Category "Integrative Medicine"


Introducing :

The Endometriosis Health & Diet Program, co-authored by Dr. Andrew Cook and Danielle Cook.

This comprehensive, integrative program for treating endometriosis, and serves as a starting point for building an individualized program. It explains the medical side of endometriosis and how lifestyle factors may impact the disease — it answers the “why” of this condition, including ways to strengthen your body to optimize your health through detoxification and stress reduction. This program includes 100 delicious inflammation reducing recipes and useful tips to manage symptoms and potentially slow or halt endometriosis disease.

Now available for order on Amazon: The Endometriosis Health & Diet Program

Are you sometimes so bloated that you feel like you are pregnant? Or even had people ask you if you are pregnant? Do you have an extra set of clothes set aside for those times when you are so bloated that it’s time for a wardrobe switch? Maybe you are like Samantha, a woman just trying to deal with this painfully inconvenient, embarrassing physical disruption, along with all of the other frustrating and painful effects of Endometriosis.

We met Samantha in a forum recently, and she agreed to share her story and photo. She says: “I now only go out to doctors/hospitals or dentist as I cannot cope with people thinking and staring at me thinking I am pregnant. Every doctor blames the bloating on something else, but no one has investigated or tried to do anything about it. I would be so grateful for any help, as I feel totally alone.”


The severe bloating that goes hand-in-hand with endometriosis is too often dismissed by doctors as a minor symptom. For the patient, however, this symptom can be emotionally and physically devastating.


Endo Belly is also an example of the wide array of symptoms endometriosis patients experience and one of the very common misunderstandings about this disease. Physicians, patients, and even endometriosis specialists often misunderstand the root cause of many “endo symptoms”.  Are they always a result of endo, or could there be other causes?

Good progress has been made on increasing awareness of endometriosis and optimal treatment. Proper surgical treatment of endometriosis requires wide excision of the endometriotic implants rather than just burning or cautery. Surgery that simply burns the surface of the implants leaving underlying disease behind is often associated with either continued symptoms or recurrence of symptoms soon after surgery.

This is not the full story, however, and to truly understand this condition, we need to raise awareness of the missing pieces in the puzzle. In my 25 years of practice specializing in endometriosis, I have come to appreciate the complexity of the pattern of symptoms many of my patients deal with. While approximately half of my patients are primarily affected by endometriosis, which is effectively resolved by excision surgery, the other half have other conditions or health problems that co-exist with their endometriosis. In this latter group of patients, while excision surgery provides the foundation of their treatment, complete resolution of their symptoms requires that we address additional health problems, including multi-systemic dysfunction. In these patients, it is a mistake to automatically assume that continued symptoms after surgery are due to persistent or recurrent endometriosis. The real problem may well extend beyond this diagnosis and often encapsulates other often-related health conditions that may masquerade or be overshadowed by the initial diagnosis of endometriosis.


“Endo Belly” can be the result of endometriosis implants and may get better after surgical removal of the disease. Endometriosis implants, however,
are not the only cause of “Endo Belly”.


One such example is the infamous “Endo Belly”. While “Endo Belly” can be the result of endometriotic implants, and may resolve after complete excision of all endometriosis, this is certainly not always the case and other health problems can also cause or contribute to those all-too-familiar flares of extreme bloating and distention. At our center, we therefore approach endometriosis and its associated health problems from a multi-disciplinary paradigm including traditional medicine (e.g., excision surgery), as well as a variety of integrative and holistic modalities.

Our approach is based upon the most recent scientific information. We treat the whole patient, not simply surgical removal of the endometriosis implants. One example of this is the role of the bowel, including the human microbiome (the bacteria that live in our bowel), in causing pelvic pain and other health problems. We will discuss below the importance of gut bacteria as a contributing causal factor in bloating and “Endo Belly”. This is a very brief overview and covers just a few of the important facts about the critical impact of our intestinal health on our overall health.

Best wishes,

Dr. Andrew Cook

Gut Bacteria & Endo Belly ~
Why You Look & Feel So Bloated

What does your gut bacteria have to do with that annoying bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort? A lot!

We have more bacteria living in our guts than we do human cells in our body. We have a balance of beneficial (commensal) bacteria and potentially pathogenic bacteria (disease causing unfriendly bacteria). This is actually one of the most complex ecosystems in nature. It is important to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.

