido, stress is one of the major causes. The hormonal system is affected greatly with too high levels of estrogen and too low levels of progesterone and testosterone. With increasing and continuing stress, thyroid function slows, resulting in weight gain around the middle of the body. This then leads to issues with the metabolic system, especially the gut. Problems with the gut lead to lowered immune function and increased inflammation. The interaction of these systems leads to symptoms that include low libido. In order to have optimum intervention results, all these systems must be considered at the same time. Some other symptoms result from dysfunction in the neuro-affective system. Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and foggy thinking all originate in this system as it responds to the symptoms in the other systems. The symptoms, that come from stimulation of these systems, are those seen in Adrenal Fatigue. They also are very similar to those seen in women with low libido from any of the other cases discussed above.

Medication Approaches to Low Libido

Dealing with low libido in women typically is approached first by prescribing medications. This choice is one made by conventionally-trained physicians who don’t consider natural libido enhancers.

Medical interventions, of this nature, typically have the highest risk of adverse side effects. They also may be the most costly in the long run. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is the most common way of dealing with low libido. It’s usually quick and fairly intense but also leads to the most serious side effects. The risk of any of the several types of cancer is high. This has been shown in several research studies.

Many healthcare professionals are reconsidering the use of HRT because of the increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer, blood clots, and heart disease.

Estrogen therapy is probably the most frequently used medication approach. One of the side effects of this therapy is a resulting estrogen dominance that significantly reduces testosterone and lowers libido. Oral estrogen, such as that prescribed for HRT, can lead to increased SHBG, and thus lower testosterone. Low libido a result. This being said, Bioidentical hormone replacement ( bHRT), using estrogen along with testosterone, can also be considered.

Lifestyle Changes for Low Libido

Rather than resorting to medication as a method of treating low libido, changing your lifestyle is a better choice. It is one of the natural libido enhancers that shows good results with few if any, unwanted side effects.

Changing your lifestyle is a low-risk way to deal with low libido. However, it requires the most self-discipline. Because of this requirement, the chances of failure are relatively high. What typically happens if a failure occurs is you start off with high expectations, hit a plateau in your changes or fall back into old habits, then you feel guilt and low self-esteem. This then pushes you to give up trying.

natural libido enhancers include your lifestyleBut, some relatively simple lifestyle changes can lead to great benefits in changing hormone levels to more balanced and effective levels. This reduces the symptoms of low libido, AFS, and increases overall health.

Diet is one of the best lifestyle changes you can make. Eating healthy and balanced diets will go far toward your goal of natural libido enhancement. Fill your diet with fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water daily.

Increase foods that contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These foods will help you balance your hormones. In addition to diet, exercise is another key to naturally enhancing your libido. Yoga is an excellent exercise to help achieve this goal.

In every way possible, reduce stress in your life. Your body’s response to stress is a natural thing, but it sets in motion a cascade of responses that can lead to symptoms of AFS, which include low libido among many others. Resolve conflicts you may have in your life, make the active choice to enjoy whatever you do at work, keep your thoughts and speech positive in spite of the negativity around you in the world, do what you can to help others, and remember your spiritual self in the way you choose.


Adrenal Fatigue – Help Yourself – Make Changes

Adrenal fatigue is the result of chronic stress resulting in adrenal insufficiency. Stress, however, need not only be psychological in nature, as environmental, dietary, and physiological factors may all impact the body, and adrenals, as well. This is most notably due to them all resulting in stress and thus the increased production of cortisol.

Increased cortisol production due to stress is a natural, automatic response to stress. It is the result of your body’s ‘fight or flight’ response and governed by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Here, the hypothalamus in the brain perceives a threat, sends a chemical message to the pituitary gland, which, in turn, sends chemical messengers to the adrenals that result in heightened cortisol production. During this time, certain bodily functions are decreased or stopped altogether, as they are not deemed essential for your immediate survival. Once the stressful situation passes, cortisol production returns to normal, and all bodily functions do the same.

