play with your food

Why Your Low Carb Diet Isn't Working

Photo credit:  Mali Maeder

Photo credit: Mali Maeder

 

Many of our clients come to us on low carb diets.

Actually, they come to us on high protein diets.

Here’s what happens.

Toby comes to see us and says he wants to lose weight and improve his blood sugar levels.

He tells us he’s been on a low carb diet to help him reach his goals. We review his diet history and it reads something like this:
 
Breakfast: Bacon, eggs
Lunch: 2 large chicken breasts, small green salad
Dinner: Meatballs, sautéed broccoli and cauliflower
Daily snacks: Protein bar, hardboiled eggs, sometimes cheese, meat jerky
 
To Toby, low carb meant high protein.

Toby did lose some weight in the beginning on this diet, but then that weight loss plateaued, he ended up putting the weight back on, and without veering from his diet plan.

He also couldn’t figure out is why his blood sugar levels didn’t improve, because he knew that carbs are what increase blood sugar levels, and he wasn’t eating any.
 
Your body uses protein to build structures like enzymes, cells, tissues, and organs. You don’t store protein in your body like you do fats and carbs.

This is why it is important to eat quality sources of protein daily, and typically you need more than what government guidelines recommend, especially when your body needs to heal from health problems like gut dysfunction, skin rashes, autoimmune disease, thyroid problems, and for weight loss.
 
The flip side of this is when you have enough protein to maintain all the necessary building your body is doing, the extra gets disposed of, and one way is that it is used in a process called gluconeogenesis.

Gluco (glucose) – neo (new) – genesis (creating) – so we are talking about making glucose from a new source that’s not from carbs, which is where glucose typically comes from. That source can be the amino acids resulting from the breakdown of protein.

This is one way your body fights starvation. It raises glucose levels in the blood stream, and therefore insulin levels. This leads to weight gain over time, and blood sugar dysregulation.

By the way, glucose is a primary fuel your body uses to make energy so you stay alive. Because your body needs it so badly, there are a variety of ways your body can biohack things to make sure there’s enough of it. One of those ways is by using extra protein.

Overtime this process can result in the very problems you are trying to avoid in the first place like weight gain, blood sugar problems, insulin resistance, and diabetes.

That’s what happened with Toby. He had been following a high protein diet for several years. He did lose weight at first, however it came back on and just stayed there. He was also insulin resistant, heading towards diabetes.
 
We made some changes in his diet, conducted some functional testing so that we could tailor our interventions to the unique needs of his body, and got him on a customized supplement protocol.

Toby also was 100% responsible for his health outcomes. He followed the plan, was patient, and consistent. This is what it takes to succeed. You have to put in the work.

It’s not easy. You can do it, just like Toby did.

We are here to guide you.

This multi-pronged, committed approach is what it takes to get the results you want, and to maintain them.

With our interventions, Toby was able to maintain a weight he was happy with and balance his blood sugar levels. He experienced a variety of other benefits too including improved digestion, lower cholesterol levels, better sleep and more energy.

Are you ready to become our next success story? Book your introductory consultation with me!

A Functional Medicine Approach to Addressing Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that targets the skin, and plaques that result commonly appear on the elbows, knees or scalp. The plaques can however show up on any part of the body.

 

Normally your body will produce new skin cells and shed old ones every 28-30 days. With psoriasis, your immune system is in overdrive, leading to skin inflammation, causing skin cell turnover to occur much faster than normal. Instead of taking 28-30 days for skin cells to turnover, new cells are pushed to the surface in just 3-4 days. Because your body can’t shed the old, dead cells as fast, they pile up and begin to form thick, red, itchy, flaky, scaly patches referred to as plaques. Some people report burning and stinging from the plaques. 

 

Conventional medicine looks at psoriasis as a skin condition, however it’s important to know that it actually starts underneath the skin and is a chronic disease of the immune system (as are other autoimmune conditions).

 

Because imbalances of the immune system are involved, we must look for underlying causes of why this is occurring. If we do not address the underlying cause, it is left to persist, and it will cause additional problems over time.

 

While the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, there are a variety of factors involved that when occur together result autoimmunity, and in some people, the symptoms of psoriasis. 

 

Autoimmunity is the result of a genetic component, an environmental trigger, and impaired gut function. Environmental triggers can include stress, diet and nutrient deficiency, food allergies and food sensitivities, medications, and toxins for example. Impaired gut function may be due to inadequate digestion and absorption (which can lead to nutrient deficiency), imbalances and infections of the gut microbiome (which is your gut bacteria, and may be referred to as dysbiosis), and increased gut permeability (which is commonly referred to as leaky gut). 

 

While we can’t change our genetics, we can identify and work to eliminate environmental triggers and address impaired gut health, and thus bring psoriasis (and other autoimmune conditions) into remission in a natural, holistic manner.

 

From a functional and clinical nutrition standpoint, the search for the cause of immune system dysregulation begins in the gut. Up to 80% of our immune system is located in our gut microbiome. Therefore imbalances in our gut microbiome can have far reaching effects on our overall health.

 

Psoriasis is associated with differences in the gut microbiome when compared to the microbiomes of healthy individuals without psoriasis. These differences can adversely impact the immune system by triggering specific, inflammatory immune responses. Interactions between the gut microbiome and the immune system therefore suggest the composition of the microbiome represents a therapeutic target for managing psoriasis.

 

In addition to the composition of the microbiome and the role it plays in psoriasis, increased intestinal permeability is involved, and this connection has been known for decades. In this scenario, inflammation in the gut (which can arise from a variety of factors including food allergies and food sensitivities, and gut dysbiosis for example) causes the normally tight junctions between the cells of the intestinal walls to loosen. When this occurs food particles and toxins from bacteria are allowed to inappropriately enter the blood stream. Once there, the body identifies them as invaders (because they are not supposed to be there) and mounts an immune response. As long as gut inflammation and subsequent leaky gut persist, the immune system will be chronically stimulated, leading to autoimmune conditions, like psoriasis.

 

There are a variety of nutrient deficiencies common in skin conditions such as psoriasis, including omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin B2, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin DEating foods that are rich in these nutrients, and other nutrients that are important for skin health is paramount for healthy skin.

 

While “medicine deficiency does not cause psoriasis, nutritional deficiency might.”

 

Adequate detoxification is also important because toxin build up that cannot be excreted via normal routes (through the liver and bowels for example) can make its way out through the skin causing flares in skin conditions. 

 

In addition to addressing the gut microbiome, the skin has its own microbiome that needs to be addressed, and the skin microbiome also plays a role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis.

 

Addressing psoriasis, other autoimmune conditions, or any chronic condition you may have that has not resolved with conventional means involves some important considerations that include the following: 

 

  • Taking into account your biochemistry, and uncovering the root cause of imbalances that may be contributing to your health problems. This is the functional medicine approach. All of the systems in your body are connected. When one is not functioning optimally and the root cause is left to persist, it can adversely affect other systems, creating a domino effect of illness and disease. Medications mask symptoms, leaving us unaware of the continued damage that is occurring within. Functional nutrition is the core of functional medicine and can help you reach optimal health with natural means.
  • Keep in mind we aren't just what we eat. We are what our bodies can do with what we eat. Rather than only making sure you are eating right, we need to make sure your body can digest, absorb and use nutrients from the foods you eat. Your diet may be stellar, but if your body can't use those nutrients, your perfect diet doesn't matter much. For example, impaired digestion can cause dysbiosis, leaky gut, and nutrient deficiencies, among other issues.
  • Nutrient supplementation can be a key factor for improving overall metabolic function, and therefore it can positively impact the issues you are experiencing. Often, due to long standing deficiency and imbalances, the addition of supplemental nutrients can help restore metabolic processes to their optimal state.
  • Too often, our conventional lab results are "normal" yet we still don't feel well.  While labs may appear "normal" for conventional medical practice, they can be far from optimal and therefore underlying dysfunction can be causing your symptoms. This underlying dysfunction is where our opportunity lies to improve your health.
  • Exercise, getting enough sleep, and stress management are examples of lifestyle factors that play a major role in your overall health.

 

As you may have noticed, these factors are not typically considered in conventional medical practice. This is why a functional approach can produce results, where conventional interventions often fall flat. 

 

For assistance with identifying your root causes and developing a customized protocol for your unique biochemistry to address your psoriasis (or other autoimmune conditions), contact me today!

 

Ready to get started? Click here to schedule your 30-minute strategy session with me.

 

Not ready to work together longer term and want to pick my brainClick here to set up your wellness coaching session with me!


 
"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
 
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 

Do you need to take supplements? And if so, which ones?

Photo credit:  pixabay.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com

 

In functional medicine, we focus on natural ways to improve our health. That means food first. The functional medicine approach looks for the underlying causes of disease and illness and addresses it in order to improve health status. Health begins in the gut and often the underlying cause of what ails us is digestive and metabolic dysfunction.

 

Functional medicine practitioners use nutrient supplements, along with food, in clinical practice as the primary tools of treatment.

 

I've been asked, can't food be enough? After all, as a clinical nutritionist the expectation is that I'm going to create a diet plan to make you feel better. Yes! This is part of what I do. 

