Mucus, chest congestion and cough with phlegm used to leave me reaching for decongestants.
As the seasons change, temperatures drop, indoor heat dries the air, flu shots are abundant, candy and sweet foods are eaten in excess, and people become sick all around us. Some refer to this as “Cold & Flu Season.” Referring to a time of year as “cold and flu season” gives the idea that there’s nothing we can do to help prevent these congested chest colds from occurring. This used to be the time of year that I started stocking up on over the counter medications like Mucinex, Robitussin Cough & Decongestant, and Theraflu. None of this is now necessary because I know the truth, and I’m here to share the truth about natural sinus decongestants with you!
I know how to eat to help prevent these issues of mucus and chest congestion! I know what to do to assist my body and reduce the severity and duration of these common health issues using whole food supplements! Mucus is a fluid in the body that is made of water, salt and proteins that help clean up and trap toxins like dust, dirt, or other irritants of the nasal and oral passageways.
I have two very important supplements in my cupboard at home.
These two supplements for congestion are, Spanish Black Radish and Fen-Gre, both are made by Standard Process.
What is it that makes these supplements so special that they can be called natural chest decongestants? They are gentle, whole food supplements that support the optimal performance of the body’s natural detox mechanisms.
Spanish Black Radish promotes the body’s natural toxin-elimination pathways and encourages digestion by supporting the liver and gallbladder. Yes, when the liver is able to manage toxins and function better, it can actually help manage mucous and decrease symptoms of lung congestion! Check out this research study about Spanish Black Radish.
As for Fen-Gre, it contains fenugreek. Many people think fenugreek is only a “breastfeeding” supplement and lack understanding of the actual function. Fenugreek or Fen-Gre by Standard Process functions to assist mucosal secretions and the phlegm of the body in addition to providing digestion support. So, for a woman breastfeeding, it can support her milk production. However, it is also extremely useful for someone who has chest congestion by supporting healthy phlegm in the lungs and bronchial tubes. Here is product information on Fen-Gre from Standard Process.
The secret to success!
When I take these supplements I increase my water intake. I mentioned that mucus is made of salt and water, so when I take my supplements, I add a pinch of Selena’s Naturally, Unrefined Celtic Salt to my water along with a drop of liquid iodine to improve the viscosity of my mucous membranes. Here is a research study that studied two groups, one control, and one intervention group that gargled saltwater. The conclusion was this “Simple water gargling was effective to prevent URTIs (upper respiratory tract infections) among healthy people. This virtually cost-free modality would appreciably benefit the general population.” Check out the full study here: Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial.
An important detail, I increase my water intake, not tea or coffee. Caffeinated tea and coffee can serve as a diuretic and can impair your progress, so avoid these when you’re experiencing increased phlegm and symptoms of congestion. Increasing water intake actually helps proper hydration which supports the performance of Spanish Black Radish and Fen-Gre to be more effective in cleaning up the mucus and phlegm.
For help obtaining and taking these supplements for sinus congestion, contact our office and schedule your appointment today to receive direct nutritional guidance to help your body perform at its best!
Yours in health and longevity, Kristen Clore, OTRL, Holistic OTMaster Nutrition Response Practitioner ® & Certified Wellness Coach
This article is about detoxification and the GAPS diet, which stands for Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet.
I’m referencing a book written in 2004 about it, by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. Right on the cover it says the diet is designed for and helps with central nervous system disorders including autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia (numbers and letters get crossed when you look at them), dyspraxia (gross motor skills are altered), depression, and schizophrenia.
To give you some background, Dr. Campbell-McBride neurology doctor with an autistic son. She discovered a particular diet and altered it a bit to create this diet, the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, and it has helped many families to improve the lives of those living with autism!
