How Low of a Low Carb Diet is Correct for You?

As most of you know, I am a strong proponent of the Paleo lifestyle. My practice is very Paleo focused. Paleo eating leans heavily on vegies, fruits, nuts, seeds, eggs and grass fed protein. It strongly suggests a very limited consumption of grains, simple carbs and little dairy. Having said that, there is an important place for carbohydrates in your diet. They play are critical roles in many aspects of our health and metabolism. So the real questions is “What is the correct about of carbs you should be consuming?” This is the first of two news letters that will examine living a truly healthy life in relationship to the role carbs play in our diet.

Chances are, you have, at least once, been solicited to buy into some sort of miracle diet touting low-carb high protein intake as a fast and painless way of losing weight, such as Atkins or Southbeach. Many of you may even have entertained trying out this kind of extreme diet for yourself.  What most people don’t realize is that carb-intake can affect everything from your gut to your brain. Have your been feeling sluggish, anxious, or depressed? Having problems with digestion? These issues and more can all be influenced by carb-intake. When you choose to go low-carb, you are actually inviting a host of risks upon yourself. Let’s explore how to clarify the low-carb myth:

Let’s begin with the basics. For the sake of simplicity, carbohydrates are sugars, fibers, and starches. They can be found in a huge variety of foods including bread, potatoes, beans, milk, vegetables, pasta, and fruits, with the unhealthiest carbs being found in highly processed, refined foods like white bread, pastries and soda. When you eat any carb-containing food your body is provided with glucose, which is converted to energy. Our bodies need this energy to support daily bodily functions and physical activity. However, choosing unhealthy and too easily digested carbs (like white bread and soda) is a proven cause of weight gain, diabetes, and even heart disease (Harvard). In light of this new-age plague of obesity and heart disease that has stricken the country, it is no surprise that low-carb diets have been thrown into the spotlight in the past decade or so.

Low-carb diets are, obviously, based on limiting carbohydrate intake, while also encouraging consumption of foods high in protein and fat, like meat, eggs, and cheese. Most diets will give you a certain percentage of your daily calorie intake that should come from carbs. A diet low in carbohydrates would typically require somewhere around 10-20% of your daily calories to come from carbs (whereas the typical American will consume 45%-65% of calories a day from carbs) (Mayoclinic). These diets can be quite tricky, as avoiding carbs is surprisingly hard to do for most people. Imagine going to the grocery store and having to walk past all the grains, beans, nuts, fruits, pastas and starchy vegetables!

However, ad campaigns and the media will have you believe that managing to attain the sort of excessive discipline a low-carb diet requires can have great pay-offs. Carbs, particularly refined ones, can cause a quick rise in blood sugar and subsequently an increase in insulin, which can then lead to an increase in hunger and naturally, weight gain (UMM). Therefore avoiding carbs supposedly forces the body to burn stored fat for energy due to lower insulin levels, which in turn encourages weight loss (Mayoclinic). Some people have reported shedding up to 15 pounds in two weeks on the Atkins diet. However, it would be a fallacy to judge diets based on only the first few weeks of trials, for a lot can change—and reverse—when held to the test of time (US News). That being said, if a low-carb diet sounds a little too good to be true to you, you’re absolutely right! The following is a carefully researched list of what really takes place when you make the choice to go low-carb:

-As I hinted at before, low-carb diets seem a bit less promising when evaluated over long periods of time. In the short term, much of what’s shed on low-carb diets is actually just water-weight (US news). Most studies find that, after 12-24 months, low-carb diets don’t produce significantly more weight-loss when compared to diets based on mere increases in protein-intake unaccompanied by a carb decrease (Mayoclinic).

-A sudden and drastic decrease in carb-intake can inspire some pretty bad side effects including weakness, fatigue, bad breath, and headache. Severely restricted carb-intake has also been shown to result in vitamin or mineral deficiencies and/or bone loss over time (Mayoclinic). Further, carbohydrates contain valuable probiotics that help keep our guts healthy, so avoiding them could lead to an alteration of gut-flora, which often manifests as diarrhea or constipation. (Kresser).