 

Sometimes, food isn't enough. This can happen as we age and bodily processes slow down and need a little extra help, when we have a functional deficit in a metabolic pathway, when our hormones become imbalanced, and when our guts aren't functioning the way they're supposed to. These are just some examples of when we may need a little more than what even the best, most thought through food plan can provide.

 

Our every day lives expose us to stress, environmental toxins, and lack of physical activity. We also experience inadequate exposure to sunlight, and many other problems associated with the 'conveniences' of Western society.

 

It is for these reasons that we can benefit from supplementing our healthful diets with extra nutrients. Some can help support metabolic pathways and therefore the biochemical reactions that make our bodies run. Others help support our immune system and combat oxidative stress and inflammation, two causes of chronic and complex disease.

 

I do believe that most of us can benefit from taking certain supplements. 

 

To learn more about my take on specific supplement recommendations, and for access to professional grade ones --> click here <--.

 

Nutrient supplements are not medications. Prescription medications work by altering metabolic pathways, and even sometimes by shutting them down. All of the processes in our body are connected. When one is interrupted it can affect all others leading to chronic and complex disease. Nutrient supplements provide fuel (just as food can, when all else is in balance) for these processes to help them run. This is the difference between conventional medicine and the functional approach. 

 

So, are nutrient supplements necessary, and can't we get everything we need from food? My answers are yes, and maybe not. 

 

Most of us know what a healthy diet should look like. When you are following a healthful eating plan and are still having symptoms that can't be explained or tied to anything in particular, this is when food may not be enough. If this sounds familiar I can help you get to the bottom of it.

 

To contact me --> click here <--.

 

If you're ready for a strategy session with me --> click here <--.

 

Are you looking for general information and just want to pick my brain? --> click here <--.

 

 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

MTHFR. WTH?

What the _ _ _ _ is MTHFR? I've found myself explaining this to several clients recently.

 

I felt like I had a never-ending influx of clients with skin problems, and now MTHFR is popping up.  There are some connections, because of course things are always connected. If you've been following me you're probably aware of this!

 

We tend to look at our symptoms as isolated problems, and this is why we don’t get better. Our symptoms are our body’s attempt to tell us something is wrong. Instead of listening to our bodies, we shut them up with medications.  All this does is mask symptoms, allowing underlying dysfunction to continue. Until we address it, deterioration continues, and now we are unaware this is happening because symptoms are covered up… until new symptoms pop up. And they will, because remember everything is connected, and that underlying dysfunction is still present and still causing further deterioration. 

 

MTHFR is a gene that makes an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme is involved in what are called methylation reactions, which act like a switch turning things on and off in your body. These reactions are needed to process amino acids to make proteins, for RNA and DNA synthesis, detoxification, breaking down histamine, and much more.

 

This enzyme is necessary for chemical reactions that use vitamin B9, which is folate, or folic acid (the synthetic version of folate). It converts folic acid into a form that can be used by your body (methylfolate). Vitamins B12 and B6 are also important for methylation reactions, in particular converting homocysteine into methionine (something we want to have happen).

 

When MTHFR isn’t working, these reactions are interrupted and a wide range of problems can result, including those associated with a deficiency of these B vitamins.

 

If you have MTHFR and take supplements, it is important to avoid folic acid. You want to take the appropriate, activated forms of these B vitamins, and eat foods that naturally contain them.

 

To learn more about nutrients that support methylation and foods they are in --> click here <-- to access my therapeutic diet for methylation.

 

Folate is absolutely necessary for a healthy nervous system, normal growth and development (this is why women are instructed to take supplemental folic acid when of childbearing age, as the fetus needs it to grow and develop normally) and forming red blood cells. Symptoms of folate deficiency are many and can include:

 

  • Anemia

  • Cracks in the corners of the mouth

  • Red, sore tongue

  • Irritability

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Forgetfulness

  • Lack of concentration

  • Mental confusion

  • Insomnia

  • Anxiety

  • Dizziness

  • Headaches

  • Muscle weakness

  • Numbness in legs

  • Difficulty in walking

  • Cramps

  • Digestive problems

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Hypoglycemia

  • Birth defects

  • Gout

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Diabetes

  • Poor appetite

 

Symptoms of folate deficiency are similar to B12 deficiency. In fact, treating folate deficiency alone can mask the symptoms of B12 deficiency. This is a serious problem because B12 deficiency can cause irreversible neurological and nerve damage. GET TESTED!

 

There are different forms of the MTHFR mutation, and depending on which you have it may cause more severe problems. Problems associated with MTHFR may include:

 

  • Elevated homocysteine (associated with an increased risk for heart disease)

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Autoimmune disorders

  • Thyroid disorders

  • Migraine

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome

  • Problems with fertility and pregnancy

  • And more…

 

What's the connection between MTHFR and skin? Itchy skin for example, is often associated with histamine reactions. Histamine is released by cells in your immune system when there is a trigger. Histamine is responsible for allergy-like symptoms we get, and this is why anti-histamines are prescribed and work to keep allergy symptoms under control, including itching. This means that excess histamine can lead to uncontrollable allergy symptoms, including itching.

 

Histamine is broken down by methylation. If methylation isn’t working, you can have excess histamine, and symptoms associated with it (like itching). Histamine is made in the body naturally, and it’s also found in a variety of foods. When histamine coming in exceeds histamine going out, which is more common in those with MTHFR, symptoms can result and persist.

 

Also, folic acid increases histamine levels, and methylfolate degrades it. Deficiency of methylfolate leads to high levels of histamine, and those with MTHFR are very often deficient.

 

What to do? If you have symptoms like those mentioned and can’t seem to figure out why, getting checked for MTHFR is a good idea. You can also check your homocysteine levels, and there are indicators of B12 and B9 deficiency (or sufficiency) that can be found in a CBC (complete blood count).

 

It’s also important to work with a qualified health practitioner (like a functional and clinical nutritionist) who can help guide you through necessary testing, diet, lifestyle and supplement interventions customized for your biochemistry. Diet plays a large role in managing the affects MTHFR can have on your body, beyond just B vitamins, and addressing these factors can put you back on track to feeling better!

 

Health behavior change is NOT fun or easy, and it's NOT about your willpower.

I bet you know this already, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this. Making health behavior changes is HARD. It can even feel impossible.

 

A poll from 2010 found that only about 16% of adults reported successful health-related improvements. Of that 16%, 20% had improvements in weight loss, 15% started a regular exercise program, 10% improved their diets, and 7% reduced stress levels (1). Given this started with 16%, these are very small numbers!

 

Of those polled that sought to start their new year on a positive note by making changes like these, 78% of them who made health related resolutions noted significant obstacles that prevented them from meeting their goals. These obstacles included willpower, simply making changes, and being under too much stress to change (1).

 

These numbers are from 8 years ago, and in that time chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases have continued to rise in prevalence, signifying our challenges for getting healthy persist.

 

Making lifestyle and health behavior changes does not happen overnight.

 

It’s also not about willpower, even though we tend to blame our lack of it for failing to meet our goals.

 

The cards are stacked against us as we are bombarded with messages from the media to eat this and not that, look like this to be happy and successful, work harder faster and longer because that’s what success is all about… and much much more.

 

THIS mentality is what the problem is. Those that profit have brilliantly crafted a society in which they continue to profit, leaving the rest of us unhealthy, exhausted, and ready to give up.

 

There is another way.

 

Last week I divulged some of my personal health problems, and shared part of my journey with you. I say some and part because to be honest, I’m still working on piecing together the puzzle of my story for myself.

 

As I continue to heal, I’ll share more along the way. Writing about it and sharing it with you is certainly part of my healing process, so thank you for being a part of it, and sharing my journey with me.

 

Identifying the root causes leading to my rock bottom moment in urgent care isn’t easy. In part because there are so many (I mean countless) reasons why things took that nasty, yet faithful turn leading up to that event in 2016.

 

Often we have to hit our lowest low before we wake up and make changes. Change is awful, and it is less scary than feeling awful because at least we have become familiar with (therefore comfortable with) feeling like ass. 

 

We think we’ll change when we are ready. We are never really ready. Something just happens that gives us no choice. I’m thankful for that.

 

If I didn’t hit that bottom, today I might still be in a job that made me miserable. I’d still be starving myself leaving me completely obsessed with food and eating and therefore completely NOT present in all my interactions with others (business, personal, etc.). Those that know me well were even surprised to hear this part of it. Honest truth right now… it makes me sad and regretful that I missed out on so much of my life. Sure I’ve had great times, great experiences, a successful career, BUT I never enjoyed any of it like I could have had I addressed my health problems from the get go instead of letting them progress and take over my life.

 

Maybe I should have gone into acting. I played it all off so well in spite of how horrible I felt ALL THE TIME.

 

Of course I didn’t talk about all of this because if I did I knew I’d have to change my behavior and I wasn’t ready to do that. I never would have been ready so the universe created the perfect storm of situations (or really I likely manifested it all myself and the universe simply provided what I was unconsciously asking for, yes I believe in this stuff).

 

The good news is you don’t have to hit rock bottom. You don’t have to be forced to change.

 

You can take the bull by the horns and decide you’ve had enough. It’s time to be the version of you that you know you can be. The version of you the world deserves to see. We are each granted gifts that we are meant to share with the world. That’s why we are here. Denying your truth by remaining trapped in your uncomfortable comfort zone (funny how our comfort zones are actually our most uncomfortable places, think about it) is denying others the benefits of your true gifts.

