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MANAGE YOUR ACID REFLUX WITHOUT MEDICATIONS

At first, let’s clear one common misconception about acid reflux: acid reflux is not necessarily that you have too much gastric acid but rather acid is in the wrong place. The majority of people suffering from acid reflux have rather hypochlorhydria (lack of or too little stomach acid) than hyperchlorhydria (too much stomach acid). Acid reflux is a common gastrointestinal complain with symptomology of heartburn, a burning pain in the lower chest. It’s driven by stomach acid flowing back up to the esophagus (the food pipe). It can happen for example when increased intra-abdominal pressure overpowers the lower esophageal sphincter (LES, a ring muscle), as seen in people with hiatal hernia or obesity. The esophageal sphincter acts as a valve preventing stomach acid, stomach content from backing up into esophagus. When this system fails we may experience the symptoms of acid reflux. Noteworthy, reflux of gastric contents into the esophagus is normal physiology. However, when reflux (occurring frequently) leads to symptoms, esophageal mucosal injury, or both we talk about gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms Heartburn is a common symptom and some patients perceive this as angina-like chest pain. Functional heartburn has the same symptoms without signs of reflux. Some people experience regurgitation which is a rise of gastric content into the mouth with sour/bitter tasting, without associated nausea or retching. Other symptoms of reflux may include hoarseness, cough, and asthma as well as pharyngitis, sinusitis, pulmonary fibrosis, recurrent otitis media, and sleep apnea. Some individuals will also experience bloating, burping, difficulty swallowing, hiccups, or nausea. Interpret these symptoms as your body sending you signals that there is something going... read more

TIPS FOR SKIN PROBLEMS

ACNE, ECZEMA, PSORIARIS AND OTHER SKIN PROBLEMS Skin problems are often a manifestation of underlying health issues. The problem lies not in a lack of a particular soap, anti-bacterial remedy or a corticosteroid immunosuppressant cream. You need to look deeper than the skin. When I have clients with skin problems we look at their wellbeing holistically, we don’t focus on a skin itself, we look underneath. To heal your skin, you need to heal your gut and address possible root causes. Skin problems may partly be determined by our genetics but our environment, our food, our water, our air, pollution are the important factors too, they may promote or reduce the flare-ups. So if common skin disorders can be influenced by environment, factors such as nutrition and lifestyle may be sufficient to prevent and even reverse many cases. So this is what we want to focus on, we want to find our triggers and our soothers. Below you can find some tips on what to pay attention to when skin problems affect your life. Managing your skin health with nutrition, improving digestive function, making dietary changes, and optimizing lifestyle habits can provide benefits not only for your skin, but for your overall well-being. Try to identify the root cause(s) of your skin problems by taking into account: Allergies (IgE driven), food sensitivities (IgG driven), food intolerance (histamine intolerance) and/or gluten reactivity Gut health issues (dysbiosis, infection) Nutrient deficiencies/Poor diet (diet poor in nutrients can be the root cause of skin disease as well as GI dysfunction, which can cause maldigestion and malabsorption of nutrients. Many nutrients work together so... read more

HOW FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE can help to address chronic health conditions

IN SEARCH OF THE ROOT CAUSE As a functional medicine practitioner I am very excited about the possibilities it offers. It helps to prevent and reverse chronic disease. With chronic disease such as autoimmune disease, heart conditions, obesity, diabetes on the rise, we have to re-think the conventional disease management concept as it often fails to address them. What inspires me about functional approach is that it triggers my detective mind to look for the underlying cause of disease—instead of just suppressing symptoms. It’s not about looking at the symptoms alone, popping a few pills, moving on and leaving patients hopeless, frustrated and often in pain. It’s about gathering all the clues of your past (health history starting from birth, your physical and emotional childhood environment, your relationships, traumatic events, etc.), your present situation (stress level, nutrition, social life, relationships, physical activities, quality of sleep, symptoms, environmental toxins). Equipped with this information together with the results of laboratory testing, I try to help you uncover how and why your body is not functioning well. It’s about finding the red flags that are causing your immune system to malfunction and removing them step by step. It is a process of eliminating what harms your body while supporting the body with what it needs to function properly. How Functional and Conventional Medicine Differ With regards to chronic conditions, functional medicine is primarily focused on optimizing health in a holistic way to recover the impaired function as much as possible. Whereas conventional medicine often only manages disease. Functional medicine takes a collaborative approach with a patient-centered model and not expert, doctor centered... read more

WHAT CAN PROMOTE UNDERACTIVE THYROID?