-If you engage in moderate exercise several times a week, restricting your carb-intake can lead to severely damaging conditions, including but not limited to: decreased thyroid output, decreased testosterone, impaired cognitive function, suppressed immune function, and slowed metabolism. In other words, depriving your body of one of its main sources of energy is likely to make you feel sick and sluggish, and inspire more than just your average bad mood.

-Women are particularly prone to experiencing the negative side effects of carb deficiencies. Unbeknownst to many, low-carb diets can disrupt hormone production, leading to a stopped or irregular menstrual cycle, more body fat, and, more gravely, lowered fertility, hypoglycemia, anxiety, and depression (Precision Nutrition). 

-And finally, while low-carb diets almost always promise you heart-healthy benefits, a report from the American Heart Association concluded that there is not enough evidence to say whether or not diets low in carbohydrates are, in fact, good for the heart (Mayoclinic).

Given the evidence, it is safe to say that low-carb diets are not a good choice for most people, despite all that jazz you may hear about the Paleo diet and carb-free diets being “man’s original way of eating.” 

I would like to stress that, regardless of whether you need to diet or not, every one of you should be aware of the amount of carbs you are in fact ingesting. Many people who experience physical and mental ailments may not consider the possibility that the culprit is their diet; even worse, many are blissfully unaware of how skewed their diet is from the national recommendation, and how profound an effect these small divergences can have on the body. So if you find yourself suffering from any of the aforementioned symptoms (lethargy, indigestion, anxiety, etc.) please stay tuned for part two of this newsletter, which will be out in December and contain a guide on how to find your optimal carb–intake, without having to go to any extremes.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Dining with IBS: An Uncomfortable Date Indeed

For those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), eating out can be a jungle expedition, fraught with danger, unexpected twists, and improvised back up strategies. The sufferer calls ahead to ensure there are suitable food options, ingests caustic medications with potential side effects that range from extreme constipation to heart attack, and drives a separate car that can serve as a getaway vehicle. At the restaurant they must nonchalantly nudge the dining party towards a table near a bathroom, and pounce on the seat with easiest entry and exit path. During the meal they must be vigilantly self-aware, constantly assessing their evolving physical state as the food digests. Only when the meal is over and the bill is paid can an IBS sufferer breathe a sigh of relief. A leisurely dining experience is never so simple for a person with IBS.

IBS is not restricted to digestive discomfort- it affects the way we live. The stress of IBS can lead to physical and emotional debilitation. However, we do not have to passively accept IBS or merely numb the symptoms. It is possible to combat IBS at its root and completely eradicate it from our lives. This month’s blogs will offer a simple 3-step solution for dealing with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Chemical-Soaked Industrial Food: Tough Questions, Real Answers

Why are chemicals so pervasive in industrial foods?

The increased usage of chemicals in food production means more money for agribusinesses. With each new protein or hormone, the agribusiness is able to patent and gain exclusive sales rights. There is more money to be made off of engineered foods than foods that grow and reproduce naturally. 

Don't these chemicals protect the crop from pests and create a more stable food system?

Though this is certainly a selling point from agribusinesses, the usage of pesticides, herbicides, and genetically engineered crops has not created a more stable food system. The long-term effects of these chemicals on humans have not been adequately studied. Additionally, the increasing crop homogenization and decrease in species diversification leaves us vulnerable to a pest, virus or bacteria that could wipe out an entire crop. Though the chemicals do prevent pests in the short-term, the long-term public health effects are much more detrimental.

How does chemical exposure in food consumption effect our children's bodies?

Since 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tracts, the foods we eat along with the chemicals they contain significantly impact our health. As these foods travel down the intestines, they can corrode the “pipes” much in the same way that chemical toxins corrode plumbing. The damage inflicted can leave a child vulnerable to a long list of autoimmune disorders such as food allergies, asthma, and ADD/ADHD, among many others.

