5 Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Lurking in Your Fragrances

Are fragrance chemicals affecting your hormones? Learn about five endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in fragrances, and how to avoid them.

Hormone health, PCOS, infertility, natural medicine

Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash

Written by: Maggie Twaroski

If you take a look in your bathroom or under your kitchen sink, you’ll likely find a collection of products containing fragrances; whether in cleaning solutions, hygiene products, cosmetics, perfume, detergent and even plastic bags. What you may not know is that many of these fragrances contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs. These are substances that interfere with hormone function in both men and women. 

Most EDCs hide under the word “fragrance” on a product label. While seemingly straightforward, this word actually signifies dozens of other ingredients that can affect hormones. Since fragrance is classified as a trade secret, a company is not required to disclose their formula on the label or conduct safety testing on those chemicals. 

How do Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Affect Hormones?

To understand how endocrine-disrupting chemicals interfere with hormones, it’s important to understand how the endocrine system works. When endocrine glands release hormones, they travel through the bloodstream until they reach their target cells, which contain hormone receptors. When the hormone binds with the receptor, it initiates a cellular response that executes the hormone’s instructions. The body uses these signals to impact metabolism, reproduction, growth, homeostasis and moods.

When EDCs enter the body, they disturb the endocrine system either by blocking receptors or mimicking hormones and binding to the receptors themselves. This signal disruption  can cause a host of problems, most notably in reproductive systems. 

Top Fragrance Chemicals to Avoid

Currently, some of the most common endocrine-disrupting chemicals in fragrances are phthalates, benzyl salicylate, oxybenzone, octinoxate and synthetic musks. I’ll unpack each of these chemicals along with their accompanying research and offer tips for avoiding them. 

Phthalates

If you avoid one fragrance chemical above all others, it should probably be phthalates. These ubiquitous chemicals are added to hundreds of daily products to increase longevity. Despite reproductive risks in both men and women, they’re still present in over 97 percent of Americans. 

In women, phthalates target ovarian follicles at different stages in their development, suppressing or accelerating them. Research has linked phathlates with sperm damage in men, and animal testing associates prenatal exposure to phthalates with premature puberty in male offspring.

Benzyl Salicylate: 

Designed to improve scent and shelf life, benzyl salicylate is a staple in most fragrance products. It’s typically absorbed through the skin and remains in the body for an extended period of time after application. Tests on human breast cancer cells show benzyl salicylate mimicking estrogen and interfering with receptors.

Oxybenzone

Oxybenzone is another widespread endocrine disrupter and a common sunscreen ingredient. This bioaccumulative chemical can remain in the body weeks after application. In addition to allergic skin reactions, oxybenzone can also lead to reproductive issues including endometriosis and sperm damage. 

Octinoxate: 

Octinoxate is most commonly absorbed through the skin from sunscreen, but can also pass through breastmilk. In lab testing, octinoxate binds to human estrogen receptors and increases uterine weight in animals, suggesting reproductive complications.

Synthetic Musks

Musks give perfume that rich, earthy scent that’s appealing to the senses, but not to hormones. There are several types of synthetic musks, but those most commonly found in fragrances are musk ketone, galaxolide and tonalide. These chemicals stimulate human estrogen, androgen and progesterone receptors. Research also links musk ketone with ovarian failure and infertility.

5 Ways to Avoid Fragrance Chemicals


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

1. Go fragrance free: This is perhaps the simplest option, as you can avoid fragrance chemicals altogether. Steer clear of “unscented” products however, as these contain chemicals to mask naturally-occuring fragrances.

2. Watch out for fragrance keywords: If you see a product labeled with “fragrance,” “parfum” or “eau de toilette,” it’s best to put it back on the shelf. These are umbrella terms for dozens of chemicals, many of which can be classified as EDCs. 

3. Choose essential oils: Essential oils are a great alternative to synthetic fragrances, but it’s important to select the right ones. Many essential oil brands still contain additives and preservatives, so choose oils that are 100 percent pure.  

4. Look for safety seals: Some organizations such as Made Safe will have certification seals on products they deem safe, based on extensive research and expertise. You can feel safe about your product choices by relying on these safety seals. 

5. Know your synonyms: If fragrance labeling wasn’t complicated enough, many ingredients have synonyms, or aliases for their names. For example, octinoxate has over 30 different names. Next time your eyes glaze over at a list of unpronounceable ingredients, you may want to do some quick research to see which chemicals may be in disguise. The EWG database is a helpful resource for identifying chemical risks and synonyms. 

Fragrances are tough to avoid, but it’s worth the effort. Prolonged exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can have long-lasting effects. Do you have questions or concerns about your hormones or fertility? Dr. Katie is here to help you understand what is causing the imbalance and will guide you in treating things naturally.

To schedule appointments you can click here

Dr. Katie Corazzo, balanced Care, Edina, Minneapolis, Minnetonka, eden prairie, natural medicine, naturopath, alternative medicine

How to Prevent and Treat Infections Naturally at Home!

Family, stress, anxiety, COVID, Cornovirus, immune, natural treatment, Edina, Minneapolis, Woodbury, minnesota

Written by: Julia Liebich, ND, DC

There is a great deal of uncertainty in the world currently and it is affecting each of us differently. The best thing you can do is to support your immune system if you do catch something. See below for natural treatments that you can utilize at home to provide optimal immune function, and to prevent and treat infections naturally. Please keep in mind that it is critical to use high quality supplementation for optimal absorption and effectiveness. We are also available for video or phone visits if you would like a personalized wellness plan.

First and foremost, focus on PREVENTION:

SLEEP

Sleep is just one way to naturally prevent and treat infections. The key to immune function; when our bodies do not receive adequate sleep our immune function is compromised and the ability to fight infection decreases substantially. Consider sleeping at least 7 hours per night and keep a consistent schedule. 

