The Ultimate Collection of Healthy Living
There are few things more important and sacred than your health. It is easy to overlook just how much we value our health until we are not feeling well. For the first time in human history, chronic disease has surpassed infectious disease as the reason for death. These illnesses such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, and digestive disorders can wreak havoc on a person’s life for years by gradually decreasing the quality of your life until you reach your final resting place. Not to be bleak, but that’s unfortunately where we are as a society today.
There are many reasons for this rapid increase in chronic disease and most of it has to do with our environment. Everything from toxins, to diet, to stress can trigger the onset of symptoms and disease. While it may seem like a losing battle, there is so much we can do to support our health and even put existing symptoms in remission. In fact, studies have estimated (1) that close to 77% of your immune system is made up of controllable factors. Even though you may have a genetic predisposition for a certain disease you have a lot more control over whether that becomes a reality.
While mainstream medicine likes to look at each disease and system as an individual unit – matching each disease with a specific medication – functional medicine sees the body as one whole unit; inextricably linked and woven together to form one perfect masterpiece. When looking at your health there is usually a few reasons why things go awry that creates almost a domino-like effect on your health. One system gets out of whack, that pushes another area out of whack, and so-forth. But thankfully, that often means that just by supporting a few key areas in your health can make a huge difference.
As a functional medicine practitioner, these are what I see most often as major contributors to poor health:
1. Microbiome Dysfunctions
Underlying gut problems like SIBO, candida overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, and bacterial imbalances can all contribute to health problems by fueling inflammation – the thorn-in-the side of almost every modern day health problem from heart disease to autoimmune conditions.
2. Nutrient Deficiencies
Your body requires specific types and amounts of nutrients to conduct vital biochemical reactions needed to keep everything functioning optimally. Think of these nutrients as the oil to your body’s engine – your cells. The most vital nutrients to your body and the ones I see being common deficiencies include vitamin d and magnesium.
3. Methylation Impairments
Methylation is your body’s biochemical superhighway that controls everything from your DNA to your detox pathways. If your body is unable to detox, inflammation will continue to build up and fuel these chronic health problems.
4. Hormone Imbalances
Your hormones are considered the messengers of your body. Each one sending out specific instructions to each system of the body. If communication is blocked due to inflammation or other factors your body will not understand how to move forward and conduct the necessary steps to keep you healthy.
For these reasons, I thought it was crucial to provide people a way to reach their next level of wellness – whether it be to maintain good health or helping to alleviate ongoing symptoms. Instead of spending hours on Dr. Google wondering not only which supplements to take, but then having to worry about quality, I wanted to take the guess work out of wellness by bringing the essentials together in one place.
I have personally curated The Collection with the earth’s finest ingredients to provide you with the highest quality supplement you can purchase. Each piece in The Collection works synergistically to support optimal health by targeting the key areas of your body that most often need support.
The Royal Krill
For the last few decades, low-fat diets have been touted as the way to lose weight and stay healthy. As advised by almost every doctor and dietitian, people have been throwing aside their beloved butter and fatty meats and trading them in for margarine, lean meat, and other reduced fat options in fear of clogged arteries and heart attacks.
At the same time, brain disorders have continued to increase to almost epidemic proportions. Problems like anxiety, depression, brain fog, autism, fatigue, and Alzheimer’s are some of the issues that continue to plague our society and impact our quality of daily life. While there are many underlying factors to poor brain health, we can’t ignore the correlation between the rise in these health problems and the low-fat diet craze.
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FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE CONSULTATIONS FOR PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD
Your brain is comprised of 60% (2) fat and 25% (3) of your body’s total cholesterol is found in your brain. Now, I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t really make sense to me to deprive your brain of its basic building blocks and expect it to function normally. In fact, one study actually showed that cholesterol-lowering drugs can contribute to memory loss.