What can I do to help protect my family? 5 Steps Towards A More Secure Diet:

  1. Educate yourself and others about industrial food.
  2. Eat a healthy, unprocessed diet.
  3. Buy local, organic fruits and vegetables.
  4. Avoid meat and dairy products that have been treated with hormones or antibiotics.
  5. Get a food allergy test for family members that display signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Detecting Food Allergies: What Every Parent Needs to Know

12 Signs and Symptoms of a Food Allergy

  1. hives
  2. itching
  3. rash (eczema)
  4. behavioral/temper changes
  5. swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or eyes
  6. diarrhea
  7. vomiting
  8. cramps
  9. itching and tightness of throat
  10. difficulty breathing (asthma)
  11. wheezing
  12. in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock.

What is a food allergy?

A food allergy is an immune reaction to a protein usually found in food that the body perceives as a foreign invader.

Can Children Outgrow Food Allergies?

Some children may outgrow their food allergy, though evidence increasingly suggests that autoimmune disorders such as asthma, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis, among others, may result.

What Can I do to Keep My Family Safe?

  1. Cut “frankenfoods”

Manufactured by agribusinesses with suspect synthetic proteins, preservatives and dyes, these processed foods are built with foreign additives that our bodies often reject, resulting in allergic reactions and many other health issues.

  1. Eat real food

Local, organic fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products are usually the cleanest and safest nutrient sources. Support these alternatives by shopping at farmer's markets.

  1. Food Allergy Blood Test

Simple, reliable, and cost-effective, these food allergy tests can quickly detect up to 96 possible food allergens particular to any one person. If a loved one is displaying the signs and symptoms of a potential food allergy, this is the quickest and easiest detection method.

Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies Dramatic Rise in Hospitalizations: Children with Food Allergies

A 265% Increase in the Past 10 Years

Since 1998, there has been a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergies among children under 18, according to a 2008 CDC report. In ten short years, the number of children in grave danger due to consumption of a food allergen has nearly tripled. What is causing this unprecedented increase, and what is being done to prevent the unimaginable from happening to our nations' children?

A “Typical” Breakfast Sends a Child to the Emergency Room

Unfortunately, not much can be done. Robyn O'Brien, a former food analyst and mother of four, found this out the hard way. One morning over breakfast, her life changed forever. Her youngest daughter suffered an acute allergic reaction to her standard breakfast of Eggo waffles and was rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, O'Brien's daughter survived, but the mother's confidence in the nation's food system did not.

Over 3 Million Child Sufferers

To O'Brien's astonishment, she learned that an unbelievable 3 million children now suffer from food allergies. Unfortunately, these trends are not merely related to a general population increase. It is the very food we feed our families that is turning their immune systems against them.

3 Shocking Discoveries

In her search for answers, O'Brien made three surprising discoveries:

  1. Many food allergies are caused by synthetic proteins manufactured and inserted into our crops – proteins which were never tested for possible side effects.
  2. An allergic reaction to food is not only related to possible genetic predisposition, but an industry that willingly experiments on it's unsuspecting consumers.
  3. Our government's response to the food industry's frankenfoods is “safe until proven dangerous.”

How Many Children Sacrificed?

How many more children will be sent to the hospital before we realize the food is not safe? As more and more money is spent on disease management instead of economic growth, our international competitiveness dwindles.

Defending Our Nation's Children

Though never a foodie herself, Robyn O'Brien has become what many call “Erin Brokovich” of the healthy food movement. She recognizes that this is an issue that bridges the gap between progressive and conservative. Democrats, Republicans and independents alike all have children that they love and for whom they want the best. As an economist, she reminds us that we must ensure the future of our nation is in strong, healthy hands. 

4-Step Method for Curing Digestive Disorders

While the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America purports the idea that digestive disorders should be treated with medications and surgery, there are many noninvasive and inexpensive methods for dealing with these issues.

  1. Removal of Food Allergens

Often the culprit of a digestive disorder is something we have ingested. A simple food allergy test can determine quickly, and inexpensively, what these foods may be.

  1. Removal of Antibiotics and Sugars

Antibiotics kill all bacteria indiscriminately, meaning they annihilate both good and bad bacteria. While antibiotics may help digestive infections and disorders initially, they set us up for future digestive failure. Sugars feed harmful bacteria and yeasts. Removing them from our diets starves out these harmful bacteria, allowing helpful bacteria to flourish.

