Fighting Chronic Fatigue

Holistic Health Bites podcast with Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson featuring Dr Evan Hirsch discussing chronic fatigue
On this episode, Dr Evan discussed the challenges of chronic fatigue and long Covid, with Evan emphasizing the importance of addressing underlying causes and adopting a holistic approach to improve overall health. He also explored daily habits that contribute to a toxic load, the dangers of exposure to chemicals, and the need for a mindset shift towards making small, gradual changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Lastly, he discussed the potential for environmental hazards, such as mold, in old and new buildings, and the long-term effects of Covid-19, also known as 'long Covid'.
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All Things Hormones

Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson interviews Dr RitaMarie Loscalzo on the Holistic Health Bites podcast talking all about insulin resistance and related hormones
On this episode, Dr. Ritamarie discussed the importance of the endocrine system, insulin resistance, and sensitivity in maintaining good health. She emphasized the need for a personalized approach to addressing these issues, using tools like glucometers and CGMs to gain real-time feedback on patients' health. She also explored the importance of a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques in maintaining good health. Additionally, we discussed the benefits of fasting as a healthy practice, introducing a fasting regime developed based on Dr. Valter Longo's research, and highlighted the importance of breaking fasts with the right mindset.
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The Importance of Breath in Ideal Health

Holistic Health Bites podcast with Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson, featuring Sachin Patel discussing the power of breathing on ideal health
Sachin Patel is a functional medicine practitioner and breathwork expert. He got into this field after realizing conventional doctors had no answers for chronic illness patients. Breathwork became his passion for integrating simplicity and sophistication in health.  In this episode, Sachin explained the health consequences of mouth breathing, including poor sleep, inflammation, and hormonal imbalance. Nasal breathing optimizes air through humidification, warming, and filtration before it reaches the lungs.

Sachin outlined various breathing patterns like coherence breathing and bellows breathing that can induce different physiological states. The "right" way to breathe depends on one's needs in the moment and goals.  He recommended finding prompts like checking emails or driving to associate with breath awareness. This helps establish breathwork as a habit. Wearables can also gamify the process and show physiological impacts.

Sachin detailed how mouth taping at night trains nasal breathing, improving sleep, hormones, temperature regulation and more. It strengthens respiratory muscles weakened by devices like CPAPs.  

HRV measures nervous system resilience through heart rate fluctuations with breathing. Higher HRV means better stress handling. Breathwork and lifestyle changes can optimize this important biomarker.

Sachin explained how breathwork impacts cell signaling, energy production and the body's intricate systems through oxygenation, CO2 balance and nervous system regulation. Proper breathing is the body's "steering wheel."
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Mental Health and Metabolic Health

Holistic Health Bites podcast by Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson featuring Dr Christina Bjorndal discussing mental and metabolic health
Dr. Christina Bjorndal shares her journey into naturopathic medicine after a suicide attempt left her hospitalized, revealing how conventional medications failed to fully treat her mental health issues.  She emphasizes treating patients holistically by addressing their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being, not just symptoms, explaining the four pillars' interconnected roles in health.

Simple changes like reducing sugar, coffee and carbonation intake make a difference by supporting the body's natural functions, while eating nutrient-dense whole foods better nourishes the physical, mental and gut microbiome.  Mindfulness practices like recognizing unhelpful thoughts, relaxing into stillness and rephrasing narratives cultivate presence and self-compassion, countering inner critics and core wounds driving self-sabotage.

Dr. Bjorndal unravels cases by considering neurotransmitters, hormones and the immune-gut axis, gleaning insights from symptoms' origins to pinpoint each person's unique macro-system imbalances.  Our subconscious dialogues shape our lives, but conscious awareness allows redirecting thoughts to healthier beliefs, as she demonstrated overcoming rejection fears to transform her career path.


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Glucose-Ketone Index


On this episode of the Holistic Health Bites podcast, Functional Nutritionist Andrea Nicholson explains the Glucose-Ketone Index. 

The Glucose-Ketone Index (GKI) presents a valuable tool for monitoring metabolic health by measuring the ratio of blood sugar to blood ketones, offering insights into one's energy production mechanisms. This index underscores the misconception that the body needs dietary carbohydrates to maintain adequate blood sugar levels, pointing out the body's innate ability to produce glucose from non-carbohydrate sources. It highlights the processes of gluconeogenesis, which allows the body to create new glucose, thus negating the necessity to consume carbohydrates for energy.

Insulin's role is highlighted as a regulatory hormone that manages blood sugar and signals the storage of excess energy, thus influencing the body's ability to burn fat or lose weight. To optimize insulin levels, the post recommends limiting intake of foods that cause the highest spikes in blood sugar and insulin, alongside adopting dietary practices that encourage lower insulin levels, such as intermittent fasting and reduced carbohydrate consumption. This approach advocates for a deeper understanding of the body's metabolic processes to achieve ideal body weight and enhanced energy levels.

Exploring the advantages of ketones as an alternative energy source, the post reveals how ketones take metabolic priority over glucose due to their ability to be used by nearly every cell in the body, their water solubility, and their capability to cross the blood-brain barrier to fuel the brain. The method for testing and interpreting one's Glucose-Ketone Index is detailed, offering a practical guide for individuals seeking to improve their metabolic health, achieve weight loss, and enhance energy levels naturally. Recommendations are provided for those struggling to achieve desired GKI levels, emphasizing patience and adjustments in diet, lifestyle, and eating patterns.
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