Nutritional endocrinology specialist Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo shares her top solutions to reduce belly fat, brain fog, and burnout. You’ll learn how stress, blood sugar imbalance, and insulin resistance cause belly fat, brain fog, and burnout – even if you have a “healthy diet.” Dr. Loscalzo discusses specific and simple steps you can start taking today to eliminate these conditions.
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About Dr. Ritamarie Loscalzo
Dr. Ritamarie is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic with Certification in Acupuncture and is a Diplomat of the American Clinical Nutrition Board. She is a Certified Clinical Nutritionist with a Master of Science in Human Nutrition and Computer Science, and she has completed a 2-year, 500-hour Herbal Medicine Program.
Dr. Ritamarie is also a certified living foods chef, instructor, and coach, and she has trained and certified hundreds of others in the art of using palate-pleasing, whole fresh food as medicine. As a certified HeartMath® provider, Dr. Ritamarie is passionate about using HeartMath® techniques to guide clients and reduce the negative impact of stress on their health.
Contact Dr. Ritamarie
02:04 Stress: Stress impacts every system in our bodies. Our adrenal glands protect us from danger. The hormone cortisol mobilizes storage (forms of sugar) and pumps it into the bloodstream so we have a ready source of fuel to fight the stress. When cortisol is high and blood sugar is high, we gain that roll of belly fat because we are not using the blood sugar that is mobilized. It is instead stored as fat around our middle. Cortisol dampens high level brain functioning, because you don’t need that when you are being chased by the lion. This translates into brain fog. The stress puts a constant load on the adrenals. Eventually, they can no longer respond to the stresses. Cortisol damages the hippocampus and effects short-term memory.
07:55 Autonomic Nervous System: The autonomic (automatic) nervous system controls things that happen without our conscious control. The sympathetic branch (the fight/flight branch) is geared toward keeping us alive and safe in the face of danger. To face danger, you will have elevated heartrate, increased blood pressure, increased respiration, increased perspiration, and the activation of blood supply to the extremities, shifting it from the brain and digestion. The parasympathetic branch (rest and digest branch) is where we repair, reproduce, relax and digest. It also reduces inflammation. We need both branches and we need balance between the two.
10:59 Upregulating the Parasympathetic: HeartMath is a technique that you can incorporate throughout the day to shift into the calm parasympathetic state. The ideal is to meditate in the morning and evening and fill in with HeartMath throughout the day. There is also a HearthMath device that can give you real time feedback. Dr. Loscalzo recommends that her patients start with 5 times per day, once before each meal, at bedtime and at waking.
14:37 Parasympathetic before Meals: Eating in a sympathetic dominant state guarantees that you will not digest your food properly. Take a few moments or seconds before each meal to focus on breathing and gratitude.
16:33 The Importance of Proper Digestion: With poor digestion, you are not receiving the nutrition from your food. In addition, it creates a toxic environment in the gut, promoting the growth of pathogenic bacteria and slowing metabolism, promoting weight gain.
18:15 Hormones and Digestion: You need certain nutrients to support hormone balance. Malabsorption creates inflammation in the lining of the gut, causing leaky gut. Toxins and partially digested food leaks into the bloodstream triggering an immune response. This can lead to an inflammatory response in our glands. There can also be cross-reactivity, causing your body to attack your tissues and organs, including the thyroid. Autoantibodies against insulin and the islet cells in the pancreas are common. Gut hormones for digestion are released via the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system.
21:37 Causes of Thyroid Issues: Gluten is one of the biggest issues when it comes to thyroid. The majority of hypothyroidism that is presenting is autoimmune. Most endocrinologists and general practitioners don’t know to test for it. When thyroid numbers are off, they put patients on T4. If there is no response, they assume it is depression and prescribe antidepressants. Free T3 is the active hormone, which gets deactivated by stress. Cortisol decreases the conversion from inactive T4 to active T3 and pushes it to reverse T3. Reverse T3 latches to the thyroid receptors on the cell and does not allow free T3 to latch.
24:47 Iodine: Fluoride and chlorine in our water are smaller molecules in the halite family on the periodic table, where resides iodine. Fluoride and chlorine latch onto iodine receptors, blocking iodine. You cannot make active thyroid hormone without iodine. T4 refers to 4 iodine molecules. There is little iodine in our food supply. Breast tissue also needs iodine to help to reverse breast cancer. Iodine can be helpful with uterine fibroids. Excess amounts of iodine can push you toward goiters and increased Hashimoto’s activity. We have individual needs for the right amount of iodine. Iodine is also important for safe conversion of the more proliferative estrogens that can have a role in creating breast cancer, and moving them into the more protective estrogens. Dr. Loscalzo uses the iodine loading test. If you give a loading dose of iodine, the body should excrete 90% of it. If the body holds onto larger amounts, it shows that you need that iodine. Dr. Loscalzo uses Hakala Labs, but it can be done through Doctor’s Data.
31:14 Iodine Dosing: Taking iodine creates free radicals/oxidative stress in the thyroid gland. Selenium is needed to help make the antioxidants to buffer the increased free radical stress.
32:39 Exercise and Burnout: A sign of stage 3 adrenal fatigue is a person who cannot exercise heavily like they used to and who are in bed for 2 to 3 days after trying. When you are in this mode, you need exercise to move the body for oxygenation, but it needs to be done carefully. Gentle yoga, walking, or limited light jogging can be helpful. Burst training can be helpful.
34:32 The Power of the Fork: We need to eat real whole fresh food. Only eat food where you can pronounce all of the ingredients. We need fats that are intact. Processed fats stress and damage our bodies. Give your body an oil change. Dr. Loscalzo likes omega 3s from chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, sacha inchi, walnuts, algae, purslane and deep ocean fish. This helps with inflammation, hormone receptors and the glands.
36:01 Eat Your Greens: An inflammatory response is triggered when we eat high levels of sugars and foods that require a massive insulin release. We need lower glycemic foods. The cornerstone of the diet should be fresh whole vegetables and greens. Dr. Loscalzo has a series of short videos and webinar called ByeByeB4. At drritamarie.com there is a tab with Free Resources with recipes and more.
41:31 Dr. Loscalzo’s Favorite Herb: She often recommends ashwaganda. It is an adaptogen that helps to support the adrenals wherever they are. It is warming and supports the production of thyroid hormone. It is not for those with Graves’ disease. It also helps with blood sugar balance and supports liver function and digestive function.
42:47 Dr. Loscalzo’s Elevator Pitch: People need to hear how to choose good food and how to avoid processed fats and sugars.