Sedona Retreat 2024

Blood tests for inflammation & inflammation markers, fertility nutrition

Welcome to the Less Stressed Life, where we help women and families overcome fatigue, food sensitivities and inflammation the goal here is really to help you heal yourself.  If this you find this show or episode helpful, repay the favor and share it with a friend or leave me a review on the purple pod app if that's where you listen.

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In this episode, I answered listener questions from Mary Kay, Abee, & Charly:

  • Mary Kay asked: Are there blood tests that should be requested to know inflammation levels? 
  • Mark Kay gives us a little more information and shares her case in more depth.
    • CRC survivor.  Previous radiation, chemo and surgery.  
    •  Gut hasn't been the same since.  
    • Too much fiber feels like it doesn't digest
    • Too little fiber results in constipation.
    • Fingers have trigger finger, which I believe is from inflamation
    • Stomach is often upset.  
    • Seems like cooked veggies digest better for me
    • Eat a lot of fish.  Anything inflammatory I should know?
    • Is coffee ok?
  • Abee asked :  How can I normalize autoimmune disorders? I'm  trying to conceive and facing higher thyroid antibodies and antisperm antibodies are positive.  How it can be resolved naturally by diet, and lifestyle changes.
  • Charly asked : How to manage a well-rounded diet without worrying about restriction or if you are overeating?
  • Charly gives us a little more information and shares her case in more depth
    •   I’ve had awful periods ever since I was a teenager, but since I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease last year my health has slowly been declining.
    •  I cut out gluten and tried to limit my dairy intake but no matter what I do my stomach always feels bloated and rock hard, almost like I can’t relax the muscles. 
    • My periods have got worse, and recently I was told I may have endometriosis. 
    • The doctor said I needed to go on the pill, which I did, but unfortunately this just made me feel severely depressed so came off it after a month. 
    • Since then my periods have got worse and I’m feeling lost. 
    • Having the doctor say the only options is pill or surgery left me feeling very hopeless. I know stress doesn’t help, but I can’t seem to shake this feeling of hopelessness. 



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Christa (00:06):
Hey, it's your host, Christa Bigler. And this is part two this week of listener questions. So what happened was that I had, we did a call for questions and people submitted them and there were supposed to be a bit of a live Q and a today, but we had some technology mishmash happening in the back end, cause we're just humans. And it's always good to remember that we're just humans. So no one got the email to come to the live Q and a, but if you wanted to come to a live Q and a, a free Q and a, I would like to attempt to do the monthly. The next one is scheduled. The next not only one that's actually scheduled is for October 5th, at 1230 mountain time, two 30 Eastern times, just a half hour. You register, you submit questions. You can submit your case review and basically the best ones get the priority.

Christa (00:51):
Essentially like if it's easy to easiest to follow. So if you heard in my earlier episode that went out with Jordan, she gave a really thorough case review history and it was easy for me to kind of go through, pick apart what worked, what didn't work and hopefully be really helpful to her. So today I'm gonna go through the remaining questions that came in from that Q and a and let me get started. So Mary Kay wanted to know about blood tests for inflammation levels. Now that is something that we're working on behind the scenes. It's a little tricky. There are some blood markers for inflammation levels, largely C R P of C reactive protein. That's an acute phase liver protein in the liver. The general reference range is under one milligram per deciliter. And if that's elevated, it can show signs of inflammation in general.

Christa (01:38):
Some other ones that might be kind of common is an Ana. That is a marker that may kind of steer you in the direction of more testing for autoimmune issues. But there's a lot of things that may, may look like inflammation as well. So anything that's got to do with cytokine status. So there's a new marker on our GI map test called eosinophil activation protein. And if you have in general, in the blood work, if you have elevated at eosinophils, you may be reacting more to histamine. Now that's not exactly what cause, but reducing the overall histamine burden can reduce inflammation in the short term, in the gut. Speaking of the gut the main like common inflammatory marker as calprotectin. I think the thing that is showing up here though, is we're looking for some kind of evidence that something is wrong, but you know, that something's wrong because Mary Kay says, my gut hasn't been the same since I, she says I was a cancer I'm cancer survivor.

Christa (02:38):
Congratulations. It's freaking amazing. So she's had radiation and chemo and surgery and the gut hasn't been the same since meaning, you know, she can't digest fiber too little results in, in, in constipation. She has some trigger finger, which she feels like is inflammation or stung is upset. She digest, cooks veggies better. You know, there's all, there's a bit there, but there is definitely tissue ch challenges and harm post cancer, right? So actually I do wanna direct Mary Kay to a recent episode. I did with my friend Dion, who talks about cancer nutrition, and she kind of specializes in, you know, diagnosis during treatment and then afterwards, how do you heal and, and heal overall. And there's just a lot of things that help support tissue healing, et cetera. So if you already know there's a problem, maybe you don't need some blood work that tells you, you know, you've got just static inflammation, cause like generalized inflammation is fine to know about.

