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Category: Boulder Holistic Blog

Exploring Hair Loss in Women: Causes, Treatments, and How to Manage It

Hair loss in women is more common than you might think. Women both young and old may have clumps of hair come out in the shower or see areas of thinning in the front or top of their head.

Societal standards of beauty often center on healthy hair and skin. So now female hair loss comes with emotional strain on top of worries about potential health problems. Not to mention that stress about your looks and health can lead to high levels of cortisol, which can lead to further hair loss! 

If this sounds like you and you want to know how to stop hair loss and regrow hair naturally, keep reading! This article explores female hair loss, with an emphasis on hair loss related to hormonal imbalances from conditions like hypothyroid, mold toxicity, and chronic infections

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, approaches hair loss in women from a functional medicine perspective. Namely, their providers help you search for the cause of female hair loss before they provide solutions to regrow your hair. Because once the original cause is addressed, your body can heal and your hair can start to regrow naturally.

What are the Leading Causes of Hair Loss in Women?

If you search “female hair loss” online, you will most likely find a list of genetic conditions that lead to thinning hair and female-pattern baldness. Genetics can contribute to hair loss – androgenic alopecia is the top cause of hair loss in both women and men. But genetic causes aren’t the only reason why women lose hair. 

Hormonal imbalances are a possible underlying contributor to female hair loss. In particular, issues with the thyroid gland and female sex hormones can lead to hair thinning and hair loss in women of all ages. 

Women losing hair - Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

Understanding the connection between hormones and hair loss is crucial in developing an effective treatment plan. If hormonal imbalances aren’t addressed, treatments focused on regrowing your hair may work for a time. But when you stop the treatment a few months down the line, all of that new hair growth could fall out all over again. 

Sustainable, healthy hair growth relies on healthy hormones.

Your hormones exist in a delicate balance in your body. They are the messengers that run your metabolism, digestion, sexual activities, stress levels, and so much more. When one set of hormones is out of balance – whether that’s your thyroid, stress, or sex hormones – all of the other systems work harder to compensate.

Hair growth isn’t essential for your survival – at least, not from an evolutionary standpoint. So, if your body has to choose between balancing your internal systems and growing hair, guess which one is going to win? 

Let’s take a closer look at two of the main hormonal systems that can lead to hair loss in women – thyroid and sexual hormones.

How Do Thyroid Hormones Contribute to Hair Loss? 

Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, growth, and development in the body. If the thyroid gland is underactive or overactive, you may experience a range of symptoms, including hair loss. 

Women with an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, often experience hair loss. Hypothyroidism can cause other symptoms as well, including dry skin, brittle nails, and hair breakage. 

Thyroid hormones are essential for hair growth. When thyroid hormones are low, hair growth can slow down and hair follicles can become thin and brittle, leading to hair loss. Speak with your doctor if you suspect your hair loss is due to a thyroid issue; the only way to find out for sure is with a comprehensive blood test.

How Do Female Hormones Contribute to Hair Loss? 

The female sex hormones, including estrogen and progesterone, are responsible for women’s menstrual cycle and reproductive health. 

Your sex hormones naturally fluctuate – on a monthly basis to produce your menstrual cycle, and on a lifetime basis that begins with menstruation and ends with menopause. A certain amount of fluctuation is normal, but sometimes, your female sex hormone levels fall out of balance.

Hair Loss - Boulder Holistic

Fluctuations in female sex hormones can contribute to hair loss. Hormonal imbalances, such as an excess of androgens or a decrease in estrogen, may cause thinning hair in the front or bald spots on the top of your head. A decrease in estrogen disrupts the balance of hormones throughout the body which can reduce hair growth.

Women’s sexual health isn’t reliant on testosterone, but a balance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone is necessary for optimal health. Unusually high or low levels of androgens (like testosterone) can cause hair loss by shrinking hair follicles and shortening the hair growth cycle.

Postpartum Hair Loss

Postpartum hair loss is a completely natural occurrence, linked to falling estrogen levels. Though hair loss after giving birth is temporary, it can be distressing. For most women, postpartum hair loss normalizes by their child’s first birthday.

