If I was stranded on an island, and only allowed ONE supplement to take with me… what would I choose? That’s easy – probiotics. Our body has both good and bad bacteria – which we need for different reasons. However the average American has too much “bad” bacteria.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in our bodies! There are many strains of probiotics, but a common strain is bifidobacteria.
You may be aware that many yogurts also contain natural probiotics. There are some cautionary notes to using yogurt regularly though. First – it’s a dairy product, so if you’re not getting an organic brand, you are regularly consuming all of the chemicals/growth hormones/antibiotics that were fed to the animals your yogurt originated from. None of those things are natural, and none of them help our body work better (which is what health is actually about)! Next, dairy is one of the most common food sensitivities. You may be thinking you are helping your digestive system, but if you have a sensitivity (or intolerance) to dairy products that have not yet been detected, you may be doing more harm than good. Finally, yogurts are often jazzed up with fruits and flavoring. What does that mean? Artificial colors, flavors, and SUGAR. The only thing that likes sugar more than your taste buds is cancer, so it should be avoided at all costs.
typically, as a conservative holistic health care provider, I am in favor of using food to get our nutrients (versus supplements, shakes, etc.) but I believe that this is one of those cases where the supplement is a significantly better choice for our health. And, don’t worry – if you’re intolerance to dairy you can still use probiotics but you’ll need a high quality, reliable, medical grade brand. Please work with a holistic physician on this.
Probiotics are a great supplement for anyone to take if they’re interested in maintaining good health. There are some conditions, though, that improve greatly with the use of probiotics. Just to name a few …. Any digestive concerns (IBS, constipation, diarrhea, and so forth) and skin problems (acne, rashes, psoriasis, eczema).
Antibiotics are designed to kill all bacteria, even the good ones, so it’s definitely a good idea to take probiotics while you are on an antibiotic. But use caution – you need to take them separately with a three hour window between.
They keep our delicate digestive system in balance… and now that I mentioned it …. The digestive system is one of the most important systems in our body. 80 % of our immune system is housed in the digestive system, and in the research, digestive problems are heavily linked to women with high stress levels. Do YOU know any women, with high stress levels, that could benefit from a strong digestive and immune system?
As always, this article does not constitute personal medical advice. Please see a holistic physician!
Do you regularly experience stomach bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation or gas? If so, you are not alone. You may be suffering from a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. This is a very common condition that affects more than 30 to 55 million people in the United States and results in 2.5 -3.5 million office visits every year.Studies suggest that at any one time, 10-15% of the population have IBS. However, only a small percentage of these people will seek professional help. IBS is more common in women (14-24%) than men (5-19%).
IBS is normally characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence and changes in bowel habits, and no specific disorder to point to as the cause. IBS is called a functional disorder, because there is no sign of disease when the colon is examined, but the bowel isnt working as it should.
IBS is not a new problem and has been around for hundreds of years. In the late 1800s, it was referred to as mucous colitis and still has many names, including spastic colon, nervous colon, and irritable colon. It is often a chronic problem ranging from symptoms several times a day to several times a week to several times a month.
About 50 -60% of people with IBS report that their symptoms arise after eating a meal, giving rise to the theory that food sensitivity may be the culprit. Therefore, foods in the diet may be the main source of all of the symptoms of IBS, including pain, bloating, abdominal discomfort, flatulence and alterations in bowel habit.
At the Midwest Allergy Relief Center, we have noticed that some of the most common foods likely to cause IBS symptoms are dairy products, wheat, eggs, soy, yeast, salicylates, corn, and alcohol. Other potential food triggers include fatty foods, caffeinated drinks, sugar, beans, onions, and raw fruits and vegetables.
IBS, though problematic to the individual with its decrease in quality of life, does not lead to a life-threatening disease or a shortened life span. It is important to be able to distinguish between IBS and problems with true organic origins. Some of the more alarming symptoms that should be examined by a physician are increasing pain at night, pain that disturbs sleep, red blood in the stool or black stools, fever and/or weight loss. These symptoms describe conditions that are more serious and should be looked at by your doctor.
IBS symptoms are very common. However there are options available that can significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS so there is no need to suffer with this condition.If you would like more information on IBS or the treatment of food allergies, go to Midwest Allergy Relief.com.