Meditate, stress, anxiety, depression, natural medicine, naturopathic doctor, homeopathy

STRESS management

Psychological stress alters immune regulation and is directly linked to the body’s inflammatory response, this weakens immune function. Meditation and breathing exercises can have positive effects. Some top apps available to download: 

    1. The Mindfulness App
    2. Headspace
    3. Calm
    4. Insight timer
    5. Buddhify
detox, weight loss, hormones, cleanse

DIET

Essential to optimal immune function. Eliminate sugar and increase colorful vegetables (5-7 servings daily) and fruits (2-3 servings daily). Sugar consumption can cause the immune system reactivity to reduce by 5x its normal function. Ensure healthy protein and fat consumption (organic, wild, grass-fed when possible). Additional antioxidant / nutrient support can be found in a high-quality multivitamin and greens powders.

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Nutritional Supplementation 

  • Zinc: Supports the immune system. May cause nausea if consumed on an empty stomach. 
  • Vit C: Has been found to shorten the frequency, duration and severity of colds. High doses are oftentimes needed and should be discussed with your Naturopathic Doctor. 
  • NAC: a natural mucolytic, antioxidant, and supportive to the immune system. Combination formulas containing NAC, vitamin C, and mucosal support are available 
  • Melatonin has shown to inhibit inflammatory activity. Recommended dosing is 1-5g. Sustained release (SR ) to be taken at bedtime, non sustained release to be taken 30-60min prior to bedtime.
  • Vitamin D: supportive to the immune system. Also important for mood regulation in a cold state like Minnesota. 
  • Sambucus/Elderberry: Aiding in prevention or early stage infection.  
  • Vitamin A: supportive to the immune system. Please ask your naturopathic doctor for dosage recommendations before taking. 
  • Other immune supporting Herbs: Licorice Root, Adrographis, Astragalus, Quercitin
Julia Liebich, naturopathic doctor, natural treatment, digestion, anxiety, depression

Julia Liebich, ND, DC

As a Naturopathic Doctor and Chiropractor, Dr. Julia specializes in treating the root cause of disease using natural medicine. She truly listens to her patients which allows her to provide individualized treatments that achieve amazing results. Dr. Julia practices at Balanced Care in Woodbury and Edina where she serves patients throughout the twin cities.

Foods For A Successful Detox!

I hope you had a healthy and happy holiday! We had a lot of sickness go through our family, but I am grateful to be on the other side of it for now and was still able to enjoy Christmas with our family here in Minnesota. This was my son Macklin’s first Christmas which made it extra special for us.

The start of the new year is always a great time for reflection, new beginnings, big goals, and a diet reset. While I recommend doing a cleanse or detox a few times per year, this is always the most popular time to clear the system and break those left-over holiday sugar cravings.

When following any detox incorporating liver-loving foods will help your body eliminate the toxins. The liver is where toxins are processed,  but the liver also helps metabolize hormones, medications, alcohol, fat, protein, and carbs. This powerhouse organ is crucial to a successful cleanse. Give you liver some love with the following simple recipes and foods for a successful detox!

detox, weight loss, hormones, cleanse

  • Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, asparagus, bok choy, kale
    • Roast a combination of these in the over with some olive oil and Coconut Aminos for a quick and easy recipe!

citrus, hormones, digestion, IBS, candida

  • Citrus fruits: Orange, lemon, lime
    • Simply eat a whole orange or drizzle fresh lemon or lime juice over salad or veggies. Add fresh lemon to your water or tea too.

Garlic, cleanse, detox, PCOS, infertility, immune

  • Sulfur foods: Onions, garlic, eggs
    • These immune boosters are easy to add to your cooking. Use fresh garlic!
    • Hard boiled eggs are a great snack option – make sure they are free range!

kale, greens, health, detox, weight loss

  • Green leafies: Kale, collards, beet greens
    • My favorite recipe can be found here. Buy kale and collards that are already chopped to save time.

tea, naturopath, wellness, holistic, homeopathy

  • Liver healers: Dandelion root tea, beets, asparagus, celery
    • Dandelion Root Tea has a pretty mild flavor and is an easy addition.
    • You can buy pre-made beets in the refrigerator section at the grocery store and add them to your salads.

There you have it — 5 foods for a successful detox!

Katie Corazzo, naturopath, naturopathic doctor, holistic, homeopath Dr. Katie offers customized 14 and 21 day detox programs designed to match your goals and lifestyle. She is located in Edina, MN treating patients throughout the twin cities and Minneapolis areas. Schedule a complimentary 15 minute consultation for more information.-

Gas and Bloating: What You Can Do About it

ovulation, fertility, infertility, pregnancy

Stomach Pain

We all know that feeling. Maybe you ate something that didn’t agree with you or just too much. Perhaps you have a sensitive stomach. If you have stomach issues, you might find yourself looking for natural remedies for gas and bloating.

Many people are hesitant to use medicine to treat all ailments and for a good reason. There are so many ways to manage things naturally. Did you know you can use essential oils for gas and bloating?

If you are looking for ways to live a natural and holistic life, check out Balanced Care. We help our customers deal with a variety of conditions safely and effectively. Whether you want help with women’s issues, sports medicine, candida overgrowth, or something else, give us a call today.

What Causes Gas and Bloating

There are a variety of things that can cause you to feel gassy or bloated. The most common causes are overeating or eating certain foods that don’t agree with your stomach.

Whether that be certain vegetables or fried food, specific foods affect people differently.

Sometimes, drinking carbonated or bubbly drinks hurt your stomach. If you drink a lot of soda, beer, or sparkling wine, your stomach might react poorly.

Whatever causes your gas and bloating, the result is the same: feeling uncomfortable.

Symptoms of Gas and Bloating

Fat Men

If you are bloated or gassy, you might notice:

  • An engorged stomach
  • Gassy releases, either by belching or flatulence
  • Feeling gurgles in your stomach
  • Cramps in your stomach and intestines
  • Feeling incredibly full
  • Noticeable pressure in your abdomen
  • Slowed digestion
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Looking five to six months pregnant

If you have experienced any of these symptoms, you are probably looking high and low for relief. Before you head to the drug store or pharmacy for medicine with potentially harmful side effects, check out some natural remedies first.

