5 Ways Poor Digestion Is Affecting Your Life

5 Ways Poor Digestion Is Affecting Your Life

There’s some misalignment in our lives. It’s 2017, and we know so much about our health and diets—more than ever before—yet we still have ready access to fast foods and processed meals. While we may know more, we don’t always act on that knowledge. And that’s unfortunate, because our lack of focus in doing what’s best for our bodies may be affecting us through poor digestion and other gut issues.

Common Medical Conditions Can Be Tied to Poor Digestion

It may surprise you to learn that some of the most common medical conditions hospitals and clinics treat today deal with poor digestion. Whether bloating, heartburn, constipation, or gas, these are all tied to your digestive system.

Short of having pains in your gut and/or bathroom issues, how could you possibly know that you have poor digestion? There are definitely some key indicators.

1. Bad Breath

Bad breath can be caused by many things, but since your mouth is linked to digestion, that might be the culprit. Even if you brush, mouthwash, and chew gum—and still stink—look to a root cause. Halitosis can be the result of bacteria in your throat being thrown off balance. It becomes even worse after eating something sweet, as the bacteria feeds off of the sugar.

2. Body Odor

Poor digestion causes imbalances with the bacteria in your digestive tract. In addition to the chemicals made from the digestion process causing bad breath, the odor is also absorbed into the body and then emitted through your skin when you sweat. That can turn you into “that stinky guy” at the office, even after using deodorant, cologne, or perfume.

3. Tiredness Following Meals

Does every meal make you feel like you’ve just eaten a hearty Thanksgiving feast and need a nap? It might be due to a sluggish digestive tract. After eating, your body has to use energy to digest all of that food. When your chemicals and bacteria are out of whack, your body has to divert even more energy to your gut. And that can leave you feeling completely drained after eating.

4. Acne and Skin Conditions

Many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea, actually begin in your digestive system. While these conditions seem completely unrelated to your gut, it truly is where they start. If you are having trouble digesting fat, you probably have itchy and flaky skin. A lack of certain vitamins in your diet can lead to acne and leave your skin with an unnatural, unhealthy look.

5. Difficulty Maintaining Weight

When weight fluctuates—either up or down—it could be a by-product of poor digestion. Your body may not be processing the nutrients in your food as effectively as it should be. And that shows up on the scale.

Poor Digestion Problems Can Be Easily Fixed

Most people experiencing some of these problems might not think anything is wrong at all because they seem so normal. People tend to write off acne, body odor, or feeling tired after meals to just getting older or generally being out of shape.

It’s important to pay attention to the signs your body is telling you. That’s the joy of functional medicine: While traditional medical professionals may not think anything of the above symptoms, functional medicine practitioners know better. The way you process food—and how your body reacts—is a sign that your diet needs to change.

Schedule your initial consultation with us to get insight into your poor digestion. We get to the root cause so you can live life to the fullest.

Gut Issues: What Your Gut Is Trying to Tell You

Gut Issues: What Your Gut Is Trying to Tell You

gut issuesWe’ve all been there: We have a glorious gastronomic feast on our plates—that represents a huge indulgence—and we devour it. Even when our stomach is full, we continue to eat. After all, it’s just so delicious! But there’s a reason your stomach is grumbly afterward; it has to do with your gut issues and the signals you should be heeding.

New Research on Gut Issues

When it comes to the gut, there are all kinds of challenges you could be facing. Most seem to get lumped together into irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. According to new research out of Australia, IBS is the correct term to encompass a number of gut-related issues, including people who are genetically predisposed to gut issues, patients who develop conditions after a gut infection, and people who have a chronic gut infection that causes the symptoms.

In the same research study, a particular gene was identified with IBS, making some people more predisposed to it than others. They also found a potential link between IBS and mental illnesses due to the inflammation that starts in the gut and can also occur in the brain.

How to Know You Have Issues

While every person reacts to gut issues differently, there are a few telltale signs that you might have a problem.

  1. Abdominal pain that is recurring or happens after eating certain foods or at certain times of the day.
  2. Feeling bloated or gassy after eating or other activities.
  3. Diarrhea and/or constipation, often occurring shortly after eating trigger foods.

Of course, all of the above symptoms could just be something in passing, but it’s when you have challenges over a period of time that you should be paying attention. For most people living with gut issues and IBS, the condition is chronic.