 

Start your journey now, before you are forced to. You can make that decision. You have the power to change your life, to feel as good as you know you should, and to beat that rock bottom moment to the punch.

 

I can help guide you on your journey. I'd be honored to share it with you! To get started, schedule your strategy session via the button below. I'm looking forward to talking to you!

 

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link to them!

You feel like SH*T more often than not and can't figure out why. I've been there too.

I’m glad you're here because I understand how it feels to be frustrated about not feeling well, and not being able to figure out why.

Like you, I’ve been to doctor after doctor, trying to ‘treat’ what was wrong with me, and nothing was working. Lab tests were even normal, I ate healthy food, exercised, did everything I was supposed to be doing, yet I knew something was wrong, because I didn’t feel well and my body just seemed to be deteriorating.

Finally, I figured out the problem. I was being treated for various symptoms, but the underlying problem was still there, festering, and continuing to wreak havoc on my body. No one was trying to determine WHY this was happening to me.

Once I began addressing WHY I wasn’t feeling well, instead of just focusing on the outward symptoms, things significantly improved.

For more than 15 years, I could not leave my house (thankfully I was working from home) after eating lunch because I’d experience horrible issues with IBS-D.

Diarrhea, gas, bloating, depression and anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, a stressful career (a big part of my healing was removing myself from that environment, and venturing out on my own to focus full time on my passion and career as a clinical nutritionist in 2017)… all led to my severe need to control something, anything, which turned into controlling what I ate.

Not to mention I was afraid to eat because every time I did, I’d experience gut issues, and literally not be able to leave the house for hours after a meal, and it went on for so long, it even seemed normal to me, this was my routine and my life.

In June of 2016, I thought I had a horrible flu. The urgent care doctor looked at me, and the pieces started to fall together… I was down to 98 pounds. My body was literally starving.

Talk about a wake up call. It was time to change. Time to change the way I took care of my body (I clearly completely had been neglecting taking care of myself while working to help others, talk about a wake up call), and time to change how I managed my health.

Enter the functional medicine approach to health. I have been able to identify and address underlying issues that were plaguing me all these years, and you know what, I CAN GO OUT TO LUNCH AND NOT PANIC THAT I’M GOING TO NEED TO BE NEAR A BATHROOM 30 minutes to 1 hour later (it was like clockwork).

I no longer need to schedule my food intake around my life activities. I literally would just not eat because I didn’t want to for fear of the outcome, and didn’t have time to end up in the bathroom for hours.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit not every day is perfect, far from it.

There are aspects of it all that I will need to work on likely for the rest of my life.

Healing is a process and often physical healing takes place more quickly than mental and emotional healing. Time heals ALL wounds.

Patience and persistence with protocols, and with ourselves as we navigate the muddy waters of healing are integral parts of the process.

It's messy, it's uncomfortable, and it's scary. It's also worth the benefits a billion times over. 

This is why I understand what you are going through, whether it’s gut issues or any other issue that hasn’t been resolved, because no one is looking for the WHY.

No one is addressing your health issues by taking into account your mind, body and spirit. A holistic approach is needed.

I’m a bulldog detective and use my strong knowledge of biochemistry and nutrition to tirelessly research and connect the dots to determine WHY.

I've also been in your shoes, and I understand the emotional, mental and spiritual components involved. 

You don’t have to do this alone anymore. I can help. My personal journey gives me a deep level of compassion and empathy for what you are going through. 

My path in life is to help you, because I know how.

As a team, we can fill in the blanks and determine the root cause of your problems, and develop a plan to help you reach your health and wellness goals.

If you’re ready to start getting the help you need, schedule your 30 minute strategy session with me. 

During our session we will talk about your health challenges, and the clues that have been overlooked to find the root cause of your problems. After our session, you'll have an understanding of how you can start to put the pieces of your health back together. We’ll also determine if I’m the right person for you to work with on a deeper level to finally heal your body, and discuss how that works.

>>>>>WORK WITH ME<<<<<

I'm looking forward to talking to you, and learning how I can help you reach your health and wellness goals!

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link to them!

They don’t want your skin to look better

As you sit there mid-flare in pain, unable to stop scratching, and miserable wondering why you can’t make your skin rashes go away…

 

The reason is pretty clear → $24 Billion Dollars

 

That’s how much the skin care industry makes from the creams, ointments, and lotions “specifically formulated for extremely dry skin”.

 

The industry intentionally formulates these products to work “just well enough” to appear helpful so you keep buying them.

 

Making you a “loyal” customer (ahem… a “cash cow”) for 5… 10… 20… even 30 years!

 

Your desperation to make the rashes stop and manage your symptoms translates to a big pay day (for them).

 

See, they’ve rigged the skin rash game against you.

 

And they’ve spent a lot of money to make you think that THEY are the only solution out there.

 

If you’re wondering why your doctor isn’t advocating for you or offering you better options, it will probably surprise you to learn that they too are on the take.

 

In 2014, Big Pharma paid dermatologists $34 Million dollars in “consulting fees”.

 

And in turn, your dermatologist gives you “solutions” formulated by Big Pharma and the skin care industry that aren’t really solutions at all.

 

They’re merely band-aids...

 

To tide you over while managing your symptoms.

 

And that’s the whole point here. To keep you as a “cash cow”, they won’t heal your skin rash or even formulate products that would solve the symptoms because doing so would negatively impact their shareholders’ stock reports.

 

So there’s ZERO incentive for them to offer you actual solutions that work.

 

Since you now understand how twisted this whole system is, I want to suggest something that they never will…

 

You’ve got to focus on healing your skin from the inside out.

 

To do so, you need to look deeper than the symptoms and flares. There are root causes that lie underneath your skin rashes and perpetuate the vicious cycle.

 

By addressing your own unique root causes, you can finally stop the flares and rashes for good.

 

Here’s the top 15 Root Causes for your skin problems I eluded to last week...

 

  1. Leaky Gut Syndrome (including gut infections, gut dysbiosis, and gut dysfunction)

  2. Genetic SNPs

  3. Thyroid dysfunction

  4. Hormone imbalances

  5. Heavy Metal Exposure

  6. Food triggers (beyond the common ones you’ve heard of like gluten, dairy, and eggs)

  7. Nutrient Deficiencies

  8. Environmental Allergies

  9. Skin Microbiome Disruption

  10. Immune System & Inflammation Pathway Activation

  11. Chronic Stress

  12. Past Trauma

  13. Liver Detoxification Challenges

  14. Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  15. Environmental and Chemical Toxin Exposures

 

Bet you never heard of most of these mentioned at your dermatologist’s office!

 

Most people have 4 to 6 Root Causes, on average.

 

Sarah, for example, struggled with psoriasis for most of her life and was desperate to try anything… even immunosuppressants. But before going that route, she decided to see what else could be triggering her symptoms.

 

It turned out that she had candida overgrowth and a gut infection with low stomach acid. As a result, her gut was leaky. Plus, her mitochondria weren’t generating energy properly, she had PTSD from living in NYC during 9/11, and her thyroid function was low.

 

And then Katherine had such terrible eczema on her hands that she couldn’t wear her wedding rings anymore, let alone touch anything without wearing gloves. Her skin had become so fragile from steroid creams, that it would crack and break open leaving her constantly in pain.

 

After some testing, she discovered that she had a genetic SNP that predisposed her skin to struggle with moisture retention. And she had a number of food and chemical sensitivities, disrupted skin microbiome where the eczema rashes were located, and nutrient deficiencies that made it hard for her body to make healthy, new skin.

 

So you can see, everyone has their own unique bundle of root causes that fuel the rashes.

 

How many root causes do you have?

 

Once you identify what your root causes are, you can then get to work.

 

The truth is, addressing your root causes makes all the difference between those who end up healing their skin rashes from the inside out and everyone else who keeps trying all those external bandaids.

 

That’s why I’m excited for my friend Jen and her mission to empower you to put a stop to your skin rashes with her upcoming Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week! 

 

She’s committed herself to bringing together the best minds in the integrative industry to share actual “root cause” solutions instead of bandaids.

 

Register today and grab your spot for this eye opening event, you won't want to miss it!

 

Mark your calendar, Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week runs from April 16-22, 2018, and my talk about eczema food triggers is on April 19!

 

My interview with Jen was amazing. We covered:

 

  • Healthy foods that often trigger eczema that you'd never guess
  • How to test for unconventional food triggers so you know what to avoid
  • Chemicals found in plant and animal foods that can drive a flare

 

Here’s just a few of her other hot conversations you won’t want to miss…

 

  • Autoimmune Approach to Reversing The Root Causes of Eczema

  • What Your Dermatologist Isn't Telling You About Clearing Up Your Skin

  • Vital Nutrients For Clear Skin (That Everyone With Rashes Is Deficient In)

  • Hidden Eczema Food Triggers No One Talks About

  • Ugly Truth About Skincare Products & Why They Make Your Rashes Worse

  • Hidden Inflammatory Triggers Driving Psoriasis (And How To Stop Them)

  • How Undiagnosed Gut Infections Fuel & Trigger Chronic Skin Rashes

 

Plus, Jen is going to give away over $2000 in some of the best natural products out there to support you on your journey!