Natural Remedies for Gas and Bloating

Herbal Medicine

The best natural remedy for gas and bloating is to keep gas and bloating from ever occurring! Avoiding certain foods or combinations of foods, as well as allergens can go a long way in preventing stomach problems.

There are a variety of natural remedies to try, though.

Avoid Foods that Cause Gastric Problems

While it might seem obvious, it is essential to avoid foods that cause you digestive problems. You know your body better than others. If a particular food has caused issues in the past, steer clear of it.

Specifically, it would be wise to avoid:

  • Vegetables like: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Garlic
  • Gluten or wheat products
  • Beans and legumes
  • Onions
  • Overly spicy foods

Drinking while Eating

Food

While it might be tempting to enjoy something to drink while eating, doing so could lead to indigestion.

Aim for limiting your liquid intake to less than one-half cup during your meal. Furthermore, avoid liquids for thirty minutes before and after you eat.

Massages

Massages often feel tremendous and relieve pain in your muscles, but they can also reduce gas when you apply appropriate pressure to your abdominal region.

To bring relief yourself, try rolling the base of hand around your stomach in a counterclockwise motion.

Physical Activity

Ensuring you move enough can help keep you regular. If you are feeling uncomfortable, take a walk, ride your bike, or go for a swim. Just do something to be active. Movement helps your body relieve any painful gas more efficiently.

Remaining sedentary can often cause digestive problems.

Proper Restroom Technique

While this sounds funny, there is a lot to the position of your body while relieving yourself. Do yourself a favor and Google “squatty potty.” Being in a squatting position allows your body to correctly align when sitting on the toilet, ensuring a complete elimination.

Probiotics and Enzymes

Breakfast

Taking a high-quality probiotic each day will keep a steady supply of good bacteria in your body, which helps in digestion. Ensuring a proper flora will prevent bloating, and gassiness and your body will absorb nutrients better.

Enzymes are also fantastic for fighting gas and bloating. Enzymes help your body digest parts of food that might otherwise be difficult. Taking enzymes right before you eat can be extremely beneficial.

Probiotics and Enzymes can also be found in different foods and readily available when eaten.

Eating Schedule

Eating smaller meals throughout the day might help with gas and bloating, as well. Large meals can make you feel full and uncomfortable.

Also, ensure you thoroughly chew each bite. Chewing food quickly or not enough allows more air to get into your stomach, meaning you feel gassy and bloated.

Take small bites and completely. Experts agree that you need to chew your food an average of 32 times is critical.

Essential Oils for Gas and Bloating

Medicine

You know what they say? There’s an oil for that! Thankfully, several oils can assist in bringing relief from gas and bloating.

Cardamom

Cardamom is a warm and inviting oil, and can help with digestive issues. Mix with the carrier oil of your choice and apply to your stomach area to bring relief.

Chamomile

Chamomile isn’t just for tea anymore. Chamomile essential oil has anti-gas properties as well as pain relieving properties, making it perfect for digestive discomforts. Applying a mix of chamomile and a carrier oil to your stomach can bring pain relief as well as gas and bloating relief. As a bonus, it can speed up digestion.

Fennel

While some people don’t like the licorice-like smell of fennel, it is a fantastic essential oil for bloating and gas. Fennel can ease a stomach ache or relieve vomiting, cramping, diarrhea, and other indigestion issues.

Mix fennel with a carrier oil and apply it to the bottom of your feet.

Ginger

It is probably no surprise that ginger essential oil can help with gas and bloating. It is common to drink ginger ale when you have a stomach ache. If your stomach is upset, or your digestion is slow, dilute the ginger essential oil in a carrier oil and apply to your abdomen.

Peppermint

Peppermint essential oil is not only cooling when applied, but it can also bring relief from heartburn, nausea, and other intestinal distress. Mix peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your stomach in a circular motion.

Call Balanced Care Today

If you haven’t found consistent relief from your gas and bloating problems, call Balanced Care.

Dr. Katie and Dr. Julia have years of experiencing bringing relief in natural ways to a variety of clients. Let us be your partner in your health journey.

PCOS Treatment: There is a Better Way

Blackheads

Blackheads

Learn More: PCOS  and PCOS Treatment

PCOS is the single most common hormonal disorder among women of child-bearing age in the United States. It affects approximately 7% of female patients, yet many women don’t understand the symptoms of the disorder or how to treat it.

Though PCOS is common, the general lack of awareness about the disease is due in part to the complex nature of the syndrome. The exact cause of PCOS isn’t known, but several factors are known to play a prominent role:

  • Excess insulin or insulin resistance
  • Low-grade inflammation
  • Heredity
  • Excess androgen (male hormones)

Do I have PCOS?

According to the Center for Young Women’s Health, PCOS can manifest in many different ways. Some women may have very infrequent and spotty periods, while others may have prolonged and painful menses. Many patients with PCOS have outwardly noticeable symptoms, while others do not.

Common PCOS Symptoms

Pimples

  • Irregular periods
  • Acne on face or body
  • Thinning hair
  • Weight gain, especially an “apple” body shape that stores body fat in the torso
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Infertility or repeat miscarriages
  • Sleep apnea
  • High blood pressure
  • Thinning of scalp hair
  • Hirsutism or extra hair, especially on the face and chest
  • Numerous skin tags
  • Acanthosis nigricans or dark patches of velvety skin on armpits and other areas
  • Depression or frequent mood swings

PCOS Natural treatment

Balanced Care is the best resource for learning how to treat PCOS with naturally effective solutions. At your office consultation, Dr. Katie or Dr. Julia will take the time to fully explore the issues you are having and come up with a personalized and holistic treatment plan.

