Need more energy to get through the day? Are you supporting your mitochondria?

The hot topic these days in the field of nutrition is how to best take care of our mitochondria, the little but mighty powerhouses in our cells that create energy!  I attended the National Association of Nutrition Professionals conference last month and listened to a great lecture by Dr. Robert Rountree.  I am sharing with you some important take aways from his talk and steps you can take to care for YOUR mitochondria!


Why is this important?  Because the most prominent roles of mitochondria are to produce the energy currency of the cell, ATP!  We need ATP for all of our chemical reactions in the body.  And the more ATP we have, the better we function and the more energy we have!  Mitochondrial dysfunction has been tied to all types of diseases as well as accelerated aging. And who wants that?


What are some basic steps to reverse mitochondrial dysfunction?


  1. Decrease excess free radical exposure by avoiding or limiting alcohol, damaged fats ( i.e. fried foods), refined sugars including high fructose corn syrup, excess calories, and by reducing stress.
  2. Identify and treat sources of inflammation. Inflammation is caused by repeated injuries, poor diet, food allergies, a sedentary lifestyle, over-training, and chronic infections (like gum disease for example). A nutritionist or holistic practitioner can help you with this step!
  3. Resolve digestive or other GI issues. It is Important to address your gut issues now to decrease inflammation and prevent further damage to your mitochondria. A nutritionist can definitely help you if you have digestive issues.
  4. Remove environmental toxic exposures. Please refer to my previous blog for simple steps to reduce daily environmental toxins.


Simple dietary steps to support your mitochondria:


  1. Minimize processed sugar, refined carbs, and high fructose corn syrup!
  2. Eat a wide range of colorful berries, veggies, spices and tea.  The Farmers Markets are alive with colors right now!
  3. Increase beets and arugula which are rich in nitrates.
  4. Eat a liberal amounts of healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, omega 3’s (found in wild salmon and other fatty fish, flaxseeds, etc) and coconut oil.
  5. If you do not have a blood sugar imbalance, try going 12 to 14 hours without eating. This helps to clean up the garbage in the cels.  For example, eat dinner at 7:00 pm, and then eat a late breakfast at 9:00 am.  If you are on the go in the morning, a protein smoothie will come in handy.
  6. Eat less, but go for nutrient dense when you do eat. In other words, make your calories count.
  7. And lastly, make sure that you are getting all the critical vitamins and minerals to support the making of energy via the Krebs cycle. Remember learning about the Krebs cycle in school? This is my favorite supplement to support the mitochondria and optimal energy levels: Mitochondrial NRG.


So how do you support mitochondrial biogenesis?  The making of NEW mitochondria?  Keep glucose and insulin levels low!  So this means avoiding foods that spike your blood sugar like refined sugars, processed carbs, sweetened beverages, and excess tropical fruits.  Next time you visit your physician, ask them to test for hemoglobin A1c.  This is a test that measures glucose levels over a period of about three months.  You want this number to be low!






Top Five Ways to Avoid the Dreaded Cold/Flu During the Holiday Season!

Getting sick during the holidays is such a bummer! One of my primary goals this holiday season is to stay healthy and fit! Here are my top five strategies to stay healthy. I hope they serve you well! And please share with your family and friends!


1. Keep hydrated with water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices. This is so important! I carry around my stainless steel water bottle with me everywhere. I have increased my water intake over the last few weeks to about 3 1/2 liters per day and I also drink about 1/2 liter of herbal tea daily. Which equals about 4 liters of hydrating liquids daily.

2. Do you have an end of year annual with your primary care physician? Get your Vitamin D levels checked! In fact, now is the perfect time to get your Vitamin D levels checked. The days are short and our exposure to sun light is minimized. Knowing your typical vitamin D levels during this time of year can help you to assess how much Vitamin D to supplement during the winter time. Although there are differing opinions about what range constitutes an optimal Vitamin D level, most physicians and researchers agree that anything below 30 is low! And optimal Vitamin D levels are essential to a healthy immune system!

3. Sip on chicken bone broth daily for the next several weeks. If you are too busy to make bone broth, you can purchase at many Whole Foods stores. Here are some local San Francisco Bay area resources too.Three Stone Hearth, Mama Tong Soup. Want to make your own broth but don’t know how? Check out this book: Bone Broth Miracle I sip on 4 to 6 ounces of bone broth with my breakfast in the morning during this time of the year. You can also enjoy it at lunch or dinner time. Think of it as an immune booster supplement!

4. Although it is easy to let exercise go during this busy time of the year, keep moving! If you cannot make it to your normal exercise classes, then try to do more of your errands by foot or bicycle! In fact, being outdoors (even though it’s chilly) helps to decease stress…and we all know that stress contributes to getting sick! When I don’t have time to make it to an exercise class, I put on my jacket, go outside, and make my phone calls while walking!