Butterflies, knots in your stomach or that “sinking feeling” … we’ve all experienced ‘Gut Wisdom’. The Chinese Taoist Sages as well as present day researchers believe that our “undigested traumas” live in our bellies. In order to emotionally protect oneself; the body may develop holding patterns, places where tensions are held to prevent the experience of particular emotions, traumas, memories, and stress. This inhibits vital functions, causing physical discomfort and dis-ease, and emotional challenges. Frequently repeated negative thoughts and emotions can cause tension in muscles and organs so that they tighten up like a frightened animal trying to hide from danger. After the stress has passed, these tensions do not completely disappear but leave behind a residue of stress. Unfortunately, these residues can build up with each significant incident.
Stress from negative emotions promotes an increased secretion of hormones into the blood. If a person uses up these hormones resulting from natural stress situations or from “fight or flight” physical danger, via increased physical activity such as running, fighting, or working, these hormones are burned up by the muscles, and do not cause harm.
However, in today’s social settings, negative emotions are usually not acted upon physically. Therefore, your anger stays inside of you; the large amounts of hormones secreted instead of being burned off by muscles or used in digestion, attack and harm various organs. Suppressed or unrealized emotions are the reason for the imbalance in different organs.
- Unexpressed anger completely changes the flora in the bladder, urethra, and small intestine. It causes inflammation of mucus membranes of the intestine.
- Unexpressed fear affects many organs including the large intestine, changing its flora. As a result, you feel bloated from excess gas, which accumulates in the folds of the large intestine and causes pain.
- Depression and sadness create tensions and blockages in the lungs.
- Fear attacks the kidneys and heart.
- Anxiety and nervousness affect the stomach and spleen.
- Anger disrupts functions of the liver and bladder, increases blood pressure, and can result in a heart attack.
- Impatience and hastiness create tensions and disrupt circulation in the heart.
- The small intestine is a universal organ for collecting the dregs of all the negative emotions, anger, worry in the upper middle. Caring in the upper left, and sadness in the lower left. (See diagram on page 120 in GUT WISDOM: UNDERSTANDING AND IMPROVING YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH by Alyce Sorokie)
Negative emotions can transform from one kind into another kind. Sadness can change into depression, worry into impatience, impatience into anger, and unexpressed anger into hurt. As a result, large amounts of secreted and unused hormones drawn out by negative emotions poison the body. On the other hand, these hormones are fuel for the production of large amounts of energy, which we suppress to our own harm.
Experience letting go of those toxic emotions to heal the body, mind and spirit. The GUT WISDOM DETOX allows you to detox on all levels: physical, mental and emotional.
- To listen and respond to your gut’s symptoms
- How thoughts and emotions affect your gut
- To heal yourself from bloat, constipation and chronic digestive problems
- To follow a gut cleansing program to clear emotional and physical toxins
- Breathing techniques to enhance digestion and elimination
- Posture, stretches, and movements to get your system flowing in harmony
- Ancient therapeutic abdominal massage techniques
Alyce Sorokie provides Digestive Consultation, Alternative Healthcare, and Colon Therapy. She is also the author of “Gut Wisdom: Understanding and Improving your Digestive Health”.
For more information about the Gut Wisdom Detox call 773.868.4062
As a chiropractor who utilizes a natural medicine approach to patient care, digestive system dysfunction is the most common patient presentation we see in our office. The digestive tract is responsible for the process of assimilation. Assimilation includes the digestion of food, the absorption of nutrients, and the elimination of waste. If any aspect of the process of assimilation is dysfunctional it can affect the entire body. The digestive tract runs the length of the torso from the mouth to the anus. Along the way the digestive tract is innervated by nerves coming from the spinal column that control the autonomic signals sent from the brain to control this process. Restoring the motion to the spinal segments and releasing the tension on the nervous system is the how chiropractors have been restoring digestive function for over 100 years. Form effects function. If the signal from the brain to the stomach to produce hydrochloric acid is not received than it is not possible for the stomach to do its part in the digestive process. Chiropractic is the best way to remove the physical roadblocks associated with digestive dysfunction.
It is imperative to educate patients on the importance of healthy eating. A good knowledge of what foods are healthy and what foods are not is a great beginning, but understanding the importance of proper food combining is the best long term solution to healthy digestion. Many people who either combine their foods incorrectly or over cook their meals will do well with the addition of digestive aids such as plant enzymes, and betaine HCL from beet roots. Fiber products and green foods are excellent intestinal cleansers to remove accumulated debris from the digestive tract while prebiotics, probiotics, and biofermentics are the healthiest ways to restore a healthy environment to the colon. Supplementation is a quick and effective way of cleansing the digestive tract to remove any chemical roadblocks associated with digestive dysfunction.