Going beyond brain health, a ketogenic diet – where you get the majority of your calories from fat, a moderate amount from protein, and very little from carbohydrates – is bringing to light just how much our entire body benefits from healthy fats in our diet. The conventional viewpoint is that carbohydrates are necessary to produce fuel for our body in the form of glucose. However, glucose is not the most optimal energy source.
Glucose may give your body a quick burst of energy, but you will come crashing down hard and fast leaving you constantly in search of your next fix. Whereas fat is like a log to a fire – slow burning and long lasting. This blood sugar roller coaster is anything but sustainable. In fact, ketones – the byproduct of fat intake – can actually pass through the blood-brain barrier to increase brain function and boost energy. Even as a baby you relied on fat (4) in the form of breast milk for energy and almost all formulas contain medium-chain-triglycerides derived from sources like coconuts to provide babies with the fuel they need to develop and thrive.
Studies have also shown that diets higher in fat have the power to drastically decrease inflammation levels. Chronic inflammation is the thorn-in-the-side of many modern day health problems including autoimmune conditions, cancer, and heart disease. Being a fat-burner instead of a sugar-burner has the ability to down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines and pathways, like the Nrf-2 pathway, that play a role in inflammation levels.
Since healthy fats are the new black I personally curated The Royal Krill with Antarctic Krill to ensure you are getting enough of these omega-3s in in your life. The Royal Krill is superior to conventional fish oil because krill contains 50 times more of the powerful antioxidant astaxanthin along with other nutrients that are necessary for optimal brain, hormone, and cellular health. It is designed to work synergistically with the entirety of The Collection to help restore you to a state of thriving health.
Methylation is a biochemical process that your body relies on to keep you healthy and thriving. This process happens close to 1 billion times every second and controls your ability to detox and in turn, lower inflammation, produce neurotransmitters, and protect your DNA. Every cell of your body depends on methylation, so it’s easy to see why if methylation is not functioning optimally, you’re bound to have a few health problems. In fact, poor methylation has been linked to:
- Heart disease (5)
- Hormone imbalances
- Depression (6)
- Autoimmune conditions (7)
- Chronic inflammation
There are many reasons why methylation could be hindered, one being the MTHFR gene mutation. The responsibility of the MTHFR enzyme is to convert folic acid into folate which is the fuel for methylation. In fact, it is estimated (8) that those with MTHFR gene mutations make 70% less methyl-folate than someone without the mutation.
There are two main MTHFR mutations – A1298C and C677T. Mutations of A1298C are linked to mood disorders since it plays a vital role in neurotransmitter function. When C677T is altered it can lead to high levels of inflammatory homocysteine which is linked with heart disease and autoimmune conditions.
Mutations in the MTR and MTRR genes can also contribute to methylation problems. These genes are both needed to produce B12 which is a methyl donor. Those with this mutation use B12 quicker than their body can produce it. Higher B12 intake is necessary, often with supplementation, to make sure you are getting the amount your body needs.
Close to 40% (9) of the world’s population has an MTHFR genetic mutation but most don’t even know it. Genetic testing is important to determine if you have any of these mutations that are hindering the methylation process. This is a vital step in taking action on your health in order to reduce your risk for preventable chronic diseases that are triggered by various environmental factors. Everything from stress, diet, microbiome dysfunctions, and our exposure to toxins can do a number on our health. And without proper methylation we are left defenseless to combat this onslaught of health destruction. Some of the tests I run to look at methylation are:
- DNA Methylation Pathway Profile: This test looks at 30 different methylation SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms). These results give you insight into what your specific genetic weaknesses and imbalances are since it looks at all DNA mutations that control methylation.
- Homocysteine: The amino acid, homocysteine needs to be recycled down by methylation. If methylation isn’t functioning properly, homocysteine will usually be high as well, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Microbiome labs: Gut problems like candida overgrowth and bacterial imbalances can further perpetuate methylation problems.
- Hair Metal Testing: This looks at lithium levels which plays a role in B12 transport.