These beneficial bacteria are not simply along for the ride, but rather, they play a critical role in our health. For example, they are involved in digesting food that we eat, producing vitamins such as vitamin K2 and biotin, converting thyroid hormone into its active form, detoxification, reducing inflammation, reducing pathogenic forms of bacteria, and energy production. These are only a few of their important jobs! We also have yeasts and viruses in our guts. It’s important to keep a healthy balance of these microorganisms in our guts too.

Gastrointestinal problems can be a result of bacterial problems in the small and/or large bowel. Most of the bacteria are in the large bowel. A little is in the small bowel, but not nearly as much as in the large bowel. Dysbiosis is a condition where an imbalance in beneficial and potentially disease producing pathogenic bacteria occur in the bowel. SIBO (Small Bowel Intestinal Overgrowth) is a condition where the bacteria from the large bowel migrate up into the small bowel. With SIBO, the over abundance of bacteria in the wrong location is exposed to undigested food, which it eats and turns into a large amount of gas (bloating, pain, indigestion).

Factors that may negatively alter the sensitive bacterial balance lead to dysbiosis or SIBO and include:

  • Antibiotics (with certain antibiotics it can take up to 2 years to regain a healthy microbial balance in your gut)
  • Chronic stress
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS)
  • Constipation
  • Standard American Diet (SAD diet – high in unhealthy fats, processed carbohydrates, and sugar and low in fiber and vegetables)
  • Food allergies and Sensitivities
  • A weakened immune system
  • Intestinal infections (such as yeast overgrowth) and parasites
  • Inflammation
  • Poor function or removal of the ileocecal valve (valve between the small and large intestine)

There are several common symptoms of dysbiosis and SIBO. You may be experiencing several of them. They include :

  • Bloating, belching, burning, flatulence after eating
  • A sense of fullness after eating
  • Indigestion, diarrhea, constipation
  • Systemic reactions after eating (such as headaches and joint pain)
  • Nausea or diarrhea after taking supplements (especially multivitamins and B vitamins)
  • Weak or cracked finger nails
  • Dilated capillaries in the cheeks and nose (in a non-alcoholic)
  • Iron deficiency
  • Chronic intestinal infections, parasites, yeast, unfriendly bacteria
  • Undigested food in stools
  • Greasy stools
  • Skin that bruises easily
  • Fatigue
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
  • Chronic vaginitis (vaginal irritation)
  • Pelvic pain

Dysbiosis is not uncommon in women with endo. Endometriosis-associated intestinal inflammation may alter the balance of gut microflora.[i] Balley and Coe investigated the intestinal microflora in female rhesu monkeys and found an increased amount of intestinal inflammation and fewer aerobic lactobacilli and gram negative bacteria in monkeys with endometriosis compared to those without the disease. A disruption in the gut microflora (dysbiosis) can have negative health consequences including poor digestion, malabsorption of nutrients, increased inflammation, and increased gastrointestinal infections.[ii] Intestinal microflora act as a barrier to gut pathogens by blocking attachment to the gut-binding site and produce antibacterial substances.

Problems with an overgrowth of bacteria in the small bowel can also result in the common gastrointestinal complaints among women with endometriosis. Recent studies have demonstrated the presence of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) in women with endometriosis.


In one study, 40 out of 50 women with laparoscopic confirmed endometriosis were found to have SIBO. [iii] SIBO needs to be considered as a contributing factor anytime a woman has severe bloating.


The gut also plays an important role in estrogen elimination. Phase II detoxification in the liver (medical term for the process of eliminating many hormones including estrogen) utilizes conjugation of estrogen to other compounds so they can be excreted in bile.[iv] If the gut flora is unbalanced, certain bacteria secrete an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase, which cleaves the glucuronide molecule from estrogen, allowing estrogen to be reabsorbed into circulation vs excreted in the stool. Lactobacillus, a healthy bacteria, decreases the activity of B-glucoronidase.[v] If the activity of B-glucoronidase is increased, more estrogen will be reabsorbed and potentially worsen the endometriosis.

Do you have any of these symptoms? If you do, they may be caused by more than your endo inflammation. If you have these symptoms after good quality endometriosis excisional surgery, your endometriosis is gone, but your symptoms may be a result of other conditions such as the ones discussed above. Some tests that may be performed include a hydrogen/methane breath test, a comprehensive stool study through a lab such as Genova Diagnostics, organic acid testing, and food sensitivity testing. There may also be therapeutic diets that can be helpful for symptom management such as the Specific Carbohydrate diet, the FODMAP diet, the Microbiome Diet, and the Autoimmune Paleo Diet. There is no one size fits all treatment for dysbiosis. Some diets that help with dysbiosis can make SIBO worse. A qualified practitioner can help to determine what studies and treatment may be helpful.  Some of the lab tests which may be relevant are included in our Specialized Lab Testing at Vital Health Endometriosis Center.