However normal hair loss might be, you can see that even normal hormonal fluctuations can affect hair growth and lead to hair loss.

If you suspect hormones may be contributing to your hair loss, your first step is to contact your primary care doctor. They can give you a realistic idea of what could be causing your hair loss, and may take a few tests to make sure your hair loss isn’t related to hormonal imbalances.

Hair Loss from Mold Toxicity and Infection

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine specializes in treating women (and men) suffering from mold toxicity. A common result of mold exposure is hair loss.

However, mold toxicity isn’t the only outside pathogen that can cause hair loss. Stressful infections and viruses – including covid – may also result in female hair loss.

The reason you lose hair from mold toxicity and infection is because these pathogens create inflammation and instigate a redistribution of resources to combat the illness or exposure. Mold toxicity and infection also interrupt the balance of hormones. That’s why many women experience changes in their menstrual cycle after covid, an illness, or when dealing with mold toxicity.

Many of Boulder Holistic’s patients come to the office after their hairdresser tells them their hair is thinning. If your hair loss starts suddenly or you notice your hair looks much thinner than it did, always check with your doctor. The sooner you identify the cause of your hair loss, the sooner you can implement some natural solutions to regrow hair.

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Treatment for hair loss related to hormonal imbalances will vary based on you and the unique underlying causes of your hair loss. Women with hormonal imbalances may need bioidentical hormone replacement therapy to help rebalance their hormones. Or, if the cause is related to mold toxicity, you may need time to relocate to a mold-free environment, and even more time to detox from mold.

The length of time it will take to see results will also depend on you. You need to be patient and stay consistent with your treatment for optimal results. However, consistent functional medicine treatments for hormonal imbalances and mold toxicity can help most people see an improvement in hair growth within a few months.

What to Use for Women’s Thinning Hair

Boulder Holistic recommends several supplements to regrow hair for women. Here are a few supplements Boulder Holistic may recommend for you:

Hair loss supplements - Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine
Always consult with your primary care doctor or book an appointment at Boulder Holistic before you treat your hair loss on your own. This is especially true if you suspect your hair loss might be due to an underlying medical condition.

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Thyroid hormones and female sex hormones are both potential causes of hair loss in women. By addressing underlying hormonal imbalances and implementing natural interventions, it’s possible to promote hair growth and prevent hair loss.  Remember to consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet or lifestyle, and before starting any new supplements or medications. Female hair loss isn’t always permanent, especially if you can find and treat the cause. Contact Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, if you think your hair loss might be related to hormonal fluctuations, mold toxicity, or if you want to know more about functional medicine treatments for hair loss.

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Uncovering The Link Between Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Chronic Illness

A healthy immune system defends the body against harmful infections, illnesses, and outside pathogens. It attacks the invaders and quickly eradicates them from your system.

When it comes to chronic illness, the immune system can react in a way that seems counterintuitive. The immune system may become overactive or even attack healthy cells.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS) is a condition where part of your immune system becomes overactive. It causes symptoms like itchy eyes and nose, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, diarrhea, headaches, anxiety, poor concentration, fatigue, and low blood pressure.

MCAS is treatable and many people find relief from symptoms with time. But treating the symptoms doesn’t help you figure out why your immune system became overactive in the first place.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado searches for the root cause of MCAS using functional medicine techniques. Their functional medicine and holistic medical providers break down complex health issues and their underlying mechanisms to provide comprehensive care for their patients.

Keep reading to learn more about MCAS, its connection to chronic health issues, and how a holistic approach can play a vital role in managing this condition.

What is Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)?

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is a condition where a type of white blood cell called mast cells release excessive amounts of chemical mediators into the body. The chemical mediators are released in response to various triggers and result in a wide range of symptoms that can affect multiple systems in the body. Histamine, heparin, and tryptase are all types of chemical mediators released by mast cells.