Thankfully, there are many natural ways to support methylation:
1. Incorporate superfood medicines
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and okra, along with grass-fed organ meats are loaded with B vitamins which are the required fuel for methylation.
2. Support detoxification
Certain herbs and spices have powerful detoxification properties including cilantro, parsley, turmeric, and dandelion root. These are extremely easy to throw into smoothies and add to other everyday recipes.
3. Switch out your toxic products
Lesson the load on your detoxification pathways by swapping out your chemical-laden products for more green options. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource that lays out your best non-toxic options. Or better yet, make your own!
But for those who need to bring in that next-level support, supplementing with activated B vitamins will wake up your methylation pathways. I’ve personally curated The Methylator’s comprehensive formula with the highest quality B vitamins including folate (5-Methyltetrahydrofolate), B6 (Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate), B12 (methylcobalamin), B2 (Riboflavin 5′ phosphate), and anhydrous betaine (trimethylglycine). Together these five nutrients work synergistically with the rest of The Collection to support methylation and restore you to a state of thriving health.
Our body’s cells are often considered the “building blocks of life.” Your body produces 25 million new cells every second and contains close to 37.2 trillion cells (10) – and that’s not even including the bacteria in your microbiome which outnumbers our own cells 10 to 1! (11) There are 200 different types of cells that combine together to make up various areas of your body such as muscles, bones, and your body’s largest organ the skin. They are responsible for taking in nutrients, converting nutrients into energy, keeping all systems of your body properly functioning, and skin looking youthful.
Damage to our cells can happen through the production of free radicals from oxidative stress. Toxin exposure, poor diet, and emotional stress are just a few factors that increase oxidation in the body. Antioxidants are compounds that fight these free radicals that our produced with excessive oxidation. When oxidation occurs it also depletes our body’s antioxidant levels allowing these free radicals to run rampant. This can lead to visual effects of aging such as wrinkles and poor health overall.
There are many different types of antioxidants:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Beta-Carotene (Vitamin A)
- Superoxide dismutase
Vegetables and fruits, berries in particular, contain some of the highest amounts of phytochemicals. Since the standard American diet contains very little fruits and vegetables, paired with the fact that most people come across these various riggers for oxidation on a daily basis, it’s safe to say that our society could use some antioxidant love.
For this reason, I curated The Antioxidant with some of the most antioxidant-rich sources to fight oxidative stress full-force. To take advantage of nature’s next-level anti-aging sources I’ve included concentrated whole-fruit extracts from blueberry, grape, pomegranate, cranberry, chokeberry, mangosteen, goji berry, bilberry, and apple to provide you with an extensive array of phytochemicals. The Antioxidant works synergistically with the entirety of The Collection to support antioxidant production for optimal cellular health.
Inflammation is a natural and essential part of our body’s efforts to heal from viruses, infections, and injuries by working to repair damaged tissue. However, inflammation can quickly get out of control to a point where it lasts 24/7 – a long time after the threat passes.
This chronic inflammation is anything but natural and has been linked to almost all modern health problems including autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and even brain fog and weight gain. The goal of functional medicine is to discover the underlying cause of these ongoing health problems and make lifestyle adjustments to restore the body’s inherent ability to heal itself naturally, often without the need for pharmaceutical medications or surgeries.
There can be many reasons why inflammation is out of control in the first place but the most common reasons are:
1. Methylation gene impairments
Methylation is your body’s biochemical process of maintaining a healthy gut and brain, protecting our DNA, and controlling our ability to properly detox. Genetic mutations, which close to 40% of the population have, can inhibit your body’s ability to down-regulate inflammation.
2. Gut dysfunctions
3. Viral infections
Low-grade viral infections also fuel inflammation.