You may be interested in this video : Enterome: the gut microbiome and it’s impact on our health:

Wishing you a happy and healthy day,

The Vital Health Team

 


Vital Health Endometriosis Center continues to provide the most comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.


Visit Our Resource Center to Learn More About Endometriosis

Read & Share What it Really Means to Have Endometriosis

 

[i]. Balley M, Coe C. Endometriosis is associated with an altered profile of intestinal microflora in female rhesus monkeys. Human Reproduction. 2002;17(7):1704-1708.

[ii]. Miniello V, et al. Gut microbiota biomodulators, when the stork comes by the scalpel. Clin Chim Acta. 2015. Web. Accessed February 25, 2015.

[iii]. Mathias JR, Franklin R, Quast DC, et al. Relation of endometriosis and neuromuscular disease of gastrointestinal tract: new insights. Fertil Steril. 1998; 70:81-88.

[iv]. Evans, J. An integrative approach to fibroids, endometriosis, and breast cancer prevention. Integrative Medicine. 2008; 7(5):28-31.

[v]. Goldin BR, Gorbach SL. The effect of milk and lactobacillus feeding on human intestinal bacterial enzyme activity. Amer J Clin Nutr. 1984;39(5):756-61.

 

Mind and body are not two separate things. Mind and body form a continuum. All emotions in the mind, effect the body and all activity in the body effect the mind. Treating one without the other is like being married without love.


Ram has had an interesting personal journey. He is a very successful Silicon Valley professional, having been in executive management roles in companies like WebMD, PeopleSoft, and Cast Iron systems, and continues to serve as director on the boards of various public and private companies.

But in 2013 life took an interesting turn for him and he came down with severe pain all over his body and specifically in the pelvis. When 9 MRIs, 300+ blood tests, and the best western medical professionals failed to help him, he sought mind medicine with Hypnotherapy, GEMT, and BioEnergy. These therapies brought Ram from the verge of dying back to being healthy.

The epiphany for Ram was that in addition to the physiological and anatomical conditions that western medicine can treat, all pain has a mind component that can only be treated with mind medicine.

Since then, Ram has dedicated himself to learning various mind medicine modalities including Hypnotherapy, GEMT, and BioEnergy from the best teachers in these disciplines. Having lived through such a traumatic experience himself, he has deep empathy for his patients. Ram does not practice mind medicine to earn a living, as he does not need to work for a living. His practice is a mission for him to help as many people as he can.

Nancy LoweDr. Nancy Lowe began her career in holistic health over 30 years ago with an interest in natural foods and nutrition. She became a certified massage therapist, and soon afterward was enrolled at Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She received her acupuncture license in 1987 and is now is a professor at Five Branches University.

In 2008, after two years of rigorous study with many eminent Chinese and American practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM], including study at Zhejiang University of Chinese Medicine in Hangzhou China, she received her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine [DAOM]. She continues to study energy and herbal medicine as it applies to the body, mind and spirit.

In 2009, Dr. Lowe added Emotional Freedom Techniques [EFT] to her practice. She realized that many of her patients’ problems had strong emotional components. She needed a way to discover and resolve the emotional roots of her patients’ suffering. When she found EFT, she understood that this was the modality she had been searching for.

Further reading

What is acupuncture and EFT?

Cold and flu season is upon us.  In addition to being inside more, we also tend to be under more stress with the New Year upon us.  This is the perfect recipe for catching a cold or flu!  A mounting amount of evidence has shown that stress lowers our immune system.  To help you to stay well this cold and flu season, I have put together a little survival recipe for avoiding the cold and flu.  I have also included some natural remedies for helping to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of a cold or flu if you become sick.  In addition, we have provided a few supplement suggestions to help you prevent or fight a cold or flu.  Feel free to contact us with any questions.  Be well!