Balanced Care’s doctors are well versed in treating PCOS with natural methods that are proven to be safe and effective. Depending on the needs of each person, your natural PCOS treatment plan could include:

Clinical Nutrition

At Balanced Care, we believe wholeheartedly in the healing power of a healthy and balanced diet. Nutrition is at the very core of naturopathic medicine. An abundance of fruits, vegetables, anti-inflammatory foods, and healthy proteins fats, plus a reduction in processed and packaged goods is the first step in achieving overall wellness.

Carrying excess weight can exacerbate the symptoms of PCOS patients and put them at a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Together we’ll craft a PCOS diet plan that addresses your specific habits, whether it’s fighting a sugar addiction or figuring out how to consistently consume more whole foods. Losing just 10% of your body weight can have significant positive effects on your menstrual period and ovulation.

There many foods that naturally treat PCOS symptoms, such as:

  • Fenugreek seeds
  • Basil
  • Coconut oil
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Green tea

Holistic Healing

One of the most important things that set naturopathic medicine apart from other practices is its focus on the entire person – the physical, mental, and spiritual dimensions that make us who we are.

Physical

  • Getting enough movement and exercise, whether it’s working out in the gym, walking, gardening, or dancing in your living room – is essential.
  • Sleeping at least 7-8 hours a night is incredibly important for overall wellbeing. Deep sleep is highly curative, and being consistently sleep-deprived will impede progress on all of your goals.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet without feeling deprived of your favorite foods is a crucial component of a healthy life.
  • Maintaining a healthy biome of bacteria in your gut has been shown to improve PCOS outcomes

Mental:

  • Mitigating the stress of a busy life and allowing yourself time for self-care is critical.
  • Self-care can be accomplished in a vast variety of different ways, including healing with essential oils, meditation, yoga, journaling, and other intentional practices.
  • Not all coping methods are equally beneficial. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or caffeine, and recreational drug use can all have a significant negative impact on your holistic healing.

Spiritual:Reflecting on your aspirations, how you plan to achieve them, and the progress you’ve made so far can help you feel grounded and secure in your life’s trajectory.

Supplements

At Balanced Care, our doctors will assess if you’re getting enough micronutrients from your diet alone and may prescribe supplements if it is in your best interest. The long and dark Minnesota winters cause many people to develop Vitamin D deficiency, which can have a significant adverse effect on mood and bone health. PCOS sufferers may also benefit from supplements such as:

  • Inositol
  • Zinc
  • Curcumin
  • Fish oil
  • Berberine
  • Salacia reticulate
  • Winter cherry
  • Saffron
  • Melatonin
  • Minoxidil
  • Probiotics

Detox/Cleanses

Detoxifying your body with a customized short-term regimen can be a powerful way to jumpstart your health journey. The accumulation of toxic substances could be holding you back from achieving your wellbeing goals. With the guidance of trained experts like Dr. Katie and Dr. Julia, Balanced Care

Botanical Medicine

Botanical and herbal medicine has been used to alleviate ailments and disease since Prehistoric times. As naturopathic doctors, our expertise in this area allows us to prescribes safe and effective treatments derived from nature.

Talk to the Professionals at Balanced Care

Healthy Diet

Finding doctors who genuinely listens to your symptoms and strive to understand the full picture of your overall health can be daunting.

At Balanced Care, compassionate, and expert naturopathic doctors Dr. Katie Corazzo and Dr. Julia Liebich have years of experience providing excellent holistic healthcare for women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Dr. Katie and Dr. Julia dedicate themselves to guiding your healing under the naturopathic principles of:

  1. Do no harm
  2. Trust the healing power of nature
  3. Identify and treat the underlying causes of illness
  4. Educating patients
  5. Treat the whole person in all its dimensions
  6. Prevent disease by promoting overall health

At Balanced Care, your health and wellness is our top priority. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide a superior clinician experience that is informative, welcoming, collaborative, and above all, effective. By harnessing the power of nature, we can help all of our patients live longer, healthier, and happier lives. Make your first appointment with Balanced Care today!

Can Depression Be Treated Naturally? Yes, It Can.

depression treated naturally

depression

Fighting through depression can be an extremely trying challenge. You may struggle through day-to-day tasks, find getting out of bed difficult, or even experience physical symptoms. If you have a friend or loved one who is suffering from this frustrating condition, you probably think a lot about how to help someone with depression.

Finding ways to help your friend or loved one shows that you care and are there for support. Whether you’re looking into vitamin D deficiency depression or other causes and types of diagnoses, you may find yourself looking toward natural alternatives for treating depression.

Depression Treated Naturally

While depression has many different facets, including different causes, symptoms, and levels of severity, sometimes natural treatments can alleviate symptoms and help you feel better. Finding a treatment that works for you and enables you to overcome the daily battle you face is essential to your well being.

Exploring alternative options may help you in discovering the best plan to treat your depression. Whether you’re looking for help for yourself or helping someone else with depression, natural treatments can be an excellent choice.

If you are looking for holistic ways to care for your health and wellness, you will love the Naturopaths at Balanced Care.

At Balanced Care, we have a strong commitment to using the least invasive and most natural treatments possible. We encourage our patients to trust their bodies and the healing power of nature. We want to give you the tools you need to live a healthy lifestyle and understand preventative medicine.

With individualized plans, we treat each of our patients holistically and with care. There are many natural alternatives to treatments for various diseases and conditions, and we are here to help.

When it comes to depression treated naturally, take a look at these ideas and see how you can implement them into your treatment plan.

Start With Nutrition

Nutrition

Nutrition is at the base of the holistic approach to naturally treating many different conditions and diseases. Nutrition can lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle that presents in both physical and emotional aspects. Nutrition and diet can affect your mood.

Avoiding things like caffeine and alcohol can help make a difference in how you feel. While caffeine may give you the energy and pep, you think you need, and alcohol may cover your feelings, both only have short term effects and can trigger your depression. Both alcohol and caffeine can lead to mood swings, depression, and anxiety.

