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Category: Naturopathy

What are adaptogens?

Have you heard of adaptogens? If you haven’t yet, you will soon. In fact, there are a few you probably already know, but didn’t realise they were called adaptogens – do you recognise maca, ginseng and licorice?

Why do we care so much about adaptogens? In a nutshell, they’re a powerful group of food and herbs that help your body adapt to stress. They also help to boost the immune system and support stamina & energy, two areas that can be significantly depleted by stress.

There are different kinds of stress – physical, emotional / psychological, environmental (noise, temperature, pollution). Hans Selye, a Canadian professor that specialised in stress research, defined stress as ‘the non-specific response of the body to any demand made upon it’. And to be clear, there is good stress and there is bad stress. Recent research discusses how some stress can be good for you, depending on how you perceive it. And this is a great TED talk on how to make stress your friend.

We can add in adaptogens when the ‘bad’ stress is too much.They help the body get back into homeostasis, or more simply, they help you get back to a status quo, where you can more easily manage whatever is causing the stress.  Adaptogens can help to stabilise the hypothalamus – pituitary – thyroid – adrenal (HPTA) axis, which then helps to regulate hormone production.

Each adaptogen has unique properties, and can help you deal with specific types of stressors. David Winston and Steven Maimes, two of the leading authorities in this area, classify adaptogens into four areas:

Stimulating: red ginseng, white asian ginseng and rhodiola

Calming: schisandra, ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), reishi, cordyceps

Moistening: american ginseng, codonopsis, shatavari

Drying: rhodiola, schisandra

What adaptogens should you consider adding in to your daily routine? It’s always best to get a tailored recommendation from a herbalist or naturopath, as adaptogens are powerful herbs. In clinic, I see these herbs recommended most frequently:

Ashwagandha for adrenal support and cortisol management

Licorice for liver support and as an anti-inflammatory

Maca for hormone balance and sexual function

Reishi, cordyceps and schisandra for immune support

Rhodiola for energy and mitochondrial ATP support

Have you ever used an adaptogen? What did you think?

I Tried It: Replacing My Amalgam Fillings

When I was a child, I felt like I was always at the dentist. Back and forth, getting filling after filling. The end result was that by the time I entered adulthood, I had a mouth full of metal fillings (10 in total!).

The good news is that I haven’t needed a filling since I was 18. The bad news is that 95% of my fillings were amalgam – you know, metal with mercury.

As I’ve learned more about the body, its systems and the effects of what we put in through my naturopathy and nutrition studies, I decided to look into what I could do about my teeth. It had always bothered me that I had so much metal in my mouth and that I never knew exactly what effect it was having on me.

amalgam-fillings

Amalgam contains a combination of metals, including silver, mercury, tin and copper. And in some cases, zinc, indium or palladium are also used. I didn’t like the idea of having so much mercury in my body. Research has shown that very small amounts of mercury vapour can be released as the amalgam filling wears over time through chewing, biting and in my case, excessive grinding (yes, I grind my teeth at night – my worst habit!).

I booked a consultation with my local holistic dentist, Dr. Batavia, who took me step by step through the process of removing my amalgam fillings and replacing them with composite. Because I had so many fillings, I needed three appointments over three months, which gave me a chance to get my head around the whole process, not to mention, avoid excess jaw strain!

dental-mask

The process of removing the fillings is one that has been created by the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, using SMART (Safe Metal Amalgam Removal Technique).  In a nutshell, lots of protective layers on the areas of the mouth that aren’t being worked on, a strong air filtration system and an after care protocol that supports healing and detoxification.

I was given a supplement protocol that included Vitamin C, charcoal, vitamin E and selenium to aid healing and removal of the mercury from my systems.

It’s been three weeks since my last appointment and I’m very glad that I’ve had it done. Not only because the entire process is finished (!), but because I have the peace of mind of knowing that all of the metal is gone from my mouth!

Have you had your fillings replaced? What did you think?

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