We discussed Iceberg Symptoms on this episode of Wellness Radio, describing them as seemingly small symptoms you can manage easily with medication.
However, these supposedly small symptoms are actually signs of bigger fires roaring inside the body. And treating the symptoms without looking at their root cause can lead to huge underlying issues in the future.
If you’re taking any medication at all, you may be suffering from an iceberg symptom, and it’s trying to tell you there’s a bigger health issue happening inside your body.
These symptoms indicate that you’re not well.
You are, in fact, severely imbalanced. When your body is in a state of imbalance, these symptoms present themselves to warn you that your body isn’t able to take on any more stressors and so we advise that you take a look at what’s causing these symptoms instead of trying to manage them with medication.
The show opened with a discussion on depression and anxiety as iceberg symptoms. Below are the other iceberg symptoms discussed in this episode. They are marked with timestamps to help you navigate the video should you want more details than is available in this summary article.
11:20 Acid reflux
21:48 Relief from acid reflux
25:57 Restless Leg Syndrome
32:52 Gall bladder attacks
44:17 Estrogen dominance and low testosterone
56:27 Solutions for gall bladder issues
1:01:52 Blood pressure
1:17:30 Bad sleep cycles
A major underlying issue in our society today is depression. Depression and anxiety are often categorized as diseases, but the truth is that these are symptoms of illnesses in your body. Some of these symptoms aren’t necessarily physical health-related, they might relate to your emotional or spiritual health and are manifesting physically as illnesses that now need to be addressed.
Antidepressants have only ever been studied for a treatment period of two weeks at a time. According to recent studies, patients who rely on these medications for years on hand are actively physically changing their brains.
Right now, the US life expectancy is declining for the first time in recent history, and that’s largely because of opioid use, the abuse of pain medications, and antidepressants leading to suicide. The truth is that studies have yet to prove how depression medications work. The serotonin effect is at work here. We recommend getting professional help to deal with any emotional or spiritual issues that are plaguing you so that you can come off antidepressants that are wreaking havoc on your physical health.
We refer to acid reflux as an iceberg symptom because there are several different factors that can cause this to occur. For starters, it can be caused by something as simple as a vagal nerve issue. Your vagus nerve is the rest and digest part of your nervous system that comes down from your neck and helps to keep your hydrochloric acid down.
Reflux affects millions of people here in the USA alone and it seems minor because you can pop some antacids and be done with it. The problem with this is that reflux disrupts the whole digestive process. It affects the way your liver functions, the way your pancreas functions, your production of hydrochloric acid that breaks down protein and so many other digestive systems that if ignored, reflux can create bigger problems. So you see, reflux is indicating that there are underlying issues that need to be addressed, and if it is ignored, leads to even more detrimental health issues.
It’s not uncommon for patients of ours to get relief from acid reflux in as little as 1-3 sessions of chiropractic care. We love working with these clients to adjust their upper cervical spine, as they see almost immediate relief from reflux issues.
Acid reflux can be so severe that even drinking water causes a reflux reaction. One such patient of ours was even put on antidepressants for their acid reflux! Antidepressants, as we discussed, can lead to suicide in patients, even those who aren’t depressed, so these are not a solution we would recommend at all.
Acid reflux is an indication of low stomach acid, as revealed by studies, not high stomach acid as the medical community commonly believes. If you’ve ever taken a stomach acid medication before, chances are you’re probably still taking it now or from time to time because the truth is, these medications are meant to lower stomach acid. Now if acid reflux means there’s low stomach acid and you’re taking something to lower it even more, you’ll realize why you’re still taking that medication.
Low stomach acid means you’re not able to digest protein properly, and so you’re not rebuilding and repairing your cells efficiently, which are major issues. Low stomach acid is a sign that there is an overgrowth of bacteria in your gut. It can also be a sign of H. pylori, which is a stomach bacteria that enters the body and lives in the digestive tract, ultimately leading to ulcers and stomach cancer. You see here that a little bit of acid reflux can actually be a big thing.