Mast Cell Activation Syndrome cellular image

Mast cells play a crucial role in the immune system, especially in allergic reactions and inflammation. They act as sentinels, detecting foreign substances and initiating appropriate immune responses. In MCAS, mast cells become overly sensitive and reactive, leading to chronic and often debilitating symptoms.

Research suggests that MCAS could be an underlying factor in various chronic health issues. Patients with MCAS often experience multi-system symptoms that can contribute to or exacerbate chronic conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, migraines, and chronic fatigue syndrome

MCAS has also been linked to autoimmune diseases and other immune dysfunctions, which makes diagnoses and treatment more challenging.

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

MCAS can manifest with a myriad of symptoms, making it challenging to diagnose. Some common symptoms include:

  1. Skin issues: hives, rashes, flushing, itching
  2. Gastrointestinal problems: abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, bloating
  3. Respiratory issues: wheezing, shortness of breath, congestion
  4. Neurological symptoms: headaches, migraine, brain fog, dizziness
  5. Neuropsychiatric symptoms: anxiety irritability, depression 
  6. Cardiovascular issues: tachycardia, palpitations, low blood pressure
  7. Fatigue and muscle pain

Due to the variability of symptoms, MCAS often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. A combination of clinical assessment, medical history, and laboratory tests (such as measuring serum histamine, and tryptase levels or analyzing histamine levels in the urine) can help confirm the diagnosis.

Root Causes of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine diagnoses and treats chronic illnesses like MCAS by finding the root cause. 

It might seem like chronic illness develops randomly. You wake up one day with strange symptoms that slowly become your new normal. But the body doesn’t work like that. Chronic illness doesn’t appear randomly, and most of them have common root causes.

The root causes of MCAS could include:

  • Bacterial, viral, parasitic, and fungal infections
  • Mold 
  • Environmental toxins
  • Exposure to allergens
  • Exposure to hot or cold temperatures
  • Certain foods like alcohol, aged foods, fish and shellfish, bone broth, dairy, grains, avocados, tomatoes, and soy

Infections, mold, toxins, and allergens all trigger your immune system. If you don’t take steps to reduce your body’s toxin load, treat the infection, or eliminate the allergen, they will continue to trigger your immune system until you develop a chronic illness. 

For example, MCAS can be caused by toxic mold in your home or workplace. In the best-case scenario, you find the mold and get rid of it quickly. But even after you get rid of the mold, you might still have MCAS symptoms. 

That’s because mold makes itself a nice home in your body where the immune system can’t reach it. Without the proper diagnoses and supplements, you might live with mold in your system for years.

When you get rid of the mold from your body, you make it possible for your body to recover. Your immune system goes back to normal, and your symptoms become more manageable. 

Coping with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome

Given the complexity of MCAS, a holistic approach is essential to manage this condition. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends a few holistic strategies for coping with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome including identifying your triggers, changing your diet, and reducing stress!

Together, these strategies reduce inflammation and provide relief from symptoms.

1. Identifying Triggers

Work closely with your functional medicine provider to identify potential triggers such as allergens, infections, and stressors. When you avoid and minimize exposure to triggers, you can experience symptom relief.

2. Nutritional Support

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids. An individualized dietary plan may also help address specific food sensitivities or allergies. You might also need to follow a low histamine diet while treating the underlying cause of mast cell activation syndrome. 

3. Gut Health

Improve gastrointestinal function with a combination of probiotics, prebiotics, and digestive enzymes to support a balanced gut microbiome. Many people with MCAS need specialized digestive enzymes like Hist DAO and probiotics like ProbiotaHistaminX that reduce MCAS symptoms.

4. Stress Reduction

Implement stress management techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga which help to reduce inflammation and promote overall well-being. You can also target the limbic system to help manage symptoms of MCAS with strategies like DNRS, the Gupta Program, and Brain Tap.