Prevention:

  • Vitamin D: Low vitamin D levels have been linked to increasing your susceptibility to colds and other infections. 2,000-5000 IU per day in winter is safe and reasonable.
  • 1-3, 1-6 Beta Glucans: Research has shown that these compounds strengthen the immune system and protect you against viruses and bacteria. These compounds are found in certain types of mushrooms.  They help your white blood cells bind to and kill viruses and bacteria.
  • Probiotics: Whatever your age, research suggests that the preventive use of probiotics can reduce the duration and severity of common colds. Health bacteria is also critical to a healthy immune response and reducing inflammation.
  • Stress reduction:  Practice a stress-reduction technique. Stress weakens our defenses and makes us more susceptible to becoming ill.
  • Exercise:  Get regular exercise. Exercise helps keep the immune system strong; however, don’t overdo your exercise, as this can weaken your immune system.
  • Sleep:  Get plenty of rest. Adequate sleep is necessary for the body to repair, heal, and fight infection (8+ hours nightly).  Interesting side note – a new study from Stanford shows that women need more sleep than men, because we use our brains more with multi-tasking throughout the day. We need additional hours to “recharge” our brains.
  • Diet:  Nourish your body with whole foods and lots of colors (from fruits and vegetables). Stay away from sugar, which can weaken immune cells fighting ability.
  • Hydration:  Use water as preventive medicine. A quick cold rinse after every hot shower is a good way to stimulate immune cell activity. In addition, gargling with plain water a few times per day has been shown to prevent colds.
  • Adequate protein:  Eat protein at every meal.  Protein provides the building blocks for your entire body.  This includes strengthening and repairing your immune system.
  • Attitude:  Laugh a lot!  Laughter can strengthen lower stress and strengthen your immune system.
  • Reduce your exposure to infection:  Wash your hands!!!

When you are sick:

  • Drink plenty of fluids in order to maintain water balance and to thin secretions.
  • Eat raw garlic, which kills bacteria and viruses. Crush a clove or two and add to foods like soups and grains just before serving.
  • Gargling with plain water 3 x’s daily removes mucus and keeps bacteria and viruses from sticking around.
  • A warm, humid environment created by a humidifier may provide some comfort while fighting off a cold.
  • Saline nasal rinses (3-6 x’s daily) (a standard 0.9% saline (sodium chloride) solution with trace elements and minerals in concentrations similar to those in seawater). Neti pots (small pots for nasal rinsing) and mineral salts to use with them are now widely available.  We have a few of these at the office or you can purchase one at a health food store or pharmacy.
  • Try a small amount (a few Tbsp daily) of some raw honey.  It kills bacteria and can soothe irritated mucous membranes. It should not be given to children younger than 12 months old.
  • Eat healthfully.  Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, and lean proteins, as excessive sugar, dietary fat, and alcohol have been reported to impair immune function.  Pass on the OJ – it is very high in sugar.  Look for a lower sugar source of vitamin C such as eating an orange and drinking a glass of water.
  • 8+ hours of sleep nightly.

Helpful Supplements:

  • High Quality Multivitamin:  This is the foundation for a healthy immune system.  It provides all the vitamins and minerals you need for building blocks.
    • Example: Metagenics formulaPhytogenics without Iron
    • Dosage:  Take 1-2 daily with meals
  • 1-3, 1-6 Beta Glucans:
    • Dosage:  250 mg daily
    • Andrographis:  Andrographis contains bitter constituents that have been shown to stimulate the immune system, decrease inflammation, and fight infection.
      • Dosage:  400-2000 mg 3 x’s daily
      • Precautions:
        • Careful with gallbladder disease, autoimmune disease, kidney disease
        • Safety not known with pregnancy
        • Cytochrome P450 1A2, 2C9, 3A4
          Andrographis extract may alter how these drugs are metabolized.
        • Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs
          Animal lab studies have demonstrated inhibition of platelet aggregation.  Use caution and talk to your doctor if you are taking anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications.
        • Chemotherapy drugs
          Andrographolide may have antioxidant effects. This may interfere with the actions of some chemotherapy drugs.
        • Blood pressure lowering drugs
          Andrographis may lower your blood pressure.

 

  • Vitamin C: Studies have shown that taking vitamin C may make your cold shorter and less severe.
    • Dosage:  1-4 g daily
  • Zinc Lozenges: Zinc lozenges used at the first sign of a cold have been shown to help stop the virus and shorten the illness.
    • Dosage: 1 tablet (20-30 mg) every 2 hours for 1st 1-2 days of FIRST SIGN OF cold or flu.
    • Do not take long-term.  May cause a copper deficiency.
  • Probiotic:
    • Dosage 10-200 billlion CFU daily
    • Efficacy of formula varies depending on bacterial strains and delivery system used
  • Vitamin D:
    • 2000-5000 IU daily
    • Best to have levels checked with a goal of 60-80 ng/mL
  • Olive Leaf: antiviral, antibacterial, antiparasitic
    • 1000 mg 4 x’s daily
    • Precautions:
      • Caution with Coumadin
      • Not to be used with pregnancy – safety not known
      • May have a die off reaction – start with lower dose
      • Separate dose 1 hr before or 2 hours after probiotics