The problem lies with chronic stress, which implies a prolonged increase in cortisol production. The different body functions that are decreased or stopped add to the stress, resulting in a cycle that has a negative cascading effect on your entire body. Certain symptoms may manifest, and, as your body moves through the different stages of adrenal fatigue, may intensify, while new symptoms that seem totally unrelated also start to arise. The latter stages of adrenal fatigue see your adrenals start wearing out, and unable to keep up with the huge cortisol demand put on them, finally resulting in adrenal failure. This could, ultimately, lead to death.

  Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue

Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue vary from one person to the next. Amongst these symptoms are included:

  •         Nervousness, anxiety, and depression
  •         Heart palpitations
  •         Dry thin skin and/or hair loss
  •         Alternating constipation and diarrhea
  •         A loss of libido
  •         Getting ill more often and/or infections lasting longer than normal
  •         Weight gain, especially around the waist
  •         Hormone issues
  •         Brain fog
  •         Allergies
  •         Food cravings
  •         Pain in your neck or upper back for no apparent reason
  •         Increases symptoms of PMS
  •         Lightheadedness
  •         Hypoglycemia
  •         Dyspepsia

Ridding yourself of your different stressors may seem the simple solution to the problem, but this is often easier said than done.  There are, however, three things that you can do to support your adrenal glands: take vitamins and supplements, follow the adrenal fatigue diet, and do whatever is possible to manage the stressors. This may sound simple, and it is, to a certain extent, but as ever, when dealing with adrenal fatigue, one also needs to use caution.

Adrenal Fatigue Nutrition

Adrenal fatigue nutrition refers to a diet that aims to support adrenal function. The aim of this type of diet is to help alleviate stress, promote healthy blood pressure, and to increase the healthy vitamins your body sorely needs for addressing the myriad symptoms and a root cause of the condition. Foods typically included in this diet include fish, eggs, lean meat, leafy greens, colorful vegetables, low-sugar fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and healthy fats, i.e. olive oil, coconut oil, and grapeseed oil.

Drinking plenty of water is also important as dehydration may have a negative impact on your stress levels and cause an increase in cortisol production.


Adrenal Fatigue Vitamins and Supplements for Adrenal Fatigue

The ideal situation is one where your food gives you all the nutritional requirements your body needs to keep itself in a state of homeostasis. Various factors that are beyond most people’s control make this impossible. The alternative is to use supplements and vitamins in order for our bodies to function properly.

  •         B Vitamins

Research indicates that Vitamin B complex benefits cell metabolism, your gut, and digestive system while helping to suppress your body’s inflammatory response.

  •         Vitamin C

Vitamin C is not only a powerful antioxidant but is also involved in cortisol production in the adrenal glands. It also plays a role in adrenal recovery.

  •         Vitamin D

Vitamin D is linked to bone health, blood health, immune system regulation, heart health, and hormone production. Deficiencies in this vitamin may contribute towards osteoporosis, a dysfunctional immune system, anemia, a higher risk of contracting a heart disease and have a possible impact on adrenal function regarding its hormone-producing ability.

  •         Vitamin E

Studies show that vitamin E has an impact on the function of the HPA axis, more specifically the communication aspect. The research concludes that, where there is insufficient vitamin E, the different components of the HPA axis either send out incorrect signals or react to received signals in the wrong manner.

  •         Magnesium

A lack of magnesium may result in a range of symptoms common to adrenal fatigue. These include fatigue, depression, insomnia, and muscle cramps.

Take care when supplementing with magnesium because a high dosage may result in digestive issues.

  •         Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish oil. It has numerous benefits for those with adrenal fatigue, as it may counteract a number of symptoms related to the condition. Amongst these are arthritis, skin issues, diabetes, mental dysfunction (e.g. anxiety or depression), and a compromised immune system.

