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Dr. Sarah Zadek, ND

Posts by: Dr. Sarah Zadek, ND

Hormonal Constipation: Get Moving Again

Constipation is defined by infrequent bowel movements, hard, dry stools, straining and pain with defecation, and can lead to the development of hemorrhoids. There are many different causes of constipation, including intestinal dysbiosis, lack of dietary fiber, dehydration, food sensitivities and medication use such as opioids and antihistamines. Constipation could also occur due to structural issues of the intestines, or due to hormonal responses. The occurrence of hormonal constipation is more common in females. Women tend to have changes in stool consistency throughout the menstrual cycle as hormone levels fluctuate. It’s not uncommon for women to experience firmer stools and

Endometriosis: Inside Out

Endometriosis is a painful disorder characterized by the presence of endometrial (uterine) tissue in locations outside the uterus. This can include on or around the ovaries, on other structures within the pelvic cavity, and even in other locations around the body. Endometriomas, also described as hemorrhagic cysts, can be intrusive and adhesive to surrounding structures; and because they are made of endometrial tissue, they respond to cycling ovarian hormones.  There are many different stages and severities of endometriosis depending on infiltration of tissue, adhesion to surrounding organs and structures, the number of lesions and the symptoms experienced.  As a result,

Balancing Hormones for Fertility

Hormones are chemical signals that are always being produced, secreted, traveling, and, if their respective receptors are available, attaching to those receptors to cause an effect. To the average female, heavy menstrual bleeding or a lack of menstruation, acne, migraines and weight gain, or significant mood disturbances could all indicate a hormonal imbalance. In men, abnormal hormone levels can cause low libido, sexual dysfunction, depression, and gynecomastia (breast tissue growth in genetic males). There are so many factors that affect hormones. Although some hormone imbalances may seem benign, they could indicate a larger issue. For example, abnormally high estrogen levels

Stress and Hormone Regulation

Stress is a natural part of our lives, and although it gets a bad reputation, stress isn’t necessarily a terrible thing. Stress helps us deal with new situations and threats. It keeps us alert and on our toes. It can even be considered healthy: the ability to adapt to stress can make the body (and mind) stronger – but only if there is a proper “recovery” period afterwards. Where we get into trouble health wise is in situations of chronic stress; when there isn’t enough recovery but a maintenance or resistance to stress for so long, followed by a phase

Building Blocks for Bone Health

 What does “bone health” make us think of? Maybe we think of osteoporosis or the prevention thereof; trying to prevent hip fractures as we age. But most commonly, we associate bone health with the need to consume more calcium, as if this will solve all of our aging bone-related issues, and this is a huge flaw in our health education. Conventional calcium alone doesn’t prevent bone loss, nor is it the only mineral supplement that bones need. Supplements like calcium gluconate, calcium citrate, and calcium carbonate, slow but do not halt or reverse menopausal bone loss, whether taken alone or

Protecting the Aging Brain with Omega-3s

There are many cellular changes that occur as we age, most of which are greatly affected by nutritional imbalances and chronic (even low-grade) inflammation. The brain is most vulnerable to neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, both of which occur more frequently as we age. Other factors such as obesity and type 2 diabetes can accelerate inflammation and aging processes. The presence of diabetes alone doubles the risk of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).1 Omega-3 fatty acids are a unique group of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that must be obtained from dietary sources such as fish oil and algae.

Estrogen, Serotonin and Pain

Pain is a subjective perception influenced by numerous factors. Pain sensitivity can be vastly different from one person to the next. Some influences on pain sensitivity include psychological and neurobiological factors, but gender and sex hormones also play a very particular role. Researchers have found that there are actual differences in how men and women experience severity of pain, because sex hormones are involved in pain transmission and sensitivity. Specifically, estrogen is linked to visceral pain sensitivity. That is, pain that is diffuse and poorly localized. In multiple disorders that involve visceral pain, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and

Tips for Self-care for the Busy Mom

When thinking about self-care as a mom it’s easy to fall into the trap of “mom guilt.” We tend to feel bad about taking time for ourselves when we could be doing something for our kids or our home. But as we’ve all heard, it’s more detrimental to our mental (and physical) health to neglect our own needs. When moms put themselves on the back burner for too long resentment can build and/or we can burn out. Sometimes we know what to do when we do get “free time.” As I write this my own little one is upstairs taking

Are you stressing out your digestive system?

The importance of the digestive tract, also called the gastrointestinal tract (GIT), is often underestimated. Its purpose may seem to only digest food, absorb nutrients and then excrete waste; however, the world inside the GIT is actually an entire ecosystem, and one that constantly influences our health. The bacterial colonies within this system uses the food we send down, producing nutrients and neurotransmitters, sending signals, influencing inflammation and the immune system, and interacting with the nervous system. There are literally trillions of living microorganisms inside the gut and throughout the digestive system with the power of suggestion over our mood.

Stress, Cortisol and Immunity

In today’s unpredictable environment of world-wide pandemics, health concerns and economic uncertainty, it is easy to succumb to the negative effects of stress on the body. We are being exposed to a greater variety of stressors daily. We may think that one type of stress is better or worse than another, but in reality, the body interprets and responds to all stress in the same manner: cortisol release. You may have heard cortisol described as the “stress hormone.” When the body experiences stress, cortisol and catecholamines are released from the adrenal cortex which activate the “fight-or-flight” mechanism. This mechanism prepares

The connection between thyroid function and weight gain

By Dr. Sarah Zadek ND The inability to lose weight from diet and exercise alone can be extremely frustrating. There are many factors that affect weight management, and for those who struggle with this it may be worth investigating other causes of this “stubborn metabolism.” One such cause is the functioning of the thyroid gland and its respective hormones. Thyroid hormones play crucial roles in how the body uses energy and regulates appetite. Additionally, fat cells, also called adipose tissue, contains their own messengers and hormones that affect energy stores and usage. The interaction between these cells, their messengers and

Red Yeast Rice and other Food-based treatments of Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome and Cardiovascular Disease Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for 17.3 million deaths each year. Metabolic syndrome refers to the “perfect storm” of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal blood sugar regulation, and the presence of intra-abdominal fat accumulation. This cluster of disorders affects about 30-40% of Americans and increases the risk of developing CVD and Type 2 diabetes. Dietary and lifestyle changes are obvious and effective measures of prevention and treatment, however, many individuals find these types of changes too difficult. Other times individuals may need extra support if areas such as

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