In Chinese medicine the stomach and pancreas are associated with the earth element. The small intestine is part of the fire element, and the large intestine relates to the metal element. The gall bladder is part of the wood element. Each of these elements can hold onto repressed emotion. The earth element correlates with feelings of low self esteem and a lack of control. Primary metal emotions are grief and feeling stuck. Fire element emotions are feeling lost and vulnerable, while the wood element is primarily associated with anger. Many patients with digestive issues have subconscious repressed emotions that play a major role in their digestive dysfunction. Some people have difficulties “digesting” their circumstances. Emotional clearing techniques are the most effective ways to remove the emotional roadblocks associated with digestive dysfunction.
Digestive issues are one of the most common complaints seen in clinical practice. To be effective in providing relief for these patients a comprehensive approach is best. Addressing the physical, chemical, and emotional stressors gives you the ability to address any digestive dysfunction.
During the holiday season there are certain foods that need to be avoided for the person who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. Any food that is high in fat should be avoided.
Fat is simply the single greatest digestive tract stimulant. When food enters your stomach, it triggers the gastrocolic reflex, which cues your colon to start contracting. Fat will trigger this reflex more powerfully than any other category of food. While this is normally something that would simply result in a bowel movement, it is paradoxically likely to cause people with IBS to have either constipation OR diarrhea. This is because people with IBS do not have a normal gastrocolic reflex response, and their colons tend to spasm irregularly and often violently. In people prone to constipation, if those spasms are too strong they’ll actually “seize up” the colon like a muscle cramp and motility can completely stop. This will cause severe pain from the ongoing cramping of the colon, and it will also result in or worsen constipation, because motility has shut down and fecal matter is not moving through.
Foods that are categorized as insoluble fibers (wheat, nuts, beans, and granola) should be avoided as they too are strong GI stimulants. Caffeine, carbonation, and alcohol are also GI stimulants and therefore IBS triggers. IBS is a functional disorder. This means that it affects the way the bowel works. Most standard medical tests are negative. Food intolerance is a consistent clinical finding for the practitioner who uses food intolerance testing with IBS patients. Dairy and wheat intolerances are found very frequently in IBS patients, and so if you have had these types of tests or if you are aware that symptoms worsen if you eat certain foods then those foods also need to be avoided during the holiday season. IBS does sometimes develop after an infection or food poisoning leaving some practitioners to use products to balance the colonic environment with probiotic organisms. Many IBS sufferers have bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine upon lab testing.
IBS affects 15-20 % of all Americans, but it affects women twice as much as men. The symptoms of IBS seem to follow a cyclic pattern causing some practitioners to wonder about a hormonal connection. Progesterone does delay stomach emptying and cause constipation. Many women report loose stools during menstruation after progesterone levels drop leaving progesterone as a possible culprit in IBS. A recent study was completed at the University of Florida that studied the effect of Jade Chlorella on patients with pre-diabetes. The interesting side note to this study was that the researchers found a very strong correlation between Jade Chlorella consumption and the resolution of IBS symptoms in patients suffering from pre-diabetes and diabetes. Researchers recommended a separate IBS study with Jade Chlorella to validate their findings. Jade Chlorella balances the intestinal environment by stimulating the growth of probiotic bacteria, but it is the ability of Jade Chlorella to normalize the peristaltic contractions of the intestines that makes it the best supplement to use with IBS patients. Florastor is a probiotic yeast that has a normalizing effect on the intestinal immune system causing a decrease in cramping and pain in IBS patients.
The combination of these two products is an excellent way to treat the symptoms of IBS. Since IBS is best categorized as a functional illness it can be eliminated if function can be restored. The problem is that everyone wants one answer to IBS when there are actually thousands of answers. Everyone is different and everyone requires a personalized workup to understand their specific triggers and then need a personalized diet program to become symptom free. Identification of food intolerances is critical and stress management is also an important component. The holidays are a time to celebrate life and family. By understanding the specific imbalances that cause the symptoms of IBS and the uniqueness of each individual with these symptoms you can create a healthy, happy, pain-free holiday season.