When inflammation is concerned we aim to correct these issues with lifestyle and dietary changes. But years of inflammation can require some additional support. This is where we turn to natural medicines, one of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the active compound in turmeric responsible for giving it the bright yellow hue. The research centered around curcumin is unparalleled in linking this compounds ability to drastically help decrease inflammation among numerous inflammation-based health conditions including:
- Alzheimer’s (12)
- Autoimmune conditions (13)
- Brain fog (14)
- Candida overgrowth (15)
- Cataracts (16)
- Erectile dysfunction (17)
- Gallbladder issues (18)
- Pneumonia (19)
- Viral infections (20)
- Weight loss resistance (21)
As you can see, this compound is not one to be overlooked when trying to win the fight against inflammation. For this reason I personally curated The Curcumin with pure turmeric extract to optimize bioavailability and drive-down inflammation levels from the inside out by providing antioxidant and cell-protective activity, joint support, and modulation of the production of inflammatory cytokines. This powerful formula is designed to work synergistically with the entirety of The Collection to help restore your body’s natural state of being.
As Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Science is finally beginning to catch up with what we have known in functional medicine for years. In fact, an increasing number of research shows that almost all health problems have some sort of gut component – even if you aren’t having typical digestive symptoms.
Your microbiome is home to trillions of bacteria and when your microbiome is damaged or weakened it can “switch on” a number of various health problems. And when this happens it can have far-reaching effects on multiple areas of your body such as:
1. Autoimmune Conditions
Close to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. It’s no wonder then that a damaged microbiome can lower immune function and is even considered a precondition for autoimmunity.
2. Poor Brain Health
Your gut and brain are inextricably linked through the gut-brain axis. In fact, your gut and brain were formed from the same fetal tissue and continue this bond throughout your entire life. This connection is so prominent that medical literature actually refers to your gut as your “second brain.” Poor microbiome health has been linked to brain fog, anxiety, depression, and other brain disorders.
3. Skin Problems
It’s easy to overlook the fact that our skin is our body’s largest organ. Most often what is happening on the surface through conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis, are a direct reflection of poor microbiome health and increased inflammation.
4. Blood sugar Imbalances
Multiple studies have shown a strong correlation between a weakened microbiome and blood sugar dysregulation. For example, one study (22) showed that just by transplanting the microbiome of diabetic mice into healthy mice made them diabetic as well. Additionally, research has shown that those so-called “healthy” artificial sweeteners can actually change the makeup of your microbiome and increase negative bacteria growth.
These are just a few of the ways your microbiome controls a large aspect of your entire health and why it is crucial to support your microbiome in order for your health to thrive. Since each of us come across common gut stressors on a daily basis such as toxins, stress, and dietary choices, it is important to bring in extra support through a probiotic – even for the most health-conscious of individuals.
That’s why I personally curated The Probiotic with four strains of beneficial bacteria to restore microbiome balance, boost immunity, and support bowel regularity. Each capsule contains 100 billion CFUs and works synergistically with each piece in The Collection to support optimal wellness.
The Brain-Adrenal Balancer
Hormones are the chemical messengers of the body – each one sending out specific instructions to each organ. It’s easy to overlook just how important our hormones are until they aren’t working properly, since they control so many areas of your health.
Cortisol, your body’s main stress hormone, is secreted by your adrenal glands. Normal functioning cortisol is high in the morning and tapers off throughout the day. Your “sleepy time” hormone melatonin, is inversely proportional to cortisol. When cortisol is high in the morning, melatonin is low, helping to wake you up. And when cortisol lowers, melatonin rises to help get you ready to head off to bed.
Problems occur when cortisol rhythm reaches a state of imbalance – low when it should be high, high when it should be low, or always high or always low. This is what we like to refer to in functional medicine as adrenal fatigue.
Your brain ends up telling your adrenal glands what to do through a communications system called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis), also known as the brain-adrenal axis. First your hypothalamus releases corticotropin-releasing hormone, which then lets your pituitary gland know to release the adrenocorticotropic hormone, which finally tells your adrenal cortex to release cortisol. So really, adrenal fatigue is not so much an adrenal gland problem after all, it’s actually a dysfunction of your brain’s communication with your adrenals.