Ensuring you have a diet rich in magnesium and vitamin B-6 can help neurotransmitters in the brain produce more serotonin and dopamine. You can find natural sources of these vitamins in foods like legumes, whole grains, and green vegetables.

Exercise

Exercise and physical activity is a fantastic way to address some of the symptoms of depression. Not only are the physical benefits fabulous for your health, but the mental benefits are plentiful as well.

Aerobic exercise specifically is an efficient way to release endorphins as well as reduce stress. A regular exercise routine can help maintain your mood. Exercising doesn’t have to be strictly joining a gym or going for a run every day.

Explore your options for physical activity, and find the one you enjoy the most and fits in with your lifestyle the best. The benefits of physical activity will make a difference in your daily life and how you feel.

Stay in the Light

vacation

Sunshine is more than just something to enjoy while you’re on vacation. It’s necessary to help regulate your sleep cycle, produce serotonin, and help elevate your mood. When the sun is out, make an effort to take a morning walk outside, or find a way to soak up some rays.

If the weather isn’t conducive to spending some time outdoors basking in the sun, you might find yourself suffering from vitamin D deficiency depression or even Seasonal Affective Disorder.

During the winter months where sunlight may be scarce, you may feel tired and down due to the drop in serotonin levels. To remedy this, you can look into light therapy, which can give you the same benefits of sunlight artificially, allowing you exposure to light and vitamin D even on the most overcast or darkest days.

Natural Supplements

Several natural supplements can help bolster mood and help fight depression. Many of these natural treatments have been in use for several years. Your Naturopathic doctor can provide you with information about these helpful supplements.

St John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is a traditional herb that can help with mild depression. The naturopathic professionals at Balanced Care can help you decide if this is an appropriate supplement to help treat your mild depression.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega -3 fatty acids help with brain development and promote brain function. Adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet through fish oils or capsules is an effective way to increase your levels.

Folic Acid

Folic acid is found in leafy greens as well as fruits and grains. Folic acid may help with the effectiveness of antidepressants. You can find an oral supplement to take if you don’t get enough through your diet.

Let Balanced Care Help — Depression Treated Naturally

Natural treatments for depression can help you feel more like yourself and help you fight this debilitating condition. With natural alternatives, you can empower yourself to take a healthy approach to your mental well-being — depression treated naturally.

If you are searching for alternative methods for treating your depression and want something natural, let the professionals at Balanced Care assist you by developing an individualized treatment plan that’s right for you. We strive to treat each disease holistically and bring you the least invasive and toxic solutions.

Contact us today and set up an appointment to start your journey to natural wellness. We look forward to meeting with you and providing you with natural remedies and preventative care. We will help you reach your health goals and achieve the level of wellness you’ve been searching for, naturally.

Natural Solutions For PMS

natural solutions for pms

Angry Women

If you are a female from age 13 to 55, there’s a good chance you may have experienced PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) at some point in your life. PMS is a collection of symptoms, the hallmarks of which are:

-Bloating and other digestive woes

-Water retention

-Food cravings (like starch and sweets–chocolate being a favorite!)

-Headaches

-Fatigue

-Irritability

-Mood swings

If any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, we have dedicated this post to help you find natural solutions for PMS relief. At Balanced Care, we are committed to helping you work with your body’s own innate intelligence to return to a place of balance and ease when one or more of your body systems have taken a health “detour.”

Read on for several natural PMS solutions, or give us a call today to speak with one of our naturopathic professionals about a customized treatment plan for you.

When Does PMS Start?

Our female bodies are designed to run on a well-choreographed cascade of hormones during our child-bearing years. Even if you never become pregnant, this hormone cascade is what gives a general rhythm to each month as a woman. If our inner hormone dance derails, PMS symptoms are more likely to occur.

Here’s how the female hormone dance works:

-Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is released by the pituitary gland in the brain, telling a follicle in the ovary to mature. A follicle is a tiny sac in your ovary that contains an egg.

-Luteinizing hormone (LH) is also released from the pituitary gland, sending a message to the mature follicle to burst from the ovary, sending an egg into the adjacent fallopian tube, this is called “ovulation.”

-During follicle maturation, estrogen produced in fat tissue, adrenal glands, and ovaries works to thicken the lining in the uterus in preparation for a fertilized egg traveling down the fallopian tube

-Another hormone called progesterone acts as a control to balance the effects of estrogen and ensure the uterine lining does not get too thick. Progesterone levels drop if the egg remains unfertilized by sperm. When progesterone drops, the lining of uterus the sheds, and this is a period.

PMS symptoms can begin after ovulation and before a period. PMS symptoms may be stronger a few years after menstruation starts at puberty and again during perimenopause, as early as age 35.

What to do When Your period Begins with an Exclamation Point

pms

PMS symptoms are a message from your body. If your PMS symptoms are intense, this can indicate that your body needs something it doesn’t have, like more or less of a particular hormone, or even a nutrient or mineral that can be easily added to your chemistry and may bring your body back to ease and balance.

Ideally, a period should “sneak up” on you gently, be with you for a couple of days, and then leave as quietly as it came on. Here are a few ways to begin decoding the messages your body is sending with PMS:

-Track your period manually or with a period tracker app

-Knowledge is power, and if you know when (or if) you are ovulating, it’s easier for us to help with solutions if your hormones are not dancing well together.

-See your doctor. To rule out severe conditions, it’s always a great idea to ask your doctor for a precise diagnosis before exploring treatment.

-Get a blood test. Hitting the lab for iron, magnesium, iodine, thyroid hormone, and female hormone panel are also necessary before beginning a treatment protocol.

(Psst.  At Balanced Care, we are happy to schedule a blood test as part of your  initial appointment with us.)

Managing PMS–Naturally

There are a variety of ways to minimize PMS symptoms while working to bring our period hormones into graceful collaboration. Try the following methods on your own while working with your health care team on long-term relief:

Exercise.

