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Ah, travel—a passport to having transformative experiences, meeting amazing new people, and spending an inordinate amount of time on the toilet. If you get constipated when you travel, you’re not alone: It’s a common side effect of changing time zones, air travel, and eating new food. Never fear: There are a few foods and supplements that some of the country’s best functional doctors rely on to stay regular, no matter where in the world they are. Their top pick, hands down? Magnesium. The calming supplement is cited again and again as a carry-on must-have, and for good reason—it can aid in relieving travel stress and help with bathroom visits. Here’s more about the miracle of magnesium, and the doctors’ other go-to remedies.

Take magnesium.

When I travel, I always bring along some magnesium glycinate and NAC (N-acetyl cysteine). Both of these supplements can help get things moving. When I used to struggle more with constipation (before I realized a gluten-free diet and a Squatty Potty were the cure for my constipation), I would also pack Nature’s Plus Gold Liquid or Green Vibrance to help me stay regular. I also focus on staying hydrated and keeping my morning routine calm and consistent, even when on the road. Not a food, but perhaps the biggest help for my travel regularity has been the travel Squatty Potty. I don’t leave home without it.

Ellen Vora, M.D., mbg Collective member and two-time class instructor

The best remedies for constipation are: magnesium citrate (I like the powder so that I can adjust the amount I take). This can be titrated up until it’s effective. Drink a lot of water with it since it pulls water into the gut to do its job. The next best remedy is MCT oil; it boosts brain function while assisting with constipation. With both of these, if you take too much, it can cause diarrhea. Aloe is also a nice additive for constipation.

Wendie Trubow, M.D.

The best remedy goes to magnesium! Aim for magnesium citrate, as it has better bioavailability (especially compared to oxide), is rapidly absorbed, and is a great option for helping loosen stools. Other things to consider are making sure you’re exercising and drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water, as both help keep regular bowel movements. Nutritionally, make sure you get enough fiber, especially high in foods like pears, strawberries, avocado, ground flaxseed, ground chia seeds, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, and beans. If constipation continues, especially post-vacation, I’d recommend speaking to a knowledgeable practitioner to see what else may be awry.

Serena Goldstein, N.D.

I never travel without magnesium. Magnesium is my favorite remedy for constipation. It’s involved in over 550 different enzymatic reactions in the body and is a great laxative. I recommend that people start with one capsule per night and increase every three nights by one capsule until they get soft stools one or two times per day.

Evan Hirsch, M.D., founder of The Hirsch Center

Bring (organic) prunes.

My favorite food to travel with to prevent constipation is prunes. They travel easily and are very high in fiber. Fiber is the undigested component of food that stays in your intestine, adding bulk to your stools and making them easier to pass. Many people need only three to four prunes to have regular bowel movements. I also make sure to drink enough water throughout the day to help the fiber work. And I always make sure to choose organic prunes!

Elizabeth Boham, M.D., director of The Ultra Wellness Center

Eat a ton of fiber.

Fiber is magic for constipation. It helps to remove toxins, facilitates intestinal movement, and protects your digestive tract from inflammation, injury, and disease. Most American women consume only about 14 grams of my recommended 35 to 50 grams of fiber per day. Fiber also aids in weight loss and maintenance because it can curb your appetite by helping you feel full, and it helps dispose of estrogen to keep you in the fat-burning zone. Not bad, right? Fiber-rich foods include quinoa, legumes, berries, and green leafy vegetables. Keep in mind that it can be challenging to eat your daily fiber minimum, so you might need to supplement with an excellent fiber blend. Whether you use food or supplements to get your fiber, I recommend increasing fiber intake by a maximum of 5 grams per day, starting at 20 grams on Day 1. If you get gassy, scale back and increase more slowly.

Sara Gottfried, M.D., mbg class instructor and best-selling author of Younger

One of the best remedies for constipation is fiber, and during the summer, smoothies are an easy and refreshing way to make sure you get adequate levels of fiber in your diet.