Another cause of acid reflux can be issues with your thyroid. Your thyroid has a hormone that affects ATP production, which is energy. Your thyroid impacts every cell in your body, and issues with your T3 levels causes your whole body to slow down and not function efficiently. This also causes low stomach acid levels, which can then result in acid reflux, which means you’re not digesting your food properly, so it’s sitting there and fermenting.
Digestive enzymes, apple cider vinegar (ACV), and bitters are our recommendations for relieving your acid reflux.
Digestive enzymes literally put enzymes in your body to help you break down your food, so it’s not just sitting there in your stomach. If you have low stomach acid, it generally means you have low enzymes and so if you take enzymes with your meals, they go to work helping to break down your food for you. If you take enzymes for a prolonged period and you’re not getting any results, it’s time to dig deeper to see what the iceberg symptom is revealing.
We also recommend drinking an ounce or two of ACV an hour or so before your meals to help stimulate acid production in the stomach. This acid stimulation will help to break down your food quicker so everything is digested faster.
When it comes to bitters, Urban Moonshine (available in stores) and Bitters #9 by Quicksilver Scientific both have good bitters we recommend.
Bitter foods are generally lacking in our modern-day diet. Kids these days go their entire adolescent lives without ever trying bitter foods. If we do not consume bitter foods, we really aren’t producing the levels of hydrochloric acid we should. Something as simple as chewing on bitter herbs or a piece of rosemary before eating can help to produce hydrochloric acid to help break down your meals.
Finally, chew your food! We’re not chewing our food enough and so we’re swallowing food that has not been properly broken down to become easily digestible. We’re giving our body more work than it needs, so if you’re guilty of eating mindlessly, now is the time to pay attention to this age-old advice.
Are you taking a proton pump inhibitor for your acid reflux? PPIs are practically guaranteed to produce a cardiac event, especially if you’ve been taking one for three years or more. Studies reveal that there’s an almost 100% risk of a heart attack or stroke with the prolonged use of PPI. Heart attacks are one of the top killers in the United States. You don’t want to add to that risk by taking medications with such harmful effects.
If you suffer from restless leg syndrome, you’re probably magnesium deficient. This is usually the culprit as it is the number one leading cause of this issue.
People taking multiple medications often complain about restless leg syndrome as well. We’ve seen this in our clinic. The healthier our patients get and the more medications they can come off of, the more that syndrome seems to go away.
This may be because taking multiple medications often leads to a depletion of magnesium in the body, which causes an even greater deficiency.
We’re also seeing cases where doctors prescribe magnesium oxide for patients, which is hardly ever absorbed into your cells. However, it is great for moving your bowels if that’s something you need help with, since this form of magnesium really just passes right through the intestines.
Look for magnesium glycinate or magnesium malate to help with your deficiency and resulting restless leg syndrome, along with a molecular hydrogen supplement. Molecular hydrogen provides your body with elemental magnesium that is directly absorbed into your cells. Our favorite of these two products is Calm by Natural Vitality and H2 Elite by Quicksilver Scientific, both available at our Wellevate store here.
Epsom salt baths and magnesium sprays also help with your deficiency levels, so there are multiple ways to address this issue that makes it a pretty easy fix.
I (Dr. Rebecca) went through a horrible gallbladder attack at 16 years old, and subsequently had it removed with the reassurance that it's no big deal because it is not an essential organ. However, your gallbladder absolutely serves a purpose!
Your gallbladder processes bile and holds it, sending out the amount you need to break down fat. Fatty acids are essential to our survival as humans, and your gallbladder is responsible for processing them. Your gallbladder also processes out the fat-soluble toxins. Cutting out your gallbladder means you lose the ability to efficiently eliminate toxins and balance your hormones. When you cut out your gallbladder, instead of holding the bile your body needs to function efficiently, your body is just trickling out bile all the while. When your body isn’t functioning optimally, symptoms will eventually materialize, like gallstones.