  1. Probiotics

One of the major contributors to proper digestion and absorption are probiotics, healthful bacteria that live throughout our intestines. When our probiotic numbers are low, or harmful bacteria numbers are high, this imbalance can lead to digestive malfunction. Consult a medical practitioner about which supplements and foods will suit your particular needs.

  1. Other Supplements

Besides probiotics, there are many other supplements that help calm and ease an over-stressed digestive tract. Speak with an appropriate health practitioner for more information on what supplements are right for you.

DNA v. Environment: New Evidence to IBD Cause

 

An Incomplete Story: the “Genetics Loads the Gun” Theory

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The CCFA claims that the lifetime risk for developing IBD is 10 to 20 times higher for close family members (siblings or offspring) than for the general population. This leads many researchers to believe that a specific gene triggers the onset of these digestive disorders. Based on this assumption, the CCFA has created a DNA Data bank in order to isolate and study potential genes. However, studies not funded by pharmaceutical companies have pointed towards the power of the environment and diet in determining disease susceptibility.
Epigenetics and the Power of Environment 

Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Through epigenetics, scientists have isolated a phenomenon called epigenetic drift, whereby twins become more different with time. Additionally, twins who spend more of their lives together in the same environment have similar genetic portraits than those who separate earlier. These studies reveal the vulnerability of early life, and the fundamental contribution of the environment in determining health. 
Why the CCFA Hides Part of the Picture

Mounting evidence points to the relevancy of external factors on our health. Irritable bowel diseases may have some genetic correlation, but larger contributors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment play the largest role. Often, resolving a dietary or lifestyle issue can completely eradicate digestive disorders. Unfortunately, it is more lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, and the organizations which they fund (such as the CCFA), to purport the “Genetics Loads the Gun” theory. 
Your Health: Get the Whole Story

When it comes to you and your family’s health, it is imperative to get the whole story. Your health depends on it.

An Incomplete Story: the “Genetics Loads the Gun” TheoryInflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, affects approximately 1.4 million Americans, according to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). The CCFA claims that the lifetime risk for developing IBD is 10 to 20 times higher for close family members (siblings or offspring) than for the general population. This leads many researchers to believe that a specific gene triggers the onset of these digestive disorders. Based on this assumption, the CCFA has created a DNA Data bank in order to isolate and study potential genes. However, studies not funded by pharmaceutical companies have pointed towards the power of the environment and diet in determining disease susceptibility.
Epigenetics and the Power of Environment Epigenetics is the study of gene expression. Through epigenetics, scientists have isolated a phenomenon called epigenetic drift, whereby twins become more different with time. Additionally, twins who spend more of their lives together in the same environment have similar genetic portraits than those who separate earlier. These studies reveal the vulnerability of early life, and the fundamental contribution of the environment in determining health. 
Why the CCFA Hides Part of the PictureMounting evidence points to the relevancy of external factors on our health. Irritable bowel diseases may have some genetic correlation, but larger contributors such as diet, lifestyle, and environment play the largest role. Often, resolving a dietary or lifestyle issue can completely eradicate digestive disorders. Unfortunately, it is more lucrative for pharmaceutical companies, and the organizations which they fund (such as the CCFA), to purport the “Genetics Loads the Gun” theory. 


Your Health: Get the Whole StoryWhen it comes to you and your family’s health, it is imperative to get the whole story. Your health depends on it.

 

Pregnant Mothers and Biological Therapy: The Shocking Truth Behind IBD Medications

Negligent Medical Community Supports Drugs with Little Evidence

Pregnant women and children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) should receive biological therapy, according to an article posted in the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America website. This article supposes that “the greatest risk to mother and fetus during pregnancy is active IBD and not the medication used to treat it.” (Boggs, American Journal of Gastroenterology 2010). However, the same paragraph continues to admit that “there are no safety data for adalimumab [one of the forerunning biological therapy drugs currently on the market] with breastfeeding.” Additionally, the article states that infliximab and certolizumab only “appear” to be safe during breastfeeding. Didn't our parents always admonish us not to be fooled by appearances?