Treatment Options for IBS and Gut Issues

Since the causes of IBS and many gut issues are unclear, most physicians focus on treating and alleviating the symptoms first. And that could lead those who are suffering through months—or even years—of trying different drugs to find relief.

Alternatively, you could look at the source of your gut issues.

In the field of functional medicine, we shift from disease focused to patient focused. Each person is different; therefore, each approach is different. With functional medicine, we’ll look at all components of lifestyle, in addition to symptoms.

Since diet is often at the core of any kinds of gut issues, functional medicine often starts there. What really differentiates this way of thinking from the traditional allopathic mindset is in getting to the core of the matter rather than putting a Band-Aid on the symptoms.

Are You Suffering with Gut Issues?

If you have chronic gut issues and IBS, there’s no reason to suffer any longer. Your gut really is trying to tell you something; you just have to take a moment and listen.

You can find relief—and preferably without having to take a number of pills every day. Contact us at My Health Detective. We’ll work with you to determine what the true cause of your gut issues is and how we can turn them around. You don’t need to suffer any longer.

Is a Gluten Free Diet Bad for You?

Is a Gluten Free Diet Bad for You?

Is a Gluten Free Diet bad for You?

With the release of another research study done to denounce gluten and the gluten free dieters I felt I needed to chime in about this topic.

I’m actually humored by the types of propaganda being promoted such as:

“Dangers of a gluten free diet”

“Most People Shouldn’t Eat Gluten Free”

“The data prove it: Choosing to go gluten-free is bad for you”

Here’s How a Gluten-Free Diet is Actually Bad for You”

How a Gluten-Free Diet Can Be Harmful”

 

Really?  Can we be any more dramatic about this topic?  Honestly, I don’t want to go into the science of what gluten is and how it effects the body because this is about giving you relevant information and reading beyond the headlines.

 

These articles reference either statements found on PubMed or research that doesn’t tell you the whole story.  Am I saying the research is wrong?  No, the research performed revealed exactly what the researchers wanted.  What happened is that media ran with a half-ass statement based on their own interpretations.

 

Let’s use the most recent study published.  “Long Term Gluten Consumption in Adults without Celiac Disease and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease: prospective cohort study”.  I’ll spare you the over-scientific details and get to the point.  This study was done over 26 years using almost 110,000 subjects, male and female.  Good so far!  Incredible actually.  The researchers gathered their data from estimated, self-reported questionnaires that were mailed to the subjects.  There’s quality control issue number one.  Speaking of controls, there were none.  Yeah, no controls!

 

If you remember anything from high school science, you need a control and a test subject for research to be validated.  This is just a standard.  The Journal of the American Medical Association and its readers usually boo-hoo any study that isn’t a double blind placebo, the gold standard.  The FDA doesn’t pass a pharmaceutical through unless it is a double-blind placebo.  And even then…well that’s a whole different topic of discussion.

 

Back to the study.  After tallying these so-called results, here is the exact verbiage from the study:

 

Conclusion: Long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.

 

Great, so gluten is not associated with heart disease.  I’m not sure anyone was disputing that fact.  However, they continue to state that avoiding gluten or grains may result in beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk.  This may be true, but isn’t proven. Then they continue to state this assumption as fact.  Here’s where it feels like the Wild West and anyone can just start making assumptions.

 

If you choose to read the entire study, you will find that the correlation they are talking about with whole grains being detrimental to heart health has to do with fiber intake.  So, are the authors stating that the only way to get fiber is through whole grains?  What about vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc?  Is there no fiber in these foods and no nutrient density?

 

You see, these claims are empty and without support.  It is lazy media or whatever classification you want to put it in that are not telling you the whole story.  According to them, a burger bun has more beneficial nutrients to your diet than eating unprocessed, real, whole foods.

 

There is a reason why almost everyone feels better on a gluten free diet.  That is because gluten has been linked to autoimmune disease, leaky gut, inflammation and more.  I’m not going to re-write the wheel on this one since Dr. Amy Myers did a great job explaining it all here. http://www.amymyersmd.com/2017/02/3-important-reasons-give-gluten-autoimmune-disease/

 

Please, do yourself a favor and don’t get manipulated by empty claims.  Click on the links that they are basing their articles on and read the actual content!  The actual studies are very specific and media blows it out of proportion.