5. Targeted Supplementation

Supporting methylation with the right kind of vitamins as well as optimizing vitamin D, and minerals like copper and zine can help with mast cell stabilization. We also recommend incorporating supplements like quercetin, vitamin C, luteolin and diamine oxidase enzymes (aka DAO enzymes) to support mast cell stability and mitigate symptoms 

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine also recommends over-the-counter medications like H1 and H2 blockers, compounded medications like ketotifen and cromolyn sodium, and utilizing prescriptions like hydroxyzine, and Singulair to manage MCAS.

Complex health issues like MCAS usually require collaboration between your primary care and a group of specialists. Allergists, immunologists, and other healthcare professionals support you and provide comprehensive care for chronic illnesses like Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.

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Mast Cell Activation Syndrome is a complex condition that can significantly impact your quality of life. To treat MCAS, you need a provider that understands the intricacies of the illness and its connection to chronic health issues. 

The providers at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado,  use their experience to diagnose and treat chronic diseases – like MCAS – to provide symptom relief and help return you to optimal health. If you have or think you might have MCAS and want help finding the cause of your illness, contact our office to schedule an appointment today!

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Unlock the Power of Intermittent Fasting: Pros, Cons, and Secrets Revealed

Fasting is an ancient therapeutic technique that dates back to the 5th century BCE. Back then, fasting mainly was a religious practice, but it was also used to treat certain illnesses.

It took the advances of modern science to reveal the many benefits of fasting for your health. Intermittent fasting is the most recent trend in fasting, a practice that requires you to abstain from eating or drinking during a certain portion of the day. Other types of fasting include extended fasting, religious or spiritual fasting, time-restricted feeding, and modified fasting.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, recommends fasting for a variety of health reasons. Keep reading for more fasting benefits and first-time fasting tips from a functional medicine practitioner.

Benefits of Fasting

The benefits of fasting are incredible and include better brain function, digestion, insulin sensitivity, body composition, and antioxidant activity. Fasting can reduce inflammation, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. A single day of fasting is enough to see multiple benefits. 

Fasting for a more extended period of time is not necessarily better for you. In fact, longer fasts may not work for people with pre-existing medication conditions (including people with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or symptoms related to unbalanced blood sugar), the elderly, children, and pregnant women.

Fasts that last 24 or 48 hours are done less frequently – about once or twice a month at most. On the other hand, time-restricted eating can be done daily in 8-, 12-, or 16-hour intervals. Time-restricted eating is also called prolonged nightly fasting and is one of the more common fasting practices used today.

Intermittent Fasting - Boulder Holistic Functional (fasting clock)

Note: During 24-hour and 48-hour fasts, you avoid caloric beverages and food but you should always drink plenty of water!

Here is a breakdown of the benefits of a 24- and 48-hour fast.

Benefits of 24-Hour Fast

When you go 24 hours without food, your glucose storage is depleted and your body starts to turn the glycogen in your liver and muscles into glucose for extra energy. Your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and triglyceride levels go down and your HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels increase.

Most types of fasting have some sort of fat loss or weight loss benefits. Some studies show improved appetite regulation and more diversity in the gut microbiome, both of which contribute to potential weight loss and better gut health overall.

Benefits of 48-Hour Fast

After 24 hours, the glycogen stores in your liver and muscles are used up. Your body starts to burn fat for energy and produce ketones. During a 48-hour fast, your body moves into ketosis, a metabolic process that promotes long-term weight loss and appetite control.

The benefits of a 48-hour fast include anti-aging benefits, rapid weight loss, increased insulin sensitivity, improved learning and memory, detoxification, and more.

Some people’s bodies will store fat in response to the lack of food and you don’t need to fast for 48 hours to access ketosis. The Keto Diet is designed to help people reach ketosis with a diet low in carbs and high in fat. Intermittent fasting – a type of time-restricted eating that limits the window during which you consider calories during the day – can also instigate ketosis in the body.

Always listen to your body during long periods of fasting. Fasting may make you feel weak, tired, or irritable. You may want to consult with your functional medicine provider before you start a fasting protocol, especially if you have an existing medication condition.

Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is one of the more well-known forms of fasting. Types of intermittent fasting include time-restricted eating, alternate-day fasting (or fasting intervals), and intermittent energy restriction.

The pros of intermittent fasting include:
  • Burn fat
  • Better heart health
  • Improved memory and learning capability
  • Anti-aging
  • Detoxification
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Less restrictive than 24- or 48-hour fasts
  • Easy to incorporate into a daily routine
The cons of intermittent fasting include:

Many of the cons of intermittent fasting will go away as your body adjusts to the new caloric restrictions. However, if you have a medical condition or your side effects worsen over time, you should consult with your functional medicine doctor.

Fasting Mimicking Diet

Eating healthy during intermittent fasting

 

For those of you who are not comfortable with the idea of fasting, the fasting-mimicking diet can provide many of the same fasting benefits using a low-calorie diet plan. 

You don’t have to go hours or days without food, instead, you eat small, plant-based meals for five days. 

The lack of protein and carbohydrates tricks your body into fasting mode without the strain of missing meals.

Tips on Fasting

First-time fasters are often worried that the lack of food will disrupt their life, and to a certain extent, they aren’t wrong. When you are fasting, you need to treat your body gently. You will not have the same energy and you may feel irritable or foggy. 

A few tips for first-time fasting:

  1. Drink plenty of water
  2. Stop if you feel sick, faint, or can’t sleep
  3. Cut down your activity
  4. Don’t break your fast with a huge meal
  5. Try meditating to control food anxiety
  6. Stock up on flavored waters and other no-calorie beverages like lemon water

Fasting doesn’t work for everyone. People with eating disorders or unhealthy food relationships should not try fasting. Certain medications conditions and chronic illnesses may also affect your body’s ability to fast. 

Beach during sunset - intermittent fasting Boulder Holistic

If you’re hesitant to try fasting or simply want to learn more, contact Boulder Holistic to discuss which type of fasting will work best for your body.

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, is happy to help you on your fasting journey. Functional medicine uses a full-body approach to wellness. The food you eat (or the lack of food in this case) is a great influence on your overall health. 

Not all types of fasting work for everyone, so contact our office to schedule an appointment for a personalized recommendation!

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Leaky Gut Syndrome: How To Heal Leaky Gut with Holistic Treatments

Leaky gut syndrome, or increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the lining of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract becomes more permeable than normal. 

Increased permeability allows larger particles like toxins, undigested food, and bacteria to enter the bloodstream. When large particles enter the bloodstream, they cause widespread inflammation and infection throughout the body. It may even trigger autoimmune disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases. 

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, our holistic treatments address the underlying causes of the leaky gut and promote gut healing and overall health. Keep reading to learn how to heal leaky gut using the functional medicine 5 R Protocol. 

 Leaky Gut Symptoms

Inflammation is your immune system’s response to harmful pathogens. In most cases, inflammation is a helpful immune response that quickly eradicates viruses, bacteria, and other invaders that might cause your body harm.

But widespread inflammation from leaky gut causes a variety of symptoms. Some are related to the gut and digestion, while others are the result of chronic inflammation.

Symptoms of Leaky Gut include:

  • Gas and Bloating
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Burning Sensation or Painful digestion
  • Low Energy
  • Headaches
  • Food Intolerances
  • Brain Fog
  • Trouble Concentrating
  • Skin issues like Acne, Rashes and Eczema
  • Joint pain

Leaky gut is also associated with certain mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.

How to Heal Leaky Gut Naturally

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, we start with a stool test using the GI Effects or GI Map and a test for Zonulin to determine if leaky gut is contributing to your overall health issues. If a leaky gut is the cause of your symptoms, we start to implement the five R’s of functional medicine gut healing

The 5 R Protocol to heal leaky gut naturally not only helps with leaky gut symptoms, it promotes better overall health.

1. Remove: Identifying and Removing Triggers

Bacterial dysbiosis, parasitic infections, and fungal overgrowth trigger the immune system in your gut and can lead to leaky gut. The stool test at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine will help your provider determine the best herbal and medical protocols to remove the infective agents and get you on the way to better gut health. 