Drug Close-Up: Infliximab

Common Side Effects:

-        Back pain

-        headache

-        mild to strong stomach pain

-        runny or stuffy nose

-        exhaustion

Rare Side Effects:

-        severe allergic reaction

-        bloody, black, or tarry stools

-        chest pain

-        dizziness, fainting

-        fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat

-        nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

-        red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin

-        seizures

-        migraines

-        sudden, unexplained weight gain or loss

-        suicidal thoughts or attempts

Prenatal Medical Disasters of the Past: The Case of Thalidomide

Infliximab and other biological drugs are brand-new, which means long-term, longitudinal studies have not been completed. How can medical professionals advertise their efficacy and safety when no research has been conducted on potential latent effects? In cases where new drugs are heavily marketed to expecting mothers, it can be educational to reflect on past public health pregnancy disasters. One such disaster was the use of thalidomide. The drug, among other things, was used extensively by women to help combat morning sickness. Unfortunately it was only years later that the horrific consequences of thalidomide bubbled to the surface- children born with an improper formation or absence of the anus, partial or total loss of sight, even paralysis. It has been said that had there been more extensive testing on animals before the drug was released, it would have been obvious that the drug was dangerous.

Don't Take Chances with Your Family

The drug companies don't have the best record when it comes to producing and selling helpful medications. While new regulatory agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.), now exist, it is still imperative that we question drug safety and look, first and foremost, for alternate routes of healing. Often times medicines produce more problems than they solve. Infants and unborn children are especially at risk. Their delicate nature predisposes them to stronger reactions to powerful drugs. Our past should teach us to be wary of the present, or at least to think more critically about it.

Dangerous and Expensive Medication: Crohn's and Colitis Drugs Revealed

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) where chronic inflammation can destroy the integrity of the colon wall, severely impeding the body’s ability to absorb food.

New and Controversial Medicines

Biological therapy medications are the latest addition to the stock-pile of questionable drug solutions thrown at IBD, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The pharmaceutical industry claims these pills will revolutionize the treatment of IBD. The medications are, efficacious because they are tailored to specifically target an immune or genetic mediator of the disease. However, this theory completely disregards the contributions of our environment, lifestyle, and diet choices on our health. And the medication still does not provide an absolute cure. Why is science so focused on our genes if the medications thus far have not entirely worked?

Biological Therapy is Big Business

At $3,000- $8,000 Per Infusion, Biological therapy is extremely profitable for pharmaceutical companies. There is no incentive for them to invest in preventative or alternative measures when they charge an arm and a leg for each infusion.

4 Dangerous Side Effects

Not only are these new biological therapy medications unaffordable, they also have numerous detrimental side effects.

  1. Anyphylaxis
  2. Reactivation or worsening of old diseases, like tuberculosis
  3. Multiple Sclerosis
  4. Lymphoma

Your Call to Action

If you or a loved one suffers from an Irritable Bowel Disease, take a second look at the medications pushed at the problem. Before you sink money into a hazardous drug, we encourage you to find other options that are simpler, healthier, and more cost-effective.

3 Reasons to Get a Second Opinion about Crohn's and Colitis Treatments

1. One in ten Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBD) patients are under the age of 18.

IBD and other disorders such as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are growing among children. Dealing with these diseases immediately can change your child's life.

2. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) has entirely “ruled out” diet as a contributing factor

Instead, the CCFA recommends drugs such as corticosteroids like prednisone, aminosalicylates, immunomodulators, antibiotics, and surgery. These medications have many side effects ranging from diarrhea to seizures. Surgery is invasive and dangerous.

3. The CCFA claims there is no known cure for Crohn's and Colitis

The CCFA is a business, funded by pharmaceutical corporate sponsors. There is a lot of money to be made in research, development and sales of medication and surgery techniques.

Another Way to Heal

There is hope. If you or a loved one suffers from Crohn's or Colitis, a simple food allergy test can quickly and easily determine what allergens may be triggers. Once the offending foods are removed the digestive tract will begin to heal. Let's change the conversation when it comes to our health. 

