Saturday, May 30, 2015

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)

It looks like we may have another epidemic on our hands. This time it is Irritable Bowel Disease, or IBD.

Sometimes the symptoms of IBD are called Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease. This is usually due to either a variation in symptoms, believed causes, or response to treatment. All three leave a person miserable with stomach pain, bloating and/or diarrhea. This makes the person afraid to eat anything, and their social lives become a thing of the past.

In addition to the pain and misery three quarters of those diagnosed as Crohn’s will have to undergo reconstructive bowel surgery due to the damage caused by the disease. Sometimes the damage is linked not to the disease, but to the treatment. These include intestinal blockages, a thickening of the intestinal wall, ulcers in the intestines, anus and rectum, nutritional malabsorption, anemia, osteoporosis, compromised liver function, and thyroid disease. There has even been a statistical link to leukemia, showing an increased risk factor of 700%.

Studies are showing links to our food supply and day to day behaviors that may point to why there is a threefold increase in these types of problems.  Doctors in the UK are blaming the increase among 16 to 30 year olds on the increase in junk food they are eating.  They also point to the increase in antibiotics we are exposed to. We are exposed to antibiotics through our food and water supplies, in addition to the one prescribed by our doctors. There is also a tentative link to the measles vaccine.

One of the reasons junk food is looked at is that many of them contain emulsifiers. These are added to break down fats and allow them to blend with other ingredients. This gives the feel and taste of creaminess. These emulsifiers act as soap in the intestines, scrubbing out all the good bacteria that line our intestines to protect them from inflammation.  Once the walls are inflamed the bad bacteria have an easier time destroying the tissues.

Corticosteroids have also been linked to IBD, both in the numbers of people diagnosed and with the severity of the symptoms.  Elderly patients are more likely to be prescribed corticosteroids than younger people, and there is an increase in the elderly for developing these intestinal issues.  Patients with asthma and COPD, also rampant among the elderly also show an increased susceptibility to these problems. 

The link to leukemia seems to be in the treatment. A group of drugs known as thiopurines seem to be at the center of this issue. These drugs provide symptom relief, and do not cure the problems. 

If you have IBD type problems hope that you never have a heart attack. There is evidence that those with both IBD and heart disease have a worse outcome with both of them. A ‘worse outcome’ with heart disease is considered death.

If you have IBD type problems are you limited to modern medicine for relief, even though that relief can come at a dangerously high price? There is evidence that both dietary and alternatives helps are availbable.


Omega 3 fats are known to reduce inflammation, and they do this in the bowels as well. The exception is the form found in flax. Although it helps with overall inflammation there is little evidence that effect extends to the bowels.

Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to both the occurrence and the severity of symptoms. The longer you have been suffering with symptoms the more likely you are to be vitamin D deficient. Scientists are sure which is the cause and which is the cause and which is the effect, but increasing vitamin D levels seems to decrease symptoms.

Probiotic foods increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad bacteria in the gut. This seems to prevent a reoccurrence of the symptoms. Probiotic supplementation would also be appropriate.

Anti-inflammatory herbs seem to work better than over the counter pharmaceutical options. These include turmeric, boswelia and marshmallow root. This is not the same thing as commercial marshmallows.


Gluten and grains in general have also been linked to IBD type problems. Many times a removal of grain based foods bring remarkable symptom relief. That is why there is a growing industry of gluten free foods.  There has also been antidotal evidence that eating gluten free improves overall digestion, brain function, immune deficiencies and emotional health. 

Avoid sugars and processed foods, anything that will increase your insulin levels will increase your inflammation levels. Avoid artificial sweeteners as well.  These inactivate your digestive enzymes and alter the gut barrier function.

Some outside help

Hypnosis has been shown to be helpful in reducing bowel inflammation. There is evidence that it changes some of chemicals found in the bowel to a more normal balance.

Fecal transplants have also shown to be very successful. Fecal transplants have not only been used for IBD type problems but also with autism and antibiotic resistant bacterial infections. Fecal transplants may be hard to come by. Many doctors don’t know about them. Others are unwilling to perform them because it means handling human feces. Testing donors for donors is also extremely expensive.

Anyone who has had a gastrointestinal disease, used antibiotics, or traveled to countries with suboptimal sanitation is rejected.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Antiobiotics and Obesity

The study analyzed data from twelve years of infant records. Data analysis of the more than 65,000 infants revealed that the earlier babies were given antibiotics, the greater likelihood of becoming obese later in life.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children over the past 30 years and in adolescents has nearly quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

These are staggering figures to comprehend.

The immediate consequences of obesity in children range are that they are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

Many will remain obese into adulthood and be susceptible to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

According to Jack Challem of The Nutrition Reporter, “The lesson, whether you’re an adult of child, is to not take antibiotics unless they are absolutely necessary, and then to also take probiotics.”