Additionally, both true food allergies and food sensitivities can contribute to leaky gut as well by activating the gut’s immune system. 

Leak Gut - Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine Cellular

True food allergies are IgE mediated and may result in itchy throat, lip and throat swelling, hives, and anaphylaxis. 

On the other hand, food sensitivities are IgG mediated and can result in delayed immune system reactions that happen as much as three days after you eat food.  

Because your symptoms can show up hours or even days later, it can make understanding what foods are triggering IgG-mediated reactions harder to identify without testing. At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine, we use food sensitivity testing or an elimination diet to identify triggering foods.

Once you know your triggers, you remove those foods from your diet for a period of time and allow your gut time to heal. Your provider will also suggest a whole food-based diet to get your gut back on track.

2. Replace: Adding in Missing Digestive Enzymes, HCl and Bile Support

Leaky gut disrupts the digestive system on many different levels. 

High levels of inflammation break down the protective mucus lining in your intestines, which leads to irritation in the gut lining. When the digestive system is under stress, your body will struggle to process food and absorb nutrients, which can lead to low energy and other symptoms.

Certain proteins can trigger an immune response in the gut or at the blood level. This leads to inflammation and perpetuates symptoms of leaky gut. Digestive enzymes, stomach acid, and bile are often low in patients with leaky gut syndrome.

Many patients benefit from replacing digestive enzymes, hydrochloric acid, and bile support. All of which help support healthy digestion while your gut heals.

3. Reinoculate: Reset the Microbiome 

Your gut contains over 100 trillion microbial cells, including a combination of good and bad bacteria. Each type of good bacteria influences a different system in the body, some aid in digestion while others support the immune system.

A diverse microbiome is essential to a healthy body and mind. To restore and reset your gut, you need to reset the microbiome by reinoculating the gut with healthy bacteria.

Probiotics for Leaky Gut

High-dose probiotics are helpful in some cases to restore gut health. For patients who need a gentle approach to gut restoration, spore-based probiotics choreograph a healthy gut microbiome without triggering the immune system. 

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends Megaspore Probiotic and saccharomyces boulardii to help reset the gut microbiome while you heal leaky gut. 

4. Repair the Lining with Gut-Healing Nutrients and Supplements

In the previous sections, we examine how probiotics support a healthy microbiome and digestive enzymes promote smooth digestion. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine also recommends prebiotics, collagen, and a few other nutrients and supplements to restore the intestinal lining as you heal from leaky gut. 

Curcumin and Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and promote tissue repair. DGL, aloe, marshmallow root, l-glutamine, zinc carnosine, vitamins D and A, and colostrum can help with symptoms and recovery. Humic and fulvic acids may also be used to help restore your gut and improve cell-to-cell communication for a healthy immune system.

Rebalance: Stress Reduction and Lifestyle Changes

Leak Gut - Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine 2

Your gut health influences your mental health, and vice versa. Stress, anxiety and depression both have a significant impact on gut health and leaky gut syndrome. They increase gut permeability, disrupt digestion, and increase inflammation.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine recommends an approach that emphasizes stress reduction strategies to help your body heal from leaky gut. Mindfulness, meditation, chanting and yoga are known to reduce inflammation and turn on the parasympathetic nervous system. Your parasympathetic nervous system is the “rest and digest” system which promotes healthy digestion and gut healing.

Your lifestyle greatly influences the health of your gut. Regular sleep and exercise are essential to a healthy body and mind. You might also consider how you can reduce environmental toxins and support detoxification.

 How Long Does it Take to Heal Leaky Gut?

Leaky gut doesn’t appear overnight. Irritation in your intestines is the result of months or years of inflammation and damage. So, healing from a leaky gut takes some time. 

On average, it takes patients between 6 and 12 months to heal a leaky gut, but most experience symptom relief much sooner than that!

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

You can heal your gut and reduce inflammation with the 5 R Protocol at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine. This step-by-step process helps provide relief from leaky gut with a holistic whole-body approach. 

