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Circadian Rhythm – What it is and Four Ways to Support It

August is back-to-school month for many students and families. Leisurely downtime typically lessens, and life becomes a bit more chaotic with work, school, social activities, and everything in-between. Consequently, diet, exercise, and sleep might change as events pile on the calendar. However, what are the metabolic health risks of such lifestyle changes? As functional nutrition practitioners, we know that metabolic health is influenced by various factors, including genetics, diet, lifestyle choices, and circadian balance. A well-supported circadian rhythm, in particular, is critical for sound sleep, energizing metabolism, cognitive function, and disease risk reduction. Let’s dive into circadian rhythm specifics and go over four practical strategies to support circadian rhythm when life gets crazy.   What is Circadian Rhythm? The word “circadian” is derived from the Latin terms “circa” (around) “diem” (day), so circadian rhythm literally translates to “around-the-day” rhythm (1). A more scholastic definition of circadian rhythm is “the natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavior changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour […]

Addressing Adverse Food Reactions: A Functional Nutrition Approach

Food allergies and intolerances can be confusing for practitioners and patients alike. After all, these words are often used interchangeably despite having very different meanings. It’s important for clinicians to understand how these terms differ, how food allergies and/or intolerances may contribute to a clients’ symptoms, and how to incorporate this knowledge into the nutrition care plan for healing. Food allergies and food intolerances are both considered adverse food reactions that seem to be on the rise in the U.S. As described in one observational study in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology, between 2005 and 2014, there was a 214 percent increase overall in emergency room visits for food-induced anaphylaxis in children under the age of 18 (1). In addition, as reported in a cross-sectional survey in JAMA Network Open, 10.8 percent of U.S. adults had been diagnosed with at least one food allergy with a whopping 19 percent reporting a self-diagnosed food allergy (2). While the exact cause is likely multifactorial, the increase […]

The Differences Between A1 and A2 Beta-Casein

The dairy conundrum is neverending. Is it good? Is it bad? Full-fat or fat-free? As functional nutrition practitioners, we often refer to the latest research to guide our recommendations, but the answer is hardly black and white. We know lactose intolerance and CMPA (cow milk protein allergy) are well-established diagnoses, all of which, if left unmanaged, can cause painful, unpleasant, and sometimes rather embarrassing symptoms.  Over the years, research has focused on the health implications of two specific dairy proteins: A1 and A2 beta-casein.  Let’s take a closer look at the differences and potential health effects of the two.    A1 vs. A2 Casein proteins make up roughly 80% of proteins in cow milk. There are four casein subtypes: alpha S1, alpha S2, beta, and kappa-casein.  Beta-caseins, specifically A1 and A2 beta-casein, are the most abundant. (1,2,3) Cow milk contains a combination of A1/A2-beta casein, despite being conventional, organic, grass-fed, full-fat, or skim.  Goats, sheep, camels, and buffalo produce predominantly A2 milk. Human milk is […]