Ideally, you want to aim for at least 40 grams of fiber a day. Adding 2 tablespoons of fiber into your smoothies such as chia seeds, psyllium husk, acacia fiber, or ground flaxseed is a quick and easy way to boost dietary fiber intake. Berries are also rich in fiber and provide anti-inflammatory compounds that help boost immune function.

Robin Berzin, M.D., mbg Collective member, class instructor, and founder of Parsley Health

Take triphala.

If one of my patients at my functional medicine center has been traveling and their digestion is sluggish and a little (or a lot) off, one of my favorite natural medicines to try is triphala. Literally translating as “three fruits,” triphala is a traditional ayurvedic herbal formula blend of three fruits native to India. Triphala is a gentle bowel tonic supporting healthy bowel movements. It’s also a powerful antioxidant. Win-win!

Will Cole, D.C., mbg Collective member and class instructor

Have some caffeine.

I also love using a small amount of caffeine such as a morning cup of coffee or espresso for resetting the gut system when traveling. Time it in the morning in the new place you are traveling to so that it does not interfere with melatonin production. Of course travel is constipating—I tell people that no matter what, they may have a day or two that they don’t feel “right” in their gut. That’s OK. No need to fret. A combination of sitting, dehydration, change in meals/sleep can really be a doozy for the gut. Give it 48 hours to recover.

Amy Shah, M.D., mbg Collective member and class instructor

Drink some water and get moving.

Three of the biggest culprits in travel-related constipation troubles are dehydration, changes in your eating habits (eating more indulgent foods and less fiber), and more time sitting (either on the plane or in a car to get there, and depending on what you’re doing at your destination). People don’t realize this, but your activity level has a significant impact on how your bowels work—it’s one of the reasons why when patients are bedridden, they can have problems with constipation, and if a patient wants to get their “bowels moving” again, we advise them to walk!

So, if you find that you’re a little stopped up, I advise gulping a good 16 ounces of water to hydrate, going out for a sightseeing walk, and giving yourself a veggie boost in terms of a big salad, veggie-and-fruit-only smoothie, or veggie soup. Keep doing those three things during your trip, and you’ll find things moving again in no time!

Darria Gillespie, M.D., host of Sharecare Radio

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/natural-constipation-remedies

Maybe you’ve been here: standing in front of the egg display at your local grocery store, wondering what all the different labels mean and which choice is best? I’ve certainly been in that situation myself, and I’m a registered dietitian!

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Should I buy organic? What’s the difference between cage-free and pasture-raised? Does it mean anything if the eggs are brown instead of white? What’s up with omega-3 eggs?

I remember one shopping trip in particular, right after finding out a family member had been diagnosed with cancer, and despite my years of clinical training, my head was a soup of fear-mongering clickbait and well-intentioned advice. After 15 minutes caught in an overthink loop of scratching my head, picking up one egg product after another, I left the store almost in tears—and with no eggs.

Enough was enough. I dug into the “what” and the “wtf” so you don’t have to. I hope this saves you the time and stress it’s saved me!

First things first: Tune in to your priorities.

Before you go shopping, know what’s important to you when choosing eggs. Are you most concerned with the nutritional profile? Want to avoid eggs from chickens fed questionable feed or given antibiotics? Is animal welfare an issue that’s near and dear to your heart? Concerned about the environment? On a budget?

Nutritional basics

One thing I like about eggs is that they provide built-in portion control. One large egg provides 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat (1.5 grams saturated). You’ll also get about 5 percent of your daily vitamin A needs, 10 percent of your vitamin D needs, and 27 percent of the amount of brain-boosting choline you need in a day. When you see eggs labeled “omega-3,” it generally means the hens were fed a diet supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids, usually DHA.

I’m often asked how many egg yolks are OK to have per week. It’s not a sexy answer, but it really does depend on the person. What I can say is that the yolk is where you’ll find a lot of important nutrients like choline, vitamin A, and vitamin D, plus the omega-3s. If you’re paying extra for those omega-3-rich eggs, I’d recommend eating the yolk to reap those benefits rather than using those eggs to make an egg-white omelet.