 

It’s totally free to participate in this week-long online event →

 

>>> CLICK HERE TO REGISTER <<< 

 

When you confirm your seat, she’ll also email you a beautiful 95-page digital cookbook to help you start rebuilding healthier skin at every meal!

 

I’ll be there… will you?

 

 

 

 

YES, I plan on attending, click here to register!

 

Make sure to get your hands on my ebook, it’s called Eczema Food Triggers Addressing Eczema From The Inside Out. It in you’ll learn about 10 different ‘chemicals’ found in natural, healthy foods that can cause some people’s eczema to flare up. You’ll also learn why this can happen, and what can be done about it. Here’s a hint, it isn’t all about diet, and it isn’t as simple as just removing triggering foods from your diet.

 

You can download my Eczema Food Triggers Cheat Sheet for free. --> click here <-- to get your free PDF document.

 

To get your hands on the ebook --> click here <--!

 

To work with me to resolve your skin problems --> click here <-- and schedule your 30 minute strategy session today!

 

To learn more, or if you have general questions, contact me --> click here <--

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist


 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link and invite them to join!

 

Reasons Your Skin Rashes Keep Coming Back

Photo credit:  icon0.com

Photo credit: icon0.com

Does your skin feel like it's this miserable?

 

Have you ever wondered why your skin rashes never actually go away?

 

They flare and then almost resolve…

 

But they’re never fully gone.

 

No matter the treatment, you know that the next flare is headed your way.

 

You just don’t know when or what will trigger it.

 

I think you deserve the truth here. From everything I know about health, the approach to managing chronic skin rashes like Eczema and Psoriasis is backwards.

 

It overly relies on band-aids (that might work for now).

 

These band-aid approaches fail because they never address your unique hidden root causes driving the rashes in the first place.

 

See, the redness, pain, cracking, itching, weeping, scaly dryness… they’re all just symptoms.

 

To rebuild healthier skin, you’ve got to address what’s causing the symptoms (which is where the conventional approach falls short).

 

If you didn’t know… there are 15 root causes of chronic skin rashes (stay tuned to learn more about these root causes).

 

{hint -- it’s not from a steroid cream deficiency!}

 

I’d like you to meet my friend Jennifer Fugo, a clinical nutritionist, is also a Skin Rash Expert who put her own debilitating eczema into remission. She’s created an awareness week to explore these various root causes and more…

 

  • How hormone dysfunction directly impacts your skin and leads to non-stop flares

  • The many hidden and undiscussed food triggers (and how to figure out which ones actually bother you)

  • Stories of personal triumph and inspiration to keep you motivated and regain your confidence

  • What tests your doctor probably doesn’t even know about to figure out your root causes

  • Key macro- and micro-nutrients that you MUST have in your diet (or your skin will never heal)

  • Unconventional strategies that can break the flare-cycle for good and stop the itching

 

The first ever 100% online Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week starts April 16. Mark your calendar and click here to register for this free online event!
 

Jen and I sat down to talk about eczema food triggers, and my interview was amazing. You can listen to it on April 19! We covered:
 

  • Healthy foods that often trigger eczema that you'd never guess

  • How to test for unconventional food triggers so you know what to avoid

  • Chemicals found in plant and animal foods that can drive a flare

 

Catch my interview (and those of my colleagues) during the event! It will run April 16-22, 2018, so mark your calendars and click here to register, it's free to watch and listen!


Plus, there’s a giveaway of over $2,000 in some of the best natural products out there to support you on your healing journey!


When you register, you also get a 95-page cookbook for healthy skin recipes, too.


I’ll be there… will you?


Register today! You won't want to miss this event.
 

To learn more about eczema food triggers, get your hands on my ebook, it’s called Eczema Food Triggers Addressing Eczema From The Inside Out. It in you’ll learn about 10 different ‘chemicals’ found in natural, healthy foods that can cause some people’s eczema to flare up. You’ll also learn why this can happen, and what can be done about it. Here’s a hint, it isn’t all about diet, and it isn’t as simple as just removing triggering foods from your diet.

 

You can download my Eczema Food Triggers Cheat Sheet for free. --> click here <-- to get your free PDF document.

 

To get your hands on the ebook --> click here <--!

 

No matter if you eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea, or undiagnosed chronic rashes, this event could be the thing that hands you the missing pieces to stop the rashes for good.  

 

If you’re tired of all the band-aids but don’t know what else to do, please sign up for the online event, and give yourself the gift of gaining clear, healthy skin (you don’t have to worry about anymore).

 

To work with me to resolve your skin problems --> click here <-- and schedule your 30 minute strategy session today!

 

To learn more, or if you have general questions, contact me --> click here <--

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this post and invite them to join!

Got Skin Problems? You Are Not Alone - Read These Statistics!

We're keeping the subject skin related this week as I gear up (along with an impressive list of my colleagues) for the first ever, 100% online Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week (April 16 - 22, 2018)! 

 

Here are some staggering and downright frightening statistics you must read:

 

  • Eczema & Psoriasis are both immune driven (or autoimmune) diseases.

  • 31.6 million Americans have eczema

  • Worldwide, about 20 percent of children and up to 3 percent of the adult population have some form of eczema

  • 3% of world population have psoriasis, and 2% of US population has been diagnosed

  • ⅓ - ⅔ of kids and young people have some sort of food allergy who have eczema

  • Eczema is more common in women versus men while psoriasis seems to affect men and women equally

  • Unlike eczema, psoriasis tends to appear later in life than eczema with initial onset in either your 20s or 50s.

  • 66% of people with Eczema are on a restricted diet

  • Isolation and bullying are realities for many children with eczema

  • Quality of life is lower due to a drop in productivity

  • “Eczema has the highest effect on disability-associated life years for patients with skin diseases worldwide.” (source)

  • Those with eczema have higher risks of developing asthma, depression, anxiety, and skin infections. (source)

  • Eczema sufferers miss more work, go to the doctors more often, and pay more out-of-pocket expenses compared to someone without eczema. (source)

  • Psoriasis quality of life surveys have found that >50% of sufferers have had their physical activities affected as well as >50% experience social relationship disruptions. (source)

  • Biologics to treat eczema are ridiculously expensive especially as patients see their deductibles on the rise. Dupixent/Dupilumab comes in at $37,000/year and Humira and Embrel clock in at $50,000/year each. And yes, these drugs all come with side effects. (source)

  • In 2014, dermatologists were paid $34 million dollars by Big Pharma. (source)

  • Eczema’s treatment options before moving to biologic drugs includes “topical medications, steroid creams, moisturizers and ultraviolet light, plus antihistamines.” (source)

 

For that impressive list of my colleagues I'm fortunate to be able to share 'the stage' with, check out the schedule and don't forget to mark your calendars!
 

Screen Shot 2018-04-02 at 10.44.39 AM.png

 


Here are just a few of the talks and topics you won’t want to miss:

  • Autoimmune Approach To Reversing The Root Causes of Eczema - Dr. Stephanie Davis
  • What Your Dermatologist Isn't Telling You About Clearing Up Your Skin - Dr. Trevor Cates
  • Elimination Diets And Vital Nutrients For Clear Skin - Laura Schoenfeld
  • How Birth Control Pills Trigger Chronic Skin Rashes - Dr. Jolene Brighten
  • Stop The Skin Rash Flares By Looking In Your Gut - Dr. Michael Ruscio
  • Hidden Eczema Food Triggers No One Talks About - Jennifer Brand
  • Hidden Food (And Environmental) Skin Rash Triggers - Liz Wolfe
  • SIBO & Psoriasis: The Overlooked Trigger You Need To Know About - Shivan Sarna


I've said it before and I'll say it again, skin health is rooted in gut health, and I can help you work your way to better skin!

 

Don't forget about my ebook, it’s called Eczema Food Triggers Addressing Eczema From The Inside Out. It in you’ll learn about 10 different ‘chemicals’ found in natural, healthy foods that can cause some people’s eczema to flare up. You’ll also learn why this can happen, and what can be done about it. Here’s a hint, it isn’t all about diet, and it isn’t as simple as just removing triggering foods from your diet.

 

I’ll be speaking about this during the first ever Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week event, April 19, 2018, so mark your calendars and click here to register (for free).


Plus, there’s a giveaway of over $2,000 in some of the best natural products out there to support you on your healing journey!


And, Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week is completely free to watch.

Click here to register for Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week

When you register, you also get a 95-page cookbook for healthy skin recipes, too.


I’ll be there… will you?
 

Click here to attend


In the meantime, you can download my Eczema Food Triggers Cheat Sheet for free. --> click here <-- to get your free PDF document.

 

To get your hands on the ebook --> click here <--!

 

To work with me to resolve your skin problems --> click here <-- and schedule your 30 minute strategy session today!

 

To learn more, or if you have general questions, contact me --> click here <--

 

 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 

REFERENCES:

https://nationaleczema.org/research/eczema-facts/

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamadermatology/fullarticle/2169318

http://www.health.com/eczema/eczema-what-to-know

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/health/drug-prices-fda-eczema-skin-disease.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/psoriasis/facts-statistics-infographic#prevalence

https://www.cdc.gov/psoriasis/index.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4192777/

http://time.com/4519504/dermatologists-skin-pharmaceutical-companies/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/eczema-drug-dupixent-fda-approval/

Suffering from skin conditions like eczema?

Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, Eczema Food Triggers Ebook

Uncontrollably itchy skin, eczema covering your body, for the love of... You can't for the life of you figure out what's causing it. You've tried it all.

 

●      Prescription skin creams

●      Elimination diets

●      'Clean' skin care products

●      Antihistamine medications

●      Baths and soaks

●      Coconut oil (it fixes everything right?)

 

The list goes on and none of it works...

 

I've got news for you. Not only can I help you address your skin issues, I’m so excited to share with you that I have a new ebook on the subject! 

 

Here's a little background...

 

I was asked to participate in the first ever Psoriasis and Eczema Awareness Week event, coming up super soon, April 16-22, 2018.

 

The event is a 100% online event and it will include tons of resources that will support and inspire people out there (just like you) who have found that conventional recommendations just aren’t working. By no means are we making claims about cures here… this event is based on science and functional medicine approaches to address underlying root cause issues that are often overlooked or ignored.

 

The event will include expert interviews (from doctors, dietitians, scientific researchers, herbalists, and more) along with eBooks, eCookbooks and other guides that can help you get answers sooner.

 

Stay tuned for more details on the event, and to learn how you can access the important and useful information that will be shared by me, and a number of my colleagues. You’ll be hearing about skin health from the experts in the field, and learn what you can do to help resolve your troublesome skin issues.

 

There will be giveaways during the event, and deals on products that can help promote healthy skin.

 

So about my ebook, it’s called Eczema Food Triggers Addressing Eczema From The Inside Out. It in you’ll learn about 10 different ‘chemicals’ found in natural, healthy foods that can cause some people’s eczema to flare up. You’ll also learn why this can happen, and what can be done about it. Here’s a hint, it isn’t all about diet, and it isn’t as simple as just removing triggering foods from your diet.

 

I’ll be speaking about this during the first ever Psoriasis and Eczema Awareness Week event, April 16-22, 2018, so mark your calendars and again, stay tuned for more details on how you’ll be able to access it.

 

In the meantime, you can download my Eczema Food Triggers Cheat Sheet for free. --> click here <-- to get your free PDF document.

 

To get your hands on the ebook --> click here <--!

 

To work with me to resolve your skin problems --> click here <-- and schedule your 30 minute strategy session today!

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist


 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Folic acid, good or bad?

I came across this fantastic article from Dr. Ben Lynch about the side effects of folic acid recently. It's a must read so check it out.

Back in 2015, I wrote an article on this subject, and I'm reposting it here because it's really a fascinating topic. You can check out the original version on my old website and blog (pre Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition). Feel free to poke around on there too, I've got some recipes and other fun information!

Here's that article...

Is it true? Is folic acid detrimental to your health?

Folate (the form found in foods like broccoli, asparagus, lentils, and spinach for example) and folic acid (the form found in supplements and fortified in foods) is a B vitamin that is essential for brain function and development, and a number of other biochemical processes.

This vitamin is recommended especially for women of childbearing age and for pregnant women because a deficiency of it can result in neural tube defects (like spina bifida) in the unborn child.

Interestingly however, due to folic acid supplements and food fortification with folic acid there are large populations in the United States and around the world that have unprecedented high intake of the vitamin.

What has happened is that because of the importance of this vitamin for the prevention of congenital abnormalities, it has been added to foods it’s not naturally found in (this is fortification) for decades, and it's believed the practice has reduced the incidence of these congenital abnormalities. Researchers however have begun to look at unmetabolized folic acid in the plasma as a marker of excess folic acid intake. It is believed that unmetabolized folic acid in the plasma can have adverse effects on immune function and on overall health status. The fortification of foods with folic acid can result in an increase in unmetabolized folic acid concentration in those not even taking supplements of the vitamin [1, 2, 3].

There appears to be a connection between unmetabolized folic acid and cancer. It’s noted that a decrease in and avoidance of excess folic acid should be considered for those with a history of conditions that are risk factors for cancer. Such examples include diseases of the colon, prostate, intestines, and those with a history of cancer and/or are undergoing cancer treatment. Older folks that have high folate status and unmetabolized folic acid are at increased risk for cancer [1, 4].

There is a direct correlation between folic acid intake and unmetabolized folic acid and it is suggested that there is a level at which the enzyme DHFR (dihydrofolate reductase, which converts folic acid into its active form so the body can use it) becomes saturated (so it wouldn’t be able to continue this conversion and therefore can result in an increased concentration of unmetabolized folic acid). Other factors that affect the conversion of folic acid and its presence in the blood include age, pH in the intestines (which absolutely has to be very acidic in order to digest and absorb nutrients so your body can use them, and to prevent disease and illness), alcohol consumption, dose and duration of supplementation of the vitamin, and mutations in enzymes needed for folate metabolism [5].

Studies on this topic are mixed. Some suggest adverse effects on health due to excess folic acid intake resulting in increased concentrations of unmetabolized folic acid, and other studies note there is not enough evidence to demonstrate these adverse effects.

What’s the moral of the story? When it comes to supplements, they should never be taken willy-nilly. We are constantly bombarded by the media promoting health benefits of an infinite variety of supplements, and we frequently run out to purchase the latest panacea at the drop of a hat. So hold the phone folks! Talk to your doctor or your nutritionist before you start taking anything (and if you are already taking something, talk to your doctor or nutritionist before you stop, especially if it was something prescribed to you).

The best and safest way to get important nutrients in is through your diet. Eat whole real foods that naturally contain the vitamins (including folate) and minerals your body needs to function optimally. 

Interested in learning more? There are a variety of ways to connect with me.

For general questions >>>> click here <<<<

To schedule a strategy session to work with me >>>> click here <<<<

If you aren't sure if you're ready to dig in and commit to working with me, you can >>>> click here <<<< to schedule a pick my brain session.

If you want to create a custom diet plan (and one rich in natural folate containing foods to avoid possible complications of unmetabolized folic acid) >>>> click here <<<<

 

  1. Bailey, RL.; Mills, JL.; Yetley, EA.; Gahche, JJ.; Pfeiffer, CM.; Dwyer, JT.; Dodd, KW.; Sempos, CT.; Betz, JM.; Picciano, MF. (2010). Unmetabolized serum folic acid and its relation to folic acid intake from diet and supplements in a nationally representative sample of adults aged ‡60 y in the United States1–4. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 92:338-9.
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16365081
  3. http://www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/meeting_abstract/21/5/A104-d
  4. http://scholarworks.gsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1044&context=nutrition_theses
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22746304

 

 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

PS. If you know someone else who could really use this information, please FORWARD this link to them!

Do you need to take supplements?

Photo credit:  Pietro Jeng

Photo credit: Pietro Jeng

 

In functional medicine, we focus on natural ways to improve our health. That means food first. The functional medicine approach looks for the underlying causes of disease and illness and addresses it in order to improve health status. Health begins in the gut and often the underlying cause of what ails us is digestive and metabolic dysfunction.

 

Functional medicine practitioners use nutrient supplements, along with food, in clinical practice as the primary tools of treatment.

 

I've been asked, can't food be enough? After all, as a clinical nutritionist the expectation is that I'm going to create a diet plan to make you feel better. Yes! This is part of what I do. 

 

Sometimes, food isn't enough. This can happen as we age and bodily processes slow down and need a little extra help, when we have a functional deficit in a metabolic pathway, when our hormones become imbalanced, and when our guts aren't functioning the way they're supposed to. These are just some examples of when we may need a little more than what even the best, most thought through food plan can provide.

 

Our every day lives expose us to stress, environmental toxins, and lack of physical activity. We also experience inadequate exposure to sunlight, and many other problems associated with the 'conveniences' of Western society.

 

It is for these reasons that we can benefit from supplementing our healthful diets with extra nutrients. Some can help support metabolic pathways and therefore the biochemical reactions that make our bodies run. Others help support our immune system and combat oxidative stress and inflammation, two causes of chronic and complex disease.

 

I do believe that most of us can benefit from taking certain supplements.

 

To learn more about my take on specific supplement recommendations --> click here <--

 

Nutrient supplements are not medications. Prescription medications work by altering metabolic pathways, and even sometimes by shutting them down. All of the processes in our body are connected. When one is interrupted it can affect all others leading to chronic and complex disease. Nutrient supplements provide fuel (just as food can, when all else is in balance) for these processes to help them run. This is the difference between conventional medicine and the functional approach. 

 

So, are nutrient supplements necessary, and can't we get everything we need from food? My answers are sometimes, and maybe. 

 

Most of us know what a healthy diet should look like. When you are following a healthful eating plan and are still having symptoms that can't be explained or tied to anything in particular, this is when food may not be enough. If this sounds familiar I can help you get to the bottom of it.

 

To contact me --> click here <--

 

If you're ready for a strategy session with me --> click here <--

 

Are you looking for general information and just want to pick my brain? --> click here <--

 

Interested in only a diet plan? --> click here <--

 

 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

What is Your Why?

 

By the time clients find me they have tried all sorts of strategies to feel better. If you're here listening to, or reading this you can probably relate.

 

Unfortunately we don't put enough importance on diet and lifestyle, and the pivotal roles they play in our overall health and wellness.