Exercise elevates mood and can alleviate pain by releasing endorphins in the body, our natural pain killers. Work out at a pace that feels good for you. A walk, a stretch, or an easy yoga class a few times during your premenstrual week may do the trick to calm your irritability, lesson headache pain, or decrease cramps.

Eat a balanced diet.

Even though food cravings can sometimes get the best of us before and during a period, do your best to eat  the following:

-Fruits

-Veggies (Especially green, leafy ones)

-Lean protein

-Healthy fats (Omega 3s as a priority)

-Whole grains


Also, try limiting these foods to help PMS symptoms:

-Caffeine

-Alcohol

Inflammatory foods,  like cow’s dairy and gluten

We know, this particular wellness step seems to be part of the treatment for just about every condition out there.  Even though the advice “eat a balanced diet” may sound cliche, supporting your whole system with nutrient-dense, whole foods is the foundation for living in balance and ease.

Once you have blood work done to find out if you have any nutrient deficiencies that could be worsening your PMS symptoms, you can add those nutrients in via food or supplements, with your doctor’s recommendation.

Some supplements that are proven to help with PMS symptoms are:

Magnesium ( for bloating and breast pain)

-Vitamin D (can help improve mood)

Zinc (to control acne and improve immune function)

Iron (improves fatigue and can lighten heavy bleeding)

Calcium (may improve mood swings)

Periods are Natural, and Managing PMS can be Natural Too

Herbs

Remember that periods are a natural part of being female. Fluctuating hormones and the PMS symptoms that can accompany them are not necessarily a disease to be treated. Instead, they are the start of a conversation.

Your PMS symptoms should alert you to a hormone dance that could be out of balance.  The goal of naturopathic treatment at Balanced Care is to decode the language of your body into words and signals that you can readily understand and respond to.

At Balanced Care, we strive to make all your inner “arguments” into beautiful collaborations between your body and your mind. We pair this internal collaboration together with real-world tools and treatment protocols so you can live your best life–with or without chocolate cravings! Visit our website to get started on your PMS natural healing path.

Iron Deficiency and You: A Natural Way Back to Health

iron deficiency red blood cells

red sell

How are you feeling lately? Are you always tired? Do your nails chip and split all year round?  Maybe you are feeling a little weak lately, and you have noticed some occasional heart palpitations. Perhaps you are getting short of breath a lot more than you used to on your daily walk with the dog. If this sounds like you, it might be time to have your iron checked.

We do that here at Balanced Care. A quick blood test can be the first step back to health, naturally. Call or email us today to schedule an appointment.

Why is iron essential in our body?

Iron helps us produce an oxygen-carrying compound called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is found in our red blood cells and serves as a “suitcase” of sorts for oxygen molecules on the way to our body tissues. When we don’t take in and absorb enough iron, we don’t synthesize hemoglobin in the right quantity.

Fewer of these hemoglobin “oxygen suitcases” in our red blood cells means that oxygen cannot be transported and utilized in our bodies to fuel our physical functions, primarily in our muscles.  That explains the symptoms of muscle weakness, fatigue, and heart rhythm fluctuations that can occur with iron deficiency.

Frequent Causes of Iron Deficiency Anemia

We can experience iron deficiency for several every-day reasons. Women are the most susceptible to iron deficiency because of blood-loss during periods. If you are female and have especially heavy periods, a periodic blood test for iron level is a good idea, especially if you are noticing any of the symptoms listed above.

Pregnancy can also be a time of fluctuating iron levels.  A woman’s body has to absorb enough iron for her own needs as well as the needs of her growing baby. Many health care providers will suggest iron supplementation for pregnant women to keep both mom and baby healthy and thriving throughout gestation.

More serious conditions like peptic ulcers, colo-rectal cancer, and colon polyps can also cause significant blood loss and may be the cause of iron deficiency as well. Intestinal disorders like celiac disease can affect your iron absorption and so can bypass surgery on your small intestine. Some types of pain relievers, like aspirin, can also cause intestinal bleeding and may influence your iron levels.

Testing Your Iron Levels

Blood test

When diving into testing for iron deficiency, it is essential to have a holistic approach to treatment, as iron deficiency can be an indication of a more severe condition. Here at Balanced Care, we are an integral part of your wellness team. We may recommend comprehensive lab testing either with our qualified staff or with your MD to get a detailed picture of all the factors that are producing your iron deficiency symptoms.

Trying to troubleshoot your iron levels on your own could result in liver damage from too much iron. We cannot easily clear excess iron from the body.  We store extra iron in the liver and other major organs, where it can build up and cause a host of problems. Proper testing for iron deficiency and accurate guidance for dietary changes and supplementation from us at Balanced Care are paramount for bringing your body to a healthy balance with this essential micronutrient.

There are many natural ways to increase your iron levels over several months gently. Here at Balanced Care, our goal is to evaluate your blood tests, performed by our qualified staff or your MD, for optimal iron levels and to create a customized treatment plan that works for you.

Natural Ways to Increase Your Iron Levels

There are many natural ways to increase your iron levels over several months gently. Here at Balanced Care, our goal is to evaluate your blood tests, performed by our qualified staff or your MD, for optimal iron levels and to create a customized treatment plan that works for you.

You can elevate your iron levels with improved nutrition. Red meat, poultry, pork, and seafood are all rich in iron and best absorbed by your body. Be sure to choose meat sources that are as chemical-free as you can, with organic and grass-fed meat options being the best, or wild-caught and responsibly sourced seafood options.

Studies show that choosing organic meats when possible increases the amount of nutrients you DO want in your food, like iron, protein, and vitamins, while decreasing the amounts of stuff you DON’T want, such as other antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and more.

Healthy Food

If eating meat is just not your thing, you can work to increase your iron by consuming more green leafy veggies, dried fruit, beans, or fortified bread, pasta, and cereal. Try to consume non-meat iron sources with vitamin C, found in citrus fruit or juice, as the combination will help your body to more effectively absorb non-meat sources of iron.