Sometimes my clients freak out about the cholesterol (about 185 to 200 milligrams) and the saturated fat in egg yolks. Research variesquite a bit, and while I tend to err on the side of “eat the yolks,” for people with personal or family history of heart conditions, I generally recommend consuming egg yolks within the context of your saturated fat intake for the day.

What is the healthiest kind of egg?

The majority of egg-laying hens in the United States are raised in battery cages, where they’re very close together without even enough space to spread their wings, which makes for a stressful environment where they’re unable to carry out many of their natural behaviors.

Cage-free eggs

In a cage-free system, hens generally have space to walk and run around, spread their wings, and actually lay their eggs in nests. Many of these farms are third-party audited by organizations that monitor things like perching and dustbathing. While this is a much better environment, it should be noted that this does not guarantee the hens live a completely cruelty-free life, as they may be subjected to having their beaks burned off (a common practice) or being transported long distances without access to food or water, or starvation-induced molting, among other things.

Free-range eggs

“Free-range” essentially means that the hens have access to the outdoors, though there is currently no definition in the United States regarding how much access and whether that area is covered with vegetation (European standards for laying hens clearly spell this out).

Natural eggs

“Natural” doesn’t really mean anything on an egg label. It just means that nothing was added to the egg, and all eggs meet this criteria (as per USDA standards).

Organic eggs

For a company to put “USDA certified organic” on the label, the hens must be raised following the same standards as pasture-raised eggs. Additionally, while other labeling categories of eggs don’t cover what laying hens are fed, there are guidelines in place for “certified organic” eggs. This means that those eggs were produced without pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers and that the hens were fed an organic diet without those substances or fed any animal by-products or antibiotics. Organic eggs are also inherently non-GMO, as the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) prohibits the use of GMOs.

The USDA grading system sometimes trips people up. Eggs are given grades (AA, A, or B) based on interior quality factors (thickness of the whites, freshness) and exterior factors like the appearance of the shell. The thicker whites of Grade AA and Grade A eggs doesn’t spread as easily as Grade B, making them the preferred grade if you’re frying your eggs, and Grade B eggs are considered to be better-suited for use in things where thinner egg whites are preferable, such as cake batters and omelets. Whether one is “better” than the other really depends on the intended use.

Just as a side note, not all USDA-graded eggs are cage-free, and not all cage-free eggs are graded by the USDA. For example, if you buy eggs at the farmers market, chances are they’re not graded. However, graded eggs that are marketed as cage-free are required to be source-verified by the USDA through onsite farm visits.

Pastured or pasture-raised eggs

“Pasture-raised” needs to be certified by a third-party organization such as the Certified Humane programWhen you see this label, it means that the hens were uncaged, free to walk around and nest, and given access to outdoor space, though it doesn’t guarantee the animals did not have their beaks cut off or were not subjected to starvation-induced molting. Also, this term is not USDA-regulated.

Because the pasture-raised hens were able to eat grass and bugs in addition to that commercial organic feed, it’s possible that these eggs will be richer in certain nutrients like omega-3s, while the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids in the organic eggs really depends on what is in the feed. In general, though, I would say that pasture-raised tend to be best, because of their high omega-3 ratios.

The best way to find out which brands are kindest to their hens is to learn about the company. Purchasing eggs from your local farmers market and talking to the farmers about their practices is another way to learn about how the hens that laid the eggs you’re purchasing were raised.

Are brown eggs healthier than white eggs?

Another common question is whether brown eggs are healthier than white eggs or whether those eggs are of a higher quality. Actually, though, they’re pretty much the same as far as nutrition stats and quality like shell thickness are concerned. The difference is that white-feathered hens tend to lay white eggs, and hens with reddish feathers tend to lay brown eggs. Some hens even lay blue or speckled eggs, though these are less common. Anyway, the reason the brown tend to be more expensive is generally because those reddish-feathered hens are larger and require more feed. All that said, when you’re buying eggs fresh from the farm where the hens were running around the yard, chances are they were those reddish-feathered hens, so in that case, the argument for quality is there—it’s just not related to the color of the egg.