Other than ongoing emotional stress this miscommunication often stems from chronic health stressors such as toxin exposure, microbiome dysfunctions, viral infections, autoimmune conditions, accidents, and food intolerances. If you suspect you are struggling with adrenal fatigue here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Salty + sugary cravings
- A “second wind” at night
- Trouble staying asleep
- Low libido
- Mid-day headaches
- Blood sugar problems
- Weight loss resistance
There are many superfoods that can help re-balance the brain-adrenal connection including:
1. Oysters: These are packed with zinc which boosts (23) neurotransmitter function and eases stress.
2. Avocados: Healthy fats also increase neurotransmitter function and enhance brain health.
It’s easy to dismiss our constant exhaustion and desire for caffeine and blame it on the hustle of our on-the-go lifestyles. Plus, everyone else is tired too, right? Well, I can’t say this enough, just because something is common doesn’t make it normal. This is why I personally curated The Brain-Adrenal Balancer to help your body resist and recover from the effects of daily stress.
The powerful formula of natural herbal and plant compounds works to support balanced cortisol levels, alleviate fatigue, enhance mental clarity, and promote quality sleep. The Brain-Adrenal Balancer works synergistically with each piece in The Collection to achieve your next level of optimal wellness.
Vitamin D is essential for regulating hundreds of different pathways in your body, thus making it more like a hormone than a vitamin. In fact, other than thyroid hormones, it is the only thing every single one of our trillions of cells needs to thrive. Since vitamin D is needed by every cell regardless of its specific function you can see the negative affects of low vitamin d throughout all aspects of your health including hormone imbalance, (25) poor brain health, (26) and so much more.
Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin since our bodies produce it from exposure to sunlight. Your body absorbs sunlight through cholesterol which helps convert it to a usable form for your body. Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin. This and other fat-soluble vitamins are dissolved in fat and therefore need to be paired with other healthy fats in order to be bioavailable. Some of my favorite and most abundant sources of vitamin d are:
- Cod liver oil: 1 teaspoon: 440 IU (over 100 percent Daily Value)
- Sardines: 3 ounces: 164 IU (41 percent Daily Value)
- Salmon: 3 ounces: 400 IU (100 percent Daily Value)
- Mackerel: 3 ounces: 400 IU (100 percent Daily Value)
- Tuna: 3 ounces: 228 IU (57 percent Daily Value)
- Raw grass-fed milk: 1 cup: 98 IU (24 percent Daily Value)
- Caviar: 1 ounce: 33 IU (8 percent Daily Value)
- Organic eggs: 1 large: 41 IU (10 percent Daily Value)
- Mushrooms: 1 cup: 2 IU (1 percent Daily Value)
Because of our society’s fear of fat and the fact that the amount of vitamin D your body actually needs is a lot, it can be nearly impossible to get enough from food alone. Couple that with the fact that most of us don’t spend enough time in the sun, supplementation of vitamin D is almost always necessary.
Vitamin K2 is also a fat-soluble vitamin another and one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in America. Vitamin K2 is essential for regulating calcium throughout your body including your bones and teeth to support bone and dental health. It also helps stop calcium from accumulating in the arteries which increases heart disease risk. It also plays a powerful role in regulating inflammation with one study (27) showing its effectiveness at inhibiting the pro-inflammatory iNOS in the brain immune system and spinal cord in rats with multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Vitamin K2 is found abundantly in Natto, a Japanese superfood made from non-GMO fermented soybeans. Since you most likely aren’t eating Natto on a regular basis, you can also get in through grass-fed liver and kefir. Additionally, various greens such as raw Swiss card and dandelion greens contain vitamin K1 when is then converted to K2 in the microbiome.