Boulder Holistic’s comprehensive approach will also address the underlying causes of leaky gut. A multidisciplinary approach that incorporates conventional and holistic treatments is often necessary to heal from leaky gut. Always work with a healthcare provider to identify and treat the underlying conditions that lead to leaky gut.  

Ready to heal your Leaky Gut? Contact Boulder Holistic to schedule your first appointment today!

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What Causes Lyme Disease? The Top 5 Reasons Lyme Disease Remains Chronic

Over 300,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease every year. Despite growing awareness of Lyme disease’s prevalence, the tick-borne illness often goes unnoticed. Even properly diagnosed, Lyme disease can remain in your system for years and severely affect your quality of life.

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado are Lyme disease specialists who use functional medicine techniques to diagnose and treat chronic Lyme disease. Their experience with Lyme has revealed the top five reasons Lyme disease remains chronic – some of which might surprise you!

What are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease?

Some people get Lyme disease and never know they have it. But for others, Lyme remains chronic in their system for years. 

Lyme is chronic when it persists in your body for six months or more, during which time the disease can cause significant damage. 

Acute Lyme symptoms may start with headaches, fever, fatigue, and a skin rash. If left untreated, Lyme can spread to the joints and organs and provoke other health problems, including chronic fatigue, joint pain, achiness, flu-like symptoms, recurrent fevers, and fibromyalgia. 

The ticks that transmit Borrelia Burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease) may also carry other bacteria. These co-infections can present distinctive symptoms like migraines, anxiety, depression, insomnia, shortness of breath, and more. 

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine have successfully helped many of their patients resolve symptoms of chronic Lyme, and their experience has revealed that five health problems can play a significant role in perpetuating the disease.

Functional Medicine Treatment for Lyme Disease

For patients with chronic Lyme disease, we look at the terrain or the internal conditions that allow the Lyme bacteria to replicate and remain active in your system.

We start with the toxic load or total body burden. When your bucket overflows with biotoxins, mycotoxins, neurotoxins, and environmental toxins, your system crashes, and symptoms emerge.

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine, we take steps to make the terrain (your body) inhospitable to Lyme. We support the detoxification pathways and help clear the system of toxins. As we detoxify and heal the terrain, your system becomes strong enough to fight Lyme. 

The five reasons Lyme disease remains chronic include mold toxicity, gut dysfunction, high toxin loads, parasitic infection, and yeast overgrowth. Each of these factors makes it harder for your system to function optimally, which makes it harder for your body to clear Borrelia Burgdorferi. 

Keep reading as we dive into what causes chronic Lyme disease and how a holistic approach can help!

Lyme disease boulder holistic functional medicine

1. Mold Toxicity

Mold Toxicity in building contributing to lyme disease

Mold attacks the immune system, suppressing good immune cells and increasing inflammatory cells. In the presence of mold, Lyme can become opportunistic. It reactivates, replicates, and wreaks havoc in the system. 

Mold secretes mycotoxins, which are pathogenic or disease-causing in humans. The mycotoxins and neurotoxins increase the total body burden, causing your bucket to overflow.

About 25% of the population is sensitive to mold. For mold-sensitive people, mold toxicity can cause migraines, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, weight gain, frequent illness, dizziness, hair loss, and chronic congestion. Over time, mold toxicity can cause neurological symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements, numbness, weakness, and neuropathies.

Thankfully, mold toxicity is treatable, and treating it may help resolve your chronic Lyme disease symptoms! Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine tests for mold toxicity if you have Lyme disease, and vice versa. 

For more information about mold toxicity symptoms and treatments, read this article here.

2. Gut Dysfunction 

A healthy gut is essential for optimum health. Seventy percent of your immune system lives in your GI tract and microbiome. 

Your microbiome is a wide variety of beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. An ideal microbiome has more bacterial cells than human cells! 