What are the best eggs for the environment?

Purchasing eggs from a farmer in your area is both a great way to support local agriculture and to reduce your carbon footprint by sidestepping factory farming and long-distance transport. Pay attention to packaging as well. Avoid Styrofoam cartons, and recycle empties appropriately.

The takeaway?

My personal favorite brand I purchase regularly is Vital Farms pasture-raised eggs. I don’t do this as often as I would like, but I also love buying eggs from my local farmers market to support local farmers. The most important thing? Get clear on what matters to you before you go shopping, so you don’t get overwhelmed reading labels. As far as health is concerned, think about where eggs and egg yolks fit into the context of your diet. It’s also important to be mindful of the environment, so whenever possible, opt for recyclable containers.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/types-of-eggs-how-to-shop-for-eggs

Multivitamins were the most common supplements, followed by vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and melatonin.

A third of children under 19 are regular users of dietary supplements or alternative medicines.

Using data from a large national health survey, researchers found that multivitamins were the most common supplements, followed by vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and melatonin.

Three percent of male teenagers took bodybuilding supplements, and so did 1.3 percent of teenage girls. Omega-3 fatty acids were used by 2.3 percent of children under 19. Melatonin and other sleep aids were used by 1.6 percent of adolescents and by 1.2 percent of children under 5.

About 30 percent of children under 5 take multivitamins, and the percentage declines with age. About 16 percent of adolescents use them.

The study, in JAMA Pediatrics, found that the rate of use of vitamin and mineral supplements stayed the same from 2004 to 2014, while the consumption of herbal cures and other nonvitamin products nearly doubled. By 2014, alternative medicines, including digestive aids, probiotics and energy stimulants, were used by 3.1 of all the children, and by almost 5 percent of teenagers.

The lead author, Dima M. Qato, an assistant professor and pharmacist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, cautioned that in healthy children, there’s no evidence that supplements have any benefits and some evidence of serious risks, so “there’s no reason for your child to be on these products.”

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/18/well/a-third-of-children-use-alternative-medicines.html

Shockingly, more than 100 million American adults are now living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and countless more have less severe—but still unhealthy—blood sugar levels. What was once a rarity is now commonplace.

The good news is that many blood sugar problems are reversible, or at least improvable. In my functional medicine clinic, I see patients overcoming their blood sugar problems through relatively simple lifestyle changes over time. But first, it’s important to identify the root cause of your blood sugar imbalance in the first palace. Here are the top reasons I find blood sugar is either too high or too low:

1. You don’t have enough antioxidants in your life.

Antioxidants are found naturally in healthy foods like colorful fruits and vegetables. Several different types have demonstrated blood-sugar-regulating properties. For example, several studies have shown that alpha-lipoic acid supplements helped balance blood sugar levels and improved insulin resistance. This antioxidant also strengthens immunity, improves energy production in cells, protects brain cells against excitotoxicity, and helps the body remove excess toxic metals. For blood sugar control, take 200 milligrams three times a day.

In addition, proanthocyanidin—a bioflavonoid found in cinnamon—may alter the insulin signaling activity in fat cells, making it a potential diabetes buster. The spice has also been shown to significantly reduce blood sugar levels and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. EGCG is a compound in green tea and has demonstrated a stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels. Drinking the whole green tea leaf in the form of matcha powder is a great way to up your EGCG intake.

The protein Nrf-2 plays a role in regulating antioxidant gene induction by turning on genes that are responsible for antioxidant and detox pathways. When Nrf-2 is activated, inflammation tends to subside. There are many antioxidant-rich foods that tend to activate Nrf-2, including:

  • EGCG from green tea
  • Quercetin from apples
  • Curcumin from turmeric
  • Resveratrol from grapes
  • Rosmarinic acid from rosemary
  • L-sulforaphane from broccoli
  • Thiosulfonateallicin from garlic

Studies also suggest that PPARs, or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, may help improve inflammatory conditions like blood sugar problems. Some PPAR activators for you to bring into your life: wild-caught fish, green tea, astragalus, ginger, and sea buckthorn.