5. And lastly, but NOT least, get as much sleep as you can! It is really easy to short yourself on sleep when you have end of year projects to wrap up, holiday events to attend, and shopping to finish. However, your immune system reboots while you are sleeping. In fact, your whole body reboots while you are asleep! And this time of the year, it is just natural to sleep more! After all, we only have about 9 to 10 hours of day light!

And what do you do if you still feel that cold coming on? The worst is when you wake up with an itchy throat in the morning. Oh no…not a good sign! No worries, time for a bit of Silvercillin Spray magic!  Six sprays to the back of the throat 3x per day and most of the time you can knock out the virus! And even if you do not completely knock it out, it will decrease the severity of your sore throat and cold! Silvercillin Spray is an essential in my medicine cabinet this time of year!

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!


The ups and downs of SIBO

My gut has been acting up again. I went for a very long symptom free period. But SIBO (Small Intestinal Bowel Overgrowth) is back and it is time for me to reassess my diet, supplements, do some testing, and get a handle on it again. SIBO is very common and unfortunately has a high rate of recurrence. SIBO occurs when there is an excess of bacteria in the upper small intestine. These bacteria ferment the carbs you eat into gas and the gas causes pressure and pain usually manifesting in abdominal pain and bloating. Other common symptoms are gas, constipation, diarrhea, and malabsorption. The symptom that haunts me the most is uncomfortable bloating, and I know I am not alone, as this seems to be one of the predominant complaints I hear from my own clients.

The two processes that most commonly predispose you to bacterial overgrowth in the upper small intestine are diminished gastric acid secretion (acid that your stomach produces when you eat) and small intestine dysmotility ((muscle contractions in your GI tract are not working properly). Gastric acid produced in your stomach suppresses the growth of ingested bacteria, thereby limiting bacterial counts in the upper small intestine. Diminished acid production (hypochlorhydria) becomes more prevalent as you age and also occurs when you take PPI’s (protein pump inhibitors). Normal GI motility involves a complex, tightly coordinated series of events designed to move material through the GI tract. SIBO can also be caused by gastric bypass surgery, structural abnormalities of the GI tract, IBS, and narcotic use.

Other risk factors and signs/symptoms for SIBO:

You have recently taken antibiotics or have a history of antibiotic use.
You feel worse when you take probiotics with prebiotics.
Eating more fiber causes constipation, even when you drink plenty of water.
Your lab work reveals low ferritin levels without any apparent other cause.
You have experienced gut infections (especially h Pylori).

Why has my SIBO come back? Well, I don’t know for sure. But these are my best guesses:

I got lazy with taking my enzyme supplement that contains Betaine HCl (hydrochloric acid). Betaine HCl supports stomach acid secretion, which in turn suppresses growth of unwanted bacteria in the upper small intestine.
I was taking thyroid support for awhile, which I discontinued due to side effects. The thyroid gland, being the master gland of metabolism, helps to support normal GI motility (muscular contractions in the GI tract).
Summer came and I started eating more fruits like cherries, peaches, nectarines, and apricots. Great food for the bacteria!

SIBO is complicated and normally many steps have to be taken to address it and prevent its recurrence. In fact, I highly recommend that you work with a qualified nutritionist or practitioner to test for SIBO and other factors that may be contributing to it and create a plan to address it. However, here are five simple steps that you can take now to start tackling SIBO if you know you have it or suspect that you do:

1. Let at least 4 hours go by in between your meals. When you are fasting, you typically get a gurgling sound in stomach. This is good. This means that cleaning up is taking place. It should happen every 90 minutes when the stomach is empty. This is referred to as a small bowel cleaning wave.

2. Make or purchase bone broth and drink liberally to help decrease inflammation and heal up the gut.

3. Take a digestive enzyme supplement that contains Betaine HCl with your meals.

4. Restrict the amount of fermentable carbs in your diet until your SIBO is resolved. Then you can add them back in. Foods high in FODMAPS (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols) should be avoided. These include garlic, onions, brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, artichokes, apples, cherries, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, and apricots.

5. Take a soil based probiotic supplement, which also acts as an antimicrobial to help kill off the unwanted bacteria.

NOTE: Work with a practitioner to test for other contributing factors to SIBO like a gut infection or hypothyroidism. There are also different types of SIBO, and your health care practitioner can help you put together a dietary and supplement plan that effectively addresses your type of SIBO.

If you think you have SIBO, please schedule a complementary strategy session with me to discuss! Complimentary Strategy Session