For example, there was a woman who gave a lecture five or six years ago that I attended, and she had done pre and post testing of mercury in an autistic kid. There was a lot of mercury in the body to start, then they did the GAPS diet for a year. After that year, the autism was pretty well, resolved, and the testing showed that the mercury was gone. The child didn’t take any detoxification pills or take part in any treatment during that time other than the diet. This datum took me by surprise that day at the seminar—I’ve never forgotten it. How did that detoxification occur without any pills? What mechanism was at work to make that happen? Well here’s what I’ve since figured out:
I’ve evaluated the GAPS diet using an app called Cronometer, which is my favorite app, perfect to input your food and drinks to calculate grams of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. The diet is very healing and sometimes ketogenic. That’s the key. The GAPS diet is unintentionally ketogenic, and I can imagine when somebody’s doing it, he or she may be in ketosis at least once a week for a few hours accidentally, at the very minimum. If they’re doing the diet hard core, they’re probably in ketosis multiple times a week. [More on calculating your macros]
Ketosis is where the body’s using fat as fuel, so fat cells in the body get smaller. When the fat cells get smaller, they push out toxins, which are stored in fat cells in your viscera, your abdomen, your brain, etc. Know this: your central nervous system is nearly all fat.
I had a patient a long time ago who lived in an old house. In the part of Michigan where she was, there’s a lot of arsenic in the ground. The basement had a dirt floor instead of having a concrete floor and she had an acute arsenic poisoning situation from her basement in this old house. Originally, she was a very thin, small woman. From the arsenic poisoning, she gained five pounds within a few days, and the reason for it was her body was trying to create a location to store the arsenic—it put it in her fat cells! I met a doctor back in the ’90s who was a holistic cardiologist. He did what’s called Chelation therapy on his patients. Chelation means “to grab,” or “to bind.” It acts like a claw: basically, these nutrients or medications will grab on to toxins and pull them out of the body. It may take four or six months to do one round of Chelation therapy. He would do testing of heavy metals before and after Chelation therapy, and the levels would drop, then the patient would leave. The problem was that five or six years later, he would retest his patients and their metals would be back up again in their body, and he says to me, “It seems like they need to get detoxified every five years,” and we didn’t know why that was. Well, now I know why: in the years following the treatment, those people weren’t ever getting into ketosis.
After twenty years of clinical experience and trying to solve this puzzle known as chronic disease, here’s my statement: Ketosis is the basis of detoxification.
Everybody should be burning fat at least sometimes.
Now if you want to burn fat five days a week, that’s your choice. It depends on your goals and your state of health. You might want to do it five days a month, you might want to do it five days a year. But you got to do it sometimes. It kills cancer cells, it helps reverse diabetes, it prevents heart problems, etc., etc. I have videos on this.
Now you can be thin and, without ketosis, become more and more toxic because you’re only burning sugar. In a sugar-burning state, the fat sits in your fat cells and so do the toxins, and the toxins accumulate over time. Once you get into ketosis, not necessarily for weight loss, but just for health and prevention of disease and to kill cancer cells, etc., in someone who doesn’t need to lose weight, those fat cells will stay the same size, but you’re consuming new, clean fat to replace the old, toxic fat. The healthy fat comes in, the unhealthy fat and the toxins go out. In summary, regardless of weight, you want to get in ketosis for the detoxification benefits.
If you’ve ever tried ketosis, you may have experienced what’s called the keto flu. It’s my idea that the keto flu happens as a result of detoxification. When starting ketosis, suddenly the liver and the kidneys and the lymphatic system have to deal with all these toxins as your body mobilizes the fat, shrinks the fat cells, and pushes toxins to be removed from the body, and if those organs aren’t ready, then you’ll feel bad. You might have a funky rash appearing on the skin, weird breath, or cloudy brain operation. Consuming 2 teaspoons of Celtic sea salt per day could prevent this.
There are other people online who say that the keto flu is not from toxicity, rather that it could be from a deficiency of a polysaccharide called mucin. Mucin, or mucus, is the moisture of the nasal passages, the moisture of the skin. I can see this being true. If you have a mucin deficiency in ketosis, it means you need to eat more vegetables. You’ll want to eat them in a short window of time, like four hours in a day. Load up on the vegetables because they’re filled with what’s called “structured water,” which is ten percent denser than regular water. The structured water can replenish the dryness caused by deficiency of vegetables.