DO YOU SUSPECT HAVING THYROID ISSUES? Thyroid issues are quite common especially among women, with hypothyroidism as the most common thyroid disorder. It is characterized by mental slowing, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, irregular menstruation, infertility, muscle stiffness and pain, depression, dementia, and a wide range of other symptoms. Actually, every cell in our body has receptors for thyroid hormone. These hormones are responsible for the most basic aspects of body function, impacting all major systems of the body. Thyroid hormone directly acts on the brain, the G.I. tract, the cardiovascular system, bone metabolism, red blood cell metabolism, gall bladder and liver function, steroid hormone production, glucose metabolism, lipid and cholesterol metabolism, protein metabolism and body temperature regulation. One of the biggest challenges facing those with hypothyroidism is that it is often under- and misdiagnosed, as many patients with thyroid symptoms have “normal” lab results, yet not optimal if you interpret them properly.                       What can promote LOW THYROID HORMONES: IMPAIRED GUT HEALTH (poor diet, impaired digestion, low stomach acid, poor bile production, intestinal dysbiosis such as Candida overgrowth, increased intestinal permeability) IMMUNE DYSREGULATION (auto-immune attack) INFLAMMATION (inflammation suppresses the hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid HPT axis, inflammation decreases both the number and sensitivity of thyroid hormone receptors, inflammation decreases the conversion of T4 to T3. T4 is the inactive form of thyroid hormone. The body has to convert it to the active T3 form before it can be used) CHRONIC STRESS (chronically elevated cortisol contributes to under-conversion of free T4 to free T3) MALNUTRITION (lack of nutrients to... read more

Why bile matters? The magic of BILE: fat digestion and detox

Do you have any of the following symptoms? Fatigue, constipation/diarrhea, incomplete digestion/absorption of fats, headaches, light colored or/and fatty stools, gas and bloating, hormonal imbalances/thyroid disease, detox problems, sleep problems, ear ringing (tinnitus), nausea, bitter taste in the mouth, sciatica like pains, low serum albumin levels, decreased absorption of nutrients, growth failure in children, weight loss, gallbladder issues or your gallbladder was removed. If yes, then read on. Why do we need bile? Bile is a soap-like substance vital for optimal (fat) digestion. It is a complex and unique aqueous product of the liver hepatocytes which is further modified by the activities of the bile duct epithelium. Then bile is collected, concentrated and stored in a gallbladder to be delivered to a small intestine when needed. Bile helps digesting fats and supports removal, flow and metabolism of various substances. Bile is composed in about 95% of water, the remaining constituents are bile salts, cholesterol, amino acids, bilirubin phospholipid, steroids, enzymes, vitamin, porphyrins, as well as heavy metals, environmental toxins, and drugs. Without quality bile we are at risk of developing health issues as bile is critical for metabolic conversions and flow of vital nutrients as well as elimination of toxic substances: Bile is a major route to excrete harmful substances, toxins Bile salts function to emulsify dietary fats and facilitate their digestion and absorption Bile helps eliminating cholesterol Bile stimulates intestinal innate immune system and supports immunity by excreting immunoglobulin A (IgA), inflammatory cytokines Bile is vital for chole- and entero-hepatic circulation Bile is essential carrier for some hormones and some hormonal conversions, estrogens, vitamin D3 metabolite, prolactin or insulin are... read more

DO YOU REACT TO FOODS?