Folate and vitamin B6 are also essential components of iron absorption in your body.

You can find plenty of folate in many whole food sources like fish, poultry, green leafy veggies, fruit, and fortified cereals and other grains. Good sources of vitamin B6 exist in many of the same food sources as Folate, with a particular emphasis on dark leafy greens, papayas, and cantaloupe.

We can evaluate your current dietary choices to be sure you are getting all of the nutrients required to keep your iron at optimal levels. Again, vegetarians and vegans may need a little extra boost to achieve the correct balance of Folate and vitamin B6. It may be necessary to supplement Folate and Vitamin B6 if you are not consuming enough on your own.

We have a convenient online dispensary at Balanced Care. Once we establish your treatment protocol, you can purchase your supplements online and have them delivered to your door.

If changing your diet alone does not optimize your iron levels, we may recommend an iron supplement.  If we find that you need an iron supplement in your treatment plan, it is essential to have us at Balanced Care prescribe one for you.

Let the Professionals at Balanced Care Help You

Here at Balanced Care, we hope to provide you with the best education and treatment options for your body’s best balance-naturally. Know that our primary goal is to support your body in its natural tendency toward good health and proper functioning.

There are so many options for a natural path to wellness, and we at Balanced Care look forward to illuminating the way that is right for you. Call us today to set up your initial appointment. We look forward to serving you in health–naturally.

Healing with Botanicals

healing with botanicals

heal

The pace of development and production of chemically synthesized drugs has transformed health care in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. However, vast swaths of the developing world still rely on healing with botanicals — traditional, herbal medicines — for their primary care. In India, Japan, Korea, and countries across Africa, hundreds of millions of people depend on traditional medicine for their health care needs.

One of the goals of the Naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care is to convey that using herbs is a safe, effective way to alleviate a variety of health conditions or to maintain your health. As with any medication, though, you should make sure that you understand the effects of using herbal medicine by getting information from reliable sources. Further, take the time to make your health care provider aware of any herbal medicines you’re considering or taking.

Healing with Botanicals — The Use of Herbs in History

Barbara Griggs writes in her seminal work, the well-received Green Pharmacy: The History and Evolution of Western Herbal Medicine, a plethora of evidence points out that humans have, since prehistoric times, been using herbal medicine to treat and manage an array of ailments. One example comes from a 60,000-year-old grave of a Neanderthal man buried in what is now Iraq, where a series of pollen analyses of the plants found in the grave with the corpse indicated that they all possessed medicinal value.

Blurring the Lines Between Food and Medicine

spices

Herbal medicine, known alternatively as herbalism or botanical medicine (or healing with botanicals), is not a licensed medical profession in the U.S., yet it is a revered and closely followed medical system based on the ingestion or topical applications of plants or plant extracts.

Although herbal remedies do not have licenses in the U.S., healthcare practitioners of all persuasions and disciplines recommend healing with botanicals such as concentrated extracts, tinctures, tablets, capsules, teas, and more as practical ways to manage a vast array of medical conditions.

People all around the world use herbal medicine to treat illnesses, address mental conditions, and assist in bodily functions. Unlike here in the U.S., many cultures believe that there is no distinction between natural foods and medicines, and they use herbs and spices as natural ways to prevent diseases by taking advantage of the curative powers within.

For instance, it’s believed that one reason elderly Indians have one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s in the world is due to the everyday use of the yellow spice turmeric in their ubiquitous curry dishes.

What Types of Conditions Do Herbal Medicines Address?

You may be surprised to know that herbal medicine has been used to treat or correct a host of medical conditions. Here is a small list of common herbs and the conditions they address:

Topical Applications

  • Aloe – minor burns, sunburns, skin irritation/inflammation
  • Arnica – bruises, sprained/sore muscles, and joints
  • Tea tree oil – Athlete’s foot, fungal infections of toenails and fingernails
  • Comfrey – bedsores, diabetic ulcers, some spider bites, and staph infections
  • Ingested Applications
  • Chamomile – ase a tea for upset stomach, heartburn, and indigestion
  • Ginseng – for overall health and stamina
  • Echinacea – for colds, flu, and sore throats
  • Garlic – for blood pressure, treat fungal infections, and colds
  • Ginger – for inflammation, nausea, and motion sickness
  • Peppermint – for indigestion, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive or intestinal ailments
  • Turmeric – for protecting against inflammation and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Coca leaf – general gastrointestinal problems, including both constipation and diarrhea

The Benefits of Herbal Medicine

lemon tea

People all over the world continue to use herbal medicine due to its variety of benefits, which include:

  • Affordability (especially compared to prescription medicine)
  • Ability to stabilize hormones and metabolism
  • Capacity to strengthen the immune system
  • Natural, versatile healing powers
  • Ease of access (especially compared to prescription medicine)
  • An array of chemical compounds with therapeutic effects
  • Fewer side effects

A significant number of medicinal plants contain myriad chemical compounds that have versatile therapeutic powers. The whole coca leaf is the most prominent medicinal plant for Andean Indians, who use it to treat the opposite conditions diarrhea and constipation.

This treatment of opposite maladies is possible coca contains 14 bioactive alkaloids; some restrict gut activity, while others help stimulate it. When ingested, coca naturally biosynthesizes with the body to naturally address the problem via receptors in intestinal tissues that bind to the alkaloids necessary for the body to regain its balance.

Final Thoughts on Herbal Medicine

As with any medication your health practitioner recommends or prescribes, you should make sure you be careful. Be careful not to mix herbs that have similar actions or to combine herbs with other medicines.

For example, if you’re taking an anticoagulant, you should avoid ginkgo, which is a natural blood thinner. Valerian, an herb used as a sedative, should not be mixed with prescription sleeping pills.