 

We are willing to try specialist after specialist, medical treatment after medical treatment, prescription medication after prescription medication, and none of these 'solutions' brings the relief we are looking for.

 

Sure, sometimes prescription medications work for a time by masking symptoms. That’s right, they MASK symptoms, they don’t resolve them. They also alter and sometimes shut down metabolic pathways to do this.

 

You can’t change your body’s biochemistry without adverse effects. I’ll repeat that YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR BODY’S BIOCHEMISTRY WITHOUT ADVERSE EFFECTS.

 

All systems in the body are connected so screwing with one is bad enough, let alone not even considering how this is affecting the others. The result? More medications to ‘fix’ what starts to happen to those other systems. You get the point.

 

Is it worth it? If you ask me it’s not. Temporary, quick fix relief in exchange for downstream disasters. No thank you!

 

There is a better option. It is addressing what your body actually needs versus trying to shut it up (that's what those medications do). This is how we can truly, positively affect health and wellness, and heal from chronic and complex health problems.

 

There are caveats. This approach takes effort. This approach takes time. This approach takes commitment to the process. This approach takes trust in yourself, and your body. This approach takes trust in a practitioner that can help you interpret what your body needs, and help guide you through the process.

 

Is your why strong enough to get there?

 

Ask yourself why. Why are you listening to, or reading this? Have you had enough? Are you ready to try something different that will help you feel better?

 

Often we need a serious kick in the pants (like feeling horrible and being unable to change that) to get us to try something different.

 

Here is a favorite analogy of mine from a mentor I listen to, Darren Hardy:

 

What if I placed a 20 foot long plank on the ground in front of you and offered you $20 to walk across it. Would you? Sure, it's an easy $20. But what if that plank was placed between two 100 foot buildings? Would you walk across it then? Probably not. What if that plank was placed between two 100 foot buildings, and on the other side was a fire about to engulf a loved one? $20 or not, you'd probably cross that plank. Here, your why became more powerful than anything that could be in your way, including yourself. 

 

You deserve to feel better. Your body deserves better. Your health problems don't have to be a mystery. Get out of your own way (let’s be honest, this is the real problem, isn’t it?).

 

So what is your why? Do you want to feel better? Do you want to feel better long enough to enjoy your kids, and your grandkids and watch them grow? Did you plan on traveling the world and now don't see how that's possible because of your poor health? Or are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired? 

 

Your unique why deserves a unique approach. Your unique body and unique health problems need a unique approach. An approach that is personalized for you to help you meet your health and wellness goals, and to answer your why.

 

If you are ready to try this approach, contact me today! I’m ready to help you.

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition." -Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!


Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

 

 

 

Vitamin D - the Sunshine Vitamin

Photo credit:  skitterphoto.com

Photo credit: skitterphoto.com

Vitamin D’s most famous role is in bone health where it enhances calcium absorption. Without adequate vitamin D, the risk for rickets (weak bones in kids), osteomalacia (weak bones in adults) and osteoporosis increases.

 

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a variety of conditions. Asthma and allergies, obesity, depression, gastrointestinal problems like IBS, and many more health issues may benefit from optimizing vitamin D levels.

 

New research indicates levels should be a lot higher than the current range we are told is adequate. Optimum range should be about 75nmol/L.

 

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because it’s made in your skin when exposed to UV light. In order for the skin to make D, the UV light needs to hit it. Deficiency can result when clothing, sunscreen use, darker skin with more melanin, and limited exposure to the sun interfere with this process.

 

The skin of older adults is less efficient at making D from UV light too. Spending 15-20 minutes outside with the sun hitting your skin directly several times per week, WITHOUT SUNSCREEN (scary I know, but important) can help your body make the vitamin D it needs.

 

There aren't a lot of foods that naturally contain vitamin D, most is made via the skin. Foods that do naturally contain vitamin D include:

 

  • Egg yolk

  • Salmon

  • Sardines

  • Mackerel

  • Mushrooms

 

Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, meaning vitamin D is added to those foods. These include:

 

  • Orange juice

  • Cereals

  • Skim milk

 

Whole milk (milk fat) does contain trace amounts of vitamin D naturally. 

 

Those with fat malabsorptive disorders (celiac, IBD, UC, and cystic fibrosis) may risk deficiency because D needs fat for its absorption (it's a fat soluble vitamin), and folks with these conditions can’t absorb dietary fat well.

 

Vitamin D is important! Ask your healthcare provider, get your levels checked, and supplement. Vitamin D supplementation is needed way more often than not to achieve optimum levels.

 

Need a vitamin D supplement? You can purchase one through my online dispensary. If you'd like assistance selecting the best product for you, contact me for guidance, I'm happy to point you in the right direction!

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition." -Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist

 

Wishing you a delicious weekend!


Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

Nutrition and Stress - Managing Stress Equals Success!

Photo credit:  Kat Jayne

Photo credit: Kat Jayne

Have you seen those articles written about wildly successful people and how they have morning routines? They all vary greatly, from checking email first thing to clear out their inbox of junk mail, meditating, exercising, catching the news, putting something nourishing into their body (let’s all do this one), and more.

 

Doing whatever is it that nourishes your mind, body and spirit before you dig in to start the part of your day where you are responsible for things other than yourself is important for setting yourself up for success. It’s true that you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. This is why wildly successful people have MORNING routines to get centered, motivated, inspired, and to get the creative juices flowing, while tuning out extraneous ‘noise’ and negativity that may be lurking in the wings.

 

How do you get started each day? Do you do something positive to set the tone for your day? I have a variety of strategies. Mornings are my toughest time. I wake up anxious most days. My routine helps alleviate much of my anxiety. One aspect of my routine involves listening to an inspiring mentor. Enter Darren Hardy and his Darren Daily. It’s free, short, inspiring, and fun to listen to.

 

A favorite Darren Daily of mine was about bottling up emotions (stress) and how this leads to adverse effects, even illness. He’s right! Stress from any source, whether it’s physical, emotional, or mental, creates a series of chemical reactions in the body. These reactions are meant to be temporary, and when this happens chronically, it can result in inflammation, an underlying cause of chronic disease. That’s right, stress can cause chronic disease and illness.

 

What can you do? Set yourself up to succeed by creating a routine for yourself. Preparing for the day can help alleviate stress associated with feeling disorganized and unprepared.

 

From a nutritional perspective (of course there are dietary interventions to help!) we can include foods in our diet that contain nutrients to support our pathways involved in our responses to stress. We can also practice lifestyle strategies to manage stress levels, and exercise is one of those strategies.

 

For foods containing nutrients that support stress pathways -->> click here <<--

 

For lifestyle tips to help manage stress -->> click here <<--

 

For lifestyle tips to help incorporate exercise into your routine -->> click here <<--

 

 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist


 
Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

 

Nutrition, Skin and Detoxification - Nutrients Needed for Skin Health and Detoxification

Photo credit:  Dhyamis Kleber

Photo credit: Dhyamis Kleber

Today I got to explain to a new client how skin woes are connected to gut health. 

 

Uncontrollably itchy skin, eczema covering your body, for the love of... You can't for the life of you figure out what's causing it. You've tried it all.

 

Prescription skin creams

Elimination diets

'Clean' skin care products

Antihistamine medications

Baths and soaks

Coconut oil (it fixes everything right?)

The list goes on and none of it works...

 

The connection to gut health may be why. Problems with digestion and the gut can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut allows food particles and toxins to escape the digestive tract and make their way into the blood stream, where they trigger an immune response. This immune response can manifest in a wide variety of ways, including as skin conditions.

 

Digestive imbalances and impaired gut health also can cause a deficiency in nutrients needed for skin health, as well as overall health. Poor gut health and dysfunction, leaky gut, and nutrient deficiency can adversely affect detoxification processes in the liver (poor detoxification capacity results).

 

When we have a build of up toxins that cannot be excreted through normal routes (the liver is our major detox organ), those toxins will make their way out somehow, often that somehow is through the skin, and this can cause all sorts of skin conditions.

 

If you suffer with skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis (among others), you likely have digestive and gut imbalances and dysfunction, leaky gut, and impaired detoxification capacity.

 

Keep in mind that common food triggers for eczema include dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter), and eggs.

 

Dairy products also adversely affect the lining of your gut, contributing to leaky gut. Yogurt in particular is not eczema friendly because it can be loaded with extra sugar, and it contains histamine (amines) because it's fermented where histamine is also a trigger for skin problems.

 

Grapes, oranges, kiwi, soy, tomato, avocado, broccoli, dried fruit, deli meat/processed meat, and junk food can all wreak havoc for your eczema.

 

If you suffer from eczema avoiding the common trigger foods may help, and determining which components of certain foods cause your reactions can help as well as they can be found in a very wide range of foods. It's the chemicals in those foods, natural ones at that, which can be problematic. Histamine and amine foods, salicylates, oxalates, nightshades, citrus foods, among others are examples often offenders in eczema sufferers.

 

This is not to suggest removing all of these foods from your diet! Rather, we need to ferret out underlying causes and address them in order tame your skin problems. Impaired gut health is an underlying cause. 

To learn more about the connections between your skin, gut, and detoxification, what nutrients you need to support healthy skin and detox and the foods they are found in, click here!