Christa (03:39):
You can feel like you have inflammation. You can feel like you have inflammation from, from swinging five ish pounds every weekend. Like that's a lot of water inflammatory water weight that looks like inflammation to me. So if you just feel kind of puffy, et cetera, if you have pain in certain areas, the key is to get to the root causes. And I know the lab feels like the root cause, but I would look at, for me personally, I look at what's going on in the gut. What overgrowths are there? What toxic burden is there, right? What deficiencies are there that prevent us from healing and what other stressors are there? I'm looking at what the stressors are that are not allowing the body to operate properly. That's kind of how I would look at this overall. So I hope that helps Mary Kay sounds like there's a bit of work that could be done in the gut.

Christa (04:24):
And if you haven't done anything kind of on your own with the gut healing, soothing nutrients, slippery LM, marshmallow, but you can always trial a different probiotics. It really varies. You know, I don't wanna be too general, but it's a kind of big general question. She also asked about coffee and you know, nothing's a very short answer for me. <Laugh> I don't wanna go off on a tangent about mycotoxins and things. Coffee can be really acidic. So I, there's not right or wrong. Sometimes we need to take a little break from coffee and see how we personally do with it. Abby asked how you normalize an autoimmune disorder and I'm trying to conceive. So she is dealing with thyroid antibodies and antis sperm antibodies. So she also had some hormone levels or auto bounds, which could mean a lot of things. Cuz they're thyroid hormones, sex hormones adrenal hormones, probably they were looking at thyroid or sex hormones.

Christa (05:15):
And she's also changed her diet to be more whole food without as many processed foods. And she's seen some good results, but she can't conceive. So when I think about fertility nutrition, it's funny like with auto immunity and fertility, you want to resolve root causes of the overall biggest primary thing. Your body doesn't really care about fertility. If it's under stress from another thing, I've never seen any autoimmune condition where stress wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back. But the other things that I look at when I think about the autoimmune treatment pie is what's going on with stress and how am I re repeating the nutrients caused by stress, what's going on with toxic burden, what's going on with gut health and that may include mold and other things. What's going on with, with auto immunity. Sometimes food is a little bit more of a player, but it sounds like Abby's off to a good start there.

Christa (06:06):
Her question is how can I overcome this naturally with diet? Well, it may take a little bit, it may take a little bit more, in my opinion may take some special nutrients. It may take some neuroplasticity practice because if you're under stress, the thyroid won't work with thyroid antibodies being out of range. Usually there is a gut health implication for sure. That's that's in the research. So sometimes there's certain bacteria in the gut and it's kind of making the antibodies throwing the antibodies off. And then sometimes there are foods and things that will throw the antibodies off as well. So just to paint a picture of how I usually do this, occasionally, if it's indicated I might do specialty food testing and do some things around the diet for a couple of weeks, I do that less amount of the time than I used to.

Christa (06:49):
And then I'll go into a good gut test. I'll do appropriate protocols and efficacious protocols, and then I'll fill in the ne nutrient gaps and, and holes. Now, if I'm focusing on fertility, I wanna do all those baseline things first, cuz what affects hormones? Everything. I just mentioned, gut toxic burden, stress, but blood sugar and micronutrient deficiencies as well. So I wanna do all those things cause it's gonna influence the hormones in a positive direction. And then with fertility, I wanna support egg quality and sperm quality. And she said, you know so the man is, is half of the half of the equation in fertility. So you wanna check with them to see if there's any structural issues or infection as well. So it's something else to consider. So I hope that helps Abby. And then lastly from Charlie, so I'm gonna start with the second piece of her question.

Christa (07:42):
It's a little bit like Abby's so I've had awful periods since I was a teenager, but I was do diagnosed with graves disease, which is a type of thyroid autoimmune thyroid disease where your antibodies or out of range, I was diagnosed with graves disease. It's a little less common than Hashimotos, which is kind of a hypothyroidism sluggish and graves is a hyperthyroidism. So I was diagnosed with graves last year. My health has been slowly declining. I cut out gluten, try to limit my dium intake, but no matter what I do, my stomach always feels bloated and rock hard almost like I can't relax the muscles, which might be part of it. Right? So there's the structural. I talked about this earlier in the earlier podcast this week, there's a structural component, there's the nutritional component of the imbalance of bacteria, et cetera. And then there's the emotional component.

Christa (08:26):
So usually stress is kind of the, most of this stuff does start in the brain, not like it's in your head, but it does start in the brain. So there's things that there's communication from the brain and the neural pathways and that send signals. I mean, one, it dumps nutrients. There's many ways that stress influences gut health, but dumps nutrients, which makes stomach acid a challenge. And then you don't digest things, break it down and then you can feed bad gut bacteria. And in general it just suppresses all ability, all digestive function. So I'm sure, sure there was a like some stress onset probably right before the graves. And so I do think that there's a big gut implication or imbalances in the gut. And so it sounds like, you know, when you've got a lot of bloating or gas or irregular bowel moves, usually things we can do nutritionally inside the gut.