Pill Poison: Crohn's and Colitis Drugs

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and their pharmaceutical sponsors are not interested in curing their patients. A cured patient is one who will no longer purchase medicine. The CCFA says that though there is no cure, “a number of different medications have proven effective in helping to control the disease.” Instead of addressing the cause directly, the CCFA and their pharmaceutical sponsors prefer ineffectual band-aid remedies that only minimally manage the pain and discomfort. In addition, many of the medications promoted by the CCFA are extremely harmful and can lead to the development of secondary health conditions.

2 Common Crohn's and Colitis Drugs and Side Effects:

1.

Symptom treated: Inflammation

Drug: Sulfasalazine

Common side effects:

-        headache

-        loss of appetite

-        mild stomach upset or pain

-        nausea

-        vomiting.

Rare side effects include:

-        rash

-        facial swelling

-        bloody diarrhea

-        fever, chills

-        hearing loss

-        mental or mood changes

-        seizures

2.

Symptom treated: For treating open and draining fistulas

Drug: Infliximab- first medication approved by the FDA specifically for treatment of Crohn's disease

Common Side Effects:

-        Back pain

-        headache

-        mild to strong stomach pain

-        runny or stuffy nose

-        exhaustion

Rare Side Effects:

-        severe allergic reaction

-        bloody, black, or tarry stools

-        chest pain

-        dizziness, fainting

-        fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat

-        nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

-        red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin

-        seizures

-        migraines

-        sudden, unexplained weight gain or loss

-        suicidal thoughts or attempts

 

For Quick, Easy and Safe Results there is one way:

Symptom treated: Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

Drug: None. Diet change, with possible supplements to heal digestive tract.

Common Side Effects: Eradication of the disease. 

Conventional Medicine Exposed: the Truth about Crohn's and Colitis Treatments

Contradictory and Controversial

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) offers some confusing information in regards to diet and the onset of Irritable Bowel Disease. First, they concede that diet “may play some role in the underlying inflammatory process” but then claim “there is no evidence that anything in your diet history caused or contributed to these diseases.” They ridicule patients who “believe that their disease is caused by, and can be cured by diet.” This, they inform us, is “too simplistic an approach.” The options they recommend are corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, antibiotics and surgery, all of which are expensive, invasive, and potentially dangerous.

Uncovering the Hidden Truth

There are some obvious holes in this argument. What the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America neglects to mention is that 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Therefore, nutrient malabsorption is one of the biggest causes of all systemic ailments. Food, obviously a major component in this absorptive process, is a key contributor to our health. The suggestion that food and digestion is irrelevant to any illness, especially an Irritable Bowel Disease, is ludicrous.

Take Back Your Health from Greedy Corporations

Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America is funded primarily by pharmaceutical corporations such as Abbott, Axcan Pharma, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., Takeda Millenium, Warner Chilcott, Salix Pharmaceutical Inc., and Shire. Though CCFA claims they do not necessarily endorse the views of their direct corporate sponsors, it is unlikely that they would bite the hand that feeds them and support “simplistic” resolutions such as diet and lifestyle changes. “Simplistic” is actually a euphemism for “no profit.” Do you really want to be another dollar in their pocket?

It's time to take your health into your own hands. If you or a loved one suffers from an Irritable Bowel Disease, do not hesitate to get help now. 

Crohn's Disease: What Everyone Needs to Know

Spreading at an Alarming Rate

Up to 600,000 people in the United States alone suffer from Crohn's disease and the number is quickly growing, according to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) believes over 1.4 million people suffer from one of these diseases.

What is Crohn's Disease?

Crohn's Disease is a type of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) where chronic inflammation can destroy the integrity of the colon wall, severely impeding the bodies ability to absorb food.

6 Symptoms Watch:

1. Loss of appetite

2. Chronic diarrhea

3. Cramping

4. Abdominal pain

5. Weight loss

6. Complications such as intestinal blockage, sores or ulcers that tunnel through the affected area to surrounding tissue in the bladder, vagina, and areas surrounding the anus. These tunnels may become infected and require surgery.