The GAPS Diet is Ketogenic
Getting back to the GAPS diet: the point is that it’s ketogenic, which makes a lot of sense, given the other health problems ketosis has been known to help with and get rid of. The GAPS diet also has a lot going for it in terms of promoting a healthy gut, hence the name “Gut and Psychology Syndrome.” The diet includes fermented vegetables, which are probiotics and help your microbiome, aka the living organisms in your gut. Another component of the diet is putting animal parts like bones, muscle, ligaments, joints, etc. in water, boiling them, and then drinking the water or using it as a soup. The minerals are leached from the bones and into the water in the boiling process, the proteins breaking down. In this way, the diet is very healing for collagen tissue, or connective tissue, along with ligaments, tendons, muscles, and bones. Because our small intestines are all muscular and connective tissue, when you’re healing the muscular and connective tissue of the gut, you’re healing the microbiome. Additionally, GAPS is ketogenic, which means that there’s so little sugar in the body that inflammation is reduced tremendously in the gut. (This is a huge problem for a lot of kids, whether their diagnosis is autism, ADD or what. Inflammation of the gut from sugar, processed food, garbage food, grains, wheat, etc.… it’s a big problem).
So there’s reduction of inflammation, probiotics, and collagen healing. Now THAT combination will make a healthy gut! With a healthy gut, the membranes of the small intestine and the large intestine become smart. The intestines have to take waste from the body and bring it into the intestines to excrete it out, and then take nutrients from within the intestines and push it into the body. The intestines don’t just digest food, they detoxify the entire body. When you have a healthy gut, you’re detoxifying.
Thanks for reading! If you have any experience with ketosis as detoxification or the GAPS diet, please share that with us. I’ll learn from your statements and I appreciate this team effort. We’re trying to figure out chronic disease.
The explanation I give to my patients about why they are having illness symptoms frequently involves a bucket analogy. At times a symptom can be traced back to a very specific event or toxic exposure or illness or stress that starts a downward spiral. If you think about when a symptom started you may be able to determine this for yourself. But, often, toxic exposure, viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic illness will build up over time and then in combination be the source of the problem.
That is the reason for my bucket analogy.
Your organs of elimination are like a bucket. Your liver/gall bladder, bowel, kidneys, bladder, and skin all work together to remove the stressors from your body. Toxins and immune challenges go in and should be emptied out in an efficient fashion. However, excess carbohydrate consumption (white refined sugar especially), stress, and high toxic exposure can all make these organs of elimination work less efficiently. This makes the bucket fill faster than it is emptying. As you come in contact with new chemicals, metals, and immune challenges the bucket keeps filling. If you are not actively encouraging the drainage of these pathways the problem keeps building. You may or may not have symptoms during this time.
At some point, the bucket is very close to overflowing. This is when random exposures to even small amounts of something toxic to your body will push you over the edge. A walk into a store that sprays perfume on everything will start a sneezing attack. Foods (even healthy ones) could produce allergic or bowel reactions. Dental work (even a cleaning) causes a headache. These are examples of the bucket overflowing. The organs of elimination can’t handle more. So, the crisis is more dramatic.
Eventually, the bucket is constantly overflowing, causing the symptoms to be chronic and lasting for longer and longer periods of time.
Some Symptoms of the Overload on the Organs of Elimination are:
Swollen tonsils/lymph nodes
The Solution: Empty the Bucket!
We have many ways of supporting these organs of elimination. We have several new supplements that have been very successful in supporting the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, bladder, and bowel and assisting with detoxification.
Ask your Practitioner what might be best for you. We now have a Far Infrared Sauna by High Tech Health in our office that can be used to help with moving toxins out of the body by sweating. Lymphatic massage or dry skin brushing, drinking an adequate amount of good quality water, keeping your bowels moving well, exercise, and eating healthy foods all help, too.