The benefits of a diverse microbiome are immeasurable. Most researchers agree that the more beneficial bacteria you have in your gut, the healthier you will be. That’s partially because the microbiome is the body’s greatest immunomodulator. 

Immunomodulation means that these bacteria increase our good immune signaling and decrease immune dysfunctions like allergies, auto-immunity, and inflammation. These bacteria also contribute to healthy digestion, mood, and weight.

When you have gut dysfunction, your immune system is unable to effectively fight off Lyme disease which can cause it to become chronic. 

Gut dysfunction is a common symptom of lyme disease
If the doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine find symptoms of gut dysfunction, they will order a comprehensive stool study and food panel. These two tests will reveal the health of your microbiome and your overall gut health and help them determine if your gut is part of the reason your Lyme disease remains chronic. Dysbiosis, SIBO/SIFO, hypochlorhydria, and chronic inflammation are some examples of gut dysfunction. For more information about the functional medicine approach to gut dysfunction, read this article here.

3. High Toxin Load

Heavy metals are neurotoxins and a high heavy metal load interferes with the body’s ability to clear Lyme. Your body can only fight off so many outside pathogens and toxins at a time. Your chronic Lyme disease symptoms may emerge as a result of a high toxin load. Environmental toxins include plastics, pesticides, glyphosate, and thousands of other chemicals. Studies show that environmental toxins affect all of the body’s processes, and can cause autoimmunity, allergies, neurological illness, reproduction dysfunction, and more. These toxins contribute to the total body burden, and as the total body toxic load continues to increase, the bucket will overflow, and you may become symptomatic. Toxins disrupt the body’s processes on a cellular level. You can find known environmental toxins in everyday items like airbags, cigarette smoke, cosmetics, packaging, plastic cups, and toys.

4. Parasites

Parasites can be tricky to detect. Many of them can exist in your body for years, causing symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, migraines, and a myriad of other symptoms. With a chronic parasitic infection, the immune system is overwhelmed trying to fight off the parasites, creating a chronic state of inflammation. It also makes it harder for your body to fight off Lyme and its co-infections. Not to mention, parasites disrupt the microbiome to further impact immune function. In chronic Lyme, parasites must be treated and removed for the body to return to homeostasis. Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine may advise a parasite cleanse protocol to get rid of any potential parasites. Once the parasites are treated, your Lyme symptoms may lessen or disappear altogether!

5. Yeast Overgrowth

Yeast overgrowth might start with antibiotics, which kill your beneficial bacteria and allow the yeast to take over.

You can get yeast overgrowth from mold. Mold and yeast are fungal, so they often go hand in hand. Mold creates all the right conditions for yeast to flourish.

The overgrowth can also be exacerbated by your diet since an abundance of simple carbohydrates and processed sugars feed yeast.

Women experiencing yeast overgrowth which is a symptom of lyme disease

Yeast overgrowth can cause symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, GERD, weight gain, SIFO, nausea, acne, MCAS, and food sensitivities. It also causes brain fog, fatigue, headaches, and rashes. 

Like mold, yeast is hard to remove from the system without help from an experienced practitioner. It creates a home inside your gut or sinuses and secretes a biofilm to protect itself from your immune system. 

At Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine, we use low-dose immunotherapy to clear yeast from the system. Patients with yeast overgrowth typically see an improvement in their digestion and gut health, but also in symptoms of chronic Lyme disease!

Work with Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

Happy women after being treating for lyme disease at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine

The doctors at Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine in Boulder, Colorado, are Lyme disease specialists who use a whole system approach to treat chronic Lyme disease. They guide you through cleaning up the terrain and making your body inhospitable to chronic infections like Lyme disease.

Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine will also help treat untreated infections, such as parasites and yeast. They can help detoxify your body and decrease your body’s toxic burden. Once your terrain is clear, your body will have the strength to fight off Lyme and its co-infections, and you can reclaim your vibrantly happy and healthy life!

Want to learn more about Boulder Holistic Functional Medicine’s specialties and services? Fill out our new patient form to see one of our Lyme Disease specialists today!

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