2. You’re snacking too much.

Snacking in between meals can be fine once in a while, but if you are consistently having or wanting to snack, it’s a good sign that you are on the blood sugar roller coaster. This way of eating is consistently keeping insulin and blood levels up, with little or no time to recuperate. Intermittent fasting is a great tool that can help regulate the hormones that govern blood sugar. When patients come in with blood sugar problems, I like to recommend IF due to its proven ability to increase metabolism and lower insulin resistance. If you have a blood sugar problem and want to try fasting, it’s key to work with a doctor who can monitor you and slowly increase the length of your fasts as your glucose stabilizes. Leptin resistance, another hormonal resistance pattern that leads to weight gain and weight-loss resistance, has also been shown to improve with IF.

3. You are low in key micronutrients.

According to research published in the medical journal Circulation, in a group of nearly 5,000 people, those who took higher levels of magnesium over a period of 15 years had a decreased risk of metabolic syndrome—a condition that is often a precursor to diabetes. A similar study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, followed more than 1,000 healthy adults for five years and found that greater magnesium intake improved insulin sensitivity. Other studies have shown that magnesium improves triglycerides and high blood pressure—two other hallmarks of metabolic syndrome and diabetes. When chromium levels are low, good cholesterol tends to drop, and the risk of insulin resistance, as well as triglyceride levels, go up. Chromium supplementation has been shown to improve blood sugar receptor function. The best food sources of chromium include onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and sea vegetables.

4. You aren’t sleeping well.

The relationship between poor sleep and blood sugar problems is a vicious cycle. Poor sleep will negatively affect your blood sugar levels over time, and your blood sugar levels can hurt your sleep. The less we sleep, the higher our blood sugar rises, so it’s no surprise then that people with chronically poor sleep are at an increased risk for diabetes. Research has shown that people who slept less than six hours a night had more blood sugar problems compared to those who got eight hours of sleep. Sleep is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.

5. Your water-soluble vitamin intake is low.

Methylation is a complex process that supports many crucial functions in the body, including healthy blood sugar balance. Activated B vitamins—like B9 L-Methylfolate (L-5-MTHF) and B6 Pyridoxyl-5-Phosphate (P5P)—are a great way to support methylation pathways. Food medicines to focus on are spinach, okra, turnip greens, and meats like chicken liver or grass-fed beef liver, which have the highest levels of bioavailable B vitamins.

5. Your body wants more fat-soluble vitamins.

The fat-soluble vitamin tocopherol—or vitamin E—has been shown to support insulin sensitivity. Standard doses range between 600 and 900 milligrams. Most people have low vitamin D levels, which can cause a host of problems, but in one study, supplementing with vitamin D for 12 weeks decreased body fat by 7 percent, and lower weight correlates to better blood sugar control. Low D levels have also been linked to metabolic syndrome. Aim for 60 to 80 ng/mL per day.

6. Your microbiome is out of balance.

Your gut health and blood sugar balance are inextricably connected. One study found transplanting the microbiome of diabetic mice into healthy mice made the recipients diabetic! Among the culprits are advanced glycation end products (AGE)—harmful compounds that have the potential to cause leaky gut. A high-sugar diet can also tip your microbiome in the wrong direction, causing candida overgrowth, which is also linked to blood sugar problems. What’s good for your gut is good for your blood sugar, and vice versa.

7. You’re not eating enough healthy fats.

You’ve probably heard that omega-3 fatty acids can lower the risk of stroke and heart attacks, but these healthy fats most prevalent in fish oil also convert the potentially harmful very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), which are linked to diabetes, into less dangerous low-density lipoproteins (LDL). One study found that higher blood sugar in non-diabetics decreased function in areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This is one reason Alzheimer’s is often referred to in the medical literature as “type 3 diabetes.” On the other hand, a ketogenic diet—where fat, not sugar, is your primary source of energy—has been shown to do some remarkable things for your brain health.