ALLERGIES vs SENSITIVITIES vs INTOLERANCES to FOODS Food allergies and food sensitivities became more prevalent over the past few decades. Some common food reactions keep raising. It certainly has a lot to do with the way we live (stressed, overstimulated), with the quality of foods and drinks we consume (processed and toxic), the air we breathe in (polluted) or the cosmetics, detergents we use. These factors can make us more vulnerable and susceptible to all sort of maladies. Our bodies have to work hard to process everything from surrounding us environment and ingested foods, to stay in balance and to provide our bodies with what it needs for optimal functioning. When our body is overwhelmed our immune system and other parts may overreact inducing food reactions. Reactions to foods we may experience include: –        Psychological reactions (exorphins present in wheat/gluten and diary/casein bind to opioid receptors within our body influencing our brain, our behavior) –        Toxic reactions (food contamination or food poisoning) –        Immune-mediated reactions such as food allergies and food sensitivities (type I, II, III, or IV hypersensitivity) –        Food intolerance reaction (enzyme deficiency) There is often confusion around what is what and sometimes “allergy”, “intolerance”, and “sensitivity” are used improperly, which may  depend on naming convention as well as on how you look at the reaction to foods; whether you look at the reaction itself or symptoms it causes. Without going into depth and complexity of these reactions, I describe below the key differences. What are they? Let’s focus here only on two immune-mediated reactions (IgE & IgG) and food intolerances. Be aware that a person may also... read more

HOW GUT BACTERIA CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE EXTRA WEIGHT

Linking the gut microbiota to obesity and diabetes Have you ever envied skinny people who eat a lot of unhealthy foods yet remain slim-figured? People often say it’s because of genes or better metabolism, but that’s not the whole story! Whose metabolism are they talking about? The person’s metabolism or the metabolism of their gut microbes? INTERESTED? First, let me explain that our intestinal microorganisms coevolved with us to support our physiology and our metabolism. Our body constantly communicates and cooperates with them. When our microbes, the so-called “internal garden,” are in a state of balance and when operate at peak efficiency, so do we and our metabolism. When things get out of balance and we suffer from microbial gut dysbiosis, it directly affects our health and our weight. To achieve and maintain a healthy weight it is essential to take care of our microbial selves. You may have, for example, difficulties in losing weight. Until you address your microbiome, you may be trapped in a vicious circle of dieting because you are missing an important player in a game — the gut microbiome. Let’s see how these microbes may contribute to weight control. Gut microbes affect our energy harvest and storage Recent studies indicate that gut microbes contribute to our energy harvest, storage, and spending. This process is optimal when the amount of energy extracted from the diet equals the amount used, maintaining equilibrium. Over the course of evolution, animals have developed a smart strategy to protect energy reservoirs by forming fatty adipose tissue. However, once energy-dense foods erupted in western countries, we began to over-accumulate and over-stimulate... read more

IS YOUR GUT LEAKY?

Let’s face it: exposure to certain factors makes our gut leak! Scientists all over the world are working hard to unravel the puzzles on the growing incidence of many diseases, particularly in Western countries. It will take time before we get all the pieces together, but what we already know is that many diseases are linked to poor diet, gut dysbiosis, pollution, and stress, to name a few. Our Western diet has changed over the last two to three decades, from simple and unprocessed foods to highly processed foods with high sugar content. Coincidently, as we eat more processed foods, there is also a growing number of diseases, including autoimmune diseases. So the primary question arises: What’s the link between a poor diet and how our Westernized diet make us sick? Multiple factors are often involved, such as genetics, environment, lifestyle, and diet. They determine why some people get sick while others do not. Diet is undoubtedly a very important factor in our well-being. As Hippocrates stated “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Diet choice may have a profound effect on our health. Actually, a poor diet is one of the factors that has been linked to a leaky gut and consequently to diseases. Let’s find out what a so-called leaky gut is. Intestinal barrier and intestinal permeability What exactly stands behind a “leaky gut”? A leaky gut commonly refers to an increased permeability within the intestinal wall. This condition is sometimes called a “leaky gut syndrome.” Permeability allows certain molecules and ions to pass through the (intestinal) membranes. A leaky gut can be associated with food sensitivities,... read more

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