We typically don't give much thought to our gall bladder when we think about digestion, or hormones for that matter. While critical to more than just digesting fats, the importance of this tiny organ sitting tucked below our liver is often overlooked. Unless you’ve had gallstones or experienced some form of gallbladder disease, you might not even be aware of its function.
While originally thought to be a disorder brought on later in life by obesity and a high saturated fat diet, I’m seeing more and more young, thin and otherwise healthy women in my practice with disease of the gall bladder; from sludge to stones, to full cholecystectomy (removal) by the time they’re 30. This presents questions surrounding the variables causing gall disease and brings us back to their relationship to hormones.
Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is just generally good for us, but as it turns out, eating a high plant-based diet may help lower your risk for developing many chronic health conditions, including cancer. While no single food or combination of foods can eradicate cancer, studies have shown that the combination of compounds found in certain foods — when part of a healthy diet — can help significantly increase your anti-oxidant intake, and decreasing our risk of developing a number of disorders, including cancer.
The phytochemical compounds found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, along with antioxidants and a host of vitamins and minerals, all work in conjunction to provide cellular repair. Foods alone cannot cure cancer, but a healthy diet can go a long way toward minimizing your risk. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “In laboratory studies, many individual minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals demonstrate anti-cancer effects. Evidence suggests that it is the synergy of compounds in the overall diet that offers the strongest cancer protection.” In other words, make sure that your plate is colourful and is part of a well-balanced and healthy diet.
While many foods can play a key role in an anti-oxidant diet, here are a few suggestions to make sure you have on hand:
One of the core principles of functional medicine is to nourish the body and ensure it is getting the appropriate balance of nutrients to stay healthy. Traditionally, this was achieved in a hunter-gather diet by eating colourful whole foods and by practicing “nose-to-tail” eating of meat, which included the consumption of skin, cartilage, marrow, tendons/ligaments, and other parts of the animal that are now typically discarded. Unfortunately, much of this practice has been lost as a result of prepared meats, microwaves, and canned soups over homemade stocks. As a result, our diets have become deprived of an important protein, known as collagen.
There is a lot of noise in the health industry lately about collagen supplementation. The concept of supplementing collagen attempts to regain what we’ve lost from our primitive diet, but the question becomes if supplementation has any benefit.
Benefits of Collagen
I’ll admit that when I first heard about the trend of supplementing collagen, I wasn't on board. It made no sense to me. Collagen is a tissue found in our bodies made from amino acids, vitamin C, etc. So how could supplementingthe end product collagen benefit us? But as it turns out, research in mice shows that hydrolyzed collagen peptides (from gelatin) have a 95% absorption rate at 12 hours after intake, and it distributes in the body similar to that of raw amino acids, with the exception of cartilage (1). Collagen was seen to concentrate more than twice as high in cartilaginous tissue that raw amino acids (1), giving collagen some unique benefits. So, I jumped on the bandwagon.
Adrenal fatigue is a functional condition which can occur as a result of stressors of the body. We’re quick to identify with emotional stress, but we often forget that stress can also come from physical and environmental stressors. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenals release higher levels of hormones into the body than normal as a response to a continues or persistent stimulus, resulting in an output of these hormones being greater than the production, and ultimate fatigue of the glands. They are considered fatigued since they are essentially drained of their active and stored hormones, and need time to recover.
Yet, recovery is limited and difficult when we continue to lead a busy and stressful lifestyle (which is what ultimately caused the problem in the first place). Rather than slowly starting to recover, the adrenals remain drained and strained. Furthermore, we add aggravators like limited and/or poor quality sleep (which prevents rebuilding and recovery), processed foods, alcohol and cigarettes (which create physical stressors to the system) and high caffeine intake to deal with the fatigue (which creates a further draining of the gland by increase cortisol output).
© 2018 Courtney Holmberg ND. All rights reserved. Dr. Courtney Holmberg, ND does not endorse or have professional affiliation with any discussed supplement or lab companies. All material provided is for general education and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to assist in diagnosing to treating a medical condition. Legal & Medical Disclaimer, sitemap