  •         Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogens are things that are natural, such as herbs, that work with your body in order to adapt to certain conditions, such as stress and anxiety, for example, as they mainly target hormone regulation. They also play a positive role in weight control and immune system regulation.

Examples of adaptogenic herbs are Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, and holy basil.

Do be careful when using any herbs, though, as they may have an effect on other pre-existing conditions or have an effect on the use of certain medications.

  •         Licorice root

Licorice root is associated with hormone production and helps to circulate cortisol for a longer period. It can, however, increase blood pressure, so may not be suitable for someone who has hypertension. It should also be avoided by pregnant women with heart, liver, or kidney problems.

  •         Probiotics

Probiotics may be of benefit to adrenal fatigue sufferers who have digestive tract issues. Improved digestion allows for better extraction of essential vitamins and minerals, thereby improving energy levels and hormone production. They also support the immune system, thereby avoiding compromised adrenals from weakening even further.

Do take care when starting on any course of supplements, as many are suitable only for a certain stage of adrenal fatigue. The correct dosage is also of the utmost importance. Besides this, because of the complicated nature of the condition, and the myriad associated symptoms, please consider choosing and using supplements with the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Stress Management

When it comes to stress management, you need to identify your stressors and, if possible, either get rid of or reduce your exposure to them. Furthermore, you need to get a good night sleep. Eight hours or more is usually recommended. Gentle exercise is also an option and includes a long walk, yoga, or even dancing for fun. Getting together with a group of friends and having fun is also great to reduce stress. Lastly, besides trying to stay out of the way of negative people, stop being your own worst enemy. Negative self-talk only adds to the problem.

Irene Colling Boshoff is an ex-educator turned writer. Her interest in the natural health field, more especially adrenal health, came about after a two-year stint battling depression. Becoming addicted to the medications she was on at the time, Irene started exploring the reason for her condition, realizing adrenal fatigue was, to a large extent, the underlying cause and acted on it. She has been off medication for 14 years.

Adrenal fatigue has myriad causes and symptoms associated with it. Because of this, the condition often goes undiagnosed for years, with the medical establishment going to great lengths to treat the different symptoms and not seeking out the root cause. Diet, to a large extent, is a mainstay when it comes to treating adrenal fatigue, although certain vitamins and supplements may also be of great benefit.


Weighted Blanket Benefits: An Emerging Topic

Often in the pursuit of more effective, less expensive ways to remediate illnesses and other conditions, ideas from the past are seen in a new light. That seems to be the case with weighted blanket benefits.

Weighted blankets are based on old ideas such as swaddling infants and on practices that are physically enjoyable for most people, such as hugs. For centuries, deep muscle stimulation in the form of massage has been known to produce benefits in multiple ways. Calming stress-induced muscle tension is one of the most well-known. And, everyone knows the benefits of petting and stroking cats and dogs for bringing pleasurable sensations to both the one being petted and the one doing the petting.

Contrasted with a heavier touch, light touches often bring irritation. Consider a fly landing on your leg. What is the first thing you want to do? Shoo it away, of course. But if your best friend lays a heavy arm across your shoulders, what do you feel? The comfort of that friendship.

Light touching stimulates the body to act. It alerts the nervous system, readying it for action. But heavy touching brings a relaxed and calming effect:

What Are Weighted Blankets?

Weighted blankets are just that: Blankets that are heavier than normal because of the use of plastic poly pellets, like those found in Beany Baby toys. This gives the blankets an evenly-distributed weight that is said to give a calming effect.

The benefits of weighted blankets include improving sleep for those who need it. For kids and adults with a variety of conditions, weight blankets are reported to have a calming effect.

These blankets have traditionally been utilized in occupational therapy efforts for kids who experience sensory disorders, stress, and anxiety.

Initially, the idea for weighted blankets came when the inventor’s daughter placed along Beanie Baby over his shoulders while he was driving. The effect was so pleasing, he ultimately developed a blanket that would give the same effect on the entire body.