Healthy fats provide a slow, sustainable form of energy, subverting the more drastic ups and downs that can happen with sugar burning. Humans were meant to rely more on fat and less on sugar. For example, babies primarily use the fat in breast milk for brain development and energy. Healthy fat is, undoubtedly, the most sustainable form of energy for optimal brain health—as well as blood sugar control.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/blood-sugar-problems-root-cause

You’re probably already familiar with the rich, pungent, spicy smell of oregano—a staple in Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. But did you know that the oil of the dried herb has also been shown to be a powerful medicine? I’ve seen oregano oil be incredibly effective at helping treat issues like bacterial, parasitic, and fungal overgrowth in the gut, especially candida overgrowth. Here’s a peek into its beneficial properties.

What is oregano oil—and how can you use it?

Oregano oil is made from dried, wild oregano plants, perennials native to the Mediterranean. Sorry, spice lovers: Simply eating the plant or drinking it as tea won’t unlock its benefits—the real power comes when you distill a lot of it down into an essential oil.

These days, you can find oregano essential oil in softgel capsules and tinctures. Since it has a pungent flavor, I usually recommend that people take it in capsule form as a supplement so it’s more palatable. Plus, this way it’s easier to monitor dosing. If you’re taking it in liquid form, you can either put a few drops of the oil on the tongue to unlock its disease-fighting properties or use it topically with a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, or almond oil to help soothe skin and prevent adult acne. However, do NOT apply it directly to skin as it may cause irritation. (Be sure to check out this comprehensive guide to choosing effective essential oils before you go out and get it, especially if you plan to ingest it.)

Oregano oil is a potent antioxidant that has been used to treat everything from inflammation to bacterial infections. Studies have even shown it might be effective at helping with upper respiratory tract infection, GI (gastrointestinal) infections, parasites and bacterial overgrowth (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) or an imbalance of microbiota (dysbiosis), urinary tract infectionsskin rashes, as well as numerous yeast infections both topical and internal, such as athlete’s foot and vaginal yeast infection. The oil is rich in manganese and omega-3 fatty acids as well.

However, the oil comes with its side effects, and some people should steer clear of it. As beneficial as it may be for warding of candida—an overgrowth that can cause infection, digestive problems, and leaky gut—it can also negatively kill off good healthy gut bacteria, increasing your chances of having diarrhea. Extended, long-term use of oregano oil is highly discouraged. Taking oregano oil isn’t a good idea if you’re pregnant or have an iron deficiency since it can affect iron absorption. Don’t start taking the oil without consulting a doctor—especially if you’re on any other medication that might affect its absorption. Again, you always want to purchase a high-grade, USDA-certified organic oregano oil.

The science behind this powerful oil.

There are numerous studies that cite the beneficial response of oregano oil in warding off candida infections. But how does it work? Let’s dive into some science: Oregano oil interacts with the cell wall by killing the membrane of yeast buds. It’s also great at killing candida by dehydrating the yeast cells. Carvacrol and thymol, agents in oregano oil, also react by inhibiting the biofilms of the candida.

Candida does not form resistance to oregano oil like it does to some other fungal medications. Some studies actually found that oregano oil is just as effective, if not more effective, than traditional oral antifungal pharmaceutical medications. Oregano oil can be used to treat candida overgrowth in the body, vaginal yeast infections, topical yeast rashes, as well as dandruff. You can even use it on pets to clear yeast infections in the ear.

Oregano oil is a good, well-rounded broad-spectrum antibacterial agent since it covers both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. It contains natural agents like thymol and carvacrol, which are the main potent inhibitors of candida and bacterial infections. Carvacrol destroys the cell membranes of bacteria so it doesn’t replicate.