 

I usually don’t write articles like this, but this topic is a hot button and I’m tired of seeing good people trying to be healthy only to be further confused by falsified reports.  You know reports such as: eggs were bad for you, and beef, and saturated fat, and butter.  Everything that was bad is now good.  Just eat real foods and you can ignore the chatter.

 

Heal Your Gut

Heal Your Gut

Having a healthy gut is a mainstream phenomenon. We hear the term “gut health” thrown around on social media, on cable TV, and of course from functional medicine practitioners. It has been linked to everything from weight loss to cancer prevention. But do you really know the true benefits of gut health? Before I delve into everything that can go wrong with the gut and how to heal your gut, I would first like to highlight its function in our bodies, and how it affects every aspect of our health.

Our Second Brain

The gut is often referred to as the second brain. This collection of our digestive organs is responsible for the breakdown and metabolism of everything we consume. When it functions properly, we absorb all of the nutrients we need and eliminate everything we don’t. Contained within the gut is an entire microbiome of 10-100 trillion beneficial bacteria. Our bodies actually contain more bacteria than anything else! This is why functional medicine practitioners like myself discourage the use of antibiotics, which kill off all bacteria indiscriminately. Gut health is one of the first things we target in functional medicine because when the gut is imbalanced, everything else in the body will follow suit.

The term “gut feeling” refers to an instinctive, split-second judgment call. The gut is closely tied to our mental health. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of ease and happiness, is dependent on a healthy microbiome for production. Even conventional medicine is beginning to recognize the connection between gut issues and mental health concerns like anxiety and depression.

Probiotics

One of the best and easiest ways to support a healthy gut is to consume probiotics regularly. These are available in food and supplement forms. These beneficial bacteria replenish strains that may have been wiped out by conventional medication, illness, or living a toxic lifestyle. The following are a few of my favorite sources of these beneficial bacteria:

Fermented Foods

Fermented foods are not only packed with beneficial bacteria but are easy to make and delicious! Kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir are a few of the most popular. These foods encourage the growth of probiotics.

Supplements

It can be difficult to choose the best probiotic supplement. Many companies have jumped on the bandwagon. You can even find a sugar-laden, gummy version available in most stores! For the most effective probiotic, choose a supplement with multiple strains. It should be stabilized to survive the stomach’s hydrochloric acid. Refrigerated, carefully shipped brands are often high-quality. Remember, these are live bacteria, and we want them to survive the process! Once in the small intestine, the colony will start to multiply and thrive.

Diets That Support Gut Health

A healthy gut requires more than a high-quality supplement, however. A low-stress lifestyle with plenty of rest, stress-relieving techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and a healthy diet are all necessary pieces of the puzzle. Unfortunately, many of us are led to believe that we have achieved our best health if we master even one of these. If you have a thriving yoga practice but indulge in a donut after class, you’re setting your system up for failure.

Grain-free, whole food diets are one of the best options for ensuring gut health. Not only do most of these diets encourage stepping away from processed, sugar-laden foods (Paleo, AIP, Whole 30), but they eliminate common allergens as well.

If you suffer from a sensitivity to scented perfumes, you likely avoid the department store perfume counter. However, many of us have underlying sensitivities to common foods like gluten and dairy but still consume them on a daily basis! By eliminating these foods from the diet, we give our bodies the chance to shift out of attack mode (which is what is truly happening during an allergic response) and instead allow our bodies to digest completely.

The Right Tests to Discover Your Underlying Health Concerns

Many of my patients have found immediate relief with making these small, yet significant changes. But for some, underlying conditions like small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can complicate the process. As a trained functional medicine practitioner, I will order the right tests to uncover the underlying conditions that are keeping you from optimal health. Together, we will address these issues and create a plan to help you achieve your health goals!

The Benefits to Heal Your Gut

By making small lifestyle shifts like incorporating probiotics and eliminating common allergens, we can start to support one of the most important systems in our bodies. When we digest our food properly, we feel nourished, hydrated, energized, and relaxed after a meal. Digestive complaints like irritable bowel syndrome disappear, as the connection between our brain and gut is functioning properly. Mental health thrives because the neurotransmitters responsible for positive responses are in balance. Hormones are produced in the right amounts at the right times because our bodies are no longer in fight-or-flight mode.

