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Alyra Health’s Second Pillar of Health: “Chemical Health”

Mar 1, 2023

The second pillar of the “Alyra Health Triad” is Chemical Health. This is an area that can be very complex to master. Depending on who you get your advice from, there is so much conflicting information. It is very common that we give up on trying to optimise this pillar, due to the complexity of navigating all the aspects of balancing the 4 key areas of nutrition, prescribed medication, alcohol, and drugs.

Alyra Health helps you simplify the process, so read on and see the easy adjustments that you can implement now to begin your reset.

1. Nutrition:

Nutrition is a critical aspect of chemical health. This is the aspect that is most challenging to master. It is combined of the food we eat and the water we drink.

Water is essential for keeping us hydrated and plays a key role in spinal health. By ensuring the disc between the spinal vertebras is thick from having good water content, collagen and elastin, our spine can counteract the effects of gravity and the compression forces of sitting down all day. A dehydrated disc causes the adjoining vertebras to be too close together and this loss of shock absorption disc capabilities, is more likely to lead to vertebral fusion due to prolonged wear and tear on the bony segments. When this occurs, there is more pressure on the nerves, which may lead to pain. For detailed information on the quality and quantity of water, as well as the benefits of alkaline water, check our Insta.

Now to the most complex piece of the chemical pillar. Food. Food is our fuel and energy source. When having a balanced and healthy diet our body receives all the necessary nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that it requires to function correctly. Proper nutrition can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It is essential to assess the nutritional content of the food we consume and ensure that we address any food allergies, sensitivities, and eliminate these from our dietary intake.

Then we come to restrictions due to being a vegan, vegetarian or diagnosed disease states, the most complex being diabetes, insulin resistance and weight management. Other considerations are hormonal imbalance and gut microbiome. This complicates the types of food we eat.

At Alyra Health, our functional medicine assessments include comprehensive testing to treat the root cause not the symptoms. 

Diets that have been trending like keto, may not be suitable for everyone or for an ongoing basis. This needs to be discussed with your healthcare professional if you are looking at implementing this as a way of eating. A great source on this is Thomas Delauer, he provides clinical studies to back everything up and differentiates between the male and female hormone maze and how to adjust for different age groups as well as hormonal concerns. 

Also, the timing of our meals makes a difference. Other trends like intermittent fasting (check out this guide by renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Huberman), one meal a day, skipping breakfast and autophagy are all different ways that have been promoted as a healthy way to manage weight, improve health and optimize performance and increase longevity, these are all well researched.

Alyra Health functional medicine doctors recommend a personalized program after conducting a comprehensive assessment to understand your symptoms, illnesses and hormone profile. We look at extensive gut microbiome report, profile hormone, gut-brain interplay and ruling out any conditions that may be contraindicated for these trending eating protocols. We pride ourselves with educating our patients to understand their body’s genetic makeup and create the ideal nutrition plan that’s specific to their unique DNA Markers. This cuts out the merry-go-round, yo-yo dieting and frustration around food.

Finally, having a healthy gut microbiome can enhance the immune system, improve digestion, and reduce inflammation. To achieve this, we need to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, avoid processed foods, and limit sugar intake.

The gut microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms that reside in the human gut, and it is involved in numerous physiological processes, including digestion, immune function, and metabolism.
To optimize your gut and brain bacteria, Dave Asprey, the author of Super Human, who is a professional biohacker, explains how to fast, improve your gut microbiome and the benefits of probiotics.

A diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, while a diet high in processed foods and sugar can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria.

Additionally, prebiotics and probiotics, can directly affect the gut microbiome. Prebiotics are dietary fibers that serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria, while probiotics are live bacteria that can colonize the gut and confer health benefits. 

2. Prescribed Medication:

There are certain disease states that need prescribed medication for ongoing management, yet there are many that can be managed non-pharmaceutically by lifestyle changes and dietary adjustments. It is crucial to understand the side effect profile and any impact it will have on your overall health. This is best discussed with your prescribing doctor to prevent any harm from non-compliance or incorrect usage.

 

3. Alcohol:
It is very common to use alcohol to reduce inhibitions, and to socialize. As it is very high in calories and has no nutritional value, it is associated with weight gain, increasing appetite leading to overeating and poor food choices. Alcohol consumed frequently in copious amounts leads to liver damage. This prevents the body from metabolizing and storing fat and so weight gain is inevitable.

Sleep disruption is another health concern with alcohol consumption. It prevents the body from entering into deep restful sleep and as a result the quality and quantity of sleep is compromised. Over a prolonged period, this can lead to sleep deprivation, which is linked to a higher risk of diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol consumption has been linked to a weak immune system and therefore more susceptible to infections and illnesses. It is advised that alcohol consumption is limited to minimize all these negative effects on weight, sleep and overall health.

4. Drugs:
The use of Illicit drugs can have severe adverse effects not just on the health of your body but also on the mind, both in the short and long term. It is vital to note that these side effects vary depending on the type of drugs, frequency of use, and individual susceptibility.

Stimulants such as cocaine, increase heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature, which may lead to cardiovascular conditions or a stroke.

  • Heroin, an opioid can cause vomiting, constipation and nausea. It acts to depress the respiratory system and can lead to respiratory failure or death.
  • Cannabis and marijuana, can lead to psychosis and schizophrenia with long term use. This is because it impairs memory and cognitive function, increase heart rate and cause anxiety and paranoia.
  • A hallucinogen like LSD can alter perception of reality, mood swings, visual and auditory hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

So, prolonged use of any illicit drug is extremely dangerous and can lead to overdose, addiction or death.

To optimize your chemical health, consider the following:

  • Can I improve on the quality and quantity of water that I drink?
  • Is my food intake the ideal variety for me to provide a healthy gut-brain connection and a healthy microbiome?
  • Am I eating at the right times for my weight goals and is it sustainable long term. If not, what do you need to do to improve it by implementing micro habits to change to a better way of eating. Are you incorporating some fasting to enhance longevity?
  • Do I need prescription medication, or can I use lifestyle changes and food to manage my symptoms? If not, what are the side effects that I need to be aware of?
  • Finally, do I control my alcohol and drug intake so I don’t fall into addictions and compromise my brain function.

Alyra Health would love to hear your feedback to provide you more valuable content and easy to implement healthy habits. Contact us if you need any support optimizing your chemical pillar of health.

Once you have this pillar under control, review the Physical & Emotional Pillars of health and take control of improving all the areas that can elevate your health goals to the next level.

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