Did you know that over 90% of people who report heartburn or indigestion claim it is related to some food or drink they have consumed? In fact, over 40 million Americans experience heartburn or indigestion or acid reflux at least once a week. Over 60 million report it at least twice a month. And those are the people who report their symptoms to a doctor. That doesn’t include the millions of Americans who suffer in silence chewing tens of millions of antacids daily. So the chances are, you know exactly what I am talking about.
Heartburn is known by many names—indigestion, GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease), Acid Reflux, Pyrosis. It is characterized by a burning sensation felt in the chest that can extend up to the neck and throat and is usually made worse by bending or laying down. While it is normally caused by sensitivities to foods, it can be symptomatic of a hiatal hernia, gastritis (an uncommon inflammation of the stomach lining), scleroderma (a rare autoimmune disease of the connective tissue), or a symptom of smoking. But most of the time it starts as a reaction to something you eat or the side-effect of a medication. And if not taken care of, the body sets up a reaction cascade that can create a chronic sensitivity to any food, even to your own body’s biosubstances. So, is heartburn a symptom of a problem or is it a disease?
In the year 2000 alone, the pharmaceutical industry sold over $96 billion dollars in drugs to treat digestive-related conditions; many of those drugs produce adverse side effects. Most Americans believe the commercials and advertisements that tout the effectiveness of antacids and other over-the-counter medications to reduce the symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux. However, according to Tom Cramer of Health Publications, prolonged use of antacids creates kidney stones and causes constipation. And anyone who listens to TV ads knows the potentially devastating side-effects of prescription drugs.
I am often asked how to prevent heartburn or indigestion. The easy answer is to only eat foods you can tolerate without feeling full or without giving you gastrointestinal problems. However, that is a limited solution to an already existing problem. Let’s look at the etiology of a food sensitivity that can ultimately lead to heartburn or chronic GERD.
Sensitivities to foods are a physiological error where the body reacts negatively to a harmless substance. In other words, your immune system perceives something harmless as being dangerous and reacts by sending signals in the form of symptoms, such as heartburn or acid reflux. How does the body make these inappropriate associations? It happens when your immune system is under stress, such as during physical stress, emotional stress, illness, pregnancy, or over-exposure. Current research suggests that many medications and hormones, such as progesterone and the hormones in birth control pills, also contribute to the increasing incidence of acid reflux and heartburn. Your body is always looking for the culprit causing its “discomfort”. I liken the body’s response to fuzzy logic—your immune system is under stress and starts making inappropriate associations. Once this process begins, it builds upon itself and, over time, can create a painful, and even dangerous, chronic condition. Thus, I consider heartburn, GERD, and acid reflux to be symptomatic of an underlying immune system error message—not a pathological disease state. The immune system has become over-sensitive and over-performs.
Regardless of whether it is a symptom or a disease, what do I do once I have it? Conventional medicine offers three solutions:
• Avoid contact with the offending foods
• Take medications, over-the-counter antacids, or proton-pump inhibitors, such as Prilosec or Nexium
• Surgical procedures, when recommended by a gastroenterologist
All of these are palliative, temporarily symptom reducing, and do not get to the root cause of heartburn or GERD. Avoiding foods is limiting and doesn’t always work for chronic GERD. Medications have side-effects and are not effective for everyone. Once on medication for acid reflux, heartburn or GERD, it must be continued indefinitely. And surgery should always be a last resort.
What about herbal remedies and natural cures?
For centuries, if not millennia, chamomile, peppermint, and ginger have been successfully used to sooth the symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Other common-sense natural remedies include sustaining a normal, comfortable weight; avoiding strenuous exercise right after a meal; eliminating alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine; eating healthy by avoiding fried foods, fatty foods, and acidic foods. Also, eat smaller and more frequent meals; do not lie down or go to sleep for three hours after eating. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate—and drink water, not juice or sports drinks. If your heartburn is worse at night, try sleeping on your left side as this will elevate your stomach and reduce your symptoms.
What if I can tolerate spicy, fatty, or acidic foods without symptoms, but other foods or medications cause heartburn?
Some people are not adversely affected by the foods that commonly cause reactions. If you are one of those, keep a food diary for a week. Jot down what you ate and note when you begin to experience your heartburn symptoms. Within one week you should have a good idea of the foods or medications that affect you.
If you’ve tried every suggestion above and taken over-the-counter and prescription medications all to no avail, it is time to seek out a specialist in natural allergy treatments.
When you have tried something over and over again without the results you are seeking, it is time to make a change. If you are sick of being sick, there is one other natural therapy that gets to the root of the problem. Consider retraining your immune system to accept as harmless those foods, or food components, that are making you sick. It is time to get to the root of the problem—and to get well and stay well.