While our modern lifestyles may neglect gut health, this doesn’t have to be the case! I can help you uncover the root cause of your deepest health concerns, in order to achieve optimal health. If you’re ready to heal your gut and ditch your health problems for good, contact me today for a FREE consultation!

 

Naturally Improve Digestion

Naturally Improve Digestion

How is your digestion? I ask this simple question multiple times each day, sometimes pausing for several minutes to give my patient the time to formulate a response. In a country plagued with obesity, food allergies, emotional eating, and ads selling us the biggest, best new fast food followed by skinny underwear models, it’s no wonder we have a skewed relationship with nutrition and body image. Add in a few highly caffeinated energy drinks and handfuls of sugar with each meal, and healthy gut function goes out the window. Are you ready to revolutionize the way you feel in your skin? Follow these five steps to bid farewell to digestive distress forever!

1. Re-evaluate Your Relationship with Food

Do you eat for pleasure? Snack when you’re anxious? Binge when you’re stressed? For many of us, food has become a comfort in times of displeasure, or a reward for a job well done. As with any addiction, sugar and highly processed junk food causes a huge surge of dopamine, followed by a down-regulation. This means that we experience a temporary burst of pleasure the first time we eat a handful of candy, but consume much more to replicate the same release a second time. One of the best ways to break this addiction is to replace these indulgences with a healthier behavior.

Instead of running to your favorite coffee shop at the beginning of your day, fill up on protein-rich scrambled eggs with a handful of kale and spinach. Soothe your frayed nerves with a cup of chamomile tea instead of sinking into that pint of ice cream in the back of the freezer. Swap that salty snack for a stress-relieving sprint around the block. By addressing your emotional needs with action instead of food, you’re creating positive habits and also supporting the health of your gut.

2. Assess Your Allergies

People with hay fever rarely choose to bale hay for a living. However, I see many patients who suspect they have food allergies but continue to expose themselves to these problematic foods! The difficulty often lies in our perception of what’s normal. A mother with a gluten sensitivity may worry that her son is missing out if he doesn’t have a normal birthday cake. However, she is not only putting herself in danger by encountering a known problematic substance, but she is also perpetuating a cycle of dependence on these unhealthy foods.

The solution is to definitively test for these allergies, and to eliminate them from your life permanently. A functional medicine practitioner can help you choose which tests are right for you. With your practitioner’s support, you can make healthy choices the new normal in your household.

3. Make Mealtime Count

In many cultures, the family meal is sacred. Instead of gathering around the television and eating as quickly as possible, the meal becomes the focal point. This positive attitude towards eating helps prepare the body for digestion. Consuming a meal while stressed, hurried, or upset significantly affects digestion. Stress can affect your level of stomach acid, can trigger inflammation, and can lead to increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut.

4. Befriend Good Bacteria

Probiotics are a booming industry these days, and with good reason. Many people have an imbalance of microorganisms in their digestive tracts. Antibiotic usage in meats, dairy, and eggs, and an overly medicated society can wipe out the beneficial bacteria that makes healthy digestion possible.

One of the best ways to replace these bacteria is through the consumption of fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir. Probiotic supplements are also available. Be sure to choose one from a highly reputable source to ensure that the bacteria survive in transport to you.

5. Find Herbs that Help

Functional medicine seeks to uncover the cause of your digestive distress. Herbs can help you manage your discomfort in the process. Be sure to check with your practitioner to find the right herbal regimen for you. The following are a few of my favorites for soothing stomach ailments:

· Ginger: This tangy, bright-tasting herb helps with nausea and increases circulation to aid digestion.

· Peppermint: Peppermint tea can help ease indigestion and gas.

· Chamomile: This comforting herb helps with digestion and prevents constipation.

· Turmeric: A spicy herb celebrated for its many properties, turmeric can help prevent cancer, and eliminate h. pylori, a type of bacteria found in stomach ulcers.

· Fennel: This tasty herb can help relieve stomach cramps, gas, and heartburn.

If you’re ready to ditch your digestive distress for good, take advantage of my free consultation! Together, we’ll assess your overall health and begin to uncover the root cause of your chronic issues. Learn to love your body again. Support your entire system with beneficial food. Learn to identify which supplements are essential for you, and also build healthy habits for yourself and your family.

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