Christa (09:10):
When I say that checking what's going on in that gut bacteria and rebalancing that to correct it. For sure. Now she mentions that my periods have gotten worse and I was recently told I've endometriosis. So this is actually partially still. So with when I, what I assume she's talking about is heavy bleeding, maybe breast tenderness, moodiness, cetera, like the things that people would normally sell say if there's, if they semi period suck. And I know this because she told, she said endometriosis and endometriosis is a very severe there is a lot of estrogen dominance or estrogen excess. That's not getting like broken down and detoxed out of the body like it should be. And so it can be in circulation and estrogen is a, an essential hormone, but it's a growth hormone. So it thickens the uterine lining, which makes for heavier bleeding. So my approach personally is to do all those basic things, first support what the liver's doing.

Christa (10:06):
I always say like, I'm pretty boring. I support the liver. I support the God support the thyroid. I support the adrenals and like a lot of things get better. <Laugh> but the, you can, I actually, I would, I think the doing those things first is, is great. Cause I think sometimes doing specific hormone testing can be a bit of a noble obstacle, but with endo it could be implicated to do a, a hormone test right away. Is it exactly what I would do? I would still start with all that basic stuff, but if you do a hormone test the Dutch test, the dried urine test for comprehensive hormones, that particular test does show estrogen metabolism. And so if you can see where the estrogen is getting stuck, is it getting stuck in phase one, liver phase two liver, et cetera, you can get really key in the approach.

Christa (10:50):
So that is one option for sure with endo. So Charlie also mentions that the doctors that I need to go on the pill, but I, I did, but unfortunately this made me feel severely depressed. So I came off of it after a month and it does happen. The pill just suppresses estrogen progesterone. So we're suppress, it's kind of like a steroid <laugh> to skin, which I talked about earlier, this, this in, in the previous podcast. But so it's not, it's like a bandaid, right? So I mean to each their own if it's helpful for you, but in, in Charlie's case, it wasn't, you know, she's really, she's depressed on it. And the birth control messes with some nutrient deficiencies and I'm sure Charlie already has some nutrient deficiencies as part of this overall thing. So it feels like a lot, but you start with like the basics of the beginning, you support correction of gut health support, toxic burden.

Christa (11:39):
So people will sometimes come in and say, I've tried everything, which is not the case. <Laugh>, I'm like, I doubt you've tried actually everything, but it feels like it when you've switched out plastics, when you've switched out personal care products, all of that is just external structural stuff, which is important, cuz detoxification on its own. I'm talking about a lot of topics, detoxification, gut adrenals from stress, all the things. And so starting with your total tox burden from the outside, some of those plastics can be estrogen and so consuming, like drinking out of plastic glasses and all of those things can just contribute to your total to burden. So those are things hopefully people are doing on their own before they get to a practitioner. So Charlie, I would recommend you start those things that it's not gonna change your life overnight. You can, you know, change your diet to whole food, low processed food and potentially see some changes if that's not too stressful for you.

Christa (12:31):
Swapping things out in your total talks burden breathwork stopping considering whether you're actually digesting, chewing your food, all these things, some of this, like she says, having doctor say the pill is only, you know, option is pill. Surgery left me feeling very hopeless and I know stress doesn't help, but I can't seem to shake this feeling of hopelessness. So I just wanna tell you, like you have so many options, just get a new doctor. It's fine. Like if that, if your doctor only knows those options, it's just time to move on. There's plenty of options. There's full podcast about endometriosis. So you've got a lot of options, but Charlie also asked another emotional question, which was how do you manage eating a well rounded, healthy diet without feeling like you're restricting a worry about everything you're eating. And my question to you, Charlie is why do you feel like you have to worry about everything you're eating?

Christa (13:20):
Like where does that feeling come from? Because the tricky thing about food stuff and why I don't always recommend diet changes to people, unless it's their idea is people have a lot of emotional stuff wrapped up into food based on how they grew up, what their parents said did or how people treated them or the modeling that they had. So I want you to just consider why do you feel that way in the first place? Where does that feeling come from and how do you want to feel when you eat? Those would be a few questions I would journal on because my advice isn't valuable to you in that context, you have to kind of pull that question from within. All right. I think that wraps up all the questions. I'm sorry to those that weren't able to join live today, but if you want to join for a live Q and a session with me half hour session, it's October 5th, you can [email protected] slash community for the live call.

Christa (14:20):
And if you wanna just submit a question for a podcast Q and a, you can go to Krista Both of those links, I'll be in the show notes and I will see you next week. Actually, I just do wanna tell you next week or the week after I've got an episode coming out with Esther bloom and it probably is one of my, it's probably one of my favorite podcasts so far that I've recorded on midlife hormones and just the potential of hormone replacement therapy for those women. So make sure you look for that. And then also coming down the pipeline is insurance alternatives that actually cover functional medicine. So I've been feeling like I needed to put that out there for a long time. So look for those. And if this podcast was helpful, go to review this stress life. Oops, one more thing I forgot to tell you that enrollment is open for one-on-one coaching for the last time in 2022, we will not be accepting more clients until February of 2023. So if you want to feel better by Christmas or you need some help with your case where you're just not getting anywhere on your own, you can apply for one-on-one case review or group case review call. And that [email protected] and you just find the place to apply, to become a client, have a great week.


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