When you start to get gallstones, it’s because your gallbladder isn’t contracting and managing bile properly; rancid oils often lead to gall stones and gallbladder issues. These are vegetable oils that are not healthy sources of fat and are common in fast food items and processed food.
Deficiencies in zinc and choline also often lead to gallbladder issues. Being low in these minerals messes with the fluidity of your bile which then leads to your gallbladder really being slowed down by sludge. Your bile backs up and creates gallstones, and also liver stones, since the liver and the gallbladder are directly connected.
Estrogen dominance is a hormone imbalance that can be caused by the water you drink, the beauty products you use, plastics entering your body, and other environmental factors. This estrogen dominance often leads to low testosterone, especially in men, which presents itself in a number of symptoms. When your gallbladder isn’t able to efficiently break down fat and the toxins that bind to fat, your hormones are thrown out of whack, which can lead to estrogen dominance and a lack of libido, amongst other symptoms.
As our environment continues to rise in toxicity, we’re seeing more and more effects of this. Effects such as young girls getting their menstrual cycle as early as 8 and 9 instead of mid-teens like we used to see in the past. It’s become more important to detox your gallbladder to help it to function efficiently. This isn’t necessary if your diet is predominantly healthy as you support and can detox the gallbladder via the foods you eat.
One of the first steps to correcting estrogen dominance is cleaning out your beauty and hygiene products. This is important for both men and women. Take a look at the ingredients in your lotions, deodorant, body soaps, makeup, perfumes and colognes, and anything else you put on your face and body. These products can lead to prostate cancer and breast cancer as they can cause estrogen dominance.
Cleaning up your lifestyle will also lead to you removing plastic from your kitchen. Utilize glass and stainless steel and remove plastic from your life as much as possible, but especially from your kitchen. Stop heating up food in plastic containers. The more plastic you put in your body, the more estrogen dominant you’ll be. This includes plastic cups and utensils.
Removing environmental toxins also means taking a look at the fillings in your mouth. If you have amalgam fillings, you should get those safely removed by a biological dentist, as these have a direct impact on your HPA axis, which is responsible for your ability to properly respond to and manage stress.
We recommend gallbladder cleanses when necessary; they’re not painful and can save you from having your gallbladder removed. One of the cleanses we use and recommend is Dr. Hulda Clark’s Gallbladder Flush. It is helpful for eliminating gall bladder stones and liver stones.
It is a protocol that must be followed closely and through to the end so ideally, you should be doing it under the care and coaching of functioning wellness practitioners such as ourselves.
After doing a cleanse, it’s time to get down to the root cause. What’s causing your gallbladder attacks? It could be a hormone-related issue. Start looking at your gut, your hormones, and the ration of omega 6:3 in your body. Change your lifestyle to include more healthy fats and cruciferous vegetables and you will start to see improvements in your gallbladder issues.
It’s important to note that if you have had your gallbladder removed, you should be on enzymes. You want to take digestive enzymes such as an ox bile supplement to help you break down fat. This will be a lifelong supplement for you as this is the main function of the gall bladder and so now you will need to manage this process manually.
We’re finding that in our society it has almost become the norm to be put on blood pressure medication once you’ve hit the age range of 40-45. Some doctors have even put patients on blood pressure medications as a preventative measure based on family history. We do acknowledge that if your blood pressure is high for long periods of time, you’re at risk of a heart attack but we advocate for figuring out why your blood pressure is high in the first place instead of defaulting to medication. High blood pressure is a stress response. It is not simply your body being out of whack, your body is in fact responding to the internal and external factors you’re putting it through.