I hope this analogy helps you understand the why behind your symptom. I look forward to helping you on your path to diagnosing chronic symptoms and achieving better health.
Toxins are all around us. Metals and chemicals and other hazardous compounds are in the air, our food sources, and water. With toxic overload comes many problems: nutritional deficiencies, digestive imbalance, hormone problems, headaches, weight gain, pain, fatigue, skin problems and more. The human body uses many pathways to detoxify. That’s why we decided to have a far infrared sauna here in Ann Arbor because the skin is one of those pathways. Sweating helps the body to eliminate these substances.
So now, in our new location, we will have a High Tech Health Far Infrared Sauna to help you on your path to detoxify your body and improve your health. Far infrared is a natural band of light that is not visible but can be felt as heat. Sweating in a sauna can assist in the removal of harmful waste products. This low EMF sauna could help with cardiovascular health, immune health, pain relief, relaxation, skin health, and weight loss. This sauna promotes circulation, helps with oxygenation to tissue, and promotes healing.
Far Infrared Sauna Recommend Use:
The individual infrared sauna is safe for daily use. A good start with using the sauna as a support tool to health would be 30-minute sessions (sometimes a person needs to work up to that amount of time) three to four times per week.
It’s summertime, we’re having more fun in the sun, sweating, and realizing we need to do a better job staying hydrated- aka, drink water, drink clean water! It is important! The average adult body is approximately 60% water! The percentage does vary due to muscle mass versus fat composition. Did you know muscles hold more water than fat! So, when we’re getting in shape, or just outdoors having fun and sweating, it’s important to stay hydrated. Here are my most common Questions & Answers on water, and putting salt or minerals back into your water! Read all about clean water information below.
Frequently Asked Questions :
Q: I’ve been told I need a reverse osmosis water filter, is this true? A: No. The ideal fix is a Berkey Water Filter. Pour your tap water in it daily and follow the Berkey instructions for maintenance and upkeep of the water filter unit. (units are sold at the Nutritional Healing Center of Ann Arbor). You can also purchase Berkey water filters for your showerhead!
Q: I’ve been told I need to drink ph balanced water or “alkaline water” is that true? A: No, the ph primarily affects our mouth, esophagus, and stomach as we drink it. Our stomach ph is the most acidic in the body. There is no reason we need to drink alkaline water to reduce the acidity in our stomach. Ultimately this only serves to impair digestion and reduce mineral breakdown and absorption.
Q: How do I drink the best water and what can I do to change right now? A:
If you don’t have the budget for a Berkey, buy Distilled water.
Add minerals to your water: a.) Add Selena’s Naturally Vital Grey Mineral Blend Celtic Sea Salt to EVERY glass of distilled water to add the minerals back to it. Just a pinch will do! It doesn’t need to taste salty! Or b.) Buy Spectramin or Spectralyte (liquid mineral supplement) and add that as directed by your practitioner to each glass of water.
Q: Why do I need to add minerals to my water? A: Water is rehydrating, but it can also strip our body of minerals, especially when it is deficient in minerals and when too much is consumed. The best way to drink water is filtered with a Berkey and add minerals.
Q: How much water should I drink in a day? A: This varies very much from person to person. An initial goal is 50% of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 160 lb, you should drink 80 ounces of water per day.
Q: If I drink juice, tea, and coffee, does that count toward my water intake for the day? A: No. Juice is filled with sugar, coffee and tea are not water although they are steeped in water. All of these modify our hydration and do not hydrate like water with minerals does.
Q: I hate water, I just can’t drink it. Can I do anything to give it a taste? A: Ideally you learn to drink it. Meanwhile, cut an orange, lemon, lime, strawberry, blueberry or cucumber. Let a slice steep in the water, it will alter the taste and smell which may help you drink it easier.
