When you begin to feel something is off with your body, your first step is often the Doctor’s office. We believe they are the experts in the human body and that they can find out what’s wrong, but what do you do if they can’t find the issue? Not all problems are evident on a standard test, and this may result in your Doctor saying there is nothing wrong or that the problem is in your head. At this point in your life, you know your body well enough to know when something is off, so here are some suggestions for when your Doctor can’t seem to help.
Sleep is one of our most fundamental needs and one of the first ones to be sacrificed to a busy schedule. Whether you need more hours in the day to get things done or you stay up late to get a few minutes of peace at the end of the day, your sleep schedule is often a low priority.
There can be severe impacts to your health when you are not getting enough sleep. Symptoms such as brain fog, a weakened immune system, weight gain, mood changes, and high blood pressure can all be attributed to a lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can reduce your ability to fight off illnesses and recover quickly and can also increase your risk for chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes. A 2010 meta-analysis looked at 16 separate studies and showed that a lack of sleep increased the risk of death.
Rest can affect almost every part of our body and should be a priority. Try getting around 7-8 hours of sleep a night to ensure your body has a chance to recover.
Consider food intolerances
Diet has a significant impact on our health, so when our body isn’t reacting to or processing some foods correctly, it can have adverse effects. This can be due to allergies or the inability for our bodies to break down and digest certain foods. Not all allergies symptoms are the same, and as a result, standard scratch tests done by Doctors may not always show the correct results.
Food intolerances can manifest in a variety of symptoms including stomach issues, such as nausea or diarrhea, headaches, rashes, fatigue, and joint pain. One way to determine if allergies may be causing some of your health concerns is the elimination diet. Elimination dieting isn’t like your typical diet. It is not about weight loss but instead is meant to try removing types of food from your diet to see if your symptoms improve.
Typically an elimination diet will last approximately 5-6 weeks and begins with 2-3 weeks of eliminating foods you suspect may be causing issues. Some typical foods to start with are dairy, nuts, wheat, eggs, seafood, corn, and soy. The next phase is to spend 2-3 days per food group to re-introduce the food. At this point, check for any returning symptoms to determine which food group is the cause. This type of diet should be monitored by a professional such as a Registered Naturopathic Doctor.
Consider your nutrient intake
The lack of proper nutrients can have detrimental effects on our bodies. We need the correct balance of vitamins and minerals to function at our peak. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies include symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, bleeding gums, skin disorders or irritations, and hair loss. Some of the most common deficiencies are Vitamins A, B12, C, and iron.
A study based on data from the World Health Organization determined that 1.6 billion people are anemic. Anemia is when you have deficient levels of red blood cells. An iron deficiency is the cause of 30-50% of anemia cases. Ensure when you are creating your meal plans that you include foods like dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds, good sources of protein, and fruits.
Only taking supplements to try and replace a balanced diet can have adverse effects. It is recommended to work with a specialist to create a diet plan that gives you the correct balance for your body.
Your gut bacteria is off balance
Gut flora is the slang term given to both good and bad bacteria that live inside your digestive tract. The type and amount of bacteria in your gut depends on the location (small intestine vs colon). Your colon has millions of different kinds of bacteria, all of which have specific functions. A healthy gut isn’t made by trying to rid your body of gut bacteria altogether; It’s made by balancing the good and bad bacteria.
“Bad” bacteria are pathogenic bacteria, which may cause infection, make us sick or, in some cases, even kill us! Harmful bacteria come from external influences such as food, environmental toxins, and also the effects of stress on our bodies. However, in a recent study — which researchers did not intend to test the efficacy of probiotics — researchers uncovered something surprisingly negative about them. They found that so-called good bacteria might be helpful for some people but have a negative health impact for others. It seems that their influence depends on the integrity of the intestinal epithelium.
Epithelial membrane dysfunction — also known as a leaky gut — appears to play a role in many health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, food allergies, and celiac disease.
Balance your gut bacteria by taking these easy steps:
Include a more diverse range of foods in your diet
Eat plenty of beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables
Add fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi or Greek yogurt as a snack
Include foods rich in polyphenols such as red wine, green tea, almonds, and blueberries
Take a probiotic supplement if necessary
Talk to a Naturopath
Holistic medicine focuses on natural remedies to health issues and promotes the ability of the body to heal itself. A naturopathic doctor will often focus on treatment options such as exercise, acupuncture, and nutritional planning. They focus on treating the entire person and consider the mind, body, and spirit. Naturopaths also focus not only on the treatment of current issues but long term health, building nutritional plans and lifestyles that focus on disease prevention as well as treating current issues.
Naturopathic and functional medicine use non-invasive and natural treatments that can help with issues such as hormonal imbalances, digestion, sleep disorders, fertility, as well as degenerative conditions. It can also be used in conjunction with western medicine to supplement any current treatment to create a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
It can be frustrating when you know there is something off with yourself, but your Doctors can’t find the issue. Make sure to focus on your body’s needs by getting sleep, eating the correct nutrients, and being aware of intolerances and your gut health. To build a program that takes into account your specific goals and your body’s needs, consider working with a Registered Naturopath for long term, sustainable improvements.
As a registered functional medicine and naturopathic doctor in Kitchener Waterloo, my focus is on hormone imbalance and metabolic repair. Contact me today for personalized testing to identify your individual needs and create a sustainable approach to your health.
To book your initial consultation, call 519-745-1600 or join our next free workshop at http://ow.ly/oZB350xsR67