High blood pressure is an iceberg symptom alerting you that your body is under severe stress. It is a response to your adrenals signaling that there is a problem. Stress doesn't only mean you’re stressed at work or in your home. It can mean your body is being exposed to toxins like fragrances, bad fats, and broken relationships. Meaning, stressors can be chemical, emotional, or physical and there are plenty of studies that prove the effectiveness of these varying stressors on the body.
It’s a common misconception that salt causes high blood pressure. Salt is an essential mineral that our body needs to function. Instead, remove table salt that’s been iodized and processed foods from your diet and consume natural salts found in the environment like sea salt and pink salt. Isolating salt as the issue isn’t digging deep enough into what the root cause of your high blood pressure is. Sodium retention is an indication that your adrenals aren’t functioning optimally. When your adrenals aren’t firing the way they should, bigger issues are on the horizon if they’re not addressed. Taking away salt instead of balancing your hormones and fixing the issue will not solve your problem.
If you’re deficient in sodium, magnesium, and potassium, the primary essential micronutrients, you won’t be able to transport nutrients into your cell to support normal cellular function. Natural salts are rich in these micronutrients.
If your kidneys are suffering from any type of damage, high blood pressure or not, along with healthy salt consumption, raw nuts and seeds will help to correct this. Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are loaded with micronutrients that support the kidney. A desiccated kidney supplement is also recommended.
Long term blood pressure medication use has been shown to result in kidney cancer. Adaptogens are a better treatment for not only blood pressure but your heart. Rhodiola, cordyceps, ashwagandha, passionflower, and lemon balm are some phenomenal adaptogens that help support the HPA axis. Dysfunction of the HPA axis, aka your adrenals, is the mechanism that creates high blood pressure.
A study in 2008 showed that chiropractic care beat out two blood pressure medications for treatment because when you work on your nervous system, you support the function of your HPA axis. That means that chiropractic care coupled with adaptogens may be the answer to your kidney and blood pressure issues instead of medication that may lead to cancer and bigger problems in the future.
Improper sleep cycles are a major iceberg symptom, indicating that there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed in the body. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not healing. Generally, we treat sleep with sleep aids instead of looking at what’s causing us to lose sleep.
One of the main causes of lack of sleep is insulin and sugar imbalance. I like to test this by having patients take a teaspoon of raw honey or drink something like a protein shake before bed. If they sleep through the night, it signals that your body was waking you up because your blood sugar was low.
A lack of sleep can also indicate that your liver needs support since between 2 am - 4 am is the optimal time that your liver is hard at work removing toxins from the body.
There’s a whopping estimation of 88 million Americans that would be considered prediabetic if tested appropriately but unfortunately many are not getting proper blood work done often enough to substantiate this. Blood glucose issues can lead to sleep disruptions and of course bigger issues.
A nutrient-dense ketogenic diet is an optimal way to address a blood glucose imbalance. Increase your intake of grass-fed protein, healthy fats, and low glycemic fruit, cutting out carbohydrates and sugar from your diet for at least 90 days.
Including fasting is also a powerful tool to get you towards balancing your blood glucose.
The balance of cortisol and melatonin in the body is another cause of lack of sleep. Your cortisol should surge early in the morning at around 4-5 am to wake you up. It gradually lessens throughout the course of the day as we see a natural rise in melatonin. This rise in melatonin prepares your body for proper sleep. If that balance is off, it will cause a lack of sleep.
Ashwagandha and Rhodiola will help to get this balance back under control. CBD extract also helps this. One brand we use is Lipocalm. Taking magnesium before bed also helps and something as simple as grounding will help. Go outside and walk in the grass barefoot in the late afternoon. Science has shown that when you walk barefoot on the earth, you’ll get a negative ion exchange that helps to support the hypothalamus which means it supports your stress response.
Consistency will be the key to resetting your circadian rhythm and solve your sleep issue. Go to bed and wake at the same time. Practice a nighttime routine, turning your phone off, and getting prepared for bed. Really being consistent will help to fix your sleep symptoms while you get down to the root cause and any issues that might be underlying.