Conventional Treatments: “No Cure”

Modern conventional medicine claims “there is no medical cure” (The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America). While it is certainly true that no medicine has proven to eradicate the disease, there are simple, cost-effective ways of healing our digestive tracts.

Other Treatments: Cheap, Easy and Effective

The easiest and most cost-effective treatment for Crohn's disease is diet and lifestyle change paired with supplemental support. A simple food-allergy test followed by removal of aggravating food allergens can quickly and drastically improve our health. Supplements can help the readjustment process as we begin to heal our compromised digestive tract.

Take Action

Don't let conventional medical wisdom stand in the way of your health. If you or a loved one suffers from Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), take action and get help now.

8 Common Causes of a Leaky Gut

Now that we known some of the symptoms, let's take a look at some of the most common causes.

1. Chronic inflammation

Whether it be stress, IBS, or a food allergy, chronic inflammation is one of the biggest causes of a leaky gut.

2. Food Sensitivities/allergies

Food sensitivities can cause inflammation and worsen a leaky gut. Food sensitivities are also symptoms of a leaky gut because once our digestive tract becomes permeable, additional food sensitivities may develop.

3. Damage from taking large amounts of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)

Certain pain relief medications can be detrimental to our bodies, especially when taken frequently. Consult your medical practitioner for a less caustic pain reliever.

4. Cytotoxic drugs

Used to treat symptoms of arthritis, these medications can wear on our intestines.

5. Radiation

Used to treat cancer, radiation can weaken our systems.

6. Antibiotics

7. Excessive alcohol consumption

8. Compromised immunity

This can be a result of small intestine bacteria overgrowth, chronic stress, or intestinal infections. It is important to take even small infections seriously. If not addressed immediately, they can grow.

5 Easy Steps: Mend that Leaky Gut

A leaky gut sounds menacing, but they can heal with time and effort. Here are three easy steps to get you on your way.

1. Get a Food Allergy Test

Your leaky gut can only heal once you know what foods are harmful to you. Food allergy tests are simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Removing trigger foods is a great start.

2. Easy on the Pill-Popping

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen often contribute to gut irritation. Ask your medical practitioner for a pain reliever that is more gentle on your digestive system.

3. Twenty-Chew Challenge

Chewing each bite twenty times until it becomes a liquid means less work for your stomach and digestive system. Eating your food slowly also has been proven to help people enjoy food more and eat less.

4. Get a Little Help from your Supplement Friends

A leaky gut generally indicates an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in the small and large intestine. There are plenty of supplements out there to help replenish good bacteria. Ask your medical practitioner for a recommendation that's right for you.

5. Don't Make a Mountain out of a Mole Hill...

...and by that we mean treat minor infections, such as candida, immediately and completely. Letting these infections fester forces the immune system to be constantly alert. This is physically exhausting and increases inflammation throughout the body, including the gut.

The 7 Most Common Systemic Symptoms of a Leaky Gut

How do we know if we have a “leaky gut”? Since 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, poor digestion and absorption becomes a systemic problem. Our whole body feels the effects. This is why discovering and treating a leaky gut is so important.

While the following is not an exhaustive list of symptoms or systems affected by a leaky gut, here are some of the most common:

1. Digestive System

-        abdominal pain

-        indigestion

-        diarrhea

-        constipation

-        bloating

-        gas

2. Respiratory System

-        asthma

-        shortness of breath

3. Muscular System

-        chronic joint pain

-        chronic muscle pain

4. Integumentary System (skin, hair, nails)

-        skin rashes

-        acne

-        eczema

-        psoriasis

5. Nervous System

-        confusion

-        fuzzy or foggy thinking

-        mood swings

-        nervousness

-        poor memory

-        aggressive behavior

-        anxiety

-        fatigue

-        feeling toxic

6. Immune System

-        poor immunity

-        recurrent vaginal infections

7. Urinary System

-        recurrent bladder infections

-        bed-wetting

If you are experiencing some of these symptoms, the best course of action is to speak to a health practitioner that is familiar with leaky gut syndrome.