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself.

I spend quite a bit of time talking and writing about nutrition from a biochemical perspective, describing how this applies to your health and wellbeing. I don’t spend a lot of time talking and writing about myself, and I don’t intend to because this is about YOU and not me. This week however, I’m sharing with you a bit about me, my approach to nutrition, and how I can help you meet your health and wellness goals. Whether you are looking to lose some weight and generally make some tweaks to improve your overall health, or are looking for answers to unresolved questions you have about why you haven’t gotten better by conventional medical treatment means, I can help you reach your health and wellness goals.  

 

 

You: 

 

  • Struggle with health conditions that aren't getting better
  • Take different medications to help relieve symptoms of those health conditions
  • Have tried a variety of diet plans and nothing seems to help
  • Have lab results that are "normal" and you still don't feel well
  • Have begun to believe your illness is all in your head
  • Want to optimize your, or your child's health and wellness

 

Me:

 

  • Functional and clinical nutritionist
  • Bachelors Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Masters Degree in Public Health
  • Masters Degree in Human Nutrition
  • Certified Nutrition Specialist

 

Us:

 

  • Together we can address your health and wellness needs to meet your goals
  • It’s all about teamwork, we are a team

 

Here are some examples of what I’ve addressed in partnership with my clients:

 

  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Food cravings
  • Resistant weight loss and unexplained weight gain
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Mood disorders
  • Neurodegenerative conditions
  • Digestive issues
  • Skin problems
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Migraine headache
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Sleep disturbances

 

If you have any of these conditions, or another chronic, complex condition your problems may be linked to imbalances in immune, metabolic and digestive function. 


To appropriately address your health needs, we need to take into account your biochemistry, and uncover the root cause of imbalances that may be contributing to the conditions you have. This is the functional medicine approach, and it looks at you holistically rather than as a set of symptoms. It’s about you as a person. You are not your illness, although you may have an illness. Just like you have fingernails, but you are not fingernails!


All of the systems in your body are connected. When one is not functioning optimally and the root cause is left to persist, it can adversely affect other systems, creating a domino effect of illness and disease.
 


Medications mask symptoms, leaving us unaware of the continued damage that is occurring within. 
 


Functional nutrition is the core of functional medicine and can help you reach optimal health with natural means (diet, lifestyle, nutrient supplements), whether you have chronic, complex health problems, or just want to improve your health and wellness.
 


You've changed your diet and nothing seems to work? We aren't just what we eat. We are what our bodies can do with what we eat. Rather than only making sure you are eating right, we need to make sure your body can digest, absorb and use nutrients from the foods you eat. Your diet may be stellar, but if your body can't use those nutrients, your perfect diet doesn't matter much, and won't help you feel better. 
 


All your labs are normal, and you still feel awful? Too often, our conventional lab results are "normal" yet we still don't feel well.  While labs may appear "normal" for conventional medical practice, they can be far from optimal and therefore underlying dysfunction can be causing your symptoms. This underlying dysfunction is where our opportunity lies to improve your health.
 


Why supplements? Nutrient supplementation can be a key factor for improving overall metabolic function, and therefore it can positively impact the issues you are experiencing. Often, due to long standing deficiency and imbalances, the addition of supplemental nutrients can help restore metabolic processes to their optimal state.


At Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, we focus on being healthy first rather than on counting calories, or implementing the latest fad diet. It is important to understand that there is no one size fits all approach. Your plan will be different from anyone else's, and may incorporate aspects of a variety of different dietary philosophies and protocols. 
 


Nutritional needs vary at all stages of life, from infancy to end of life. It is important to address these needs in order to obtain optimal health now, and in the future, and that's why I see clients of all ages. 


Nutrition is my passion. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I'll give you the personal and individualized attention you need to optimize your health


A message from me, listen now, and don't forget to sign up for my YouTube channel!
 


If you haven't watched the video above yet, click here to watch and listen

-->> https://youtu.be/_-O6p2tLcJY
 


If you are ready to challenge the status quo, and look at your health in ways you haven't before, schedule your 30 minute strategy session to work with me!
 


 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Functional and Clinical Nutritionist
 


Wishing you a delicious weekend!



Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

Copyright © 2018 Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition, All rights reserved. 

Leaky gut, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, weight gain, oh my!

Health begins in the gut. An imbalanced gut microbiome leads to a variety of cardiometabolic conditions like insulin resistance, obesity, and more. Addressing gut imbalances can lead to improvements in cardiometabolic conditions.

Ms. King (name and some details have been changed for privacy) has a lot going on. Her doctor referred her to me to help her address insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, dyslipidemia and weight gain. During our intake assessment, Ms. King told me she suspects leaky gut is causing her problems. As we continued to talk, Pandora’s box pretty much started to explode.
 
I’m probably sounding like a broken record, and that’s because I feel it can’t be stated often enough… health begins in the gut. Our gut microbiome houses 70% of our immune systems. Ms. King’s case is another example of how this works.
 
You see, Ms. King revealed to me during our intake assessment that she has a hiatal hernia, which causes reflux, and that she’s been on acid blocking medications for years. A hiatal hernia creates an anatomical problem in the digestive tract that often results in reflux. Reflux is the most common symptom of a hiatal hernia, and primary treatment involves lifestyle modifications, such as diet, weight loss, and sleeping with a couple of pillows to elevate the head at night for example. Suppressing stomach acid with medications called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) is a cornerstone of therapy, and unfortunately it’s a lot easier to take a medication than it is to change your diet, lose weight, and modify your sleeping position.
 
This is a huge problem. Why is this the case? We need stomach acid for a lot of reasons. It helps us break down foods, it causes the release of enzymes to further aid in digestion, it’s necessary for the digestion and absorption of very important nutrients like vitamin B12 and iron, and it helps protect us from invasion by pathogens often found in foods. When we don’t have enough stomach acid, all of this can shut down, and we can wind up with nutrient deficiency, gut infections and serious imbalances in the gut microbiome. This can lead to inflammation and yep, leaky gut. So Ms. King was spot on to suspect leaky gut, which we confirmed via functional testing, and she was unaware of this connection. This leads me to another point so I’ll digress for a moment. We are intuitive creatures. If you suspect something is wrong, feel it in your gut (pun sort of intended), we need to listen to that feeling. We know our own bodies better than anyone else. Tune in and listen. When you have what seems like random, unexplained symptoms, or stubborn conditions that won’t resolve, your body is talking to you, asking for help. My job is to help interpret what your body is saying. I speak its language.
 
Now let’s connect the dots between Ms. King’s gut and her primary goals to address insulin resistance, blood sugar and blood lipids, and weight.
 
Disturbances of the microbiome have been linked to cardiometabolic conditions, and our intestinal microbes play a role in the development of cardiometabolic diseases. Cardiometabolic conditions include those that increase your risk for having diabetes, heart disease or stroke.  Insulin resistance, obesity, and dyslipidemia are some examples of conditions that increase your cardiometabolic risk.
 
The human microbiome plays a role in sugar (glucose) and fat (lipid) metabolism. Studies have shown that there are differences in the microbiome of people that are obese, and that have type 2 diabetes, and certain gut microbes may regulate glucose and lipid metabolism by changing intestinal permeability (cause leaky gut), which can drive inflammation. Most people that are obese will develop inflammation in the fat tissue around their middles, and having fat around your middle (visceral adiposity) puts you at greater risk for cardiometabolic conditions. Fat tissue is metabolically active, meaning it releases hormones, and chemical messengers that signal things to happen. In the case of obesity, these things are inflammatory leading to conditions like insulin resistance, and imbalances in the intestinal microbiota have been shown to be associated with these kinds of inflammatory changes. Gut bacteria can also produce lipopolysaccharides (LPS), which are toxic, inflammatory molecules that have the ability to trigger strong immune responses in the body.  When we have leaky gut, LPS make their way into the bloodstream and can cause all sorts health problems, and contribute to obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and even autoimmune disease.
 
Isn’t biochemistry fun!?!?
 
So here we have a disrupted microbiome, contributing to Ms. King’s primary concerns. What did we do? We addressed her gut health by weaning her from acid suppressing medications (with support from her physician), and put her on a diet and lifestyle plan to address her hiatal hernia and cardiometabolic issues. We also added supplements and supportive foods to help remove gut pathogens, replaced digestive factors, balanced and restored her gut microbiome, and repaired her damaged and leaky gut. Ultimately we were able to improve her insulin, blood sugar, and blood lipid levels, and help her lose weight. 
 
Need help connecting your dots? Interested in becoming your own success story? Contact me today to get started on your journey to better health and wellness.
 
 "Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."
-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist
 
Wishing you a delicious Friday and weekend!

Jennifer
Functional and Clinical Nutritionist

 

Uncomfortable, unrelenting skin problems? Make friends with your skin again!

Problems with digestion and detoxification can lead to troublesome skin conditions. You are not alone, there are interventions that can help.

I first began working with Mrs. Gray (her name has been changed for privacy) just over a year ago. She was in her early 40s, and had been experiencing extremely troublesome skin problems for about 12 years. She had seen general practitioners, dermatologists, allergists, acupuncturists and neurologists. No one had been able to help her with her health problems.