Advanced Allergy Therapeutics, or AAT, eliminates the symptoms of allergies and sensitivities (including heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems) without side-effects. It is painless, safe for all ages, effective and economical. It retrains your immune system to properly distinguish between harmful and harmless substances and stimuli. And it eliminates the symptoms of heartburn, GERD, indigestion, and acid reflux without avoiding foods and without taking supplements or pharmaceuticals.
Unfortunately, there are no magic bullets to eliminate everyone’s heartburn or acid reflux symptoms. There are numerous websites touting remedies or dubious “equipment” you can purchase for quick-fix solutions. They rarely, if ever, work as touted. The age-old natural remedies described in this article do work. But even they are not 100% effective for everyone. However, if you are willing to consider a more modern approach and take a leap of faith, you will undoubtedly experience remarkable, and for many, permanent, relief through AAT, Advanced Allergy Therapeutics. When you are ready to change your life, find the AAT practitioner closest to you. Stop suffering and start enjoying life. For more information on Advanced Allergy Therapeutics, see www.MidwestAllergyRelief.com.
Symptoms of bloating, indigestion, and constipation seem to be the norm these days. Studies show that Irritable bowel syndrome effects upwards of 20% of the population. My experience is that those are only the people who are experiencing symptoms that are severe enough to have them looked at by their primary physician. In my practice better than 85% of patients complain of some gastrointestinal dysfunction. To many people it is “the normal bloating and gas”; something they learn to live with. For years patients with these types of symptoms were recommended fiber products, digestive aids, and probiotics.
Many patients’ symptoms resolved or greatly improved with this approach. Still some patients became constipated due to the harsh nature of fiber products, and other times symptoms of bloating and gas worsened. Probiotic products seem to have a difficult time crossing the stomach into the intestines, and recent research has actually demonstrated that dead probiotic organisms benefit the intestines as much as live bacteria do. It is difficult to find research studies that show a person taking a probiotic orally that makes its way through the stomach and small intestine only to find a home in the large intestine. In my studies I learned about a novel bacterium called bacillus subtillus. This probiotic soil organism starts out in spore form so it passes into the large intestine unharmed by the strong acidic environment of the stomach. Once in the large intestine this bacterium matures into a bacterium and eats yeast and pathogenic bacteria for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The challenge has been to keep this bug happy so it will continue to clean your intestinal tract. Working with a pharmaceutical company that specializes in fermentation we were able to realize 2 things.
This bug needs a protein environment to really be its most potent, and it loves a particular type of fiber and it will stay active longer when this fiber is present. Additionally we had been doing some work with a green superfood called chlorella. In April of 2008 we sponsored a research trial with Jade Chlorella and among other findings we found it to be very effective in patients with irritable bowel symptoms. Chlorella is high in protein so it fit as a good match with the bacillus. We married these ingredients and called it Living Fiber. It is a complete gut ecology system. Chlorella restores the normal muscle contractions of the bowel and actually retrains the intestines to function as they are supposed to. Other fiber products force the intestines to do what they are not doing on their own, and they stop working the minute you stop taking them. Chlorella is soothing to the intestinal tract and the high chlorophyll content heals and regenerates an irritated intestinal tract. Combined with the soil organism that rids the digestive tract of unfriendly organisms and you have a unique product that supports all aspects of digestive function.
To date the feedback from patients has been remarkable. Many of our chronically ill patients are making huge strides in restoring their health with the addition of this new product. Healthy patients are using Living Fiber as a detoxification program to help maintain their high level of health. A new research trial will begin this year using Living Fiber in patients with irritable bowel complaints. Living Fiber is available through health practitioners and selected health food stores. For more information go to www.LivingFiber.net
Probiotics – the Good Bacteria! – by Dr. Kristen Bobik, D.C., L.Ac.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – by Ian Wahl, DAc, LAc, CH
Do you need a Gut Wisdom™ Detox? – by Alyce M. Sorokie
Rebalancing The Intestinal Terrain – by Dr Tom Bayne
Heartburn: Symptom or Disease? – by Ian Wahl, DAc, LAc, CH
IBS and the Holidays – by Dr Tom Bayne
Chiropractic and the Digestive Process – by Dr Tom Bayne
Negative Emotions and Digestive Health – by Alyce Sorokie, C.T.