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid in digestion and immunity. You can get them from yogurt, probiotic drinks and probiotic supplements.

Even if you don’t willingly take antibiotics, you may be getting them in other ways.

Since antibiotics have increasingly entered the food chain, you can ingest traces of antibiotics in the meat you eat and the water you drink. Replenishing your micro-biome with probiotics occasionally may be a very good idea.

Instead of using antibiotics, check on natural alternative ideas like using colloidal silver.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


Many people have the occasional heartburn symptoms. In fact estimates are that sixty percent of American adults have heartburn at least once a year. When do we decide it isn’t just regular heartburn and something more serious, such as GERD? Some people look at the frequency of the heartburn. Twenty to thirty percent of American adults have heartburn on a weekly (or even more frequent basis. Looking at the frequency has been a factor in the diagnosis of GERD increasing by 216 percent between 1998 and 2005. But it isn’t just adults that get GERD. More and more infants are being diagnosed and treated for this ailment.

Most people think of heartburn or GERD as being caused by too much stomach acid, simply because that is what it feels like. In reality it is most commonly caused by a week muscle or sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus. When this sphincter is week it lets the content of the stomach come back up into the esophagus. The stomach contents are supposed to be acidic, but the esophagus isn’t meant to handle that acid. This causes the burning sensation that people are experiencing. Over time this acid can eat a hole in the esophagus, sometimes called a hiatal hernia.

What causes this sphincter to become weak? In babies it is being linked to antibiotics used by the mom during pregnancy, or her diet before and after the birth. These can cause the babies to be born with the wrong mix of good bacteria in their intestines. This lack of good bacteria can cause digestion to be impaired, which leaves the stomach fuller longer and puts pressure on that sphincter. Being born by C-section can upset this balance as well. What foods the baby eats, or what food the breastfeeding mothers eat is also a risk factor. If baby has intolerance to a food and it is in the formula, or mom is eating it this can cause digestive problems.

Adults are faced with the same risk factors, plus some additional ones. Sometimes it is not having enough stomach acid to help the stomach work efficiently. Without the stomach acid foods ferment, and give off gases that expand the stomach, pushing on that sphincter. Other times it is medications, either prescription or over the counter, that relax the muscles. This causes that sphincter to weaken and open at inappropriate times.

Are antacids and/or PPI’s the best thing to reach for when you feel the beginning or heartburn? 

For most of us the answer is a resounding no! We need an appropriate amount of stomach acid in order to properly digest our food. Without it there is a cascading effect of health problems, including:
  Reduced absorption of essential nutrients (including B12, magnesium, calcium, iron, folate, and zinc) These nutrients are important for adults, but they’re even more important for developing babies. So folate and B12 in particular are needed to form new red blood cells, and they play an important role in methylation, which silences and activates gene expression, which, in turn, regulates just about anything in the body. Vitamin C is important for collagen development and the structural development of the body, in addition to immune function. Iron is also involved in red blood cell function. Without enough iron, babies will become anemic and not develop properly. Magnesium plays a role in over 300 different enzymatic reactions in the body, it’s one of the most important nutrients that we need. And all of the other B vitamins—B6; B5, which is pantothenic acid; B1, which is thamine; B2, which is riboflavin; B3, which is niacin—are all essential. Again, they’re all there for a reason. We need them. They’re all essential nutrients. And PPIs inhibit their absorption. We could potentially see an increase in things like neurological issues from B12 deficiency; problems with development, like I said, of the structural tissue in the body from vitamin C deficiency; behavioral disorders like ADHD, autism, et cetera because of folate and B12 deficiency. These things are on the rise in kids. There may not be enough kids now taking PPIs that this is making a significant contribution, but this could certainly happen if we continue with our current course.
  Increased risk of bone fractures (likely a consequence of impaired nutrient absorption). PPIs have been associated with decreased bone mineral density, because calcium absorption is impaired, and also maybe the fat-soluble vitamins—like vitamin D, which plays a role in calcium metabolism, and K2.
  Increased bacterial overgrowth in the intestines. 
  Decreased resistance to infections (including life-threatening ones like pneumonia and clostridium difficile). We’re exposed to bacteria, viruses, and fungi all the time. They’re all around us in the environment. But a lot of times, if we get exposed to them through food or water that we swallow, the stomach acid just takes care of that. Many of these organisms cannot survive in a really low pH, acidic environment like the stomach. The stomach acid is our first line of defense against these organisms entering through our mouth and when we swallow. As you might suspect, PPI use has been associated with an increased risk of infections of all types, but particularly gut infections and something like Clostridium difficile, which is a potentially fatal gut infection. Very serious. It’s a cause of concern. It’s been shown that there’s an increased risk of community-acquired pneumonia in people using PPIs.
  Increased risk of cancer and other diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, depression, anxiety, autoimmune disease, and asthma.
  Increase in weight gain. One study in adults showed an average increase of about 10 lbs in weight in about 70% of patients that were taking PPIs over a two-year period, whereas only 9% of patients in the control group gained weight over that period.
If you don’t want to use medications for your GERD what are your options?
  Reduce carbohydrates and follow a mostly Paleo type diet.
  Take baking soda and water.  This reduces the amount of acid in the stomach.
  Take apple cider vinegar and water. 
  Take ginger, either in tea, capsules, as a spice when cooking, or in lozenge form.
   Take aloe vera.
   Take enzymes. These are what the stomach acid activates in order to digest food. By increasing the enzymes you increase the efficiency of digestion and lower the need for stomach acid.
   Take probiotics, and prebiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria we are supposed to have in our digestive tract. Prebiotics are substances that ‘feed’ or help the good bacteria grow. 
   Avoid foods you are sensitive to. This can include anything from gluten to tomato based dishes and anything in between.  Everyone is a little different.
   Ditch the carbonated beverages. Carbonation adds volume to the stomach contents that the human body has trouble getting rid of. 
   Look for herbal bitters. These are plants that have a bitter flavor. They aid in digestion. 
   Avoid greasy foods, especially those fried foods made with canola and other vegetable oils. Even worse are the oils that have been hydrogenated. They are then called trans fats.