Q: If I exercise do I need to drink more water? A: Yes, typically when you exercise, if you are breaking a sweat, you will need to replenish the hydration in your body. Summertime is sneaky. If you are doing outdoor activities, you may not notice you are sweating because it may be evaporating off from the sun. Be sure to drink extra water when exercising. Ask your practitioner for help finding out what amount is right for you based on your body size, type, and exercise frequency and duration.
Q: If I drink coffee, tea or other caffeinated products, do I need to drink more water? A: Yes. For example, if you have a 10-ounce glass of coffee in the morning, you should drink a 20-ounce glass of water with your minerals to offset the dehydrating effects of the coffee.
Q: I don’t ever feel thirsty, does that mean I don’t need water? A: Typically our body cannot distinguish between thirst and hunger. You may not “feel thirsty” but yes, you still need to rehydrate your body with clean, mineralized water. The human body is approximately 70% water, we need to keep it hydrated for healthy cellular activity, along with healthy elimination and lymphatic cleansing.
Q: Can I drink all my clean water for the day at one time and just get it done with? A: No. You should drink water regularly all day long. If your goal is to drink 80 ounces of water in a day, you can certainly buy a 20-ounce water bottle, fill it 4 times, and drink it morning, early afternoon, mid-day, and in the evening. But excess amounts of water all at one time are harsh on the body and the kidneys to manage.
Q: Do I need to drink clean water when I’m fasting or during a low carb or ketosis diet? A: Yes! Insulin effects water retention. You ‘ll notice when you change your diet to lowering carbs, you will urinate more frequently. This happens during a fast as well. Be sure to replenish your water during this time of increased urination.
If you need help understanding how to replenish your minerals when drinking water, schedule a visit with your practitioner today!
Best in health, Kristen Clore, OTR, Nutrition Response Practitioner®
It is a good idea to reset the body with an elimination diet (intermittent fasting, fast mimicking type diet, or ketogenic diet) or supplement supported cleanse periodically.
We are frequently asked, “Should I do a spring cleanse or spring detox? And if I do which one? Do I do a detox, a fast, a liver cleanse, or a colon cleanse? And even, “What exactly is a cleanse?”
A Cleanse is a detoxification or purification of the body or one of its organs or systems. As to whether you should do one and what kind is different for every person.
For many people, if we support the organs in the body that are under stress or not functioning well, an extensive cleanse is not always necessary and might even cause problems with your healing process. Many of the supplements we use are already detoxifying and cleansing your body on their own.
A Cleanse can be helpful. Body detoxification or purification can help with weight loss, skin problems, joint pain, bowel problems, fatigue, sinus problems, food cravings, and headaches. We have several different cleansing products or protocols we use in our office.
The Standard Process Purification is a 21-day Whole Food Purification Program to detoxify the liver, kidneys, and intestines and all the cells. The diet during the Standard Process cleanse program consists of vegetables and fruit with whole food supplements and protein shakes. At day 11 of this Cleanse, some protein foods may be added to the Standard Process Cleanse diet.
The Standard Process Purification program has helped people lose weight, improve energy, decrease cravings and improve cholesterol levels. When I did the program, I learned how to prepare a variety of vegetables efficiently and tried many vegetables I hadn’t eaten before. I also lost about twelve pounds. The first few days of this cleanse I felt a bit tired (but I was still able to work.) I also had some pain in my bones, but by day three I felt great! Feeling well continued until I finished the full 21 days.
One of our newer cleansing protocols comes from Systemic Formulas. This one is Dr. Schmidt’s favorite cleanse.
The Systemic Formulas Detoxification Program is three phases. The Prep Phase (30 days) supports the downstream channels (bowel, kidneys, liver) and prepares them for deeper detox later. The Body Phase (second 30-days) cleanses the extracellular matrix (the area outside the cells). And The Brain Phase (third 30-days) targets inside the cells. If you are on a nutritional program and eating our recommended diet, you would continue to eat normally throughout this program. Some people need to repeat specific phases based on needs.
Your Practitioner can answer any questions you have about all three recommended Cleansing or Detoxification protocols and check to see which would be best for your body.