U.S. Lags Behind Europe in Celiac Disease Knowledge

Did you know that 1 in 133 people in the U.S has celiac disease? (Archives of Internal Medicine, published 10 February 2003)

Unfortunately, only about 1 out of every 4,700 Americans has been diagnosed, which means 97% of cases go undetected in our country. Why is this? Dr. Alessio Fassano, the Director of the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland, points to lack of research by medical professionals in the United States.

"Equal recognition of celiac disease has been frustratingly slow to reach the U.S," says a colleague of Dr. Fassano, Dr. Guandalini, who trained in Italy. "In Europe, it typically takes a few weeks to go from the first symptoms to a diagnosis. In the U.S., the average lag time between onset and diagnosis is 11 years." If ever.

In the mid-1970s, European scientists spearheaded a task force to determine celiac disease prevalence and presentation. These efforts allowed for both a greater understanding and management of the disease. In the United States, very few medical doctors attempt to understand the disease or its wide-spread implications. Unless your endocrinologist or pathologist knows about celiac disease, the diagnosis could remain a mystery for years.

IBS Eradication Step #3: Find Solutions that Work for You

Discover what foods serve as our triggers.

 

RAST blood examinations (short for radioallergosorbent test) which tests for acute immune reactions to food, combined with an ELISA Blood Test, which examines the body's latent reaction to 96 potential food allergens, provide a comprehensive picture of IBS triggers.

 

Exclude the trigger food from our diet.  

Though it sounds surprisingly simple, removing trigger foods can lead to radical improvements in our well-being. Once we discover and remove the root of the cause, the symptoms will dissipate.

 

Nourish stressed systems with supplements and enzymes. 

There are a variety of supplements and enzymes to heal a compromised digestive tract. Speak to your health practitioner about what options are best for you.

Out of the Digestive Jungle

Dining out does not have to be a dangerous trip into unpredictable territory. When we educate ourselves about IBS and make appropriate lifestyle changes, we can regain control of our lives. True health and wellness is within your reach.

IBS Eradication Step #2: Critical Analysis of Current Medical “Cures”

What Do Some Medical Doctors Say about the Cause and Cures of IBS? While some medical doctors concede that IBS is affected by diet, most do not test for food allergies. They allege that the true cause is unknown, and the best course of action is to numb symptoms with prescribed medication.

Is there a Second Opinion? Yes. Thankfully, some doctors realize the direct correlation between diet and IBS. The American Journal of Gastroenterology, says that “more than 50% of IBS patients were found sensitized to some food or inhalant.”

Why is there a discrepancy in opinion about IBS causes and cures? Michael Pollan, investigative journalist and author of the new book Food Rules explains that “there's a lot of money in the Western diet...The healthcare industry makes more money treating chronic diseases (which account for three quarters of the $2 trillion plus we spend each year on heath care in this country) than preventing them.” (Pollan, 2009, p. xiv) It is more profitable to prescribe medications to patients than to remove the cause of their illness.

It is important to think critically about our health. Once we see the sociopolitical factors that surround our healthcare system we can understand how to advocate for our own well-being. Stay tuned for IBS Eradication Step #3: Find Solutions that Work for You.

IBS Eradication Step #1: Understand the Cause

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? IBS is a continuum of chronic abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or diarrhea.

How does IBS develop? Around 70% of our immune system is located in our digestive tract. Its primary role is to “ok” or “attack” a food we ingest. When our immune system doesn't like something we've ingested, it uses inflammation and excess mucus as ammunition. This inflammation leads to IBS, among other dietary disorders. The triggers of IBS are food allergies.

What are Food Allergies? An allergy is the immune systems response to a protein usually found in a food, such as peanuts, eggs, wheat or milk that it perceives as a foreign body. Most food allergies are acquired, not inherited. Some people develop sensitivities due to repeated exposure especially in large quantities, and others react to pesticides and herbicides combining with the natural chemicals in food. Whatever the cause, the result is the same- a compromised immune system and discomfort.

Once we understand what causes IBS can we begin to heal. Stay tuned for IBS Eradication Step #2: Critical Analysis of Current Medical “Cures.”