Having this kind of weight distributed over the entire body uses the principles behind deep pressure stimulation to bring about a release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These two neurotransmitters exert a calming and relaxing effect when stimulated.

The Science Behind Weighted Blanket Benefits

Much of the information regarding weighted blanket benefits is anecdotal. The science itself is sparse, and some are not particularly rigorous. At least one of the more rigorous studies conducted actually found no significant weighted blanket benefits.

But other studies have found at least enough weighted blanket benefits to justify further studies into the topic. One study examined the safety and efficacy of using weighted blankets for the remediation of anxiety in adults with mental health conditions. Thirty-two adults were involved in this exploratory study. The safety aspects were measured by blood pressure, pulse rate, and pulse oximetry, while the effectiveness was evaluated by using the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory and electrodermal activity. Results indicated the use of weighted blankets to be safe to use in adults. Other results showed a significant decrease in anxiety using the weighted blankets.

These results showed significant weighted blanket benefits and will be used in further research into the clinical use of weighted blankets.

Other research has indicated one of the weighted blanket benefits to be an increase in relaxation through stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The deep touch-pressure induced by weighted blankets is transmitted by the dorsal column system to the thalamus and reticular formation and then to sensory areas in the parietal lobe of the cerebral cortex.

Arousal and Weighted blanket benefitsSome research has shown the reticular formation to be involved in arousal. This function apparently explains the ability of the deep touch-pressure to bring about calm. There are also connections with the limbic system and the dorsal column through the hypothalamus and the anterolateral system. This redundant functionality in the nervous system provides one explanation of this kind of intervention.

Another explanation for the weighted blanket benefits has to do with deep touch-pressure sending sensory information to Purkinje cells in the cerebellum. Because these Purkinje cells contain large amounts of serotonin, they inhibit motor activity by dampening the stimulation of the reticular formation. This makes possible one of the weighted blanket benefits for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Children with ADHD have been found to have lower levels of serotonin in their brains. Thus, an increase in this neurotransmitter would tend to inhibit some of the over-activity found in these children. Naturally increasing the level of serotonin in these children through the use of weighted blankets could be very beneficial.

One small study (with a total of 4 students) measured the practicality, convenience, and efficacy of wearing weighted vests in the classroom. A significant increase in on-task behavior in the classroom with these children was seen. This finding suggests the use of weighted vests in the classroom is potentially beneficial for ADHD children. However, it also suggests the need for continuing research with controls and larger samples.

Another study involving 50 adults investigated the effect of deep touch-pressure through the wearing of weighted vests. Autonomic arousal and performance were studied. Results indicated wearing a weighted vest for even a short time decreased sympathetic arousal and increased parasympathetic arousal at the same time. Significant increases in performance were also seen after wearing the weighted vest. Results strongly suggest that deep-touch pressure brings changes in autonomic arousal. These results also strongly suggest the need for further research to determine the efficacy of this approach in remediation efforts by occupational therapists.



What You Need To Know About Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Adrenal fatigue is caused by chronic stress, whether its source is psychological, such as financial pressure or strained relationships, or physical, such as infections or an unhealthy diet. Although your body is designed to handle stress – with a sophisticated network of organs and systems all working together in what is called the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response – it is definitely not made for constant stress.

Adrenal fatigue treatment is about addressing the root cause (the stressor) while also strengthening and healing the adrenal glands and the NEM so that they can get back to their full capacity and your body is able to rebound from stress once again.

When your adrenals have to work overtime because the stress your body is exposed to has become chronic, their cortisol output will eventually drop, causing Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) and its unpleasant symptoms.

Some of these symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, insomnia, mild depression, anxiety, heart palpitations, sensitivity to certain foods and medications, low libido, hair loss, hypoglycemia, salt and sugar cravings, frequent colds and flu, and general weakness.

As the mainstream medical community does not yet recognize AFS, if you go to your GP with these symptoms, you may get sent home after receiving negative results from tests you have done and with no diagnosis. This is a frustration that many people share at the moment, feeling that they’re unwell yet without any clear answers.