Studies have linked endometriosis to poor detoxification.  This may be partly due to genetic defects in detoxification pathways such as MTHFR, COMT, SOD1, SOD2, GSTM1, and various CVT genes. If there is a mutation in any of these genes, detoxification suffers, toxins build up in the system, and detoxification gets backed up even further. If your “toxic load” (amount of toxins you are exposed to) is high, the result is gene expression as illness.

One common gene mutation is the MTHFR or methyl tetrahydrofolate reductase gene. This gene is responsible for a process called methylation. Methylation is a biomolecular, nutritional pathway that is critical to many functions in the body. For example, methylation is responsible for cellular repair (production and repair of DNA and RNA), detoxification, making and disassembling neurotransmitters (example, dopamine, and serotonin), and formation and maturation of red and white blood cells and platelets.

Related health problems from a defect in MTHFR include autism, addictions, miscarriages, infertility, depression, anxiety, psychiatric disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, strokes, migraines, breast cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, and others.

In addition, a defect in MTHFR will decrease the amount of glutathione your body produces.  Glutathione is a potent antioxidant (protects against cellular damage) and a critical player in cellular detoxification. This significantly lowers your body’s ability to protect itself against toxins and remove unwanted waste materials. Furthermore, methylation is a critical step in the process of removing old estrogen from the body. If this process is not working at optimal function, estrogen can build up and increase endometrial growth.

So what can you do for your endometriosis and lessen the toxicity in your body?

First, you can be tested for a mutation in MTHFR as well as other genetic defects.  There are several options for testing, and Vital Health Endometriosis Center can guide you with appropriate testing.  Second, you can decrease your toxic load and increase your body’s ability to detoxify.

You can do this by taking the following steps:

Decrease your exposure to xenoestrogens (Bisphenol (BPA), phthalates, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), some pesticides, some herbicides, triclosan, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).  Xenoestrogens are man-made compounds that mimic the action of estrogen in the body.  In addition to behaving like estrogen, they have a much stronger action and increase estrogen dominance. You can do this by making the following dietary, consumer and lifestyle changes:

  • Eat organic produce, dairy (or eliminate), and meats
  • Use natural pest control in your home and garden
  • Avoid synthetic flea shampoos, flea collars, and flea pesticides on your pets
  • Avoid shampoos and beauty products with parabens, phenoxyethanol, and phthalates (go to www.ewg.org and use their “Skin Deep Guide” to find non-toxic products)
  • Avoid nail polish
  • Avoid DEHA cling wrap
  • Never heat food in plastic containers in the microwave or put hot foods into plastic containers (better yet, use Pyrex containers)
  • Avoid Teflon and non-stick cookware
  • Avoid plastic water bottles
  • Avoid consuming foods from tin cans (they are lined with BPA)
  • Avoid drinking from Styrofoam cups or containers
  • Use natural cleaners
  • Avoid BHA and BHT in processed foods
  • Avoid FD&C Red No. 3 in processed foods
  • Limit coffee and other caffeinated beverages
  • Drink clean, filtered water
  • Avoid marijuana.
  • Eat organic, whole, REAL food
  • Clean with Natural cleaning products
  • Sweat often – sauna, yoga, Epsom salt baths
  • Exercise – increases glutathione (but do not over-exercise – you should feel energized when you complete your workout)
  • Avoid exposure to mold and other toxins
  • Do stress reduction daily – for example, do 5 minutes of deep
  • Eat the rainbow daily
  • Eat from the onion family such as onion and garlic
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables such as kale, chard, broccoli, cauliflower, and dandelion greens
  • Drink half your body weight in clean, filtered water
  • Increase your fiber intake

Those of you who suffer with endometriosis, we’d love to get your feedback. Have you lightened the “toxic load” on your body? What effect did it have on your endometriosis? Please share your story for the benefit of others.

Further reading

What is nutragenomic medicine?
What is nutritional counseling?