Rosmarinic acid is also another component found in oregano oil. It’s a potent antioxidant that fights free radicals and is packed with antioxidants. It is great for people with arthritis, colitis, as well as heart disease, to keep inflammation at bay. It also is believed that carvacrol has properties that stop cell death and might even help fight certain cancers.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/oregano-oil-101

The signs of type 2 diabetes sometimes sneak into your life in a way that makes them tough to notice.

In 2015, 30.2 million American adults had diabetes, but only 23 million knew they had it, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How can you be living with diabetes and not know it? Easy: Oftentimes you are totally asymptomatic.

“Either someone has no symptoms at all, or the symptoms are not causing that much difference” from what is normal for them, says Cleveland Clinic endocrinologist Leann Olansky, MD.

This often happens because type 2 diabetes is caused by elevated levels of blood sugar, and if your blood sugar levels rise slowly over time, you may not have or notice symptoms, explains David Nathan, MD, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Diabetes Center.

However, there are warning signs you can be aware of that may indicate you have type 2 diabetes. If you experience any of the following symptoms, see your doctor. “It’s important to get diagnosed as early as possible, not only because of the risk of microvascular complications [nerve, kidney, and retina damage] but also the risk of heart disease” associated with type 2 diabetes, Dr. Olansky says. “A major killer of people with diabetes is heart disease.”

Increased thirst and urination


“When your blood sugar goes up, it goes into your urine, and the sugar draw more fluid with it” so you tend to produce more urine, Dr. Nathan explains. This means more frequent trips to the bathroom, excreting large volumes of urine at a time, and consequent dehydration. People often notice this symptom as they tend to get up more often during the night to use the bathroom.

Weight loss


Although not everyone experiences weight loss, this can occur because you don’t have enough insulin to keep your blood sugars under control, and insulin is anabolic, says Dr. Olansky, explaining, “It helps keep muscle and fat mass intact.”

Fatigue


High blood sugar in and of itself is linked with fatigue, Dr. Olanksy says, and sleep disruption from frequently urinating at night can make this worse. Type 2 diabetes may also cause fatigue because your body has a hard time using sugar as a source of energy.

Blurred vision


“Many organs are permeable to glucose,” Dr. Nathan explains. “When blood sugar goes up, it gets transported into the lens of the eye, causing it to swell. This changes the refraction of the lens so it doesn’t focus as well.” It can be particularly hard to focus on things at a distance, Dr. Olanksy adds.

Tingling, numb, or painful feet or hands


Known as diabetic neuropathy, this condition happens due to nerve damage. “When glucose is high, it gets into tissues that aren’t responsive to insulin. One is the lens of the eye, and one is the cells that wrap around the nerves,” Dr. Olansky explains. When this happens in the nerves, it causes damage, which leads to problems in nerve signaling.

Yeast infections


Although researchers aren’t quite sure why, women with type 2 diabetes tend to have more frequent yeast infections. “Sugar in the tissues may decrease the ability to fight yeast, causing it to overgrow,” Dr. Nathan says.

Increased hunger


When your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or use it effectively to transport sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs lose energy, causing you to seek out calories for energy.

Source: https://www.prevention.com/health/health-conditions/a20450819/type-2-diabetes-symptoms/

Photo: Sergey Filimonov

Alisa Vitti is an integrative nutritionist, hormone expert, and the best-selling author of Woman Code. As mbg’s newest class instructor, she is hosting an exclusive live webinar on Monday, June 25, 2018, at 1 p.m. U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Register here to attend this amazing live session on how to regulate your cycle naturally, balance hormones, boost fertility, and kiss PMS goodbye.

When I was in sixth grade, I started something called “The Period Club” (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like!). I was so fascinated with everything that goes on with my body every month, I was eager to have my period finally start. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with the brilliant biochemistry of the female body and helping other women learn to feel their very best.