All types of fat-soluble vitamins, including vitamin D and vitamin K2, are the most effective when paired with other fat-soluble vitamins which increases their bioavailability and can help prevent levels from getting too high. Due to the wide spread deficiency and major health role of these two vitamins, I have personally curated The D3 – K2 with K2 and D3, the most bioavailable form of vitamin d, to take advantage of vitamin synergy. In fact, studies have shown (28) that D3 supplementation is twice as likely to raise vitamin D levels than other forms of vitamin D. The D3-K2 along with the rest of The Collection work together to ensure optimal brain, hormonal, digestive, and immune health for noticeable, sustainable healing.
Our world continues to become increasingly more toxic as time goes on. Over the last 100 years alone we can see the rapid change of our society in everything from our technology to the food that we eat. The problem though, is that while our society has advanced, our genetics have not. And not so coincidentally, the rate of chronic health problems like autoimmune diseases have also increased at a rapid pace.
The biggest factor we can see contributing to these rise in health problems are toxins. These chemicals that were not known until relatively recently, bombard our daily environment and are therefore increasingly present in our bodies. Xenobiotics are various chemicals that are known to affect cellular health and impact metabolism. Some of these include:
BPA: Found in many plastic products such as water bottles.
Formaldehyde: Used in beauty products such as shampoo and hair dye.
Pesticides: Found on non-organic food.
Organic solvents: These are commonly found in various adhesives, cleaning products, paints, as well as plastics, dyes, inks, and pharmaceuticals.
Other types of chemicals include man-made xenoestrogens which can act as endocrine disruptors and contribute to hormone imbalances in both men and women. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the number of chemicals that are in our beauty products, the air we breathe, the food we eat and even the water we drink, and it plays out in our health through:
- Chronic inflammation
- Skin problems (acne, rashes)
- Autoimmune conditions
- Brain fog
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Weight loss resistance
- Persistent body odor
- Thyroid problems
- Achy muscles and joints
No matter how health-conscious you are, no one is going to be able to completely avoid toxins. That is why detoxing should be an essential part of your everyday life. I’m a big fan of making your entire life a cleanse instead of focusing on popular detoxes such as a 3-day juice cleanse. While those can have their place, why not support your body’s detoxification 24/7? Some of my favorite ways to do so are:
1. Refresh your air
Certain plants including spider plants, garden mum, and peace lilies work to purify the air in your house or workplace. Himalayan salt lamps are also great air purifiers.
2. Look under the sea
Chlorella, spirulina, and other blue-green algaes are powerful detoxifiers.
3. Sweat it out
Exercising and relaxing in an infrared sauna are two ways to promote sweating which is one of your body’s way of releasing toxins.
While these are great daily tools, some people need extra detox support. If you are currently experiencing chronic inflammation – which can be caused by an overload of toxins – it can also make it difficult to detox properly, thus further perpetuating the cycle of inflammation. Additionally, some people have problems with methylation, your body’s biochemical superhighway, that controls the function of your body’s detox pathways.
For this reason, I personally curated The Detoxer’s comprehensive formula with B vitamins to support methylation and various phytonutrients to support antioxidant activity, boost detoxification, and drive-down inflammation. The Detoxer is designed to work synergistically with each piece in The Collection to aid in mitigating all major contributors to less-than optimal health.
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- Professor Sue Lanham New and Dr. Laura Pripkovic Daily supplementation with 15 mg vitamin D2 compared with vitamin D3 to increase wintertime 25-hydroxyvitamin D status in healthy South Asian and white European women: a 12-week randomized, placebo-controlled food-fortification trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition DOI: AJCN/2016/138693
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BY DR. WILL COLE
Dr. Will Cole, IFMCP, DNM, DC, leading functional medicine expert, consults people around the world via webcam and locally in Pittsburgh. He received his doctorate from Southern California University of Health Sciences and post doctorate education and training in functional medicine and clinical nutrition. He specializes in clinically researching underlying factors of chronic disease and customizing a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. Dr. Cole was named one of the top 50 functional medicine and integrative doctors in the nation and is the best selling author of Ketotarian and The Inflammation Spectrum.
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