From what we could tell, there were 3 different skin problems occurring at the same time. One was diagnosed by a physician as granuloma annulare, another was rash-like, and the third was classified as localized pruritus (super itchy and uncomfortable).

As a clinical nutritionist, I begin my scavenger hunt in the gut. Health begins in the gut. Seventy percent of our immune systems are located there. No joke. So it would only make sense that if your gut isn’t healthy, neither are you.

I should probably explain how this works. As a clinical nutritionist I practice functional nutrition. Functional nutrition is the core of functional medicine and uses natural means to help people reach an improved state of wellness, and even find relief from chronic and complex conditions. Functional medicine looks for underlying imbalances in the body’s biochemistry that may be contributing to illness. By addressing underlying imbalances with natural means (diet and lifestyle changes, and by using nutrient supplements) we can positively affect the course of chronic and complex conditions. Because 70% of our immune systems are in our guts, you have to admit, it’s a pretty good place to start our scavenger hunt.

Back to Mrs. Gray and her primary concerns regarding her skin. After our in depth intake session, I put together a letter for her to take to her physician requesting a variety of lab tests that would help guide me to develop an action plan for her to reach her goals. Long story short, we identified a variety of elevated metabolic markers (high cholesterol, high blood sugar, high levels of inflammation, and high homocysteine), a wide range of environmental and food allergies, MTHFR genetic polymorphism, and digestive dysfunction.

We used her lab results to guide us in developing a customized diet, lifestyle and supplement plan based on her biochemistry. Fast-forward a year. Mrs. Gray has experienced significant improvements in her skin symptoms. We lowered her cholesterol levels by 30 points, she is no longer pre-diabetic, her homocysteine levels are now in range, and so is a marker of inflammation that had been elevated.

A year may seem like a long time. We have to keep in mind how long the issues had been occurring. They didn’t show up overnight, they aren’t going away overnight. Also, it takes about a month for skin cells to turnover. And that’s the innermost layer. Then that layer has to make it all the way up to the top to replace the old/damaged skin layers. It does take patience and persistence, commitment to the process, and the dedication to follow through with the recommendations. Mrs. Gray stayed the course, and now is enjoying the benefits of her efforts, which include symptom improvement and improved overall health and wellness.

We all know that changes in diet and lifestyle benefit blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and inflammation (an underlying cause for chronic and complex diseases). How the heck is food connected to skin? Without getting too biochemical, problems with digestion and the gut can lead to leaky gut. Leaky gut allows food particles and toxins to escape the digestive tract and make their way into the blood stream, where they trigger an immune response. This immune response can manifest in a wide variety of ways, including as skin conditions. Digestive imbalances and impaired gut health also can cause a deficiency in nutrients needed for skin health, as well as overall health. Poor gut health and dysfunction, leaky gut, and nutrient deficiency can adversely affect detoxification processes in the liver. When we have a build of up toxins that cannot be excreted through normal routes (the liver is our major detox organ), those toxins will make their way out somehow, often that somehow is through the skin, and this can cause all sorts of skin conditions.

If you too have skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis (among others), you likely have digestive and gut imbalances and dysfunction, leaky gut, and impaired detoxification capacity.

Just as we have our gut microbiome and can have leaky gut, our skin also has a microbiome, and disruption of our skin microbiome can lead to leaky skin, and to skin conditions as well. And yes, there are interventions for improving skin health too that work from the outside in. Think probiotics for your skin. A favorite product of mine for addressing the skin microbiome is Mother Dirt.

And what’s the deal with MTHFR and homocysteine? MTHFR is an enzyme that makes folic acid usable by the body. It participates in what’s called methylation, a biochemical process that acts like a switch, turning things on and off, including DNA and RNA production, histamine metabolism, and some detoxification pathways (and a lot more). Problems with histamine metabolism, and detoxification as noted above, can contribute to skin issues. Methylation also is needed to convert homocysteine into another amino acid called methionine. Methionine is important for making proteins and other important compounds in the body. Elevated homocysteine is often a sign that methylation pathways aren’t functioning properly, and it is a risk factor for atherosclerosis, leading to heart disease and stroke. People that have a MTHFR mutation are not able to properly metabolize folic acid, and also can have abnormalities in the metabolism of vitamins B12 and B6. To help keep methylation pathways functioning, taking the active form (methylated or activated form) of B vitamins is important. One of my favorite B complex products is by Thorne Research (use my referral code HCP1170732). If you have MTHFR, there are also diet and lifestyle recommendations that can help.

Here is Mrs. Gray’s first testimonial about working with me:

“Jennifer is extremely passionate and truly cares about your health. She is a thoughtful, compassionate nutritionist who digs and digs to connect the dots into whatever your health issue may be. I’ve been working with Jennifer for almost a year now and she is by far the most thoughtful nutritionist who asks questions no other doctor I’ve been to for my concerns has ever bothered to ask, and my skin issues that have plagued me for years have now cleared up!”

And a year later, here’s what Mrs. Gray had to say:

"I’ve been working with Jennifer for over a year now and my initial concerns were chronic skin issues that doctors couldn’t figure out, including general practitioners, dermatologists, allergists, acupuncturists or neurologists. Through various tests, we’ve uncovered several food allergies, including gluten sensitivity, which I would’ve never suspected could be the underlying cause. From removing those foods from my diet combined with supplements, I have seen improvement in my skin and more importantly, my levels are all now within a healthy range. My cholesterol dropped by 30 points, my blood sugars are within a normal range (instead of a high range, borderline pre-diabetic) and my general inflammation is under control. Jennifer is well informed, well researched and totally committed to my health and will stop at nothing to find a solution to what ails me." 

Interested in becoming your own success story? Contact me today to get started on your journey to better health and wellness.

 

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a functional and clinical nutritionist, I can help you interpret your body's nutrient needs and customize a plan to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition."

-Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist

 

The body composition of children changes as they grow and develop, and this process can be dangerously misunderstood

Photo credit:  pixabay.com

Photo credit: pixabay.com

This one is about a topic close to my heart because of personal experience, and because I work with parents and children of all ages to help them with general, as well as complex, nutritional needs.

I was a skinny young child. I remember pants would slide off my hips because I had none, and my mother was always trying to find clothes that fit me properly. I also remember being a pretty big eater as a child (nothing has changed there actually). Around 5th or 6th grade (so about age 10-12 years), during my physical, the doctor told my mom, with me right there, that I was putting on too much weight and she should watch what I was eating. Fast-forward to my 40s, about 20 years of disordered eating, working on recovery (it will always be something that’s a part of me), and now seeing children as a clinical nutritionist, not much has changed when it comes to the type of advice I was given so many years ago by that physician. We are a society overly concerned with weight, leading to negative feelings about body image. This is especially dangerous for young children.
 
During middle childhood (about age 5-10 years), body fat percent drops to a minimum of 16% in girls and 13% in boys. Around age 6, a growth spurt occurs called BMI (body mass index) rebound, and it results in an increase in height and weight (adiposity or fat mass). The increased body fat is a marker for the pace of puberty. In girls this happens earlier than in boys. Girls may have a 19% increase in body fat, and boys 14%. This increase, especially in young girls, can lead to concern that they are becoming overweight. Body composition changes dramatically in girls during puberty.  Lean body mass percent decreases, and body fat percent increases. During puberty girls can have a 120% increase in body fat. In order for a girl to start her menstrual cycle, she needs to have at least 17% body fat, and then body fat must be at 25% for her cycle to remain regular. This gain in body fat in girls is normal and required for normal physiologic function, yet it is often viewed as negative, leading to compromising health behaviors like excessive dieting, restriction, and exercise, and use of diet aids and laxatives that can lead to disordered eating, eating disorders, and severe health related consequences.
 
As a parent, you can reassure your child that changes in body composition are a normal part of growing up. Take care not to reinforce a preoccupation with size and weight. Keep in mind that children have the innate ability to internally control their energy (calories from food) intake. These internal cues can be altered by external influences. Children of parents who control their child’s eating have a lesser ability to innately respond to their own energy needs, meaning these children lose the ability to respond appropriately to their innate nutritional needs, and their internal controls of hunger and fullness. Parents who experienced difficulty controlling their own intakes may impose more restrictions on their children, and this transfer of unhealthy eating behavior may influence children as early as preschool age. If mom is on a diet, her daughter is likely to follow suit. Imposing controls and restrictions over dietary intake can actually promote increased intake of ‘forbidden’ or ‘restricted’ foods, and may be a risk factor for developing obesity in the future. Dieting, dietary restrictions and controlling child feedings ignore internal cues of hunger and fullness, and can contribute to the onset of obesity, and the beginning of eating disorders.

Keep in mind that boys are affected by disordered eating and eating disorders as well.
 
For more information or for help to ensure your child gets the nutrition he or she needs to grow and develop optimally, contact me today!
 
Reference:
Brown J. Nutrition through the Life cycle 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2011.

"Your nutritional needs are as unique as your fingerprint, and they are dictated by your individual biochemistry. As a clinical nutritionist, I can help you connect the dots to reach your health and wellness goals. This is personalized nutrition." -Jennifer Caryn Brand, MPH, MS, CNS, Clinical Nutritionist

Wishing you a delicious Friday and weekend!

Jennifer, MPH, MS, CNS
Clinical Nutritionist