The fact of the matter is, in our society, menstruation is an overlooked, underutilized vital sign. The American Committee of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) even published a reportrecommending that teenage girls, their parents, and their clinicians consider the menstrual cycle as the “fifth vital sign” of health. That means that just like your blood pressure or heart rate, your period can tell you a lot about the state of your health.

When your period goes missing, you know that something is amiss, but there are also many other, much more subtle indicators you can observe to glean useful information about your overall well-being. I’m so passionate about this topic, I even made television (and menstrual!) history being the first person ever to demonstrate the variation in period color on The Dr. Oz show in 2015 using juices from fruits and veggies.

Why you should be looking at your period as a vital sign.

Whether you know it or not, the appearance of your menstrual blood and the duration of your period can reveal a lot about your health, including whether or not you have a hormonal imbalance that could lead to other issues. Sometimes those issues are OK, depending on your body, but I’ve noticed these patterns resurface again and again in my practice. The good news? It’s totally possible to help all hormonal imbalances and their resulting symptoms by addressing diet and lifestyle. But first, you have to know what you’re dealing with.

This is what your period should look like.

While you may not think there’s a standard to strive for with your monthly flow, there are some clear indications that your hormones are happy. The ideal cycle:

  • Lasts three to eight days
  • Starts and ends with a bright cranberry color
  • Is the consistency of Jell-O mix that hasn’t set yet (medium viscosity, not too thin, not too thick)
  • Occurs every 24 to 38 days

There are many dietary and lifestyle reasons why this cycle gets thrown off. Sometimes it’s a one- or two-month situation, and sometimes cycle issues can last years.

What the color of your period can tell you.

The best way to start troubleshooting issues like PMS, endometriosis, PCOS, and more is to start paying close attention to your period and using it as a barometer of how well your diet and lifestyle are supporting your hormones. If your cycle isn’t as I described above, then it’s time to immediately make dietary changes to get your cycle back to a healthy flow.

Here’s a guide for you to use for interpreting the color of your cycle every month. If you have:

Brown, spotty stains.

The problem: That brown stuff is old oxidized blood that didn’t make it out of your uterus during the last cycle, and is linked to low levels of progesterone. Low progesterone can be a trigger for many period-related problems, and it can also lead to irregular ovulation and infertility.

Dark blue or red heavy bleeding with clots.

The problem: Are you changing your pad or tampon once an hour? Do you have special sheets for that time of the month? Do you have large clots that are dark purple in color? If so, you could have elevated estrogen levels. Estrogen builds the lining of your uterus, and if your diet hinders the breakdown o this hormone, it can build up and wreak havoc on your cycle. In addition to the heavy bleeding and clots, you may also struggle with endometriosisfibroidsovarian cysts, or in some cases, polyps.

Pale-red, very short periods, light bleeding, or skipped periods.

The problem: A short period (less than three days in length) and/or very light bleeding can indicate low estrogen levels. Your hormones are made from the food you eat, so your low estrogen is likely due to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies from improper or extreme dieting as well as from adrenal burnout. Not having enough estrogen puts your heart and bone health at risk.

There are many other ways observing the performance of your cycle overall can provide you with insight into your health. Missing periods, PMS symptoms, delayed periods, frequent periods, and spotting are all things you should take seriously—asking your health care provider about these symptoms is a good place to start, specifically one who has a holistic approach to women’s health.

Despite the myth that your hormones are mysterious, unpredictable, and afford you no opportunity to do anything to make them better, the truth is that your hormones are extremely responsive to food and micronutrient therapy. In fact, a recent study showed that simply by eating more fish oil and beans women can delay the start of menopause by several years! Just think what the right foods can do for your PMS in one to three cycles! I believe that you can change the quality of your period overall with food and supplements.

Every month, look before you flush. Think of it this way—period blood is essentially free lab results for you to check on how your diet and lifestyle are affecting your hormones. When you see something that isn’t what it should be, you can start making changes to your diet and lifestyle accordingly. You can actually see when it’s working, and typically you can see changes within two to three cycles.

Source: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/how-to-tell-if-your-period-isnt-normal