Aromatase is an enzyme that is responsible for the production of estrogen. Although estrogen is important for our health, too much estrogen and poor elimination of old estrogen can lead to high levels of estrogen. There is strong evidence that estrogen stimulates the growth of endo, and studies have shown that aromatase inhibitors can help to reduce endo symptoms. Like all drugs and medications, there can be side effects. The good news is, you can eat foods that will help reduce aromatase activity as well as foods that will aid in metabolism of old estrogen. You can also make lifestyle changes to improve your aromatase production.

Lifestyle

  1. Lose weight if you are overweight, especially in your mid-section. The fat around your waist, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), produces aromatase.
  2. Address hyperinsulinemia. Insulin stimulates aromatase.
  3. Decrease inflammation. Inflammation stimulates aromatase.
  4. Reduce stress. Chronic stress elevates cortisol, which leads to inflammation, which stimulates aromatase.
  5. Do daily exercise.

 

Diet

  1. Natural aromatase inhibitors include chrysin, naringenin, apigenin, and genistein. Include foods such as dietary fiber, lignins from flax seed, genistein and daidzein from soy (non-GMO), resveratrol as a supplement or found in red wine (particularly French Cabernet and CA Pinot Noir), grape seed extract (proanthocyanidins), white button mushrooms, brassaiopsis glomerulata, and green tea.
  2. Foods which increase the metabolism of old estrogen include cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, cabbage, onions, garlic, radishes, cauliflower, and collard greens). Aim to eat 3 servings daily raw and cooked.
  3. Strong anti-inflammatory foods include ginger, curcummin, and cinnamon.

For more information please call our office for an appointment.

To your health,
Vital Health Endometriosis Center

In 1908 Dr. Eli Metchnikoff was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on friendly bacterial flora. He coined the term “Death begins in the gut”. His research described an imbalance of the bacteria, or microbiota, in the gut. We have literally trillions of bacteria that reside in our bodies. Our digestive tract has more bacteria than cells. Normally we relate bacteria to illness; however, some of the bacteria in our gut are essential to our good health. When we have an imbalance of bacteria in our gut it is known as dysbiosis. Dr. Metchnikoff believed that this dysbiosis in the gut was the root cause of many diseases.

In the last 100 years, many new microbes have been discovered, and we are continually learning more and more about how this delicate balance of microbiota in our
gut impacts our health. For example, some of the more pathogenic microbes in the gut release poisons such as ammonia and phenols that damage the cellular lining of the gut. In addition to the damage they do in the intestines, these poisons can also be absorbed into the bloodstream causing systemic inflammation, organ damage, and a multitude of health problems.


Most people attribute the gut’s role in our health to simply digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and excreting waste products from our bodies. However, the gut is responsible for much, much more.


Most people attribute the gut’s role in our health to simply digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and excreting waste products from our bodies. However, the gut is responsible for much, much more. For example, the majority of the body’s immune system is found in the gut. It is our front line defense system to protect us from danger from the outside world. In fact, the gut is actually outside of our bodies, not inside. When we damage or disrupt the balance of the microbiota in our gut and damage the intestinal lining, we damage the front line of our personal defense system. The gut becomes “leaky” and allows undigested proteins from food, toxins, bacteria, fungus, viruses, etc. to enter into our bloodstream. The result is disease such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue, Eczema, food allergies, cirrhosis, and many more. Some common symptoms of poor gut health include acne, ADD/Autism, aggressive behavior, arthritis, asthma, food sensitivities and allergies, belching/bloating, blurred vision, cardiovascular disease and symptoms, cystitis, dental caries, depression, brain fog/confusion, diaper rash, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, fungus (toe, finger, vaginal, intestinal, mouth), inflammation, fibromyalgia, fatigue, anal itching, heartburn, and more! Do you have any of these symptoms?

You are probably wondering how this could happen. It really is not that hard to push yourself out of balance in 2011. Some common causes of dysbiosis include repeated use of antibiotics, use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors, a high fat, high sugar, low fiber diet, foreign travel, contaminated foods and water (chlorine, pesticides, antibiotics, etc.), and chronic stress. Do you think you may be out of balance and would like to be back in balance?

At Vital Health Endometriosis Center, I take an integrative medicine approach (treating the source of the health complaint versus the symptom to restore optimal health) to healing a person’s body. I almost always start with the gut. I use an approach known as the “5 R program” (Remove, Replace, Reinoculate, Repair, Rebalance). I use foods, specific vitamins, and herbs, and stress reduction to help repair the gut, re-establish a healthy balance of microbiota, and restore optimal health to our clients. I am looking forward to helping you achieve a healthy gut and a healthy body!

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