For pregnant women, it’s advised that you avoid nearly all herbs, particular in the first trimester, unless one recommended by your healthcare provider; nursing mothers should do the same for the first 4-6 months of your baby’s life. Finally, be careful about which herbal medications you’re thinking about giving your kids, as what’s safe for you as an adult may not be so for a child.

If you’re ever in doubt, check with your practitioner or pharmacist about the interactions of herbs with herbs and herbs with drugs.

To Learn More about Herbal Medicine, Contact Balanced Care

At Balanced Care, we know that health and wellness is your primary concern. As experts in holistic health, it’s ours, too. That’s why we strive to provide you with a comfortable, informative experience that helps you naturally address your medical condition or concerns and reach your health goals.

It’s important to note that herbal medicine is at its most effective when implemented as part of a natural treatment program that includes regular exercise, dietary modification, and stress reduction, all directed toward your health and healing.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled specialists, who can help you develop a plan consisting of diet, herbal medications, and more to help improve your health and reach your wellness goals.

When you focus on the principles of healthy living, disease prevention, and leveraging your body’s natural healing powers, you’ll have a healthier, more satisfying life!

5 Natural Ways to Keep Your Colon Healthy

not

not

When it comes to our health, we often focus on diet, nutrition, and exercise. Whether trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy lifestyle, or feel better, your health should be one of your primary concerns. While diet, nutrition, and exercise are important factors, it’s possible that you may be ignoring your colon’s health. Have you considered an intestinal cleanse to help keep your body healthy?

Maintaining colon health with an intestinal cleanse is one way to keep your colon healthy. Whether you choose a colon cleanse tea or another supplement to help with this, making sure you do the cleanse correctly is important. Keeping a healthy level of good bacteria in your colon is essential.

If you’re curious about natural ways to keep your colon healthy, the Naturopathic doctors at Balanced Care are here to help you find the best choice for your colon health. At Balanced Care, we focus on utilizing the most natural, least invasive, and least toxic therapies.

We strive to treat the person as a whole and create individualized plans for our patients. When it comes to developing a plan for keeping your colon healthy, we offer detox and cleansing services that we can tailor to your lifestyle. We are here to help you keep your colon healthy.

If you’re ready to focus on your colon health but want to make sure you take a natural approach, Balanced Care is here to educate and assist you in your efforts. Take a look at five natural ways to keep your colon healthy.

Use of Herbs in History

Historically, ancient people from various cultures were all herbalists. The oldest known list of medicinal herbs was compiled in China, dating as far back as 3000 B.C. Other ancient civilizations also saw the impact of herbs, and their use spread throughout the Roman Empire, Spain, France, and England.

Herbs were the first medicines and were used to help people with a variety of conditions. Their importance and efficacy has made a lasting impression and is still popular today.

1. Fiber Intake

Fiber Intake

Fiber is a fantastic way to maintain colon health. Both soluble and insoluble fibers are helpful when it comes to avoiding constipation and other gastrointestinal problems. You can up your fiber intake naturally by adding foods that are high in fiber to your diet. Whole grains, cereals, oatmeal, bran, vegetables, and fruits are an easy and effective way to add fiber to your diet.

Increasing fiber in your diet is simple to do, as many delicious fruits and vegetables can help you achieve the levels you need. There are also many natural fiber supplements available that you can take daily to help ensure you’re getting enough.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another excellent way to improve colon health naturally. One of the most enjoyable ways to up your vitamin D intake? Sunshine. If you can’t spend some extra time in the sun, many foods can help you increase vitamin D in your diet. Milk, fish, cereal, and bread are all foods that are rich in vitamin D.

Vitamin D supplements are also an option if you are unable to add it into your diet or get sunshine

3. Water Intake

water

You know how vital water is to your health. Water helps to cleanse the body by flushing out toxins. If you aren’t drinking enough water, toxins can quickly build up, causing a variety of health-related issues. Drinking plenty of water helps prevent constipation, bloating, and gas, not to mention fatigue and many other ailments.

Ensure you’re drinking at least eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day to keep your body running smoothly.

4. Exercise

Exercise has many health benefits. From aiding in heart health to weight loss to stress relief, exercising is an excellent way to gain control of your health. The many benefits of weight loss also include colon health. Exercise can help speed up bowel action which leads to a healthier colon.

If you are looking for a way to naturally keep your colon healthy, adding exercise to your daily routine could be just the ticket. Not only will exercise positively affect your colon but with so many other fantastic reasons to exercise, you can’t go wrong.

5. Colon Cleanse

An intestinal cleanse might be the right solution for you when it comes to maintaining your colon health. There are a lot of natural cleanses available that can help you achieve a better functioning colon. Herbal formulas designed to cleanse your colon will help you gently and naturally cleanse your colon.

A colon cleansing can help with fatigue, intestinal issues, digestive health, energy, and sometimes weight loss. It should be noted that colon “cleansing” is less about cleaning your colon, and more about helping restore the balance of the normal intestinal flora.

It is important to talk to your healthcare provider about starting an intestinal cleanse. At Balanced Care, we are happy to evaluate your situation and make recommendations with your overall health and wellness in mind.

Let Balanced Care Help Keep Your Colon Healthy

Herbs

If you have concerns about your colon health, let Balanced Care help you develop a plan to help you achieve your health and wellness goals. We can assist you with diet, herbal solutions, and an overall plan to help you improve your health.

At Balanced Care, we want to help educate you about the principles of healthy living as well as encourage you to focus on disease prevention and the body’s ability to heal. With a commitment to our patients and a desire to lead them toward natural solutions, we offer exceptional care.

If you are looking into an intestinal cleanse or have a desire to take a more natural approach to your well-being, contact us today and set up an appointment to meet with one of our skilled naturopathic professionals. We look forward to getting to know you and customizing a plan specific to your needs and goals.

Your health and wellness is our primary concern. At Balanced Care, we are experts in holistic health, and we strive to provide our patients with a comfortable and informative experience. We are ready to help you take on your medical condition or health objectives the natural way.

Naturopathic Doctors serving the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota
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