AFS is extremely common, and its recovery doesn’t include the use of conventional medications or treatments. It is a condition that needs to be approached holistically, with a focus on diet, rest, stress management, mild exercise, and the right kinds of supplements.

Step #1: Stress Management In Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Because AFS and the dysregulation of the NEM are caused by chronic stress, your first job is to figure out what the stressor is and see what you can do about it. If it is psychological in nature, can you remove the stressor completely or do you need to develop coping skills to handle it? Have you tried therapy, meditation, support groups, or journaling?

If it is physical in nature, what steps do you need to take to recover or improve this condition? For example, many cases of AFS are caused by chronic inflammation that usually begins in the gut due to an imbalance in the microbiome (dysbiosis) and leaks in the intestinal lining. Taking up an anti-inflammatory diet and eating foods that balance the microbiome are great first steps.

Step #2: Diet In Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Generally speaking, sugar, alcohol, highly processed foods, antibiotics, certain drugs, gluten, saturated and trans fats, and exposure to chemicals and toxins are the usual culprits in dysbiosis and leaky gut. So try to eliminate or cut them down as much as possible. This will already bring down inflammation and give your gut a chance to heal.

Adding probiotic and prebiotic foods and supplements is the next step that can help you seal the leaks and rebalance your microbiome. These include fermented vegetables, bone broth, lots of fiber, raw yogurt, and kefir.

Taking up an adrenal fatigue diet will automatically reduce inflammation and help improve gut and microbiome health because it covers much of the above while also supporting the adrenals. It is all about eating lots of vegetables, low-glycemic index fruits, and lean meats. Nuts, seeds, beans, whole grains, dairy, and eggs are also part of the diet. And using organic sources as much as possible is recommended.

With the adrenal fatigue treatment diet, the timing of meals is almost as important as the content of the meals. Eating small portions more frequently and at the same time, each day helps give your body the constant supply of energy it needs and keeps your blood sugar levels stable. This gives your adrenals the break they need to recuperate while providing them, and the rest of your NEM, with the nutrition necessary to rebuild them.

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

Step #3: Rest And Sleep In Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

When you have AFS, you need to get as much rest and good quality sleep as you can. It is not the time to try and force yourself to work or function at full capacity. To give yourself the best chance at getting a full night’s rest, you can take a few simple steps.

First of all, don’t use your electronic devices at least two hours before bed. Or if you must, use a blue-light blocking filter or glasses. Then, eat a light snack before bed, such as a few nuts, so that you don’t get up in the middle of the night from a hypoglycemic episode. Also, keep your room cool and dark, and, if at all possible, don’t turn the lights on if you need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, use a night-light instead.

Step #4: Exercise In Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

In the beginning of your adrenal fatigue treatment, you’ll want to do very mild forms of exercise, if any at all. You can begin with adrenal breathing and light stretching, and stay very aware of how you feel throughout. Never push yourself. As you get stronger, you can try adrenal yoga exercises, and then move onto toning and strengthening exercises. Just be cautious, as overdoing physical activity when your adrenals are weak can lead to a crash and a longer recovery period.

Step #5: Supplements In Adrenal Fatigue Treatment

This is the trickiest step of adrenal fatigue treatment and so we highly recommend that you don’t experiment by yourself. It is best to get guidance from an experienced professional on what supplements to take for your particular condition and the stage of AFS you’re in.

Generally speaking, supplements will do one of two jobs: fill in any nutritional holes left from not eating a well-rounded diet, or use herbs and supplements in therapeutic doses to give you an extra push. Adaptogens, such as ashwagandha and Rhodiola, can sometimes be used to help your body adapt better to stress, and adrenal glandulars can sometimes provide a boost for your adrenal fatigue treatment if diet and rest are not enough.

Again, you want to be very careful here because taking different supplements together can lead to negative reactions, and some supplements can have a paradoxical effect on your condition, worsening it instead of improving it.