The biggest problem with a dietary based treatment is that some people have a problem being consistent. They want to fit in with their friends and family members more than they want to feel good. Then they complain that the natural methods don’t work. They do work, if you are consistent in following them.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hand Made Soap Regulation S1014

The IRS says that if you don’t make money making products that it isn’t a business, it’s a hobby. What’s the big deal? Business can deduct their expenses from their earnings and only pay taxes on the net profit. Sounds fair. If you spend three dollars for ingredients and sell the bar of soap for five dollars you should only have to pay taxes on the two dollars you earned. A hobbyist on the other hand has to pay taxes on all five dollars.

Now our legislatures want to add some reporting fees to each batch of soap, for everyone that makes soap, no matter how large or small. That’s fine for the big guys. Their ‘batches’ are a million bars each. A couple of pieces of paper that they mail to the FDA aren’t going to make a big difference. The smaller the batch the more impact that little piece of paper is going to have on the bottom line. When the batch is under a dozen bars that little piece of paper is going to have a really big impact on the bottom line. For the hobbyist that is just one more expense that they have to pay taxes on after they spend the money.

What is the purpose of these reports? They are meant to regulate the ingredients. These reports, according to the bill being considered, S. 1014, also come with user fees. There goes that two dollars of profit and as such the whole tax deduction. So what ingredients are they trying to regulate? It’s not the natural oils, milks, herbs, and essential oils that most hobbyist and small batch producers use. It’s the chemicals that the big guys use in their large batch productions. Some of these chemicals really do need to be removed from these products, but is this really the way to go?

What are these chemicals?

Methylene glycol, this turn to formaldehyde and can lead to hair loss, rashes, blistered scalps, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, trouble breathing, vomiting and cancer. 

Propyl paraben, this mimics the hormone estrogen (think BPA) and can disrupt the endocrine system and reproductive system.

Fragrance, masks chemical odors, can be anything including chemicals that are hormone disruptors, cause skin problems, damage sperm, cause asthma and many other problems. They are both inhaled and absorbed through the skin and scalp.

SLES and SLS, these are the sulfates that have been debated for years. They have been linked to rashes, scalp sores, and cancer.
Triclosan, this is the germ killer in many antibacterial products such as hand sanitizers, soaps, deodorants, toothpastes and mouthwashes. It has been shown to accumulate in our bodies, and can cause antibiotic resistant germs and well as disrupt hormones in the same way that Propyl paraben and BPA does. The biggest danger is that it is accumulating in our lakes, rivers and oceans, because it is not breaking down. 

Toluene, is a solvent used in degreasers, paint thinners, nail polish, adhesives, rubber, cola syrup, and hair dyes. It can lead to dizziness, headaches, reproductive damage, respiratory complications and organ system toxicity (think liver failure). 

Nanoparticles, the consequences of these are unknown, and vary from their origin. Silver nanoparticles have been shown to cause abnormalities in fish DNA when found in our waterways. 

Nitrosamines, found in moisturizers and shampoos these are known to be endocrine disrupters and cancer causers. 

Retinyl palmitate, although a form of vitamin A these have been shown to cause or increase cancerous skin tumors. 

These are serious problems, and the public need to be made aware of them. Most people who are knowledgeable about these additives choose the more natural products made by the small batch and hobbyist manufacturers. But these are the people that this bill will hurt the most. Based on this the choices we will have are to purchase the chemically laden products, or make our own at home.